By Steve Komadina
This is a column that talks about horses and the Corrales connection. It
was started as an initiative of Corrales Horse and Mule People
(CHAMP) to help horse and non-horse owners to think about living in a
What will the New Year bring for our Corrales horse heritage? Our
population as a world and its interests are continually evolving. Our
climate changes. Our free time has evolved. Will we have more time at
home with the shift to virtual offices and more time to spend in the
stable without a commute? Will horses return as a necessity for going to
the post office and store, with the ban on fossil fuels and an unreliable
renewable electric grid? Will hitching posts and diapers for buggy and
wagon horses keep the poop off main street? Who knows?
This I do know. Change is inevitable and often out of our control.
The big question I ask myself today is how horsing around in Corrales
has changed in my three-plus decades living here. The answer lies in the
change in the horse world in New Mexico and the United States. There
are many layers to that evolution. I have actually been horsing around
for over 70 years and all of the layers existed in the beginning as they do
today, but the players in those layers have changed.
- Family child who lives for horses and has a horse ridden almost
daily in the back yard or at a neighbor’s or boarding stable.
Classes taken to be safe and learn how to have fun and respect the
- relationship with another living being. My opinion is that this is
- the pure horsemanship and can lead to a lifetime of love and
- respect for these majestic beings. It can be done on a shoestring
- budget and lead to a lifetime of joy. It requires supportive
- parents and a mentor to keep things safe and fun. The only
- competition is you as a human being good enough to deserve the
- Competitive Horsemanship: This level often grows out of number
1 and is very different. Often it is encouraged by the trainer who
gives lessons wanting the child or adult to be their best and hone
their skills as a horseman. The introduction of winning and losing
however, changes so much of the spirit of the Horse/Human
relationship. Fun seems to be frivolous at times and winning is
everything. The person in this level learns to envy others, lust
after a better horse, saddle, riding outfit and winning the praises
of teacher, family, and friends. The horse then becomes an end to
the means of praise and recognition. The horse is used as an
object to achieve an end which leaves the horse out of the
relationship and dilutes the joy which started the experience in
layer 1. The cost can be more than substantial. It can be
- Professional Horsemanship: These are the teachers, trainers, and
higher-level competitors. Their motivation is to help others be
better. They have invested a lot to get to that level and they need
a return on their investment. If you have students consistently
winning, you get more clients and are held in more esteem by
your peers. Their life is often consumed by their job and they
must remain objective about the results of their clients ie:
students. They often branch out and sell horses and tack as well
and again should remain objective in their dealings with students
and parents. Usually, they do what they do because they love it
and few become rich because of it.
- Horse breeders and traders: Thousands of horses are born each
year in New Mexico and hundreds if not thousands sent to the
killers in Mexico each year because they are beyond commercial
value. From racehorses, to show horses, there is a finite demand.
There is much competition. Horse rescues abound and that
backyard horse is just waiting for a nominal fee to be adopted and
serve level 1. We need to discourage the backyard breeding with
such a surplus of good level-one horses. Many of these horses are
trailered to the open spaces of our state and released just to get
rid of them. This is not responsible behavior but happens weekly
in our State.
So, there is my opinions as to the layers and often they cross over each
other. There are many good people in all levels.
We will discuss this topic further in our next article and update where
the horses of Corrales stand. Is there a future or are we living on the
glories of the past? Stay tuned!