IN THE HORSE WORLD AS A DRESSAGE RIDER AND FORMER resident of Warrenton, I was amused by Robert Day's article about horse country and "The Hunt" {"A Horse Is a Horse," April 29}. Day was woefully misled, though, when he accepted his host's statement that dressage was an offshoot of fox hunting.

Dressage has classical roots. Xenophon wrote of its theory and practice in the 4th century B.C. In post-Renaissance and early modern Europe, dressage was the pursuit of continental nobility while the relative upstart, fox hunting, was just becoming popular in the British Isles. Saying that dressage derives from fox hunting illustrates the peculiar British ethnocentrism that lives on in the host and others in the little world of fox hunting.

Way out here in the horse world, we dressage riders applaud this clever piece of characterization by Mr. Day, secure in the knowledge that the reading public will be unswayed by the host's uninformed comments about our noble sport. And it doesn't bother me that he thinks mostly girls ride dressage. Really. Honest. JOSEPH F. DAVIS JR. Blacksburg, Va.

RE "A HORSE IS A HORSE" -- OSCAR WILDE said it best: Fox hunting is "the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable." JOAN D. ALBERT Silver Spring

THE KENNEDY CONUNDRUM

YOUR 8,000-WORD REPORT ON SEN. Edward Kennedy {"The Once and Future Kennedy," April 29} allocated 13 words to Sen. Kennedy's television interview with Roger Mudd in 1980. You suggest that Sen. Kennedy's inability to respond to Roger Mudd's questions was because Sen. Kennedy is frightfully inarticulate. I saw that interview. In response to Mudd's question "Why do you want to be president?," Sen. Kennedy was painfully inarticulate. But how he failed to anticipate such an obvious question and failed to prepare an appropriate response can hardly be ascribed to just being inarticulate. ALLEN C. BUCK Rockville

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY'S INTEREST IN keeping a military band at Fort Devens, Mass., seems to be a conflict between what his ideology is and what the senator is doing about it.

The senator is only interested in providing thousands of jobs to his constituents that will get him reelected, rather than working for peace as a true liberal would. Sen. Kennedy called for $139 billion in defense cuts, yet he declined to cut money for the Army's Hawk surface-to-air missile, a weapon of mass destruction that is produced in his home state. MICHAEL YARED Bethesda

VALUES KNOW NO BOUNDARIES

IN RICHARD COHEN'S ARTICLE ABOUT his grandfather's attempt to abandon his family {Critic at Large, April 29}, I was surprised to read "we smugly middle-class Americans think such behavior is typical of 'them.' " Men have been leaving their families since the beginning of time. As for money buying values, we need only look at Donald Trump, Ted Kennedy and a host of others to see that it isn't so. LESA YEAGER Laurel

I MUST ACKNOWLEDGE RICHARD Cohen's courage in revealing his family secret. Perhaps it was comforting, Mr. Cohen, to rationalize your grandfather's action as being that of a victim of poverty. Perhaps it is only human, though, to have more sympathy for your grandmother's situation.

You said values can cost a pretty penny. But regardless of income, stresses and distractions can lead to compromises in the values that would keep us all from hurting each other. We can all afford values. They don't cost a dime. N.A. MAKRIS Sandy Spring

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