My most favorite event that I've seen on TV* is the Grand Prix Show Jumping jumpoff in Los Angeles, 1984. It came down to Touch of Class, ridden by Joe Fargis, and Abdullah, piloted by Conrad Homfeld. I remember screaming myself hoarse watching this, beside myself with excitement.
I was also in awe of Joe and Touch of Class's main competition:
|Let me point out the equitation Mr. Homfeld is demonstrating here. Unbelievable - most of us don't look this good over a 2' jump, never mind an Olympic-size GP fence. Dude could RIDE. And Joe Fargis isn't half-bad, either!|
Here's a fun fact I just learned: at one point in her career, Touch of Class was ridden by Conrad, and at one point in his career, Abdullah was ridden by Joe. So both riders certainly were familiar with the competition!
The other Olympic moment I'll never forget occurred during the Show Jumping phase of 3-Day Eventing in Sydney, 2000. I wanted David O'Connor and Custom Made (Tailor) to win SO badly! They looked like they were going to do just that, and then... David momentarily forgot the course. I, along with the 3,000,000 other people watching, about had a heart attack. NOOOOOO, David, don't blow it just like some Adult Ammy on course at a schooling show! (Not that I would know anything about that sort of thing, haha) Thank God "something" kicked in and he remembered in the nick of time to turn towards the correct fence - maybe the crowd shouting helpfully at him?
I loved David all the more for his all-too-human boo-boo. And Tailor, well, that horse was something else. Rolex, Badminton, Fair Hill, the Olympics - he won 'em all. Truly a superstar in the eventing world!
I will be glued to the equestrian coverage on the various NBC channels, as much of it as I can find, and/or watching streaming coverage on my iPad (if I can come up with our cable provider "username, password and login." Huh?) Apparently some of the Olympics is supposed to show up on YouTube or Hulu, too. I'm hoping that due to the presence of Zara Phillips/the Royal connection they might show a little more Equestrian than usual.
(Though, I must say I don't particularly care for that young lady. My already somewhat negative impression of her was boosted by her snotty reply to a reporter who asked if her family has given her words of encouragement. "Do you think I would tell you that?" was her snippy answer. Excuse me? You can't just beam and say, "Oh, yes, Granny has always been very supportive, and of course my mum and dad have done all this before so their experience will come in handy." I hope the other Royals - Will, Kate and Harry are all going to watch equestrian competitions - are a bit more forthcoming.)
I'm headed home now to watch the Opening Ceremonies. I read there was supposed to be a kind of bucolic farm scene with lots of animals involved, so you know there is potential for humorous mayhem. No matter how well they've prepared, they're still animals, and we may have the opportunity to find out just how far you can push a "bomb-proof" horse before it kicks up its heels and departs the Olympic stadium post-haste!
*Next week I'll write about the one time I've been to the Olympics in person, which was Atlanta. 2006. It was awesome!