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  • Bravery

    I've been thinking about what constitutes bravery in a horse. What's your definition? I would not describe my mare as "brave" but I am able to hack her out alone, and she rarely spooks. (When she does, it's more of a shudder than a spook.) But she's very observant.

  • #2
    Originally posted by VAevent View Post
    I've been thinking about what constitutes bravery in a horse. What's your definition? I would not describe my mare as "brave" but I am able to hack her out alone, and she rarely spooks. (When she does, it's more of a shudder than a spook.) But she's very observant.
    I don't know. My horse can be very spooky sometimes, but I also consider her brave. She'll jump anything I ask her to and once we're on XC she gets very focused and locks onto each jump and seems to know exactly what's expected of her -- she's very eager and bold and happy to be out there. She's still pretty young, so the spookiness is usually a silliness, high energy thing. But once we start jumping, she mostly forgets about all that.
    -Debbie / NH

    My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/


    • #3
      In the book "Bruce Davidson: World Champion", there is a story about Irish Cap as a young green horse and how, when they tried him over a cross country obstacle he jumped it huge on the first try. The story went that they knew (Jack Le Goff and Bruce) that he would be brave from that display.

      I also remember how the trainer who had The Foreman said that Phillip Dutton came to try him, he put the jump up to three feet six (or something) - and he thought that was bold - but the horse jumped it really big and Phillip bought him.

      The Irish mare I worked with this summer took a look at the big black pipe when I walked her up to it, then she carefully stepped over it. Next presentation, she jumped it from the trot. After that we gave leads over it to other horses -- this was her third time out off the farm schooling. I thought that was brave.
      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


      • #4
        My 5 yo ran her first Training today and had to jump into water without 'schooling it' first for the first time. She jumped the fence a few strides before, saw the water when she landed, gathered herself the last two strides, and leaped WAAAAAAY out into the water! Totally reminiscent of the way my Intermediate horse started out. I like horses that when in doubt jump BIG!

        Third Charm Event Team


        • #5
          Originally posted by VAevent View Post
          I've been thinking about what constitutes bravery in a horse. What's your definition? I would not describe my mare as "brave" but I am able to hack her out alone, and she rarely spooks. (When she does, it's more of a shudder than a spook.) But she's very observant.
          I call them brave when they assess and interact with potentially dangerous stimuli--my CB mare, for instance, when she met her first large blue plastic barrel trash can marched up to it and stuck her head in it. My IDSH filly took 10 minutes to get near the first blue plastic barrel she encountered.

          When it comes be to being under saddle over fences, I would call a brave jumper one who assess the situation and makes the bold move over it--not necessarily over jumping (the biggest chicken I ever rode did huge over jumping to be as far from the fence as possible) but always going forward with intent to solve the problem of the obstacle while holding the line you've asked for.


          • #6
            Yeah, the big jump has to be a "I can handle this but I'm gonna give it some air just in case it's bigger than I think" not "ohmigoddon'tletittouchme!"

            Third Charm Event Team


            • #7
              Brave and willing are different things to me...and most of the examples given I would describe as willing. You want horse who is willing...but they don't necessarily need to be brave. Willing are the ones who when presented with a question...at least try and answer it.

              Brave are the ones who get into trouble on their own. To me brave is like my youngster...who jumped 5 foot + gate to go exploring....doesn't really mean anything for his eventing, just his personality. I've had several brave horses in the past....not all were great event horses.....but all would leave home/barn/trailer just to go explore...with or WITHOUT you They are also the ones who would probably have died in the wild as they would have walked into the lion's den not knowing they should be afraid!

              But brave and willing is a pretty nice combination...(they can be brave but still not willing to do what the rider is asking...and instead want to do their own thing).
              Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Oct. 26, 2009, 01:09 PM.
              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


              • #8
                Originally posted by VAevent View Post
                I've been thinking about what constitutes bravery in a horse. What's your definition? I would not describe my mare as "brave" but I am able to hack her out alone, and she rarely spooks. (When she does, it's more of a shudder than a spook.) But she's very observant.

                I don't think being brave means being able to go on hacks and be 100% trail safe. My Int. gelding is as brave as they come xc... in fact, it's more of an F-U than that he wants to be brave... especially when he isn't entertained by the fences. However, he also takes the babies out on trails and allows them to jump on him, BUT, if he's out by himself, there could be an evil squirrel in a tree ready to eat him, so he's also about as spooky as they come. I honestly believe that a horse doesn't have to be so much brave, as they do trust you to help them make the right decision. A friend of mine had a great analogy about jumping: It's like having a savings account. You constantly put money in there in the hopes that when you have a rainy day, you have some backup, but if you are always picking at it, there will never be any money. Ditto with a horse. Each good ride or good fence you have helps them build confidence so that when you DO get yourself into a sticky situation or you need to have them jump with you on your head scratching your butt, they can do it. If you always catch them in the mouth and don't help teach them the "right" way to do things, then you'll never have that "brave" horse.
                Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!