I’d like to hear the anti-competition folks explain this. I’d like to hear the PETA people, ( the ones who exclaim that anything we do that is unnatural to a horse is cruel and forced), explain this.
This is “Authentic”. Which World Cup he was in, I haven’t the faintest idea. His rider, Beezie Madden (nee Patton) fell when they failed to clear this jump the first time. Even Olympic caliber riders fall off!
Did Authentic stop? Did he bolt for the gate, did he buck in victory, did he stop? He could have.
No. Authentic knew his business. Rider or no, he knew that one must try again if one knocks a rail down. Stirrups clanking on his side, he circled around and jumped it again, this time successfully.
This is what I mean when I say one must find a horse that likes the purpose you’re going to attempt with him. Some horses hate jumping. Some, like Authentic above, adore it. This is not the sort of horse you put in an arena with cows, or on a racetrack, or pulling a cart. Yes, there are many horses who do all that, and I say, more power to them. The more experiences you shove into a horse’s brain, the better your horse. But you can’t force this. Beezie, on foot, had absolutely no means of ‘forcing’ this horse to continue so gallantly around the course. Beezie on his back would have had about as much success as she had on the ground after this fall, were he not a jumper who likes it.
Look at that face! He’s got his ears pricked, his feet tight, tons of clearance (whether it’s due to the pole he knocked was higher than the rest, I dunno.) But he’s doing it exactly right. He’s jumping because that’s what he does, jump. He’s undoubtedly thinking, wow, this is so much easier without a rider! Why don’t they let me jump all the time like this?
Which is an idea. Hey, show jumping people! Hello? Have you ever considered a free jumping class? Yes, the warmblood folks do it during trials, but wouldn’t it be FUN to watch a bunch of the best jumpers do it all by themselves? It wouldn’t be that hard (I don’t think….) to train a horse to jump a course alone. That’s really all the rider is for, really…to jump them in a specified sequence. I don’t know how one would do that, but allowing a really hotshot jumper to free jump, that would be FUN.
There used to be a jumper named “Joe 2”. A little grey something or other, Joe always had a little bit of a kick after a jump. He’d also stutterstep..I can’t think of a better term-upon landing. He threw in three or four extra beats on the forehand after landing. It never failed to evoke a laugh from the audience, and I think he did it either for the laughs or because he liked to jump.
I think I’ll carry this on in a later post. The sun is shining….