Monday, 30 July 2012

My Kingdom for a Horse

So the Olympics are here.

I’m not their biggest fan, but the University is awash with excitement and it kind of rubs off on you after a while. I was probably one of the only people in the UK who didn’t tune into the Opening Ceremony on Friday because I just do not care. Okay, so hearing about the Queen jumping out of a helicopter with James Bond the next day made me a little envious and knowing that Voldemort was beaten by 50 Mary Poppins’ in five minutes when it took Harry seven years (and seven books) was a little hard to swallow.  I wish I could have seen both of those things and Kenneth Brannagh reciting Shakespeare, but for the most part I was pretty comfortable burying my head in the sand and ignoring it all. I like a grand total of three events, four by osmosis because my best friend bought us tickets to see the Handball Quarter Finals on the 8th, but my line is drawn just beyond Archery, Gymnastics {artistic} and the Equestrian events. I realise I am including three separate events under that equestrian header, but that’s just the way I roll.

Jumping Saturn {Eventing Course, Greenwich Park, 26/07/12}

I have the good fortune of having the Equestrian events being held in the back garden (almost literally) of the University’s Greenwich campus. I’ve been able to see them up close and personal and oh, if I didn’t already love horses, rest assured I would now. Luckily, they are the most gorgeous creatures on this Earth and I love them. I will never tire of watching the three events in person or on TV. Show Jumping is obviously my clear favourite but then you have cross country where the jumps are just amazingly thought out and put together and finally, the Dressage where horses dance and it’s a testament to both horse and rider when they do it well. I’ve tried the former, cried over the middle and never tried the latter but I have always wanted to.

Zara Philips and High Kingdom

The Equestrian Great British team this year has some brilliant potential; Mary King and Imperial Cavalier are my lifetime idols. She is amazing, no word of a lie, and if she can take home a medal again this year, I would die happy. Zara Philips and High Kingdom are performing well so far. Her former horse, and my favourite eventing horse ever, Toytown, was retired last year so it should be interesting to see how well High Kingdom does. And then you have William Fox-Pitt, of course, and his gorgeous Lionheart. Both Mary King and William Fox-Pitt picked up personal bests in the Dressage on Sunday, so that’s a bonus for them. We’re now third although we’re about to go into the Cross-country events and those are always hit and miss for the GB team, so we’ll see. I’m excited though, as if you couldn’t tell!

Mary King and Imperial Cavalier

William Fox-Pitt and Lionheart

Going back to Good Things about having the University close by, I can annoy my friends and family to maximum potential by reminding them every time they show the University in the background, “That’s my Uni!” Considering the coverage of the Dressage event on Saturday was using the University as a backdrop, I could do this a lot. It’s a wonder I’m still alive.

But beyond that? I will be ignoring the Olympics. I couldn’t care less how many medals we pick up, although I do think the effort and skill that goes into winning them is amazing and all of our athletes deserve the best of luck and admiration. I will be glad when they are over. This isn’t me being unpatriotic. I’m just the kind of person who prefers the Winter Olympics. Give me figure skating, Ice Hockey, skiing and snowboarding over the Olympic events any day. Except Equestrian events. Although now I’m picturing Horses on Ice Skates performing great feats of grace and elegance as they dance their way across an ice rink. Oops.

Source: Pictures are all courtesy of the London 2012 official website; my thanks to them.

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