Barry, I love reading your posts. As a devout western rider, I can see your place from the other side of the fence. Cori, especially, made very good points about the reasons to ride. I consider myself a 'happy hacker' even though I ride horses for a living, but I don't train with the intention of showing. My customers just want a horse that they can be comfortable riding and being 'happy hackers' themselves.
I also wanted to mention that the training methods generally seem to be very different as well. From my understanding, most English trained horses are ridden for months or years in the ring before ever going outside (and still more never
see the outside of a fence). However, from day 1, my horses are taught that relaxation is key. I let them carry their head wherever is comfortable for them providing that it isn't dragging the ground or placed squarely in my lap. I am always on a loose rein and the finesse and proper reaction to cues comes later in the training. I want them to be confident and relaxed before I ask them for much. In addition to that, most of my horses never see the inside of a ring. After the first few days of being ridden in a round pen, their training arena is the thousands of acres of land surrounding us. Very seldom do they get a nice, slow, short ride. For the first quite a little while, everywhere we go, we go at a long trot or a lope and it is very seldom under 5 miles that we travel. There are some days that I will spend 7 or 8 hours on a young horse working cattle. I have a feeling that me and your Didi would never get along LOL. I like a horse that I can walk up to in the pasture to catch them, throw my saddle on, step on and lope off with no warm up or shenanigans. This is my arena, this is my training ground and I wonder if maybe that has something to do with the difference in the horse's personality as well.
And though you have gotten an invitation from Kevin, I will throw mine out there as well. If you ever come to Texas again, swing by. I'm sure I've got a horse that will carry you
PS, we don't have such big spiders up in my area