Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It's Olympic time

Who doesn't love the the excitement of the Summer Olympics? I'm an Olympics junkie. I just can't get enough of the spectacle. Of course, my favorite part of the Games are the equestrian events. I love the Three-Day Eventing, show jumping, and dressage. I also enjoy the Modern Pentathlon, rowing, sailing, archery, martial arts, swimming, shooting, water polo, and gymnastics.

 Only mixed doubles in tennis and badminton, ice dancing, pairs figure skating, sailing, and equestrian allow men and women to compete against one another. In sailing, the teams can be mixed. All other events I listed pair a man and a woman against another man and a woman. In the equestrian events (except Modern Pentathlon), men and women compete equally. One has no advantage over the other. It is the only true equal competition sport in the Olympics.

Three Day Eventing concluded with the French Team taking the Gold. This event starts with dressage on the first day, a cross-country ride over an outdoor course consisting of a multitude of obstacles the second day, and concludes with stadium jumping on the third. It's a grueling test of endurance for horse and rider which has its foundation in the military (cavalry).

Dressage began with classical riding taught by the Greek General Xenophon. Precise movements by the horse again have the foundation in military training for use in war. The highest level of dressage can be seen by the famous Lipizzaner Stallions of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. A fan favorite section is the Freestyle Dressage when the movements are done to music.

Show jumping is a popular sport. Horses either like or hate jumping. One horse called Snowman, was a former plow-horse, was bought for eighty dollars. Snowman loved to jump on his own and bacame a world champion.

The Modern Pentathlon has its foundation in the military courier. It was first held in 1912. Participants compete in fencing, swimming, riding a horse over jumps, shooting, and, running. General George S. Patton was a competitor - he really was a tough guy!

Good luck to all of the athletes (two legged and four).

Stay safe out there!

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