Tuesday, May 3


There are nuances in foreign languages -- many subtleties. One must acquire the sophistication to understand the distinctions.

Horse sense in Sweden, for example, is not synonymous with common sense, as it is, say, in the United States. And that is just the starting point of where the language and customs of the two countries diverge, at least with respect to horsemanship. A further example: in the United States, our equestrians mount a horse from the side by placing a foot in the saddle's stirrup. Quite the contrary, equestrians in Sweden, particularly horsemen, have a pronounced fondness for the distaff side and prefer to mount fillies from behind with the use of a stool.

The "call to the post" means something entirely different in the U.S. (as will be in evidence at this coming Saturday's "Run For The Roses" in Louisville, KY) than it does in Sweden. Tack is hung in the tack room of the horse barn in the United States, while the hung are just plain tacky over in Sweden. American jockeys typically mount up in the paddock area; Swedes atypically jockey for position out in the pasture.

In our country, the horses wear leather and the jockeys wear silk. Over in Sweden, the jockeys wear leather and the horses wear silk. You whip a horse in the United States in order to make the horse run faster; you whip a horse in Sweden in order to make your heart run faster.

A stablemate is used in the United States to calm a thoroughbred; a stablemate is used in Sweden to arrouse a thoroughbred.

Quarterpole is a racetrack measurement in the United States; it is a pejorative term in Sweden.

"Horsing around" has a special meaning, as you might imagine, for Swedish men.

Colts are put out for stud here; studs go searching for mares there.

You walk a horse to cool it down in the United States; you walk a Swede to cool him down in Sweden.

If a thoroughbred is seriously hurt in the United States, it is put down. If a thoroughbred is seriously hurt in Sweden, the Swede is put out. And on and on the distinctions go. Interesting, isn't it, the variations?

Good news is that the Swedes have opted not to depart from the traditions of Greek and Roman mythology, for even in Sweden the men are inside the Trojan horse.