Dog Lindgren – Jody and I recently received a collection of Western Horseman magazines from a couple that live east of Rapid City. The collection is complete and includes editions from 1960 to 2015. Needless to say, that makes for a very large stack of information.
When we accepted the offer we had no idea there would be that many bundles of magazines to find a place for. It’s all good and we’re enjoying the opportunity to share the collection with our guests.
Since we got the collection I’ve had a chance to flip through several of the magazines and it’s been fun. So, once again, I’ve started an article with something that you are probably thinking has no value and is a lot of jibber jabber.
After looking at several of the magazines from several of the years I’ve been able to make some observations, or maybe several.
First of all, the print industry has come a long way from 1960 to today. The graphics, ads, color and layout are so good today. Just the advancement from Black and White to the color we have today is unbelievable. The clothes, gear, hair styles, and grooming styles have changed a lot, too. Saddles today are styled very differently from those in the 60’s. It’s also been interesting to see the changes in pads, blankets and cinches.
I think the most interesting to me were the article headlines and topics. Nothing has changed since 1960. I found articles that focused on traveling with horses, trailer loading, trail riding, jigging horses, starting colts, training your rope horse, comparing horses to mules, how to prepare for a pack trip and many more. All of the articles were well written and contained valuable information. All of the contributors were well known in their respective circles and played an important part in guiding their students to be better horsemen.
One other point I found interesting is that in the training articles I always saw a person/trainer that had the horse’s wellbeing and interest in the forefront. They all valued their students and wanted them to succeed.
I didn’t see the rough and tumble bronc stomper/cowboy that was hard on his horse in any of the articles. I wasn’t a bit surprised at that because I really believe that no matter what method good trainers’ use, they always respect the horse.
Now, after looking at all of those different magazines and hundreds of articles I believe that I can honestly say that it has all been said… it’s all been told over and over again. It is whatever you want IT to be. The only thing that’s different in any of the stuff we’ve written about is the terminology and spin we’ve put on the packages we wrap up.
There are lots of “experts” out there in the horse world that have packaged lots of copy righted terms and clubs that sound new. Well, that’s all those packages are, words and clubs that are simply marketing methods to relieve folks of their dollars.
In looking at the changes that have taken place in the last fifty years the ability of experts/clinicians to market their programs has been huge. Video, internet, clinics and television have helped a few individuals get out in front of thousands of horse people beyond the printed page.
Another thought has been in my head, also. It should be no surprise that the stories and articles remain the same. Horses and man are still horses and man. That was brilliant, wasn’t it! Really, we are still and always will be trying to be better horseman because we’re never quite where we want to be in regard to the relationship we want with our horses. Horses are always going to be flight animals and flight animals instinctively think we’re predators. Horses are always going to be fine without our presence as long as they have feed, water and a place to roam. We are always going to have a deep desire to have horses in our lives for all of the reasons we have horses in our lives.
The constant desire and need in man to be one with the horse has caused us to use our resources to better our relationship with the horse for thousands of years. We continue to try to find ways to be indispensable to our horses through building new mouse traps and creating new methods that in truth are not new at all. Sure the styles and materials may be new, but the utility of saddles and other gear are all the same as they were thousands of years ago. Horse trailers are different and may be more comfortable for us but they still only transport horses from one location to another. The camper or LQ may be bigger and it may have some nice amenities but the user is still just happy to be traveling with his or her horse to somewhere fun.
Our quest to be better horseman will continue so the articles will also continue to be written. Clinicians will continue to attempt to give new names to old products to help them separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Saddle makers and gear builders will continue to attempt to create something new by using some new material or by shaping it a little different. Bit makers will continue to try to create something magic and hack builders will continue to find new names for the bit less bridle that has been around forever. The more things change the more they stay the same. That’s ok we are all just trying to be better.
As we continue forward we can only hope to be better horseman because of our desire to have a better life with our horses. We must always realize the horse has not changed for thousands of years. Our horse still needs a leader that is confident, has patience, has feel, has timing, understands fairness, knows the value of pressure and release and is willing to put in the time necessary to help him be the partner you want him to be.
All of the writers have offered their experience and knowledge to the public for the betterment of their readers. And like I stated earlier, they’ve all said the same things over and over, year after year. It’s ok because we still need to hear the same things over and over, year after year. We have a new crop of babies every year and we have a new crop of horseman every year so the program continues.
“It’ll Be Fine”, when we read an article that sounds just like one we read last year because we still need to strive to be better.
Doug and Jody Lindgren own and operate Hay Creek Ranch, Nemo, SD and HCR-AZ, Oracle, AZ. Both camps focus on guests vacationing with their own horses. Doug rides year-round, training horses to be great trail horses.
Visit www.haycreekranch.net for more information about both locations.
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This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 9, Issue 8