Pirate could fake a British accent, right?

Do you know one of my favorite things to do on a rainy morning? Fix a cup of English Breakfast tea, pop in a Badminton Horse Trials video from the ‘90s (VHS, obviously), and then go gallop my horse in the rain and pretend I’m British.

It would be a lie to say I don’t know the appeal. England is just hallowed ground for any equestrian, and I can’t help but be drawn to anything British. (My boyfriend, whom I met a few years before we started dating, became instantly more attractive when he moved to the UK for a bit). I’m not alone here, as my dear friend Holly Ratcliff’s blog illustrates with “Badminton Babes,” Parts I and Part II. Another good friend of mine attended Badminton over Easter weekend and was struck by the incomparable quality of the horses and riders over there. Each one seemed better than the last, she told me. No surprise there!

Photo © Ray Keogh

And then there’s the hunting.  As a child growing up galloping around on Laddy, my best friend and I always played foxhunt. (We foxhunted for real, too, but our game had less rules and restrictions than the actual sport…who needs saddles, anyway?!). Our best Lindsay Lohan-esque accents (circa late ‘90s, think The Parent Trap here) were out in full force, trying our darndest to be cool. We even gave ourselves sweet British names like Lucinda and Pippa, and “Tally ho, chaps, we’re off!” Who cares if our mounts were a fiesty little A-rab and a palomino Quarter Horse, we were flying through the English countryside in our minds. Old books filled with hunting tales from England and Ireland are still on my bedside table (along with “Masters of Eventing,” pub. 1978, which has been my bible since my Godmother gave it to me when I was 8) for nighttime reading, along with the hunting journal I kept from my 9 days in Ireland a couple of years back. It would be accurate to say, then, that I often dream in grey and green.

On that note, we move on to this past weekend…number one, the Royal Wedding. Don’t tell me you didn’t watch it. Yes, I was the little girl whose dreams were filled with thoughts of the Keeper’s Brush, Shogun Hollow, Hunstmans Close and the Quarry at Badminton, not dream weddings, white gowns, bridesmaid dresses and vows. Boys are…I mean, boys were icky, and weddings were worse. But even I watched the Royal Wedding. Something so inherently British could not be missed.

And of course, it was also ROLEX weekend!!!! Before I continue, HUGE congrats to all of our US riders (and the Canadians, let’s claim them too!), Sinead Halpin being the standout with her 3rd place finish. Heck yeah, kicking butt in some serious company!!! But of course, the Brits were there to steal the show (and the timepiece) from us, with Mary King – my idol for as long as I can remember – in both the 1st and 2nd place positions. (William Fox-Pitt followed Sinead in 4th, and Oliver Townend was 6th). When you’re that good, you’d better be grinning ear to ear, as Mary always is! She seems to be the sort to smile even when it’s not the best day for her, though…I’d give you all an example, but I’m having trouble thinking of a time when she hasn’t had something to smile about. What a brilliant rider and horseman she is. Mary King, can I be you when I grow up??????

Anyway folks, I’m torn. You’re talking to a Southern girl who both loves her sweet tea and has dreamt of living in England her whole life…and also happens to bedesperately in love with a good ol’ American Thoroughbred. Pirate (“Bub The Scrub” during his racing days, remember?) is by Covered Wagon (Gone West baby) out of Jasinjodie. He’s ‘bout as ‘merican as it gets. But he has very good bone and an English sort of look about him, and I’m often asked if he is UK-bred…

I’m often tempted to answer yes. P could fake an English accent, right, guys? As for me…I’ll just have to hope all those years of watching my trusty Badminton ‘97 tape (David O’Connor won that year, by the way) and doing my very best impression of the British announcer (whilst jumping a course of couch cushions) count for something!

After all…everything sounds better with an accent.  ;)

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