Helping Hand

When I came into the breed, I noticed how hard it was to find information on Kigers. From my Thoroughbred background, I had been so used to having access to pedigrees or easily seeing photos/videos of a horse's family. When I saw this need in the Kigers, I started to gather as much info as I could so I could share with other new people. I'd travel to places and take photos of different Kiger horses and talk to the many breeders/owners. With the way social media is now, it's a lot harder to navigate where the needed info may be stashed or dig through old Facebook posts. In a lot of cases, new people just don't know that they don't know, which makes searching harder. It's hard to find needed info if you don't know the right questions to ask or search for. Having a main go-to place with people involved in the breed also helps make horse searching much easier. This is true especially if the person is thinking of getting their first wild mustang. They can easily have access to people who have trained a variety of Kiger types and personalities since there is variation in every breed.

I've always loved building community and helping people pursue their dreams. I came into this breed at a unique time years ago. I missed the Kiger heydays of initial glory, but I came in when many good thoughts and conversations were in play regarding where the breed was heading. Due to the Kiger forum, there had been a lot of dialogue going on, even between people that didn't always agree with each other. It had been the go-to place in order to hear what was happening with each breeder and different insights each one had. The voices of the past were also still present with people that had been on the ground at the beginning of the breed. Those people would share what made the breed so exciting for them and the response of the public that viewed them. Many felt like they discovered something special. In that season, there had also been many trial and error instances of what type of promotion worked. Many discussed how the breed, as an organization, should work to help keep what made the Kigers special, preserved for the future. Preservation was a key word that often came up. It also proved to be a frustration point for many, since the breed is quite multifaceted with the variable of wild Kigers getting gathered every 4 years. Without going on too much of a tangent, I do want to focus on a pivotal point for me. This point was seeing how the forum format, with all it's different opinions, also cultivated a sense of community. People were working together to try and figure out solutions. There were many times people encouraged each other through issues that came up with their horses, whether it be nutrition related or a training hurdle or something else. It was such a great place to glean from people that had already dealt with the same issue or could help point you in the right direction. It felt like a family. Sure, there were debates that would break out on hot topics, but they were always moderated. To me, there were more positives than there were negatives when I saw the group dynamic.

My big goal is trying to create a welcoming environment where people aren't afraid to ask questions that they've been trying to figure out. I'm realizing that the next generation of Kiger people are coming up, this can be a stage to prepare for the future while learning from the past. Learning how to work together to highlight what has made the breed so special to us and unique from other horses and mustangs. There's a lot of past issues that can stay in the past, especially when I see so many people wanting to work together within the breed. I see the need, but someone needs to help give direction and navigation. This breed has attracted a broad spectrum of owners, so helping each person figure out their goals and helping them move forward in their pursuit. This breed is a passion, more than it's a money maker. We need each other to help cultivate our talents and steward the baton that is getting passed to us.

Sarah Butterworth

West 12 Ranch Kigers

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