"She found a horse." Apologetically, she went on further, "She has a lot going on in her life now so he is a sane calm guy."
I've heard similar conversations to this many times and its something I don't understand. Why do we have to "apologize" for having a sane horse and why isn't "sane" at the top of our horse shopping list?
Usually when you ask someone who is shopping for a horse they will give you a list a mile long -- a certain breed, height, color, training, etc. but rarely is sane at the top of the list -- if it makes it at all. And then if they end up purchasing a horse with a little less "pizzazz" and more on the side of sane and calm, the purchaser feels like they have to justify why they compromised on the pizzazz. "He's not super flashy but in a a few years I will be able to afford something a bit more flashy. He's what I could afford right now."
I get why a professional dressage rider is going to look for that little extra oomph that is going to give them the extra flash in the ring. I read something recently (not sure where or what the exact quote was) that a good dressage test is one that is just on the edge of disaster. That is probably true of the top levels.
The majority of dressage riders though will never reach the top levels and certainly are not riding them now. Looking at the results of the last few schooling shows, there were NO riders past second level and a high percentage of riders were at Training Level or below.
Probably most of the riders don't just do dressage. Many of the horses may be family horses who serve roles giving pony rides, trail rides in the woods and sometimes just friends to their humans on a bad day. Even the ones that are strictly dressage horses are probably ridden by owners who have responsibilities outside the ring -- children, work, elderly parents... well.... life. These responsibilities and the fact that most of us have to work within the confines of weather prevent us from riding everyday and sometimes mean that we don't ride even every week. So what should be the most important item on our shopping list? Sanity!
Not to say the other characteristics aren't important. Certainly we want flexibility and impulsion. And there is nothing wrong with liking a bay over a grey or vice versa. I just think we need to put sanity first.
And for once... I'd love to hear.... "She got a new horse. Just wait until you see how SANE he is!"