Because I’m completely incapable of restraining my love of all things equestrian (well, most things), I decided to dedicate a page to my 16-year obsession. It’s not just a hobby; it’s not just a sport. It’s a lifestyle. So stay tuned for tales of riding adventures and stupid decisions…plus some unbelievably adorable photos.
Riding Adventures: Polo Edition
While in Scotland, I decided to try something completely new. Polo. Easy enough, right? Sit on a horse, swing a stick, hit a ball. I thought it would be a good way to pass the time and keep riding.
Suffice it to say that I fell in love with the sport. There is nothing quite so thrilling as chasing a ball down the polo pitch…even if I’m only trotting, which was often the case since I generally didn’t know what the hell was going on. And actually hitting the ball was so satisfying (when I managed it). It definitely called forth my viciously competitive side, and it was fantastic. And polo on the beach? Exhilarating. I’ve never gone at such speed before, and I used to own an ex-racehorse! The sand, the ocean, the sea air, the game–it was unbelievable.
Bottom line: eventing made me an adrenaline junkie, polo made it a permanent problem. What an amazing game.
Returning to Eventing
Once I returned from Scotland, I dived right back into one of the other greatest sports in the world: eventing. My days became a blur of dressage schoolings and jumping sessions and cross-country outings–and it was a welcome blur, because my ever-brilliant horse has been at the top of his game for the past few months. We recently competed for the first time since my return, precisely a year after the last time we crossed the finish line.
It was a weekend of triumph: tied for second after the first phase and tied for first after the second phase, we entered the start box under a bit of pressure. Miraculously, we came in close enough to optimum time to win our tie–and win the whole thing. Our cross-country runs have never felt so good; we deserved this win.
But this victory meant more to me than the others have; the night before, my boy had colicked for the first time in our four years together. As I watched him pawing in discomfort, head hanging and rejecting any food or water, I realised that I didn’t give a damn about the competition. I just wanted him to be okay. It worked out: by the next morning, he was happier and healthier, so we decided to proceed the competition. With every ride I was ready to pull him out at the slightest hint of discomfort, but my fantastically brave horse was game for the challenge. He never fails to surprise me; I feel like I’m constantly learning from him and bonding with him. He’s one amazing horse.