I also don't like the term "bombproof" either. There's no way to guarantee how a horse will react in any given situation, a horse is a living breathing animal with it's own brain and instincts and they can act differently on different days, just like humans. They're not robots, but I am amazed at how many people, inexperienced or not, sure expect them to act like one! We can train and expose them to as much as possible, and some horses do get extremely quiet and accepting of all sorts of situations and stimulus. But I think it's extremely naive to assume that any horse could be totally, 100%, "bombproof", and I don't like that this is what people seek out when they go horse shopping. There is no universal measurement of "bombproof" either. So one person's opinion of bombproof may not be another person's definition. You know what they say, 2 horse people, 3 opinions! :P
It's all very misguided imo. People go out looking for this magical bombproof horse, mostly inexperienced and novice horse owners, because they don't know any better, because that's what they are told they need, they see it in magazines, movies, the horse ads. They buy this supposedly "bombproof" horse, and then are upset when something happens, it gets randomly chased by a dog and the rider falls off. Or the horse takes a while to adjust to its new home and starts to test its new owners and push their boundaries, and then you end up with the horse becoming spoiled, walking all over everyone, becoming herd bound, spooking or bucking under saddle and being naughty, etc, just because it can. And now the new horse owners are upset because Dobbin was supposed to be "bombproof"! Horses can change with different locations, different handlers, different ways of doing things. People really shouldn't be surprised when they buy a horse and they take it homes and it acts differently. We are horse owners need to have the experience and prepare ourselves first, and that just comes with time, lessons, riding different horses, and learning as much as you can beforehand. There's no fast track to learning this stuff unfortunately, and we see it all the time, people getting in over their heads and having no clue, ignorance really is bliss. I know many "bombproof" horses that will fall apart if the rider is nervous wreck up there. Every horse is an individual, and learning that is all a part of horses.
This is why it's so important to take lessons first, get out there into the horse world, find that awesome coach or experienced horse person that will teach you and show you the ropes. Very rarely do inexperienced people just get a horse and ride off happily into the sunset. It's not like the movies. It takes years to gain that knowledge, and it never ends. To assume you know "enough" to not need to learn anything further or stop taking lessons is so naive as well. Not everyone wants to go out and ride at that high level or take their horse to shows, of course, but we do have is a responsibility to the horse, to provide the highest level of care and comfort of the horse and adjust and maintain that as things changes throughout the horse's life. And to me that means always learning and moving forward and exploring new things and what you could do differently. For a lot of us horses aren't *just* livestock, they are our friends, our partners. We love them, we pamper them, we buy them all sorts of things, spend lots of time with them, so it goes deeper than just solely an obligation to them as us owning them as livestock. There's that magic about horses that a lot of us can't deny, it's more than just a warm body living outside in a pasture that we feed. Horses can't choose their owners, so we as horse lovers have that responsibility to the horse first and foremost. It's hard when someone has wanted a horse all their life and they *finally* have the time and money for it, but it's even harder to admit that you aren't "ready". Which is where people go wrong, they get so caught up in the moment, they want something SO badly, they don't think about the big picture. It's tough because we are such a NOW society, all about instant gratification, and with horses it's the opposite, you really have to put in the work and learn first, it's more of a long term thing, a labour of love. Horses aren't something you get on a whim, you don't wake up one morning and decide that you want to be a horse person and just go out and buy one. Lots of people DO do this though, but it's *always* the horse that gets the short end of the stick in the end, even if none of it is their fault.
And with the temperament scale they have on the horse sale sites, well, that's all relative. I know some laid back horses that are spooky, and I know some hot horses that aren't afraid of anything. Little Joe might be the quietest little horse riding all over the farm at home, heck, the grandkids even groom and ride him, so they list him as a "2" for temperament and mention "bombproof" in the ad. And then someone buys him and takes him home, and all of a sudden Little Joe is confused. It's a new place, new people, new sights and sounds, maybe he's in a stall instead of his pasture. Maybe they put him on alfalfa hay which he's not used to. And then the new owners pull Little Joe out for that first ride, and he's nervous, tense, spooky. For a lot of reason that some less experienced horse people might not notice or expect, but I can't say I blame him. And then everyone is up in arms again because Little Joe was supposed to be "bombproof"! Frankly I'd be a little surprised if I bought a horse and it DIDN'T act a bit different in a new place, or take a little time to settle in to a new place and routine.
Hot and spooky, and quiet and "bombproof" do not necessarily go hand in hand either. I know many TB's that come off the track and they have seen EVERYTHING. They aren't spooky or worried about much at all, but they ARE hot and definitely a handful to handle. And then I've seen many horses that you would swear are broke to death and you could put anyone on, but a lot of times those are the ones who are walking down the trail perfectly but then all of a sudden spook and spin right out from under you with no warning. My TB mare is one of the super hot ones, and right away people assume she is spooky as well. Which she isn't in the slightest. You can't really categorize horses because they are all individuals, different upbringing, handling, training, it all makes a HUGE difference.
Well! I went off on kind of a crazy tangent there, lol. I hope all of that somewhat makes sense!!
Last edited by albertaeventer; 07-19-2013 at 03:05 PM.