8/14/2016 1 Comment
A Most Humble Invitation
Please read the original rubbish article at http://deadspin.com/the-olympics-are-for-humans-not-horses-1784662204 and encourage Mr. Bedford to accept this once-in-a-lifetime invitation.
Dear Mr. Bedford:
I scanned your blog, which I guess appeared, in Deadspin, an online news outlet. I scanned it because well, it's written with the same gusto of a high school junior who forgot about the assignment and wrote it in math class a period before it was due. I'd go so far as to say a jock, who doesn't know when profanity is for effect or simply shock value. The f-word is so cool! The blog also demonstrated that same lack of research that naive kids have, prompting them to speak before they have the facts; thus, when presented with the facts, they look...well...stupid.
Equestrian sport is as old as the Olympic Games themselves. Those first games in Athens were held to honor the gods of Mount Olympus, thus 'Olympic' games. I'm sure you thought Olympic meant more like epic, but it just isn't so. If you are such a purist, would you have us dispense with national teams and go to religious qualifications? There are a few people who still worship the Greek gods. We'll kick out the rest, unless they convert, but then I'm afraid, there would be far fewer athletes and well, the Winter Games would be scratched straight out. Besides, the humble bobsled does all the work, sliding, twisting, and braking, right?
But I digress...
As most youngsters who fail to do their research and allow the text of the Internet to make their writing look good, I simply offer you an invitation to experience what has been since Zeus was tossing lightning bolts. For you and a friend (if you have any), I offer an abbreviated version of the equestrian sports as they are programmed into the modern Olympic Games of today.
I have two beautiful horses, experienced show animals, that are rather accomplished in their fields. To honor the Greek Gods and the History of the Games, we will begin as those early Olympians did some 2000 years ago. If you make it through these Games, I will publicly admit that you are right and deserving of a Pulitzer.
(Because everyone needs to qualify these days to prove proficiency.
Because the horse does all the work, this should be easy peasy for you.)
Team Round: Trot one loop of a large dressage arena without a saddle, bridle optional, in honor of the ancient Greeks. (Using a cup is up to you, though I doubt you'd need it.) Reverse (that means turn the horse around) and repeat.
Individual Round: Canter the above exercise. Change rein across the diagonal through a simple change at X (by then, a cup won't be necessary.)
Mount: I'll let you use my Hanoverian mare because she's rather rotund and will potentially keep you from being involuntarily ejected.)
(We're going out of order here, but we initially want to keep all four feet on the ground.
So simple, even YOU could do it.)
Team Round: Training Level Test 1. Please report to your test on time or face elimination.
Individual Round: Prepare a Musical Freestyle with movements permissible in Training Level.
Team Round: As fast as you can without knocking any poles down, while staying with the horse and not lying on the ground. Fences will be no smaller than 3'3" and not larger than 3'6".
Individual Round: Having shown your true grit, we'll go with the Olympic measure for fences, which is an average of 1.3m or approximately 4'2". You got this! The horse does all the work, remember?
Mount: I recommend my off-the-track Thoroughbred for this phase, but I'd seriously consider carrying a whip, wearing spurs, and downing half a bottle of Tequila.
(This is the triathlon of the horse world and takes place over three-four days. You and your friend will compete as a team and against each other. Life insurance is optional.)
Day 1: Dressage—With the horse doing all the work, this should be cake, so we'll use the Training Level test. (With my gelding, you might want to glue on some Velcro.)
Day 2: Cross-Country—No need to unduly tax the horse, because they do all the work, so we'll go with the standard Training Level fence height 3'3". After the Show Jumping, this should be easy, right? (Again, please carry a whip, wear spurs, down the last half of the tequila and pay any and all life insurance premiums. And for goodness sake, wear clean underwear.)
Day 3: Stadium Jumping—The fences are a moderate 4'1" at the Olympic level, but we'll be fair and stick with Training Level at a height of 3'3". After your mount's hard work in the Show Jumping, you should crush it.
You must wear a protective helmet at all times while mounted, even though there isn't much to protect.
It is recommended that you wear a protective vest for your safety and one for your ego. You both will need them.
Three mistakes in the Dressage warrants elimination. Any speaking to the horse or profanity toward the horse will result in score deductions.
If you or your horse exit the dressage arena before the end of the test, you are eliminated. Exceptions: zombie apocalypse, nuclear proliferation, or your candy-ass can't handle the test.
A fall on the course, by you or your mount, warrants elimination. In your case, it will not be an issue of if you fall, but when. Medical personnel will be on site, but your ego may suffer lasting injury.
Mr. Bedford, the podium awaits. I await your acceptance of this invitation. My fellow equestrians also await your plunge into the research and the facts to find truth. I look forward to your first qualifying round.
Patricia A. Jackson
Patricia A. Jackson is a writer, rider, educator, mentor, and hopeless romantic, who lives by the motto: "Live for what you believe; believe in what you love."