Over the last several months I`ve been posting lots of photos on Facebook, and it`s been a revelation to me how much interest there`s been in “back in the day” pictures of both riders and horses. Some of these pictures are of former USET superstars like Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot, Neil, Shapiro, Kathy Kusner, Bernie Traurig, Mike Plumb, Bruce Davidson, Tad Coffin, really as much “legends” as riders. Others are as backyard as kids on their ponies.
There are photos of Morgans, thoroughbreds, warmbloods, Arabians, and scruffy little ponies. I started riding in 1961, so much of this is a reflection of that past 50-60 years, a kind of retrospective of where we`ve been, who was there, and what they did in sports as diverse as gymkhanas, breed shows, eventing, show jumping, flat and chase racing, dressage, saddleseat, endurance, with even a little low goal polo tossed in for comic relief.
From this, and from the tremendous response, I`ve learned a few things. One is that there is a great hunger to understand where “we”, modern riders came from. Who built our various sports, what kinds of horses did they breed, train, ride, and compete? What did they look like? (A picture is worth a thousand words), how did they get there, where did they come from?
Have a look at my Facebook wall pictures if you have an interest, both under DENNY EMERSON, and TAMARACK HILL FARM. I had no idea when I started posting cartons of old photos that anyone would care, except maybe, some old friends. What I`ve learned instead is that I`ve made hundreds of new friends. USA riding history, it seems, does matter.
Sometimes, perhaps, knowing more about where we`ve been helps give us some ideas about where we want to go, and , perhaps even how to get there.