Underrated People in the Horse World: Crystal D. Western

By Real Riderz

Who are they?

Crystal D. Western is a trainer and amateur rider. She began riding at the age of two and started showing at the age of five. She has shown western pleasure, slow gaited on Tennessee Walker, and in speed events. She has participated in events with barrels, poles, key hole and barrel pickups which she loved and even won a state show at one point. She competed until her mid-twenties and later started focusing on working with horses instead. She has spent the last of her years (prior to becoming disabled) working with and retraining abused horses as she wanted to help those without a voice.

What are some of the struggles you have encountered on your journey in the horse world? 

Being a female I have often be told I cannot possibly know what I am doing. I do not use force, spurs, and whips (except top point) so I’m not trying to be the boss. I am often told my gentle ways of working with horses isn’t going to work. I’m too quiet in the saddle because I’m not constantly kicking and on the [horse’s] mouth.

What change(s) do you wish to see in the equine world? 

I wish to see less people wanting to rush training, such as having a finished horse at two years old. Especially considering that they are still mentally and physically immature until the age of five. Yet some associations like AQHA have two year old classes. We should be putting the mental and physical health of our horses above trophies and money. Spurs being over-used and star fishing in speed events should not happen. I also wish that more people would research the effect shoes have on hooves (e.g. losing most of their shock absorbing qualities, inability to expand for more surface area, inability to flex as they should, and frog bein unable to be flush with the ground which impacts blood flow).

Anything else you wish to add?

I wish more gentle time with horses was encouraged. I also hope that classes for young and underdeveloped horses will be banned. We need to stop caring so much about the trophies and money. Instead, we should care more about the wellbeing of our equine partners. There are still so many horses shown with harsh bits and so many riders overusing spurs. In addition, the many riders/trainers/owners do not give their horses enough time to fully heal from injury as they think that their wants are more important.

Thank you Crystal for the insight! If you would like to have a chance at being featured in the underrated people of the horse world column, fill out this form:


Published by realriderz

Many riders coming together to make our horses' (and our own) voices heard

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