Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How important is your relationship?

For me, the connection between horse and rider is everything. If I don't click with my horse, it isn't even worth having one because it takes all the enjoyment right out of it. I suppose there are a million people who would dispute that, and they wouldn't necessarily be wrong. I think it boils down to why you have horses in the first place.

To some people, mainly avid competitors, horses are a means to an end. They need horses to compete in the sports they enjoy, and that's as far as it goes. They don't need to "get along with" their horse in order to love equestrian activities. I'm not saying they mistreat their animals- far from it. But they have little to no emotional attachment to them. It's a business relationship, so to speak.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the people who covet their horses' affection above anything else. To Hell with the glory of being a successful competitor or winning a case full of rosettes if it's done with a horse that you don't connect with. It doesn't matter how athletic or well trained the horse is if your personalities clash, it's just not fun.

And I'm sure there are gray areas in between the two.

I would fall under the second category. I value my horses not because they're expensive investments, but because they're my companions. If my horses aren't happy and we don't enjoy each other's company, what's the point of having them? I don't want a horse that I feel detached from, or one that wants nothing to do with me. Again, what would be the point?

My old BO offered to let me show Harley, her Quarter Horse, but I turned it down. I don't really like that horse and he doesn't care for me, either. Granted, he's much more docile and easier to ride than Victor. But he's not my Victor. It wouldn't have meant anything. And it has nothing to do with familiarity, because I've know Harley a lot longer than I've known Victor.

And it doesn't necessarily have to be your own horse that you click with. Reba and I were two peas in a pod. =)

So tell me, do you value a purely athletic and successful horse, or one that is more of a good friend? Or are you somewhere in between?

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