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Re: RC: Endurance and reining

Sheesh, two posts in one day. It's a record for me! But this was like the
sperm-and-egg debate: I'm an endurance newbie but I know about other stuff
and like seeing an opportunity to join in. I read all the posts before
I decided to spout off, and I'm sincerely trying to keep my opinion
humble. I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't see endurance as an end but a
supplement. My "real" horse life centers around making awesome mountain 
horses, who basically do endurance plus some other stuff. So why not
compete? (If I'm nuts enough to ride my silly horse day and night in
places Gila monsters fear to tread, I might as well try and earn prizes
and points and stuff for it, right?) But my horses have always had to do
more than one thing for a living so I think I see this endurance thing a
little differently than a lot of you at this point.

> Can these two disciplines work well with each other. Our new gelding can
> really sit down and slide and my trainer would love to concentrate on
> reining. I do all the trail work and conditioning. Just wondering if
> anyone has any comments or advice.
> Lauren

Here's my $0.02 worth:

Unfortunately, a really competitive reiner is pretty
much an arena horse because they're tuned so far that a wiggle of a foot
is a defined message, and they're trained to respond extremely fast. It
would be like asking your horse to go back and forth between the track and
the trail. So it would be worth talking to your trainer about what his/her
goals for the horse would be. If what you really want is an endurance
prospect, IMHO serious rein training would be counterproductive because
the degree of responsiveness to aids is so extreme with reining. My
fiance's up and coming reiner (a 4 y.o. Arab just started under saddle
this past spring) would be an accident waiting to happen on the trail
right now because he's positively wired for sound.

Most important is that *you* decide what you want to do with *your* horse.
If he doesn't make  an endurance horse and is physically up to reining,
you can go back to it later if you decide that's what you want to do.

I think Diane and Phoenix have a better idea for a hobby:
> Personally, I'm going to get Phoenix involved in team
> penning.  To help break up the boredom of riding trails all
> the time.  I think it will do his mind good to add some
> variety.
> Diane & Phoenix (thank goodness, you gave up on the show
> jumping idea as a 2nd career for me)

But I must respectfully disagree with Frank's sarcasm:

> Sitting down and sliding has no practical application in the life of a horse.
> "Whoaing", yes.  
> Some aspects of reining might apply to Endurance, the swinging your leg over 
> the horse's croup, for instance.
> Do your horse a favor and make him a good saddle companion and leave the 
> reining histrionics to reiners.
> If you spend time making your horse an endurance companion you will not only 
> have a mount for endurance, you will have a horse eager to please you with 
> his steady manner, sound hocks and years of useful life without premature 
> crepidation in all his joints.
> Just my opinion (as Buffalo Springfield said, "For What It's Worth"),
> Frank.

I'm trying not to be toooooo thin-skinned here. My first gut response is
to say that you've never worked really wild cattle on a good cowhorse
because believe me, sliding stops and rollbacks are a part of life. I'd
agree that 60-foot slides have no practical application in the life of a
horse, but technically, neither does going 100 miles in 24 hours. All
performance horse sports are *about* horses but they're *for* people
and good or bad, competition is about pushing the envelope. 

(Insert here stored data of extensive debates regarding horse use/misuse,
the things show/endurance people do/have done/have been suspended for
doing/should be suspended for doing that are unethical etc.)

Horses trained hard in any discipline benefit from having a hobby because
smart, athletic horses like to learn new things and doing so
keeps them fresh. There are probably better mixes than reining and
endurance. So here's mine: I personally want to take my endurance cow
horse and learn dressage. (Speaking of such, if anyone knows a good
instructor in the Tucson, AZ area who might be willing to take me on,
please email me privately)

Paula C Gentry, PhD

It is not knowing a lot but grasping things intimately and savoring them
which fills and satisfies the soul. 

--St. Ignatius--

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