The difference between being a good rider and being a horseman…
Let’s face it. Prejudice exists. We hear people categorizing people almost daily; solely on a characteristic. Prejudice also exists in the horse world. “I wouldn’t have an Arabian. They are all hyper idiots. Tennessee Walking Horses are the dumbest breed on the planet. American Saddlebreds are all high strung and flighty.
These prejudices keep good, solid horses from being adopted and therefore, dying horses from being rescued day after day.
Experiencing horseback riding on several different breeds expands a person’s horsemanship. Each breed has something to teach us. If you are only a good rider on a quarter horse or quarter horse type, than you are only a good rider, and Not a horseman.
So many times in the horse world I hear, I would never ride a….you fill in the blank.
The horse you see in the black and white photo taught so many children and adults to ride. He was the best horse in the barn to learn to canter on. He was steady in his pace and light in his cues and he was a pleasure to ride. All 16.1 hands of his American Saddlebred self, pictured with that 7 year old child who was riding him outside in a non fenced arena. The 7 year old who could tack him up all by herself, using a stool and learned to pick his feet, even though he jerked the front ones away from her.
A horseman judges a horses only on his individual merits and not on his color or breed. A horseman can work on fixing bad transitions on Any horse, not just a Warmblood or an Arabian or a Friesian.
A horseman learns to be reassuring to the unconfident horse, to be the leader to a dominant horse, to be light handed on a horse that gets upset under too much pressure. A horseman is constantly adding new tools to his/her toolbox. New ideas, new approaches, new levels of patience.
A horseman knows that learning in the horse world is Never, Ever finished. That Each horse has some little or big new thing to teach us. A horseman gives Each horse a chance to succeed and strives to set them up to do so.
Not Every horse is cut out to be an arena horse, or a show horse, or a trail horse, or a jumping horse, or a child’s horse. Just like humans, horses show a preference or a loathing for certain aspects of the equine world.
Do not limit yourself to only being a good rider. Strive to become a horseman and to grow every day that you are breathing that special smell.
And help us save more horses by judging our Rescues on their merits and not their breed.