As the grassroots offers an enjoyable horse experience along with fair and education-based competition, it finds success and helps preserve the connection between horses and humans.
There is a lot of good horse news today, including things we didn’t know until recently. For example, we know there is continuing interest in horses. We know that organizations will find support to advance humane issues. We know horsemanship is still alive and growing, inviting new roles and benefits for modern society.
In today’s words: we know there is a sustaining market.
This is a different outcome than a member of society of 100 years ago would have likely expected. Farmers seem to have abandoned the horses as quickly as tractor ads began … the rapid loss of millions of draft horses made it seem our relationship was doomed.
That was before the cavalry disbanded and the middle-class recreational explosion. There are more horses now than ever before. Today we know horses can have a modern future, and it is worthwhile to give thought and effort to it.
People don’t need to know … they WANT to know
One item to re-evaluate is what the average person might seek in grassroots horsemanship.
A shouting cavalry riding instructor doesn’t provoke the awe of yesteryear: riding well does not earn higher ranking these days. It will not help one’s marital prospects in most instances. In fact, the dangers of horsemanship do not have to be faced, nor its frustrations or fears. Although very rewarding and enriching, riding is no longer a needed skill.
The establishment horse world has responded to this change of world relations with the useful perspicacity of a green thoroughbred encountering a blown plastic bag flapping on its hind leg. This metaphor overstates only the energy of the response. It opens a question of whether the ends justify the means.
However the end is hopefully not yet, and plastic bags can be held up and examined. There is good news in this reality too.
It is a different world today … but the horse world is different too
In the pre-motorized world, horsemanship was another kind of business … today it is educational recreation based on quality animal care and partnership. The good news is this is a road to the future.
There is no bad news, either, except as this isn’t understood and capitalized upon. The old way isn’t enough–for the grassroots, excellence is associated with outreach.
Many local events already do this, of course. The grassroots have grown to fill a need beyond competition events, and they can grow more. Providing an enjoyable experience around horses demands a whole other dimension than the technical demands of holding show classes … another of the arts that attend all equestrian pursuits. The grassroots have a bright future because they fulfill an ancient need, and serve a timeless connection.