What is the perfect horse? I think it differs between every person. Your perfect horse may be a short, squat ranch gelding that has been there, done that. He could be any color with a thin tail and a long face and you’d love him just as the person next to you might love her lofty-legged, bay mare that carries multiple world titles. It is different for every person. This idea of the perfect horse and the best way to make the perfect horse can cause a little animosity among the disciplines and even among trainers and riders of the same discipline.
If we take a step back from our pursuit of trying to make your best horse, my best horse, we might be able to open our worlds for the better. Lets go back to the ranch horse versus world title horse. The world title horse was most likely bred for its movement and trainability, where as the ranch horse has the build to go all day and to be as docile as a kitten. Each horse has attributes that will appeal to different people. Likewise, they will probably be rode in very different styles. However, if we are able to open our world to learning something from each other, we might be able to improve upon those areas of the perfect horse that we “tolerate”.
The English versus Western dispute will probably never be totally resolved, that’s just the cold hard truth of the industry. However, I feel that we continue to grow as an industry and we continue to learn from each other regardless of discipline. Everyone involved with horses has their idea of the perfect horse, and the “correct” way of doing things. But never get so stuck in your ways that you are not open to learning new techniques or at least listening to what another horsemen has to say without judgment. Unless the other person is causing undue injury or stress to the horse, be open to new experiences and new ways of doing things. You never know, you might be able to make the perfect horse that much better.
Personally, I learned from many different instructors growing up with a variety of backgrounds. Later on in life, when I attended The University of Findlay, they have a team of instructors that each approaches the same problem different ways to give you the tools to succeed. I feel that this approach should be one we all use in the horse industry, just because we feel our way is the best way, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be open to learning how others do things. It makes us better-rounded horsemen and better suited to handle any situation that is thrown our way.
May 10, 2016