When Few Words Speak Volumes

My father shared some words of wisdom he heard from a distinguished horseman, the late Jimmy Williams. Williams is well-known for his excellence in horsemanship and for training horses such as the Bay Lady featured in Walt Disney’s The Horse of the West (1957) and Albarado in, The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit (1968).

When asked what kind of advice he would offer a person aspiring to get into the horse business, Williams responded, “When you get to the point that you know it all…what you learn after that is what counts.”

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Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 11:42 am  Comments (2)  
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The Changing Structure of a Breed

A little over 30 years ago, ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) adopted the current breed standard.  In that period of time, we have seen a distinct kind of Aussie emerge from the early foundation ranch dogs with the original sprinting structure.  The standard aided by the show program saw the development of an Australian Shepherd with the trotting drive train.

What does that mean for the breed?  Not all Australian Shepherds are created equal. Although most Aussies have the same basic appearance that sets them apart from other breeds, there is a distinct difference between the basic structure of working and show bloodlines. The best comparison can be drawn between the differences of the sprinting Quarter Horse and the trotting Standardbred.

As my father said, “The development of the trotting Aussie produced a dog that could move effortlessly for long distances. The trade-off for this development was paid for with the sacrifice of supreme agility necessary to outrun sheep and cattle.  The longer extension of gait naturally produces a slower reaction time to negotiate changes of direction.” A dog with the trotting drive train requires an extra stride to alter gaits or change direction.

Is that a good or a bad thing? You be the judge.

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