Let’s face it- some breeds are In and some breeds are Out. We are a fickle group as a whole when it comes to what we like in our animals. We like following trends and fads as far as breed type, color, riding style, training methods, tack, farrier methods and even horse care and housing. There is a little bit of everything to please every personality type- from fast to slow, large to small, smooth movement to high steppers. You can choose from curly coats to manes down to the ground, feathers to sleek, trim and lean to big and bulky or conservative to flashy and everything in between.
There is nothing wrong with personal preference per say but I like being unconventional. Maybe its because I usually root for the underdog. Or maybe its because I don’t show my horses so I don’t have to see things thru a judges eye. I ride for pleasure and exercise at home and on the trails. I have horses because I love being around them. I love seeing them in my backyard and enjoy every aspect of caring for them. I find them to be relaxing and therapeutic. I have horse envy just like most red blooded horse owners do- I’m not saying I don’t. Sure, I would love a 17 hand warmblood, a majestic friesian or a gorgeous gypsy cob any day! I guess when I am asked what breeds I have and I answer – an arab, a standardbred and an appy I realize my horses are not trendy and when I say those words they are not impressive to other horse people. In fact my horses are of what some might consider to be on the Out list. We’ve all heard about ugly, big headed standardbreds. To be honest that’s what ~I~ pictured initially before I got my beautiful Remmy. There are more horse stereotypes: Appys are bull headed and stubborn. Arabs are hot headed and scatter brained. Standardbreds are thought to be clunky and as close to an equine out cast as you can get but also completely unjustified.
I like to look at horses like I like to look at people. I don’t like to lump a whole group of people and apply a label to them. I think that is unfair and also so very limiting. I like to remove labels and look at the individual. All Amish do not have puppy mills or beat and starve their animals. All gays are not immoral. All Italians are not in the mob. All Muslims are not terrorists. I like to do the same with horses. My appy is not a stubborn, rat tailed, evil horse. In fact he is one of the most willing horses I have ever owned. My arab is the ultimate babysitter and LOVES kids. She is smart, personable and well behaved. My standardbred is a fast learner and a great all around riding horse in a lovely package- sleek with a gorgeous head and big, soft eyes. They do not fit the typical stereotype for their breed. I am afraid though if I ever needed to sell them it would be more difficult because they are not in the IN crowd.
So I challenge you to not impose or promote the typical stereotypes – of people or horses! Enjoy your unconventional views as an independent thinker who takes each individual at their face value, actions and character as it is presented in front of you. Keep an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised. Some of the best horses come in plain brown wrappers and are overlooked because they are not trendy or flashy. A big purchase price does NOT guarantee a good horse. Develop your own ‘horse sense’ and be realistic about what you need. And above all enjoy your horse! I firmly believe the horses know when we enjoy them- truly enjoy them, for what they are- not what we think they should be. You can still challenge them to learn and grow as we challenge ourselves to do the same! If the horse isn’t doing it right it probably has a whole lot more to do with how it is told to the horse than anything else. People are kind of like that too. We like clear communication and time to process things. Who wants to feel like they never measure up for things they have no control over? Looks are only skin deep- Remember the saying, “A good horse is always a good color.”? There is a lot of truth in that! And above all DO NOT trade in your old model for the latest trend unless you can be sure they are going to a good home. The horse market is still brutal out there. You may find a diamond in the rough if you just look at the outcasts with an open mind.
Happy trails!~~ Sue
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