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The Right Horse

I follow Denny Emerson’s page for his Tamarack Hill Farm on Facebook. He tends to focus on a few topics at a time, and lately he has made several comments about riders who keep trying to work with the wrong horse. The horse is too spooky, not suited for their discipline of choice, not mentally sound, the horse may be too green for the rider, there can be any number of reasons why a horse and rider are a bad match. Denny’s comment today was “Trying to get a rider to give up the wrong horse is about as likely as expecting rational decision making from North Korea. It`s THE frustration for riding instructors all around the world, in the planetary system, and in outer space.” This comment certainly made me reflect on my history with my horses. I’ve been very privileged to have owned horses that were the perfect match for me. I’ve also owned, and refused to sell, horses that clearly were not a good match for me. In hindsight it is easy to see that both the horses in question and I would have all been happier if we had found new partners.

Sometimes it is hard to know if you are working with the wrong horse, or if you just need to change the program to make it work with a particular horse. Some would argue that working with the “wrong” horse makes you a better horse person and that these are the horses you learn the most from. Others would argue that you learn more by having a horse that is a good fit, that gives you confidence, and that allows you to simply have fun in this expensive and time consuming sport. I know that for where I am in my life right now I have decided any horse I intend to own and ride has to fit in my life. I have too much else going on to make my life fit around the horse. Some might consider this a harsh attitude, but I view it as simply being realistic given how overwhelmingly busy my life is these days. Where do you fall on this spectrum?

And on the subject of having the right horse, there are ample opportunities this weekend for viewing some amazing partnerships online. If you click here you can have your choice of live streams this weekend: The Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals and the Rolex FEI World Cup Showjumping Finals. Since I won’t have time to watch any of these this weekend I thought I would share the link and so someone else can annoy their spouse, significant other or roommate over the weekend. “You’re watching horse stuff again?” You can tell them it is my fault!


Asterik, Gus and George (Lotus is the bay horse hiding behind the greys)

Apollo, Hemi and Thomas

Africa and Sebastian

Snappy, Fabrizzio and Thor grazing in some morning fog

Chance, Elfin and Leo

Johnny, Wiz and Dutch

Tiny and Johnny


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