The Gospel of George. Helmet-wearing. Le Club, an oxygen bar and alligator half chaps. Polo and the Louboutin of saddles. Reining controversy, moments from California and one close-call fall.
And that was just the first half of the year. For On the Line, 2011 offered up so many opportunities to admire, poke fun of, and debate the best and worst of the horse world. And oh, what fun it was. Someone recently said that everyone loves 2011 recap blogs, so on the assumption that is in fact true, I’ve indulged in a look back, On the Line style. From January – May, these were just a few of my favorite things:
Early on in the year, it was just too easy to mock helmetless heads:
It might seem ridiculous to ask if the horse show comes with a nightclub, unless, of course, that horse show is WEF. Reminiscent of a Miami beach lounge, the glass-walled “Le Club” overlooking the International Arena on the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center grounds debuted last season with much success. We can only wonder what Equestrian Sport Productions’ Mark Bellissimo has up his sleeve for 2012:
The winter World Cup qualifying season was hot hot hot, from Wellington to Southern California. Consecutive Saturday night grand prix classes on both coasts made On the Line one very busy blogger during the winter months:
Just how much will a pair of alligator half chaps set you back? On the Line knows. This custom chap maker, along with other vendors on the grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, transformed Wellington, Florida into the land of equestrian excess in so many ways:
Real men wear helmets. And Steffen Peters was the man this year at the World Dressage Masters. He ruled Florida with Ravel in February before having a banner season with his two top horses. I am already excited for the 2012 WDM, when Ravel and Totilas will go head to head at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center:
Who else can you count on but On the Line to compare a saddle company with designer footwear? Those stylish Voltaire saddles begged for the comparison, and as a result of this column, they had a very good year. Well, perhaps it also had something to do with the smokey green eyes and white-hot ambition of Voltaire Founder Brice Gouget. Just call him Mr. Louboutin:
Way back in April, On the Line hoped that the movie Buck would help bring non-horse people into the fold of the horse world. Eight months, many accolades and thousands of screenings around the world later, Buck is now on the short list for Best Documentary at the Oscars:
Unfortunately the photos in this slideshow have pixellated a bit, but John French’s most epic save during a hunter derby in Southern California was admirable, and even better, it was captured in freeze-frame by Cheval Photos’ Selena Frederick:
The EHV-1 outbreak not only caused a widespread panic and a few very dark weeks in the horse show world, it drew parallels to On the Line’s favorite movie of the same name:
The reining debacle out of Malmo, Sweden began to smack of mob rule after video surfaced of indifferent FEI stewards presiding over questionable training techniques in the warm up ring. It seemed that everyone in the horse world got on their soapbox to chime in (yes, that includes yours truly), and also made On the Line wonder; does it take an uproar of epic proportions to get a governing body to pay attention?
Are your clicking fingers tired yet? After looking through those posts, you’re probably thinking the same thing I am: what a crazy, flawed, passionate, wonderful, exciting world we’re all so caught up in. Check back here later in the week for the Part II recap, June – December.