From trimming whiskers to painting hooves, many details go into preparing a horse for the show ring, but preparing a rider requires an equal amount of skill. Lapels must be pinned, boots and sometimes gloves must be taped and makeup must be flawless. And then there is always the challenge of the horse show bun.
Choosing the “perfect" equitation horse can be a tall order. Whether you’re looking at a seasoned veteran or a new face in the division, the choice you make can have significant consequences for the equation rider. Finding the correct combination of riding style, size, and attitude is essential when you’re looking to pair your equitation rider with a new partner.
Each day you arrive at the barn your horse allows you to stick your foot in the stirrup and swing up onto its back. At a horse show, your mount trots proudly into the show ring, often down an enclosed chute into bright lights and the sound of hundreds or even thousands of cheering people. To lifelong equestrians these events probably seem commonplace, but in truth they shouldn’t seem anything less than astounding, because both these examples portray an animal that is doing what its human asks, and actually dismissing some of its own instincts to do it.
What is a park horse? If you ask this question of the three-gaited, five-gaited or fine harness horse, the answers are concrete. Five-gaited horses, known for their slow-gait and rack, are powerful and exciting, with energy that is channeled into forward motion. Three-gaited horses are known for their elegance, refinement and energy that is channeled into animation. Throw a mane on that horse and hook it to a viceroy and you have yourself a fine harness horse.
Strutting out of Freedom Hall and down Stopher Walk, tricolor in your pocket and carnations draped over your horse’s neck, walking on Cloud 9 from the victory pass. It’s just you and your trainer, and twenty people following you back to the barn wanting to buy your horse. That is the dream.
It has happened, and will continue to happen on occasion at shows across the country, but it is not the case with most horses for sale in today’s market. More often than not, sellers spend weeks, months or even years trying to find just the right buyer for their horses, through word of mouth, print advertising, and now even online and through social media. The process can be overwhelming, but with a little thought and effort, you can market your horse well, find the right buyer, and send him off to his new happy home with something close to the asking price in your pocket.