The number of truly “bad” horses in the world is probably pretty tiny. On the other hand the number of bad matches between horses and humans is probably fairly large. Here are three recent examples I have witnessed of a horse personality clashing with a human one, leading to very bad results.
A wannabe reiner watched a flashy bay gelding execute a flawless reining pattern in the show pen. It was love at first site and she bought the gelding for high dollars immediately. Needless to say, she was highly disappointed when she got the gelding home. He would not perform a single reining maneuver for her. His spins were slow and he flung his tail during every go-round. His small slow and large fast circles were all fast, regardless of size. He sliding stops didn’t slide at all-he just stopped and the girl ate saddle horn every single time.
She became so frustrated that she took the horse to a trainer and asked him to evaluate the horse. He watched her ride the horse, and then he hopped on. After a small battle of wills, he took the horse through a perfect pattern as the owner watched in amazement. When he dismounted, he told the owner, “You bought too much horse. This horse will test you every single ride. Either sell this horse or get tougher.” In other words, the woman had bought a horse with a Wood personality and was unprepared for the combat of wills. She still has the gelding but recently purchased an experienced Metal reining horse who is not as flashy but performs for her each and every time, no questions asked!
I recently watched a teenager struggle through bad run after bad run on her cutting mare. When the trainer took the mare into the show pen they won their classes but the teenage owner was unable to get the mare to perform at all. The pair would cut out the first cow fine, but then the mare would freeze up and be late stopping the cow every time thereafter. It was clear the girl was a passenger and the horse needed much more reassurance.
It turns out that the mare has a Water horse personality and needs a great deal of reassurance in the show pen. While the trainer was able to offer a lot of subtle cues with her legs and seat, the teenage rider expected the mare to do all the work once the cow was cut out of the herd. On the last day of the cutting, a man took pity of the teenage girl and offered her a ride on his old experienced practice mare. The practice mare was an Earth/Metal combo (Tai Yin). The teenager was surprised when the mare’s owner strapped a large pair of spurs on her feet. The man just smiled and said, “Trust me, you’re going to need these. The mare does her job but you have to kick all the way.” The girl and mare went into the show pen and, with the owner yelling “Kick!” the whole time, managed to score well enough to place second. The mare was not flashy but she knew how to do her job efficiently so she didn’t have to run as fast or hard as some of the other horses. She could read a cow better than most horses. And the teenage girl? She was in seventh heaven. Inexperienced riders and Tai Yin horses are a great combination.
The Trail Horse
This one is my story. I adopted a gorgeous pinto weanling mustang and practically raised her. She was friendly, curious, and mischievous. I had no difficulty putting her under saddle but she had a hump in her back at the start of every ride. No amount of chiropractic adjustments or bodywork changed that. She just liked to buck at the start of every ride (she once strung together 26 bucks in a row) and then she would be fine the rest of the ride. This horse had a Jue Yin personality. I loved her as a horse but disliked having to do the whole buckaroo routine at the start of every ride.
I ended up selling her to man who doesn’t mind her antics. He gets on and just lets her buck. Some days he stays on and some days he comes off. I see him regularly around the community and he told me his strategy for riding this mare: “I make sure the ground is soft where I’m getting on. If I fall off, at least the landing is soft!” I would not be able to tolerate that kind of behavior but he doesn’t seem to get aggravated. My hat is off to his patience and tolerance. Incidentally, I recently spoke with a BLM manager who told me about a horse with the same problem. A BLM employee adopted this horse and after a few years the horse gave up bucking because he FINALLY realized it was a waste of time. I’m not sure I have the kind of patience to wait years for a horse to come to that conclusion, but I am glad other people do! People with little patience, in other words, should not get Jue Yin horses!
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