Other People’s Horses


Awareness of the outside world. The hard news appears mostly the same, for the moment. I have noticed a rightward drift in the opinion columns. The Mary Sue: CNN Is Truly Just Fox News Lite Now, Kane, Sep 5th, 2022. Vox: Why billionaire John Malone’s shadow looms over CNN, Kafka Aug 26, 2022.


I had a snit. [That Noise Is Me Stomping My Feet]

Doesn’t mean I was wrong.

Other people’s horses may not be the way to go.

Back in the day, I had wonderful times on other people’s horses.

I went to the fancy Indoor shows on other people’s horses.

I jumped big jumps with other people’s horses.

I had a blast cross-country with other people’s horses.

Now, not so much.

It’s a different time and a different place.

Times change. Riding is more of an organized activity these days. More cross-country schooling; less cavorting around the countryside. More paid horse show staff; less ‘Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” More organization means fewer horses wandering around looking for riders.

Places change. The hunter/jumper industry around me is kid-focused.

In a local show series in the Mid-Atlantic (WBTA for those who remember), there were enough adults riding that the kids showed one day, the adults showed the next day.

When I moved to Alabama, adults would come to a hunter show not knowing if they would be able to show. If there weren’t enough adults, the class wasn’t held. The association finally combined the 3′ Adult Hunter with 3′ Childrens so that the adults would have a class to ride in. This was years ago. I haven’t seen that things have changed much.

My friends in the horse world have always been other adult amateurs. Fewer compatriots means fewer people willing to fling the reins at me for a class or two.

Places change. The hunter/jumper industry around me is trainer-based.

There are tons of backyard horses in the area, over a dozen up and down my road alone. All of them Western or trail riding. Local dressage has both training barns and some folks who keep horses at home and gather for clinics. Local hunter/jumper is all training barns. Not just boarding, but in a program with a trainer. Not sure about eventers. The few that I know board their horses.

The point is that if you are at an all-inclusive barn, with your trainer taking care of your logistics, you are not casting around for interesting things to do elsewhere.

Situations change. My horses are at home instead of at a boarding barn. No barn mates to offer me rides.

That leaves me paying to ride other people’s horses, which means school horses.

I am strong in my admiration for schoolies, but there is only so much you can do with one. Some of the ASBs had fabulous show careers. Not so much anymore. They have settled into a more chill existence of teaching young riders. I can do Academy all season long. Fancy styling is off the menu.

Over in jumperland, the point of jumping beginner fences with school horses was to practice for my own horse. Now, I’m not even riding my own horse. [What Is Now]

The conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s not going to work with other people’s horses, as currently constituted. If I want to get anywhere with riding, I need to get my own horse and figure it out. Even if our two sudden turn a corner and became stellar sport horses, it’s good to have the next generation coming along.

Which means buying a horse. Which means horse shopping. Which means sorting out my issues with that project. [Status Of The Horse Hunt, Needle Pegged at Overwhelm]

In thanks to all the marvelous horses I have ridden over the years and the generous owners who let me do so.


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