Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Thoroughbred mind...and yes, they do have one!

Those of us who like Thoroughbreds tend to spend a lot of time arguing with people who don't over whether or not they are crazy. We point out that we can ride ours in halters with lead ropes and they follow us around like puppydogs. This does nothing to convince those other folks, who have determined they are all batshit psycho after seeing a Thoroughbred run around a show facility dragging the hook from the side of the horse trailer, a lawn chair and a hay net while 53 people tried to catch him and he successfully evaded them all.

The truth is, we're both right.

Thoroughbreds are my favorite breed. Have been for a long time. I grew up on Thoroughbreds; I learned to ride at a polo barn and was working polo ponies by the time I was in high school. They were smart and fun and had a lot of personality. If only I could have found high school boys with those qualities, I might not have ended up dating a 32 year old in my senior year. But I digress...

Honey is a perfect example of a typical Thoroughbred personality. When Honey first arrived here, she was snorty and silly and reactive. The first time I got on her, she was so light sided I couldn't touch her and she overreacted to everything. Her head was in the air and her feet barely touched the ground. It was easy to see how she could be an intimidating ride.

A few weeks later? She is a dead dog. I could ride her anywhere now in a halter, no problem. She doesn't spook. Nothing bothers her. She is easier than the VLC to ride, and that's saying something.

To me, this is a very familiar pattern. Thoroughbreds are sensitive beasts. They get somewhere new and their reaction to everything is OMG OMG OMG at first. They pick up the attitudes of other horses like a lightning rod - if another horse is upset, you can bet your Thoroughbred will have sympathy hysteria. Same goes for your attitude. If you are scared - they will be scared. Every time. After all, if you're scared there must be something to be scared about, right? A smart horse will react now and not get eaten by that mountain lion that apparently only his rider can see.

But once they adjust, which can take an hour or a month depending on the horse, the circumstances, etc. - they are fine. They are like Quarter Horses to ride, just a little more light-sided. The polo ponies are typically the easiest horses to ride in the world - you pitch their head away and they lope until you tell them not to - usually while you pony 2 or more horses off of them at the same time, and on a track not so different from the one they once raced on. It's pretty unusual to see a polo pony screwing around during exercising. They know enough to save their energy for the field.

So how do you survive the high phase? My best tactic has always been long trotting. Don't even try to make them walk. You will not win. They will just get more and more stupid and hyped up. Just let them trot, and let them trot as fast as their legs will carry them. Don't let them break into the canter, but let them trottrottrot as fast as they want. Put them into a big circle if you want to slow down a bit, but don't pull on them. (You'll never outpull an ex-racehorse but you may piss them off and teach them to leap or rear by trying) Trot, trot, trot. 20 minutes straight is not unusual to get the edge off. You wanted to be in better shape anyway, didn't you?

The high phase doesn't last. Give them a little time, a lot of turnout, lots of hay and no grain. You'll have a whole different horse in short order, and you may even change your mind about the breed in general!

(as opposed to some other breeds, cough cough cough Arabians, that you cannot freakin' tire out or wear down or get the edge off of no matter what you do!)

*ducks tomatoes from the Ay-rab people*

74 comments:

mugwump said...

I haven't known too many thoroughbreds, but have liked the ones I've met.
I've talked a little about the ot mare I had in training last year.She is one of the sweetest, kindest mares I've worked.
She left with me, with a lot of gas, the first time I rode her. I sat heavy and quiet, and hoped for the best. When she realized I didn't want to run, she quit. She has never gone faster then a slow lope since.
I'd like you to ride a few of my cowhorses though. I'll challenge the light sided comparison any day. :)

mugwump said...

Oops, it's me again, I'm kinda chatty today. As to the Ay-rabs. There's a young woman who as been showing in the NRCHA on her little Arab mare. Very nice young woman, showing in her helmet, arab saddle, and friendly grin. Sticks out like a sore thumb.
She runs the crap out of that horse, for hours before she shows. The mare doesn't even break a sweat. She's doing a decent job in the arena.
The young woman told me she figured she'd dive in with the tough guys, (NRCHA)to hone her skills for the Arab Worlds.Smart girl.

Karen V said...

OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY!!! Is it REALLY on 5 more weeks??? I can hardly wait! (We're planning on be there for the SAFE show...you're still going to enter a class on her, right?)

Instead of long trotting for 20 minutes, how 'bout I tack her up and turn her out in my arena, then sit in the shade while she "self-exercises"? LOL!!

littleisabella said...

I totally agree! I have a three year old Thoroughbred that I purchased as a two week old. The other boarders at the barn swear that she must be a quarter horse because she has such a laid back personality. They don't believe me when I say she is a Thoroughbred.

I backed her for the very first time two weeks ago and she couldn't have cared less - didn't flinch, bat an eye, freak out or anything, just walked on when asked and accepted me being there.

I love her to pieces!!

icepony said...

I seem to have the best of both worlds these days - Anglo-Arab - but I sure won't discount the stamina from the Arab side, lol! My BO is dying to make my gelding into an endurance horse, and I sure don't see a problem, other than that I would like him to do dressage. I can see it already: I'll have to ride him the 43 miles to the dressage show to take the edge off, lol! And I bet he'd still trot the 43 miles home after.

Alexis said...

I ride a TB at my barn, and he has some straaaange things going on XD
He'll never get you off of his back, but he sure acts like he wants to. He won't spook at, say, a large, bouncy, loud truck, but if there is a small animal walking at him, he freaks.

If a branch is in a tree, no problem. If a branch is close to the ground, no problem. If a branch is on the ground, you better hope you have your dressage whip with you.

This is the horse that, if you let him take advantage, will refuse a ground pole D8

RussianRoulette said...

I've worked with many Thoroughbreds and I've always been comfortable with them. It had been a few years since I'd last worked with a youngster and when I first bought my guy, I seriously thought that I'd lost it. He's been an absolute dream to work with. He trained on the track but never raced so he's already had tack and a rider on. By my third ride I was mounting by myself (with no holder) and he was standing completely still until I put my leg on and asked him to walk. He doesn't really understand leg so thankfully doesn't run away if I bump him a little. Last night (for my 6th ride) we went on the road and had cars, cows, running horses, foals and tractors all moving around. It was a busy night apparently. My friend came on her big, quiet Percheron and my guy stayed calm the whole time. He was a little more on the muscle than usual (he's actually very laid back, compared to what he was like when I bought him!) but very manageable. We are about 15 minutes down one road from the forest so over the next couple of nights we're going to try and make it there.

I love Thoroughbreds. Everything you said about them has been very accurate compared with all of the Thoroughbreds I've known.

I also love Arabs though. :) I've known some fantastic Arabs. So long as I wasn't interested in jumping (although some can, I just find they aren't as successful as something a little more built for the job) I had a wonderful mount. The last Arab that I rode I spent 3 years riding him. He had spent the previous 12 years being ridden by beginners who pulled on his mouth and made him run. When he got too rough for them, his owner would get on and muscle him into obeying. It took a couple of months for him to realize that I wasn't going to pull on him and riding could be fun. He used to run to me from the field when he saw my van coming down the driveway and he would bang on his stall door and whinny when he heard my voice coming in the barn. I've never had a horse that bonded to me like that, even though I'd owned a couple previous to him and ridden others for a couple of years. It's really a shame that I couldn't buy him from his owner. They don't do anything with him but weren't interested in selling. It was time for me to move on and that's why I bought my own horse. I still think about that little Arab though and I've been to visit him twice. When I've gone to see him, he still whinnies for me and makes a big fuss over me, trying to groom me and staring at me with those big eyes. It breaks my heart to leave him behind but you can't force someone to sell a horse that they don't want to sell. I've heard of other people that have had similar experiences with Arabs. Here's hoping my Thoroughbred catches on. :D

Shorse88 said...

FHOTD-I am not throwing a tomato....but I did catch the comment re: Arabs. Having been raised with them and riding them my whole life...yeah, they can be different. I don't even think its worth trying to physically wear them down. I have known many that actually go the other way, and get higher and higher, the more you lunge. You have to outsmart them, cause you sure as shit aren't going to outwork them! Your best bet is to make them work hard mentally, IMHO.

Original L said...

Tee hee, I haven't really ridden a young Arab, but I do know my 28-year-old mare NEVER acts tired on the way somewhere new. She is always up for something, and tired to her means walking as slow as the other horses.

I do agree about the TB brain - I am always pleasantly surprised at my boy, because he has learned that he is not allowed to buck when being turned loose, and even when he is really excited you can see him think as he runs, and wait until he's at the other side of the pasture before he lets go and bucks. He sometimes tries to fool me with "fake spooks" but you can see his brain working while he does them. It's funny how intelligent they can be!

verylargecolt said...

>>I'd like you to ride a few of my cowhorses though. I'll challenge the light sided comparison any day. :)<<

LOL, true! Remember, most of the AQHA horses I ride are halter or pleasure breds that just have no gas pedal. The VLC actually has some go to him which I think I can thank Boston Mac for.

sidetracked said...

We have a ton of TB's at the barn I ride at. We get a lot of ex-racers who are maybe only a month off the track and are wound as tight as a drum. We give them some down time, let them re-adjust to life on the farm and lots of turnout. The more they interact with other horses and become laid back from modeling after the other horses they usually come around quite quickly.

We have trained ALL of them to a good riding career. Either pleasure, dressage and many times jumping. TB's usually like a job to do and like to be prepared. It takes a sensitive minded person with a strong sense of confidence to really connect with especially the ex-racers.

However you also have the opposite TB. The ones who didn't really cut it on the track that are too laid back and stuck in the mud you would guarantee they are 25yo quarter horses. I actually find them more difficult myself then the hot ones, but they make for great kids mounts and usually connect well with kids.

I like TB's myself. But I also like TB crosses. I think a good TB could really compliment almost any breed. I like their go additide but also like a TB or TB cross with some substance so it as well.

However I have been forever cursed with appys. My first was a ex-racing appy who was just awesome. and the one now is a rescue that somehow found me. Appy's are def not my favorite breed but if you can work with one and really get it on your side their great horses who will do anything and try ther heart out with a little F U additude thrown into the mix. Any horse is good really with the proper training and horse rider compatibility.

fssunnysd said...

Not much experience with TBs -- the few I've ridden have been fairly easy-going and nice to be around, but they were so used to boarding barn activity & craziness that not much was new and scary.

As one of the Ay-rab people, I was actually reading your description of how a TB adapts to new surroundings and thinking, "huh - sounds a lot like the Arabs I've ridden!"

Especially the bit about invisible lions that only their riders can see - lol. Of course, sometimes the invisible lions are only visible to the horse, but hey, they're invisible, so obviously they have skills ordinary lions don't, sneaky buggers!

I do love the fact that my cute little - in comparison to the QH we ride with - Arab gelding still has some gas left at the end of a hard day working cows or trail riding. And as long as my head's on straight, his usually is too. The other times, well.... he has to give me something, to complain about sometimes, right?

I'm with sidetracked - sometimes it's less about breed and more about compatible personalities :)

Jennifer said...

YAY! Somebody else that thinks about OTTBs like I do! YipEEEE!!!

Multiple times, on multiple discussion boards, I've had to put up video of my OTTB cautiously carrying me around a dressage test, or warming up in an arena, and ask, "Where's the goofy/crazy/stupid horse? Because he ain't under me!"

My OTTB Chewie is the most easy-going critter I have in the family.. Nothing bothers him, well... except harsh hands with the bit. *grin*

Karen V said...

sidetracked - re: appys

SO with you on your comment. My fat little barrel mare (fat cuz I can't afford to race...) has more try than any horse I know. She is also impossible to tire. She'll sweat like crazy, but I've never been able to tired her out. EVER! She tough as nails and got the F U-tude. She toss it at me if don't give a clear signal in the form of a double barrel kickout accompanied by a fart. She's never offered to buck, but will kick out on me. And the "Power walk" - is that an appy thing or just my horse?

JB said...

We've had appendix QHs before, but gor our first real TB several years ago. No papers, no tattoo, but TB from top to bottom. He was a 17.5h gray hunter/jumper that was navicular and couldn't jump any more.

He was the perfect kid's/beginner horse 99% of the time. Parades, mounted band, trail rides, go to the beach, even used him in little kids rodeo. That was amusing! He stood out like a sore thumb in with all of the ponies and short QHs.

However, some days he was impossible. It would take 3 or 4 people to get him saddled and the entire ride would be at a very pissy collected canter. Sideways, usually. He'd honk, snort, squeal, and generally act like a man-eating freight train. Our QHs would have died a few minutes into it, but he could go for hours. We never figured out what caused the bad days.

He had to be put down due to cancer at age 21. We still miss him.

McFawn said...

TB's have great minds--but they seem more independent than other horses. They learn a job and do it--they don't need micromanaging and they resent it. They also tend to be more "all-business" than some other breeds...arabs are lovely dovey, but my TB's way of showing love was to save my ass over a fence or do everything right in a dressage test despite 90 degree heat with a fainting rider.

The best way to describe a TB is "game." My horse will give anything a shot. I've also noticed that TB's feel "safer" than some other horses. They're just isn't a great violent bucking fit in most TBs, or a vicious streak. My OTTB was FOUR when I got him as a novice 14 yr old. Even back then, I KNEW I could trust him--even though I couldn't control him. Something about him--even when he was galloping uncontrolled in the jump ring--has always made me feel like I was in good hands!

Elly said...

My horse is a TB x mare who happens to be ginger with it so when she arrived on the yard for the 1st time several eyebrows rose as she lept off the ramp and stood at what felt like 18hh and blowing a storm at EVERYTHING including her shadow.

Next day quiet as a sedated lamb.

There were also a couple of OTTB in the riding school who just looked on everything as if they had seen it 20 times already and frankly didn't give a damn, and others in the livery that had never seen a track and yet their feet touched grass and they were off in a cloud of grass clippings.

Apparently the secret is a stirrup leather fastened around the neck (so it sits where a martingale would). Works particularly wellwith drafts and TB's - you get pissed off with into middle distance and you let them go and then slowly exert pressure on the leather strap while sitting back and sitting deep and eventually they slow down and you won't have pulled on the mouth inadvertantly while you conk out after 20 miles of trotting ;)

dp said...

You've described Raven to a tee, and I will now be trotting her out even longer in future. The only thing you didn't mention is that race-bred TBs love to race. The only time I get into trouble with Raven is when she senses a race coming on, or when I pull her out of a gallop for some reason (like imminent death). That's when she gets hissy, and she was never on the track -- it's just in there.

foodforfounder.blogspot.com

Joy said...

Awww, the TB's. My first very own horse was an OTTB, ex-polo mare. She was soooo much horse for me. My best friend that I got her from swore she was the absolute best first horse for me. She was right. Unfortunately that friend died very young in a tragic car accident. She never got to see me "figure out" Margarita. What an amazing horse she was. It will be one year on the 23rd since I had to put her down.

You are so right. They are smart and intuitive. My mare loved loved loved drama. But she was strong and fearless and what a lope that girl had. I loved her so much. I will have another TB someday. Right now I've got a lame read fat QH gelding. Very different from at TB in many ways...... (I love the QH's too thought)

dp said...

And yes, Raven will try *anything*. You can almost hear her saying "oh, what the heck" to some of my stranger requests.

foodforfounder.blogspot.com

Joy said...

thought = though. D'oh!

Also, that mare of mine had the best work ethic ever. All she needed was a job and she was happy as a clam.

rockerchick1343 said...

i hace an ottb who thinks he is a qh. he will slow down and will do WP or will speed up and do HJ. he is awesome. i have to used spurs to get him to go. he is 16 but looks like he is 6. people are surprised when i say i have a tb because he is so laid back

sidetracked said...

Karen V:

My appy will let me know if I'm not doing something right. Like if I give a sharp spur aid and he doesn't like it he'll squeal and do a little buck as if to say "I was already going to do that mom!"

But the funniest thing by far that he does is squeal when you give him some leg inbetween a line. I remember clearly last year we were at a pretty big show and got an awful short spot to the first fence and the striding was quite large. I put my hands a little forward and gave a squeeze and for the whole 5 stride line he went "squeal, squeal, squeal, squeal, squeal and jump" It was so funny that it broke my concentration when I heard the whole crowd laughing because not only did he squeal but he flattened his ears and basically wanted to attack the upcoming jump. he loves what he does. But the one thing I have learned about appys is don't try and make them do something they don't like cause it ain't gonna happen. My guy loves trails and galloping so I spice up our rides with those to keep the ring work straight. He doesn't really have a power walk but he loves his galloping.

Smurfette said...

Mugs...don't forget Sheila Varian and Ronteza, 1961 National Stock Horse Champion, Reined Cow Horse Class. Only Arabian, first female and first ammy every to win it. If I ever win the lotto, I'm going to have a Varian Stock horse to room with my QHs and Paints.http://www.varianarabians.com/history/ronteza.asp has the story and a pretty neat picture of Ronteza circling a cow.

Karen V said...

sidetracked - LOL I KNOW about the "You can't make me!" Angel won't squeal, but she'll roll her nose under and strike out with one front leg.

She HATES slow work on the barrel. She'll suffer through it for only so long. If I force her through one last time, she'll collect and lope up, then spin and kick the barrel.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Dp - Yup. You can take the TB off the track but that urge to win the race will always be there.

I have never figured out how people fox hunt with them and live. At least in polo, you can slow them down via the bumps and (better yet) in arena polo you can bounce off the walls to stop. :-)

Lisa said...

I'm a racing person who grew up on an arabian farm... should I be throwing tomatoes? LOL!

equus said...

jb: just a pet pieve of mine, you mentioned your "17.5 hand" horse. if you meant 17 and one-half hands, then the correct term is 17.2. a hand is four inches and each inch is a point. so a 17 hand, 2 inch horse is 17.2, not 17.5, no such animal.

most of my retired boarders are thoroughbreds who come to us after careers on the track and then as jumpers. so far, only one was a lunatic and a dangerous one at that (he was asked to leave after only four months with us). for the most part they are nice horses, and once they are settled into the routine of being out on pasture 12 hours a day, they usually calm down very nicely. nothing like turn-out for a good attitude!

Karen V said...

Lisa - Throw the tomatoes! I've got onions, garlic and cilantro. We'll make salsa! Now...who's bring the cornchips and margarita mix?

Sara said...

Actually my Arab is the same as your TB...when she's hyped up she just needs to trot for a little while, maybe have a short canter, and she works it out.

I think Arabs get a bad rap because so many people don't work them appropriately for the breed. They need a longer warmup and a longer schooling session; these are horses bred for endurance, and you won't get the best out of them after 10 minutes. A lot of people do a 10 minute warmup and 20 minutes of riding and get fed up because the horse still isn't working as well as it could--the reality is many Arabs aren't warmed up and ready to work until that point.

Most of them also need to be RIDDEN with every stride. You cannot put them on autopilot; they're too smart and will figure it out and quit working. But once you ask properly and insistently, you'll never find a better horse.

bbrandha said...

Sorry Equus - I know that, but I've been sniffing alot of furniture refinisher today. The smell has chased the kids and my brain out of the house.

LuvMyTBs said...

Fugs,

"How do people foxhunt with them and live?" Are you kidding me???TB's are by far the most sane,sensible and smart fox and field hunters I have ever ridden and I've been hunting for 40+years.

They will go all day and once they know the terrain/footing they will carry you and cover the ground,banks,drop jumps,stone walls and still jog home after 4-6 hours.They will also almost always save your ass over a big natural fence or ditch and they get a very good sense of their own spots to a fence at whatever speed you might be going.The OTTB's once they get the game plan for this "new type of race" are usually the most laid back,bombproof packers.

TB's will always be my first choice to ride.My next pick would be an Irish Sport Horse or a Connemara/TB cross for hunting.I can't say enough about the TB's I have had the pleasure to own,raise train and do all types of equine activities with over the years.

cdncowgirl said...

My OTTB mare is 27 and still has days when she seems to think we should be heading for a racetrack! Of course, as Fugs said, the best way to deal with this is trot trot trot. :)

As far as Arabs... well if you really want to know what I think you could head over to my blog and read the post from July 8th that I titled "Isms" :)

bluedude5 said...

i have a arab x throughbred mare

does that mean that i have no chance in calming her down coz of the arab or that i do have a chance coz of the throughbred or should i just accept that its not gona happen? lol

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Luvmytbs - Yeah, but how the heck do you slow them down running in a pack like that with horses running up their butt? I know how challenging it can be in polo, and that is only a few horses running up their butt, not a huge herd of them!

LuvMyTBs said...

About the only time it gets real sporty as in "Oh shit I'm just a passenger."is when the hounds are in full cry in an open field.It does kind of get fast and furious then.For the most part there is already a herd order amongst the field and we just kind of go with that.The new to the hunt horses and riders always start in the very back of the field and give quite a wide berth to the more seasoned veterans.You also never pass the MFH and you need to respect the Whips (they manage the pack from horseback)and give the lay of the land to the MFH who then leads the rest of the field.We also always have "Outriders" they are hunt club members who survey the entire group from different positions in the field and assist with problems like runaways,loose horses,falls at fences.These horse and rider combos are vital and can catch/calm a runaway,pony a horse if needed and do what needs to be done for everyones safety and enjoyment.We also have groups of horses/ponies/riders that follow the hunt field but do not jump at all.This is where you get the OTTBs feet wet with getting used to the hounds,the sounds,and the pace as well as dealing with the race mentality.There are plenty of opportunities for them to gallop full out and learn to stop and stand and just like on the track we have some been there done that and don't take any shit horses who will keep them in line.They learn pretty fast and they also learn to pace themselves pretty well.I hope I painted a good picture for you all.

a beautiful disaster said...

as usual fugly, you hit the nail on the head! i especially agree with the long trotting and turnout...in my experience it makes a completely different horse virtually over night

but i 32 year old? and i thought i was bad...

LuvMyTBs said...

Another humorous picture of a day in the hunt field.We have among us several Dr.'s,a couple lawyers and I'm not making this up...the County Coroner!!We usually have many good laughs about having the ability to handle any accident/emergency quickly and efficiently up to and including the need for a lawsuit/will...medical assistance/death certificate.Fortunately we have not yet needed the Coroner!!He does make a mean drink though.

BluelineGoddess said...

I had a friend that owned an adorable OTTB (nicknamed PeeWee, much a joke as he was 17 hands) who wanted nothing more than to do everything you asked of him. He was greener than green, but bless his little heart, he would do ANYTHING you asked of him, even if it made the two of you look like fools. If I had been able to I would have purchased him when she decided to sell him because of lack of time - he was such a sweetheart. I certainly hope he went to a good home that appreciated his goofy ways.

mugwump said...

Smurfette- Personally, I've always wanted to try to train an Andalusian to cow...They've gotta have it, they fight bulls for goodness sake! I think the leg action might work against them though....and no, I don't want to try an Azteca! That's not my point!

mugwump said...

luvmtbs-I'm envying your world, fox hunting has always been a fantasy of mine....gotta love the go-fast!

robyn said...

Damn ariabeans. You either like 'em or you don't.

I did ride a TB in jumping lessons several years ago, an OTTB. He was a fantastic ride, and we got along great! I'd have bought him in a second had I been looking for another horse.
But yes, it WAS a TB that broke the tie ring of MY trailer one time.

IsobellaCuan said...

My horse Spyder is THE typical TB. When I first bought him he was as high as a kite... and now he's a puppydog that can be ridden in a halter and dragged through any creek or over any scary tarp.

To get through his "attacks" (as I so affectionately call them) is groundwork. Ten minutes of it, a small amount of controlled (controlled being the key word- no galloping around the round pen) lunging and a firm hand will usually get him under decent control. And when I get frustrated that's the end of it- turn him out because no more progress can be made. The most important strategy is to keep your head- a frustrated horse and a frustrated rider makes a bad combination!

LuvMyTBs said...

Mugwump,
THANKS!I envy your world of reined cow and ranch work and have always wanted to try it or Team Penning.

I have moved steers and held in the pens with my TB's but I have no clue if they have the "Cow Sense" or the ability to be competitive.It sure looks like fun to me and the husband though.Heck we are proud of them for just doing it without freaking out but the TB for the most part LOVES to work and have a job to do,at least ours seem to.

Holly said...

TBs are my favorite breed too :) I've always kind of wanted a fancy warmblood just to see what we could do, but there's such a feeling of accomplishment getting a horse off the track that only bends left and turning it into a fun jumper or dressage horse.

4Horses&Holding said...

*flings tomato at VLC*

;)

Sagebrusheq said...

Other than getting past the initial expression of a little natural exuberance, which most good horsemen appreciate, it's not about tiring the horse out by trotting- not an effective strategy anyway-it's about training. And the trot is the gait where horse and rider meet most effectively. In this regard perhaps Baucher's phrase was the most succinct: "The necessity of the trot"

As to Arabians TBs etc: there is so much variation in temperaments within any breed that it is ignorant to tag any individual with the general characteristics of the larger population. Nonetheless it's assinine to refuse to admit that those traits don't predominate. Hot blooded horses require better riders than cold blooded ones do. It has been said that the biggest thing working against the reputations of TB's and Arabs is some of the people who own them. As to which is better, hot or cold, it depends on what you want to do with them. Would you rather have a Ferrari or an F-350 diesel. For hauling hay the Ford makes sense, for pure driving pleasure I'll take the sporty model.

Heidi the Hick said...

haha! I took my half arab on a five hour trail ride and didn't even try to walk. We pretty much trotted the whole ride and by the end he looked like he was ready to get started on the trail. Good lord, you can imagine what shape I was in! People always told me to lope him to get the edge off of him. I yelled back that loping just made him higher, darnit!!

I've never worked with Thoroughbreds but I have shaken my head at riders who bitch about the high energy then go on to talk about their horse's high quality diet. They would think I'm mean when I told them to cut the grain! Duh!

LoveisaTB said...

As you may notice by my handle, I'm a TB fan, and find myself defending them often. They are not for everyone! But if you have patience and a sense of humor, there just isn't a breed, as a whole, with more heart. They are sensitive and most of the "problems" they develop come from riding and handling that isn't. My current OTTB,after a year of hauling him all over until he realized his job description had changed, is the most reliable show horse I know. He goes out, does his job, and munches hay in his stall the rest of the weekend. My biggest TB complaint-the feet! Can't those racehorse breeders put some solid feet into their breeding program?!

PadraiginWA said...

I've only ridden three OTTBs and they were absolutely dreamy! One however had a trust issue, as she'd had a track accident. When I rode this sweet mare, we had to make it clear to other riders in the arena that they must go in the same direction or she'd wheel and flip out. She had a fear of others running into her head-on. So change of reins were tricky or non-existant when in the arena with this mare. Still, she had such a big heart, and I loved riding her. Just reading this blog has me aching to get an OTTB rescue some day... Sidebar here: I Iearned something recently about an OTTB gelding I used to ride: he is a great grandson of Count Fleet!

Cassandra said...

With Arabs, you have to use your brain and keep them busy MENTALLY... you won't wear them out. ;) Us crayzee ayrab people tend to joke that the people that don't like Arabians rank lower on the intelligence scale than the horse. ;)

Cassandra said...

With Arabs, you have to use your brain and keep them busy MENTALLY... you won't wear them out. ;) Us crayzee ayrab people tend to joke that the people that don't like Arabians rank lower on the intelligence scale than the horse. ;)

Misty's Mom said...

Very cute! Hey, I think that energizer bunny thing is endearing...and handy at shows when all the other horses are wearing down and my horse is still ready for more...of course the only spirit my Arabian has is a "I don't want to go, and you can't make me" one (As a ten year old kid, she was a hard horse to train, but after the first year, she doesn't really say no go to me: just the guest riders that ride her because we KNOW she is not going anywhere. And don't worry, I give a lesson to them before I put them on my precious, and I don't tolerate retards riding like retards). Now that you have that unnecessarily long bio on my Egyptian Arabian, let me just agree with you!

Love Arab's to death, and I think that they are like pit bulls: bad rep because of the trainers who generally make them that way, but no one can deny that they are hot blooded. You like it or you don't, and with all breeds, you need to train and treat them in a way that accentuates their good characteristics. As someone who deals with Arabians, you bomb proof them, and then put them into a career that will let them show you how enduring they are: I don't like to see Arabs that ONLY do wp, especially with how the AQHA's movement standards are actually starting to seep into the Arabian shows: YUCK!

sonic1015 said...

It's so true, they have a fabulous mind. I don't care what warmblood people say; What I can teach your warmblood in a week, I can teach my thoroughbred in three days...tops.

anniebanannie said...

cassandra said: With Arabs, you have to use your brain and keep them busy MENTALLY... you won't wear them out. ;) Us crayzee ayrab people tend to joke that the people that don't like Arabians rank lower on the intelligence scale than the horse. ;)

Yup. I freely admit it. Having worked with reasonably dull QH's for my whole life, I was not prepared for my first Arab. As pretty and intelligent as he was, I just did not know how to handle him. When I sold him, after starting and training him myself, the new owner said he was the best trained horse she'd ever owned and I had given up on him.

She was an Arab person and I was/am not. Anyway, I freely admit that I didn't and don't have what it takes to own an Arab mentally.

As Mary Twelveponies said, "Sometimes the best thing to do with a horse is to remove the shoes and put them on a different horse." I hear he's still doing well and he's.... uh... 22 years old.

OutRiding01 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OutRiding01 said...

So I have a "Thoroughbreds aren't nuts" story that took place this afternoon. I work as a lifeguard at a YMCA summercamp and they have horses out there. Nothing fancy the kids just get on and walk in circles. My new supervisor (who is only 3 years older then me and super hot) took me back to see them last week and we rode a bit. I don't like western saddles so I just rode bareback and he though that was cool, so he invited me out to ride with him today to teach him.
Now most of the horses are your typical camp horses, pretty rough looking (theyre all healthy and well taken care of though) but there are a couple cute ones who wouldn't look out of place at a show if cleaned up. One adorable, bratty pony I rode the other day and then two cute greys. Now, I don't know much about any of these horses except what I've been told by non-horsey counselors but I decided we'd ride the two greys. One is a big stocky QH and the other was a tall, cute TB. I originally was going to ride the TB and let my supervisor ride the QH because that just made sense in my head, but after brushing them down and putting the bridles on, I decided to switch because the QH just didn't seem all that happy. Good thing I did because he was a jumpy little son of a gun. The TB carried my supervisor around great with only a few grass eating episodes while the QH chomped at the bit, jogged in place, spun in circles and on the way back reared several times.
I was so ready to ride the TB because I was expecting that sort of behavior from a TB, not a QH, but I kind of thought about this post and really paid attention to the horses individually for a minute instead of just as their breeds, and boy am I glad I did! Next time I go out there I want to hop on that TB because he sure is a cutie and such a good boy. I bet he'd be fun for somone who knows what they're doing.

3catcrazy said...

You called it exactly! I never wanted a TB because I thought they were too hot for a reliable horse. Then I leased one and now he's mine for life. He is very sensitive and you have to know how to deal with his occasional outburts calmly, but he gives you his whole heart. When I got him he had been doing H/J for years with some questionable trainers. He got turned out in a pasture to re-learn how to be a horse but is now (mostly) calm and fun to ride. I'll always have a TB.

Amaocha said...

*throws pomergenate instead*
Ahem..
Although I do agree about what you've said on TBs I'm more of an Ay-rab girl :P Must be the bedouin blood...
Although I do admit their jumping form is... blegh (for most of them, some have really nice form over fences) they at least have lots of gas and spring (the ones I've ridden). Oh and I've never needed to truly wear out an Arab or part arab, thankfully they are smart enough that I most literally talk sense in to them. (well I mean theydon't necessarily understand the exact words but inflexion, tone etc., they get right away... at least with me they do o_O)

That's not to say I don't like TBs but I seem to get a connection on a much higher level with arabians and part arabians. Plus I've had traumatic experiences with TB's... I mean SERIOUSLY, just WHAT were they thinking? Putting 8 year old little me on 5 year old Grand Prix potential Gepeto. I took it as a compliment, but being a young TB he of course was flighty and would bolt every lesson. I threw myself off every single time. I grew to be super nervous on him or on any horse whose trot seem to accelerate with every stride. 'Course years went by got over my fear thanks to pony club, a brave old horse and others as well... Then I grew to love fast, nervous, light and flighty horses and I've ridden a bunch of TBs, ex-racers, young 'uns, old ones... Two of my favorite from recent years have to be Foglia, chestnut jumper mare, who counted her strides... Once you had her jumping she simply did not want to stop. At 23 we didn't want to make her jump too high because of her joints but man she loved her job! She was also a superb dressage horse, I mean although she wasn't very comfortable, and wasn't always easy to put perfectly on the bit, she did side-passes, piaffe, turns and half turns on the front end and on the haunches etc. The other one was an old slightly darker than mahogany bay gelding named Gucci. Stellar dressage mount, 'nuff said.

Amaocha said...

Forgot to add, that to get the best of both worlds I'd want an Anglo-Arab.
And my dream cocktail would be Trakehner x Anglo Arab lol!
But seriously I was always puzzled by the fact people pay 25K + for a Warmblood that they ride at a level where a 4500$ Tb could kick butt.

Sagebrusheq said...

My experience with purebred Arabians has been limited, but In defense of them it is only fair to note that ALL of the breeds mentioned so far in the above postings were Arabian crosses at some time in their past. The qualities that most horsemen admire in most saddle horse breeds- stamina, speed, lightness, agility, responsiveness, trainability- came from the infusion of Arabian blood. So it is a little miopic to deplore the Arabian and praise the QH, TB, Morgan, et al. A friend of mine used to ride a QH/ Arab cross that he was very fond of, 'best QH, I ever had'. It was amusing though, because whenever the horse made a mistake or reacted in an unwanted way, my friend would apologize and say 'Oh, that's the Arab in him coming out.' But most of the qualities in the horse that he valued so much were typical Arab ones.

I like to say that most horsemen, whether or not they're aware of it, are fans of the Arab. They are the fountain head of most light horse breeds: It's just that some folks can't handle their whiskey straight.

S

Sandy M said...

heehee....try an Araloosa! I hoped for Appy calmness and Arab energy. I got Appy laziness and Arab reactiveness (But he's a cute little (16.2+) bugger!) My Appendix QH, circle 1970 (7/8ths TB) and my full TB (1974) were pussycats and dead quiet.

I took my just-turned-four year old Araloosa to his first dressage show (only other show was two W/T classes at an H/J show 6 weeks ago). For starters, he was less fire breathing than he was at the H/J show. I got there early in order to have time to lunge, since the warmup is small and almost part of the show ring - I didn't want to inconvenience anyone else warming up, let alone anyone in the show arena while I was lungeing.

The show arena is a wee bit scary for a bebe, as it is surrounded by tall trees and in a regional park, so there are LOTS of distractions, hiker, dog walkers, bicycles, etc. I led him down to the arena from where the trailer was parked (among the trees on the side of a hill). He was doing his giraffe imitation but at least not high-blowing and flagging his tail!
He actually lunged fairly quietly, with minimal airs above the ground, so I took him back to the trailer, got myself dressed (including x-c vest) and went back down to work in the warmup. He was actually pretty good, though tense. I checked with the judge about wearing the vest (as far as I could tell from the rules, it's okay, but wanted to be sure). Judge said, no prob. However, the announcing was a little slow, and though it appeared to be time for my ride, nothing was said, there was no ring steward, so I hesitated to go in and ride around the arena, lest I be out of riding order. When they did announce my number and I went in, the judge blew the whistle immediately! Okay. So we trotted down one side and into the arena. His neck telescoped a bit upward, but I got him back and we wobbled down the center line and did a decent halt. He trotted forward, we tracked left, and then I found myself about 10 feet from the rail as he decided that plastic pylons with letters on them ate young Araloosas. He then shied again, but I managed to get him back to the rail in time to do out 20m. circle at E (good thing it was full court!), then continued and did a nice diagonal back to the judge's end of the arena - whereupon he violently shied away from the judge's stand. I don't think we ever quite got through that end of the arena. He settled again and I managed to do our free walk on two diagonals, and he did a nice walk/trot transition and we finished the test with 7s on the last three movements (transition/circle/centerline and halt). He got a 7 on impulsion, but a 6+ on gaits because he was quite tense and not as free-moving as when he is in more familiar surroundings. I was just happy that we finished in the proper order: Me on top and him on the bottom.

He got mostly 6s and 7s, and 4s and 5s for the shies. We ended up with a 58.5% (2nd.....of 2) which is, presumably, not too bad for first time, esp. considering his little misbehaviors. The judge's comment was "capable and attractive horse." Hope that's not TOO stock of a comment. I'd like to think it's true.

Heat Stroke in FL said...

Growing up, my mother had a gorgeous OTTB. He was sweet as can be, too. He did have a lot of bronc moments, but looking back on it, my mother was WAY over feeding him and not turning him out enough. I think if I could go back and correct those issues, he would have been calm to the point of being a dead head.

I also Foxhunted a lot and some of the calmest horses in the field were TBs. You absolutely have to know how to care for them properly, or you will have a nut.

I agree, LOTS of hay and little grain. I think 24/7 access to good quality hay or aflfalfa blocks will keep them fat. For the vitamins they are lacking, add a ration balancer. The end result will be a fat and well minded TB.

Too many times I see people shoving 4 scoops of feed down their TBs throat and NO hay. The horses are fat and CRAZY. NO WONDER!!!

http://outofshaperider.blogspot.com

LuvMyTBs said...

I agree with Heat Stroke in Fla.Many people make the mistake of overfeeding TB's and keeping them confined in stalls or small paddocks.They do much better with abundant hay and pasture and a regular amount of grain.Mine including my stallion and his son who is currently starting his show career are turned out 24/7.They only come in when the heat/flies are nasty in the summer or in the winter when we get the ice.They are content and very fit.I also think this is why mine stay sound and healthy well into their senior years.

I have also found that this type of living works wonders for the OTTB's.They usually need the down time and greatly benefit from the turn out with others.I have very little difficulty retraining them once they are relaxed and settled.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

See, the Arabs got in trouble with me when I had one spook at a bird and toss me ass over teakettle into a very hard arena wall at age 15, ruining my back for life.

I prefer horses who can deal with the reality that other animals inhabit the planet, and some of those fly. ;-)

Totally agree about the TB feeding advice. Even the polo ponies do not get a ton of grain. Usually just a pound or so with their supplements. High quality hay, and plenty of it, will keep your TB happy. Or better yet - excellent pasture.

Redsmom said...

Logging in. Hi, my (daughter's) Matty is a racing QH, but a real throwback to TB in his bloodlines. He's a big, willing sweetie, but he'll run out on little X's if you let him. Tee hee.

Amaocha said...

Well you do know, that the legendary Ruffian, broke her leg, because of a bunch of birds on the track? She spooked when they flew off, and shied away... Sudden weight shifts are a horrible idea when running at 70 Km/h on fine TB legs.

Cassandra said...

Judging all from one (or a mere handful)? Tsk tsk...

SammieRockes said...

That deffinately is the TB attitude, I remeber when I started working with King, had him for four years as he was one of my dads racehorses, I bought him to VA Beach about 4 mos. off track. First day I rode him it was all side stepping and half passing. MAde me nervous, made me think about getting an easy horse to be honest, but I couldn't I gave it another try and he became the best thing to work with. Jumped so willingly, in the roundpen I would just sit and basically call out what I wanted him to do. He followed me around like a puppy dog, in the field if he was walking and I needed him to stop, he could be 10 feet infront of me and all I would say is King Ho and he would stand.

I remeber one day I saddled him up to catch my other horse, who did not like him, so to catch the BBG, I jumped off King in the middle of the field and ran after the other one, King did not move amuscle, just stood there. Amazing horse.

may said...

I learned to ride at a polo barn and was working polo ponies by the time I was in high school. They were smart and fun and had a lot of personality. If only I could have found high school boys with those qualities, I might not have ended up dating a 32 year old in my senior year. But I digress...
Hahaha! Wow, story of my life. Only with me, it was those crazy Ay-rabs, not TBs.

Jackie said...

:: tosses some veggies at fugly ::

I am an "Ay-rab" person if you couldn't guess! :)

Arabs.. you have to outsmart them and learn to work WITH them.

And my 1/2 arab... you could ride her for hours and hours.. but she'll STILL have a trick to throw at you! Even if she's exhausted!

sterling said...

Gosh, I love Ay-rabs, but they just don't tire out! They just don't! That's either a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on the horse and the rider and the situation. A horse with a good attention span and a good mind will need only a slight warmup, then you can ride all day without wearing him out. A horse with the attention span of a goldfish, however, will take a considerable warmup before any ride. Longing is very good. A good hour of trotting, cantering, transitions, every day will make them very fit, balanced, and warm them up, taking the edge off for you to ride, but it all depends on the horse and the situation you are in, as always. But, they are usually so smart they catch on to a routine, and can d it without really thinking about it, all the while looking for the sabre-toothed butterfly from hell to spook at, so make sure not just to wear at their stamina, but to keep their mind focoused on you; spiral in's and out's, changes of direction, moving the circle down the fenceline ofr a couple of yards then continuing (wagon wheels), anthing else you can think of pulling on them is really good for keeping their attention on you.

Chezza said...

Maybe I am an 'odd duck' but I find that the reason I love and adore my TBs now is b/c I grew up with Arabs. I am one of those nuts who LOVES mares, Loves Arabs, LOVES TBs and by extension really smart dogs! LOL

I HATE a dead-head horse. A horse that will say "okay let's walk right over this alligator". I want a horse who IS paying attentiong to the world. Rather a little spook than 'okay let's go right off this cliff, cuz that is the way you aimed me" LOL

Of course, I have a chesnut TB mare and most ppl find her to be "too sensitive". I find her to be JUST perfect. LOL

Bergesca said...

<3 *love*