June 10, 2011

In the Eye of the Beholder

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to horses.  I know there isn't one of us that would readily admit we have an "ugly" horse.  But if I were to be totally honest with myself, I know Dexter has big hips, and hocks that turn in a bit.  But he also has great legs, a gorgeous mane and tail and the cutest face Ive ever seen, and because of his personality and gates I thing he's beautiful!  I'm sure to an outsider he's just a lanky bay.

And I also know my L.E. was not the prettiest horse when we got her.  Her chest, face, stomach, mane and tail were all rubbed raw due to some mite or fungus that cause her to itch all the time.  She was slightly U-necked and just a little chestnut quarter horse.  By the time we had to sell her you couldn't tell me she wasn't the cutest horse in her class, it helped that all her hair had grown in. 

Which is why I try to be as mute as possible on the subject when someone insists on going on about how pretty their new purchase is.  A friend of mine is often buying and trading "project" horses that I just don't see the value in, but she knows they are going to be great.  For her it all comes down to the head.  "Doesn't he have a pretty head?!".  (For the record I know she thinks Dexter's head is big and ugly, I love it.)  And all I can think is - Yes, nice head, but the short roached back might be a problem.

Her latest purchase was a "black" 6 yr old Arab stallion.  I put black in quites because I'm gonna guess he's actually a dark bay.  She has been telling me about this horse for a while now, so I know she's super excited to get him.  She wants to ride him and breed him to some of her mares.  And of course  until he showed up I had images of "The Black Stallion" dancing around in my head.  That is not what showed up.... in my eyes I saw a scrawny, scraggly bay pony with a crooked tail.  He does have a cute, be it, tiny head.  But for 6 he's pretty lean and small.... maybe 13.2H.  And I know Arabs are petite but he just looked more like a 2 year old to me.  I know it sounds like I'm picking on this horse, but I'm just trying to illustrate the whole "eye of the beholder" thing.  This is not my dream horse, nor a horse that I would consider buying just because he doesn't fit my image of a dressage horse, that doesn't mean he's any less of a horse.

To my friend, who has been dying for a black stallion forever, he's elegant... "petite" with a pretty head.  And "beautiful movement"  She keeps telling me he moves so beautifully out of the shoulders, which is hard for me to understand since I've spent the last year trying to get my horse off his shoulders and onto his butt.

It is just a reminder that the horse world is so big and everyone is looking for something different.  My dream horse would never work for her and vice verse.  But we both love horses and couldn't live without them.


  1. "since I've spent the last year trying to get my horse off his shoulders and onto his butt."

    99% of the riders at my barn are western riders who spend a lot of time getting the head down - like you, I am working on the other end!

  2. Haha, my one friend and I have totally conflicting views on what a nice horse is. I send her pictures of these gorgeous horses, and she won't like them. I send her a picture of a chubby draft x Hackney or something odd (Actually, I've seen some really athletic horses come out of that combo, but it can go terribly awry as well) along those lines and she'll love it... to each their own.