From My Saddle

The ABC’s of Horsemanship

The ABC’s of Horsemanship
Karen Pickering

How Horse Events Help You Learn

by Karen Pickering, NWHS Publisher


August 2014

Photo courtesy Cindi Plendl

This past month has been a whirlwind of horse activity. Every weekend has been filled with events and I love life more than ever when it’s spent with my horse. These experiences—enhanced by the incredible weather we’ve been having— have really changed my perception of competitive horse shows. Here are some of the things I’ve learned this past month:

  1. You’re never too old to learn.
  2. People are happy to assist if you just ask.
  3. Competition raises the bar for your performance.
  4. Clinics stimulate our brains so we can see things from a different perspective.
  5. There really are good people in this industry.

Horsemanship is an art, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s also a skill that can be learned. While some people have natural talent, I believe tenacity and determination play a bigger role in achieving success with your horse. Sometimes it takes years to reach a level of skill that will satisfy, but it’s a journey that’s well worth the effort.

My favorite thing to do is anything trail-related: trail riding, mountain or extreme trail and competitive trail. Competitive trail organizations such as ACTHA (American Competitive Trail Horse Association) and ETS (Equine Trail Sports) are an indication of the need for more low pressure activities where you can really have fun with your horse, enjoy the challenge and spend far less than horse shows often cost. Many of these events also have clinics where people can address their horse issues with a professional. I see these sorts of competition as a growing trend and something to watch.

What is your favorite horse sport? I’d love to hear from you. Email me ( or comment to this article when we post online. What do you like about trail competition and how do you think it’s helping the horse industry?

Quote: “It is easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date.” ~Roger Von Oech


Originally Published August 2014 Issue

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From My Saddle
Karen Pickering

Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 16,000 copies and over 600 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!

Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.

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