mftESSEE MIKING H I 4 } BSE
J . B . Floyd Urges Pleasure Class Promotion
By J . B . Floyd Denison , Tex .. Route 1 , Box 303-A
Every breed of horses must come to a cross-roads . Some have reached this cross-roads . Some took the right turn while others took the wrong turn . Some serious thought on the part of breeders at the right lime might greatly influence the future popularity of the breed .
Probably no other breed in America except the Quarter Horse has caused more interest and imagination than the Tennessee Walking Horse . It is only natural for popularity to run in
cycles as we see one decade with one breed out in from while the next ten years another breed may take the lead in popularity . Is there a reason for this ?
Walker Classes Increase
Take a look at the past movements in horse popularity and then trv to determine reasons for these cycles of popularity . In the 30 ' s our large Dallas Show offered one class for Walking Horses ( then called Plantation Horses ) and had four of five entries while the Saddle Horses dominated l he show .
In recent shows here we find just ns many classes for Walking Horses as for other breeds with more entries in each class . Why this sudden change ?
Saddle Horse breeders are now trying to encourage pleasure classes . Look what happened to the Arabian horse during the years he was kept solely for a show horse . But when they started using them for pleasure and stock horses the breed suddenly revived in popularity .
Why did the Quarter Horse enjoy such a period of popularity ? Simply , it was because average people could own , breed and exhibit them as well as use them , and the breed association had the foresight to see this opportunity and urged their show programs to encourage such participation of the breeders and owners .
Even obscure breeds that the writer thought would never be in demand have returned to gain some degree of popularity . For example , a recent Paint horse sale averages over S800 . Ask yourselves why these breeds came back . These people could have been interested in Walking horses if given the right opportunity .
Lost Sight Of Market
During the period of 1935 for the next 20 years our breed was popularized as the world ’ s greatest pleasure horse , but with the advent of the bigtime show horse , breeders became anxious to geL some of the fancy prices paid for winning show horses and immediately lost sight of the real market for their product . This is where other breeds stepped into the picture . They lost sight of the real buying public , the people who use horses for pleasure .
Should this trend continue , what will the breeder with a herd of fifteen mares do with his colts when a little look at the figures will show him that he might get one show colt out of his herd . What is he going to do with the other fourteen colls ?
This would compare with a car manufacturer building only one model . What would happen to his business if he should practice such economic principles . Who would be building the cars the public would buy ?
Count the hundreds of colls listed in the Registry this year , and then count those that make the show ring four years from now , and you see what our real problem amounts to .
1 am not anti-horse show , but horse shows alone are not to blame for our problems . Shows are necessary for any breed to improve , but sponsors should not lose sight of the goose that laid the golden egg , the spectator , the breeder , and the trainer and exhibitor . Many shows that offer classes for pleasure horses do not offer any money prizes and have only one classification . Although , they have breeding classes , very little money is offered .
If this trend continues , I see the Walking Horse fast becoming only a show horse and nothing more . Will the horse riding and horse buying public look for Walking Horses or turn to some other breed ? Do not forget other breed associations are looking at this problem right now . Quarter Horse Folks Worried The Quarter Horse is worried about becoming a race horse and nothing more . Their turn at the cross-roads might greatly influence their future . Saddle Horse breeders have already taken steps to regain the popularity of their breed for pleasure horses and have realized their mistake in pushing only the show horse . They soon were about to run out of buyers and exhibitors among themselves .
A breed can prosper for a while by just selling to one another , but sooner or later some outside buyers must be found . Look what happened to the Shetland market . Why ?
I find two classes of Walking Horses often offered for sale by breeders . A show horse with set tail , long feet , sore , chain-marked pasterns , and a gait so unnatural that he is hardly recognizable as a true Walker , and a bunch of unbroke , untrained rough horses in the lots and pastures that the owners have not developed . The only Lhing they have to recommend them is their pedigrees .
I believe it is time our breeders and our leaders begin to evaluate and understand just where we are headed or we will be soon doing what other breeds have had to do — find a good demand for slaughter horses .
Most of us are trying to breed horses as a hobby that we greatly enjoy . But as the old sheep rancher said when faced with the price of ten cents per pound for his wool —“ there ain ’ t much romance in this business anymore ." Ask For Pleasure Classes
You may now be asking yourself what you can do as a breeder . Call your state show committees and local show committees and ask them to make a classification for Pleasure Walking Horses . Ask them to offer more classes for breeding stock with some money for premiums . This will get more people interested in both showing and loo , our attendance will gain some also .
MY MARE In my mind and heart there is no greater contentment in this world than to be seated upon a fine blooded
Walking horse shuffling down an old country dirt road .
There is nothing that can make me feel closer to God and to his miracles , green grass , blue sky , autumn leaves drifting lazily down around me .
And when I pul my hand on the neck of my mare , feeling her silky mane and strong
muscles , 1 know God has created this day just
for my horse and I .
By Carolyn B . Merwin 27 Williams St . Walton , New York
( Note — We are very much indebted to Mrs . Merwin for this unusual and beautiful tribute to her Tennessee Walking Horse that she rode as a child . She says the brief poem came from her heart rather than her head . We think it ’ s a good combination of both . BAG .)