As luck would have it, as I was gearing up to write a bunch of blog posts tonight my mom asked me if I had seen the post about how equestrian sports shouldn’t be in the Olympics. Once I peeled my jaw off the floor and asked her to send me the article immediately, my anger rose to a new, and honestly terrifying, height.
Meet Patrick Redford, a writer for the widely popular sports website Deadspin. For all intents and purposes, let’s refer to him from now on as Douchenugget. Before I go any further let’s clear things up: yes, this post is going to be angry and sassy and frustrated, and yes, as an equestrian I am biased but also this dude LITERALLY said this in reference to his own work:
“Last week, I wrote a blog trashing the presence of horse sports at the Olympics. My point was that they should get these goddamn horses out of my face, because the Olympics are for humans.”
You CANNOT expect me to respect this man. Let’s break it down from the top, shall we?
To start things off, this is just the title and main image. If you’re not already baffled, good on you! But here’s the other part about this title: if the Olympics are just for humans, as Douchenugget so aggressively argues, then we have a whole heck of a lot of other things to get rid of besides horses. What else isn’t human? You ask. Well, to start, any sort of ball used in a sport, that’s sure as hell not human; batons for relays; nets, uneven bars, beams, bikes, bows and arrows, shotguns…the list goes on, and on, and on. Dumb opening argument? I think we can safely check that one off.
“They are an exhibit of the best sportspeople, playing their sports [insert sports that require items that are NOT human here] This is why they should get these fuckin’ horses out of my face.”
OOOOOOOOOH BOY. In what universe does riding a horse not make you an athlete?! I’m not even going to try and be polite here: you are controlling and forming a partnership with a 1,400 lb ANIMAL. Not BALL. Not SNEAKER. A N I M A L. Which, at least from what I understand, means that it has a brain, can think for itself, and you can bet your sweet bippy that it could kill you if it damn pleased. Tell me how that makes it so that it’s 1. Not a sport, and 2. Not qualified for the Olympics. You don’t have anti-ball people going after soccer becuase “I mean the ball does all the work being kicked around.” NO. JUST. NO. That’s ridiculous, just like Douchenugget’s so-called argument.
Also, here’s a little history lesson for you. Equestrian sports are widely known as the sport of kings. Now, class, when you hear “king,” what do you think of? History? A long time ago? GOOD JOB. Something Douchenugget fails to mention is that equestrian sports originally appeared in the Olympics in 1900 Paris Games, eventually morphing into the eventing phases of dressage, cross country, and show/stadium jumping that we know know in 1912. That’s over 100 years of broadcasted equestrian sports, of partnerships, of tradition, and of competition, and this is something that will never change. And before I get the “Well kings could afford it so it’s bougie” argument, let me say this. Yes, the sport that I and many other equestrians compete in costs money, I’m in no way denying that. But so does every other professional sport out there. That’s a fact of the matter.
“You aren’t doing anything but riding a horse.” “The horses earn the medals, not the humans.” Can I just-
*Deep breath* Horseback riding requires the use of nearly every single muscle in your body. You are astride a huge animal, who has tons more muscle mass than you do, and you’re expected to control it with nary but your hands, legs, a little piece of metal, and some leather. As someone who just rebounded from an injury and has been riding daily, my muscles are screaming at the end of a ride because you work so. damn. hard. This is not an animal walking, this is a partnership where you cannot see the line where the rider ends and the horse begins; a talent that takes years to master and cannot just be attested to the quality of your mount. You are trained just as much as your horse is; you’re teammates for crying out loud. We both win the medal. If that’s your argument, don’t you think that the gold club deserves a medal and not the golfer? I mean, the golf club takes the brunt of hitting the ball after all.
And for the record, we do have our own Olympics, it’s called the Global Champions Tour and it’s way more impressive than this sorry clusterfuck of sentences you call an educated opinion.
Horse sitting. Okay. Like I mentioned before, yes, this sport costs money. Just like any other sport at a high level. You can work your way up as a working student, just like any other sport. You don’t have to have a billionaire dad to do it, but some do, and some are born with the talent to be a great rider…just like any other sport. Dressage is one of the most complicated combinations of memorization, muscle movement, silent communication, and exquisite attention to detail you will ever see occur between two teammates. Now, tell me, does sailing involve that kind of partnership? You said it yourself, Douchenugget, “…people have to still sail the boats, unlike horse stuff, where they just sit on a horse.” Here’s a list of common muscles used in dressage: Abdominals, Iliopsoas, Psoas, Tensor Facia Latae, Obliques, Rectus Abdominis, Quadriceps, Abductor, Adductors. What part of that tells you that we are “just sitting”? None of it? Good.
Well, Douchenugget, lucky for you no one will ever let you near a horse, and if they do I hope you promptly step in a nice big pile of manure. We’re not going anywhere, but you sure as hell should learn to shut your mouth about something you didn’t even take the time to attempt to understand.
PS. Before I sign off, here are a few of my favorite responses to Douchenugget’s post. Enjoy!