Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Grand Steeple-Chase of Paris

On Sunday, we went to see the most prestigious race in the world for horses who love to jump. I don't think I would have normally gone, but Maylin loves horses and I'll do anything to encourage any of her interests. There were several races which were exciting, but short, and unfortunately were spaced 30-40 minutes apart. It felt like a lot of waiting, and there weren't enough other attractions or distractions. Maylin got a carousel ride and cotton candy, and we all saw the horses up close by the stables. These were not big horses, muscular but lean. They weren't bulky at all since bulk would not be helpful when jumping over various obstacles and running as fast as you can between them. What awesomely beautiful animals. No wonder Maylin likes these things.

There was a little bit of entertainment during the event, including crazy Spanish-style horseriding with the riders clinging onto their fast-moving horses while upside-down or at strange angles, or bounding from one side of the moving horse to the other, or even swordfighting with other riders. Some of the same horses did a little dance to some dramatic music unimpressively sung by a woman who looked like an over-the-hill, artificially-enhanced (breasts and face), washed-up former star. Other music was provided by a band that wandered around the front of the stands playing a mixed batch of ethnic music, from Mexican to Slavic. It was upbeat and Maylin liked it, but I couldn't help being disturbed by the three trumpets, at least one of which was often out of tune.

Maylin liked the horses very much and was entranced by the men fighting or standing on horses, which she has already recreated at home. But she was even happier when she made a friend, an older girl who didn't seem to care for the horses at all. I felt like the horses had to compete with the girl for Maylin's attention. It was tough -- I wanted Maylin to have a good time, but I didn't want her to miss seeing the races and the "horsing around" (eww, that was bad).

By the end of the afternoon, we had all had enough and just ran around on the biggest lawn I had ever seen. John and I took turns chasing Maylin, and then I made the mistake of showing Maylin how to do a cartwheel. Ouch -- it had been about twenty years since the last time I did a cartwheel so my body felt and probably looked really clunky. Don't try this at home, moms and dads, unless you want to risk tweaking something.

No comments: