December 18, 2017

Dream a Lofty Dream

“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall at last unveil.”

John Ruskin

Many years ago I had a client who was looking for a new horse for her daughter, Caren. Caren had been riding the family horse for a few years. She had gone from a complete beginner to an accomplished show rider. It was time for her move-up horse. We were looking for an all-around horse that would be competitive on the PtHA and APHA circuits. We had looked at several horses so far, to no avail. They were either too English, too halter or too western.

After several months of looking they called me to check out yet another prospect. Her name was Mel. Mel was 5 years old and had not been shown. She had been well started and ridden extensively on trails. She had the breeding and look we wanted, but could she perform in all the events we needed her to do? Upon arrival at the barn, we were given free rein to try her out. I went through my usual pre-purchase checklist. I checked her stall manners, ground manners, conformation and way of going. So far so good. She was kind hearted and willing. She had a halter horse conformation and good legs.  We then saddled Mel up and the owner showed us what she knew. After that, I rode her and finally I put my student up. All went well during the evaluation. Things were looking good.

During the ride home we discussed Mel at length. She was somewhat green and would need some time and work to get her ready to show. Caren was certainly up for the task and willing to put in the needed time and effort.  My only concern was that Mel would be a much better Western horse than an English horse. She wasn’t very tall and was very stocky. If Caren was ok with possibly having limited success in English events, Mel would be a good choice. During the pre-purchase consultation it is my job to give the buyers information, not make the decision for them, and that is what I did here. We had passed on other horses for this same reason so I just gave them as much information about Mel as I could and then left the decision up to Caren and her family.

The next day Caren told me they had decided to purchase Mel. She flew through the vet check without a hitch and was very soon parked in Caren’s barn. I designed a training program for Mel that would get them to the show pen as quickly as possible. I made sure the plan worked to Mel’s strengths and weaknesses. By really pushing this mare to work as an English horse, I did my best to make her the all-around horse her owners wanted her to be. I didn’t just work her western because I knew that is where she would excel. I worked her on both disciplines because that is what the owners wanted. They knew Mel’s limitations before they bought her and accepted them. It was my job to make Mel the best she could be at everything her owners wanted.

We started Mel off at some local shows. She needed to get in the show pen and figure out how things worked. She had great success at this level in both the western and English events. Hmmm, guess our training program is working so far. It was time to head to the big time! We entered Mel and Caren in their first PtHA show. She showed in all the youth events, both English and western. At the end of the day, Caren came home with many first’s, seconds and thirds. Looks like we found a winner. As time went on Caren and Mel continued to improve. Finally the day had come; we were off to the PtHA World show!

By the time the show was over, Caren and Mel had 6 World Champion titles and 4 Reserve World Champion titles. The classes were English and Western, youth and open. I was so proud of them, I could bust! But the most important thing was that we didn’t give up on Mel going English. In fact, we worked extra hard on her English skills and she overcame her physical limitations and excelled! Had I given into my initial thought that Mel wouldn’t do well English, she wouldn’t have. Because I listened to my client’s wishes for Mel and did what they wanted, despite my concerns for success, Mel turned out to be a great All-Around Horse. I made sure I did what my client was paying me to do, not just trying to prove that I was right. In so doing all our dreams for Caren and Mel came true. We dreamed a lofty dream and unveiled our vision.

Let Cheryl help you unveil your riding dream! Call or email today and start on the path to your vision!

Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg is a Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor and Clinic Instructor. She is also a registered AQHA Professional Horseman. Cheryl has been teaching riding and horsemanship for over 30 years. Currently she and her husband own and operate CRK Training Stable in Yorba Linda, CA. We welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish this article are restricted.




  1. Margaret Dick says:

    What a wonderful story. I loved reading about success stories with horses. It brought tears to my eyes.

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