ridecamp@endurance.net: Fashion and the market

Fashion and the market

gerhardt (gerhardt@theriver.com)
Sun, 9 Mar 1997 17:59:24 -0700


I have been following this group for about a week, and have really enjoyed
doing so. This is a very knowledgable group of people. Now I will say
something here that may get some people annoyed with me, but I think this
group is open enough that no one will get too bent out of shape. I see
people talking about all the Arabs out there, how there is such a surplus
of them, and some of the behaviors of the horses and wrecks, and I wonder
why in the world anyone would ride such a horse. The reason there are so
many Arabs not finding homes is, I think, precisely because the average
rider does not want to deal with such behaviors. I know I certainly don't.
I can understand the desire to have a horse that can compete and do the
work that the endurance and distance riders are asking of them, but I also
know that there are people riding the breeds I work in, Rocky Mountain
Horses, Kentucky Mountain Horses and Mountain Pleasure Horses (Mountain
Horses), in endurance and distance riding events, and doing very well with
them. Distance riding at speed and with comfort for the rider is what
Mountain Horses were bred to do, and they do it very well. They were bred
as basic transportation to get from point A to point B, in areas that did
not have decent road systems for motorized vehicles right up into the 20th
century. The same characteristics that made them very functional as
substitutes for vehicles in the Appalachian Mountains are exactly the
characteristics that endurance and distance trail riders seem to be looking
for in their horses, but as naturally gaited horses, Mountain Horses have
the advantage that the rider does not have to, indeed should not, stand in
the saddle. They also have the very calm warmblood temperament, so that one
of the people doing endurance rides in California on a Mountain gelding is
only 9 years old.

Is there some reason that I am not aware of that people are not using
gaited horses for endurance and distance trail riding? Has it been found
that other gaited breeds do not hold up or are unable to compete over
distance and time? Could it be because there are so many Arabs around that
horses can be obtained at dirt cheap prices, as the discussion that has
been going on shows, whereas gaited horses start at prices that people are
unwilling to pay? I have seen some horses advertised in this group that are
in the price range like my horses, $3500 for a yearling filly, $5000 for a
6 year old mare, so I am not sure that the prices are the problem. I have
really wondered why more people are not flocking to the gaited horses
generally and Mountain Horses specifically, rather than keep on riding
horses that they have to stand in the saddle to get away from a body
pounding trot, instead of a horse that they can sit on in comfort for both
themselves and the horse.

Thank you in advance for any comments in response to this that anyone would
care to make. I saw a message asking for comments to be endurance related,
so if the group feels this is not of general interest, I will certainly
limit my conversation to private email if folks prefer. Annette

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