Appaloosas - the good, the bad, and the adorable
I bought an Appy from a good friend a couple of years ago as a barely started 6 year old. He's awesome. Exactly what I needed - safe and more whoa than go in most scenarios. But he's also very different from any other horse I've ever dealt with - which were mostly Arabs and Quarter Horses. Appys are a whole other story! He's clever, affectionate, goofy, but also, a tad bit stubborn. I know you other Appy owners know what I'm talking about. So how do you deal with this aspect of the breed? It's like they have a whole other side to them. Where QH and Arabs are either submissive, compliant or flighty, my Rusty is sensitive, has a sense of humour, and is very opinionated. So far, I have dealt with this with calm determination. I find that he will always give in eventually, and it's best not to go batpoop crazy on him if he doesn't want to do something because then you pick a fight that will go on for a long time. Also, I really like his personality and do not want to turn him into a shut-down horse, but when I ride him or even when we do ground work, I often wonder whether I should stop before he has a meltdown or push him through it (obviously, if he has a meltdown or a tantrum, we do push through it because I can't stop in the middle of one or he'll be learning that he's won).
For example, when I, or someone else, rides him in the riding ring, we can go for about 15-25 minutes and then he's just had it. He's different on a trail, mind you - he can go on for hours on trails! But in the ring, he gets bored. Should I stop before he throws a fit or ride him until he accepts that we're done when I say we're done? I have done both, but am unsure which will provide better long-term results. By throwing a fit, I mean he doesn't want to trot or canter anymore, and will give little bucks when I tap him with a crop. We have worked through this a number of times, and he eventually gives up and gives me a trot or canter, but he is clearly cranky about it. On the other hand, I play a lot of games with him which he seems to enjoy. For example, we play a game where I get up on the mounting block, and he comes up to it at liberty (not even a halter on), and I hop on his back. He walks to the edge of the paddock until I ask him to stop, I slide off, and pull some good grass from the other side of the fence as a reward for him. All this time, our other horse is loose in the paddock and the gate to the pasture is wide open so Rusty chooses to be with me. This is the connection I don't want to lose. On the other hand, I'd love to do a bit of dressage work with him, but he doesn't have the interest or attention span for it right now.
Thoughts from other Appy owners who share my love for this breed but also recognize the stubborn streak as a challenge? How do you deal with it without losing the Appy personality?
Photo of us snuggling just because.
Last edited by Acadianartist; 07-25-2020 at 04:35 PM.