What is a Performance Horse?
Is a performance horse a reiner? A cutter? A cowhorse? A roper? Is a jumper a performance horse?
Is a performance horse defined by it’s discipline? Or is a performance horse simply a horse that has a purpose, a job, that it has been trained to perform?
To me, a performance horse is a athlete that is trained to do a job, and respond lightly to the rider’s requests. (My personal opinion is that the ultimate performance horse is a reined cow horse, that can perform a reining pattern, cut a cow, and control a cow down the fence. Talk about an adrenaline rush!)
The International Performance Horse Development Association (iphda.com) rulebook states: “A performance horse is a trained athlete. All performance horse events require the rider to control their horse while they PERFORM the athletic challenges demanded by a particular sport.”
I like this definition. It doesn’t restrict the horse to a specific discipline, but rather focuses on the horse’s ability to do a job.
What do you think? What is a performance horse to you? Can you describe your ideal performance horse? What makes a performance horse a performance horse?