By: Christina G. DiSalvo
When people hear about horses, they often think of racehorses or polo horses. Images of the Kentucky Horse Park filling with enthusiastic fans and owners to watch the first leg of the Triple Crown or the Duke of Cambridge riding at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club for the Foundation Polo Challenge probably come to mind.
Horses are far more versatile than being just racehorses or polo horses. There are the Hunter/Jumpers, ranging from the ever darling pony jumpers to the Grand Prix competitors at HITS Thermal. These horses excel at showing that more than birds know how to fly. Have you seen those near seven feet jumps?
We must tip our hats to the Dressage horses. Often referred to as the Ballerinas of the horse world, their skills and precision performance are without equals. It’s amazing how these elegantly executed movements were once used to train the cavalry horses for the battlefield. After all, Dressage literally means “training” in French.
To complete the English riding discipline trifecta, are the Eventers. To get an idea about Eventers, think Ironman Triathlon athletes. They are Jumpers, Dressage horses and Cross Country Jumpers. Eventers compete over three days. The first day they get down and dirty over the cross-country jumping field, scaling massive obstacles, jumping in and out of cold water, all while racing a clock.
On the second day they polish up for Dressage, to show they can be rough yet elegant at the same time. On the last day, they show everyone they can fly like the birds over the arena jumps. These horses do this year round, starting at the Rolex at the Kentucky Horse Park, competing for a spot at the World Equestrian Games or on the Olympic Equestrian team. Few horses can do all three events, fewer can do it well.
You might say we’ve covered the crème de la crème, what else can there be in the horse world. These horses might not get the same recognition or they are dismissed because their events don’t have the same international influence or monetary clout, but they still demonstrate stunning athletic abilities that their fellow racehorses, English discipline horses wouldn’t consider trying. You have your barrel racers, speed and agility in a tight space. Your cow penning, roping and sorting sports (though more of a job description but they do hold competitions) require working with another animal, dealing with confined spaces, accuracy and time. Endurance racers (an international sport) don’t get much notice since they are about distance, stamina, speed and strength, not confined to a stadium.
Horseracing is called the “Sport of Kings,” limiting the image of horses to one field, where we forget there is more to horses than just racing. I think the saying should evolve to say “Horses are the King of Sports.” And like all fine athletes, they should be protected.
Contact us to discuss the right insurance program for the king or queen in your barn.
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