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!