Friday, February 12, 2016

Wild West: Things That Are Awesome About Idaho

I've laughed before about the east/west differences for the horse scene in the US. They are many and hilarious. However, whenever I talk about that, I get lots of people inviting me to move to more, eh, "horse friendly" parts of the country. You know, places where a show 6-9 hours away isn't considered "close".
yeahhhhh can't beat it
It's not that I'm not grateful for the offers (I am!), but I thought I should explain things that are awesome about Idaho/the west in general.

1) Jeans and a hoodie are always socially appropriate. 
governor's cup race night
Not even kidding. I could go to the governor's ball (fanciest event in Idaho) in this get up. I'd have to wear my nice cowboy boots, but I'd fit right in. I guess maybe some people see this as a drawback, but as someone who deeply hates dressing up, I really value this feature.

Noted: If I did this, I would make sure the hoodie was reasonably free from hay. And of course, featured the correct sportsball team. Go sportsball!

2) If your horse is clean with its' mane pulled, you're already over dressed. 

This doesn't apply at rated and recognized shows, but it's totally a thing for everything else. If I had to haul my horse 7 hours one way to a clinic and I knock the manure off before I get on, that's pretty good.
names taken
I realize that sounds like poor horsemanship, but what it works out to are people who are more concerned with the performance of the horse and his general fitness and health than the spit-and-polish details that cranky old men try to use to feel superior to their clientele.

3) Driving is a whole different ball game. 
just another day
I know I talked about the long hauls, intimidating roads, and mountain passes we deal with. That sort of investment creates a whole different kind of driver. If I'm stuck on the side of the road, people stop to help me. If I'm driving a big rig, people not only give me more room, but wave and are friendly because they know not all roads were designed for a 4h gooseneck with full lq.

And they know that because they drive one on the weekends.

4) It's a little (or a lot) redneck, but that git-r-done attitude can be amazing. 

When I go to shows and clinics, I find myself more interested in the ranch horse-giving-pony-rides-who-also-events-at-training than the fancy five or six figure warmblood. I mean. You can buy talent anywhere, but the brain that lets a horse toodle over crossrails with a kid, then gallop clean XC is something to be marveled at.
this horse does not do everything
The family only keeps one horse, so of course it does everything. Why wouldn't it?

5) Camaraderie between barns and disciplines is common.
an eventer, a dressager, and a showjumper and it's not even a bad joke
Forget cutthroat competition and wanton disparaging of that other, obviously inferior discipline. We're all horse people, we're all in this together, and it's a totally normal thing for hunter riders to volunteer at dressage shows, eventers to fill classes at jumper shows, and everybody to get along just fine.

Sure, we have our bad apples and sour grapes, but everyone knows who they are and that they're usually a fine person who's just having a bad day.

6) You can't beat the scenery.
or the company
You know? Green hills and trees are nice I guess, but if I have to choose between that and mountains, it's no choice at all.

I'll just be over here in my hoodie taking it all in.


  1. I love it when we are embrace where we live and what we like about it. Personally, wide open spaces are not for me (and remember, I grew up in one of the flattest areas of the United States-- Central Indiana), but I totally respect the get it done attitude and mountains! :)

  2. Love it. On a totally random note. I'm pretty sure my sister lives semi near you. I really do miss the west.

  3. I love being here on the east coast, however, you have the BEST scenery, hands down.

  4. that sense of camaraderie is so critical - and is definitely one of the first things thrown out the window when there are so many 'good' options for trainers/boarding/etc that people suddenly feel like they have to defend their choices or define how one option is better than another (when really, we're all sorta in it for the same things...).

    also jealous of your polite drivers who know how to give space and leeway to a rig. the hardest thing for me learning how to pull a trailer was to figure out that other drivers WILL cut me off and it WILL be scary...

  5. This is a fantastic post. I love pride in your own home! Plus, those horses that do it all-those are a rare find, and worth their weight in gold.

    1. The do it all horses are not as hard to be found in Idaho. Sure, some don't make the transition between Western and English styles very well, and others don't at all, but with all the beautiful trails around and less variety in reasonably close horse events, most horses in these parts tend to dabble in all sorts of things.

  6. Love this post! Great photos :)

  7. Gorgeous scenery! We're excited for our move to NV for that same reason! My new target has the sierras tucked right behind it, amaze!

  8. Yay Idaho! I feel way tougher now that I have driven a rig over those mountain passes. Driving a trailer anywhere else just seems easy ;)

  9. I have to admit that while Idaho is certainly not on my list of "states I'd consider living in," the scenery in your photos can't be beat by ANY other bloggers <3

  10. totally agree with this list. While I miss the giant fields of the east coast (and metro Denver has none of that), the mountains and sunshine can't be beat. I would totally come to Idaho too

  11. I definitely miss Idaho mountains and all the green. I also miss the opportunity to go from branding/moving cows to a dressage lesson in a single day. Not that I probably couldn't do that here, but I don't think that I'd want to move cows here as I don't appreciate the thought of being poked by cacti all day.


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