Locust Grove, Georgia ~ 404-405-4121

Clinics - Training - Symposiums


Better Horses versus Better Riders

         Technology has not left the horse industry behind.  In fact, itís pretty much the opposite.  There are many in the horse industry that are embracing technology, and using it to work hard for them.   Lets take a couple of examples of that technology, look at how it has made better horses, and see if that has made us better riders. 

       A few years ago, a cutting horse breeder decided to artificially inseminate, and embryo transplant identical fertilized eggs into surrogate mares.  Wow.  About five different technological processes had to take place in order for that operation to be successful.  The story behind all of this wizardry was simple.  The owners had two horses that were absolute champions.  Both the Stallion and the Mare were winning, and winning big time money.  So, in order to keep them on the circuit and keep them competing at the top of their game, they harvested eggs from the mare, and sperm from the stallion, and prestoÖ.. Ready to make babies.  So, they fertilized about 100 eggs, and once the eggs were implanted into surrogate mares, they had the capability to make 100 genetically similar, sibling colts, (or fillies). 

     Now proponents of this process will tell you that they think this is a great thing, and after millions of dollars spent in some very smart and strategic ways, the owners of these 100 or so babies had forced the AQHA to change the rules to allow all of the offspring of this lab experiment to become registered American Quarter Horses.  In a previous lifetime, it would have been only 1 or possibly 2 colts per year for this champion pair.  Then we would have had to wait to see if they would turn out to be as successful as their parents in the show pen.  But, after science has been entered into the equation, we will find out if 50 years worth of colts will make it all in one year!  And if they donít share in the parentsí success, then I guess we will have bred 50 years worth of inferior horseflesh.  But, hey, what the heckÖwe can try out another 50 years worth of horseflesh next year too!  Surely there will be a good horse in there somewhere?

      Okay, so, let me get off the AQHAís back, and talk about something not quite so political.  Letís switch to the warm blood world.  Due to better genetic testing we are producing much more desirable horses.  Horses with larger bodies, and stronger bones.  Horses that are more compact and that have calmer demeanors.  Horses that are stronger, better suited for collection.  Horses that are heavier, healthier, and more desirable in the dressage, and eventing world.  Sounds good right?  Sure it does.  Who would not want a better horse?  Who would not want one suited more for their purpose?  We can now breed for the horse that has become the standard for which judgeís use as a cornerstone of how all horses should look. 

      So, we know technology can help the horses be better.  At what cost do these better horses come to those of us who train and ride?  One only has to look around at the horse world today to see pitiful examples of poor riding.  And the trainers do not get out of this with their skin in tact.  The level of training in America today is probably the poorest that it has been in many, many years.  How do I make this deduction?  Look at the rule changes in the breed registries.  Changes are being made each and every day to lower the standards, because these ďbetter horsesĒ cannot measure up.

      Itís not due to the abilities of the horse.  Itís due to poor, or rushed training.  Itís due to the fact that since the horses are better minded, we can push them harder.  Itís due to the fact that since they are stronger, we use more force to train them.  Itís in part to the ďnowĒ or ďmeĒ generation of riders and trainers we have flooding the marketplace, the show place, and the training industry. 

      Want a specific example of a short cut to that takes a better horse, and makes his rider a worse rider.  Draw Reins.  Or side reins.  Or a tie down.  You see, we take a horse that was selectively bred, possibly one of a hundred offspring of two world champions, and instead of teaching the horse what we want him to know, we force him into a head set with a mechanical device.  We are in too big of a hurry to produce the next world champion to do it the classical way.  The old fashioned way.  In short, we bred such an intelligent, strong, better horse, just so we could be lazy.  That laziness in a very short time produces the lack of knowledge that once was the skill set to train a world champion.  Those shortcuts will eventually produce a generation of trainers and riders that know nothing about riding and training that is not dependant upon gimmicks.  The classical ways of our forefathers will vanish.  The old fashioned ways of our grandparents producing gentle willing horses will be forgotten by all but a few masters of the trade that will never reduce themselves to the gimmicks.  Therefore, never forgetting the old ways, because they teach them to their own horses each and every day.

      And hey, lets remember what ole Xenophin said some 4,000 years ago.  Nothing that is forced upon, or misunderstood by the horse can ever be beautiful.  So, the next time you see a 4-year-old cutting horse that is so crippled from competition at an early age that he is facing retirement, remember, he is probably a better horse, being handled by a worse rider.  It is not beautiful.  And the next time you are at a high-level dressage competition, and horses that are behind the vertical at the trot and canter are winning, remember that someone took a draw reins short cut, and it has become the accepted thing to do.  Oh yeah, and even though the rules on that have not changed just yet, they will get around to it, because no one is taking the time to teach the horse to ride at or slightly in front of the vertical the way the classical rules call for.

      Let us also remember what Podhajsky said.  The first job of the horse is to be a pleasure to the rider.  So, lets ride.  And letís have fun, and letís do it right.  We have the better horses.  Letís not become worse riders.  Letís not lower the standards, letís set them higher.  And last but not least, letís not allow technology to make a fool out of us by making better horses, and not better riders.


| Home | Clinic Schedule| Sponsors | Photos | Brian's Guarantee | At Stud |
| Brian's Bio| The Tack Room | Horses For Sale | Training Articles | Miscellaneous | Contact Brian | Links |