THE NEW EQUES­TRIAN ECON­OMY

EQUUS - - Biology -

The en­tire equine in­dus­try has un­der­gone con­sid­er­able shift­ing in re­cent years. Rid­ing and horse own­er­ship has be­come too costly for many. Those who do con­tinue to ride of­ten do not in­vest in reg­u­lar lessons, and some may sim­ply think they do not need con­sis­tent in­struc­tion. It seems as though pa­tient train­ing over years and long-term goals have given way to short work­shops and clin­ics, online sem­i­nars and video in­struc­tion. This con­ve­niently al­lows online mar­ket­ing and po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties for build­ing a fan-base well be­yond the lo­cal area in­struc­tors and train­ers usu­ally tap. High-tech tools for eques­trian ed­u­ca­tion are in­deed marvelous, but they are meant to be in sup­port of and not a re­place­ment for the amount of time it takes to learn how to ride and train horses well.

This new econ­omy has also given rise to opin­ions and meth­ods that of­ten pit one per­son’s ver­sion of train­ing against another. Well-known meth­ods are copied, then in­di­vid­u­al­ized and branded with a new twist. While not all of these tech­niques are nec­es­sar­ily bad, it is pos­si­ble that some have con­trib­uted to a con­tentious and di­vi­sive at­mos­phere for both com­pet­i­tive and recre­ational riders.

One of our goals is to have riders learn to look care­fully at their cho­sen dis­ci­plines and train­ing meth­ods. De­cide for your­self if what you are do­ing to and with your horse is re­ally in his best in­ter­est. Be dis­cern­ing and cau­tious when ex­plor­ing train­ers and trends that de­vi­ate from com­mon sense and clas­si­cal train­ing and han­dling. Claims of hu­mane treat­ment may be made but not nec­es­sar­ily prac­ticed. Some in­di­vid­u­als may have lit­tle, if any, ac­tual train­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, or train­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that are not ap­pli­ca­ble to horses and dis­ci­plines out­side of their scope of knowl­edge and abil­ity.

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