Just a Trail Horse - Discussion.
I know there was, years ago, a thread about people who look down on trail horses, but it's probably going on two or three years ago it was used.
What made me want to start this one is a couple/three weeks ago, I was camped out vending tack at a friend's rodeo for three days. A local woman who is a trainer and horse trader, but known for her old school cowboy methods, decided to hang out at 'camp' with me for a while. I have mixed emotions about her - I want to like her, and yet something about her starts to genuinely tick me off, but that's a different story.
Anyway. She had brought a nice looking palomino gelding out just to have around the rodeo and for the kids that help me to ride him around to get some rust off him.
While drinking our beers and kicking around horse talk, she gestured to him where he was tied at her trailer.
"He ain't nothing fancy, ain't worth much. He's just a trail horse some trail riders sold me."
Now, she's dealing with a different caliber of horse, usually. She's usually dealing with rodeo athletes, not trail horses, I get that. And yes, there's a whole other level of skill and ability to the horses she usually trades in.
But the way she said it grated on me.
I've seen barrel horses that couldn't mentally cope with the terrain we ride, with the closeness of the woods, the narrow trails, the shadows and imaginary boogers. Lord have mercy if hogs ran out in front of some of these 'athletes'. I've known people who had perfectly good, excellent roping horses... that would blow in two in an open field or would nut out at a creek they didn't want to cross.
I've known a lot of these athletes that their rider couldn't trust them as far as they could throw them.
I held my peace, but I for one wouldn't take for my 'nothing fancy broke about them' horses. Personally, I think there's something very fancy about hopping over a fallen tree, recovering from a trip into a rabbit hole, trotting through a creek, or kicking it into 4wd and going off roading. I think there's something incredibly fancy about dropping down a 20ft tall creek bank at a steep angle, and riding it out flawlessly and imagining, for just a second, you were on Jim's Ride (Man from Snowy River). I think there's something terribly fancy about a horse that stops on the trail and watches a sounder of wild hogs tear across our path - and doesn't lose his or her mind but stays motionless and rock solid (Trigger), or wants you to let her run them down (Gina).
I think there's something terribly fancy about a Welsh/Quarter horse cross pony that at the age of 3, is willing to go anywhere you point her one day, and drag a downed cow up into the stock trailer the next on the first try.
I think there's something very special about a good trail horse and the trust you develop in one another. And - they are, in my opinion and in their own right, true athletes.
They must have endurance, agility, nerves of steel, be willing and eager to go, and have a strong sense of self-preservation so they don't get you in trouble, so you don't get THEM in trouble, and you have to trust one another, rely on one another, and be kind to one another.
I'll take Trigger, Gina, or Oops, and in his day, Superman, over some of that chick's 'fancy broke' horses any day.
PS - I'm not besmirching horses in other disciplines at ALL. There's a horse and a discipline for almost anyone. It just gets old to hear people dismiss a fine redneck equitation horse.
"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."