When I was watching American Pharaoh make history yet again in the Haskell on Sunday, I got the feeling that I was watching what is likely to be the best racehorse of our generation. Our Secretariat. Our “Tremendous Machine”. He’s poetic and beautiful to watch, and the love and appreciation that the people around AP have for him is palpable. That said, I’m still not sure if he’ll ever overtake Zenyatta as my sentimental favorite. I got into an actual debate with myself and Zenyatta won out. (Remember how I said I love the solitude of barn sitting? These are the kinds of pressing issues that I apparently spend a lot of time thinking about when the only time I speak to other human beings is at work. Woot, hermitism!)
Then, of course, because my mind is ever-wandering, I expanded beyond racing and into showjumping and eventing.
Joe Fargis has always been my favorite jumper rider. I saw him ride Edgar at a Grand Prix while I was working on the East Coast and he left such an impression on me in just that one day. He was so tactful, so soft, so quiet, and yet totally effective. Edgar was a little spooky at the tents when he first came into the ring, and Joe just quietly walked him past, patted him, whispered some words of comfort, smiled, picked up his reins, and proceeded to give everyone a riding lesson.
My favorite jumper would probably have to be Rhythmical. He was little, he was spicy, and he was fierce. I remember watching all the Grand Prix classes on ESPN in the late 90’s and just waiting for Rhythmical’s turn in the jump off… you always knew you were in for a wild ride. He always gave 100% and was so fun to watch. Plus how could you not love his rags to riches story?
My favorite event rider for many years now has been Buck Davidson. He has always impressed me with his compassion and genuine love for his horses, and how appreciative he’s always appeared. Considering he was born into this life it wouldn’t been really easy for him to take it all for granted. It seems like a lot of upper level riders don’t always feel much attachment to their mounts, but you can tell how much Buck loves his crew… especially Reggie. I also admire the fact that Buck was not blessed with the tall, thin physique of so many other top riders – yet he rides every bit as beautifully as they do. He’s an inspiration to us “commoners” in that way. You don’t have to fit the George Morris mold of physical perfection to ride well.
Speaking of Reggie aka Ballynoe Castle RM- he gets my favorite eventer spot too. How could you NOT love Reggie? He’s wise beyond his years, super consistent, mega talented, and obviously has a great brain. I want one of those. I think we ALL want one of those.
I haven’t watched enough dressage or other disciplines to even begin to pick favorites there.. I’ll have to get to work.
Who do you love?