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thoughts from Charlie Cole & Lynn Palm (from Pleasure Horse Journal)

After the exciting race to the SuperHorse title this year, PleasureHorse.com interviewed Charlie Cole (with Artful Investment) and   Lynn Palm (with Rugged Lark, sire to Look Whos Larkin) about the All-Around prospect.

PHJ: What do you look for in an all-around horse?
Charlie: An attractive horse, that is a good mover and one that is good minded.
Lynn: Conformation; form to function; athletic ability, and a horse that is more hunter type. This horse can be trained with my Dressage Techniques for all the Hunt Seat Classes, Hunter under Saddle, Hunter Hack, Working Hunter, Pleasure Driving, as well as Trail and Western Riding. In the youth and amateur classes: Showmanship, Horsemanship and Equitation goes along with the above! That is an All-Around horse!!

PHJ: More specifically... what height and what build?
Charlie: I prefer the taller horses and more English type, anywhere between 15.2 and 16.2
Lynn: Hunter Type, 15.2 - 16.1 hands preferred.

PHJ: Do you prefer stronger in Western gaits, or English gaits?
Charlie:  Keeping in mind that not many horses can excel in both a jog and long trot, I think the English type horses can do a wider variety of events than the western type. Example......some can only do the western pleasure, western riding, trail, horsemanship, showmanship, where as a more English horse can do all those along with the hunter under saddle, working hunter, hunter hack, driving, and equitation.
Lynn: A horse today will not excel in western pleasure and hunter under saddle because of length of stride. However, for me, an all-around horse will never excel in those events. They will excel in pattern classes.

PHJ: How about between a pleasure lope vs. the hunter canter?
Charlie: I have had several horses that could do both, most importantly, they have to lope with a lot of cadence, be good hocked and strong backed.
Lynn:  I answered this above. I only hope people will recognize this and try not to make a horse go to their interest instead of what the horse has 'naturally' and can do his best!

PHJ: How do you maintain your all-around horses so they shine in all events, without being overstressed by so many expectations?
Charlie: I think the different events are what keep the horses fresh. I don't just drill everyday on western pleasure... they stay interested that way, and are not bored. The different events are just part of their everyday routine. Once they are solid in a particular event, I may only work on it a few days a week.
Lynn: First, taking time to properly train a horse. Never training a horse in the show ring!! Second, conditioning will be the key factor for the horse not getting tired!!   Third and very important: taking the time to understand your horse and find training methods to enable you to bond with the horse. Today horses do not show enough happy expression for me. You see riders take away the horses spirit in many different ways. That is the fastest way for a horse not to last physically or mentally as an all-around horse.

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