Observations of a proud father
Teamwork – For this demonstration our daughter Lois is the "base" or anchor. She is riding backwards on the horse’s neck providing a stable, secure platform for her two teammates. She is not the focus of this picture, but don't try to tell her teammates she is not important. They all are.
One of the things I think is so great about vaulting is the true importance of teamwork. This figure could not happen without the cooperation of the three girls, plus a very good horse and experienced longueur. The longueur (or lunger) is at the other end of the lunge (or longe) line controlling the horse from the center of the circle.
If you are not working together, you cannot even get three up on the horse. This is a big horse, but there is not a lot of room for standing around. Vaulters mount and dismount at the canter, an idea which continues to astound me six years later. Watching girls, who often are not tall enough to see across the back of the horse, gracefully mount a cantering horse gives me chills of delight. These girls believe they can overcome any obstacle and they can. What a great experience for a teenager!
Concentration - Both vaulters are looking where they want the horse to go. The horse and the 3 girls are all leaning into circle to maintain their balance as one. If the horse gets distracted he can separate from the teammates in the blink of his eye.
Dedication - These girls have practiced together for several years. Two are from CT, 3 hours from their current coach. Lois used to commute down to CT 2 hours each way to practice. Now she drives "only" an hour to practice in NH. The demo was 3 hours from NH in VT. This was the 3 days after they returned from Virginia, which involved 4 long days of trailering. I wish just once Lois would complain about the driving. I have never heard "When are we going to get there?"
Fun - This picture was taken at a demo, they gave at a fund-raiser. It was great to have so many enthusiastic spectators. Vaulters love their sport even if no one is watching. It was especially fun to follow the restrained grace of dressage performed to classical chamber music with gymnastics set to LOUD rock and roll. That caused more than one top-hat to go askew.
Updated 8/8/2010 2:16:30 PM