It’s back again! The Vienna Masters horse show, with world-class jumping and dressage competitions, is here in Vienna. And, like last year, it’s right at Vienna’s Rathaus, and this only a few blocks’ quick walk for me.
For the first few days, they have a few events each morning with free admission. Today was the first day, and I brought along my friend Elaine (also an American living here in Vienna). It’s a fantastic event — beautiful horses, entries from around the world, and the thrill of competition, all in a stunning venue.
We had a great morning. The day started with a little rain, but by the time we arrived, it had turned sunny and cool. We watched two show jumping classes and did a little window shopping. The horses and riders put on a great show, and we even got to celebrate the victory of an American rider. We got to hear the Star Spangled Banner played here in Vienna, which was a little weird, but pretty great.
I wonder, though, watching dozens of riders, some of whom have travelled across thousands of miles WITH their horses — how do they do it? The big-name riders who compete in the evenings do this professionally, so that I understand, but what about the riders we saw today? Are they professionals? Do they take time off from work to fly their horses around the world to participate in events like this one? And what about the pony events? Are there parents who fly their children’s ponies to Europe for the weekend? Does that really happen?!? (I really don’t know. Although I used to compete, quite enthusiastically, in my younger days, competition at this level is foreign to me.)
It was a beautiful day, spent with great company, watching beautiful horses. I’m going back tomorrow to see one of the evening events, and I think we’ll take the boys over on Saturday for the free admission program (which includes the pony jumpers). I’m so happy to have this event so close by and to have some free time to be able to enjoy it. But all of it reminds me of how much I truly miss riding (and my horses at home).