Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Whispered And My Horse Won't Stop Laughing...

..Is the name of an essay I intend to write someday. It's the chronicle of going to a clinic of a big name Guru, spending hard earned money on overpriced (but necessary to make it work) gadgets, then learning that I Shouldn't Have Tried This At Home.
I think every frustrated horse owner has at some point fallen under the spell of a Big Name Trainer (or BNT) at some point. They make it look so easy. Check out the crowds at Equine Affaire. Spend a couple of grand on some crap and a DVD or two and you're all set. I've seen more than a few people hang up their shingle and call themselves horse whisperers.
I actually considered applying to have Princess Pout be a demo horse. But he didn't meet the age and training requirements.
WTF is up with that? Isn't that the point of these demos?
I don't have the kind of money to clinic with my horse. I don't even have the extra to send one out and have him magically fixed. What I can afford is a mobile trainer who helps me fix it. The time and sweat I put into it is my own.
My first horse as a kid was a magical bombproof do anything kind of horse. Although he dumped me a few times, he was otherwise a perfect babysitter. Since then, I've ended up with the sad and the dysfunctional, the ones at the end of the line, destined for either my place or the meat truck. I found too many trainers who weren't interested-there was no way me or my horse could easily sparkle in the show ring.

Which was when I learned that finding a trainer for a problem horse separates the women from the girls.

I've been fortunate in my life that the right person to help me with my horses has popped up at just the right time. Their styles and techniques have all been different, but when they were done with me, I was a better rider, which made my horse a better horse.

For all the glitz and glamor in the show ring, there are thousands more who just want to get on and ride, to be the best rider they can be and have a good time with their horse.  Beyond the loud music and smoke and mirrors are the local trainers. The ones who teach us to develop a good seat and light hands. The ones who always have hay in their hair and are covered in a layer of arena dirt. They may never teach a horse to capriole, but they go the extra mile to make sure that the horses they train stand tied quietly, pick up all four feet when asked, and are safe for beginners. They shine with pride at our accomplishments and comfort us when we're frustrated. They push us to go forward and don't let us quit. No matter how much time has passed, every time we swing a leg over and settle into that saddle, we take them with us.

These are the true unsung heroes of the horse world. They don't do it for the spotlight, they do it for the love of the sport, to pass along the passion to others who love horses as much as they do. They knew their chosen career path would be hard, but the passion gave them the drive to sacrifice the expensive trappings of possessions to spend time with horses, and all that go with it.

Thanksgiving is the time to count our blessings. I'm going to make sure I count all of the wonderful horse people I've had in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!!