Unlocking the Right Combination
Key Word: Partnership – the state or condition of being a partner;
having joint interest or serving as an ally or companion
The right horse is everything. I don’t think that is overstating it, either.
Finding the ideal horse for you is key to your enjoyment, improvement and, certainly, your safety. Whether you’re a competitor in cutting, reining or barrel racing, or enjoy trail riding, choosing the right horse can make the difference in your success or failure in the horsemanship world.
The smartest thing to do when you decide to buy a horse is to be honest with yourself. Finding that “right” horse can help you learn and achieve your goals. Getting the wrong horse can lead to heartache and disappointment. If you’re a beginning or novice rider, the last thing in the world you need is a green, inexperienced, young horse. You’re going to have nothing but problems.
Inexperienced riders sometimes think they want a horse with “spirit.” What they need are gentle horses. Gentle doesn’t mean lazy or inferior. Ask any professional and he tells you that he prefers gentle horses. To me, that means a horse that is well-broke and well-behaved.
As you’re learning to ride, you don’t need to be trying to train a horse. You’re just not going to be able to do it, and you’re likely to get into trouble. You might even get hurt. This is the situation you find yourself in with a green horse.
For many levels of rider, I recommend well-trained, gentle horses that are at least 8 years old or older. People tend to think that’s an old horse, but that is really a horse just entering its prime. A lot of horses start getting really good at 10; that’s when they become mature and consistent.
If you can find this type of good, solid older horse, you’re going to have so much more fun and learn so much faster, and enjoy the process.
As you pick out a horse, use common sense. Don’t look at horses that are trained to do something that doesn’t hold any interest for you, and then expect that horse to change. Find a horse that is experienced in what you enjoy, whether it’s trail riding, roping, barrel racing, ranch versatility or cutting. If you want to rope, get an experienced rope horse. If you want to cut, get a cutting-bred and cutting-trained horse. Breed also plays a role in your selection. If you want an endurance horse, get an Arabian, which is a breed known to do well in endurance riding
I look for three things in a horse: breeding, conformation and disposition. When I talk about breeding and pedigrees, it only makes sense to look at horses bred to do the job I want to do. I might be able to train a draft horse to work cattle, but there’s a good chance that horse isn’t going to do that job very well!
Ride Smarter with Craig.
A Native Texan Craig Cameron, one of the original clinicians, is on the road more than 44 weeks a year covering 80,000 miles demonstrating the style of horsemanship he has perfected in the last 23 years. Called the “public defender of the horse,” Craig dedicates himself to those who educate their horses by first educating themselves. At an age where most have long since retired the thought of starting colts, Craig Cameron, known as “The Cowboy’s Clinician,” starts hundreds of horses each year. Learn more about Craig Cameron at www.CraigCameron.com
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This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 9, Issue 10