Thursday, June 10, 2010

Back in the Saddle

The Equine Reader is back!

My surgery went well, as did my trip to the Dominican Republic and its attendant beach gallops along the expansive Punta Cana coast. The horses in DR were scrawny and poorly shod, but that didn't stop them from seeming exhilarated as they hurtled along beneath us down the beautiful surf sides. My poor boyfriend, himself not a rider and ill-prepared for the bumping potential of a full, flying gallop (I'll admit I omitted that detail when plying him with the fun that stood to be had by driving 40 minutes from our comfortable resort into the Domincan countryside and mounting up), took away a few more painful memories than I did, but all in all we enjoyed our encounters with les caballos Domincanos.

When not galloping through the waves our group ambled beneath palm trees along winding country roads. It was here that I was interested to discover that our lithe mounts traveled in some sort of undefinable gait, leading me to believe that they were Spanish or Peruvian "paso" type horses. I attempted to ask my guide if they were Paso Finos but he didn't fully take my meaning in English and I don't possess enough Spanish to discuss the intricacies of Domincan breeding. When we returned to the barn I did notice that, cordoned off from the skinny little horses that we trekked along on, were two stunning Andalusians in gleaming physical condition. Obviously the owners invested greater care into maintaining their personal stock than those reserved for the Gringos, but Spanish imports were clearly the mount of choice for riders in DR. Regardless, I got a fantabulous riding experience and would certainly recommend it to future travelers.

While I was on my writing hiatus, New York saw the running of the Belmont Stakes, in yet another year devoid of a potential Triple Crown sweep. This year's Belmont winner, Drosselmeyer, took first place under the tutelage of trainer Billy Mott. Though I was enjoying a romantic picnic in Central Park when the race went off, I may still get to see Drosselmeyer in action because this year's Travers Stakes could place all three of this year's Triple Crown race winners in contention. This is a compelling marketing idea if ever there was one; people like a rivalry, and how better to draw eyeballs than to feature a score settling match up between the holders of this year's Crown jewels?

Here's to the start of summer in the City, a season much too short but peppered with lots of opportunities for horse-enhanced fun. Saratoga, the Hamptons Classic, Polo at Governer's Island, all lie ahead for the horse lover to enjoy.

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