Father Mack’s Musings #2 - Believing Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Alice laughed. “There's no use trying,” she said “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven't had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Through the Looking Glass
By Lewis Carroll
Chapter V “Wool and Water”

It is well before breakfast as I sit in the nearly empty Media Village here at the Kentucky Horse Park. And, while I am not nearly so loopy as Lewis Carroll’s White Queen, I am beginning to think impossible things.

As you may have guessed, the most seemingly unattainable of these thoughts of mine have to do with the possibility that the US dressage team could mount one of the three steps of the podium that has already been erected in the main stadium of this Horse Park. I know, I know. All the folks whose opinions I respect – ranging from my good buddy Astrid Appels of Eurodressage fame to the worthies who write long and weighty treatises in the pages of The Chronicle of the Horse – have cast their die and determined that the games belong to Edward Gal and the orange-clad folks from the Netherlands. Sure enough! Thanks to Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Sunrise (Singular Joter x Werther) and their day-leading score of 73.447 and Hans Peter Minderhoud and his colleague, Exquis Nadine (T.C.N. Partout x Roemer) with their earlier, pace-setting total of 72.255 the Dutch hold a five plus point lead over number two Germany.

But, just maybe, just possibly, along could come a spider, a young lady who falls down a rabbit hole, four upstarts from the colonies who after breakfast on Tuesday begin to believe impossible things. Monday’s first day of the Team Grand Prix rides ended with the US in fourth place, trailing third place Great Britain by just a bit more than two points. This happy circumstance is provided courtesy of Todd Flettrich on his sometimes-too-hot mount Otto and the equally estimable Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Nartan.

Todd and Otto (Rambo x Rampal) are long time team mates and this showed in the clean if not spic-and-span ride that led them to a final score of 66.553 while Katherine and Nartan (Jazz x Le Faquin) showed only a few telltale signs that they hooked up as partners less than half a year ago. In the second US ride of the day Katherine and Nartan delivered a cumulative score of 69.617.

After today’s test, Bateson-Chandler opined, “I was happy, I had two expensive mistakes so I wasn’t so happy about that, but things I’ve had issues with were good. So I’m thrilled with my horse and happy because I didn’t get nervous.” With Tina Konyot and her buddy Calecto V (Come Back II x Rastell) and the anchors of our lineup, Steffen Peters and Ravel (Contango x Democraat) yet to ride, perhaps the US squad is capable of believing impossible things before breakfast?

Photos of Katherina Bateson and Tood Flettrich by Ruth Shaw McCormick
The Alice in Wonderland illustration comes from the pen of the original illustrator, John Tenniel.