This week the mega, insane, awesome, mind-boggling, motorbike hill-climb race of the season has been buzzing round the Isle of Man. The biggest news is the success of King of the Mountain John McGuinness after a week of knocks he claimed his 20th victory in the race everyone wants to win – the seniors on his Honda Legends bike. It was stuff of fairy-tales.
I enjoy watching horses and riders perform in harmony, it is a pleasure to watch. Seeing John and other riders in the TT effortlessly weave their charges from one bend to another, rolling off the throttle if required and leaning in to the bike when it starts to rear is more than just enjoying the thrill of insane speeds. It is also the enjoyment of watching such skill at work.The lightest of touches undertaken in milliseconds makes all the difference between success on the road and complete disaster.
Riders of horses in eventing, show-jumping or dressage have a similar set of skills, which you can observe in display at top level competitions. The lightest of ‘half-halts’ on the reins of a horse in order to hit the right stride to a ridiculously high fence. The smallest of leg aids, to tell a horse of a change of movement in a dressage test, the subtle shift of weight in the saddle across country to communicate a greater collection in anticipation of a bounce fence across country. Both rider and horse and rider and bike combinations are a partnership. In equestrianism it is understanding the psychology of the horse and how to work together to get the best results and in bikes it is understanding the engineering and how to get the most out of it. That is why I enjoy both past-times so much.
One day I look forward to visiting the TT.
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