Thursday 2 August 2012

Karma. I want to shove a stir-fry in your face

I am going to ask today that you indulge me a little, and let me depart from the typical chronological events format of my blog. 

Also, I must warn you that I might not be very funny, because, well, I am not feeling happy tonight.  

Somewhere, back in the history of my blog, I covered what I like to call the "Pretty in Breakfast" syndrome.  This is my scientifically created term for the fact that in our sport there is a large contingent of self important assholes who, although they have done nothing in particular of note in their dressage careers (or even if they have), grow some sort of poles up their tight little sphincters and decide that they are simply too special to even acknowledge the lowly adult amateurs in this sport (unless - of course - these amateurs are, at that particular moment, actively involved in placing money in the hands of said ass-rodded people).  

These sorts might involve Gha-mann coaches who have no problem taking +$2000 of a client's money to pretend to train obviously untrainable ponies. While at the same time pushing expensive dressage horses upon them instead. Then later refusing to even acknowledge the presence of life beside them in the stir-fry line at Palgrave.  

Or, they might be cocky jerk riders who decide to wander off with volunteer whipper-in's schedule lists.  They are important and busy, and need to know what is going on, right?  And because of this, they are entitled to create panic among volunteers, and then look at them like they are dirt when (after searching crazily for their list for 5 minutes) they ask desperately for their return so they can keep the show running on schedule. And, as an added touch to lighten things up, the cocky jerk riders have the right to make fun of the volunteers to make their friends laugh.  Don't they? (oops, haven't told that story yet, have I).  

But there are, out there, a few dressage pros who apparently didn't get the memo.  And so, they are strangely nice, for no particular reason. 

When I was first starting out at shows back at training level - putting in awful, amateurish training level tests - I am sure most coaches (including my own) were more than prepared to totally ignore me, lest anyone in the immediate vicinity get any impression that they were at all responsible for my scary riding. 

But there was this one guy out there - I could never remember his name, he was short, good looking, and had dark hair (but as mentioned earlier there is a whole flock of these here in Ontario) who always smiled.  And said hello.  While working patiently with other horrible adult amateurs like me.  

If I was scribing - he looked me in the eye, and said hello.  

Stir-fry line - hello. 

Disgusting mud washstalls at Palgrave - hello. 

Tent ghetto stables - hello. 

It was almost eerie.  He was nice.  And friendly.  For no apparent reason, other than because that is just what people who aren't jerks do. (I would have thought maybe he had a "thing" for me, but I am pretty sure I am not his type). 

So anyways, when the time came eventually that I knew I had to change coaches - I of course decided that he was #1 to consider.  I had to figure out his name to accomplish this - and his name was (if you haven't figured it out by now) David Marcus. 

But, the stars did not align, as I recall he did not have his own barn at the time and deciding to jump ship to join a nomadic coach is generally not a good move.  And so, after a few pleasant conversations on the phone, I decided to head another direction - he supported my decision, said it was a good one and said nothing but complimentary things regarding the coach I chose instead.  He wished me the best.  And I really felt he meant it. 

A few years later on - when Ms. V and I were practicing overcoming our fears of trailering and overnighting in new places (probably more on my part than Ms. V's I am not too proud to admit), my coach at the time suggested that I contact David Marcus and ask if Ms. V and I could create our own "mini-clinic sleepover party" type deal at his beautiful new barn to get some exposure.  He happily obliged.  We spent an excellent weekend there, had a few great lessons, he rode Ms. V and was nothing but positive about her or her potential to continue advancing up the levels... and to top it all off... he charged me an absolute pittance for the whole affair.  Who knows, maybe he owed my coach a favour, or something deeper than I knew was going on behind the scenes that I was not privy to.  But really - I don't think so.  I think he is just a genuinely nice person.  

And even later on - when things turned ugly where I was, and people had to make decisions on where to go instead... uhh...well, you will have to wait and see how it is I decide to unwind this one, because even I am not sure yet.  As the guy on "Tales from the Riverbank" used to say.. "that's another story"

Are you sure this is England?  It looks like Switzerland.

Long story short - David Marcus came through for many people. I stuck it out where I was, and to this day, do sometimes wonder..what if. 

So, anyways...when his whole fairy-tale came true, and he got a fabulous new sponsor, amazing horse, and was off to the Olympics... I was sure that the bitch Karma finally had things right.  She was going to pay him back for all of the times he was nice.  And normal.  And friendly.  She would show those fucking stir-fry snubbers.  

But, this is dressage.  And horses are horses.  And life, for the most part, can be so incredibly disappointing.  I am imagining the sinking feeling of my very worst ever dressage test (ridden in front of probably 5 spectators, only 2 of whom actually gave a flying fuck about what was going on and only because they are my parents and feel obliged to do so) and multiplying it by some large number.  Even then, I am not sure I have it just right.  

Arrgh.  Like Mr. and Mrs. Curmudgeon said in my last post ..."nobody said life had to be fair".  Sometimes I really do resent recent events.  And - just to be clear - I am not saying all this because I am super close to David Marcus, or hang out with him in my spare time,.  Really, he probably has no idea who I am, other than being some person that he says Hi to.  Just like he does to everyone else.  

Now..this being dressage - not everyone has this opinion. It takes a long time to shove that angry rod up your ass, and hey, you earned it, right?  And so, if you are among the "I didn't make it to the Olympics yet, and David Marcus did, and I deserved it way more than he does" crowd, you may smugly be thinking that Karma is right on track.  

You are assholes.  Get a life.  


  1. If it's any consolation, it doesn't look like the horse is just acting up. He put in a good test up until that point, nice light aids, not fighting the rider. He didn't look spooked; his ears were back the whole time and not staring off at something. He seems just as unhappy as the rider, and uncomfortable - best guess is that maybe something bit him? Or equipment malfunction, but it doesn't seem likely at that level.

  2. Thank-you, we should all strive to have his grace under such truly disappointing circumstances. Makes me proud that he is Canadian!

  3. I felt so bad for him - they are such a lovely pair, and were having a very pleasant test. It's hard to see what went wrong - just looked like his mount had a moment. So unfortunate that it had to happen then and there.

    It's a pity that life isn't somewhat *more* fair, sometimes.

  4. johnnyforeigner3 August 2012 at 10:48

    DC mostly I enjoy your blog and thank you for that but your wordage on this occasion is......weird.

  5. I read the name and went OOOOOOOOHHHHH NOOOOO and he was a nice guy? DAMNIT!

    Im so sorry about that for him and the good guys do finish last even in our sport! There is always next er four years? lol I an promise you that he (being so nice)has enough friends to support him through it all. TERRIBLE feeling it must be, it fades quickly into whats next? I do believe. But yeah, its like the flue for a few days I bet :(

  6. I read on Google what happened since I haven't figured out the intricacies of viewing via my DISH account--since I couldn't even sign up through my DISH account to pay my bill online years ago. Anyway, in a word, *crap*. That said, when one door closes, another opens and I can imagine David Marcus will have many more fans after this--people who appreciate good sportsmanship. I agree with your assessment of the Karma-driven "ha ha" crowd. We've got our share of it here in Southern California and while I'm still at the "crappy training level test riding" level (having recently graduated from "Mounting Block Test B"), I can appreciate good sportsmanship and "discretion being the better part of valor."

  7. We have some real turds here, and the best rider in the state is more the David type. Super nice, always polite, friendly. I hope the attention from this helps him to better succeed and that next Olympics he has the ride of his life.

    But I'm still a bit Pollyanna and don't think karma is ALWAYS so sick and twisted.

  8. I wanted to add - if you want to feel a little better about karma, check out recent events in Cesar Parra's life, including lawsuits and the US championships...

  9. My heart bled for this guy. And, for easy-peasy viewing, Stacy has the video posted on Behind the Bit.

    *ass-rodded* ooo how I love new vocabulary!

  10. Crazy weird how you posted this just as it was announced that he's doing a clinic at a local stable. Had planned on auditing, but now I will for sure!

  11. Just saw the video now.
    That man has composure.
    Wonder if they ever found out what happened?
    Your posts ALWAYS rock.

  12. It really was very lovely up until the freak out.

  13. I was so heart broken for him.

    I agree that geninuely good people are hard to come by in this sport. But I don't think it really has anything to do with the sport itself. Good people are hard to come as a general fact of life. Once someone gets that special "something" that they can lord over other people, their ego takes the wheel and they become the asshole they were always destined to be. In their own little world, they are the center of the universe. These types of people normally have to insulate themselves from the real world at large by never going anywhere without a gaggle of hanger's-on.

  14. I don't care who you are of if David Marcus ever said hi to you or not....if you didn't just want to scream at that moment, there's something wrong with you.

  15. I was so upset with what happened. I don't know David, I am not Canadian, and yet, my heart was breaking for both him and his lovely horse. His overall reaction was amazing, gracious, and decidedly kind to a terrified mount. As far as I'm concerned, he earned over a 90% for that ride and his, "Well, that's horses" comment afterwards.

    Wish there were a way he could get a reride.....*sigh*

  16. I, for one, had no idea who you were talking about (having conveniently forgotten the Canadian link), until you wrote David's name. I also had never heard of him before in my life but now I have his name engraved in my shrine of "People Who Got A Raw Deal and Were Graceful Under Pressure." This is right next to the "Excellent Horseperson" shrine, where he's also going. He handled that disaster with incredible poise, and a damn good seat, too!

    I thought it interesting that the freak-out seemed to happen right as the torrential downpour ended (and by the way, can't believe they were doing so well in THAT). I speculated that there was a sound masked by the rain. My friend wondered if maybe some item of tack that had gotten wet suddenly bothered the horse enough that he said, "OW. NO."

    Please let us know if you find out any more details, and boy, I sure hope Mr. Marcus's career goes into orbit after this. Good guys SHOULD finish FIRST!

  17. Echoing everyone else here. David Marcus is a class act and just had very, very bad luck.

    Per comments about the rain... I am wondering if Capital was spooked by people in the audience *closing* their umbrellas. Because of how the seats are laid out, he wouldn't have had a close view of them until right about when he freaked out. And at the very end, when it was time to leave the ring, he sure was not thrilled by those ring helpers in raincoats.

  18. I saw that test and felt really bad for him, and it did look like a nice test up till then. I was also really impressed by the way he stayed on (I was thinking, see, dressage riders aren't just people sitting pretty). I was also really annoyed at the audience clapping every time he put his hand up- the horse looked pretty upset to me and I don't think that helped.
    I'm glad to hear he's a nice fellow and I hope things go better for him in the future- if Hiroshi is anything to go by, David should have a lot more chances. :)

  19. Well said. Accurate to a tee.

  20. Very sad and disappointing, but at least it gives the general public some appreciation of how talented the riders are, and that the horses are not just trick machines with a monkey on them. Don't think dressage gets enough respect as a sport!

  21. I am an Olympics junkie, and David Marcus' ride was the coolest thing I saw, not because it was a disaster, but because he made a disaster into a thing of beauty. When I saw the spook, I thought, "Oh, no!" and then I thought "Wow-that guy can really ride!"('Cuz, you know, I am not too bright.)

    Then when he got his terrified horse out of the arena, in spite of the well-meant but unhelpful applause, and said "That's horses." I actually cried. What a horseman!