Posted by Deirdre Oakley, WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Horse riding, particularly English-style, can be an expensive endeavor, so it’s frequently assumed to be an elite sport. But at DeMayo’s Bonnie Lea Farm, like others around the country, many of the young riders and some of the older riders work in the barn to help support their riding lessons. It’s hard work taking care of horses and not for the faint of heart. But for them it’s worth it. So imagine their delight when Former Olympic equestrian Greg Best shows up at DeMayo’s to give a horse clinic.
Now the clinic itself costs money, but anyone working on the farm can come and observe. So riders did just that. In fact there were plenty of observers in the riding ring sitting around the horse jumps so they could listen to what Mr. Best was telling the clinic riders has they did the jump course. My impression was one of organized chaos with a backdrop of pristine New England beauty: people riding around the course, beautiful mountains in the background, Mr. Best giving the riders advice, and all these other people sitting near the action taking everything in and not seeming the least bit phased by all those huge horses swirling around them. I’d be afraid one of the horses might accidentally run into me. But they all knew better because they know horses.
The clinic lasted two days and sun and heat were brutal. Horses and people alike drank plenty of water. I came a few hours each day to watch my niece and drive her home. When I was her age I was a distance track runner and I thought the workouts we endured were some of the most difficult of any sport. After being at the horse clinic, I’m rethinking that assumption.
Deirdre Oakley is the Editor of Social Shutter and an associate professor of sociology at Georgia State University. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions can be sent directly to her. Click on the submission link for the guidelines.