Tossin’ & Turnin’ – The Run-up to the WEG 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Posted by Father Larry David McCormick


Tossin’ and Turnin’. Some of us are old enough (when we are brave enough to admit it) to remember that phrase as the title of a Billboard Top 100 song from 1961 recorded by Bobby Lewis. Raise your hand if you are from that vintage. Okay we can put our hands down now.

No. This is not a nostalgia column. Rather it is, first of all, an admission that I have had several sleepless nights during this preparatory period for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. My restlessness is (if I have read my Rohrschach tests correctly) attributable to my desire not to let down the dear folks who come here to the pages of Dressage Daily for our “fix” of information. Speaking as one who on the average day is miles and miles away from the action in the world of dressage, I (like you) click on my web browser and wait with ’bated breath to see what is happening. Those twisted sheets of mine are all because I don’t want to screw up. Thus, my tossin’ and turnin’.

Enough about little, ole me. There are larger fish to fry. If we have been keeping abreast of the selection processes that result in the teams of four who will hit the footing in four short days (did I remember to pack my rubber ducky and my toothbrush?), we know that at least two of the national teams have faced a bit of an uproar over the manner in which these four riders were selected.

Tossin’ & Turnin’ of Several Nations’ Dressage Teams

Our beloved Boss Mare and CEO of Horses Daily, Mary Phelps, and other writers have done a superior job, both on web sites and in the social media (Facebook et alii), of both reporting and commenting upon the trials and tribulations that attended the selection process of the US and Australian dressage teams for the WEG. The only thing I could hope to add to their reportage is a piece of advice for the folks who will be representing their nations in Normandie: A glass of warm milk (with or without a shot or two of something with a bit more kick to it) drunk just before bedtime should do the trick. Oh, and try to ignore most of what we folks with a journalistic bent may be writing about you.

Riders: Keep the tossin’ and the turnin’ to a bare minimum. Say your goodnight prayers. Then lay your head on that pillow and recharge your batteries. You are going to need all the energy and all the focus one may muster when you face those steely-eyed competitors from other nations. The home folks selected YOU not the other guys and gals. You won’t let us down.

What May Be Going On in Those Equine Bedstalls?

Father Mack
Father Mack

Have we ever wished we knew what was going on in that walnut-sized brain between those two pointy ears? If the answer to that question is “Yes,” then never is this more the case than just before a major competition such as the WEG. Several grooms who trust me swear that – even though professional stables work pretty darned hard not to make a “game day” routine any different than every other day around the barn – the horses somehow know that today is the day. Whether it’s the ever so slight change in routine (“She usually doesn’t jostle me out of my stall quite this early,” thinks the mare to herself) or the braiding or some other ineffable item, something is deciphered by our four hoofed buddies that tells them, “I’m on!”

Horses: Keep the stompin’ and the snorting to a bare minimum. If you are one of those rare horseys who like to lie down, keep the tossin’ and the turnin’ to a minimum as well. Say your goodnight prayers. Then wait for that nice gal or nice guy who slips you a sugar cube or two while they braid your lovely mane to finish the job. Your Mom and Dad gave you the best genes they could for the work that lies ahead. You and your rider have been working on musculature and conformation for many years now. The folks back home just want you to do your best. (Although a blue ribbon will be appreciated.) You won’t let us down.

Hoping to Hear from You

With just one more restless night before we hit the road bound for Caen in Normandie, I can more or less assure myself that my own tossin’ and turnin’ is nearly at an end. Lest I become too complacent, however, I will appreciate being kept on my toes by the AR’s (Alert Readers) who congregate here on the pages of Dressage Daily. If we who have “scrivener” tattooed upon our foreheads fail to satisfy your whetted appetite to know more on any given topic, then kick us in our ample backsides (speaking only for myself, of course) and let us know that we are letting you down. This is best done with a pointed (preferably brief) piece of electronic mail. You will find my backside ready to receive prodding here: frmac@columbia.edu. I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next we meet in this electronic corridor I remain

Musingly Yours,

Father Mack+