What Temperament is your Horse?
A quiet horse is often referred to as ‘bomb-proof’ due to its usually unreactive nature. A horse with a quiet temperament will tolerate almost anything, from a low flying aeroplane overhead to an uncoordinated rider with inexperienced hands. This type of horse can generally be trusted to behave safely and to build the confidence of beginner handlers.
An interested horse is aware of its surroundings and environment and responds to what is going on around it in a calm and accepting manner. This type of horse’s ‘fight and flight’ response is generally kept in check as long as it is handled with sensitivity and respect. An interested horse can usually be safely handled by beginner / intermediate handlers.
The flight response in a nervous horse is very well-developed. Nervous horses tend to spook very easily and often carry their heads and neck in a high position, ensuring that they are instantly ready to react to any perceived threat. This type of horse requires a lot of patience and confident handling to allow trust and a sense of security to build up in the partnership. Experienced handlers are more suited to this type of horse.
Extremely nervous horses are highly reactive and often something as insignificant as a shadow or a rustling leaf can set them off. Again, lots of patience and consistent handling by an experienced handler is required to safely keep this type of horse in check.
Stubborn horses tend to resent work and often try to find a way out of it. When pushed, they often become irritable and balky. These horses require an experienced and patient handler and should be treated with a firm yet tactful approach.
Treacherous horses are generally a product of bad handling or neglect. They may have not learnt to respect their handlers or in some cases have learned to actively resent them. They may unexpectedly attack handlers by kicking or biting them and be generally difficult to handle. Treacherous horses need to be handled by very experienced people and are not suitable for beginners. These horses are often sold – sometimes to extremely confident handlers who can help adjust the horse’s mental state; but other times these horses get ignored or neglected too.
This is an extract from the eBook, Horse Care, by staff of our school
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