Friday, February 13, 2009
Jack of All Trades, Master of None?
My husband and I have had a long-standing disagreement about the versatility of a show horse. He feels that a horse ought to master one discipline and compete only in that class at a show. I feel that a horse, if it has the mind for it, ought to be versatile and be able to learn and practice at least, if not compete in, multiple disciplines. Now by this I don't mean dressage, barrel racing, 5-gaited, and reining all in one day. I mean a horse ought to be able to be worked or even shown in saddle seat, hunt seat, western pleasure, and driving, if they have the mind for it. And they ought to be proficient in ground work such as showmanship, and be able to do some basic dressage and trail riding. Granted they will probably learn one or maybe 2 disciplines at a time, not all at once, but that is my idea of what a versatile pleasure horse should be able to do- if they have the mind and physical ability to do it. It seems that much of the Saddlebred show world agrees with my husband, as many show horses go to shows to do 2 classes at most. This seems like a bit of a waste to me. However, if you have ever been to a pinto show or an all-breed open WSCA show, you will see how versatile horses can be. The question I have is- does a horse have to be a "master of none" if they can compete in more than one discipline? Is a horse really more successful if you concentrate all their energy into a single seat or disicpline? Does versatility really decrease the horse's ability at each individual discipline? Can we have a "jack of all trades master of many?" Of course, my horse is a "Master of Illusion," so we'll see what that means. ;)