Dogs and Horses

Went to watch an evaluation of Trakehner mares this weekend, to support my friend Fiona with her big young mare.  An expert judge evaluates the horses on size, conformation, and movement (7 different points), and grades each; if the total score exceeds 49, the mare is accepted as an official Trakehner for their stud book.

“No dogs” was specified in the invitation, and yet there were barn dogs around: a small, pitty type who befriended anyone who cared to pet her, and a little border terrier who dodged the horses like an old pro.

Even more than the actual dogs, though, I could feel the dog vibe at this event.  It’s interesting how many people who show dogs came from showing horses, and vice versa.  One of the owners there (whose horse won “high point” mare) used to show Great Pyrenees when her kids were young.  There were so many similarities in temperament of the people and their behavior at a show: the nice ones, the chatty/gossipy ones, the superior ones who looked down their noses. There was the continual checking in to be sure you weren’t late with your horse for your turn in front of the judge.  There was the careful judge/competitor dialog, with a deferential overtone. There was even the difference in type within the breed, and the judge had a marked preference for one type over another.

It was interesting to watch the movement portions, too. I used to show horses, but not in conformation, so I never connected good movement with good structure.  As I watched the horses go around at the walk, trot, and canter, though, that conjunction became clear to me.  Funny how a well put together animal of any kind just shines in comparison to others, and draws the eye.

And not once did anyone say, “do you have a saddle for that thing?” since, of course, they all do.

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