Saturday, January 7, 2012

Objectively Speaking--The American Indian Horse Hall of Fame Award

What we do is unconventional. Put simply, we teach little children to tame, train and ride wild horses and colts and then we ride them very far. Nine year old girls riding 50 miles in a day--five year old boys riding in the woods on a formerly wild Corolla stallion--220 pound man riding thirteen hand formerly wild Shackleford 50 miles in 10 hours and 21 minutes--98 miles in the saddle in two days for a man over fifty years old. My point being that because we do so many things that the established horse world says cannot be done it is important that we have some objective criteria upon which to hang our hat.

I also like for my little riders to have something to say when are they confronted by a future member of the established horse world who rides a lame 22 year old quarter horse in circles in a sandy ring once a week for 50 minutes who belittles the program that my little riders have helped create. When a little third grade future fool says, "You just ride little ponies, do not even compete in horse shows, and you do not even have a real barn." my little riders are best suited to respond with examples of concrete recognitions instead of heart felt feelings.

In short they need a "resume" to legitimize what they do every weekend. The resume got a big boost yesterday that pleases me very much.

Mill Swamp Indian Horses was recognized by the American Indian Horse Registry with their Ranch and Farm Hall of Fame Award. It took a lot of hard riding and hard work by a lot of riders and their families over the years to earn this recognition. This great award adds to past accomplishments such as Jacobs'horse, Harley winning the HOA National Pleasure Trail Horse of the Year, Tradewind accomplishing the same feat, receipt of the Keeper of the Flame Award From the AIHR, The Carol Stone Ambassador Award From the Horse of the Americas Registry and the Buck Award from Currituck County for work to preserve the wild horses of Corolla.

These recognitions are wonderful in that they provide tangible things to help the little riders understand why the program matters. As much as I like such recognition, they will never top my favorite response from one of my little riders when a classmate who rode purebred horses belittled "those mustangs."

Q. "What can you do on those little ponies anyway?"
A. "Uh 46 miles last Saturday, but we are going to do more next time."

1 comment:

DianneW said...

Congratulations on your AIHR Ranch and Farm Hall of Fame Award. I know that a lot of work went into it and that it is well-deserved. None-the-less, I think that the best response to “You just ride ponies, do not even compete in horse shows, and you do not even have a real barn” is “that is what I enjoy”.

My unregistered pony was not shown beyond our very informal county 4-H shows (I once did western pleasure bare-back), mostly lived in a sheep shed or pull-around cattle shed although we did have a real barn, and was never ridden anywhere near 46 miles in one day. I make no apologies. We had a good time together.