Hello – Silence Speaks More – Kelly Adams here. Today we would like to discuss finding the right horse for the discipline you prefer. More importantly if you already have a horse finding the discipline that is right for your horse. First you must ask yourself some questions. It is very important that you answer this question honestly:
What am I interested in and what is my true skill level?
If you are interested in showing there are many disciplines: Western, Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, Reining, Driving, Competitive Trail, Endurance, Gaming and these are just to name a few.
If you like to work with cows there are also many disciplines: Roping, Cattle Penning, Working Cow, Ranch horse competitions, Cutting, and these are just to name a few.
Do not get us wrong, we have had a few horses that did everything and they did everything very well. We had a half Arabian gelding that competed and won in western pleasure, saddle seat, hunt seat, show hack, reining, side saddle, Arabian native costume, cow penning, and cutting. He was also our lesson horse and taught 100’s of people, young and old alike, the pleasures of horseback riding. He would walk on eggshells for a first time rider, and refuse to take a gait until he was asked properly by a more experienced rider.
Let’s look at them as if they were people. If you were to take a relaxed, easy going, non-competitive person and put them into a high pressure, fast paced job how do you think they would do? Would you be doing them justice or hurting them? If you were to take a person who loves to learn and push themselves to do their job better and faster and you always told them to slow down and held them back at everything that came easily to them would you be doing them a justice or hurting them? People and horses need to be encouraged to be what they truly are meant to be.
Each of us has something that we truly excel at, are happy doing, and feel that it gives our lives purpose. Some people call this soul purpose. Each of you has seen these people at work. The gifted athlete at the Olympic games, the craftsmen with their extreme talent with wood, iron, paints, music, computer programming, teachers, trainers, and educators. Each of these people has a skill they love and truly excel at. Horses are the same.
Why would you take a horse that loves to travel with his head up and with a long free flowing way of moving and make them a western horse? At the other end of the scale why would you take a horse that loves to travel slowly with his head down and make them a barrel racing horse? Many people come to us with problem horses – they go too fast, or too slow, won’t listen, fight when they are asked to do a job. They haul their horse to our barn and want us to fix their western horse. Out of the trailer steps a big hunter/jumper type horse. We take that same horse into the arena, start lounging him, and he has a natural hunt gait that would fit into any show ring and make most hunter/jumper or dressage owners green with envy. Think about this – Who really has the problem here?
Take a good hard look at your horses and see, not what you want them to do, but what the horse has the gift to do. If you are looking for a horse to buy spend time and decide what you want to do with that horse and find one that can accomplish the task. Closer to home look at your children and the gifts they have that you could encourage them to accomplish and excel at.
Maybe there isn’t a problem at all.
Thank you kindly for listening to this old Horseman.