There are probably plenty of you out there who got started in the horse industry like I did – showing horses as a kid. Back in those days, horses were all-around horses. I had one horse and he did everything – halter, showmanship, English, Western, trail and I believe we even made one embarrassing attempt at reining. At 4-H shows, we even did the fun classes – the dollar bill class, the keyhole boot race, barrels, and egg and spoon. There was no performance halter, no ranch horse pleasure, no Select Amateur and no American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Horseback Riding Progam.
Near the end of my youth career, I would often swap places at the top of classes with one other gal. My horse was a sub-16 hand sorrel gelding who preferred the slower pace of Western classes; her horse was a 16-plus hand gray gelding who had the hunter look. I couldn’t beat her in the English; she couldn’t beat me in the Western. But we showed against each other weekend after weekend, entering six to eight classes a day and enjoying every minute of it.
Nowadays, people who are serious about showing horses are likely to have a halter horse, an English horse, a Western horse, a pattern horse, and a trail horse – and none of them are the same horse! Horses have become ultra-specialized. Even in the Western disciplines of cutting, reining and reined cow horse, owners might have one horse for the Open, one for the Non-Pro, and yet another for their child to show in the Youth. It’s a different ballgame out there than it was when I was growing up.
If you’re missing the good ol’ days and horsemen who can remember showing in multiple classes and multiple events with the same horse, check out Annie Lambert’s article, “Crossfire,” on page 78. Annie talked to some trainers and non-pros about the benefits of showing in more than one event. They all had some interesting stuff to say. It might just make you want to try your hand at a new event!
Annie’s sources came from one of my favorite statistical reviews – the 10-Year All-Industry Statistics. Horsemen, and horses, who have the unique ability to excel in more than one event are still out there, and we’ve found them.
This, the May 15 issue of Quarter Horse News, is our annual 10-Year All-Industry Statistics issue. What that means is we’ve combined the three major Western disciplines of cutting, reining and reined cow horse for the past 10 years. Then, we’ve isolated the horses, riders, owners, breeders and sires that have managed to excel in more than one area.
First, we take a look at the horses and people who have earnings in all three disciplines. Then, we break the disciplines down by two – cutting and reined cow horse, reining and reined cow horse, and cutting and reining. Think you know who can cross disciplines the best? Turn to page 101 to find out if you’re right.
In this issue, we also take a look at real estate. As horsemen, we have special needs when it comes to owning property. Real estate agents McAllen Coalson and Debbi Rousey and several horsemen offer their advice on how to buy your first place.
Having gone through the process of finding a Texas horse properly to call my own several years ago, I can relate to many of the issues they bring up. I can remember driving up to a property and not even getting out of the car when the land, so eloquently described as “horse property” in the ad, consisted of nothing more than a gulley and a swamp, covered with brush and trees. I can remember eagerly pushing my agent to look at the barn first, before the house, on each and every property we visited. And I can remember the rush of excitement I got at bringing my horses home, to my property, for the first time.
Speaking of bringing those horses home … Oregon realtor Catherine Ulrey offers some tips on how to make that move easier. See her advice on page 138.
There is no doubt that today’s horse industry is specialized, from the real estate we buy to the horses we ride. It is so easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to our discipline, our event and our horses. We put blinders on when we’re counting dollars and chasing points for year-end awards. That next show and the next championship can seem like the most important thing in the world. But, the world is a big place. I urge all of you to read Amber Hodge’s article about Dr. Kent Arnold, a cutter and veterinarian who went to Guatemala on an equitarian mission with Dr. Robert Franklin of FullBucket, a nutritional feed supplement company whose motto is “Do Good and Be Good.”
As we train our horses for the show arena and buy properties barns and arenas and horse-safe fencing, there exists in places like Guatemala people who struggle day in and day out to keep a single horse healthy so that it can work and they can support their family. Their love of the horse seems so different from ours, and yet it is the same, as evidenced by the long miles traveled by foot and the long hours spent waiting for the chance to see an American veterinarian.
Upon his return from Guatemala, Dr. Arnold said: “I think we get caught up in taking care of our special horses that we think of as performance horses. We want to work on a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby or that wins the [NCHA] Futurity. But over there, we’re taking care of horses that are their bread and butter. We look at a horse that’s 200 pounds underweight and think, ‘Why am I working on this horse? What’s the value in this horse?’ What you learn over there is that horse is more valuable than any show horse could be to that family.”
We are lucky to be able to pursue the equestrian sports we love, be it with a specialized athlete or an all-around performer. We are fortunate to have access to the best veterinary care in the world to keep our horses healthy and happy. And I, for one, am humbled by the human capacity to give back and help those in need in struggling countries like Guatemala. To Drs. Arnold and Franklin, and everyone who makes equitarian trips around the world possible, I say, “Thank you,” from the bottom of my heart.