Sally Spickard: Blogger Contest Round 1 Entry

Recent news broke that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has turned its beady eyes on the sport of eventing after recent horse deaths. In light of the tragic loss of King Artus, they have called for an end to the sport and a boycott of event attendance. I’d like to call their attention to the real issue here, however, and that is the fact that, while they may not realize it, eventing often takes more victims in human form.

Without further ado, here’s your sign: 1. It is a cold, hard fact that horses and eventing cause severe financial dehydration. Symptoms of this very common and highly contagious disease include difficulty breathing when presented with a veterinary bill, profuse sweating upon ordering Smarty’s supplements every month, and dizziness when signing the check for your next event’s entry form. This disease should not be taken lightly and can most easily be treated by winning the lottery.

2. Eventing increases a person’s risk of going blind due to the repeated exposure to reflective and/or neon colors (or a combination of both) sported by many contestants at local events. Preventing this is difficult, but one must make all attempts to shield his or her eyes when the light of a thousand suns is being redirected into his or her face.

3. When walking a cross country course, we forget that our horses are tucked snugly in their stalls, blissfully unaware of the monster logs and coffins (they name them coffins for a reason, right?) that await them the next day. Meanwhile, their faithful human pilot takes the brunt of the inevitable onslaught of nerves and mutant butterflies that seem to multiply after each course walk. Course walks put humans at a greater risk of hyperventilation and heart arrhythmias. These symptoms are best treated by multiple glasses of wine.

4. When us jocks have a bobble in the dressage, a run out or fall on cross country, or a rail down in stadium, 9.9 times out of 10 it is due to pilot error. We then must face the almost certain “wrath of trainer” while our horses jubilate under a cold shower complete with liniment and magnetic blankets.

5. Horses are a serious detriment to one’s social life, and studies show that being so isolated from the outside world can hinder any hope of appearing normal to other humans. After more than a few trips to Wal-mart in my half chaps and breeches, I’ve learned to shrug off the raised eyebrows and wrinkled noses and consider myself a fashion trendsetter – I suggest you do the same.

6. Speaking of social lives, don’t even get me started on dating. I’ve long given up on convincing an Australian eventer to change his citizenship to be with me, and it seems that most of us are left searching for the other half of our model Boyd and Silva relationship. Maybe I should start an Eventers Only dating website and retire early on all of the money I will most certainly make.

7. For those of us who make the yearly pilgrimage to Kentucky for Rolex, you know my point on the dangers of eventing will be the Rolex Trade Fair. First off, you have the financial dehydration to worry about, and this issue is severely heightened by the euphoric sense of addiction that manifests itself as soon as you set foot in the Bit of Britain tent. Second, you are at a great danger of being trampled by the masses of fellow financially dehydrated folk who flood into the trade fair during lunch breaks, so never mind stooping down to dig through a bargain bin – it’s not worth it, no one will see you while you are being trampled!

8. Have you ever tried to memorize a dressage test? Enough said.

9. I feel that the bar for success has been set unrealistically high by a certain German fellow named Michael Jung. While I admire him for his massive list of bragging rights accomplishments, I feel similar to how I felt when I found out that Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and became the world’s youngest billionaire or something – very small. While I realize that I put myself at a greater risk of overexertion, I will continue to assert myself to be just like Michael Jung by the time I am 30. Oh, who am I kidding, that’s only 2 years away…

10. And last, but certainly not least, on my ironclad list of reasons why eventing is actually more dangerous for humans: having your heart stolen by a horse. I’ve experienced it, and I hope each and every one of you has, or will, too. All joking aside, we would be nowhere without the horses who have shaped our riding. From the bratty pony that bucked you off every time you got on to the patient old schoolmaster who took you over your first jump and everything in between – we owe these horses our lives, because without them we would not be complete. And this, my fellow eventers, is the greatest risk of all because once your heart has been stolen by a horse, your life will truly never be the same.