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#92 - Equestrian

#92 – Equestrian

Equestrian
Price: Saddle sores/horsemeat scandals

If you are serious about being wealthy, one of life’s great pleasures is developing a sense of class that is far beyond that of the common man. This means enjoying activities like polo, croquet and collecting ascots. While nearly everyone has donned a cowboy hat and straddled a petting zoo pony or mounted a dude ranch work horse better named Gluestick than Silver, the truly wealthy do not consider these representative of a true equine aficionado. In fact, the rich consider anyone that wears blue jeans and a straw hat more likely to be proficient with a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow than a saddle and a bridle. Instead, one simply must own a proper collection of riding boots, flared riding pants and a helmet reminiscent of Marvin the Martian, if Marvin owned a Bentley.

While a trusted steed may elicit images of John Wayne, the Lone Ranger or Clint Eastwood, rich people know that only and elite few can exhibit the grace and elegance of an equestrian rider. The majesty of rider taming a well-papered beast and becoming one as they gracefully vault over obstacles in a race against time is akin to watching a an Italian mechanic tune a classic Ferrari…while it is moving. Equestrian may at first blush appear a frivolous pastime but one must move beyond the literal interpretation and realize it is in fact a metaphor for success as many wealthy patrons believe they have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps overcoming humble beginnings as trust fund children who did not see a penny until they turned 21 or until they narrowly graduated from an Ivy League college at a campus littered with buildings named after their forefathers.

As always, the challenge is not how to mock the frivolities of the wealthy but to embrace them as a means to gallop into the inner circle. Naturally, as with other stuff rich people love, there is a vocabulary to learn. Understanding that the obstacles are called verticals or fences and that the horse and rider are called jumpers is table stakes, so the ability to discuss the finer points of the sport becomes critical. I recommend intimating a knowledge of dressage or perhaps the cultural importance of the fox hunt as light-hearted means to inspire your host to wax poetic on their thoughts about warmblood and thoroughbred breeding or their leaning towards Badminton versus Burghley as the pinnacle of success. Some may suggest that sincerity and genuine interest are keys to winning friends and gaining influence. Others believe that rich people are much more inclined to appreciate a sycophant that feigns interest rather than engaging in meaningful dialogue. Perhaps it is why horses make such great team mates.

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#21  - Mint Juleps

#21 - Mint Juleps

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
Price: $1,000

All rich people love to drink. Give a rich person a stiff cocktail and a cigarette holder and they can stay out until dawn…of course they never do, it would be improper. Unlike the masses, rich people do not pick up a flat of Pabst Blue Ribbon or a bottle of Wild Turkey or loudly proclaim “it’s Miller time!” Instead, rich people tailor their drink of choice to the social gathering at hand. As an example, strawberries and champagne are lovely at Wimbledon, a Manhattan at The Campbell Apartment in New York will do, a Caesar (for our Canadian readers) or a Bloody Mary with brunch is quite civilized and perhaps the most famous, a Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby is a must have.

Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, serves over 120,000 mint juleps each year. While this delightful cocktail of crushed ice, bourbon and fresh mint sweetened with syrup may fit the bill for the common man, the rich prefer a more prestigious concoction of this historic favorite. Each year the Kentucky Derby crafts 50 special edition mint juleps available to their wealthiest patrons for $1,000 per drink. Imagine…crushed ice from the Arctic Circle sweetened with hand-ground sugar from the island Republic of Mauritius, fresh Moroccan mint and Kentucky bourbon blended and served in an engraved gold-plated mug and sipped through a sterling silver straw. Custom storage box and an embroidered silk handkerchief, designed by the makers of jockey silks, make this a must-have for any patron of the sport of kings. Of course the proceeds go to charity but that’s hardly the point is it?

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