Those of you that follow The Olympics will be pleased to know that a brand new course is being built in SE London for the Equestrian Events in 2012. The construction work is well under weigh. So followers of dressage, three day eventing and show jumping have something to look forward to. The Brits will no doubt be putting forwards a formidable team in all of the scheduled events.
However there is not much there for the Western riders of the US. May I suggest that the organisers behind barrel racing get together and make an approach to the Olympic Authority. OK, those cowboys might think: “what is the point?” - “after all who can compete with an American team?”. Yeah, well, so the competition might be fierce but would the US contingent be world beating?
Here in the UK we have an organisation called the Pony Club - a pony is a small horse up to 14h2 in height. But don’t get the idea that a Welsh Cob or an Exmoor pony is some lightweight pushover. Those little jobs can go like the clappers and turn at speed on a dollar. The riders, some under the age of 10 can ride a horse at any speed and stick to it like a silver wrapper round an ice cream. Beat them at their sort of game and you are riding very well.
But in other countries there are similar traditions. For example Argentinians, Hungarians, Tartars, Cossacks, Mexicans, Turks and Arabs have a long tradition of riding fast, agile horses and then there are always the indefatigable Aussies and the Kiwis. Not to be forgotten are the Chinese and the Russians. The Andalucian horse comes from North Africa, the Thorobred genes originate in Persia. You never know, the winner might not be a Quarter Horse after all.
Guys, devise a sharp and fast course involving barrels, flagged stakes and the occasional ditch - add in some relay battens and you will have an enjoyable event for both the rider and the spectator. All you have to do is to persuade those Fuddy Duddies on the Olympic Committee that you are serious.
Barry G Aug 2009