I guess since I did a least favorite one I need to do a favorite one too. I don't really have a favorite but I really like reined cowhorse (that is what it's called right? the one with the herd work, reining, and cutting?) and speed events at rodeos.
I love anything that involves horses working cattle and reining. Nothing rides as good as a properly trained reiner to me, so I'm spoiled and opinionated about that. Right now my interests are Team Roping, Ranch Versatility, Ranch Rodeo and a newer event called One Man Doctoring which I hope takes off here in Texas because it is real deal cowboy stuff and a lot of fun.
Other than Polo which I've mentioned in another thread, something I've always wanted to try is Camp Drafting which looks like a lot of fun. I need more time for all the things I want to do!
Dressage, for sure. I am not particularly good at it but it just captures my attention like nothing else.
I don’t particularly enjoy watching most high level dressage. To me it looks unnatural, unnecessary and . I love watching Valegro because he looks like a very useful horse who works with his rider, not just throwing his knees around his ears for the marks. I am not sure what exactly is it about him that makes him look completely relaxed, most other high level dressage horses give me an impression that they are highly stressed.
I prefer watching mid level dressage horses in their home environments, being schooled without pressure. Most instructional videos are like that so that’s where I get my pointers from and what I am aiming for.
My horse is nowhere close to a dressage horse, she’s a farm mutt. But we still have a lot of fun doing dressage even if we don’t look particularly amazing doing it.
Dressage. I like that dressage gives me the tools to apply to different horses, and I enjoy the challenge it poses in the technical aspect of it.
When I was younger, I was all about the excitement of jumping. I found dressage to be boring, initially. Then, my first horse came into my life and we did a lot of flatwork (western barn). Later on, I started up lessons with a dressage trainer and things started to click. I loved how dressage could make a rider and horse so in tune with each other, and refine signals to something so small. How it can make riding seem and feel so easy. I was also continuing lessons at another barn during this time where I had the opportunity to ride different horses. I liked being able to apply different methods I learned, alter how I use them, and figure each horse out.
I'm also a big nerd on the theory in dressage and love reading about equitation, application of aids, movements, training methods etc.
I also really appreciate the history of dressage and personally find it very cool how it was originally created to train horses for war.
It's dressage for me! Always trying to be a better rider and advocate for your horse. I love the tradition and discipline behind it. Being quiet in the saddle and with your aids and truly developing a partnership with your horse.
Endurance riding, Working Equitation and driving(marathon, dressage etc). I can't pick one over the other, sorry :'D
There is nothing bringing horse and rider together like endurance riding. You also see places you'd otherwise probably would have never seen which is nice. On top of what, the amount of health-checks compared to other disciplines is insane and I love it. It clearly isn't enough on an international stage (looking at you arab paninsula...), but much better than anywhere else.
I also love that you get punished when you ride too fast and that whips and spurs aren't allowed(not against them in the slightest, I use spurs myself I just see no reason for them in an endurance ride besides abusing them) and that you can't start competing in the lowest class before the horses turn 5. Overall very horse-friendly rules that I wish would influence other disciplines.
Driving is great for teaching horses confidence. Often nervous horses get their confidence from their rider, or the person standing next to them, they feel that someone is there who can take insecurities or even fear away(to some degree at least). All of that is gone when driving, the horse needs to be confident in itself to walk ahead. They both need to be relaxed and have a powerful will to move forward no matter what. I've only had draft horses in front of a carriage and the power you feel when they simply start to walk is already great, not to mention when you really speed up. And marathon driving is just insanely great, never did it myself but love, love watching it. I also love how inclusive it is, which is even shown on the highest levels at the world equestrian games. You find everything from the average sporthorse to iberian and baroque breeds and on high national levels even ponies such as Haflinger. Also the people on shows are often nicer than other equestrians from what I've experienced. No one will look down upon people with ponies. No one will tell you to "get a real horse". It's just an overall nice atmosphere, additionally to always having to work in a team of at least 2 people, because you should never drive alone(and are not allowed to drive alone on shows).
Working Equitation is basically eventing but for working horses and people. It asks much of horses and their riders, as it has dressage, trail(2 different kinds, one for speed and one solely for correctness) and cowwork(similar to team penning). Naturally iberian horses and some Quarter Horses excell, but you can compete with any horse or pony, short backs help for the speed-trails, but for anything else it doesn't really matter.
I like that you can use almost any style of gear, even traditional cowboy gear is allowed as it is western is a "working discipline", and at least here in Belgium and the original rulebook (they, for whatever reason scrapped this in Germany) they allow bitless gear up to the 2nd highest class. The highest class is ridden one-handed on a bit.
Reining western (I like the horse to be reining trained and not pleasure.) Because those horses are allowed to relax, the bond between horse and rider is better (compared to English riding schools in my country, the western coaches emphasize trust in your horse and a good bond and I like that.). They listen to voice commands, they all have a good 'halt' on them and western saddles don't hurt me as much as english ones do. I also like the look of western tack and I like sturdy muscular breeds like a thick muscled quarter.