Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Lansing, Michigan
I think it is important to consider alternative reasons why a horse may be 'poorly behaved'. I'm sure much of what people said so far is true, that is does come down to training error, but not all of those high-strung horses are the result of human impatience and incompetence.
I forgot exactly what stud it is that I follow, who throws foals that are particularly challenging their first few years under-saddle. The particular foal of his that I follow on social media that is now under-saddle and jumping pretty small jumps, bucks and carries on after the jumps. The rider clearly has other horses that are well-mannered and successful, and it is known that the particular sire of the horse throws babies with a bit of 'tude, that usually go on to grow out of it. I believe the stud was Bosch Blue, if I remember correctly...
The only 'mean' horse I worked around as a stablehand was one that got zero turnout, other than occasionally in a round pen. He was a big, hot half-Arabian, that was confined to a 12x12 stall. When I would enter his stall, his ears would be flat back and he would be snaking his head towards me, trying to bite. Getting a halter on him was a task, and you had be ready for him to try to drag you down the aisle way. I would be willing to bet if he got regular turnout, he would quickly turn into a different horse. He just didn't know what to do with his cooped-up energy, and dealt with it by acting aggressively. This particular horse was wonderful under-saddle, just awful on the ground and around the barn. I don't think any amount of correction would have helped him, he just needed a better management plan.
And sometimes, under-saddle with some of these explosively hot horses, it is more beneficial to let them act up, buck, and ride through it. What else are you supposed to do? Stopping would reward it. Yanking on their mouth would force the horse backwards in motion. Taking a crop to their bum would add more energy into the situation. Letting them act out and just continuing onwards doesn't reward their behavior or negatively add to the situation. I wouldn't consider handling the behavior this way a training error, or just showing off your ability to ride, but rather handling the behavior as it comes.
But, in the exact situation described, I would definitely say it is probably human error.
Toofine - 1998 Half Arabian
Minnie - 2013 Morgan