Friday, September 28, 2012

The Horse that said 'No'

One of the rare treats of living in Wellington is the weekly winter horse shows. The producers of the evening have made it surprisingly user-friendly by including an M.C. that warms up the crowd from the center of the arena, fire jugglers performing along the stands, and a live band that plays classic rock, just in case you're not that into the world of equus callubi.

We make a point of attending at least one equestrian event a year whether it be polo, jumping or dressage.  So, there in February before the West Palm Beach heat returned, we ventured to the Saturday night jumping competitions.

Usually there is a track of jumps, moats and rails that challenges each contender to be the fastest and knock down the fewest bars.

This time there were only 4 jumps. One was a wall that they heightened with each round. After two tries if the wall isn't cleared, horse and rider are out of the running.


One by one, eliminations occurred, the duos left the arena as the wall grew higher and higher. (It was made of Styrofoam blocks to resemble bricks).

At 6'4" the jump seemed impossible. But still 2 contestants were left in the competition.

Mid-air, then cleared it.

 The height of wall reached  7'2".

There went the horse. His rider urged him to the wall and the horse slammed his front legs ahead of him to a dead stop in front of the wall. His master visibly displeased, swung the animal around to make a second attempt.

Galloping fiercely toward the wall, the horse again dug his hoof heels firmly into the turf and to the crowd's great astonishment
distinctly
shook
his 
head 
from side-to-side as if to say

  "NO!

 I AM NOT GOING OVER THAT WALL!"

The horse then veered sharply to the right avoiding the 'brick' barricade, flinging the horseman off the saddle. As the rider dangled on the side of his mount, audible gasps from the stands expressed fright that he might lose grip, fall and be trampled. 

To our great relief (no doubt to his, too) the horseman recovered with no injury to his body. I can't say the same for his psyche from the dramatic and disappointing defeat. But, hey, he came in second,  and lived to tell it.

Nothing coming over the wall

 It was the most audacious thing I'd ever seen a thoroughbred do. This creature broke all the stereotypes that purport that horses have a small brain!

What a night at the Equestrian arena! We're definitely going next year!

2 comments:

JustWriteDeb said...

Oh I definitely remember that horse, and rider. I couldn't imagine how he could have accomplished that jump. It was taller than him and it appeared insurmountable. Great description of a truly thrilling moment in Wellington Equine history!

Angela Shaw said...

Thanks for the photos, Deb, and for sharing the exciting evening.

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