What a pleasant surprise to find your article on the horse-show world and the Crab-tree stable (Top Apple on the Crabtree
, Nov. 12). Robert Boyle did an excellent job of evoking the elegance and glow of a sport that has been sadly neglected over the years. As the daughter of Wisconsin saddle-horse enthusiasts, I grew up with daydreams of the show ring, and the name of Helen Crabtree was as familiar to me in my girlhood as that of Vince Lombardi was to my husband in his youth. The girls who were lucky enough to ride at the Crabtree stable and show in the championship classes had an aura of fairy-tale princesses.
PATRICIA CONDON OSWALL
I must comment on your coverage of the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden—or should I say the lack of it. First of all, an American record was set in the Puissance Stake by Sympatico at 7'4". Why was there no word of it? Why was there no picture of this feat? Secondly, four of the most outstanding equestrian teams in the world were in competition: Germany, England, Canada and the U.S. The performance by these international riders was the best that this country has seen in years. But again, not one word.
Ah, yes, Mr. Boyle did cover the Good Hands, and at the same time he managed to put down hunt-seat riders: "The hunt-seat boy or girl would think nothing of grooming a horse or mucking out a stall." To me, that is a refreshing change from the flashy, tacky, showy saddle-seaters.
Next year why not cover the entire show, not just part of it? Thousands of your readers would be interested in this tremendous sports event. In the meantime, I've got to go muck a few stalls.
My congratulations on the fine article by John Underwood (Oklahomans Call It Selmonizing, Nov. 12). The story of the Selmon brothers is a tribute to their coaches, their family and their fellow players. It points out that through determination and hard work success can be realized. And certainly determination has been shown by the Oklahoma team this year. Thanks for depicting what sports can do for men like Selmons and for others.
DANNY W. CORNISH
John Underwood told it like it is. Here in Oklahoma we think we have a national champion. Lucious, LeRoy and Dewey Selmon are the best linemen in the country.
Occasionally in reporting a sporting event you go far beyond your usual slick recitation of results accompanied by uniformly lavish and technically excellent illustrations. Ron Fimrite's outstanding account of last week's hair-raiser between Harvard and Penn (Well Played, Harvard, Summa cum Laude, Nov. 12) provides an example of this departure from norm.
Any reader could appreciate the sheer excitement of this game, the outcome of which was most uncertain for more than 58 minutes of play. More important, however, Fimrite gave the reader a clear picture of Ivy League football and its relative importance in the lives of players, coaches, administrators and fans.
As an enthusiastic Harvard alumnus and sometime athlete, I always savor the pleasures associated with supporting a winning team. But it is nice to be reasonably certain that those stimulating wins can still happen largely in the absence of intensive recruiting, dangling dollars and heavy-handed coaching. Fimrite's scholar-athletes are superb, and so are the Ivies.
WENDELL F. SMITH
Many thanks for Ron Fimrite's perfect analysis of the value of Ivy League football. The senseless attempts at comparing the caliber of play in the Ivies with that of the Big Ten or Big Fight, for example, have long obscured the fact that each week the Ivies offer their fans very stirring and unpredictable football. Even if neither team wins the Ivy League title, the Harvard-Penn game had to be a better spectator event than No. 1 Ohio State's 30-0 rout of Illinois. Thanks for putting it in the proper perspective.