Reub's journey

26 June 2011

A love of horses

On Saturday we went to the annual Inavale Horse Trials, a big event held nearby. It seemed like a good excuse to wear my cowboy boots, not that I need one; I love these things and wear them a lot.

However, the correct footwear for the occasion are riding boots sported by dressage, show jumping, and cross country enthusiasts. Very spiffy.

Photo: John Bliss
But oh man, I couldn't get away with those boots. They are reserved for the courageous riders sailing over jumps atop thoroughbreds with names like "Spartacus" and Winter's Fable."

We were watching cross country events; the riders were so young and the horses were so gorgeous. This particular jump looks easy.

Photo: John Bliss
But many horses, seeing the pool of water that lay just beyond it, refused to go over.

Photo: John Bliss

While some sailed over and splashed confidently to the other side. It was a warm day and I bet that felt good.

Photo: John Bliss
Why is it that this sport is dominated by women?

Women who weigh in at maybe 120 pounds, controlling animals weighing 1,000 pounds.

When I was a child I was crazy about horses. The margins of my notebooks were filled with drawings of horses. I can still manage to wow middle school girls with quickly sketched renditions of horses in various poses. Where does this come from?

I don't know.

John says that perhaps a love of horses involves a sense of nurturing; a horse needs daily attention: exercise, brushing, grooming, medicating, stall-mucking. Many boys, he guesses, may not possess this sensibility at a young age. For native American boys, he added, it was different.

Is the love of horses a cultural thing? Who knows. But we both had a great time yesterday, cameras in hand, eyes on the action. Next year I want to see the dressage and show jumping.


  1. must have been a great thing to see in person. jumps look terrifying to me from the ground - i can only imagine the horse and rider...

  2. I loved pretending I was a horse when I was younger. I would toss my pony tail and prance. Never really rode horses much and now I am intimidated by their size and power. I really like that last photo although all the photos were fun.

  3. twg: Some of these jumps are terrifying, but it seems to be so exhilarating at the same time. They have to work up to the really scary jumps by first doing the easy ones.

    Tabor: I played the horse game, too, when I was little. Such a common game for little girls and I wonder why.

  4. There is a book called "She flies without wings-How horses touch a woman's soul" by Mary D. Midkiff
    As good an answer to your questions as you will find. I have purchased many copies as gifts for friends. I keep giving away my own copy and returning to buy a replacement.

  5. English Rider: I will look for this book. Thank you for the suggestion, because this is a topic I have long wondered about.


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