Sorry, I haven't read the whole thread - I'll go back and read it in a sec.
Personally I grew up as an "Arabian hater" in general - there was only one Arabian in my life I ever loved. I think part of it was that while I was growing up they were the 'fad' every rich girl needed an Arabian - sort of like a poodle. So I was repelled by their audience and never really paid attention to the animals themselves.
The one I loved was a gelding and he was my best friend - he was a grand son or great grand son of Aladin (SP?) and was born with a terrible muscle issue (I believe it was Miotinitis, but I was a child and didn't pay attention to those details). His hind end was almost useless sense birth, he could stand and move without excessive pain, but could never be anything more than that.
He came to our rescue, before I got there, as a 6 month old foal, just weaned - his owners didn't want a foal who couldn't do anything. This foal hit the ground full of piss and vinegar, despite his disabilities he was violent and wild! The owner of the rescue's mare taught him some manners and after winning the No-Ball prize he became a little more manageable. His breeders had never expected anything of him so they never bothered to handle or halter break him. So at this point we had started working with him - he would only allow his face to be touched, no where else. But he LOVED his nose being squished. By the time I met him I was a teen who 'didn't fit in' and he was the bratty, wild horse that every girl dreamed of. I fell madly in love - he kept me alive through the trauma of high school :P
He would always stick his tongue out, he taught himself that trick - I think he just liked to make people laugh :)
He was the love of my life! He passed away when he was 17 - it was tragic and awful and no one was prepared.
I had dressed him up for an open house:
At that point I had swarn off Arabians all together, none would ever be like him. I had the stigma of them being 'barbie doll' horses and the photos on the internet of them covered in grease and flapping around did them no service in my eyes.
At our rescue we had a few more arabians - who I loved in their own rights, but they were never special to me. I always wrote them off for being 'arabians'.
Lately though it's occurred to me why these stigma's exist. These horses are brilliant beyond explanation. When they're not given something good to think about they make things up. They were designed as endurance race horses, to keep them contained was just asking for issues.
I began to realize all the 'behavioral issues' I've heard people say Arabians had, really was just Arabians being kept in conditions not appropriate for them.
Like keeping a grey hound in a studio apartment without taking them for good runs - they just want to explode!!
Trying to keep an Arabian as a recreational pet-type horse just wasn't going to work.
All our Arabians at the rescue have always been flighty and over-reactive, flipping out over everything
. I've come to realize they're living in what's essentially a 'senior center' for horses, with life at an exceptionally slow pace and their minds and bodies are just racing a mile a minute and without an outlet they make things up.
One of our Arabian mares can hardly contain herself if anything in her environment changes - like monsters have come out to eat her!
I've sense started working with the younger, flightier of our Arabians at the rescue. I use clicker training with all my horses and thought of using her as a challenge to myself. I wanted to see if CT could work on a very reactive horse. And boy can I tell you it does! And I can tell you Arabians are probably the quickest, most intelligent horses I've ever worked with! I work with a number of ponies, who are all too smart for their own good - but this mare figured the game out faster than any horse I've worked with!
With CT she's learned then when I'm not asking anything of her, her nose should be close to the ground (shifted out of flight mode). She's learned about SO many 'scary' objects and is even working on riding now, which had disastrous outcomes before. She's doing fantastic. Her mind and body are now finally being used and she's doing SO well, she's no longer spooking over everything, making things up to spook over. She's just the best horse I've ever worked with!!!
This is her when she first met my mare:
I also have to say I love Morgans I haven't had any 'special' ones in my life, but I think they're also among the brilliant. I personally love the more old-style Morgans, a little heavier body. I think they're magnificent.
I actually have a Canadian horse mare - who's a small breed of draft that eventually made Morgans and Saddlebreds and other similar breeds. :) I think she's the most perfect horse Ever!
You can kind of see the influence her breed had on Morgans:
I just wanted to add one more thing xD
At our rescue we have a term "Arabian mare syndrome" - it lovingly refers to Arabian's habit of over-reacting to little things :P I think some of us 'crazy horse ladies' all have it xD It's the terrible habit of thinking SO much that even the simplest things become terrifying.
Like... I heard a pop noise... Ok, nothing's happening... OMG maybe the cord on that light broke... Maybe it caused a spark... Maybe the barn's going to burn down! Who do I pull out first? How do I get all the horses out?! That horse is lame do I get him first or last?! At this point you go on and on until your mind just explodes!! XD Maybe I'm the only one - but I've SO been there. Now being able to understand and relate to my new Arabian project is definitely making working with her easier, cause I've SO been there xD