Editorial Paddock

I guess people all have different opinions of different breeds of horses, some good and some bad. I have found the person’s opinion is often based on one bad experience with a particular horse or some times just things they have heard about a breed. This is really how breed prejudice gets started. Well my opinion, for what it’s worth, is that , like people, there are good and bad horses in all breeds. It is also my opinion that nine times out of ten it’s not the breed it’s how the horse has been handled by humans.

Owning Arabians I experience a great deal of breed prejudice. I have even heard other Arab owners disparage the breed. People will tell you Arabians are hyper or hard to handle, but I have 3 Arabs that could dispel that. My 22 year old mare, Meg, is as far from hyper as you can get. Jodie, my other Arab mare, is one of the kindest horses I have ever had the pleasure to be around. My Arab gelding, Lucky, is also sweet tempered and loves people. Lucky can get a little full of himself sometimes, but what horse doesn’t? My Morab gelding, Omar, was the type of horse that you could ride bareback with just a halter even on a trail ride. Omar was, at times , a little bit of a show off . He loved to prance, but then I liked that about him. I have to admit I like horses with a little fire. My Arab/Welsh cross Squire was the best trail horse I have ever had. He’d cross water and bridges and anything else. My lovely Arab mare, Katy (who I lost to EPM) had a kind and sweet temperament too. Like my other Arabs and Arab crosses Katy had a huge heart.

I have heard bad things about Appaloosas, Fox Trotters, Morgans, Walking Horses, Saddlebreds and Quarter Horses yet I have known some wonderful horses in all of those breeds. Oh, don’t get me wrong I have also known some bad horses as well, but I found it’s often not the breed but how the horses were handled and trained. Horses who aren’t trained properly or handled properly are often given bad habits by a human. It’s like a friend of mine said “horses are like computers - they don’t always do what you want them to do, but they always do what you ask them to do,” and I agree. I also agree with the great horse trainer Mary Twelveponies who wrote a book many years ago entitled “ There Are No Problem Horses, Only Problem Riders”.

It’s funny, but people who own less well known breeds such as Paso Finos, Rocky Mountain Horses, Fresians, Fell Ponies, Gypsy Vanner Horses and Andalusians will tell you that they don’t experience much prejudice against their breed. Having both a Paso Fino and a Rocky Mountain Horse I know that is the case. Why? Well because they are less well known and not as many people own these breeds. As one Paso Fino owner put it “there aren’t enough people who own them yet to have ruined their reputation”.

So the next time you want to disparage a certain breed of horse think about this: the person who owns that breed loves his or her horse and when you make a comment about their breed you are insulting the person. Bad and good horses come in all sizes, shapes, colors and breeds, but chances are it’s not the breed it’s the handling they have received by humans.