"It starts with a ballet on horseback: rider and horse as one, performing a dressage test of such elegance, beauty and precision as to put ice dancers to shame. It moves on to the cross-country phase in which the team—for horse and rider are a team in themselves, within the national team they may represent—hurtles over sturdy fences, made of timber, brush or stone, into water and over ditches.
"It requires a special combination of strength, athleticism, bravery and trust—horse in rider, rider in horse—to leap over a solid four-foot wall with a blind drop on the landing side.
"And it culminates in show-jumping. In a crowd-filled stadium, the pair negotiate a course of coloured jumps; one tiny mistake, a mis-flick of a hoof on a pole four foot high, and the efforts of the previous days are undone.»
@FranJurga writes: Looking back on 2012, this article stood out as a beautifully-written raison-d'etre for the presence of all those horses in London's Greenwich Park.
At the same time, it is both a call to arms and a challenge for all of us who care about horse sports to realize that our future lies not so much in what we know is true, but in how our sport, our horses and the way we treat them is perceived by those outside the sport.
Click on the big bold headline or image to read Samantha Weinberg's simple ode to the sport of eventing and, by extension, all Olympic sport.