There is a saying that I’ve seen go around the internet that goes something like “Winning on a made horse will never be as satisfying as winning on a horse you trained.” While this is true in most cases I believe that this casts a negative light on those riders who rely on school masters. As an equestrian community, we need to realize that the needs of the riders are as diverse as the riders themselves.
School Master Advantage
There is an obvious advantage to riding and showing a school master. It can make the rider’s job easier in the way that they don’t have to do as much physical work to get a good result. In some cases, riders use school masters to show at levels higher than their own ability. I believe that this is the main reason for the negative light that is cast on riding school masters.
The Savior School Master
What many people don’t think about is the mental effort that spectators don’t see. I personally leased a school master after riding a horse who left me with a lot of mental baggage when it came to jumping. He helped me gain confidence in myself so that I could move onto riding a more complicated horse.
It’s Not Always Easy
Working hard both physically and mentally while riding can take the fun out of the sport riders have come to love. If riding school masters help keep rider riding and competing, why do we make a big fuss about it? We need riders who truly love the sport to stick with it for the sake of the sport, shows, and the animals themselves.
Of course, there will always be people who use school masters to compete higher than they should. This is where we need to rely on trainers, show officials, and the horse community to step up and politely help them realize the harm they are doing.