Charlotte Dujardin, gold medalist, on Valegro
During the last week or so, I've been riding the best horses in the world. I've taken them across cross country courses, over huge fences, and through the most difficult dressage exercises imaginable - and it has been a blast.
Well, before you start thinking that I'm some kind of equestrian hot shot, I have to disappoint you: I've just been watching the Olympics - from my couch, far away from the ten million dollars horses. But it felt like being there, riding each horse - because of the commentators.
The first comment from the dressage commentator went like this: "Now we'll just sit here and watch the program in silence" [about three seconds of silence followed] "Do you see how the horse is not really carrying its weight with its hind legs... [funny clucking sounds] Yes, that's more like it. That's good. Now it's accepting the rider's help. Oh, see how that change almost went wrong..."
And so on, and on, and on, until I'd been taken through each and every dressage exercise in the Olympic program. The commentator even encouraged the horse when he felt it necessary. "Well, they probably can't hear me," he admitted every time - but he still did it, because he felt passionate about what he was watching. And by being so passionate and knowledgeable, he gave me an amazing experience.
I really admire passion. It's amazing when it's something I'm interested in beforehand - for example, I now know that the hind leg action is more important than almost anything else for a dressage horse, and that it's crucial that it "sucks" the bit. But even when I meet people who tell me about things I've never, ever thought about before, they always catch my interest when I feel their passion. For example, after this summer's trip to Scotland, I've developed a sudden and very unexpected interest in owls!
I mean, how cute is this baby snowy owl? And did you know that... Okay, I'll spare you the many interesting facts about owls:). Even though they're really soft and really light and really interesting...
I guess this only goes to show that passionate people can be a bit nerdy, too. But I don't care, because I know a lot about owls now. And about the hind legs of dressage horses.
I'm often baffled that passion about a "geeky" subject has a negotive connotation. I actually enjoy when anyone lets his/her geek flag fly! People who are truly passionate about a subject can sparkle, and that is wonderful to be around.
Exactly - and you learn really unexpected things that way! For example, I now know surprising as well as slightly disturbing things about the mating rituals of domesticated eagle owls:).
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I read and I write - everything from corporate to kink. My naughty fictional friends are always there to make my life interesting. And pester me, of course. Pesky creatures.