There are a number of prestigious competitions held throughout the world, where the best of the best can compete in every imaginable discipline.
Rolex. WEG. Tevis Cup. NBHA World Championships. The Olympics. And that’s just scratching the surface, there are countless others out there I’ve missed.
What do every one of these events have in common? I will never compete in any of them.
To be fair, most people won’t ever participate in these events, at least as anything more than a spectator. But that’s ok, because that doesn’t mean you and I and everyone else is not talented in our own special way. Every day, every one of you is out at the barn, putting in the time and working on your skills, and that’s awesome.
So I’m here today to propose a new type of competition: the Adult Amateur Olympics. Where the best and the brightest of those of us that are not professionals can compete on equal ground (or footing, as the case may be).
Here’s what I imagine the events would consist of…
1. Driving skills
Competitors are expected to hook up a trailer completely alone. No backup camera, and no assistant to help you out by giving you enthusiastic, but sometimes confusing hand signals. Just you, a giant truck, and a bumper pull trailer that has no distinguishing markings to line up with. The person with the fewest trips running back and forth from the cab of the truck to the hitch wins! Bonus points if you only have to pull forward to straighten out once…
2. Gymnastics division
First, mount your 17.2 hand horse. Athletes can choose between using a slightly rotten fencepost or getting a leg-up from someone who has never (ever) given a leg-up before. Once mounted, adjust your girth or cinch from the saddle. At a trot. Finish your routine by resetting a jump, standing up a barrel, then picking up a knocked over orange cone. Without ever touching the ground.
3. Feats of strength
Transport the following from one end of a pasture to another (can be in any order or combination): two hay bales, three (full) water buckets, two saddles, four bags of feed. Oh, and the pasture is full of horses. Horses that haven’t been fed yet today.
4. Lost and found
Competitors are given a list of equipment and tack that has recently gone missing in the largest pasture (that also happens to be the furthest pasture from the barn). This list may include shoes, bell boots, fly masks, halters, and pieces of blankets. First place goes to whoever can locate the bonus item: The Golden Horseshoe Nail.
5. Barn pentathlon
The grand finale will be a five-part contest, showcasing the crème of the crop of stable work. A score will be determined by a panel of judges by averaging marks in areas such as speed, efficiency, and artistic flair.
The five events will be: Stall picking, water trough scrubbing, bandaging, and administering wormer (points awarded for more wormer ending up in the horse than on the competitor).
For the final event, participants are given a halter and a single dusty peppermint. They must catch a cranky old lesson pony in the field (the pony that knows all the tricks in the book), then groom and tack up, all under the maximum time. Prior to the event, all ponies will be turned out with full access to mud puddles with a variety of depths and consistencies.
I’d tell you all to start your training now, but honestly you probably already do a variation of these events on a daily or weekly basis. So keep doing what you’re doing, and remember that even if you never make it to the highest levels of the competition, you’re an Olympian in my book.
About the Author
When Aubrey Moore isn’t riding her horse Flynn or doing near-constant maintenance on her truck, she can be found with a glass of wine in hand, chatting happily with her cat Frankie.