Friday, June 24, 2011

Leggo Your Ego

There are some occupations in which ego is necessary, or at least acceptable, to get the job done, such as being a rock star or a NFL quarterback or a pro boxer or some other kind of dragon slayer. We expect people who do those things for a living to be full of themselves and extremely confident in their actions. Not that that type of egotistical lifestyle doesn't do a person harm in the long run, but while they are performing, we get it and accept it.

However, ego has no place on the back of a horse. We cannot sit in the saddle to make ourselves bigger and more powerful, exerting power over an animal, forcing them to do our will. Being there is a GIFT. There is no other relationship on Earth like that between a rider and their mount; a large, powerful animal that allows us to ride on its back, manipulate its body, shape and dictate its movements, defer its wants and needs for our own, and in general, not stomp us into the dirt when it so easily could. Riding a horse, and training a horse, is a privilege and an honor. It is quite apparent to me that many horse trainers nowdays have forgotten this.

Take for example the rumor that I recently heard - that a prominent NRHA trainer is circulating a petition to have warm-ups at reining events closed to the public. What does this say about their methods? If they are so reliant on questionable means to achieve the ends, which is a winning run, those methods are not fit to be used on the horse. The public absolutely has the right to know these things and to observe the questionable methods, but due to some big-time trainers' egos, they would have the public locked out in order to continue to treat the horse abusively and disrespectfully. Every horse competition we go to should be a celebration of these amazing animals, NOT a orgy of self-congratulation for trainers that make way too much money, hiding their coercion and forceful methods behind closed doors. They have apparently forgotten WHY they are there. Shame on them!!