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Spinoff: The "mind" of an American Saddlebred

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  • Spinoff: The "mind" of an American Saddlebred

    I'm enjoying the descriptions on the TB thread over in racing and noticed that there are many similarities to Saddlebred brains (I know ASB's have TB blood way back in the day).
    I recently moved to a small new Dressage barn which has several different breeds boarding there, and was a little surprised a few days after the move that the new BO told me that my horse is the sweetest horse that she's ever been around. I asked her if she meant my DH's Friesian mare, and she said no, my Saddlebred. The new trainer has described him as a little nervous, but not spooky (he's still young and brand new place), she thinks he's very kind and has a very good mind. He's been in training for a week now and has made huge improvements each and every day, he's caught onto the program very quickly! Fellow boarders have nicknamed him Curious George Of course these are all things that *I* thought about him, but it's cool to hear it from others who have no prior experience with him. They all seem pretty surprised when I tell them that he's a "typical" Saddlebred! The fire-breathing dragon stereotype is pretty ingrained.

  • #2
    I got a text from one of fellow boarders the other day. She was feeding for the farm owner.

    Friend: "Your mare has such lovely ground manners."
    Me: "Oh lord. What did she do?" (thinking friend was being sarcastic)
    Friend: "Nothing. She's just a sweetheart!"

    Gotta love an ASB. Mine is never the same from one day to the next. Stubborn as all get out, but willing to try almost anything.
    Dreaming in Color

    Comment


    • #3
      They are the original 110% horses- they'll try and give you 110% of anything that you ask for-- and, if you are not as motivated as they are, you might misread this as tension, or nervousness-- but really, it is simply a willingness to please. Once you tell them that they have it right, whatever they have done becomes their *default* position, and they'll try to get it for you.

      Every single time.

      Off to work another member of the 110% club....
      When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
      www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
      http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, all those comments on the Thoroughbred thread could be talking about Saddlebreds.

        Saddlebreds are VERY observant. It is their job to be on high alert for whatever is going on in a five mile radius... and then most likely take over running the situation. They participate in whatever their people are up to, and they think (and sometimes plot) A LOT.
        Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ASB Stars View Post
          -- and, if you are not as motivated as they are, you might misread this as tension, or nervousness-- but really, it is simply a willingness to please.
          well what they're thinking is "OMG why is this not important to you? Is there something wrong with you? Do I have to do everything?"
          Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

          Comment


          • #6
            Unequalled in the temperament dept...

            I have been working exclusively with babies, backing & training, hacking them & showing them - for the past 5 years.

            I have come off *once*. (and it was 110% my fault)

            I have not been kicked, bitten, run over or otherwise injured in any way by any of *my* babies. I have not been bucked off nor had to deal with runaways or having my arm ripped off or being slammed into walls.

            Do i have some sort of magical horse whispering abilities?
            Am i just THAT good of a rider/trainer? (snort)

            No.....


            I have Saddlebreds and Saddlebred crosses - and they actually give a damn about me. They can be shaking and snorting with fear, and all i have to do is whisper a reassuring word and they will listen and stand their ground. If they spook in hand they will go out of their way to spook around me, not into me.

            I have always given examples of this on these types of threads, and after today i have yet another one:

            I was leading my 2 yr old gelding out of the barn after he got his feet trimmed. The back door of the barn is at the end of a short corridor between 2 stalls, and the 2 wheelbarrows are always parked against the wall on the right side of this corridor. Well i guess one of the wheelbarrows was on an angle or sitcking out a bit, because while coming around the corner my guy didn't give himself enough clearance and stepped between the two handles of the wheelbarrow and when he stepped again he didn't lift his leg up high enough and dragged/knocked the wheelbarrow over. Because i was just stepping out the door, he was behind me and not beside me and all i heard was this HUGE crash. I stop and swing around and there's my guy, wheelbarrow on the ground behind his butt, and he's standing stock still, shaking, practically SITTING ON HIS BUTT so as to not knock me over.

            Seriously, how many horses can you honestly say would NOT freak out and bolt forward, in the process running over their handler as they go through the narrow doorway?

            He was scared alright, but he dared not run me over.

            All my horses are like this. The only time i get hurt (kicked, trampled.. ) is when i handle other people's horses.

            I just don't trust anything else anymore - I'm too damn spoiled with my golden retriever-esque Saddlebreds.
            www.jlsporthorsesales.net

            Comment


            • #7
              My boy is only 1/2 ASB but his temperament is just fabulous! He is three (and 17.1 hands!!!) and has been very lightly under saddle this summer. Just walk and trot keep it short and simple. I decided he was ready for his first trail ride. So I get a friend come over to ride my super easy calm trail mare and we head out. Within 5 minutes we flush ten turkeys and they are flying up and away not 20 feet from us. I prepare to die and Sammy just stands there...no reaction what so ever! Breathe a sigh of relief and continue on.

              Everything is going great until I realize that I am incredibly STUPID and did not lock up the three mares that are turned out on the pasture. I realize this because they are galloping full speed at us across the field (my pasture is 80 acres). Did I mention how STUPID I am?!?! Life again flashing before my eyes and Sammy just stands there. No reaction what so ever. The girls join us for the rest of our ride back to the barn and are trotting and being silly for most of it and Sammy is a rock solid super citizen.

              I was sooooo proud of him!!! He has been the sweetest easiest going horse I have ever started. He is really my husband's horse and I think will grow up to be the perfect husband horse!
              www.rockhillfarm.net

              Comment


              • #8
                I love Saddlebreds. Never thought about getting one until I fell in love with my half-saddlebred. I would love to own a full SB. I like to think that the SB half of my girl makes up the sweet part of her temperament and the app half makes up the naughty bits. It's a good combo, I love her to pieces.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had a lovely Saddlebred mare...Firefly's Copper Belle. "Belle" was a bright copper chestnut, a beautiful girl and funny. I put oil in her feed getting ready for the cold weather...she took one bite, held it in her mouth and walked over to me. Stared right at me and spit the oily grain out. If looks could kill.

                  She was also in heat about all the time, spent her time "winking" at any boy behind her...and loved the babies in the fields, she'd stand, eyes closed, and looking blissfully happy when the babies were nibbling on her.

                  Her main attribute was her heart. She was by far the toughest horse I've ever owned. She always was willing to give everything she had, no matter what. Of course, once she trotted, walking was not in that same heart.

                  I currently have a half Saddlebred...I can see the breed coming out and I'm glad it's in there.
                  "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    count me as a saddlebred lover too. I have only met one mean, ornery, bad attitude mare and she was in a lot of arthritis pain.

                    But yes, generally speaking, they are the willing servant, the ever willing, try hard and figure it out, keep the peace and be a little clowny if life lets them horse. I have a wonderful broodmare that was a mentally washed up three gaited mare. I bought her for breeding and after a time of decompressing here, she became a faithful lesson horse for many riders here. She just needed a friend to let her know she didn't have to be a big show horse anymore and she became an in your pocket dependable horse. I love her and will always give her a home.
                    ...don't sh** where you eat...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This post absolutely hit home with me tonight! I worked with 3 of my ASB's today and all of them are as different in personality as they could be - polar opposites. But...all are so willing to please no matter what their personality is like. My most interesting ASB right now is a home bred Saddlebred pony filly who I have up for sale. She is so incredibly talented but can't settle down and focus easily. Today she "totally got" something we've been working on for a week and she was so pleased with herself! After her lesson, I turned her out and instead of immediately dropping her head to graze like normal, she took off doing little buck-kicks everywhere - she was so happy with herself!

                      Speaking of similarities to Thoroughbreds, one of my mature geldings gets mistaken for a Thoroughbred by many people. Something about that "look of eagles"...
                      Susan N.

                      Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ASBJumper View Post
                        . . .

                        If they spook in hand they will go out of their way to spook around me, not into me.
                        . . .
                        There's the old guy.
                        He'll spook exactly as far as the leadrope will allow, do his best to scare me half to death but has never, not once, stepped on me or knocked into me. And under saddle or behind the lines he just keeps on going, he knows it's his job and no spooking allowed.
                        The pony OTOH has a spin and run streak that I attribute to his Paint mama. But he still watches and learns from the old guy.
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by ASBJumper View Post
                          I have always given examples of this on these types of threads, and after today i have yet another one:

                          I was leading my 2 yr old gelding out of the barn after he got his feet trimmed. The back door of the barn is at the end of a short corridor between 2 stalls, and the 2 wheelbarrows are always parked against the wall on the right side of this corridor. Well i guess one of the wheelbarrows was on an angle or sitcking out a bit, because while coming around the corner my guy didn't give himself enough clearance and stepped between the two handles of the wheelbarrow and when he stepped again he didn't lift his leg up high enough and dragged/knocked the wheelbarrow over. Because i was just stepping out the door, he was behind me and not beside me and all i heard was this HUGE crash. I stop and swing around and there's my guy, wheelbarrow on the ground behind his butt, and he's standing stock still, shaking, practically SITTING ON HIS BUTT so as to not knock me over.

                          Seriously, how many horses can you honestly say would NOT freak out and bolt forward, in the process running over their handler as they go through the narrow doorway?

                          He was scared alright, but he dared not run me over.

                          All my horses are like this. The only time i get hurt (kicked, trampled.. ) is when i handle other people's horses.

                          I just don't trust anything else anymore - I'm too damn spoiled with my golden retriever-esque Saddlebreds.
                          I have had this happen a couple times! Last night in fact, it was late and dark, so he was on high alert, and something freaked him out as we were coming out of the barn. He was OUT OF THERE, but then hit his brakes so hard you could almost hear tires squealing, didn't even graze me just stood there about an inch from me trembling with his eyes bulging. Once I realized I was alive, I walked him back through a few times and he was ok. I have no idea what scared him, but that was one of the biggest spooks he's had in awhile, and really, it was nothing.
                          Trainer worked with him last night, and poor guy did such a great job of keeping it together, I was proud of him! He's definitely more nervous at night, but on top of that, as soon as she was about to get on, someone in the barn next to the arena started up a leaf blower. Then the dog agilitly class down the road started up . Then someone let a pony loose to graze around the arena (ponies running in the dark are scary)! He was NOT relaxed, but he kept his ears glued to the trainer and didn't take one wrong step. We both let out a huge sigh of relief when the ride was over

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, I've been flat out trampled by ASBs, so I won't give them that, but there is one thing I've seen a couple of them do that I've never seen another breed do.

                            Remember, most of these show horses are in their stalls 23 hours a day, and unless it is off season, they are not turned out to play. Ever. They come out of their stalls on fresh, cold, spring days, and do their work is a perfectly honest, obedient way. Then, after the rider dismounts to lead the horse back to the barn, I've seen them go "wait... I just have to do this...." then cut loose with some pretty impressive bucking in place, getting about 3 feet of air, squealing, hind legs popping, saddle flaps snapping... at the end of the reins, never trying to pull loose or interfere with their handler. Then they will take a deep breath, and follow quietly back to the barn like nothing ever happened. They have a great capacity for discipline. Not all of them of course. But, their energy is always so directed at "trot" I think I had been riding Saddlebreds for over 15 years before I ever had one try to buck with me.
                            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have been run over by every breed of horse I've handled - once per horse including an ASB so not sure what to say about that either LOL but the ASB "got it" as quick as my TB's do so I see the resemblance...

                              I have always thought that they are incredibly tolerant horses. Not all breeds will tolerate a double bridle at two years old, as general normal practice. The one trait that is a generalization that i dislike about them, and it probably ties into why they can tolerate being trained the way some of them are - is their ability to tune out and just keep trotting around mindlessly. I think it's a bred in defense mechanism.
                              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                              ---
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Yeah, Quattro has run me down a couple times too.

                                As someone who worked with OTTBs my whole life before getting my first ASB, the biggest difference I can see is that ASBs don't have the arrogance or what I call "TB-Tude". ASBs can be PROUD, but they just don't have that "I AM the Mighty Thoroughbred; you are mere two-legged idiot human scum" thing going on.

                                For that reason, ASBs seem to need a little more emotional reassurance than a TB does. TBs mostly don't give a measly rat's patootie what humans think of them. ASBs are more likely to give you an anxious glance and go "Is this OK? Am I doing right?"
                                "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I apparently need to go read the other thread because I have a GREAT new found love of TBs...

                                  That said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my ASB x to peices. I would do anything in my power for her. She is fun and smart and though very grumpy most the time and would love to run around with her head like a giraffe if I would let her she does have a great head on her shoulders. I trust her very much and feel very secure when on her, even when she's being silly - which is most of them time lol I just adore her.

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