I’m really grateful to our daughter for introducing us into the world of horses. She’s got a horse to take care of at nearby stables, sharing his care with two other girls and getting riding lessons on him three times a week. I show up when I can to poke around, take a few photos, and marvel at what I can discover about a creature that always belonged to another world.
Today I went a little step further into equestrian culture, tagging along with wife K and the little red-haired girl to the Spring and Dressage Derby, an 80-year-old Hamburg tradition. We rode our bikes through the sunshine, bought some standing-room tickets, met the girl’s friends, found a spot on the shady side, and settled in to watch the jumping.
I’d watched riding on TV and always found it a bit boring. Unless you’re there, you don’t feel the thud of the hooves pounding the grass, see the puffs of dirt kicked up, hear the horses snorting, the riders shouting, the crowd falling silent as as the horse approaches that final hurdle, then bursting into roars of approval as a rare perfect ride comes to an end.
They billed it as the most difficult course in the world, 1200 metres with 17 obstacles including two water jumps, three back-to-backs obstacles, and a frightening, near-vertical wall that led to the disqualification of at least a half-dozen riders as their horses went twice to the brink and balked.
This rider went down the wall and through the course beautifully, despite losing points for knocking over a couple of bars. If you listen carefully, you can pick up wife K’s commentary.
Note to self: pick up that HD video camera you’ve been wanting ASAP.
I’ve not used the wordpress photo gallery feature yet. Maybe it’s time. Here goes: