temperment clues????? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-17-2009, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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temperment clues?????

I wasn't sure where to place this post.
I am looking at buying a horse from a horse auction. I want to buy one that is destined for slaughter, just outbidding the meat buyer and saveing a life. Any way my question is - does anyone have any tips or any tells that can give someone an idea of a horses temperment just by appearance. I have heard about the wrinkles around a horses eye - the more wrinkles that they have could indicate that horse may be a little more high strung, or haveing a more pronounced forehead could indicate that the horse may be a little more difficult to train. Any information would be very appreciated.

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-17-2009, 10:02 PM
Green Broke
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linda tellington-jones has this theory that different shapes/sizes of different parts of your horse's face can determine their personality. i have to say, when i first read it i rolled my eyes and disregarded it all. but looking back at it? there are an amazing number of horses that i've worked with that follow it.

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post #3 of 10 Old 04-17-2009, 10:03 PM
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There are so many old wives tales about how to spot temperment and trainability just by looking at a horse; where the swirl is, eye wrinkles, head shape, ear length, etc. The main things that I look for is a level topline and a soft eye. If they carry their head level with their withers in a new situation, that could mean that they are fairly calm. But then again, their spirit could be broken or they could be in pain. There is never a way to tell 100% though just by looking.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-17-2009, 10:18 PM
Green Broke
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Wow. Good luck. Can't image any horse showing any signs of calmness ect...at an auction with all the commotion around and abrupt change for the horse. If one does appear somewhat calm, do you think drugs (?) , it's a tough spot for all.

Bless you for wanting to save one. Whichever it is will be a lucky horse.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-17-2009, 10:20 PM
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I go with the eyes, personally, but there is no way to be 100% sure of any horses temperament before you bring it home.

Like smrobs said, a soft eye. Both my nine year old, and rescue have a very soft, gentle eye. They look kind. My three year old had a very 'hard eye' when I first brought him out. He looked downright mean to be honest. Now, as he gains more trust and becomes easier to handle, his eye if softening up. He really had a 'not nice' personality before, now he is turning out to be like his older half brother x)

Go with your gut. When I bought Sammy, I really took a risk. He was emancipated, just terrible looking. You just kinda got a 'feeling', and honestly...he really has turned out to be a wonderful guy.

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-18-2009, 11:05 AM
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A lot of auctions allow you to walk around the horses before the bidding begins. This is a good time to check out potential prospects. Go up to them, pet them, rub their ears (if they let you), pick up their feet (if they let you). The horses responses to these actions are huge signs as to what their personality will be like. If they're mellow about it, easily pick up their feet for you, don't mind being rubbed anywhere, then chances are thats what their personality is. However, if they're extremely head shy, wont pick up their feet, and have generally bad manners, then that too could be what their personality is really like. Also, horses being drugged at auctions is not an uncommon thing. I've gotton a few horses from auctions, some of which were the best horses I've ever met, and some which I wish we had passed on. My friend bought a horse she thought was nice and calm and had decent bloodlines, turns out when she's not drugged up, she rears up and flips over on people. Oh yea, and she was pregnant.

I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-18-2009, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great tips. I have been talking to other people who have bought horses from the auction that I occasionally attend, and they agree that some horses are drugged and that the ones usually drugged are the supposed broke and rideable horses and that the younger ones (weanlings, yearlings, and two yearolds) usually aren't drugged. Luckily I am looking for a young horse. I know it's a risk buying from the auction, I'm haveing a hard time thinking that great young horses are slaughtered when I have the chance to save one. So hopefully with the great info everyone has given me maybe I have a better chance of seeing some diamond in the rough through the horses eyes and what not - every bit of info helps especially at an auction.

Thanks again
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-08-2009, 05:27 PM
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You can't really judge a horse based on their appearence ( don't judge a book by it's cover). There are a few wives tales that i have heard. The most common ones that go around my stable are : "A horse with a bump between his eyes has a bad temper"; "A horse with 2 swirls on his forhead is also a bad sign" "Red mares have a major attitude problem". Those are just 3 that i know of. Im sure there are hundreds more. I do agree that by looking at his eyes sometimes give you an indication, but at an auction, even the calmest horse can be nervous and jumpy with all the commotion.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-08-2009, 06:19 PM
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He was emancipated
Sorry, but LOL!!!! I think you meant Emaciated :]

I always go by my gut. It has served me well so far :]

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post #10 of 10 Old 10-08-2009, 06:35 PM
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I've been to many auctions and the one thing I always do is look for the horses that appear to be drugged ( droopy lip, appear to be sleeping, could care less whether you are there or not and even the loudest commotion doesn't affect them) doesn't necessarily mean they are drugged but that's how they appear. Those are the horses I stay away from, simply because if they are drugged it means they probably aren't the best behaved horse in the lot.
The horses that draw my attention are those that have soft eyes that are bright, they prick their ears forward when you approach and seem genuinely interested in what you are doing. Yearlings or weanlings are a bit different most have not been handled at all so I expect them to act differently.
Best advice like someone already said is trust your instinct, out of 100's of horses to choose from there is usually only one or two that really grab your attention and you can just feel it..hard to explain but you will know it when you are there.
Be prepared to see a lot of neglected horses, it isn't always the case I've been to auctions where all the horses looked fit, well cared for and healthy but I've been to some that it seemed every horse was lame, malnourished and in dire need of major farrier work.

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway~~John Wayne
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