Just for Kicks: Made from Scratch vs the Made Horse

I follow Denny Emerson on facebook, and enjoy reading his delightfully outspoken posts almost every day. For non-eventers, Denny is an eventing legend who has been around the block and back, and still competes and jumps bigger fences at a ripe old age (how old is he, anyways?) than I probably ever will in my lifetime. Just saying- follow him, you’ll be glad you did.

Anyways, Denny posted the following commentary this morning:

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Just interesting food for thought… I was spoiled with a ‘made’ showjumper (that would be Merry), that I turned into an eventer, and I would describe our relationship as definitely rocky for the first couple years. Since her, due to one circumstance or another, I’ve been bringing along my own green horses, with relatively good results. Foster and Ivan, my last horse, I had from their younger years (Foster just turned 4 and Ivan was 2), and their little quirks (and there’s a lot of them) meant/mean a lot to me.

What do you guys think? What has been your experience- how has it been to take over the ride on an experienced horse? What about bringing along your own?

19 thoughts on “Just for Kicks: Made from Scratch vs the Made Horse

  1. The closest I’ve ever come to an experienced horse was my very first one when I was 16. He was experienced but a total nut. Everything else I’ve owned has been somewhere from not broke to a little bit of post-track training when I purchased. I enjoy the green ones too.

  2. I guess I like the journey. And knowing I’m the one that made that horse better. I have had few Nice rides to varying degrees, but tbh, nothing made. But my definition of made may vary from others. I know my idea of “green” does.

    • When I was shopping for a new horse I was determined to get something with experience, but ended up with Foster instead. I do feel like my riding would be further along if I had sat on more ‘made’ or experienced horses.

  3. I feel really fortunate that I’ve had a very broad spectrum of horses to ride in my riding career, from green broke to coming down the levels from the GP at Spruce Meadows. I’ve never owned a made horse, I’ve leased one but never owned one, and they all have something to teach you.

  4. i like this topic a lot! i really enjoyed the partnerships and rewards associated with getting green horses going (did this for a lesson program – so not exactly a huge accomplishment), but am also really enjoying learning to event w my leased 13yo mare who isn’t green, per se, but isn’t ‘made’ either and is new to formalized jumping. it really boils down to the trust we’re building in each other

    • I love how horses can range from completely independent to being very person-centric. For the ones that have their ‘people’, I think those bonding experiences are all the more special!

  5. I think one of the reasons I like OTTBs so much, and would never own anything but, is that I can do all the re-riding/”sport horse” training myself, yet I don’t actually have to break them out. I get a riding horse that no one else has put riding horse buttons on yet. Win-win for me.

  6. When I was younger I was more about getting my own miles than my horses, and spent some time with two more made horses. They weren’t packers by any means, but they knew their jobs well. Now with my former green bean, I feel more pride and accomplishment when we do something together because it’s not just my goals, it’s hers too.

  7. I think it depends on your goals, time, money, etc. Personally, there is NOTHING better than making your own horse. The rewards of starting my baby have been undeniably the best experience ever. Sometimes I still get an overwhelming sense of warm and fuzzy when I pick up her feet, knowing how much time I spent into getting her confident enough to let me touch her leg, then her hoof, then confident enough to pick it up then hold it up and now she raises it before I even touch her. We definitely have a wonderful relationship and are SO good at reading each other because we had no choice but to figure each other out from the beginning πŸ™‚

    • Denny Emerson would agree! And I totally understand- just like we can read them, they can read us- Foster knows our hoof-picking routine now so well that he picks his feet up before I get there. Makes me smile every time!

  8. I’ve never felt like I was a good enough rider to bring along a green horse, but I still agree with Denny’s quote. My partnerships have grown much stronger with horses I’ve been fortunate enough to ride for several years and that’s a bond I truly cherish.

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