Originally Posted by howdyme
BLUE EYED PONY...YOU HAVE A LOT TO LEARN.
Oh I know, I AM only eighteen after all and will be learning my entire life - but I also know my horse [he is Anglo Arab, and he's actually QUIETER than most purebreds, of EITHER breed, I have dealt with]. He is incredibly human. I do not anthropomorphise. Monty makes his intentions, and his reasons, perfectly clear. Once, he bucked me off, a WEEK after my infraction, and made it more than clear that he did it because of the specific thing I had done that he took exception to.
I get along with this horse incredibly well, because I get how he thinks. I guarantee that if he's being a brat, it's in reaction to something I have done that has offended him. Even as much as a month down the track. I'm not one of those butterfly farts and rainbows people who believes that their horse doesn't like them and if it loved them it wouldn't misbehave... no. I'm realistic. Monty plays up? My fault. Always my fault. Because it's ALWAYS in response to something I have done. The exception is how strong he gets when we're jumping - that's just him and no amount of training can change it. He goes in a snaffle and that's the best I can hope for.
People who don't get how he thinks can't get the best out of him. I had a super-experienced dressage coach hop on [after he'd bucked me off - coach wanted to 'sort him out' because I was hurt and couldn't do so myself], and after about a half-hour - and this coach did NOTHING that I disagreed with, just popped him up into canter, hauled his head up if he tried to buck, and pushed him forward - the coach jumped off, looked at me, and said "send this horse back, he's not suitable for you".
Upon being asked why? "He's way too strong, you're not an effective enough rider to deal with it. You need a horse that doesn't pull."
...but he DOESN'T pull? He sets his neck and ignores on occasion, sure, but I have never felt like he was actually pulling. And him ignoring me? ALWAYS because he's offended. I'm not sure what that coach did that offended him, but he definitely was not impressed. [edit; this was ages ago now, I hadn't had him long... was still trialling him. So, two years ago at least - I learned to be effective because of him]
I can give you a thousand examples of my horse being clearly vengeful. My OTHER horse has also bucked me off, and actually has a far lower percentage of good rides [granted she's only had twelve all up, including the one where she bucked me off, whereas Monty's had hundreds under me alone and only played up badly enough that I came off three times], but HER reasons for misbehaving are different.
My little Thoroughbred - just as sensitive and intelligent as my half-Arab - bucked me off because she's cold-backed and I was stupid enough to get on bareback. Not smart on a cold-backed horse. She's also bucked once because she's so sensitive, and got a fright when my dog got under her feet. She almost reared with me yesterday because she didn't know what it was I was asking for. She gets a bit bracey and resisty of the bit at times, because she's due for her teeth to be done. Once, she refused to stand for mounting no matter what, and upon further inspection I discovered her bad stifle was sore. Magic is simple - reactive, sure, but simple. Her reasonings are simple, and thus she's easy to understand.
Arabs are complex and it takes an altogether smarter person to 'get' them. Yes, they are horses. Not humans. But they've been bred for their brains, endurance and looks for millennia. A clever Arab with an excellent memory [for ALL things] that can and will hold grudges is not an anomaly in my experience.
You don't force an Arab. Your authority is NEVER absolute with an Arab. It's a partnership. If your Arab says no, you look at WHY, you don't just get all up in its face until it does as it's told. Right? If in the end you determine that your Arab is just being a jerk [very VERY few horses are REALLY 'just being jerks' though] THEN you get all up in its face. But if there's a reason for it, even something as 'stupid' as that leaf in the corner of the arena being utterly terrifying and about to leap up and eat the horse, our wonderful horses need us to understand and fix the problem. Whether that's through jumping off and walking them up to the scary leaf and showing them that it's not actually going to kill them [I have done this on more than one occasion!] or looking at ways of taking their mind off the 'monster', they need us to help them out. Not just get up in their face and tell them they're being idiots.
Perhaps you haven't been on the receiving end of an Arab's vengeful side. Perhaps you're one of those riders who just naturally has the feel NOT to offend them. But I have definitely copped it. Never for little things. Always for big screw-ups [and no, I have never made the same big screw-up twice]. Once he waited a whole month to get his revenge. If he doesn't react right away to a muck-up, you can guarantee he will be plotting payback.
Oddly he is incredibly patient with beginners and will just take it and deal with it... but if I put someone with experience on him and they screw up, I better watch out - because he blames ME! Even people more experienced than me get told that while jumping, they need to put their hands up his neck and grab mane [no auto release, just a big crest release and fistful of mane], and make 10000000% sure they never EVER catch his mouth. Drop the reins completely if you have to just never catch him in the mouth. Most people who don't know him like I do tend to get a bit left behind over their fences, because he likes to take the long spot, so it's really important that I explain that.
And yes... Monty blames ME if they do grab his mouth. He is an unusual horse, but IME a fairly typical Arab.