What does "honesty" mean when used in reference to a horse? - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 35 Old 10-24-2016, 01:53 AM
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To me, an honest horse is a horse that always keeps the lines of communication open. I never have to guess what he's thinking about, because he's constantly "talking" to me—whether it's via contented chewing, yielding to the pressure of my leg, or even with very angry tail swishing (at least he's telling me he's mad!). I know when he understands me, when he's confused, and when he's outright ignoring me. He doesn't make sudden mood jumps (fine to blow up mad in <2 seconds, for example). An honest horse is the type of horse that telegraphs if/when it's going to buck/kick/bolt a good five minutes before hand, which gives you enough time to decide if you want to risk his fury or end the ride on a good note (say if you're not feeling all that great).

"Honest" does not automatically equal "beginner safe". I wouldn't consider my gelding beginner safe, but he's very, very honest.

It has a slightly different meaning to me when used in the context of a horse that jumps. An honest jumper is a horse that's game for almost anything. They don't refuse or duck out of a jump unexpectedly, and if you pick the wrong distance they'll still give it their all. They put in maximum effort over every jump, and, if they're particularly honest, the only reason they'll hesitate at the base of a jump is to wait for their rider to get their act together (AKA put both feet in the irons :) ).
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post #32 of 35 Old 10-24-2016, 03:57 AM
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I was teaching a young girl who had one of the worse ponies I have ever come across. It was really not safe for a child and, after two lessons I arranged for the pony to be euthanised. The girl had her nerves shattered and although she wanted to ride so bad,y, she would be physically sick.
I had a 14 hand pony, Pasha, that had been out on loan and as he had been outgrown lent him to this girl. Pasha was as honest as they come and very easy to bind with. The child would get him ready to ride and then chicken out.
One day I was taking her sister whilst the girl was messing with Pasha unstable to mount. Her parents would get annoyed with her for not riding and I had several words with them over it. It had to come in her time.

Much to my surprise she came over on Pasha whilst I was taking her sister. She opened and closed the gate into the field and rode into the arena which was not fenced at that time. Big grin in her face.

The lesson went well she was happy to canter and during a canter Pasha cantered off with her back to the field gate - something I had never seen him do before, I felt I could of killed him!

I swear that pony knew the ghorses irl better than I did. She was laughing as she stopped him and rode him strongly back to the arena. She happily said that of that was the best he could do to frighten her then she was going to be fine!

Pasha never did anything untoward with her again, they followed hounds all that winter, did cross country and show jumping.

The girl ended up riding a very good 14.2 pony that was by no means easy and they won most competitions in the area. Pasha moved on to his next home where he remained until his death aged 33.
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post #33 of 35 Old 10-24-2016, 09:26 PM
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I know a Grand Prix horse that I absolutely love, massive 17.2 WB. He has the same personality as my dog lol. Very easy going and the very few times I saw him worried he was all "oh, it's fine? ok then, if you say it's fine it's fine!". His owner is a very nice lady but older and very clutzy and uncoordinated. He will calmly stand there as she drops the reins and gets all confused, then passage down the side of the ring "ok..are you ready now?" or "well you didn't actually ask for that but I know that's what you want so I'll do it anyways". The perfect schoolmaster.
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post #34 of 35 Old 10-25-2016, 12:35 AM
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I once had a horse who would 'lay for you'. If he didn't like what you were doing he wouldn't react until he could get you in a weak position. For example he didn't like his fetlock hair to be clipped. We were kids, we didn't own electric clippers, so we did everything with small scissors (hey don't knock it until you can't afford clippers). He stood like a rock until my sister was where he wanted her to be and then cow-kicked her right in the center of her forehead.

I know someone with a cutting bred QH, very well trained and obedient except when she doesn't feel like it. Then without warning she just lights out bucking like a bronc. She is little and as agile and fast as can be. If you can ride it out, it's over in a few seconds and then she goes back to exactly how she was before, quiet and obedient. To me, this is another dishonest horse.

My horse is honest in that she is as easy to read as a large print book. She can be irritated, or naughty, but you'll see it all coming a mile away. She is always 'talking'. She is not a bombproof or even a crackly paper-proof horse but she won't lie.

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post #35 of 35 Old 10-25-2016, 12:49 AM
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To me, an honest horse is a willing, hardworking horse who will take care of his rider, even if he knows he's capable of getting away with bad behaviour. He won't make cheap shots or surprise you with uncharacteristic behaviour. He will let you know where he stands, and remain steady in his temperament. An honest horse will check in with his rider before he becomes worried about something, as if asking them if it's okay, as opposed to a dishonest horse who will spook with no regard for his rider. A good, honest horse is always great to ride. It's like you're having a respectful conversation with them, as they will let you know what they think but trust your ultimate judgement. They're not to be confused with pushbutton or deadhead horses; they can still have their bad days, but even at their worst, they never resort to low blows like kicking, biting, rearing, bucking, bolting, or any other bad habit or vice.
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