A couple of years ago, as Sandra Cooke and I were compiling a list of top riders and drivers who we’d ask to contribute sections to my book “How Good Riders Get Good,” we primarily focused on those who had already “made it.” Sandra had been the Managing Editor of Practical Horseman Magazine, and over the years she’d interviewed many big name horsemen and horsewomen, so it was an easy step for her to ask them to become involved in this new venture.
This was the easy approach, in the sense that we knew that our people were already what we considered to be “good riders.” Then Sandra simply asked them a number of questions to discover how they felt they had become so, to determine what they felt had been key influences leading to their successes, and to elicit such advice as they might provide to upwardly aspiring riders.
But there were two young event riders that I specifically wanted to include, not because they were already well established, but because I felt that they were prime examples of the kinds of decision making that I had written about in the book. In other words, I wanted Buck Davidson and Michael Pollard to contribute chapters, not because they had already made it, but because I believed that they probably would make it sometime in the future, based upon the kinds of choices they were making.
But never in ten thousand years could I have ever predicted that they would achieve their breakthrough by being involved with the same gold medal winning effort, on the same US Three Day Team, on the same day. And then, to make an already implausible scenario more so, one of them was riding the daughter of Aberjack, a stallion whose photo was included in “How Good Riders Get Good,” in the chapter dealing with horse selection. It was a script no screen writer would have touched.
Clearly, what happened at the Pan American Games last week was sheer coincidence rather than prediction, but it would be nice to think that it might be considered predictable coincidence.