The Dujardin of Eden


(“Private citizens could be barred from owning a cannon.”)

I try to stay calm. I really do. I hate mean riding, stupid riding, bad riding.
I also hate people with a chip on their shoulder the size of Manhattan Island. Given the gnashing of teeth and collective swooning we’ve witnessed in the dressage blogosphere lately [See posts titled “Defining Classical” and “The Politics of Extremism, FEI Style”], I was interested to see what kind of riding the Olympic Games would produce.
At issue is Charlotte Dujardin’s Valegro, winner of the GP with an 83.6%.Personally, I found their performance to be very pleasing. No tail swishing, no mouth problems, light in the bridle, generally out to the hand. Expressive—did you like those tempis?
But the naysayers are hot that ol’ Article 401 is being ignored by the judges because his poll wasn’t the highest point. Except when you look at the video, it IS! “Well, OK,” goes the argument, “maybe the horse isn’t behind the vertical, but he’s broken between the second and third cervical vertebrae.”
Sorry, I know broken when I see it. Valegro’s neck doesn’t look broken to me.
Strict constructionists in dressage are no more grounded in reality than their brethren elsewhere in society. I’ll scrupulously avoid any biblical references here in deference to any closet flat earth friends I have, but let me bring to your attention the remarks of Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Himself a “What Did the Founding Fathers Intend” kind of guy, in a recent speech he said this of Second Amendment protections. By his reading of the Constitution, private citizens could be barred from owning a cannon. (Thank you!) But in referring to a weapon that could be held in an individual’s hands (bearing arms), his interpretation would permit you to own your own rocket propelled grenade launcher.
REALLY, he said that! But presumably only for hunting or for self defense.
So Tom and John and Benjamin are sitting around Monticello, quills in hand, mulling over the tenets upon which our Nation To Be will be based. John says to the others, “Look, I’m firm on this, but I’ll make you a deal. Let’s up that Article I number from a half to three-fifths of a person, and in return give the crazies in 200 years the right to shoot rockets at each other.” “That’ll work for me,” says Tom, “but, Ben, explain to me again—what’s a rocket?”
Now two centuries later black robed guys are supposed to fine-tooth that document to parse out its literal meaning—how many angels can dance on the head of a hundred round banana clip of NATO 7.62mm ordnance?
The same inability to employ logic and common sense seems to infect these dressage weenies. Of course, they’ll tell you you’ve been brainwashed and lost sight of what’s Correct or that you’re just ignorant or in it for the money.
But look at Valegro and you decide.