Saturday, November 1, 2008

If a little is good, more is better! Or not...

Someone commented recently that Americans think that if a little is good, more is better. Well, there is some truth to that.

Every time halter horses come up, I hear that I hate halter horses. No, I don't. I can give you links all day to successful halter horses that I think are beautiful animals.

Like this lovely halter mare (who is an AQHA Champion, proving that her conformation can and did ride well). When I talk about a good shoulder? That is a good shoulder.

Here's Mr. Norfleet. Superior Halter AND Superior Western Pleasure.

Gambling Man ... this horse was freaking adorable and had points in damn near everything on top of his Superior in Halter. I mean, seriously, check this record out. THIS is what we need more of out there breeding:

Supreme Champion, Superior All Around, Performance Versatility, Superior Halter, Jumping, Western Pleasure, Working Hunter & Hunter Under Saddle, ROM Racing, Reining, Steer Stopping, Jumping, Heeling, Hunter Hack, Heading, Barrel Racing, Hunter Under Saddle, Working Hunter & Western Pleasure, POINTED Calf Roping, Pole Bending, Trail, Working Cowhorse & Western Riding

Gambling Man has passed on but he has numerous nice sons out there who have inherited his versatility. Here's a nice one. Here's a nice grandson - look at the jump on this guy! I see so many people go oooooh it's spotted...please go for spotted + does something extremely well. It's not all that hard to find!

Here's another I love - Banks Assets. Same thing - if you go gaga over gold, please do so over a stallion like this. Superior Halter, but points in Hunter Under Saddle, Western Pleasure, Trail, Reining, Road Hack & Ranch Horse. Look at those feet. Nice, big feet, nice sloping pasterns.

I list all of these to make the point that, despite what everybody says every time I comment on the extreme halter horses and the HYPP positives, I do not hate halter horses. I just want to see conformation that will also lend itself to a performance discipline (or preferably, more than one!) When we go too far, and we breed something that looks like it is being raised for its meat, we do a huge disservice to our breed. And it is in that spirit that I must present this mare.

If your first reaction was "Is that a steer?" you have that in common with 94.8% of readers viewing this mare for the first time. Oh, come on now. This reminds me of one of those geese that they force-feed until they're disgustingly obese to make foie gras. This is not pretty. This is just sad. How is that mare ever going to be good for anything other than pumping out more of the same? What could you use that for? I can't imagine. Dragging rocks? It looks to me like her legs would break down just from dragging around that much weight (plus a foal every year), and I've seen so many of these old halter horses with that look to them...over at the knee with a knee-popping, short, lame stride by the time they're 10.

Oh wait, I've seen plenty of them already moving like that at four in the show ring...and winning.

Come on people...I hear judges saying they have to place these horses because it's all that's out there in front of them, but really, they aren't all this extreme. You know, someone has got this nice Appendix colt and they're showing him halter and he's winning, so some of you judges are having the guts to go for what's good for the breed instead of sticking with the status quo. Look how pretty he is. He looks like he's going to ride, too. He could make an AQHA Champion if they keep going with him. You halter people desperately need this kind of fresh blood. You just can't keep breeding a bunch of steers that can barely jog. Eventually they're going to stop registering the N/H's as well and you need to go in a different direction. Why not be like these folks with the Appendix colt and blaze a positive new trail and bring your breed standard back to what it was in the 1970's - true all around horses that could do it all?