There is an unfortunate trend going on in the world of horses (and rescue) that I see all too often. Having unrealistic expectations from our equine partners and seeking “the perfect horse”.
The reality is, there truly isn’t a “perfect” horse. Every single horse you meet will have his own set of quirks and personality traits that makes them, well them. From barn presence, to behavior faults, each one is unique and as owners our job is find a horse with such characteristics that suit us.
A prime example of this is my trusty Goose. He is my right hand man for any job that needs done. In the years I’ve had him he’s carried me to the top of many mountains, he’s helped me with many colts on the training program, gone to expos, given demonstrations, help catch the odd stray cow, rode thousands of back country miles and has kept me safe in many a tight spots. He tolerates my shenanigans to the best of his ability and always tries really hard to do very best. He saved my life a few years ago when we fell in quick sand, and countless times since. Most folks would say he is the “perfect” horse.
The fact is, he just has all the quirks and triggers I find most endearing and not everyone would like the type of quirks he has.
He unties himself at any opportunity and if he can’t until himself, he’ll untie all the horses around him. He still gets nervous about doing the wrong thing and gets himself pretty worked up at times if he doesn’t understand a task at hand. He gets squirrely around ropes and is like riding race car when he realizes we are going home on the trail. He escapes most gates and latches and enjoys a good game of “catch the Goose” in the field from time to time. If you come up behind him, he’ll kick you into next week if you don’t baby talk to him. He gets back sore from time to time and will pop off his shoes on any edge he can hook them too.
However every time he unties himself I belly laugh. When he let’s himself out, he never goes far and enjoys his cleverness; so do I. When he gets nervous and tight, I give him time to think. I take the long way home so he doesn’t realize we are headed back and I don’t get mad when he won’t let me catch him. I get regular body work for him to feel more comfortable and spend a small fortune on bell boots.
If you want the perfect horse, get a four-wheeler. Just remember that next time you’re looking for your next partner, all the little quirky things are half the fun.
Erin O’Neill of Legacy Sport Horses
Find Erin and Goose on Facebook > https://www.facebook.com/Legacy.sport.horse/