Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Common Interest

Some recent events got the wheels in my mind rolling and reminiscing about past conversations and observations. The topic I am speaking about is our common interest in horses, although we may study different disciplines. I like to think of myself as a well rounded horsewoman who has ridden just about most disciplines through the years. I love to view and study anything related to horses, hence the name of my blog. I am not a person who runs in certain circles and was never with the "In crowd". I certainly like to think that I am not judgemental of anyone or their actions unless of course it involves abuse to animal or human. I have noticed lately the animosity of fellow riders toward disciplines that may differ from theirs. Why??? I will relate a few not so pretty's then some of what I think is just plain good karma.

Recently I have attended some organized trail rides with lots of different age and gender groups as well as riding disciplines. I was privy to some conversations amongst folks that did not make much sense to me. Sitting around a table one evening listening I overheard the comments of folks complaining about all the gaited horses and how some trail rides were catering to them now. Huh? I mean seriously folks, this is still THANK GOD a free country and you are able to choose where you ride and who with. If a place does not suit you or your needs , move on. Anyway what exactly does that mean? How does one cater to gaited horses? I mean we all travel the same trails.....
Just recently I rode with two friend's in Buffalo river on gaited horses. True I did have to jog alot or they held their horse's back but we did cover the same ground.

Another interesting concept brought to my attention by good friend Tiffany who is a three day eventer is that people who ride English think all western riders wear glittery clothes and show western pleasure. I laughed out loud at that one. In fact last year at the Quarter Horse Congress when I exclaimed that the show clothes were in my opinion ridiculous and overpriced Tiffany was shocked. Her opinion was that if I rode western surely I must endorse it. In fact she was equally shocked that I did not want to view any of the classes going on at the show. When I told her that I could not condone the practices that trainers were using to show these days and the way the horses traveled so unnaturally she just stared at me.

When we were preparing for our trip to Buffalo River, Tiffany mentioned it to fellow riders while she was at a clinic. They expressed surprise that organized rides existed and were very interested in hearing about it. Is the concept of camping with your horse that foreign to the English riding community? I must say on a pleasant note that Tiffany was accepted with gracious attitudes into "Our" western world. In fact, she was the only person riding English at the trail ride and was complimented on her riding abilities over some pretty rough trails. Maybe, just maybe we can all find someway to share our common interest and get along in horsey harmony.

Here's hoping......
Happy trails.........


AnnL said...

Hi TRC -- I've been reading your blog for a while and figured it was time I said 'Hi'. I have enjoyed reading about you and your horses.

I ride English, dressage to be specific, and I agree that there are alot of pre-conceived notions about different disciplines within the horse world. I'm in Mass., and around here English riders outnumber Western. Just a couple of months ago, I met someone who does reining with her mare--this is the first Western rider I've met in 20+ years of riding. I have only seen reining on TV or in demos and read about it a bit and would love to see it and even try it someday. The horses seem amazing to me!

I have heard of overnight trail rides and camping with your horse, but I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to go about it! It's not at all common among English riders, though there are some that do it. I enjoy trailriding, but usually just a few hours. This old body would be pretty sore after all day in the saddle!

There are alot of English, and especially dressage, riders who rarely, if ever, go out on trail. I think that's really sad. While I can understand the fears, it's so good for the horse's mind and body to get out and do something other than going around the ring in endless circles. Plus, I think it really increases the horse/rider partnership and bond.

As for prejudices between disciplines, I think alot of that comes from unfamiliarity. All discplines have their unethical methods/trainers. Those are the ones we tend to hear about most, not the many good ones. So, unless we take time to learn or become more familiar with different discplines, we shouldn't be judging them. From the blogs I've been reading the past few months, I'ld have to say there are more similarities than differences. :-)

Ok, I've babbled on enough. I'll be interested to hear what others have to say.


P.S. BTW, I just started my own blog, check it out.

Pony Girl said...

TRC- good, thought-provoking post. I have to agree that sometimes these biases are annoying. I have heard them for years. Especially that Arabs are crazy and gaited horses are ugly. Anyway, I think as horse lovers we should all just learn to respect and appreciate each other, both or similarities and differences. And just because someone doesn't ride the same discipline or breed we do, doesn't mean we should criticize them or snub our noses at them. After all, the things that affect horse owners across the board (raising costs, overbreeding, slaughter, neglect) affect us all, regardless of what kind of saddle we use!

Gecko said...

I won't start on a rant because I know once I do start I won't be able to stop. But I will say this reminds me of when we had the EI outbreak, it wasn't fair game throughout the breeds and disciplines for the vaccine, the TBs were vaccinated first, then, and only then would they consider vaccinating 'others'.

Anonymous said...

I am preparing for a camping/trail riding trip right now. There will be 13 cousins and 9 horses, lots of games and hilarity, and some really great trails. But right now, i am up to my neck in "to-do lists", "to take lists", and lists to remind me to make more lists.

Jamie said...

I also encounter bias.
I ride gaited horses, most of my friends do also. We have friends who have QH and refuse to ride with us. They say - we can't keep up......well whatever....our horses walk also. And we would never - walk out and leave anyone or make their horses crazy for leaving them.

There is misconception in all breeds I think. I have some gaited friends who say they would never ride a trotting horse....well I beg to differ...I love a change every now and then. I owned QH's my entire life and also appy's. I love that every breed is different and love trying new breeds as well.
I think everyone is correct in saying that people hate what they don't understand. I guess that is in most things.
Love your post...