A couple of weekends ago I took a student to a Dressage clinic that the Nebraska Dressage Association put on. It was a great clinic and I learned a lot just watching my student ride. However I can’t help but acknowledge the fact that this is clear “discrimination” in the sport against the thoroughbred horse.
My student rode my 12 year old off the track thoroughbred gelding, Rowdy. I got Rowdy off the track as a 6 year old and have done all of his training myself. I know he’s far from perfect and we have a lot of work to do on dressage but he is a nice horse who has scored well in the dressage ring at training level. The other riders in the clinic were all dressage riders, while we focus on jumpers and eventing, and a few even compete at WEF. I didn’t expect my student to work on the same skills as these riders but I expected her to receive the same level of coaching.
Don’t get me wrong, the clinician was great, I’d even like to travel to her to take some lessons, but I feel she judged Rowdy the second she learned he is a thoroughbred. She would say little things like “thoroughbreds will do this…” and “I don’t want to push him because he’ll rear” (Rowdy has reared once in the 6 1/2 years I’ve owned him and it was my fault). When she asked my student if she wanted to work on the canter she said “is it crazy?”
There were a few other trainers watching their students ride as well. One has a barn near us and I admire her as a rider and trainer. I was planning on taking some dressage lessons from her to work with my RRP horse Thomas. I talked to her a little while I was there and mentioned coming out to ride now that the weather is more favorable. My student and her mom stayed to watch and have lunch at the clinic, the mom mentioned told me that later on in the day they were talking about Thomas and this trainer asked “Is he…crazy”, I’m assuming she asked because he is a young thoroughbred.
I understand that some people have a misconception about thoroughbreds, but I wish more people would have an open mind about this breed. I hope my involvement with the RRP and being involved in local organizations will help to show the versatility, athleticism, and train-ability of the thoroughbred horse.