I had planned to put up the first official conformation article today, but the ‘Look Ma, No Hands!’ comment section has taken a turn in a direction that might as well be discussed now that it’s on people’s minds; that is of pairing a rider with an appropriately sized mount for purposes of safety.
We’ve all seen the petite lady rider on the big GP Dressage or jumper mount, and typically we don’t give it much thought; she is after all an adult and therefore responsible for her own decisions. And if she’s a skilled enough rider to get over those huge fences then have it, right? The petite Jill Henselwood comes to mind. I’ve met her and she’s one tough cookie.
We’ve also seen the big, burly guy on the little Quarter Horse cutter or roper. We don’t usually say anything about that, either, since Quarter Horses are big muscled; they can handle it, right? Look at where all these rider’s feet hang – well below the horse’s belly.
(I actually think the guy in the blue in this photo is the same guy in white- Jerome Schneeberger – in the first photo. He’s one big hombre.)
(This is just one seriously cool picture! Ron Knutson in saddle, I believe.) And look, even the guy in the background appears to be a big guy for the horse he’s on.
But when it comes to children…
Remember The Black Stallion movie? The little boy on the big horse was 13 in 1979, the year the movie was released, so likely 11/12 when the movie was being made. Did we even care that it was a ‘stallion’? (Yes, my research yielded that two Arabian stallions were used, though, stunt doubles apparently did the running, fighting and swimming scenes.) Maybe we just chalk that up to an actor doing his job, and getting paid?
Below is a video I saw quite some time ago. I remember when it made its first rounds the vast majority thought it was;
- What a really well-trained horse!
- That kid has mad talent!
What I thought was;
Not cool. 😦 It’s not that I don’t see the training the horse clearly possesses, or the natural ability of the child; I just can’t get past all the things that can go horribly wrong in a split second, and it feels a bit like a group of adults ‘putting a show on for their own kicks and giggles’.