While trying to make small talk at a social occasion yesterday evening (something I should NEVER even attempt), I was reminded of why I like going to the barn so much. Sure, I like my horses, and I enjoy riding, but mostly, I like going to the barn because I am surrounded by people who already know what eventing is and won’t make me spend those five frustrating minutes trying to explain our sport. You know the conversation, probably by heart: that three minute monologue where we eventers try to over-simplify everything, relate it to “main stream” sports, and at the same time finish as quickly as possible. Touching the key points, my monologue description usually sounds something like this:
…one of three Olympic equestrian sports…triathlon…dressage…no jumping…cross-country…solid jumps…timed…show jumping…arena…penalties for knocking rails…lowest score wins…like golf.
Yet, as we all know, what enters the listener’s brain is vastly different, and goes something like this:
…horses (I like horses)…dress-odge (?) sounds boring, did I forget to set the dishwasher?…on the flat…cross-country now I’m confused, is that where they do the dress-whatever?…solid jumps…show jumping oh no, not another funny name…its like golf oh, ok.
And then, invariably, the questions begin:
Aren’t you too tall to be a jockey?
Yes, but I’m not a jockey, in my sport there are successful riders at many heights.
What’s it called again?
Oh right, what a funny name. I had a neighbor once who does ‘dress-odge’ is that what you do?
That’s one phase of eventing but-*interrupts*-Her horse was really pretty, she showed me pictures, it was brown and white, and they always dressed in funny clothes [five minute story about neighbor]…and that’s when my husband drove over her cat, poor thing. Anyhow, do you take different horses to do all of those funny little different things at competitions?
You can enter multiple horses, but you have to ride each one in all three phases, and their scores are seperate.
Wait, someone is riding the horses when all of this happens?
This doesn’t sound like golfing at all.