Friesian Appendix Cross Behavior
I'm full leasing a 11 year old Friesian Appendix cross mare. She is spoiled and a bit out of shape but I'm enjoying working with her. Very sweet and remarkably smart with a little pinch of goofy. With the help of friends and my instructor, I'm learning A LOT about handling a horse as if she were my own. If things work out, I can choose to purchase her. :smile:
A huge problem with her though, as I mentioned is... she's spoiled and can be disrespectful on the ground. She's not being mean- someone just let her get away with things in the past! Since I've had her she's gotten better but we still have a long way to go.
One of the worst things she does is have little regard for running over things (people, gates, dogs, piles of sand, wheel barrels, doors, plastic chairs, trot poles, etc) in front of her.
She is herd bound, and in an attempt to get back to the "herd", she attempted to walk right through me. I was able to stop her and quickly backed her up out of my space. This repeated several times until she gave up (I wasn't going to let her win...).
During a lesson I was scared half to death because, for a second, it looked as if she was going to run right over my instructor in an attempt to run to the gate and back to her herd. My instructor told me it was a "Friesian thing" that she has seen before and wasn't too scared.
Fortunately this lessons ended up VERY successfully. After trying to run to the gate and me not letting her, she simply gave up. For the remainder of the lesson she was more than willing. Not to mention wonderfully light to cue. I learned that the biggest thing with this horse is to keep her mind occupied. I've always stuck to the rail with a few odd circles here and there. This isn't enough for this horse. She needs circles, trot poles, serpentine, frequent direction and gait changes. The second things start to get repetitive is the second she shows her boredom while pulling on the reins and being difficult to cue.
Anyway, I was curious if anyone had any tips! And also if anyone can enlighten me on any behavioral "quirks" Friesians or Appendix (Quarter/Thoroughbred) horses tend to have that I could be seeing in this horse.
My Arabian gets a little ahead of himself when leading and can run things over without thinking about it. I started carrying the end of the lead rope with the popper in my hand when leading, and if his eye passed mine, I would turn to face him and smack him across the chest making him back up. You can also shake the lead if you're using a rope halter since the nose knots will help, but I found smacking him across the chest got his attention and got him to back up. Then we started a game where I'd walk, stop, and back up randomly (and mixed the order up). Again, he had to keep his eye at or behind my shoulder. We still play that game any time we're walking anywhere. If I want him to pay attention to me or get behind me now, all I have to do is give the lead rope a twitch. I only use rope halters because it improves communication, and this is one of those cases where a rope halter will almost always work better than a flat nylon halter because a simple lead rope twitch gets his attention.
Oh, and when I'd get after him with the rope across his chest, I'd walk toward him and make sure he backed up until I was satisfied. This might be anywhere between 2 and 10 feet depending on how bad the offense is and if a shorter distance wasn't getting his attention.
Basically you're telling him "GET OUT OF MY SPACE" and "I'm the boss around here!"
Yikes. What a cross, LOL. I'm mostly kidding, but could imagine that a Friesian/Appendix cross could be quite the horse.
I've only been around two Friesians and a cross, but lots of Appendix QHs. The particular Friesians I knew were what I would describe as "coldly hot." They would get ramped up and excited sometimes, but were not sensitive whatsoever. Many Arabs get very excited and more sensitive at the same time. Meaning that they will get all ramped up, but that means you back off pressure or they might explode.
The Friesians were not this way, and it seemed would get more dull to pressure when they were excited, requiring more heavy cueing to get through to them what you wanted. I've known some draft horses that needed very obvious cueing at times so I assume this is from the draft blood.
Appendix QH can be either more heavily QH or more heavily TB. Most of the ones I've known have had more TB blood and behaved more like TBs. If the Appendix part of your horse was more QH, that would probably make her a bit more mellow and less excitable.
If the Appendix part of your horse is more TB, then it could ideally lend a little more sensitivity to your horse, or less ideally just add more excitability. Some Appendix QHs are actually a lot like the Friesians I've been around, a horse that is somewhat excitable yet somewhat insensitive.
Thanks jillybean19 and gotta trot!
Yeah that's something I do as well. She attempts to rush ahead, and when she does we stop and she back up. This is an area she is getting better and better pretty quickly. :)
I am using a flat nylon halter for her. I need to invest in a good rope one...
I would bet she has more TBH on the Appendix side than QH because she does have go when she wants to show it and can be surprisingly sensitive under saddle, although I'm not sure if this is actually the case or not. But she seems to turn that sensitivity on and off depending on how it benefits her. Maybe that's the Friesian side. :lol:
Quarters horses originated as, you know, race horses, I am not sure why people assume they are all calm and mellow. They aren't.
That said, I've also met some that were more go than whoa, or tended to be on the nervous side.
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