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Musings From the Halter Horse World

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By: Scott Trahan

I field many phone calls and messages all day long about our Halter horses. I feel that there are people we once lost who are considering coming back. The futurity programs are getting people excited. At the same time, I hear, “It’s expensive and there is a lot of politics.” Folks, yes, like most hobbies, it costs money. Like most things in life, there is politics. Here are a few suggestions:

* Develop a budget. Your budget will determine how much you can spend on a purchase. Determine if you can afford a trainer or if the cost is more than you can spend and you need to do it yourself. My experience tells me you can find a good Halter horse for decent money; it just takes longer and patience to find. There are also some dam good, older mares that you can get for near no money. Find a good one and breed it to a stallion that’s a known producer. The last thing on the expense is not to own too many horses that serve no purpose if the expense of this is a problem.

* Politics. Yes, there is politics. But many times we blame things on politics when it’s actually something else. Maybe you don’t have the type of horse a judge likes. We all have some different criteria. Many times, we can’t have an objective opinion on horses we own. To be a judge takes guts. Your friends show to you. Your enemies show to you. Your competition shows to you. Yet a good judge has to leave all that outside the pen. Remember there are more good judges than poor judges. If you have a good horse and show your animal, that’s in top condition and well trained, to enough judges, the answer to how good your animal is will be determined.

* Train Your Brain to Accept Short Term Disappointment. In today’s world, we want immediate gratification. Well, showing dogs and horses is not the sport where this usually takes place. We won’t always have the best animal. Some days, we will have the best animal and still get beat under a judge. As said prior, show to enough judges and your animal will have a history and record that will tell you how good or not so good your animal is.

I have owned three of what I consider to be great animals- two dogs and one horse. I had a bitch German Shepherd that won 35 Best in Shows. I recall that in her early days of showing we went to Louisville, KY and showed at the largest all breed show in America. There were 3,200 dogs. Our bitch won the breed, the group, and went on to win Best In Show. The following weekend, we went to a small show in Mississippi and got beat in Breed by a 9-month-old puppy that never amounted to anything. It happens, and we knew it had the potential to happen because of the judge and some relationships with our competition.

With the stud I own now, I can give you a couple of similar cases. In each case, I knew going into the pen why it was risky, and it confirmed what I knew. In these cases, the judges always found some little reason to beat the great ones and yet the ones they allow to win have more flaws than burned toast. But again, the great ones will have a show record over time that tells the story. So train your brain to handle short term disappointment and look at the entire show history of your animal.

I hope this helps, because I get a lot of calls and these things are always discussed. The WCHA Futurities have super judges and they get it right almost always. The Breeders Halter Futurity with their system of the judges get it right almost always.

I hope to see you people in the pen at one of these great events.

If you’d like to write a blog post about a topic in the horse industry, email B.Bevis@EquineChronicle.com for consideration. 

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