Yesterday I unexpectedly found myself at the "Rising Stars Dressage" competition in Chilliwack, BC, where I had the pleasure to watch some truly talented horses and riders of various levels take their dressage tests. This competition was for riders under the age of 21 and seemed to be made up of nothing but rather slim, long legged and self-possessed (and a little hoity toity too I must add) young women.
As a matter of fact I failed to see a single ounce of testosterone ride into the main arena until the last half hour when two rather spindly, slim, and sallow chinned young men made their grand appearance. Both were very accomplished riders and rode particularly "fiery" mounts with confidence and poise.... which left little doubt in my mind that each must be a very dedicated and passionate rider…. however, I did wonder if their involvement was, at least in part, due to a marked discrepancy in the male to female ratio of most dressage events!
I remember once remarking to my younger brother that if he wanted his choice of girls he only need take up riding! Perhaps these particular young men were simply smart enough to deduce that regardless of acne, or a noticeable shortage of chest or chin, taking up a sport like dressage would increase his chance of landing a girlfriend tenfold.
On another note I was very impressed with the quality of riders at this completion. Many of the horses, with their elastic movement and beautiful frames, were absolutely mesmerizing to watch. While the air of the competition was very serous, if not dower, I was forced to begrudging admit that such seriousness probably contributed to the well practiced and methodical ability of the young riders, their control over their mounts and the consistency with which I saw beautifully conditioned, sound and very well broke horses...and ones that seemed well matched to the ability of their rider.
As a matter of fact in the two hours I was there I witnessed only one mild buck, spook and tantrum but not a single horse that made my stomach turn in fear for the child riding it or any that appeared actually dangerously. I really enjoyed watching the dressage competition and would love take a few lessons some day, if for no other reason that get the chance to ride one of those magnificent animals!