Coming from San Diego, where we haven’t had a good gully washer in a couple of years, you would think I’d be rejoicing in a string of rainy days here in Saumur. You know, just for the novelty of it.
Um…. Not so much. Although my hair has a fabulous curl to it right now.
We chanced a hike up to the Chateau at the top of the hill overlooking the Loire, and of course dicovered it closed for a long lunch. Instead of waiting out the middle of the day in the wet and wind, we skated back down the hill and pursued indoor-ish activitites, including a bit of shopping, and a visit to the Cavalry Museum, which is in the converted stable of the old Equestrian School.
The museum traces the history of the horse in French wars, and after spending an hour or two there, I couldn’t help but have mixed thoughts on the evolution of our species. For the sake of the horse, it was eventually good that tanks and heavy artillery appeared on the scene, but the fact that it took a hundred years for the transition to be complete is an ugly, horrible thing. The good news: the use of horses in battle, which 200 years ago was considered a noble pursuit, would be met with global outcry in the present day. The bad news: there are thousands of men and women, all over the world, facing down that same destruction every day. I’m afraid it will take another step of evolution before we as a species realize that this is just as barbaric as it was to charge cannon or tanks with mounted cavalry.
The only good thing that survives from this final era of the French war horse: cool uniforms.
Thursday morning was the vet inspection at the CDI. I always enjoy this: at home, the jog is often a fashion show, with both horses and riders buffed and preened. In Europe the inspections are more casual, and when they take place in an indoor warm-up in slanting rain, they are marked by mud boots and rain coats rather than boaters and blazers. It was too dark and miserable to even take the camera out of the bag, but I did spend the hour sketching the various characters who showed up.
Friday morning, it was again raining, and I nearly stayed put in bed at the hotel. I’m glad I didn’t: after spending the morning in the Grand Manege where the CDI was going on, I ventured outside after lunch. The French Young Horse Finals classes were going on in the outdoor arena, and I found a spot in the grandstand and chanced a watercolor painting, hoping that Mother Nature wouldn’t interfere again. I actually finished four of them. I’ll post pictures of them tomorrow.
And shhhhh, don’t tell anyone…. I caught a glimpse of Mr. Soleil in the sky!