Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
Fjords are by far one of the best breeds for the job. They are a more laid-back breed, they are shorter, better for mounting, and for any sidewalkers that have to support the rider so they aren't reaching way up to the sky, and because they are stouter and are able to carry more weight than say, an Arab of the same height.
Now that's not saying Fjords are the only choice. I worked at a terapy barn for about 8 years. We had two Fjords, a POA, a curly, a few QH's, a few TB's, a few Arab's, a welsh pony, a shetland, and a Arab/Welsh/QH cross. All the horses were amazing at their job, and they all had a special niche for what they taught the best. Reo, the curly, was a great beginner horse. He's plod along around the arena, and you really had to chase him into a trot, so it was never a concern that a person would get to hard asking for a walk and getting a trot. Torben, one of the Fjords, was great with the Autistic. His walk was so roly poly that it provided the right amount of stimulation to keep his riders focused. Lacey, the other Fjord, was a great horse to trot on, because it was so flat and slow, you could have never trotted before and still sit it with a cup of hot coffee in your hands. Spencer, one of the TB's, was a great horse for the more advanced. He was a school master, he taught his riders how to ride. The arab's were great for emerging indepent riders.
So yes, temperament is what it all comes down to, but I know of several therapy barns that try and aim for Fjords, simply because if they have the right mind, they're da** near perfet for the job. =]
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."