Oh man if I had the money to do EVERY discipline (except cross country... Don't have the guts!) I would do it in a heart beat! I think as long as you have proper training in all of those areas, then it will make you a better rider in the long run. A friend of mine (my trainers daughter, been riding her whole life) went from horsemanship, to showmanship, to HUS, to hunt seat, back to the western and trail, to the hunters, back to the HUS, then to the hunters and HUS/HSE, and now she's doing both the HUS and HSE on one horse and reining on another, THEN barrel racing/roping/all the rodeo events on another. Honestly, she's a fantastic rider.
I say stick it to the man and follow your dreams! Good luck to you :)!!
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This year I'm thinking about trying low level cross country, to put it nicely I'm a little nervous taking my spazzy little 14.3hh Appy mare.
Oh wow she's done everything!
If you can ride your barrel horses with the same finesse and discipline as you do with your dressage horses, it will make you a better horsemen and you'll always have better horses. If you can sit a hard rate and turn on a good barrel horse, it will make the jumping seem easier, even if a horse refuses.
Every moment you spend on a horse, if you are attentive to what you are doing, will make you a better rider. How many strict dressage riders do you think could go and successfully run a barrel pattern, even on a made horse? How many of those yank-n-kick barrel racers would be able to ride a dressage horse of any caliber?
I train all my barrel horses with basic dressage and make sure they "keep they're heads". I went to a barrel show last year and was warming up and one of the riders said "this isn't a dressage show" as her and her high headed hot horse cantered by. I almost died laughing after I beat her and saw her face.
I know what you mean with the barrel racers; I just want to say "get off your horses d*mn mouth and he might run better!"
Let'a see....dressage, WP, hunter, a little jumping to keep it interesting and cow sorting all on the same horse only makes me and my horse better! Keeps his mind sharp.
I do the same with all my horses but only compete in one discipline or they'd have a show every weekend in a different discipline. My last barrel mare could jump 4ft perfectly but didn't really have the "heart" like she did with barrels.