Horses that is. My grandfather bought me a pony when I turned 3. My mother is horse crazy still at 80+. Queenie, my pinto pony and I spent hours together. If we parted, my parents just stuck me back on. I’m an expert at exiting a horse’s back, saddle or not.
The size of horse I preferred grew as I grew up. By the time I reached 27, my horse reached 17 hands or 5’ 6 inches tall.
What brings on my horsey nostalgia? The Olympic Games. I used to event my big horses. Not at Olympic level but hey it’s a tough sport even at the lowest levels. You gallop 1-2 miles jumping over unique obstacles. I jumped my horse over an overturned rowboat, into and out of a pond and over a low hanging branch (still attached to the tree). I remember my coach’s advice to this day about the pond. “If you don’t want to take a dip, grab the mane because your horse will jump out of water before you expect”.
I almost rode over a fence similar to Olympic size by accident. Our training exercise consisted of galloping down a hill, turning left at the bottom of the hill and jumping a 3 ft brush fence. However, if you didn’t turn left, in about 50 ft. there was a monster wooden in and out with a 3 ft drop after the out. In order to stay in control on the way down the hill, you shove your feet forward. Well, being a newbie, I forgot and my feet went the opposite direction. My horse blasted full bore down the hill, heading straight for that in and out. Near the bottom of the hill I finally pushed my feet forward and gathered enough control to make the left turn.
Do I get to see any of this kind of excitement at the Olympic Games? Not unless I’m there. The equestrian events aren’t popular with Americans, so I don’t get to see any of it. Not even when Princess Anne’s daughter gets a silver medal.
Do you have a favorite Olympic sport not considered popular by the media so you never see it on TV?