It is inevitable that whenever you get a bunch of professional horsemen (or practitioners of a given discipline of horsemanship) that the conversation eventually devolves to, “which discipline of horsemanship is the superior discipline.” I happened to find myself at a gathering of professionals in the horse training and instruction community the other day in which such a conversation arose.
I uncharacteristically sat back and listened to the conversation and waited until all the various arguments on the topic had been expended.
First, the dressage people and the gaited horse people presented their argument. It essentially boiled down to, “dressage is the superior discipline because it requires absolute refinement.”
The second group to chime in was the forward riding crowd. Their argument was, “well, our discipline is superior because we don’t interfere with the natural locomotion of the horse and we don’t impose any unnatural balance on the horse.”
The third group was the Western crowd. Their argument was, “Well, all you people are too esoteric. Your disciplines don’t have any practical application in the real world.”
I listened to the various arguments (not limited to these specific disciplines) and remained silent until someone asked me, “well, you usually babble one about stuff like this, what discipline of riding do you thing is the superior system of riding?”
I gave my rote response to this question: “It depends upon to what purpose you are riding to. Which discipline is superior depends upon to which purpose you are riding. You ride for a specific purpose and you choose a discipline that meets the utility requirements of the task you wish to accomplish. Each discipline is superior to the other when one considers the specific purpose to which one is riding. Choose the right tool for the job at hand.”