So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria, God and life, teaching and gardening plus the occasional cow

Ice Polo A Quechua at Turracher Höhe

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Austria thrashing the Germans, but they lost the final 3-4 on shoot out penalites to France

I casually said to Dave that I fancied seeing the Ice Polo at Turrracherhöhe, so we went with me having kittens about the drive up the snowy hills, but the roads were clear.  I was of course entranced by the horses, and took nearly 200 photos, only one of which I feel was above standard.  I had to decide whether to photo or watch as it was so fast-moving.

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Walking around, I was talking to a tied horse and the rider came over and me being a big mouth I was asking about the shoeing. Even more than the Icelandics,the shoes have  rubber in-sole and six enormous studs, probably more grip than on the grass, she said they were very expensive. Then she asked me to hold the horse, talk about a childhood dream, I was so chuffed, as a kid it was always a hope to be asked to help at an event! Later on a horse tethered to one of these crowd barriers was scared by a loose poster and pulled back.  Of course I leapt to help again, much to Dave’s embarrassment.  The horse was quickly dealt with, but I was appalled at the lack of even a safety knot or slip link on the headcollar, the horse probably had a sore poll afterwards.  So I got to looking at the horses and concluded they were very quiet and switched off. You couldn’t reach them, or maybe they have this all the time from the public.  But the bits, from a standard double to gags, to the one in the photo, looked a bit brutal. Along with the martingales that were worn, I couldn’t hep feeling these horses were strung up like a bunch of onions. They seemed to come alive when ridden but outside were all like zombies.

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I know nothing about training them, but couldn’t help feeling that this training may be stuck in the past, of hardness, with almost a breaking of the horse’s spirit.   I hope I’m wrong.  I’d love to see what Monty Roberts or Pat Parelli could do with such a horse.  I would like to feel that you could play as good a game in a snaffle if you trained the horse with sympathy. Then most of the riders while amateur/Professionals, I wondered how many, if any are horsemen  rather than sportsman?  Obviously a lot of cash is thrown at the sport, but……

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Yet, I did enjoy watching, it was thrilling, there was a certain amount of showmanship especially from the Swiss team, and we had great fun cheering the Austrian team.  I will go again to see the sand Polo in the summer.  Now if the snow didn’t pull tendons, I bet this does……

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