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The Search For The Perfect Mount
 By Winniefield Park   •   10th Jun 2017   •   997 views   •   0 comments
Sometimes it feels like the key to better riding and a better-trained horse is all about problem-solving. But sometimes, it seems like maybe weíve got it all wrong and weíre just asking horses to do things they're not made to do. Maybe we could solve the problem by riding something else. Hereís a look at some of the problems that could be solved if you just chose the right animal to ride.

On The Forehand
A common problem that can lead to other problems is a horse that is constantly going on the forehand. For some, itís a matter of conformation. Some horses are butt high and naturally downhill. For horses that donít have an anatomical excuse, itís a matter of how they are trained and ridden. Why is it bad? Because being on the forehand means the horse isnít balanced, they arenít lifting their back to hold up themselves and the rider, a lot of weight is coming down on delicate front legs and hooves which can lead to unsoundness and they are probably short-strided and not using the strong muscles in the hindquarters to drive them along. It can be a long hard road for some riders to learn to get their horse off of the forehand and driving with the hind end.

So why bother? Why not ride a giraffe? Giraffes are definitely up-hill. Getting on the forehand shouldnít be a struggle for a rider. A giraffe, by virtue of its conformation naturally lifts itself off of the forehand. The challenge with a giraffe might be keeping contact on the bit. Thatís a long neck! And, youíd probably need a breast plate to keep the saddle from slipping backward. Dressage riders might have difficulty staying out of forward seat position. But you definitely wonít be on the forehand.

Herd Bound
A horse that develops an inseparable bond with a trailer mate on the way to a show can be extremely frustrating. After practicing and preparing, itís disheartening to have your horse lose its marbles every time it's new very bestest friend goes out of sight. It can happen at home too. Horses are herd animals as are most grazers and, they feel safer with buddies. So when we take a horse out alone, weíre going against its nature. But, if you want a mount that is never fazed by being alone, why not ride a moose? Moose are grazers, but they donít hang out together. They live pretty independent lives, staying in their own territory. Moose are pretty slow moving, so theyíd probably make better hunters or western pleasure mounts than jumpers, eventers or barrel racers. If you need a ride that will give you slow, steady, undistracted performance a moose may fit your needs.



Dropped Back
Without good riding, careful saddle fitting, and good conformation a horseís back can become weakened and painful. Some of us go through all sorts of monetary and mental discomfort to try to keep our horseís back comfortable. But, maybe we donít have too? Maybe we should just ride a water buffalo. And while you might get a few raised eyebrows when you enter the ring on your giraffe or moose, know one will pay attention to your water buffalo, because itís not even unusual to ride water buffalos. There are even water buffalo races. And look at that back! Strong! Short! There is no way that back is going to fall. And an added benefit of owning is water buffalo--cheese! Water Buffalo cows can be big milk producers. A strong back and cheese. Win, win.

Spookiness
Is your horse spooky? Are you tired of it doing 180s every time it sees a leaf blow across the trail? Does it come to a dead stop, with you hanging on its neck when the color of the jump rails are changed. Maybe, you could try riding a rhinoceros. Rhinos donít spook. In fact, most other animals spook at the sight of a rhinoceros. Rhinos have poor eyesight, which means they arenít going to see blowing leaves. They are fairly single-minded, so once you get them pointed in the right direction, they're unlikely to become distracted. You might want to keep them off the cross country course, because they donít mind charging things, and leaving a wake of splinters behind won'tí make you popular with the officials. Like moose, rhinos are loners. And look at that short strong back!

Splints, Bows, Spavins...
Now rhinos aren't likely to develop many lower leg unsoundness like splints, spavins, chips or much of everything else. But if youíd like something a little more refined, try a yak. Like its cousin the water buffalo, the yak has been used as a draft and pack animal. They are said to be surefooted, which would make them great for trail riding. They have a large lung capacity which would be advantageous in races of all kinds. And they come in all kinds of colors, from solid coats to pinto. With its sturdy legs, it sure to make an eye-catching alternative to the frequently lame horse.

Wonít Jump
Is jumping your thing? Believe it or not, horses arenít really the best jumpers among hoofed animals. If you really want to clear fences with ease try a klipspringer. These deer-like creatures are about five feet tall and they can clear obstacles up to ten times their own height. Thatís the equivalent of a sixteen hand horse jumping over fifty-two feet! Even with a rider, if they cleared two-thirds of that height, theyíd clean up in Puissance competitions. The downside of riding a klipspringer is that their pointy horns would end up at eye level when you were in jumping position and that they are very herd oriented. So you'd be back to the herd-bound problem

So what do you think? What would your perfect mount be?
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