Making A Plan

24 Sep

In the United States, we need a plan.

A new perspective, for horses to remain part of our culture, part of our future.

Everywhere, horses seem to be marginalized.

There is far less open land for trails. There is far less open countryside for ‘horse in the backyard.’

There are far more regimented, organized, moneyed ‘non-profit’ or for –profit  organizations, all designed to provide the ‘horse experience’ for a fee and at some level no one else has thought of before.

We need a new plan.

I propose thinking of horses as a commodity—like cotton, like the NBA, like breakfast cereal.

For starters, we need one ID number for each horse—not one for each of ten or more organizations, all with their hand out, collecting the same fees over and over in order to ‘pay for’ the awards  that seem to just spawn each year: less and less meaning, more and more pretty colors.

We need a database. The idea has been around for at least the last 10 years and never moves out of the sluggish backwater.

We need a structure that allows some far-seeing sponsors to support the cause of The Horse, not a specific horse for a specific rider, whether that be a 10 year-old in Pony Club or an Olympic hopeful.

We need some way to use Pony Club (and 4-H) and local barns as a place to cultivate and then develop talent, and to instill the love of horses early enough that it carries on through adulthood, at least for some, so that they will move on to the more specialized world of horse sport. Waiting to look for potential team members—stars– from those who  already have moved on to regional or national competition means  merely finding the ambitious without necessarily the talent.

Horses, riding—it is all seen as exotic at best, elite at worst.

What seems to be disappearing in the US are children growing up around horses, ponies, equines. We may have more riders these days, but we definitely do not have more horsemen, more people with horse sense.

We have templates from other countries to look at and adapt. What we are lacking, so far, is the will to re-organize and reinvigorate.

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