Sunday, March 18, 2012

Judging Differences

     When you're looking at different breeds of horses at an open horse show, with all horses doing the same thing such as Western Pleasure in an all-breed class, it's important to understand the breed standards for each type of horse. This means looking for the horse that exhibits the ideal for its breed. Is it appropriate or not? Then you must look for the horse that is the best example of its breed that is also performing to the specifications for that class. Hopefully, it goes without saying that when choosing the "best" horse, one also looks at movement and overall quality.
     I think this takes horsemanship, experience and a willingness to be open minded. The so-called breed prejudice is detrimental to all concerned but mostly to the one doing the evaluating. We can so easily hurt our own reputations but most importantly we can hurt the horse world. It seems to me that horse people are crying out for fairness from each other. Our prejudices can negatively affect many people who may be considering becoming involved with horses or perhaps who are looking for a new horse to buy, or just for a "change".
     I must confess I am not knowledgeable about all breeds and all the different things one can do with them. For example, I know very little about driving horses, but in all honesty, I always make my limitations known when asked my opinion.
     Perhaps a true story will make my meaning more clear.  A few years ago I took a really nice horse to Canadian Nationals (VP Midnitestranger +//).  He was a good looking, good moving Trail horse, short coupled, 15 hands and screamed “western”.  When we were schooling him for his upcoming classes, a very well known and highly respected English trainer came up to us and told us how much she loved this little working horse.  She even told people who were riding around us how much she liked this horse.  Now this guy is the complete opposite of what she is so famous for training, but being the great horseman she is, she could appreciate him for what he was.  I have always appreciated that trainer’s comments and it is one of my stand-out memories from that horseshow.  See you next week.  JD

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