Tuesday on “The Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert set out to prove that dressage — which has gotten an unusual amount of attention this year, thanks to Ann Romney — is not, as its critics claim, an elitist hobby but rather “the sport of Joe Six Pack.”
In a two-part field segment, Colbert visited Michael Barisone, coach of the U.S. Equestrian team and set out to learn the basics of dressage — a.k.a. “horse ballet.” Colbert’s goal? Master the basics of the sport, including a movement known as the piaffe, in the span of a brief 20-minute lesson. If Colbert was able to meet these requirements, then Barisone promised to award him with one of his sparkly tiaras.
Despite a crippling fear that his horse, Conchita, would kick his skull off his shoulders, Colbert suited up and, as he put it, “prepared to mount my lady.” There were some bumps along the way, including a very unscripted moment when Conchita bucked unexpectedly, causing Colbert to “piaffe” a little in his pants (“I might need a towel,” he said.) But in the end, the host triumphed and the tiara was his. Bravo!
As to whether Colbert convinced anyone that dressage is not merely the pastime of the super-wealthy — well, that's certainly subject to debate.