Signs of good temperament - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-01-2011, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Signs of good temperament

Hi all,

I have a large Morgan gelding ("Lane" is my profile pic) and his temperament has been exceptionally consistent throughout his 20 years. He is a large gelding and excellent horse that is predictable with handling - on ground and riding. I'd like perhaps another Morgan but have seen some very nervous and highly strung Morgans too at our boarding facility.

I was wondering the signs for good temperament in young Morgan horses? Is it more genetic or training that accomplishes this consistency. I'm leaning with breeding because I've been very ill and not riding for a couple of years and he is surprisingly the same - whereas my other high-strung horse? Sheesh, it's like I have to retrain him completely!!!

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post #2 of 4 Old 07-01-2011, 11:01 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
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I can't speak specifically to Morgans, but I am sure that there is a genetic component to good disposition/temperament. Our lead Paint mare, a penner, has always been an extremely calm, spook proof, consistent, go anywhere, do anything horse that you can ride every day or every couple months, and both her daughter and granddaughter are exactly the same way.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-01-2011, 11:21 PM
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horses have personalities just like any other animal or person. Each one is an individual, so you'll find all types. I have heard from a friend that breeds Morgans that her calm minded stallion bred with one of the mares always produces a baby with a good temperament. I dunno if this is true for all horses, but i do know that many people breed for temperament. One of the nicest things in a stallion is if he is easy to handle and has an even disposition, something he will hopefully pass on to his offspring. However, it's hard to predict these things unless you breed a stallion often, such as in the case of my friend with the Morgans. She's had four or five foals out of the stallion, so she knows it's a relatively consistent trait.

A horse should probably not suddenly change its temperament, unless it is sick or had some life-altering abuse, etc. You can train some stuff away, but you can't suppress a horse's personality forever. That's probably why your gelding is always steady and your other horse may be a bit high-strung his whole life. Horses do tend to mellow out somewhat, but in my experience their underlying nature never really changes.
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-02-2011, 09:32 AM
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Signs of a good temperament in a foal, IMO, are that it's bold and cheeky and has to INVESTIGATE that scary thing over there because it might just be edible/fun to play with.

Signs of a good temperament in a stallion I'm not so familiar with but again IMO a stallion should be bold and a little bit cheeky, but kind and well-mannered (manners are a training thing more often than not, but you can't tell, with a horse that's not yours, whether his arrogance is trained or not). I'd be quicker to choose a stallion that I knew was ridden regularly by a teenager or young adult with no issues over a stallion that was unproven or unreliable undersaddle. You want to look at his other progeny, how they are on the ground, how they are undersaddle if his oldest are old enough.

You also want to look at the mare. Is she a bolder type or is she more timid?

I personally LOVE bold and cheeky. It's not ideal for some people but I like a horse that isn't afraid to push the boundaries a little. I'm a very dominating type of person so that really suits me. Bold horses are generally steadier and have fewer fears than a more timid, nervy type, and they're generally more confident jumpers (which is what I do) - but then again, if you get a sensitive type over their fears, they make wonderful, clean, careful jumpers, because they generally hate knocking poles. But they take a LOT more skill and experience to train, and a heck of a lot more patience, because if you over-face them ONCE, they may never want to jump again, depending on the horse.

You're talking Morgans so you could be talking about any discipline. I know someone who has a Morgan that she does dressage with and will eventually event on when he stops leaping over a 6" cross like it's 6' but I also know that they are used for Western disciplines and I'm pretty sure I've seen photos of them being used for saddleseat as well. I believe they are a very versatile breed. In fact I'd have them except for their reputation (locally) of being rather TB-like in their temperaments. And the fact that here, they're hard to come by, and generally very expensive.
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