Olympic equestrian fever doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, anytime. It’s like swine flu, but worse.
The Olympic bug bites us all every four years, and we suffer some weird symptoms as a result. Maybe you’ve noticed that you’re spending far more time than is healthy glued to the TV? That’s ok…rest and relaxation is the best way to cope with a highly infectious bug anyway!
So what are some signs that you’ve well and truly become a victim of the notorious Olympic Equestrian Fever?
You nonchalantly say to your friends or partner over dinner ‘So I was watching…’ and they interject with ‘- the Dressage?’ or ‘– the Jumping?’ Whether they respond in a bored and sarcastic manner or an excited one depends on whether they too have been bitten by the bug or whether they’ve somehow remained immune. If they’re particularly disinterested in horses they might even opt for ‘the horse stuff? AGAIN?’
You don’t normally follow Burghley, Badminton, any World Championships or Europeans, or even the World Equestrian Games….but you have accumulated a wealth of knowledge on the various teams and individual riders across all disciplines, as well as their backgrounds and previous competition records.
You can recite who has won what so far, and you know exactly what events are on and at what time. You’ve probably got all your live streams sorted for the show jumping, and you definitely recorded the musical freestyle if you were at work. That is, if you weren’t secretly watching it on your laptop during your meeting.
Weekend plans have been all but abandoned. Those that remain are organised around the equestrian events. Depending on your time zone, your friends might have noticed a distinct lack of your presence at drinks, and a sudden increase in your suggestion of ‘how about breakfast instead?’ when they do try to tempt you out in the evening.
So if you’ve backed out of drinks or dinner with ‘No, sorry, I’ve got plans this Saturday’ whilst failing to mention that your plans involve the couch and your Rio coverage, you’ve definitely got Olympic fever. No need to be ashamed.
After all, time with Ludger Beerbaum is never time wasted.
You’re developing a strong sense of support for riders that aren’t even from your home country. Like a true sufferer of Equestrian Olympic Fever, you’ve unearthed a bizarre love for Mark Todd, Charlotte Dujardin and the entire Brazilian Jumping team. Never mind that you’re German or American. That doesn’t matter anymore.
I mean, if your home nation can’t win the Jumping, it damn well better be the Brazilians. And sure, as an Australian you normally hate the Kiwis…but you were rooting for Toddy the entire way round. And unless you’re German, we know you were probably cheering on Charlotte and the beautiful Valegro too, even if you yell slurs at the Brits during every other sport you’ve ever watched. This Olympic Fever does funny things to you.
You may even have started dreaming in horse. Legend has it that “the fever” causes women to angrily wake up their snoring husbands in the middle of the night because the noise is interfering with the winning Musical Kur they’ve been watching in their dreams. Not that we’re speaking from experience or anything.
So what are you to do about all this out-of-character behaviour? Share stories with other sufferers, infect everyone you come into contact with and then sit back, relax, and enjoy every moment. No worries, you’ll be back to your normal self after the fever has broken.
Text by Sophie Baker