Am v new to this site, although think it's pretty fab to have all the different topics! Have had a read of a few of the threads on here in the last couple of days and it just seems all so much more complicated than it used to be! All of the woes about buying the horse, finding somewhere to house it, daily poo picking, diet supplements, working on your seat, etc etc, it just doesn't sound like fun anymore. And i'm not 112, i'm 41 - had a few years at pony clubs/gymkanas, then gave up for about 10-12 years (in which time the pink pony accessories and flash nosebands as standard on bridles arrived), then bought a horse and rode it until i got pregnant and am currently too fat to get back on. In fact, whatever happened to gymkanas? Can't think that i've seen one for years? Someone please tell me that you can still take your pony/horse there and do jumping/working hunter in the morning, fancy dress at lunchtime then games in the afternoon. It all seems so serious now, but i think i'll possibly blame that on the arrival of dressage! Does that mean I've answered my own question?
Years ago when I was at a different yard we did have our own fun gymkhana one afternoon. Everyone entered, adults and children with all different sized horses. The Gretna Green was especially hilarious. For a start some of the horses were 16hh + so we had to find things for people to climb on to and leave them strategically placed. Then as they weren't in the habit of being ridden doubles like the ponies were, they shot off bucking in all directions. So funny but didn't do much for 'the noble cause of equitation' as Jill would say!
I've recently have the dubious pleasure of being utterly traumatised by the sight of my 5 year old child hanging upsidedown from a stirrup her foot was caught in whilst 2 dozen ponies stampeded wildly around an indoor school in the name of gymkhana games! She was not traumatised - she managed to collect a ribbon off the ground which meant she got to stay in till the next round.
The Pony Clubs round here seem to run a few decent shows for kids - last year we did lead rein jumping, gymkhana games and ridden M&M at one show, and lead rein pony, fancy dress and games at another. Lack of spare weekends and the weather meant we didn't get out and about as much as I would have liked with her.
I have no idea about the scene for adults. I hunt and do fun rides these days, but in recent years have shown at county show level. I'm not sure I'm up for fancy dress!
I agree with the OP about 'stuff' though. My horse has his saddle, bridle (without flash,) a couple of plain brown or black numnahs, 2 turnout rugs that he wears inside too, and a thermatex. He doesn't need any more stuff. I deliberately try and keep stuff to a minimum, but I can see how it could be tempting to buy all the stuff there is out there today if you had spare money and nothing else to spend it on. You will admit it is a bit of progress though since jute rugs and new zealands were the order of the day!
Re "stuff" - those horse mags these days make me feel inadequate because I tend to operate on a 2-rug basis (turnout/in + fleece) and I don't use boots. Decent conformation should remove any necessity - as for broken knees. Blimey - you're assuming I'd ever own a nag for whom that would be an issue! I do have a bag full of boots in the shed
I do have two saddles - but that's purely because I won't hack or jump in a dressage saddle and dressage really is easier with long knee-rolls and flaps. Hurr... I said flaps!
horseylady headcollars and lead ropes operate on the same basis. Have only one left in the appropriate size? Nag will hook it on a fence or rip a buckle off with its ungainly hooves. Have 5 lined up and ready to go? Nothing. Nada. You'll have washed the colour out of them before you need to replace.
On the plus side - I find a fully-stocked first aid kit has them tip-toeing around without so much as a scratch. Run low on bandages and they'll start skipping over barbed wire.
I don't use boots either. Took Big Horse out with the draghounds once, and figured that as we were going to be riding round an XC course and I would definitely boot him if we were competing there, I should pop some boots on him. Lo and behold - twig down boot, one rubbed leg and the hair never grew back. Not great in a show horse.
I've recently discovered Premier Equine rugs, and have decided I never need buy another kind of rug again. 1 heavyweight, one lightweight, and one liner - you have every weight rug you may ever need! The thermatex is high tech enough to do the wicking away thing, and smart enough to use as a show rug.
I'm not a multiple-headcollar-offender. All mine have a good quality leather one, plus a spare cheap one for muddy days (or in Big Horse's case, a natural horsemanship headcollar for his more, ahem, excitable days!) I've owned the same 12ft nautical cotton lead rope for the last 8 years. It's needed the clasp replacing on it once, but the rope shows no sign of failing.
I hate shopping, and will make an effort to buy the right thing. It sometimes takes a couple of goes (am currently trying to get a new bridle for Little Horse, but he has a weird shaped head and I'm having to order some cob-sized parts and some full size parts. But once I've got the fit right I hope not to have to buy another bridle ever again for him.)
"We still operate a local show. We're struggling to get members as a lot of people want to compete on surfaces and do specific classes. The local shows will only survive if people use them.
I think today people (not all) buy a horse to do a specific job. They buy the specific saddle and bridle to go with that horse and this compete in that event. Very few people own an all round pony or one which they are willing to use for all round activities."
Wish you were near me! Dpony is slow and not the most confident jumper. He will never be a superstar. And I have absolutely no desire to buy 2 different saddles and 3 different bridles for competitions! But it would be nice to get him out to fun events if it didn't blow his tiny brain.