No hunting? At least we have the Olympics

Even Shaun White's second gold in the men's halfpipe failed to get a rise out of the house hounds. And, yes, we'll be changing out the wallpaper below that chair rail this spring!

IT’S NICE to know that some people are making good use of the snow and ice these days.

We foxhunters have been sitting around twiddling our thumbs and cleaning and re-cleaning our tack (okay, okay–but we should be cleaning our tack) while waiting out the big winter of our discontent. We got word this week that the hunt season in Virginia, where they’ve been under yards of snow since human memory, essentially has been abandoned. Pretty much everywhere (San Diego and the Sahara probably are exempt), the bleak equation looks like this: too much snow = too much water = too much damage in the country. Too much ice = too much risk of injury to horses and riders. And so it goes. But in Vancouver, totally different story. Have you seen what those people do in this weather? Amazing. All without borium.

With no hunting possible here, we and the house hounds have been watching the Olympics every night. The other resident houndblogger is partial to snowboarding, and my tastes generally run to downhill skiing, snowboard cross, and anything where you get to ring a cowbell, so that means luge and skeleton, too. My personal favorite competitor, though, is men’s figure skater Johnny Weir. We both like Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” (I know. I can’t explain it). And for reasons that are clear to anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes with my hunt horse Sassoon, Johnny Weir reminds me of him. Camp. Good jumper. Long black forelock. Very, very witty.

UPDATE, MAY 2010: Okay, I figured that video might get pulled at some stage, even though it actually was not from Olympic competition. Sadly, I can’t find another video of Our Johnny’s “Poker Face” routine, so here’s a nice clip previewing his TV show on the Sundance Channel. It would be better with hounds in it, but you can’t have everything.

Interestingly, it turns out that Weir started off as an equestrian. He had a dapple gray Shetland-Arabian cross, and let me just say right now that I don’t care whether Weir has a penchant for pink tassels, anyone that can deal with a Shetland-Arabian cross has got some guts.

Weir showed hunt seat until he was about age 10, if I’m reading an accurate bio, and then his parents laid it out: they could afford either figure-skating or showing, but not both. So he chose figure-skating, although to his credit it was apparently a tough decision. Reluctantly, he said goodbye to his pony, named My Blue Shadow. I can kind of see why he made the choice he did. You get to wear more sequins in figure-skating, and, from the available evidence, it looks like sequins are a priority for our Johnny.

Johnny Weir didn't impress Mr. Box

Mr. Box didn't share my enthusiasm for equestrian/figure-skater/fashion designer/Lord Gaga Johnny Weir. But I ask you: who else could look that stylish with a crown of roses around his head?

For the record, he finished sixth in the men’s figure skating on Thursday night after an excellent performance that should have, in fairness, notched a diamond tiara or something instead of a “hey, thanks for showing up.”

The former equestrian has plans to become a fashion designer. I wonder what his take on the hunt coat would look like? I smell pink feathers and Swarovski crystals!

So until the weather improves, we’ll be watching the Olympics. If nothing else, it’s an object lesson as to why horses and ice don’t really mix. But we’ll also be visiting the kennel, profiling the artists who have kindly donated works for the upcoming Hound Welfare Fund dinner and auction, and keeping close tabs on the possible Will Goodall horn! Needless to say, we miss the hunt field as much as you do.

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