Last night I sent my husband out to drink beer with the boys. I was feeling run down and just needed a little time to myself.
As I heard the car pull out of the garage, I turned to a guilty pleasure. Something I wanted to do alone. Uninterrupted. Free to laugh or cry as I pleased. World Cup Dressage 2015, courtesy of my laptop.
I’d heard the stories, seen the clips, but this was my time to get up as up close and personal as one can get with youtube. Squeals of joy. Tears of wonder. Add a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn and I was in heaven.
While the performances were grand, what moved me most were the horses.
It’s hard to imagine how a horse can agree to perform such difficult movements at the whim of his rider. And to do so in such a crazy, unhorse-like setting – lights flashing, music blasting, crowds roaring. How do they do it?!
We’ve come to think of this as normal, but it’s not.
The beautiful, herbivore brains of horses are simply not meant to tolerate such extremes. And yet some of them rise to the occasion, as if they were born to dance, to entertain, and to please.
While I’m impressed by the human athletes (whose talent I would love to have), more than anything I marvel at the horses. Such gentle, simple creatures, appearing live – on stage – in Vegas … for reasons that have nothing to do with their wants or needs. Honestly, they amaze me.
And so I cried when I saw those moments of horse/human harmony. To see an animal whose primary instinct is to flee in moments of danger, yet accepts that this artificial world that he can’t understand is ‘safe’ because his rider tells him so … the trust and beauty of that moves me to tears.
To accept. To trust. To try. To give a tremendous effort, without understanding what that effort is about. More beautiful than a perfect piaffe or passage is a horse trying to do what his rider asks.
The judges should salute the horses.