Here and There on the Turf: Royalty and Horsemanship Why the Prince Falls off. Danger and Popularity. Law That Cant be Repealed, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-27


view raw text

Here and There on the Turf Royalty and Horsemanship. Why the Prince Falls Off. Danger and Popularity. Law that Cant Be Repealed. An enterprising young newspaper woman visited the offices of Daily Racing Form the other day in search of information as to whj the Prince of Wales is constantly falling off his horse. It was close to press time when she called and it is to be feared that ihe found out littls about the subject. This question has been milling around in the mind of the writer during moments of leisure ever since. Why does the Prince of Wales, heir to the throne and titles of George V., king of Great Britain and Ireland, emperor of India, etc., etc., continue to fall off his horse at regular and irregular intervals. But no satisfactory answer has been found. Probably the prince docs not fall off his horse any oftener than most other amateur riders oyer the jumps, but he is so much of a public figure, in spite of the fact that royalty generally has fallen upon evil days, that each tumble from the saddle is news of international report. Many great sportsmen have occupied the throne of England, but during the last century or two, at least, it has become rather rare for royally to run the risks that are entailed by riding hunters and thoroughbreds over the jumps. A hunting country is not carefully groomed by a track superintendent and his force, as is a regular steeplechase course. Then; are gopher and rabbit holes and all sorts of hummocks and depressions screened by long grass and underbrush waiting to catch the unwary. When a horse stumbles, the rider, in nine cases out of ten, will leave the saddle rather unceremoniously. There is nothing about royalty which can defy the operation of natural laws, as old King Canute once discovered when he bade the tide to halt. When a horse stumbles badly, the rider, even though he be of royal blood, is likely to lose his equilibrium. Nothing will save him from a tumble then, exespt unusual dexterity and skill in the saddle. A professional steeplechase jockey usually spends a number of years learning how to ride. During this period he is likely to suffer all sorts of fal!s and tumbles and it is quite likely that he may spend some months in a hospital as well. The Prince of Wales does not attack his equestrian ventures so intensively. In addition to his official duties, public appearances, Fpccches and such activities, he seeks diversion in many fields. Riding and hunting are only a part, and a small part comparatively, of his life. It is inconceivable that under thc-c conditions he should have attained the proficiency of a professional rider. The fact that the prince continues to ride horses in spite of his plain and fancy tumbles is probably responsible for a considerable amount of his popularity. The public everywhere likes to see a person coming back after an acc;d:nt instead of deciding not to indulge in that form of amusement any more because of a mishap. The prince apparently is not concerned at the loss of royal dignity which is entailed by an! unexpected fall. His spirit fits in well with j the spirit of the times. He realizes, no doubt, j that royalty is not nearly so impressive nor J important as it once was. He realizes also that personal popularity is just as important for a reigning monarch or an heir apparent nowadays as his hereditary rights and titles. Racing is a universal sport in England. Almost every person, regardless of his position in life, is interested in the turf. The racing results are a vitally important part of the news in England and there is much wider interest in amateur racing there than in this country. The Prince of Wales would be before the public eye constantly even, without his tumbles from the saddle, but his love for horses and his ambition to ride them in competition keep him even more constantly in the news. After all, why he falls off his horse so often is not nearly so important as the fact that he does. That broken royal collar bone attained almost as much prominence in the American newspapers as the contemporary oil scandal. The fact that the prince has recovered from his injury and is ready to resume I his riding career at the earliest opportunity is also important from a news standpoint. It is not without the range of possibility that some of the more conservative officials in England will make an effort soon to put a stop to these falls, but the prince is not of the type who will surrender his amusements without a battle. The only way to keep the prince from falling off his horse occasionally would be to keep him out of the saddle altogether. That might result in a decrease in his personal popularity, which, after all, is extremely important in these days of labor governments in England. The young newspaper woman who came to Daily Racing Form for information about the reasons for the frequent tumbles of the prince will probably learn as much from this discussion of this subject as she did from the rather incoherent attempts made at the time to answer her queries. There are no books which describe in detail the exact scientific principles on which such mishaps are based. The law of gravity cannot be defied. A human being on a horse will remain in that position until a loss of equilibrium brings the law of -gravity into operation. And regardless of the great activities of the congress of the United States and the various legislatures in passing new laws and repealing eld ones, there is not a chance in the world for even the British parliament to repeal the law of gravity. As a matter of fact, that law is likely to last longer than the eighteenth amendment.

Persistent Link:
Local Identifier: drf1924022701_2_3
Library of Congress Record: