Bad Horses- A Rambling of Sorts…
I have had the opportunity recently to watch a foal develop. I have been riding for a long time but had yet to have this experience. Like humans horses are born with their own personalities and quirks. I have a young stallion of whom we affectionately called the ‘bastard child’ as a yearling as he did not want to be caught, hated being around people, was fussy with brushing etc.. This is simply who he was. Pure. I started working with him to get him to trust and engage a little more, now as a 2yr old he is amazing. He is still as quirky as ever, but I love him for it.
If I had gotten him let’s say 5 years down the road who knows what he might have become in the wrong hands. He just doesn’t like his face being brushed. Do I need to force him? No. Can I brush his face? Yes. So what’s the problem? That is him. I hate peas. No amount of pea eating is going to make me like them. That is just me. If you can learn your horse’s strengths and weaknesses and make them work for you and not against you then there is no problem is there?
I do think that horses can be ruined. My experiences are you can’t always change what has happened to a horse to make him the way he is. I once had a horse, beautiful, talented and trained to the nines. He hated his job. He was always scarred. Why should I force him into doing something he so clearly does not what to do? He didn’t want to do it. Time was not going to change anything, because when push came to shove and I needed him to go a certain way and do certain things he would have literally ‘flashbacks’.
Have you ever seen an employee who really hates their job? They are miserable. You want to go up to them and say, if you’re not happy why don’t you quit? Do we ever give our horses this option?
I had another horse who came to us as ‘a bad horse’. The previous owners even made us sign a waiver of liability that we where aware that this horse kicks. You know what? I never, ever saw that horse kick once. When we first got him, he didn’t know how to canter. He tucked his tail between his legs and hopped around on his hind end. We didn’t know what to think. I had never seen anything like it in my life. My partner starts colts and is amazing with horses. We devised a plan to just let him go. So we took him out on the trails and did just that: let him go. It took two rides. He ended up being one of the best horses we’ve ever owned; I would trust that horse with my life. We can only imagine what someone did to him. All he wanted was for someone to understand him, take the time.
Bad horses are man made. Good horses are allowed to be who they are and work with people.