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Event horse attributes

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  • Event horse attributes

    Where in the scale of important qualities for a lower to mid level event horse would you experienced folks put the brain and personality?

    My young mare has just gone off to be started, and she is extremely quick to learn, very sensible and extremely willing. Very little fazes her, and once she's faced it she's conquered it. She's got an alpha mare type personality and has no problems leaving the herd. She also thinks about what she learns.

    Physically, she's a relatively uphill/level and pretty compact TB mare. Her major flaw is lack of bone compared to her body bulk, and that is one of the Northern Dancer traits. However, I'm hoping that with enough road work, her bones and tendons will harden enough to support her body without damage. She has, I've been told, slightly better than average movement.

    Thing is, I've thought ever since she was a baby, that she was destined to be an event horse BECAUSE of her mind. Am I nuts?
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

  • #2
    I'm not an experienced eventer per se, but I can tell you that mind/personality are at the TOP of my list (right after "experience"...! )
    --Becky in TX
    Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
    She who throws dirt is losing ground.


    • #3
      Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
      Thing is, I've thought ever since she was a baby, that she was destined to be an event horse BECAUSE of her mind. Am I nuts?
      No, not nuts.

      A cow can jump 3' therefore the only thing that separates a LL event horse and a cow is the brain. How's that for logic? Seriously, each of the three phases on it's own is not a great physical feat (esp. the LL.) so it is the ability of the horse to perform counter intuitive activities with limited schooling in each. Personally, I think that comes down to brain power more than physicality.

      I find that with the really smart ones the trick is to not rush and to not drill. It is so easy to think that just because something has come easily and quickly that it has also been mastered. Usually when the horse then makes a mistakes you get to beat yourself up because you realize you rushed them only in hindsight.


      • #4
        A good brain is one of the most important attributes in a good event horse. And I wouldn't worry about an apparant "lack of bone", it's the density not the size that matters.


        • #5
          I always think a good event horse is like James Bond. As played by Sean Connery. Cool, capable, able to get out of trouble, bold and smart. And hopefully, charming to boot!


          • #6
            I'd pick unflappability, willingness to jump, and intelligence over any other qualities. Probably not in that order.


            • #7
              A high regard for its own skin.

              Seriously - I want an amateur horse to think very highly of itself, and to want to get itself out of trouble. That horse will find the extra leg to jump safely, will stop when it can't, and will help to take care of itself. The worst horse, I think, for a less experienced rider or at the lower levels, is one that will jump no matter what, even if it's unsafe or hasn't sufficient scope/pace to get over the question.

              If its dressage isn't great, if it occasionally has a rail, if it isn't a snaffle ride - I can live with all of that, so long as it wants to jump safely.


              • #8
                You always hope for the good willing attitude in the green horse but I have spent enough time in the saddle to know that there is always a hitch somewhere, some time. No green horse is perfect. Take a very good, outside the box look at your mare, Viney and see where the faults lie.
                If you have something you know is "OK", such as the jumping attitude, by all means develop it, but one thing I have learned -- take control of yourself, and discipline yourself to work on the FAULTS. That's the difference between me, and someone like Phillip Dutton. I don't work hard enough on my dressage, or rideability, or teaching the horse to compress and jump off the hocks and not off the shoulders.
                The attributes we all want seem to be there in terms of your description, and it's always nice to have a good one like that - everyone here can agree on. I'm just sayin'.....work on the REST of it if you have a good one over fences, because that is how you get to go FAR with the horse. Don't waste your life like I did taking 8 years to make a horse! Now I'm too old to ride him!
                Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kairoshorses View Post
                  I'm not an experienced eventer per se, but I can tell you that mind/personality are at the TOP of my list (right after "experience"...! )
                  same here.
                  The nicest moving horse with the most athleticism is a waste without a brain.
                  Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by riderboy View Post
                    I always think a good event horse is like James Bond. As played by Sean Connery. Cool, capable, able to get out of trouble, bold and smart. And hopefully, charming to boot!
                    Its just a happy coincidence he is also dangerously handsome


                    • #11
                      For me, the combination of trainability and self-preservation is key. I want a horse that can learn, remember what it learns, applies stuff it learned previously to new situations and doesn't try to do stuff it really doesn't understand. I've been lucky to have several of these with varying levels of talent, bravery, movement, scope, hotness and all have been quite successful (in my expectations) as eventers.
                      OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                      • #12
                        The worst horse, I think, for a less experienced rider or at the lower levels, is one that will jump no matter what
                        Scariest ride I ever had was on an Intermediate horse with this sort of mindset. We were doing small jumps in the ring, too, but you could tell this was what was going on inside her head.

                        Give me a good brain and a generous heart every time, one who likes its job and either knows the answers or wants to know.
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GotSpots View Post
                          The worst horse, I think, for a less experienced rider or at the lower levels, is one that will jump no matter what, even if it's unsafe or hasn't sufficient scope/pace to get over the question.
                          Isnt that a bad horse for everyone? Ive really never sat on such a beast.


                          • #14
                            You see that horse that jumps everything not infrequently - it can usually muddle through at BN/N where the jumps aren't that big and it's hard to get into too much trouble, but then things get scary fast at T and P.

                            You also see it as a pro ride - it might be super super fancy or very willing. It can be ok, if it gets an excellent ride, from a rider who does not miss. You see these horses even at the upper levels - they have fabulous partnerships with riders who have an amazing eye and essentially keeps them out of trouble. Where it goes wrong is where the horse gets sold to someone who doesn't have that level of judgment/skill/talent, and who is expectng the horse to have what I call the "amateur-pause" - the horse that about 6-7 strides out assesses the question a bit for itself.


                            • #15
                              I like a sense of humor too. As in he can take an amateur joke.