Jan 15 2009, 06:39 PM
I just received my “Modern Arabian Horse” magazine yesterday and was, once again, dismayed to see the same old depiction of The Arabian Horse on the cover, i.e. a Half-Arabian slathered with bit foam, high-stepping like a Drum Major in six inch heels while hustling a tardy bridegroom in tails and a silly, Victorian style hat, off to his fate (also why I previously dropped my AHT subscription).
This and the quivering, wild-eyed, frenzied, barely controllable, halter horse are the two most common images that come to mind when the uninitiated think of today’s modern Arabian horse.
Why this misperception? Because this is what we promote –on the covers and in the content of our magazines, in our promotional videos, at our shows, in the training barn and on and on…
Until we realize that we are the ones propagating the mental image of “those crazy Arabian horses” to the public, we’ll never be able to address our real issues like:
1. disappearing bloodlines
2. fad breeding
3. franchise breeders and their satellites forever breeding The Father’s and Thee Son’s progeny to each other in an endless profusion of sibling mating to make even the original Pharaohs jealous of such pedigrees
4. out of touch governing body (read “From the President” and, especially, “From the EVP” in the afore mentioned magazine).
Until we promote the kind, intelligent, steady, loyal and do-able Arabian horse we all love, and mostly breed, the above incomplete list of our real problems is moot. We’ll continue to attract few newcomers and endlessly breed for one another.
What happened to the universal image of the Arabian horse that evokes the Sheikhs riding ethereal steeds across the desert or Walter Farley's "The Black Stallion" causing children and adults, both, to covet an Arabian of their own? It's still alive. Mostly in the hands of the small breeder who continues to breed the loyal tent horse. These horses –unlike our current breed representatives- are actually still capable of a desert ride, can traverse a rugged mountain trail, put on a car-stopping show in the pasture and then take the kids for a safe, quiet ride around the yard.
Where are these horses in our promos and ads? Surely there's room for them, too.
Disclaimer: these are my opinions and observations (some a bit tongue-in-cheek) that I suspect/hope (in variations) are widely held. I meant no disparagement to any particular horse(s), rider(s), disciplines or persons in particular. My opinions arise from my perception of industry image representation, authority qualification -not personal attack, and methodology of disciplines -not necessity. I'm sure my characterizations and criticisms have not endeared me to some. I'm sorry you feel that way; it's meant constructively. (ct)
Jan 15 2009, 06:49 PM
Great post, my man!! Oh, you need to say that last part - disclaimer - really, really fast!!
Jan 15 2009, 08:51 PM
this fits right into the other thread "Changing Public Perception". Thanks for your viewpoint. I agree that much work still needs to be done to continually counter what negative others are doing, especially in tough economic times. That reflects as well into the Vegas show thread. However, there are a few interested outsiders who are listening. Some changes occur slowly and some quickly.
Jan 15 2009, 09:09 PM
Unfortunately you will get the same response most of us get when pointing this out. Put your
horse on the cover, you
pay for the ads you'd like to see, show your
horses, go out and show the public your
horses.. uhhh I am sure there are many more.
I am with you, the Arabian image is on a rapid downward spiral to the likes of the saddlebred wannabe and the "charasmatic" halter horse.
If my kids can't handle my horses, stallions included, off they go. I came to Arabians for the superior versatility, tent temperament and heritage. If I wanted a looney tune or a saddlebred I would breed another breed.
I will continue to breed what I like and what I think Arabians should be no matter what happens
Our registry is clueless
I nominate Ray to say your diclaimer really fast in a micky mouse voice
Jan 15 2009, 09:30 PM
I purposefully did not post on your thread, Marilee. You are attempting to develop some positive solutions.
Conversely, I am pointing out the same old negatives promoted by the minority that everybody knows but dances around. Maybe it's time for a "chapter 11" rebuild in the Arabian Industry and stop letting the tail wag the horse.
Jan 15 2009, 09:50 PM
Yes, I know that's all part of my diatribe I left out (only so much negativity I can spew before my psyche takes a nosedive).
Until there's a level playing field in the show arena and, it doesn't cost my 1st born to enter a class (the politically correct trainer, handler, groomer, etc) and be competitive, I'll continue to breed the root stock everyone eschews today and will cry for tomorrow (or some day).
It's surprising how many like me are out there quietly going about their business and breeding for the love and preservation of the breed.
Sometimes, though, one just has to speak up; even a cornered mouse will attempt to fight back.
Jan 15 2009, 11:22 PM
Wow, I sure got fired up again reading the above. When I revisited the Vegas show thread, and saw how negative some of the response to positive (not critical) but positive suggestions for positive change.....I was again surprised. If I had not seen so many years of awesome response from the public (children, teachers, and parents) when I did the Las Vegas Farm Festival (years 1999 through 2007), I would I guess give up and not try anymore.
The kids and adults want to pet the horse, take pictures, ask to ride.
Is your horse for sale?
I thought Arabians were________, but yours are different.
How can I find a horse like yours?
Your horse does not look that old (their ages and names and pedigrees are posted by the stall).
I thought I only liked (this color horse), but now I really like to see (that color horse).
I have only seen (English, Western, dressage, jumping, endurance, reining......), but now I see _______, as my display and discussion shows many disciplines and uses for the Arabian.
Aren't Arabians always more money? I give a careful answer, but an honest one (they are in all prices). Some need a foster home, just like a dog or cat.
I did not take out my horses this year due to changing a job, but I sure hope to do it again. There is a real need to do this. For as many people as possible to see the true and honest behavior and work ethic of our horses.
PS--I have listeners here in Vegas who may be able to help with the Vegas show--increase the attendance to locals and children, and I am so glad about that.