Your horse is beautiful. I have a real weakness for greys, although my current horse is bay and I'm grateful for that when I see our barn-mate trying to prepare her grey for a show and the horse is manured stained from head to tail.
She's 17 hands so its a lot of cleaning.
So, that looks like the Caledon area - hilly but close to Toronto. I live in the tiny village of Camden East, which is close to Kingston. My horse is boarded in the even smaller village of Centreville, just 10 minutes up the road. Its a great place with a large indoor and an enormous outdoor, and best of all, great care.
I am the only male boarder. The place is owned by a couple and he supposedly rides, though I have never seen it. That might remain the status quo as his wonderful horse just had to be put down. He was only 15 and the whole family were devastated.
There is a lot of dressage activity here with a very active CADORA chapter but, again, I have yet to see a man compete, though I've seen a few male coaches. I don't show any more. I just ride for fun, but I go to a lot of shows.
I agree, apparel is a challenge. When I bought my most recent breeches (with knee patch) they were the only mens' breeches in the store. It was sheer coincidence that they fit - sort of. We're lucky here, though, because we have Wilton Tack and if they don't have it, they will always order the item with no obligation and they are a charming and knowledgeable group of women (of course) running the place. Your idea of group buying is great except we're scattered around all over, so distance is an issue. The Royal is a good place to find items and for making relationships with suppliers.
Your point regarding male trainers is an interesting one. Its like male top riders - where do they come? They seem to spring into prominence out of thin air. As the husband of a contact of mine said just recently, "They sure as hell aren't in Pony Club". That's an unusual family. Both husband and wife ride and both kids (a boy and a girl) do, too. They even hunt together with the Ottawa Valley Hunt Club.
Lets try to keep in touch, Michael. My regular email address is email@example.com
She's not mine. She's my trainers horse. And amen to keep her clean. We had to bath her again the morning of the show. We even put her fly sheet on over night in hopes that would help. But no luck. I will be at the royal for sure. I'm already clearing room on the credit card LOL
I hope to get my own horse in about a year. I told my trainer anything but a grey. She had a poo stain right in her armpit the morning of the show as if she was applying deodorant. And we've had so many girth issues with her since most grey's seem to be extra sensitive. I caved and bought the expensive girth and it works like a dream but still another pain in the butt thing with the grey's.
That's too bad she isn't yours. Zuckie isn't strictly speaking mine, either. He came to me through the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, for which I volunteer. All the horses we place remain the property of OSAS, but that doesn't bother me at all. Its a wonderful comfort to know that if anything were to happen to me, he would be safe and not only would he be returned to the program, I even know the farm where he would be fostered. In every meaningful way he is mine. After two years and one month together, we are very close. He comes to the gate as soon as he hears my voice (even if I cough, as I discovered just the other day). If he is indoors and he hears me talk to another horse before I get to him, he starts to kick his stall door. He's beautiful and a good ride - jumps, canters from a walk, and is remarkably supple and responsive. He's reliable without being a dead head and has loads of personality and a sense of humour.
We went for a trail ride yesterday with three other people and he was so excited by it, there were a few bucks and he kept wanting to canter (gallop?) when the others were trotting. Because I know him so well, it was funny rather than alarming.
Here's a picture of him without the fly mask, so you can see his handsome (and not excessively large) head.
Although I'm not guy, I find it interesting that, in the Olympics and higher showing levels, most of the rider's are in fact male. Does this not surprise anybody but me?!
I absolutely agree with you Sydney. I hear this discussed many times - where do these guys come from?
As a contact of mine said, they are definitely not in pony club. Its as if they spring onto the international scene as fully fledged adult riders.
It would be great to see more men and boys competing at the lower levels at local shows, etc. Why don't they? I do see teenage boys in events like barrel racing and perhaps there is a perception that western riding is more manly than English.
Of course the boys aren't in Pony Club. Pony Club is FULL of giggling girls and anxious hoovering mothers who often seem to emphasize appearances over horsemanship. It just isn't a place where boys want to go.
Though, if the parents can afford private hunt seat/dressage lessons for their son (away from the giggling girls), then their son would have the instructor's undivided attention, and if the boy is a natural born rider the sky can be the limit.
Down here young men go Western, Saddle Horse, TWH, or driving in the wagon trains local clubs get together. Most of their riding looks sloppy though the good ones have no trouble getting their horses to behave.
Good point about the girls, Jackie. I was never in Pony Club myself, despite starting to ride at six.
Yes, its true here, too (Southern Ontario). The boys are in mostly western. It must be that Marlboro Man thing. Lol. There was a boy in the summer camp at a local riding school recently who was challenged for participating in a "girls' sport".
Its a good thing I'm old. No one cares what I do!
I too have often wondered about this male to female discrepancy at the lower levels in the equestrian world. I am convinced in the Western world that it's the machismo effect connected with roping, reining and rodeo speed events. I've ridden for 60 years over three continents starting in Africa when I was six years old. I am male with the first name of Sandy which in Scotland is quite acceptable as a male name if we understand that it's Gaelic for Alexander. Not so in Canada !! I rode the mountains for many many years in Canada hunting (and not with a red coat, but with a Stetson) and sightseeing. I took an interest in Reining at a competitive level for a few years but became disenchanted with the training methods in vogue, many of which I vehemently disagreed with. No one seemed interested in equitation as such but just winning ribbons. I looked at the dressage world and it looked worse believe it or not. Many horses were crippled by the time they were eight or nine years old, and many competitors never moved past second level. I decided to pursue academic riding on my own, in my own arena, and on my own horses. I have, for quite a few years now, greatly enjoyed the study of academic dressage with a special interest in the French Classic and Traditional Schools. There is very little interest, and even less knowledge, in this type of riding in Western Canada but I have been most fortunate to have met both Jean Claude Racinet, before his very sad passing, and Colonel Christian Carde who was the ecuyer in chief of the Cadre Noir in Saumur, France. Both men stimulated me enormously. I also owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to a Western rider, now sadly passed, called Roy Yates, formerly out of Colorado, U.S.A. His knowledge of French equestrian culture was quite extra-ordinary and over the years he shared much of it with me. He was a follower of James Fillis. The literature has also been very illuminating, and much of it has been translated into English. Nevertheless it can be lonely from time to time and Racinet was quite correct when he said all over the World there were many riders isolated within their arenas trying their best to practise their art....the lightest of equitation developed within a framework of impulsion, and by progressive dressage, both in-hand as well as mounted. It would be interesting to meet others of like mind, although at this time I'm just getting over some health issues because I'm old !!