The Performance Trail Horse

 

 

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The Photos you gave us will serve as a warm memory of the time spent with you last weekend. We usually look for new places to visit, but the Brandy House is one where we would definitely love to come back one day. We wish you much success and lots of happy guests. All the very best for now...................Genia & Natasha

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The Performance Trail Horse

by Maxine Easey May 23, 2011

We were chatting with a friend at the weekend about the Performance Horse. Not the performance horse, but the Performance Horse. He's important enough for capital letters. 

I have spent a little time today researching the Interweb to see if I could find a definition of the Performance Horse.

Lots of people claim to sell these fancy creatures for a lot of money, and lots of other people sell a lot of stuff that the Performance Horse cannot live without, including tack and rugs and boots and supplements and transport and accommodation....oh and drugs and gadgets to keep the Performance Horse under control in the event that he gets too "full of himself" because he is SO well bred that...well it goes to his head at times and he cannot contain himself.

What no-one managed to do was to define what it REALLY means to be a Performance Horse.

Having said that if I were a Performance Horse I could be pretty sure that somewhere along the line I'd be expected to put myself out to win some money or at least win some ribbons to show my appreciation for all the money spent on me and my fancy gear and for putting up with my little ways.

We were pondering this because we concluded that there is another kind of performance and another kind of Performance Horse.

This Performance Horse is the one who is NOT for sale and never will be. This is because he is a horse whose human knows the difference between the price of a horse and the value of a horse and appreciates the value of simple things done really really well.

This horse is known as the Performance Trail Horse. We spent our weekend in the company of 3 Performance Trail Horses and we spent our time noticing the good things that the Performance Trail Horse can do and letting him know how much these qualities were appreciated. All horses like treats and a kind word after all. 

The Performance Trail Horse can:

- be loaded onto a trailer and driven across the country for 3 or 4 hours, content to have a simple haynet to munch on

- he can walk calmly off his trailer, take a look around and nod his approval quietly with a murmur of "they have grass here, that's good enough for me" look on his face

- he can stand quietly without being tied in a strange yard while friendly dogs and horses clamour to say hello

- he can investigate his weekend accommodation and put on a little light entertainment for his travel-weary human while she watches him make friends with the locals from the balcony with a cold beer

- he comes to the gate and catches his human in the morning with a look of eager anticipation of the day, every day

- he can be loaded onto a strange lorry, and tacked up and prepared to ride in a layby at the side of the road. He does not need fancy arenas with mirrors on the walls. 

- if his human climbs onto a gate, stands on a log or asks him to put himself into a ditch he acts like a complete partner and assists her to mount

- he can eat on the move - be this walk, trot or canter, without breaking gait

- he can sidepass perfectly to a gate to open it and hold it open for others to pass through, or he can sidepass to another horse, should a joint consultation of the map be required by the humans

- he stops when asked to stop so his rider can avoid an occasional low branch - in fact his transitions are perfect as he does a million of these each ride through the woods, between each of the low branches

- he has superb balance, being able to balance himself and rider even when she is ducking from side to side to avoid aforementioned low branches

- he can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps - between trees, hedges, barbed wire fences, bales of straw with care for his rider but without hesitation

- he can pick his way carefully and place each clever foot surely on narrow, rutted, steep or slippery tracks, not tripping on tree roots or falling in rabbit holes

- he can walk, trot or canter, in front, in the middle or behind

- he can stand quietly and snooze outside the pub while his human has a drink and some lunch

- he is a good ambassador for horses everywhere - he does not step on small children who ask to stroke, he is unphased by the car alarm or the football game or the kite flying or the motorbike or the barking dog or the hedge trimmer.

- he has been known to sneeze grass-green snot on the newly washed jacket but...well he does have taste and is a good judge of character...

- after all his hard work he is content with somewhere to stand quietly and snooze or to munch on a simple haynet and drink from a puddle.

This trail horse is the ultimate Performance Horse. He is not competing in any competition to win any fancy ribbons and there is no prize money that is enough to repay him for his honest toil and his quiet efforts to do a good job and to please. This is a Performance Horse that money cannot buy and he is worth his weight in gold.

In the Press

In the bleak Midwinter PDF

Riding the great Outdoors PDF

Savvy Times 2011 PDF

The Performance Trail Horse

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