Horse Appreciation

More horseback riding and horse driving are advocated in this article. In the early 1900’s horses and carriages were competing with cars and trucks for space on the roads. This article offered advice to farm owners who might want to sell horses and to people still interested in horseback riding or carriage driving.

Horseback riding is becoming more and more of a popular pastime, and as people take it up for pleasure more attention will be given to the saddle horse. Each year the true worth of the American saddler is becoming known to a wider circle of admirers, and he is just beginning to come into his own.

Horsemanship shows to better advantage from above a horse than from behind him. The comely and accomplished rider, be it girl or boy, lady or gentleman, and a handsome, well mannered mount, has no odds to take from any mere teamster, or machinist humped behind a windshield. Rather is the advantage on their side. Infirmity must take two wheels or stay at home. Health and strength, long in a seated vehicle, only apes infirmity with indolence after all. It is the privilege of vigorous age and virile youth to ride, and as the popular appreciation of a pure and well-schooled mind in a clean and well-trained body becomes greater, so will the status of the equestrian in the saddle horse be advanced in fashionable estimation.

Popular appreciation has been long and successfully alienated from the saddle horse. But this was never complete, and has not proved to be permanent. At a time when the triumph of the trotter was at its height, Canadian horses, under Canadian riders, were winning popularity and premiums in the old land, and the best horsemen everywhere were admiring the Canadian Saddle horse, as well as the American, for his beauty, as well as his other good qualities.

America has ever held a premier place, both for horses and horsemanship. The Kentucky Saddle Horse with his statesman-like rider, represents the highest development to which equestrianism has ever been brought, and Canada contributed a goodly share of the bloodlines that made this possible. The loose-riding but graceful horsemen of the plains represent equally the height of proficiency.

Good horsemen are to be found everywhere and it is little wonder that, now that the furor for mere speed, whether equine or mechanized has spent its first fashionable force, the saddle horse is coming into his own again. There are good solid reasons for this. Thoughtful people of means recognize in the Saddle Horse a better and safer companion for their sons or his daughters compared to the auto or the airplane. Such children’s feet are found less often in the path of dissipation and vice. They are, on the other hand, more of an agency for the development of those qualities of self-reliance and of self-restraint and courage. Headlong recklessness, as shown forth by the joyrider of the auto, is a different thing and less desirable quite. There is a sporting pleasure about horseback riding which claims the same homage accorded to the good performer on the lacrosse field or in the cross country race. There is no better indication that wealth and fashion are coming to their senses than the fact that they are willing to ask what the horse has done as a workmate for the farmer's family he will do as a playmate for the city boy or girl.

These are reasons why the farmer's children should get in line. They should learn more about riding on top of the horse than behind him. The demand for good saddle horses is becoming bigger and better. There is money in the knowledge of just what a good saddle or combination horse is. To be able to recognize just the right thing in either class is to be able to pick up some easy money now and then. To be able to develop such a prospect so as to demonstrate the animal's value beyond a doubt is to be able to realize a still greater share of the fancy price which the city man will pay for him. The good saddle horse is a luxury, and sells at that price. The business of the farm has for too long been confined to supplying the necessities.

It has been stated that the requirements of the ideal saddler or of the combination horse mean the possession of the finest physical perfection. He must have no weak spots in him, and certainly no stiff ones. At the same time his strength must not represent anything like heaviness, nor his flexibility any spareness in conformation. Great speed and high action are not requisite, and it is for this reason that many times an all around high class saddle or combination horse is left behind in popular estimation, and is left for some knowing horseman to pick out and acquire at about his own price. At the same time many dashy, stylish horses which are accorded general admiration would not be quite good enough for a saddle horse market.

The saddle horse must look like a gentleman all over. It is this air of good natured dignity which the city horseman wants and is willing to pay for. When thoroughly conditioned and well mannered, with a well-dressed rider, he will possess that well groomed gentlemanly air so much admired in the city parks and driveways. It is a first requisite for the high priced saddle horse.
Eccentricities of gait are complete disqualifications for a good saddle horse. His gate must be conventional – neither stilted, awkward, nor on the other hand too high and showy. He must be true gated all around. Going wide, winding feet, or twisting them as they are lifted from the ground are not permissible. His gait should be flexible, easy, direct and as frictionless as possible. In conformation the limbs should be shapely, with good feet and springy pasterns.

Nowhere is a good head and neck at greater premium than in the saddle horse. The head should be fine and shapely, with a good eye and nostril, and an expression of quiet eagerness is highly prized. The neck should be light, but well arched, well cut out below, and with the length of neck and set of head to ensure a good mouth. Strong, sloping shoulders, which display flexibility proportionate with that of the knee, are important, as is a high wither. Shortness and strength of back, and strength of loin and stifle, with a good depth of chest, tell the story of the weight carrying capacity of the horse. Good muscular development and all round attractiveness are worth money every time.