Stories From The Saddle blog is doing a neat little blog hop, asking equestrian riders the following question:
Why do you do what you do?
This question is a little bit more difficult for me to answer, since I’ve discipline-jumped all over the place for the past few years. But here goes!
The past few years I’ve been really in love with the sport of reining. I’ve shown in non-pro levels and bought myself this cute little 3-year-old mare a couple years ago who already had a great foundation in reining. We enjoyed it quite a bit, getting a 68 at one show in Del Mar and even spending a week in Burbank showing at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. But after doing this a few times, I realized my heart wasn’t really into it. Reining is very hard on the horses. My little 5-yo already has some mild arthritis happening in her hocks. I was increasingly saddened by the fact that horses for the most part broke down before the age of 10 in the sport. To me, it wasn’t sustainable. I’m in love with Rosie, and I don’t want our sport of choice to be doing damage to her.
I moved on to just trail riding, wanting her to have that mental stimulation and a break from being in the arena. We’ve now moved to a new ranch with a Western Pleasure, Trail & English Equitation (AQHA) trainer, and my plan is to work on basic Western riding with her. A bit of competitive trail obstacles, a bit of pleasure techniques, a lot of softening and getting her to travel more relaxed with her head down without having to ride so heavy with my hands. I guess I’m not sure what to call our discipline of choice now. We do want to show in some Ranch Horse Pleasure classes depending on cost, so we’re working on just solidifying all the movements. I want her to have rock solid lead changes, lope with her head lower at the withers and more relaxed, and go on the occasional trail ride as well.
So I do this because it’s good for her body & mind, great for my physical activity, and it’s giving us a challenge and goals to work toward. I’m taking lessons once a week right now (may increase it to 2-3 if finances allow) and I get to have something to work toward. I love that. =)
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