While horses have always been the main focus of the Chronicle's editorial pages, sometimes world events are too big to ignore.
How different the world looks today than a year ago. Do you remember that almost giddy time? We were talking about the “peace dividend” as the Cold War ended following the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the democratization of Eastern Europe. Peace seemed to have really arrived at last.
A California appellate judge ruled on Jan. 10 that the case brought by the parents of event rider Mia Eriksson against her former trainer can go to trial. Justice Jeffrey King ruled against trainer Kristi Nunnink’s request for summary judgment in the parents’ claim of negligence.
When I was in college, I worked for a septuagenarian horseman who could impeccably train and turn out horses for hunting, steeplechasing, driving, showing and more. But today it`s unusual for people to participate in two or more horse sports, so this Commentary came to mind last month after I rode in a 50-mile endurance ride called Moonlight In Vermont with Denny Emerson. Why? Because the winner of the 100-mile race has done three horse sports at the highest levels. It was Lana Wright`s first 100-mile victory, and I`m sure it won`t be the last for the woman who secured the U.S.
They say you can see the future through the eyes of the past, and, if so, 2005 might be a particularly insightful year.
It was a year framed by disasters, beginning with the world's amazingly generous response to the unimaginable devastation caused by the tsunami in Malaysia the day after Christmas. More than 150,000 killed, entire buildings and towns simply wiped out, as if they were on an Etch-A-Sketch, not on a map.
Before Smarty Jones ran off with the Preakness last Saturday, the TV crew allowed John Servis, his trainer, and Kristin Mulhall, trainer of rival Imperialism, to explain their out-of-the-ordinary training methods. Servis hadn`t breezed Smarty Jones since his Kentucky Derby victory, contrary to the usual method to make a race horse "sharp." And Mulhall likes to gallop her horses herself and make them work their backs and hindquarters, just like she learned to do in the horse show world.
Last weekend, as I was dragging our riding ring, I decided to make a list of the things you have to do`if you keep your horses at home or in a cooperative barn`so you can ride those animals who seem intent on costing just as much aggravation and money as they pay back in fun and accomplishment. The trick, as you may know, is not to let these "jobs" keep you from actually riding the horses you`re working so hard to keep.
Whenever we interview an applicant for our internship position here at the Chronicle, I ask them to orally identify the names of 10 horses or horsepeople. It's a way to try to judge how familiar applicants are with the participants in the horse sports we cover, a way to determine if they really have that passion for horse sports that our readers have.
The names I ask them always vary, but two names are always on my list: Bill Steinkraus (just honored by the FEI [p. 92]) and Rodney Jenkins.