Yesterday we took all 4 kids to Greenwich Park to watch the showjumping part of the 3 Day Event.
It was fantastic. We were fortunate enough to get to watch both Great Britain and New Zealand get medals in the same event. I had a good cheer for both countries; people looked at me a bit strangely but I didn’t care.
The medal positions were so precarious, so delicate; slipping in and out of the contestants grasp with a misplaced stride and a clip of a rail. It was truly nail biting stuff and the whole audience was on the edge of their seats. and when the final jump had been taken, and the medals decided, what a roar and a stamping of feet there was. The stadium was temporary and made merely of bolted together metal poles and planks. It shuddered and swaying under the onslaught.
And when someone knocked a jump, or their horse refused then the gasp could be heard echoing around the arena. As could the sound of shutters as each contestant rode in and took their chances.
The riders were great and it was lovely to see Mark Todd in the saddle, but the real stars of the show for the kids were the horses. And I see their point.
These horses are amazing.
They are 7-800kg of muscle balanced on 4 slender bendy sticks of legs. They can run faster than we are allowed to drive in suburban streets, jump over solid objects taller than they stand and perform intricate dancing movements; all of this with an annoying human clinging to their back, supposedly controlling them.
They look delicate, and they can be. A fall or twist at the wrong angle can mean a fractured leg. Food or drink at the wrong time can mean fatal gut problems.
But they are also strong and hardy and courageous, as well as graceful and obedient and delicate. Like something from a fairytale or a child’s own story.
No wonder my children love them.
To feast your eyes on more rare delicacies, check out this week’s Photo Gallery.