Good Rider or Good Horse? *Rant*
At my barn, there is a girl who bought one of the lesson ponies a few years back. This pony was super and any one who rode her would win (in eventing) by a mile. Since the girl got this horse, she won everything everywhere. At the barn, and around our area, she is known as an amazing rider who's won it all. When she moved up to training level, it was pushing the horse's ability and they started getting third and fourth. Coincidentally, this is when the girl decided she wanted a new horse because hers wasn't winning any more. Her mom bought her a $30,000 horse who'd proven himself up to the 2* level and was now being used as a schoolmaster. I got my new horse around this time, too. My older horse was having major stifle problems and vet said no more jumping. My new horse is a 4yo TB mare, off the track for a year. About 3 weeks after we got our new horses, we were riding together and decided to play pony swap. I got on the schoolmaster who went in the nicest frame just picking up the reins, and she got on my mare who likes to be ridden like a 2x4. 10 minutes on my mare and the girl got off. She handed the reins to me and told me that I my horse was out of control and wild. My horse, being a TB, DOES like to go a little faster than other horses. I've had to work through rearing, bucking and galloping with this horse just to get her to beginner novice level dressage and behave nicely. When this girl rode my horse, the horse didn't spook or behave badly at all. The rider didn't get her bending or supple and just got very nervous (IMO). The "amazing rider" got scared riding a horse that trotted too fast.. really -__-
The point of this rant is that people are quick to assume that the person who wins is the best rider, but in reality, that person may just have everything handed to them. I'm not saying that all winners are not good riders, because I'm sure there are people who win that worked hard for it. And I'm not saying that winning at shows is the only way to prove you're a good rider. I'm just saying that it really gets under my skin when people jump to conclusions. I'm not jealous of the fact that she gets everything handed to her because her family has the money to do so, because I like the satisfaction I get when hard work pays off. I am a little jealous of the opportunities that she gets such as lessons with high level eventers and any show she wants to go to. Mostly, I would just like it if people gave credit where credit is due. 99% of the pair is the horse, not the rider. It's a great horse, and a rider that can stay on and remember the course...
I know that when you start comparing yourself to other horses and riders, you get to be in a danger zone. The days when I get on and have to work through a stubborn, resistant horse to get to the good, are the days when I look over at this other horse that is perfect from the get go and think "if only..". In the end, seeing this horse inspires me to work harder, "One day, I will be able to get on and my horse will look like that". Whether or not it's true, oh well, it gets me through the rough days. At the end of the week, my horse is always going to be 10x better than when I got her, so there's always that.