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The Rundown: To Foreign Lands

In the October issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal, the Journal asks, “Where have American Quarter Horses taken you?”

By Tara Christiansen
The American Quarter Horse Journal
September 22, 2011

E Gaffney and Sir Avery

Edwin "E" Gaffney competed at the inaugural Project Cowboy in Fort Worth, Texas, with his gelding, "Sir Avery."

From the cover of The American Quarter Horse Journal to overlooking the Continental Divide, AQHA members told Christine Hamilton, an editor for the Journal, about all of the exciting places American Quarter Horses have taken them. (Christine shares these stories, plus her own, in “Inside Look” in the October issue of the Journal.)

But how many AQHA members can say that Quarter Horses have led them to a role with Disneyland Paris?

AQHYA Region Eight Director Edwin “E” Gaffney of Aurora, Colorado, says American Quarter Horses have taught him a lot in life. But who would have guessed that Quarter Horses would take E across the Atlantic Ocean to the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show at Disneyland Paris?

E embarked on his trip to France this summer, but before he left, the Journal caught up with him. You can read about how E, an AQHYA world champion in impromptu and public speaking and team demonstration, landed his part as a cowboy in the Disneyland Paris show in the October issue of Journal Plus.

Lessons Learned

Working with horses has taught E a lot about life and about how to work with people. Here are a few of the lessons that E has learned from American Quarter Horses:

  • “A horse has never said to me, ‘I’m going to buck you off because you’re too skinny or you’re too fat.’ Or, ‘I’m not going to go on a trail ride with you because your skin’s the wrong color.’ Or any number of those things. A horse says, ‘I’ll judge you based upon how you treat me,’ and I think that’s an important principle.”
  • “The definition of character is doing what I ought to do whether I feel like it or not, even when no one’s looking. That is something that really applies to horses. Who’s going to know if you do or don’t clean out that water tank? You’re going to clean out that water tank because you’re going to do right by your horse. And that same thing applies to life in the business world. What if I can get away with cheating on these taxes? It’s just a small little item, who is going to find out about it? But character says to do the right thing at the right time.”
  • “One of the great things about horses is they aren’t judgmental. A horse doesn’t say, ‘Oh, I heard what this one person said about you.’ A horse says, ‘OK, show me what you have to offer, and I’ll judge you by how you treat me.’ ”
  • “To be a good horseman you can’t say, ‘What’s in it for me?’ ” E says. “You have to say, ‘What can I do to serve the horse, or make the horse better?’ As someone inside the equestrian world and outside, I kind of have to look at things and look at people and say, ‘How can I make this organization or this person better?’ There are just so many principles like that that I’ve learned and (that) have really stuck with me that working with horses have really helped to reinforce.”