Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Rolex twofer: Peter Atkins Helmet cam and Oliie Townend's fall

This'll be my last Rolex 2010 post unless something amazing happens. Peter Atkins just published his helmetcam footage! At the end of this video, you'll know his horse's name forever :-). Thanks to Peter for capturing and sharing this. The full run, which gives you a real taste of what the course is like, is at

I don't think I would say Harv's name after difficult fences, think I'd say goooood booy! How about you guys!?

Oliver Townend's Rolex fall: He's one lucky guy

This photo by Candice Chavez (posted on captures the worst moment of Oliver Townend's rotational  fall at Rolex last Saturday. The fence had frangible safety pins but they didn't "deploy," which is the subject of a lot of debate in the online forums. Miraculously Townend is okay.  Townend, a milkman's son from Yorkshire, said of his fall,  "I feel a bit bashed and bruised, but my spirits are good" (Sporting Life article).

The photo doesn't convey how fast it all happens -- but the video does.

Another vantage point...

Those Brits, they know how to sum things up
In the UK horses and eventing are pretty newsworthy, and it seems like everyone rides. Andrew Lloyd Webber's wife is an ex-eventer, and in an article in the UK Telegraph she comments on Oliver's fall. She dryly observes "Things often go pear-shaped with horses." I have no idea what that really means, but it sure sounds true.


  1. What fun to "Ride" that course. I must admit the helmet cam video surely does prove how difficult the course is...with all those tricky approaches and narrow jump choices....WOW! But soooooo coooool!

    And Oliver is one LUCKY rider to escape that fall with minimal injury. Could be the second part of the jump actually took some of the horse's impact and shielded him a bit. Double WOW on that one!

  2. Was the horse hurt????

  3. Awesome video of the ride! Thanks for the link!

    And wow, that photo of Oliver's fall is amazing--he's SO lucky. I must say, though, the look in that horse's eyes...he knew exactly what was happening. I agree with Jean, too. That step definitely helped. I'm so glad they're both okay!

  4. "not unlike a bowl of fruit, horses can go bad at any moment"
    couldn't help myself :)

  5. Interesting term...never heard it and of course I had to go look it up:P

  6. Isn't it a common phrase in America? It's common in Australia. It just means things have gone all out of shape. Imagine a perfect circle going all out of shape and everything sags to the bottom like a pear.

  7. Wow, what a ride! I felt like I was watching a video game. I didn't know that some of the jumps were so narrow or angled like that!

  8. Yo, I've had a cracked sternum, and it was the most not-fun I've ever had next to double pneumonia! So he's "okay" in that sort of "horse people are insane" way. :)

    The article doesn't mention his horse, I take it he's all right?

    The helmet cam is a blast! Wow, narrow fences. Some of those when you're coming at them look taller than they are wide.

  9. any mention if his inflatable vest made a difference? it happened so fast and I was wondering if it had time to deploy and if it did if that was the reason he was not to bad despite having the horse roll over him in that way

  10. That first video was so exciting. Thansk for sharing it.

  11. That was some fall and it's really lucky neither the horse or rider were badly injured. Off topic question for Stacey: I know you said the cross country footage came from a flip camera, what about the show jumping stuff? I'm looking for a good affordable camera to tape riding lessons with and the quality was surprisingly good on both of those videos. Which flip do you have?

  12. Hi Theresa, I have a Flip mino that I use when I know I'll be fairly close up to the subject -- the maddening limitation of flips is that they only magnify 2x and then it gets very fuzzy. Generally though, Flips are easy to use and robust in terms of lighting. The editing software is great.

    What I used at Rolex this year --
    Last year I got a Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG10 for a little over $200 -- high definition, 5X zoom, 10 megapixel photos, I've been very happy with it. I used it at Rolex this year. I'm tld it does not handle murky lighting as well as the flip but it has been fine for my needs. I will say the design is not as intuitive but within 1/2 hour of opening the box I had the basics...

  13. Pear-shaped=British slang for when things take a turn for the worse.

  14. The helmet cam was very exciting! I love how effortlessly the horse jumps everything and when his ears flick towards his rider's words of praise. It really did look like a video game on the highest difficulty setting. ;)

  15. The helmet cam is very impressive. In 1999 the BBC hit upon the brilliant idea of a jocky cam in the Grand National. Unfortunately, the horse fell at the first jump.
    HRTV has had some preliminary coverage of Badminton. Maybe they will fuller coverage shortly. :-)


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