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  1. #1
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    Default People-Friendly Horses Are Born That Way

    People-Friendly Horses Are Born That Way

    http://www.horsesciencenews.com/76/p...-born-that-way



  2. #2
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    Earth shattering information.



  3. #3
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    Freestyle,

    Thankyou for the article, interesting reading.


    Can think of two horses I've owned in the past who were very difficult to catch, absolutely could take hours! Who when once caught were exemplary good citizens under saddle.

    I wouldn't bank they'de be more willing or trustworthy under saddle, just because it took less time to get them haltered. JMHO



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    Earth shattering information.

    Deep South? Earth shattering information. Hope the operation to get it extracted is successful.



  5. #5
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    It's interesting but maybe misses some crucial information. I have always heard that foals inherit most of their disposition from their mothers, but I don't know if it's nature or nurture.

    In other words, how those mares treat the foals in the first 8 months might really impact their relationships with other horses and people.



  6. #6
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    Foals probably get their mother's temperment mostly thru the nurturing process, but I'd hesitate to breed to an ill tempered stallion, even the nicest mare, anyway. While it may be mostly her, their are stallions who are known for passing on their tempermental quirks too.

    I do have a friend who did an E/T on a mare.. recip mare was a dream boat. She's one of those calm, quiet QH type mares. You could set a bomb off under her, and upon returning to the ground, she'd go back to eating. The mare that was the donor is, on a nice day, a prima donna. But, she has so many great qualities. The stallion she bred the mare too is okay temperment wise, he has a few quirks (mostly man made). He is a little bit of a prima donna too. Doesn't like change at all. He also has to feel like he's the king, or he just wilts (no other way to really describe it). The foal, while not quite as interesting to deal with as her parents, definetely got more nature than nurture in the temperment department. She's 4 now, and still throws hissy fits occasionally for no apparent reason (well, you can tell the reason, but it's not things that would normally bother a horse). But, my friend got what she wanted from the cross.. amazing work ethic and athletic ability (both parents have that in spades), phenomenal conformation, beauty, intelligence. (She could use a better tail though, hers is scrawny). And she likes a challenging ride, so it worked out I guess.



  7. #7
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    In the years that I have been breeding, I would tend to agree with the article cited. There are definitely foals that are born friendly, outgoing and curious about the humans in their midst. I have rarely had human averse foals. In the couple of cases that I did have shy foals, careful and consistent handling did turn them around and made them more people oriented.

    In one ET breeding the surrogate mare was extremely distrustful of and unfriendly towards humans. She also rejected the resulting foal which I raised as an orphan. That foal was a clone of her genetic mother in temperament - bold, people oriented and a bit of a diva - even though she never saw her until she was a year old.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by narcisco View Post
    It's interesting but maybe misses some crucial information. I have always heard that foals inherit most of their disposition from their mothers, but I don't know if it's nature or nurture.

    In other words, how those mares treat the foals in the first 8 months might really impact their relationships with other horses and people.
    I think that may be true. My mare was the most people friendly horse I've ever seen. People at the barn, who I didn't know, would know her. Her filly is the same way. Just loves to interact with people. One barn friend at our new place calls her "the greeter".

    Years ago, a woman at my barn bred her cranky, temperamental mare. Gorgeous horse but nasty temperament. Sure enough, the colt she had was alway pissed off, just like his momma. The mare probably wasn't all that nurturing either. He got a double whammy of bad nature and nurture.



  9. #9
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    Thanks for posting this, Freestyle. Intersting article. I also think at times there are stallions that have foals who have consistent good dispositions towards people (I know one personally but won't advertise. LOL.).

    Groetjes, Debbie

    Apparently I am just not dialed in like posters like equibrit to know all this information (I guess some people just know it all and have to point that out to the rest of us). It is actually that attitude that makes me stay away from this board a lot. Too bad, really, because there is a lot to learn here.



  10. #10
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    Eight months is a fairly advanced age to be first testing the horses.



  11. #11
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    Horses, just like people have personalities. Some are easy going, some not so much. I think a lot of it is 1) heriditary 2) imprinted
    www.spindletopfarm.net
    Home of Puerto D'Azur - 1998 NA 100 Day Test Champion
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  12. #12
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    In my experience, it is a long way from "sniffing, licking or nibbling" to becoming a willing working partner with a good work ethic.



  13. #13
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    In my breeding experience I've found the #1 factor in a foal's receptivity to humankind is dictated by the relationship between its dam with humans.

    Mare's send very subtle but clear messages as they quickly "instruct" their newborns about what is safe and what may not be. This message can last a lifetime. A breeder cannot spend enough time becoming trusted and fair friends that their broodies to the point that they want to hang around with you (and not for food!).

    This owner/broodmare bond most often transfers to the offspring -- barring some dumb thing a human has done independently to make a foal fearful and/or shy.

    Just my experience.



  14. #14
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    Default Hay

    I had a very nasty, alpha, opinionated mare who everyone asked why I didn't breed her as she was great looking. I always said, "Yeah, just what I want another grouch bag."

    ***However one breeder told me once that grouchbag, alpha horses produce submissive nice babies because they boss them around...Could this be true?***

    I never bred her as I didn't want the 50% chance of getting a nasty, grouchbag baby.
    Sorry! But that barn smell is my aromatherapy!
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sid View Post
    In my breeding experience I've found the #1 factor in a foal's receptivity to humankind is dictated by the relationship between its dam with humans.
    .

    I used to believe this.

    But I worked at a large equine hospital for a while, and it showed me that a foal's temperamant is almost purely hereditary. Newborn sickly foals would come in in a comotose state, and we would treat them round the clock. And when they got better and woke up their temperament would be obvious. Remember these foals had never really been awake, so had NEVER had any interaction with their mothers or with humans. And some would be nervous and flighty, some would be sweet and curious, and some would be evil right off the bat, pinning their ears and kicking at us.



  16. #16
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    Interesting article. I used to lease a chestnut TB mare who was the perfect woman in my eyes, but to everyone else she was a beast. She did have QUITE a temper!!! She was bred to a hot, but not insane TB stallion. Funny thing was that she was honestly the best mother in the world to that foal. Very nurturing and put up with his many antics. They had to be separated a little early for fear that the foal would hurt the mother! That foal turned out to be the nastiest little thing I have ever seen! He really does hate people and has no respect for them. He has been with several amazing trainers and still behaves miserably. I don't think I've ever seen a horse dislike people so much. I guess genetics trumped nurture in his case.



  17. #17
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    lstevenson -- I have learned there is no "black and white" in such matters. I think I've seen it all...as an observer as a foal raiser and trainer of them later in life ( I don't turn them over so I have them for life, as do I their mothers...and in some cases their fathers).

    What I was saying is that "normal" environment for both mare and foal, wherein the mare has become totally relaxed and comfortable with her human caregivers can influence the foal's "opinion"/response to human intervention/handling.

    I too have dealt with foals who had NO influence from their dams due to death and/or medical problems post foaling. Clearly, with a lack of a dam's influence (to human caretaking), I have found that inheritance predominates in intial behavior.

    There is SO much that influences a foals perceptions early on that the human eye can often barely see. Orphans (meaning no mother early or ever) can respond according to the excitement and human response those tending to their dying or ill mother. That's where one can see pure "inheritance" of behavior kick in.

    Lots of grey that cannot be explained on a BB. I'm not sure I explained this very well..oy.



  18. #18
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    I think the only statement I don't really agree with is that 'temperament is inherited from the mother' (one poster said she was always told that). It isn't possible to inherit a trait like that from one parent, that consists of so many non sex linked genes that come from both parents. 'Temperament' consists of intelligence, sensitivity to noises and certain kinds of motions (hearing, vision acuity), aggressiveness, playfulness, curiosity, dominance on the ground, etc.

    We have old 'truisms' that horses get this from ma and that from da, and I think it has more to do with marketing a breeding stallion than any real concept of genetics. Most genes and most traits are a mix of genes from both parents. 'Prepotency' for so many traits, is something that defies most genetic knowledge. I think offspring may often get a superficial trait from a sire - color, shape of head, that makes people say 'he's a carbon copy of his dad!' but that excelling at a sport requires so many different traits and not all are reliably passed from sire to offspring in every breeding.

    I think both sid and the 'sleeping foal' posts are right.

    I think that temperament is both inherited, and instructed from the dam.

    I think some foals have a more 'changeable' temperament, and I think that they can easily be traumatized and become wary of certain things if certain events occur at the right time. Horses are also adaptable and can overcome many traumas.

    I also think a standoffish mare who guards her foal doesn't necessarily make her foal wary for all time. I think some mares are just standoffish at certain points in their motherhood, and it may or may not really change the foal's approach to humans for good. I was able to work on a couple breeding farms and compare foals from one dam and sire, and see that they don't all turn out the same, but that you can, in fact, expect them to have quite a lot in common.

    We'll never be able to prove what percent of a given animal is 'nature' and what percent of a given animal is 'nurture' and because of that it's a somewhat pointless argument and full of opinions and very little fact.

    I have noticed a very, very strong pattern among breeders and quite often, European breeders who handle and see a larger number of youngsters in a year often being in a much better position to notice traits and commonality of traits in different offspring...they tend to in general, credit heredity a great deal, for all traits of horses - temperament, reaction to training, even eventual ability to do very specific things such as piaffe-passage transitions. And I know quite a few americans seem to rebel against such suggestions, especially if they feel the discussion makes their own horse's breeding have less capital.

    People who get to see a lot of horses tend to have quite strong opinions about breeding. I was quite surprised to hear someone say 'Oh that stallion's offspring are always very difficult to handle' (but there I was mashed against a wall so it was hard to argue) and to hear european dressage commentators say things like 'he piaffes just like his sire' and mean it.

    I think we not in the breeding business want to believe that anything is possible, that our horse can triumph over any deficiencies and just by our diligent efforts or simply wishing it is so, become anything we dream we want him to be.

    And I don't really think that's possible. I think breeding counts for an immense amount of what a horse is, and what he can do.

    It's just not really possible to dissect a horse and prove that 'this' came from mommy and that came from daddy and that got put in on December 14, 2003 by experience #2735B, so the discussions will go on and on, but the older I get, the more I think the breeders are right, that many, many traits are inherited and can be seen in a pattern following family lines.



  19. #19
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    What I was saying is that "normal" environment for both mare and foal, wherein the mare has become totally relaxed and comfortable with her human caregivers can influence the foal's "opinion"/response to human intervention/handling.
    Very true. Certainly foals are born with some temperament inherited from both their parents, the same way they get their colors and markings. Naturally, horses are placid or nervous by breeding.

    However, a great deal is learned from the mother in the first 8 months, how that mare reacts to the foal and how that mare reacts to humans. How humans react to the foals can make a huge difference too. Early abuse can color a foal's reactions to humans for the rest of their lives.

    Foal with mares who have little contact with humans will learn how to act from their mothers' contact with them and with other horses. If they learned to be friendly and curious with the other foals and horses, that will cross over quickly to humans.

    Orphan foals imprint upon people very early by need. Sometimes they don't even know they are horses. They are typically bold and people oriented.

    The study missed some important variables that shape behavior, in fact, the whole nurture side of the argument.



  20. #20
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    There are two bloodlines that have produced 99.9% temperament, trainability and talent. One is a Trak. line from Canada Vom Rappenhof horses. The other bloodlines is Swedish from Baltic Sundance. He is coming from behind as a stallion as his offspring are finally entering the show ring and they excel in dressage, hunters and eventing.



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