The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


This might have slipped your attention, but the Olympics are on, and I mean on. They are on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, and Bravo. Bravo? you say. Yes, Bravo. Bravo is owned by NBC, so why not? They've got all the sports no one wants to watch, but at least they can say they're on. And I'm happy about it. I spent yesterday morning watching the first phase of the equestrian 3-day event. This morning I'm watching phase 2, and it's bringing back memories.

Oz, I hear you asking: What's an equestrian 3-day event? Well, in my humble, biased opinion, it's the truest test of a horse and rider that competition offers--at least for English riders (and by English, I am referring to saddle style, not nationality). A 3-day event takes place over, you guessed it, three days. The first day is when the horse and rider compete "on the flat," i.e. dressage (this is an Olympic sport in and of itself). The second day is when the horse and rider perform various time trials concluding with a 6 mile gallop through open fields, water, hill and dale, jumping "natural-looking" jumps. This sort of brings to mind a fox hunt, although it's one horse at a time. This phase tests endurance and courage, and it's called "cross country." The third phase is show jumping (another Olympic sport unto itself), where horse and rider cruise around a little ring and jump over pretty colored fences. As you can see, it's three competitions in one, and instead of just testing the horse and rider at one thing, they must prove themselves to have a wide variety of skills. This sport, my friends, is what I used to do through out my childhood.

Not at the Olympic level, of course. Like most sports, there's levels. For 3-day eventing, there's elementary, novice, preliminary, intermediate, and advanced (advanced being the Olympic level). I was only a novice, but boy was it fun. Watching day 2, the cross country portion, makes me remember galloping through the fields myself, steering my horse towards one jump after another, being alone out there, the wind blowing against my face, just me and my trusty mount. Or not so trusty, as the case may be. I remember getting a great dressage score in one competition--my best ever--and then getting thrown by my horse in cross country (a 65 point penalty which there is no way to overcome and get a ribbon).

I don't know what it is about girls and horses, but I was lucky that I got to live out my dream more than most girls ever do. I lived on a horse farm one year, and I leased a horse during one school year another year. Someday I'm going to have a horse again. I don't know when, and I don't know how, but I'll get there.

I used to relish galloping around like mad and jumping anything in my path. I still want to do that, don't get me wrong. But as I sit here and think about my time with horses, I remember most riding in the mountains, just walking along with loose reins, and coming into open spaces where I could see the world laid out before me.


  • I read a theory once (of course, I don't know where) that girls are attracted to horses as a first step towards being attracted to the opposite sex. That the horse represented something powerful and wild, and the girl's taming and riding it was an expression of their attraction to men. I thought it was bunk when I heard it, and doubly so since it doesn't take into consideration girls who like horses but AREN'T attracted to boys.

    Anyway, I digress. I've been enjoying watching the Olympics too, even though Canada is barely qualifying for ANYTHING! (Canada is so pathetic when it comes to government support for our athletes). I think the bronze we won in women's 10 meter platform synchronized diving is going to be it for us. I also have to say that I really like drinking wine, eating cheese, and shouting advice to the television from the couch while I watch these courageous souls push themselves to the limit of their physical strength. It's sad but surprisingly cathartic.

    By Blogger Trillian, at 11:24 AM, August 17, 2004  

  • i LOVE the olympics too. but my parents are sheisty and i don't have cable. so i just have to stick to NBC. lucky for me i LOVE swimming and gymnastics. :) i was very excited when they show water polo @ 1am. i'll watch it. although i've started to fall asleep a lot. i do feel like i'm missing out a little bit by not having cable. but i still love it... YAY.

    By Blogger Jean, at 1:30 PM, August 17, 2004  

  • oh and ps. too bad you're not still in SD.. then you could go to a mraz show.. it's in a small bar with his friends.. it's going to be off the hizzy. wish you were here.

    By Blogger Jean, at 1:32 PM, August 17, 2004  

  • Hi, Oz.

    I always wanted to go riding, but I haven't managed to do it yet.
    I've been to the Devon Horse Show many times, though, and I really appreciate how hard everyone works. It's beautiful to watch.


    P.S. I linked to you on my blog. Hope that's OK. Come on over and visit if you get a chance!

    By Blogger Tara, at 6:28 PM, August 17, 2004  

  • Dang it, I want to see some equestrian action but it's on at 5 in the morning! I'm watching the olympics in their 8pm-midnight slot and all they give me is night after night of people swimming laps in a big pool. Pardon me, Mr. Phelps, while I stifle this yawn.

    By Blogger Tim, at 7:16 PM, August 17, 2004  

  • Trillian, I've heard that before--little girl, big horse, uh-huh. Well, what can I say, plenty of lesbians like horses too. I think that it might be more about freedom and control--something that is encouraged in little boys and discouraged in little girls. Also, I think that girls tend to have a stronger affinity for animals--again probably because little boys are pushed towards toy cars, trucks, action figures, and soldiers, while little girls are pushed to play with dolls and stuffed animals. By the by, so you're from Canada, ay? I lived near the Canadian border for a year (on the horse farm).

    Jean----WHAT?! YOU DON'T HAVE CABLE? Isn't your blog titled "the TV is my only true friend"??????? And NO CABLE?????????? I don't know if I can recover from the shock of this news. Really. Well, have fun at the Mraz show. Isn't it my luck that I missed him? It would have been cool to see him in a little bar. So far, I'm really digging his song "On Love, In Sadness." And what's up with not having the lyrics for "Curbside Prophet" on his website anyway?

    Tara, I have a cousin named Tara. People have always said I look just like her. I keep meaning to go to the Devon Horse Show and I keep not going. Always next year.

    Tim, Actually, they've been showing it later in the morning--like when everyone's at work. If you're home in the morning, check out Bravo. Let's see, it was on from about 8am-10am this morning. Probably be the same for the rest of the Olympics. Ah, I'm watching swimming right now....LOL

    By Blogger Oz, at 8:11 PM, August 17, 2004  

  • yea oz.. it's true.. no cable. and about my blog title... i can still love tv without cable.. there's just that much love :P i really have plenty to watch without cable, especially with the olympics. i have both my tivo and my vcr recording. it's a little insane. i've had cable before and do miss it's wonder.. i'm sure when i move out that'll be the first thing i get :P

    By Blogger Jean, at 12:16 PM, August 19, 2004  

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