I doubt my spooky mare Mia will ever be totally trustworthy. I talked to her new owner a week ago. She still jumps sideways sometimes, or does a 360 spin for no reason anyone can figure out. But she's very responsive and willing the rest of the time, so she is now being used as a 'kid's horse'. The kids have ridden as long as they can remember, they ride in open country and think it is funny when she jumps sideways. But where I live, with cactus on either side of every trail, it isn't quite as amusing.
Not long after I got her, I watched a lady riding an Arabian mare who was all snort & blow. She mostly did as told, but with a LOT of drama. I asked the lady later when she would grow out of it. "Well", the lady replied, "she's 26 now. I'll let you know when she calms down..."
I thought about this thread riding Bandit (Arabian/mustang) today (while my daughter rode Steady Eddie Trooper (3/4 Arabian). We spent about 30 minutes getting wide-eyed and snorting over signs, a horse a half mile away, did a 360 when a weedwacker went off beside him - and then the last 45 minutes he was pretty focused and sensible. Not 100% - he did give the stink eye to an RV parked in a driveway - but he went past without drama.
The biggest difference between him and spooky Mia is that I usually can figure out what it is he's upset over, and he calms down about 10 times faster. In spite of the occasional laid back Arabian, such as Trooper, I think they are more reactive, more engaged and more dramatic than most breeds. That is part of the fun. But it can also be dangerous if you get one of the more extreme examples, or if you don't have a good seat or expect a 4-legged ATV. Mia came from racing lines on her dam's side and a national champion Crabbett sire. As I told her new owner before we swapped, I'm not sure all the wires in her brain are hooked up. Very sweet, but...
Although Trooper (and Lilly) were good beginner horses, I think they are exceptions. On the whole, I think Arabians are for people who don't mind some drama. I honestly could do without it pretty easy, but I guess it isn't in the cards for me. Bandit isn't a beginner's horse, but I'm not a beginner any more and he DOES have a lot of "try" in him. Like Mia, you ride WITH him, not ON him.
If you want to ride with
a horse, Arabians may be worth the trouble. If you want to ride on
a horse, look at another breed - although there are always exceptions.
Trooper & the youngest, doing what they like to do together:
Bandit being walked on a rocky section due to his feet, and both horses grabbing a mouthful: