“If your riding and handling of horses begins and ends at the mounting block, you may become a rider, but never a horseman,” once wrote renowned author C.W. Anderson.
But somewhere along the way, our mentality shifted. We began allowing others to wash our cars, clean our homes, brew our coffee, paint our nails, and even saddle our horses in order to enjoy our lives more fully. The societal norm of instant gratification in our fast-paced world gradually trickled into the horse industry with the allure of more time in the saddle, often without the dirty work and hard knocks. And why not, right? Life is short.
It’s simply a lifestyle change, and equestrians are different now, some say, but others note that the shift has resulted in the loss of what used to be a true horseman – someone who can handle a horse on the ground, manage problems that come up, and possess a feel for the horse.
Many of today’s celebrated horsemen will tell you that they earned their status by not skipping any steps that led them to their success. Whether that method is still the answer for the modern equestrian is the question, but veteran horsemen can testify to the change they’ve seen in today’s equestrian.