Goodness knows, I like to win. I set goals and then attempt to achieve them and winning is a paramount goal. And, let's admit it, winning is fun. I don't think though that winning is all that matters. Horsemanship matters, ethics matter. In other words, how you achieve the win matters greatly. Too often, the welfare of the horse is forgotten or is not even considered. Could this be one of the reasons that membership in all breed organizations is down?
For me personally, becoming the best horseman I could be was what and still is what matters most. It is what I try to teach because horsemanship is not just about winning or even the techniques of training, it's about the whole wonderful subject of horses. But, I do not state this in a romantic sense, I've been working as a trainer most of my adult life and certainly have a very realistic view of horses. Dreamy visions of horses won't help anyone become a better horseman.
You see, horsemanship is part art and part craft. It is about understanding horse behavior and not just the obvious things. It is about the mechanics of the equipment we use and it is the need to understand form an function. Can a horse actually perform what you want it to do? And, all the other ancillary subjects are important also, such as feeding, shoeing, general care, overall health and soundness.
Horsemanship is trying to learn everything you can that pertains to your chosen equine activity. I'm continually learning more and more. I love to learn from other people in the business. Ultimately, everything you learn comes together and helps you win the big ones! See you next week, JD