Molly McMule's Horse Tales

1001 Stall Stories


“Oh, look! Our person left her newspaper in the stall,” said Beau. “There sure is a lot of talk about the Olympics in it.”

“Well, it won’t be long before the games begin and everyone is getting excited. Sydney, Australia, will be hosting the games this year,” Deke retorted.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could go to see them? But, I guess that would be impossible. We’ll just have to check the papers and root for the good old USET* athletes,” Beau retorted. “Did you know that in 1956, the Olympics were held in Australia too, but the equestrian events were held in Stockholm?”

“Seems odd that they were held in such separate parts of the world. Why was that?” asked Deke.

“Australia has strict quarantine laws and the animals weren’t allowed to participate in their country then, but this year they will be able to be there with everyone else,” Beau told him. “I just can’t wait to see how they do in the competitions this year. In the past, they have won a lot of Gold and Silver medals for Dressage, Show Jumping and Three-Day Eventing. They sure work hard to perfect those skills,” he continued.

“All right, I know what Dressage is, and also Show Jumping, but what is the “Three-Day Eventing?” Deke continued to question.

Beau seemed to have all the answers. “It combines dressage, show jumping and cross-country competitions and, believe me, it’s tough to be the best in all of them. The rider and the horse must be in perfect sync and work together without hesitation. Trust is very important between the animal and the rider, as you know.

"It takes a special type of horse, and person, to be able to accomplish all those skills. The dressage is really a perfected communication between the two. The horse must be sensitive to the rider’s every signal, no matter how subtle, and must be able to respond without hesitation so that the routine is not broken. This is sometimes described as ‘horses performing ballet’.”

“I know,” Deke replied. “It seems that only the best horses can be trained to do that. They must be the 'elite' of the stables. Not just any horse could learn all those movements.”

All the while, Molly is shuffling and beginning to snort her displeasure with the way the conversation is going. She listened for several more minutes, hearing Beau and Deke go on and on about how special their certain breeds were, and how they were the ONLY breeds that could possibly learn these difficult moves, especially dressage.

“It seems to me that I’ve heard enough bragging from you fellows and I think that you need to know that one of my distant relatives, a “stubborn” mule, was taught to do dressage.”

Both Beau and Deke chuckled in disbelief as Molly continued to tell them about how her distant relative “Sissy” with Pat Parelli riding, demonstrated a dressage routine in 1984.

“Sissy and Pat Parelli did a demonstration on dressage and reining during the Los Angeles Olympics, with NO BRIDLE,” Molly said.

“But Sissy didn’t actually do anything in the Olympics,” chided both stable mates.

“Wait a minute! What do you mean ‘didn’t do anything’? No bridle to steer and stop? Doing precise, exactly timed maneuvers, each foot in a precise place at an exact time, changing gait and leads in a single stride, doing perfect circles, following a set pattern, and stopping on a dime down the sides, spinning on the hindquarters, and you say ‘didn’t do anything’??" Molly sputtered.

"One of those alone, dressage or reining, by any equine, is a feat," Molly said, calming herself. "But Sissy did both, without a bridle, and that is really an accomplishment. If she did it with any degree of expertise, and I am sure she did, it would have been incredible to see. It must have been so impressive… Mr. Parelli had been invited to the Olympics as an equine behaviorist, but the guests all got a really special treat.”

“Well, we certainly have learned not to discount the ability of the mule, didn’t we Deke?” muttered Beau, quietly accepting rebuke.

 “Sorry, Molly. We do realize that the mule has many extraordinary qualities,” apologized Deke, “and not only a reputation for stubbornness.”

Molly says you can learn a lot more about the Olympics by visiting any of the Internet sites for the 2000 Olympics ( Also, Mr. Parelli has a very interesting site to visit, Olympic competition dates at the Equestrian Centre, Horsley Park, Sydney, Australia are Sept. 23 to Oct. 1, 2000.

*USET (United States Equestrian Team)