Thursday, March 19, 2009

Anyone Can Event!

Completely random thought for today:

Have you ever see Ratatouille? It's a great little animated film about a rat who wants to be a chef.  He idolizes a dead French chef who wrote a book called "Anyone Can Cook".  Anyway, it gushes with Pixar goodness (second only to WALL-E, in my mind).  The rat's arch nemesis is a food critic who insists that [insert condescending tone] "No, not just anyone can cook."  Of course, in the end, the critic is won over, but he has a great character arc in which he makes a stunning realization:

When the dead French chef said "Anyone can cook", he did not mean that "Everyone can be a Five-Star chef", but that a "Five-star chef can come from anywhere".

In no small way, that is the motto of this blog.  If only I could make a wildly successful animated film about Brego!

But anyway, I don't believe that every horse can be a great eventer.  But I believe a great eventer can come from anywhere, showing talent despite the typical "profile".  People should remove the scales from their eyes and stop the "breed" chasing and just look at raw talent, no matter how pudgy the packaging.

We're talking about adult ammy standards here, not Olympic talent.  You know, the horse for the 98% of riders out there.

Completely objectively (*cough* *cough*), Brego has talent.  He is not as talented as some, but he is more talented than most.  And I am exceedingly lucky to know him, I take no credit for his talent.  It's his and his alone.  My neighbor cum trainer is a wonderful and kind woman, but we've not ridden for her yet so she has just seen Brego standing around in a field.  And he does not exactly ooze talent just standing there, scratching his butt on a tree.  So, even though she tries to hide it, she's very skeptical when I talk about him as a dressage horse, or as a jumper.  She's stuck in the "breed trap".

No matter what sport you perform, or even no sport at all, try to frame your mind that "Anyone can _________!" The next big Five-Star chef may just be scratching his butt in your pasture right now.


Anonymous said...

I just hope he washes his fingers before he cooks my dinner!

So very true Daun.

The single most important quality in an eventer (in my eyes) is whether or not they are honest and brave. And I have met and owned some spooky chickenpoo scared thoroughbreds.

The most honest big hearted horse I ever had the luck to own was a 13.2hh bay riding pony cross sporting horse with a 4 beat canter. People looked at me very oddly as you can imagine.

She struggled for obvious reasons with her dressage but there was not a thoroughbred alive (well not where we competed) who could beat us on time clear cross country and I am not talking small fences here.. I jumped that little pony over 1.2 metre fences and she NEVER refused. Not once ever.

dp said...

WALL-E is also #1 in my heart (I have a little figurine crazy-glued to the dashboard of the Red Menace, boldly adventuring with us) but Ratatouille is a close second. Tonka is the Emile of the equine world, happy to eat whatever he can find.

Your post is so very true in so many contexts. One of the really beautiful things about life in general.

sidetracked said...

How very true this post. Even raw talent doesn't have to matter as heart and determination and the right rider to bring them along. I only know this because I have a throw away appy that was destined for slaughter and we now compete in hunters where the biggest stereotypes and snobs are. He is loudly colored, he jumps with his ears pinned and sometimes lets out a squeal when the course is done, but he is great and will never spook or shy, he loves to jump and will do anything that I ask of him. Like Brego, he doesn't exactly look like an athletic champion in the field, even as he cross canters or trips running away from a horse who is going to bite him. But with balance, determination and most of all heart we have slowly started breaking down atleast some of the local stereotypes in our sport.

Andrea said...

Amen Daun! And by the way, WALL-E is THE best movie ever made. Ratatouille is in my top 5, for sure. I think you SHOULD make an animated film about Brego... WALL-E would be OUSTED!

This post is exactly why so many people love this blog, Daun. They love you guys and they cheer for you and Brego because you show everyone that with determination and heart, anyone (any horse!), no matter what their background is, can make it. You guys really are an inspiration.

sylvia said...

Great post daun. I had a crappy day...and decided to check in here before bed. I now have a smile on my face. Thank you.

Brego is awesome and so are you. :)

Anonymous said...

I am anxiously awaiting the Brego animated film.

Having just moved my horse to a new barn, my reception has alternated between warm and sneering.

Most expect her to be a big gentle plodder, but she had some airs and general naughtiness. This was even after 45 mins in the roundpen and a good run and buck in the full arena. Scarey in Percheron size.

To the credit of the people in there, they slowed to a walk while I got my horse under control. Very savvy and much appreciated.

I can't wait until you impress your neighbor/coach. I enjoyed your eventing clinic schooling drops. He was impressed with your Percheron.

Anonymous said...


I've actually seen a few GP jumpers that have far from ideal form (hanging knees!) but they are so determined not to hit anything that they just would jump higher. Goes to prove that ability in a breed package is not what wins!

I wish I could see your new trainer's face when you pop Brego over a big'ole fence! :D He's such a great jumper. Can you tell him to push some of his genes into the Percheron part of my colt?? :P

SolitaireMare said...

I needed this! I am about to try a Perch/TB cross for possible purchase. He's 17.1 hands tall, beating my dearly departed 16.3 TB/warmblood out in size. He's wide as a truck and a black/white paint! But I want to believe he's the one for me. I need size and I hope the temper is as calm as my former horse.

The first thing my trainer did when I told him about this prospect and that he was a TB/Perch cross was ask did I think he was capable of jumping around a course? Well, won't know 'till we school him up to it I guess. Why is it if a warmblood comes from Europe it's worthy and if it comes from a home bred crossbreed it's "oh, another grade horse". Talent can come from anywhere. I keep trying to think of the story of Harry DeLeyer's famous showjumper Snowman.

In 1956. Harry deLeyer bought Snowman for $80 from a truck bound for the dogfood factory, when something about the look in the eye of the grey ex-plow horse caught his attention.

Snowman's placid disposition made him a favorite of beginning riders, but deLeyer, recognizing his talent, trained him as a jumper. Soon, Snowman was making horse show history. He was champion at The National Horse Show in 1958 and won the stake there in 1959. He was the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year in 1958 and 1959, and he won the Professional Horsemen's Association Championship both years as well.

Ya gotta believe!

SolitaireMare said...

"Some horses you “ride” to victory.

Others find victory on their own - you just have to hold still and go along for the ride."

Joan said...

I ride a Fjord Training level dressage. At one clinic, full of warmbloods and Thoroughbreds and a couple of other horses, the instructor said, "Now here is what we are going to do (describing a shoulder-in). Everyone but the Fjord will be able to do this." A few minutes later, she chuckled and said, "Okay, ONLY the Fjord is doing this correctly!" It's one of my fondest memories!

OnTheBit said...

What a great message. And it is so true! I almost didn't go see the horse I am leasing now because he is a very spotted Appy cross. I got talked into it and I am glad I did because he is hands down one of the most talented horses I have ever ridden. He is very young, and very, very green, but he has a good mind and his conformation is perfect for dressage. When we got the saddle fitter to do him she was laughing because this youngster has the same conformation as some of the best horses doing well in the international young horse tests. He is a fancy warmblood trapped in an Appaloosa boy. I would have missed out on riding a horse who has the potential to do the upper levels all because I wasn't a fan of his color...good thing my friends made me try him!

Julia said...

I *was* a born and raised hunter rider. When my beautiful, talented, perfect TB gelding was retired and quickly put down do seriously to ailing health i rode ALOT of horses. The first time i rode Boomer i said to my friend, don't let me start leasing this horse!! I was biased. By the end of our ride i was head-over-heels in love with this Perch/TB cross!

Boomer has changed everything about my riding. He's calm, responsible and gentle something I'd never had riding Thoroughbreds. Instead of having an agitated, hot blooded time bomb under me when we jumped I had this amazing creature that would wait until i was ready and do anything he could to keep me safe! I swear that beautiful rocking horse canter could take me anywhere.

Now when my friends struggle with their "bloodline" WB's and crazy TB's all I can think of is how my boy has the same potential as them PLUS all the heart, bravery and honesty anyone could ever expect in a horse!

Thanks Daun, you just re-reminded me how much I love my boy. Brego is fantastic, you'll WOW that trainer!! Good luck =)

dp said...

OnTheBit: I evented a beautiful and talented blanket-spotted appy throughout high school. Dressage was not his strongest event, and I was always told that the judges would never see past all those spots. We never scored higher than a 68 (mostly due to rider error) but I always thought that he had been judged fairly. I was very careful in choosing his tack to complement his markings (solid colours, very clean lines) and I thought he looked great out there amongst the more traditionally marked horses (though I was biased). One of my few regrets in life is giving that horse up when I went to university.

ponyknit said...

I love the title!
hahaha Is that why my mare keeps asking for her own kitchen? ;)

Heidi said...

I love your blog! Brego is amazing :-) I think of your post title as applying to me, though. I have a TB, but am a former dressage-only rider who has been an aspiring eventer for only a year and a half. I'm slowly getting a handle on my jumping nerves. Eventing is so fun! After the first time I schooled XC, I knew I couldn't go back to only doing dressage. Great thoughts! (Oh and I love Ratatouille, too :-)

Susan Quinn said...

I am so happy to find your website! I am in the process of buying (drum roll please) a 10 year old, 16.3h black Percheron mare! I am going to do dressage, CTs and maybe even some eventing with her. She's a former foxhunter and quite a sweet and hard-working mare. Your blog has inspired me and made me see that sometimes we find what we are looking for in the strangest places.
I'll keep you up to date on my Percheron (named Becca).
Keep blogging and sharing your beloved Brego with all of us!

Mindreader311 said...

Hi! I was looking around about draft crosses eventing because this horse that I'm looking at buying is one. And of course I am slightly concerned on if he can do it, you article really helped! thank you!