To The Horse!

28 Jan


There is a lot of debate about classical/competitive,the differences, the similarities.

in the old days—one had a horse that one loved. he was quirky,difficult,but had that special Something. SO one trained, and swore, and tried to laugh, remembering humor and humility the twin cornerstones of the horseman’s foundation.

and then, one day, there it was: the sweat, the shared misery, the few moments of glory—you had produced an Olympic horse! In several cases—a medal winning partner.










These were ALL horses that someone might have looked at and passed over, for one reason or another. And yet, they defined our sport and were game-changers in the sport.


They thrived and grew and finally blossomed into Olympic partners and champions precisely because someone believed in them.


Then came Ed and Toto. serenity as well as power and expression went to a new level and this became the gold standard.

The blind men (the ones who surround the elephant to debate what kind of tree it is) can all talk about the  height of the legs. What was amazing with this pair was the partnership, the communication—the fantasy that anyone could find a little black horse , not so strong in the back , and develop  this kind of centaur relationship, these first glimpses of perfection, of 1s…

And there it was: the next wave—now necessary to breed something with fantastic mind as well as unbelievable gaits, because one had to show harmony  and suppleness on top of obedience/power/expression/balance and rhythm.


and then came 2011 Europeans and the gold medal team –two horses no one looked at much and a third, admittedly  known for  brilliance—but perhaps the epitome of difficult. A horse that had done 3 Grand Prixs, a horse that had great pi-pa but could leave the arena, and another small black Dutch  stallion that  had done enough to qualify for the team.

Valegro.  Mistral Hojris.  Uthopia.

It took ‘three that can reach 80’ to stand on the top podium—another game-changer. Three horses that produced rides of great harmony, power and expression –all on the same day. Incredible athleticism wedded to great partnership which displayed the trust between two athletes, only one a human being.


Dr. Klimke used to say—I  open the barn door and see if anyone is home for me.

These days, people talk about the hind leg they are looking for—fast, powerful, swinging under, carrying.


In the end—it is the same fantasy—that one has found the vehicle with which to express a dream.


The sad part is how many vehicles are out there mis-used, under-used, never mind abused.

So here is a toast to The Horse—the only alien species that we ask to become a partner in the very intimate sense that is horse sport.


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