Thursday, June 21, 2012

Many Ways to Skin a Cat

Or ride a horse....

So, as I sorted through my deluge of horse related magazines that happened to come in the mail yesterday (fortunately for me, since we were also experiencing a deluge of rain... 2" worth) I got to thinking... There is a horse sport out there for everyone. And each one of us thinks our sport is the best, or at least better than whatever your sport is (I feel like this sentiment should include the 'sticking tongue out' emoticon, however I refuse to add emoticons to this blog. Standards, people, standards)
Standards. I have them.
Of course the myriad of horse related publications I get would probably lead a person to believe that I have no focus whatsoever in my equestrian pursuits. Horse & Rider plays to the western/breed/open show crew, Practical Horseman caters to the hunter/jumper crowd with the occasional nod to us dressage enthusiasts, Equus keeps me paranoid about what possible diseases my horses are exposed to and Dressage Today makes me feel at home.

Sure, I may not see any allure of the western pleasure world (except for the sparkles. I want that), but someone must. The sloooooow shuffle-y gaits aren't my thing, but there are many-a middle aged lady who wants to sit and pose up on a slow safe horse, swathed in rhinestones. More power to them. Just stop wrecking the HUS classes by throwing english tack on western horses. I'll be shocked to my very core (in a good way) if I see a cross over with any suspension.
All hunters can do second level...
Moving on to the hunter/jumper world. Yes, I am aware that hunters are not jumpers and the two just happen to coincide at the same shows. Hunter =/= Jumper. Check. The hunters hop over fences on their quiet-to-the-point-of-zombie-horses while jumpers are pretty much the fast and furious of the horse world over some major speed bumps. I used to think that maybe it would be fun to dabble in the H/J world... until I saw the horse and rider combos at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX. 90% of the riders used the wall to turn and stop and there was not a single horse working straight through the bridle. Outside rein is there for a reason, people! I will say that when any sort of jumping goes wrong, there are some great pictures/videos. I mean, watch a dressage test go wrong and you'll hear "oh, yeah, she sure was late in that change wasn't she?"... a bad jump is more along the lines of "WIPE OUT!" Much more entertaining.

Eventers? You people scare me. There is no way that I would want to run my horses at solid obstacles and not squeal like a little girl. Kudos to you guys, but your on your own. I will be staying in my sand box.
To finish is to win... or is that endurance?

Moral of this story, I like my sand box. Sure this level of attention to details isn't for everyone, but is there really any more satisfying feeling than the controlled power of a dressage horse really through the back and on the bit? The unfortunate side is that watching horses go around the ring with a stiff jaw or those who have taught a 'frame' via draw reins or a training fork (we can tell... Really, you're not fooling anyone the way your horse is backed off the bit) is really annoying.

Moral of this story: There's a horse sport for everyone.

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