Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympics: Most dangerous sport

I was just reading Barbara Huffert's blog about "Olympic Rambling, Sort Of" with her thoughts about the Equestrian Eventing and horseback riding in general. Like Barbara, I used to ride. Unlike Barbara, I rode many more than just two times. I took lessons (English style) for several years. I loved to ride. For a couple years, all my days were spent with horses and my weekends were spent at riding events with my instructor Mary Jean and her other students. I never made it to Olympic level and only a few local competitions, unfortunately, but I was learning to jump. I really didn't have the Olympics in mind, just my love for horses and riding. Like so many, my horse and I fell in the middle of a jump. Fortunately, neither of us were hurt but I was frightened. I didn't want to get back on the horse, but my instructor (not Mary Jean at the time) implored me so I wouldn't be scared forever more. Unfortunately, although I'm not scared to ride a horse, I am still scared to jump. Any time I felt myself starting to slip on my horse, I did an emergency dismount. Once I did it in the middle of the show. A judge asked me why I dismounted and I was ever so embarrassed - but unhurt. I was 16 and the cutest man I'd ever met (up to that time anyway) was watching. Oi! Well, that cute guy did console me after, so it was very worth it. LOL Oh, after that I tried to jump and managed some low jumps, but I never got over my fear and so didn't pursue jumping. However, I still love to watch equestrian events and to watch other people jump. I was surprised, but not really surprised, when I recently saw a sports commentary that the most dangerous event in the Olympics is Equestrian Eventing. Having been there, done that, it's not hard to imagine at all. Having a horse weighing up to 1,300 pounds fall on top of you is no small matter. I've fallen snow skiing, water skiing, roller skating, and roller blading. I've belly smacked lots of times from the high dive. While not fun, and sometimes painful, the scariest fall by far was that fall with my horse. It felt like I was falling from way up high, higher than I'm sure we actually were. I was lucky no hooves struck me and I was thrown clear of the horse. From the report, it sounds as if the Olympic events could be made safer, that a big reason they aren't is to make it more interesting for us viewers. To hell with the viewers! Yes, I know we all like to watch the Olympics because it's exciting. But that's not a good reason to make the event unnecessarily dangerous for both rider and horse. That's plain stupid and selfish. Even though I love to ride, I would not want my child or my friend to ride in the event as it now stands. I don't want to see any one else hurt. I know the event will never be 100% safe. I don't know that anything has that guarantee. However, there's a lot that can and should be done to make it reasonably safe. You'll want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook, Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch, Molly Daniels, and Sandra Cox are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)

8 comments:

Kelly Kirch said...

I used to ride English saddle too. Boy it does wonders for thighs, hips, abdomen, and butt! I went to a camp after learning to ride. While there we rode 8 hours a day for four weeks. We had to leap of galloping horses to tackle pigs in briar bushes so the hands could rope them. Wasn't so good at that part as I have very strong self-preservation instincts. ;)

Sandra Cox said...

I rode Western when I was young. Loved horseback riding. It was absolutely the most exciting thing in the world. But I haven't rode in years. Ever since the Christopher Reeves incident, it makes me nervous.

Ashley Ladd said...

I haven't ridden in years, either. It's not because of what happened to Christopher Reeves, although that was tragic and would make me nervous. It's just been too expensive and there aren't many (if any) horses to rent around here that I know of.

Amarinda Jones said...

I know nothing about horses other than I am glad they invented cars

Sandra Cox said...

Amarinda, you are missing out on the great joys of life: horses and cats:)

Sandra Cox said...

Christopher wasn't why I stopped riding. I don't have access anymore, but he is why I'd be very nervous too:)

barbara huffert said...

I think horses are beautiful animals and I love to rub their noses but I'm not about to get back up on one. Did you see the cross-country event in the rain? The last rider's horse slipped and fell on top of him, not even on a jump. That has to be the scariest feeling, to know that's about to happen and there's nothing you can do. Thank goodness both were fine.

J.J. Hebert said...

I rode a horse once. It was a traumatic experience.

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