I have two enormous pieces of equine related news. I don’t care if you don’t know what I’m talking about, hear me out and read this, because this is amazing, you will learn something, and your life will be better for it.
No, these are not horse races. These are not rodeos. The World Equestrian Games is the world championships of a variety of disciplines, from
Vaulting- a gymnastic exercise on horseback
to Reining- a riding technique practiced in the Old West to train cowhorses
to Dressage- a series of composed movements which originated in military training techniques in the ottoman empire and Europe, and is one of the oldest sports in the world.
Every 4 years, the World Equestrian Games brings all these disciplines together, and declares their world champions. It is as big of a deal to horsemen as the Olympic Games (which yes, there are also equestrian sports in, if you didn’t know that.)
Like the Olympics, the games are moved every 4 years to a new location, and 8 years ago they announced that the 2010 games would be in Kentucky. I swore to myself that day 8 years ago that I was going, no matter where I was or what I was doing. Little did I know when I bought my event tickets and confirmed my bed a year ago that I’d be flying in from Utah and not DC!
I will be going to the Dressage Gold Medal Freestyle Finals (6-7 minute routines set to music), and most importantly, the final 2 phases of the 3 Day Eventing Challenge.
People. This is so worth your while to know something about. Don't give up yet.
Three Day Eventing is the X Games of horses. On Day 1, you perform Dressage, compulsory military movements judged on their accuracy, flexibility, and obedience.
Day 2, you ride a timed 5 mile course with natural obstacles that must be jumped- drop offs, ditches, picnic tables, rivers, etc.
The person with the least penalties at the end of 3 days is more than a champion, they are the ultimate reflection of what a horse and rider can physically accomplish. Also, these people are CRAZY.
So, indulge me, as I present to you the American Team of the 5 Most Crazy People Ever:
Boyd Martin: I’m a married woman, so I won’t say what I was going to say about Boyd. But really, look at him. What do I NEED to say??
Buck Davidson: His father was a legend, and he’s not far behind. Very excited to see him ride in person.
Becky Holder: An up and comer, but I really love her because she’s a little heavy for an Eventer, but she’s been training really hard to be better at that, and I look up to her a lot for that.
Kim Severson- Olympic Individual Silver Medalist, and I met her at an event back in Pennsylvania. She was incredibly nice and down to earth. Would love to see her take the whole thing this year.
Phillip Dutton: Used to be a big hitter for the Kiwis down under, and then moved his operations to the US, and finally just a couple years back changed his citizenship to American- now he’s a big hitter for us. As if I needed one more reason to love him, he’s Boyd’s mentor, and he rides as many as 7 horses a day. <3
ha! I'm sure phillip would appreciate me using the image of his horse acting up while performing a flying lead change tee-hee. trust me, he's good.
I am going to Kentucky in 16 days to watch these people duke it out with the best of them. Dan keeps asking if I will remember he exists during those 4 days. If he calls me, I’m sure that his name will ring a bell.
The other VERY BIG horse news is that I am a PAID EQUESTRIAN! Something I have always dreamed about. It’s a pittance, but a very nice young lady about my age or older has asked me to exercise her lovely Connemera/Thoroughbred mix once or twice a week. I put up an ad on Craigslist offering my services as a seasoned rider looking to make a few bucks for the WEG. After a couple weeks of silence (which is what I expected) I was surprised to receive an email. A perfect situation really! I’m delighted. I’ll be going to meet the owner and her horse this evening, I will let you know how it turns out.
Here is a picture of the lovely mare: