Excerpt from the e book: In relation to occasion horses, when is compromise good? | nation of occasions

On this snippet of How good pilots get goodDenny Emerson talks candidly concerning the sorts of qualities you must have in an occasion horse, and when it is okay to compromise.

Picture courtesy of Denny Emerson.

New Zealand’s well-known (and really tall) eventer, Mark Todd, FEI “Knight of the Century”, got here a good distance in 1983 to see Charisma when he was provided the journey on the gelding whereas his greatest horse was mendacity down. He was shocked to search out that the prospect he traveled thus far to see was 15.3 chubby and unattractive palms. Two Olympic gold medals later, Mark obtained over the shock, and he and Charisma fashioned a legendary partnership.

Ben O’Meara did not take the Untouchable off the monitor till the horse was eleven years previous, an age at which most riders would have dominated him out. However Untouchable grew to become one of many nice jumpers of the Olympic Grand Prix.

Regardless of already being a “Wow!” jumper, Theodore O’Connor, an Arabian/Shetland/Thoroughbred combine with solely 14.2 palms, was something however my impression of a four-star horse when Christan Trainor introduced him to my farm on the age of 4. However Karen O’Connor noticed one thing particular in him a 12 months later, and after ending third within the Rolex Kentucky in 2007, they received group and particular person gold on the Pan American Video games.

Victor Dakin was not the prototype of my best occasion after I went to see him in 1973. He was barely sixteen palms, his toes had been slim, his pasterns erect. He was sizzling as a rocket to journey in dressage, and the Canadian group’s coach dismissed him, stating, “This bloody horse cannot gallop!” He was half thoroughbred, one-quarter Irish, one-eighth Arab, and one-eighth Morgan—hardly the standard combine for a high-profile prospect.

However he may run and soar eternally.

By selecting to “commit” to Victor, I used to be in a position to assemble a gold medal-winning USET group, win the US Nationwide Championships, and do clear cross-country rounds on many of the hardest programs on this planet for 5 straight seasons. Victor is an efficient instance of a compromise that was a good selection, however I additionally made my errors. I believe quite a lot of the occasions I’ve made errors when shopping for horses it is as a result of I wished to get one thing for nothing — or, to place it extra merely, as a result of I am low cost! I wished to purchase champagne, however I had a beer pockets, so I usually took a horse that had an issue, slightly than paying a number of occasions extra for a greater horse.

By “downside” I imply that I usually purchased horses that had been tough to journey, or too sizzling or too sturdy, or too inexperienced. At all times, in fact, I’d do that assuming I may resolve that horse’s particular issues, and this has usually proved to be a fallacious assumption. Sizzling horses are inclined to get sizzling, and hard, aggressive horses typically relax, however more often than not do not. Inexperienced is correctable; it simply takes time. However my worst shopping for errors occurred after I compromised on high quality, a phrase which means various things to completely different riders, even after they’re in the identical self-discipline – and particularly after they’re in several disciplines.

On the occasion, “high quality” horses are fancy engines. They trot with an elastic “circulate” and their gallop is floating and ascending. His canter is silky and sweeping, his leap is sharp and filled with attain and energy. If you happen to begin with a top quality horse, you could have real looking hopes. However for those who compromise on fundamental high quality, you will by no means get there – irrespective of how arduous you struggle and irrespective of how a lot driving ability you deliver into the equation.

this snippet of How good pilots get good by Denny Emerson is reprinted with permission from Trafalgar Sq. Books (

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