Why choose a horse that is not "bombproof"? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Why choose a horse that is not "bombproof"?

This is another newbie question. I've been looking at horse sale pages....NO, I am not going to buy a horse! Lol I know that I am not anywhere near ready, and horse ownership may never even be for us, but it is fun to look.

I'm intrigued by the temperament scales. As a brand new rider, I think "bombproof" sounds pretty appealing. I don't ever need to be on a horse that does that little sideways dance when I want to go forward, let alone one that bucks or rears. I see horses listed at 5, 6, 7' etc., yet I have read so many threads stating that this is a dangerous sport. Maybe I am not understanding the temperament chart?

Also, how can an add state that a horse low on that scale, but then say the horse requires an experienced rider? Again, this is most likely a lack of understanding on my part.
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post #2 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 10:56 AM
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I think the Ad stating the horse that's bombproof needs an experienced rider, is because that horse's original owner most likely was extremely experienced and worked with that horse and trained it to become bombproof...

Honestly though sometimes age has to do with bombproof, sometimes temperment.. But really I don't think you'll honestly know the horse's temperment until you have one, yes someone who is selling may say all these great things and whatnot, but there's a reason they are selling whether they can't afford the horse, or really maybe downright need to get if off their hands due to temperment.

When I was sold my horse, practically given to me for free, sure the old owner told me yes he's a good boy and blah blah blah.... But honestly most react differently to their riders... My horse in the beginning, being moved to a whole new barn, with a new owner, new horses... Took a long time to get used to me, and because I'm not an expert, but maybe barely intermediate rider, He picked up on it and had spooked and thrown me a couple times... But now that he has gotten used to his new home and me has his new owner, He really settled down into the good boy his owner told me he was... Honestly for awhile when I first got him I thought oh wow what did I get myself into! but he calmed down.

Temperment is a interesting thing, it sometimes really does depend on the rider and riding experience because If you don't know what your doing and the horse is used to riding pleasantly with an experienced rider, he might get a little pissed if you're hanging on his mouth or your legs are flailing around.
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post #3 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Nocturva View Post
Temperment is a interesting thing, it sometimes really does depend on the rider and riding experience because If you don't know what your doing and the horse is used to riding pleasantly with an experienced rider, he might get a little pissed if you're hanging on his mouth or your legs are flailing around.
Although it is good for a horse to experience that to a degree. (Not the hanging in the mouth so much, but the flailing about.)

My mare is very particular about who rides her and how you ride. 99% of the time, I'm the only person who rides her, so I wanted to see how she would react to having someone on her who was less experienced than I. I simulated it instead of putting someone on her, just to be safe. When I had her trotting I bounced around and flapped my legs ... she bucked and crow hopped.
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post #4 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 11:18 AM
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"bombproof" gives the illusion the inexperienced or even timid experienced rider can take that horse off a cliff and it won't flick an ear.

I don't like the use of that word in ads because my life-long philosophy has always been "if it has a heart and pumps blood, it's unpredictable".

The temperament of horses can vary greatly and yes, there are those that are very quiet and laid back.

To answer your question, I don't like "bombproof" horses for myself. Even though I am now retired and can't ride much anymore, my preference for a riding horse is one that is full of "go" and once in awhile when I say "no", it will reply with a "why not?".

That is not to be confused with a horse that is black hearted and willingly wants to buck and rear for the sake of getting the rider off.

My mind twirls 90 miles an hour and I want a horse that's the same way. Even though the Arab I rescued 20+ years ago pretty much falls into the "bombproof" category and is reserved for giving babies and toddlers "riding lessons" and happy horse memories:)

Different horse personalities for human personalities and riding abilities; hope this helps:)

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post #5 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 11:25 AM
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horses have so many personalities, they also react differently on the trail or in different venues. Ive seem the calmest coolest horses in the world go nuts at the start of an endurance ride. Many gaited horses are perfectly happy moving out at a gait, or riding with other gaited horses. Put em behind a crawl speed QH, and same thing they get more and more wound up.
Horses are all linear in pecking order. there are no equals in the horses mind. He is either below or above the other horses. He also looks at you in that way.
Many of the "Seller lied to me " issues come from people not understanding that. I get a horse, I establish dominance, horse settles into below me in the pecking order, we ride over many a hill and dale, people comment on how super calm and easy to get along my horse is.
However I guarantee if I sold him to you, he'd turn into a nutcase race brained, parking lot sour, pain in the rear. Pretty much all horses when brought to a new home will try to establish them selves as high in the pecking order as possible. Basically that horse is gonna see what he can get away with with YOU. Best thing to do is learn to and be ready to do that on day 1. You will be laying the ground work for a long happy relationship.
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post #6 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 11:26 AM
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I would never list my mare, she has a home for life here, but if I were going to, she'd be a 6 or a 7 on one of those scales. Or I would rank her as bombproof in the hands of an experienced rider.

She's about as close to bombproof+trustworthy as you can get, I even use her to teach little kids how to ride with very little concern about the kids falling off or having an unpleasant experience.
However, her bombproof-ness is a complete product of the level of trust she has with me, and her familiar surroundings. It's not to say that she's ever really "bad" but she is mostly blind so I'm something like her 'guide-human' and familiar surroundings give her confidence to move around as she normally would.
She's fine in a familiar area without me and she's fine if I'm with her in an unfamiliar area, but if I leave her somewhere unfamiliar or leave her with someone else, she goes quite a bit sideways. Even an unfamiliar person in her familiar pasture throws her off a bit. She's fine with it if I'm there, but she'd be impossible for a unfamliar person to catch if I wasn't right there [for me+someone, she'll stand there and not move a muscle - someone she doesn't know, it turns into a 'chase'].

It's not that she's bad, at all. Heck, I've never even come off her in the 5 years I've owned her! But for an inexperienced person, one that was unable to project the kind of confidence Lacey needs, Lacey could be quite scary. And that could go all kinds of bad ways - scared horse, scared human = bad wreck.
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post #7 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 11:27 AM
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In the UK bombproof tends to more be a statement that a horse is 'non spooky' - that is you could set a bomb off under its nose and it wouldn't flinch
That is not the same thing as being quiet and safe to ride
Some of the most bombproof, least spooky horses I've had (including our dear old Flo) have been about as far removed from being quiet rides as it gets. My DH always says they are so busy wanting to attack life at full speed with maximum energy & enthusiasm they don't have time to notice scarey stuff!!
As a beginner you don't want a nervy high strung horse but you also want one that's well schooled and well behaved so you can concentrate on learning and gaining confidence
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post #8 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 11:32 AM
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Something that is often failed in the 'I am buying a bombproof horse' saga is...

If the new owner doesn't have some clue as to how to handle horses? Bombproof may well disappear in week or so.

But bombproof and experienced rider does NOT go together.
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post #9 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 11:40 AM
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Bombproof- there is no such thing. Every horse has a point at which they will 'blow up' at something. It may be something as insignificant as a gopher running underneath them (I have had that happen) or something like a truck horn. That's not say there are horses whose temperments are so good that they seem that way a lot of the time.

I find many of the ads I read misleading, such as "bombproof 2 year old". Some people are dishonest and will put anything in an ad just to make the sale.
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post #10 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 12:29 PM
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I agree with everything said before, here. Just wanted to add though, that good temperament and being bombproof, don't necessarily go together. The sweetest horse, can be very flighty in the situation he doesn't like.

My old Saddlebred, was THE sweetest thing. But he was not bombproof. While riding one day, a tiny piece of ribbon, was attached to a bush we passed, and was blowing in the wind. I ended up under him. Another time, riding quietly along, we came across a wall with some huge graffiti. Again, he obviously found it frightening and spooked. It wasn't much of a spook, but he backed up pretty quickly.

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