Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quarters vs Arabians

First off let me start out saying that there is no one perfect horse! Oh, I can just hear you all huffing! Really, all horses are beautiful and special and wonderful- they all have lots in common- they all have brains the size of a small fist, they all have smelly poop we have to clean up and have not as yet learned how to turn into gold, they all have personalities that can change literally with the wind.

But someone recently asked me why I switched from Arabs to Quarters. This is my answer- it pertains only to me and is my opinion (and darn it I'm entitled to it! )

I grew up riding American Quarter Horses, that is what we had for ranch work. I rode Shetland ponies, donkeys, Morgans, Appaloosas, POA"s, Tennessee Walking horses, Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds and quite a few crosses in between. I rode them for fun and I rode them for a living. I rode my own and I rode every one elses too. They all taught me something, and I enjoyed ( almost) every one of them.

I actually bred and trained Arabian horses for a while too. Let me tell you, I love Arabian horses for all the same reasons that you all love them. They are spectacular to look at, they can go forever and they are super smart. They are fairly versatile too, but even though there are Arabs that do reining and cowwork, they are not 'bred to it" and don't have the same sparkle and snap that a QH has. I love the cow work, and wanted a horse that would love it too.

Another reason why I switched back to QH's were the people involved in breeding Arab's at the time. There were a lot of bad practices going on in the show world, and in the training that I couldn't hold to- and if I wanted to be competative I would have had to deal with those people. Life is too short to deal with Asshats, so I moved back to the QH. Oh, there are plenty Asshats in the QH world too, but I know enough about the breed and the training not to have to deal with them if I so wish. And I have met a whole lot of friendly wonderful QH owners and breeders... the Arabian breeders I met ( save a rare few) were only in it for the money and had no love for the breed.(This was in the 70's and becuse of this a whole lot of Arab breeders bred too many poor quality horses, then the Arab market crashed and those some people dumped their high doller horses, but not before breeding a crop of 'weeds'.

The third and final reason that I no longer own Arabs is their Personal Safety Response( the side ways whirl and bolt spook)-so many of them are in full flight mode all of the time, and as I get older I just hate hitting the ground! I mean I am a good rider,BUT there ain't a cowgirl that can't get throwed. My QH Dez throws me too, (he is as close to an Arab that you can get and still be regestered QH)- because of the same Personal Safety Response- but he only spooks at something once... then he files it away in his ' Oh THAT won't eat me after all!' file, and on we go. So his flight response is whittling away to practically nothing and will continue to decrease as he gets older. So many highly bred Arabs never lose it. It made training difficult and frustrating, as I spent more time reassuring them than actually going forward in our training programs.

Now I know there are many many Arabs out there that are as quiet and calm as the day is long. They are bred wonderfully and have given many families a safe and solid mount- but for me- the Quarter Horse was a much better choice for my daily mount.

And as I get older and more infirm, maybe I'll change my mind and take up driving minis!

To all of you- what ever you choose to ride, choose the best!


Melanie said...

Thank you!!!! I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions! :) As a mother, and someone who is no longer 20, I tend to be re-thinking just what it is that I want.

As I said earlier, my main horse was an Arab (7/8's to be exact), and my horse now is an Arab, but I have ridden a lot of other breeds as well: TW's, QH's, ponies of all breeds, Morgan's etc...

On the trail they are unstoppable...we leave our non-Arab friends in the dust after about four hours, but their unpredictability does worry me with my kidlets, even though I rode one while growing up (probably why I am worried about my kid's!!).

Bo, the Arab that I ride now, is excellent most of the time, but he does have his out of body experiences, and I do not want my kidlets on his back when he does. I can handle them, but as I get older, even I am not sure if it is what I want to do forever.

This being said, I personally don't want a "1" out of "10" on a personality scale for myself, just for my kidlets. I do love Arab's, especially Crabbet bred ones, and I think that I may always end up with a horse that is at least 1/2 Arab for myself, but for my kidlets, a nice, quiet QH (well any breed really) will!!!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

And there you have it!! There are a multitude of breeds around and for the most part-for very good reason...different people want different things.

I'm with ya on the age thing too. When I was (much) younger, I wanted Arabs so badly. I rode every one I could. QH's just seemed so pluggy compared to them. I loved the fire-breathing dragon types. Now, I like the pretend fire-breathing dragon types.

I also understand the QH brain better than the other breeds. Training them is just easier for me now. Where, if I had to start working with other breeds, I would have to start all over again-learning how they react, why they react, what bloodlines are known for what and all the other stuff that just seems second nature when it comes to QH's.

Still, when I see a nice representative of another breed-I can appreciate why people love what they do.

Meg said...

Great post sweetie! As a lifelong QH person, I can only say that I think Arabians are pretty...but that's all. I am not going to say anything negative...I am going to have an absolutely WONDERFUL positive week and sprinkle everyone with good thoughts!

Love you!

Lil Mama said...

Here, Here! I love all the pretty ponies but my favorite is still AMERICA'S HORSE

Also love the donkey pics. Weren't you a cute little kid. Obviously missed your chance to drop Beanie.

Jocelyn said...

Well, I thought I wanted to do endurance on my Arab mare, she would rock, but that Self Preservation Mode, turned me off in a heartbeat. I'd rather go GAITED, than another Arab. Ilove my big paint stock mare for now, and we wont win Tevis, but I wont be checking my shorts after every ride either!
Here Here to QH minds !

20 meter circle of life said...

Hmmm well being an all arab all the time sorta girl, I grew up with QH's. I did not set out to buy an Arab, but its the best choice I have ever made. The brain is just amazing. I dont have anything against the QH, just not the horse for me. Now I do have a bear cat on my hands from time to time and really thats OK, I am more about the journey. I will say that most breeds have the good and the bad breeders, and generally I think Arabs get a bad rap. They are not cowy by nature, but once they learn they can boss something else around, they love it. Now honestly I think I also have the best of both worlds having a QH/Arab cross, FANCY!!! although he is far spookier than the Arab. The horse you rides depends on who you are and what you want to do. A good horse is just that a good horse.

Reddunappylitivensfe said...

I grew up on QHs and have stayed with stock breeds because of disposition. My mom has a half arab out of her QH mare that does that whirl spin spook, I know what you are talking about, she is 63 now and hasnt ridden in years,since he dumped her on a trail ride. she has a 12 year old that has only been ridden a couple of times. As an Adult I finally got the Appaloosa I always wanted, she has been the easiest horse to train to ride that I have ever had, and when something scares her all she does is plant all fours. I agree Arabs are beautiful, I have even ridden a 25m endurance race on one, I realy liked him. My sister in-law was just realy hurt on her Arab NSH he blew up in the arena and bucked her off, shattered her ankle almost to the point of having to have it amputated. But she is doing ok now slow healing as she has osteoporosis, she is in her 50s. I guess I agree, I just dont like the spook factor either, as now with my disability I realy appreciate my stock horses they have been so patient with me and my stumbling around.

20 meter circle of life said...

One last word and I will hush up. The spill I took last year that resulted in a Hospital stay with several broken ribs, a punctured lung and a collapsed lung, well that was not from an Arab, but an Appy. I trusted my Arab enough to ride him 4 weeks later in a Rated USDF show.

Pony Girl said...

I recently read in my Buck Brannaman book about a training experience he had with an Arab that came from a stable using unmentionable awful training tactics, to get "fire" and "life" into the horse for the show ring. It broke my heart to hear what they did/do to these horses in the name of "spirit."
I think Arabians are beautiful. I owned a half-Arabian half-Appaloosa large pony and he was one of the best horses I ever had, I outgrew him and sold him out for a QH because that was what my friends had, but I always kind of regretted it.
I think Arab crosses are quite nice. My sister's Arab/Paint mare does have more of the spook factor, but that was mostly upbringing and lack of exposure, the whole nature versus nurture thing. She has handled some situations amazingly well, we joke from time to time that she's lost her Arab tendancies. And she is a smart little mare. I don't know if I ever adventure outside of stock breeds, if I would own an Arabian. Right now I think I would probably own a Morgan over an Arab. But I'm sure they have a pretty good "personal safety response" rating, too! ;)

OneCowgirl said...

Love the picture!! I too would rather have a QH - they have common sense!!

The Wife said...

I'm a Quarter girl. That's really all I have to say 'bout that.

Anonymous said...

One of the great things about our ponies is that there is a breed out there for everyone and we should be able to find a great pony that is just the one for us!

Train Wreck said...

Oh I am with you, Arabs are beautiful, but I am partial to these quarter horses! So enduring and available. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Love to you my friend!