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Discussion on Assessing temperament

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Imogen Bertin
Member
Username: Imogen

Post Number: 623
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Monday, Feb 28, 2005 - 8:12 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dear all

I went to a very interesting seminar on sport horse breeding recently run by Teagasc, which is the Irish equivalent of the US govt Farm Extension services or of ADAS, the UK government agricultural advice agency.

One of the speakers was BHS fellow William Micklem, well known for finding horses for high-level eventers. His view was that

1. we are all too obsessed by producing large (over 16h1 horses) given that most sport horse customers are women
2. that the quality of spring and scope in the jump is becoming more important as competitive formats change
3. that endurance for long cross country is becoming less important and finally
4. temperament (mental attitude) is becoming absolutely key.

He wants to try and kick-start a general discussion in the industry on how you can objectively measure temperament in a young horse.

Does anyone have any views? I know that I like horses which have been shown as foals because they are less spooky and usually lead well, but I don't like them to be shown too much because then they've been kept in stables too much and tend to have stable vices.

Beyond that, we all know horses that are too thick to work out you have to go *around* that bush/corner to get to the water/feed, or horses which aren't focussed enough on what humans want, and others which are too focussed and have forgotten to be horses (like bottle-fed foals that turn into horses which don't respect your space enough). We all know nutty horses that constantly rush fences, and horses which are herd-bound and not independent enough that will spin and run if asked to go somewhere on their own.

Can you think of other good and bad mental qualities and how they might be measured and developed?

Just thought it might make an interesting discussion topic.

All the best

Imogen
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kerry
Member
Username: Parfait

Post Number: 128
Registered: 5-2001
Posted on Monday, Feb 28, 2005 - 10:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This is a great topic as we have been discussing it in regards to the Arabs.

You might know that Arabians, particularily the mares (which were used in war) were brought into the tents of the Bedouins and included as part of the family. There are certain dispositions or "personalities" that have developed from hundreds of years of this type of domestication and/or breeding. For instance, I have found the Arabs to be more loyal--let's talk generally here-- much more like a dog-like than a horse. Now, there has been lots of talk lately that a few strains, just in the last 30 years, have significantly diverted from these temperament traits.

Some people are thinking that we should impliment temperament tests, much like they use in dogs (loud noises etc) to weed out the high strung ones and get back to the "in your pocket" ones that have been the backbone of our breed for centuries. Honestly, I think it's a good idea as some of those halter horses aren't worth a plug nickel.

Someone described a good temperament as a calm, cooperative, willing partner who is eager to learn. I like a horse that is smart too. A stupid horse will hurt you (and usually themselves). I want one that stops and thinks!
Kerry
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 524
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, Feb 28, 2005 - 12:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

This is a great topic, and one of my "soapbox" topics. Like Kerry, we have Arabian, Egyptian Arabs, but I've had experience with TB, Warmbloods, Saddlebreds, Morgans,QH, Paints and various mixes. In all breeds there are some strains, imo, that really have a predisposition towards being "hair-brained" flighty, or stupid. These are not the general traits of the breed, but the results of too much close breeding, and the perpetuation of certain lines solely because of their halter wins and "fashionablness" regardless of their temperment and even their conformation faults.

Again, it's my opinion that the desire to win has done more to hurt the Arabian and QH breed, to name the two I'm the most familiar with, than any other factors. Halter classes are supposed to be breeding classes, with the winner being the best example of what a breeder should want to pass on. I firmly believe that temperment should be one of the basis for judgement; however, it is the trait most often forgiven, and is the main reason several breed, inc. Arabians, have gotten a "bad rap."

That being said, it's my opinion that the biggest factor in a horse's personality and temperment is the way the are raised and trained from birth on. Not just by the breeder/trainer, but importantly by the foal's mare, too.

Regardless of the stallion, it seems if the mare is a good dam and disciplines her foals as well as mothers them, and if the foals and mares are with other horses and learn "horse manners" it goes a long way towards forming a good basis for latter training and performance.

I am a firm believer in handling and working with horses from the minute they are born. It's my opinion that the idea of turning them out until they are two or three, then bringing them in for training, is either laziness or mis-guided good intentions.

The worst horses, of any breed, that I've had to deal with were isolated from other horses, not treated like horses, but like museum pieces.

So, off the soapbox, it's my opinion that temperment should be one of the criteria for judging good breeding horses; that in the show ring and the show grounds, visciousness, etc. should be penalized (on part of trainer, rider, or horse) and each breed and discipline should do all they can to encourage good temperments and discourage bad. (This might take a lot of education!) It's also my opinion that all breeds should adhere to their original breed standards, and not try and make Arabians look like TB's, QH look like Arabians or TB's, etc.

o.k.....I'm done now!


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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 163
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Feb 28, 2005 - 5:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

On RFD-TV there were 2 shows that Richard Shrake had on about checking temperant and trainability. He showed a variety of little things you could do that would tell you what kind of a horse you were dealing with. He then rated the horse between 1 and 10. Unless most of the test results were up near 10, he advised passing on purchasing the horse for the showring, but said in some instances that horse would be o.k. for trail riding. (I personaly don't care for Richard Shrake's concept of a showhorse "peanut pusher that looks like it's gonna do a somersault any minute, but he did impress me with these 2 shows)

Things like curiosity, turning towards you, and moving away from pressure were some of the things he did. (if it runs again I have to record it cuz my memory isn't 100%) As I was watching it I thought it would be grand if all horses that were shown and/or kept for breeding were put thru say 10 or 12 such "tests" to see if they had a brain or just the looks!!

Sara,

You make some great points. Please feel free to stay on your soapbox! As Kerry says we need to get back to the in your pocket type Arab. I would rather have an Arab or any breed for that matter, that thinks and pays attention. One that stays calm, but can get all "hyped up" if need be.

I too feel that Arabs should look like Arabs, Morgans like Morgans, Quarter horses like the stocky bull dog type, not TB's....etc.

But whether it's a poodle done up with bows, or a TW with the big lick shoes, I think it will be a long time before shows, be it for dogs or horses, add the temperament assessment as part of winning a blue ribbon.

And that's too bad.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 526
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Mar 1, 2005 - 12:33 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Seems us Arab owners are quite opinionated on the issue of temperment!

I just reread the original post from Imogen, and she asks how to tell about or measure the temperment of a horse. The tests you spoke of that Richard Shrake did is one way. I've read about and heard of other such tests from other trainers. Things like that are especially good in an older horse. In a foal especially, I think one of the best ways, if possible, is to meet the horse's sire and dam or other family members.

Even in an older horse it's good to know about it's parents. Another thing I always pay attention to is the horse's eyes; they tell you a lot. As to performance ability, I think that's a little bit harder. Genes and conformation are very important, but there's always that "hidden" factor of will or heart. I think we can all name horses that look like they'd be great at something, and they aren't; and other horses that shouldn't be able to jump or run yet excell. You have to also find what the horse likes to do. If a horse hates the show ring, or hates western pleasure it's going to be miserable and won't do well in the ring. The same horse may be terrific at something else.

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Imogen Bertin
Member
Username: Imogen

Post Number: 625
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Mar 1, 2005 - 8:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ok, so far we have
- curiosity - eg turns towards you when you enter stable for example
- Manageable - eg moves over quietly and kindly in stable when you apply pressure
- not too racey/hairbrained (in Ireland we like hunters that judge a bank and jump it right instead of going SPLAT and injuring you... that's partly training, partly temperament).
- trusting (how do you tell this?)
- loyal (???)

I'd add "calm in strange surroundings/circumstances/new experiences".

Anything else? Any more detail on the Richard Shrake tests?

Imogen
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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 164
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Mar 1, 2005 - 6:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Imogen,

The tests RS did for curiosity was putting different things in the horses environment and seeing if they looked at, avoided it, or walked right up to it. He put a blanket on the ground and liked the horse that walked up to it and sniffed it.

Another thing I remember he did was try to load horses in a different place. Just because a horse loads into the trailor easily at home, what about out in the woods? He expected the horse to just walk right in no matter where the trailor was parked.

In the stall, he or his son, picked up shavings and let them "sprinkle" down to the floor and watched the horses reaction to that. The mare didn't freak out, but again was curious and interested.

Lets see....my memory is working overtime here...
he applied some pressure along the horses side and belly, running his hand from front to back. I think he said with 5 pounds of pressure. I am guessing this had something to do with a riders legs being on the horse, and how the responsive, or not, the horse would be. He wanted the horse to stand for that it appeared.(?) No kicking or laying back it's ears.

Rubbing the horses wither area should bring about relaxation and the head turning to look at you. I believe that was the same idea with rubbing where the tail meets the body.

If I remember more, I'll post if it's anything new.

Sara,

I love nothing more then getting into discussions about Arabs. My "airhead" Arab is going up for sale this spring though, and my great ol' "in your pocket" girl who I posted about under "bowedKnee" will be put down. So I won't own any Arabs, but still love 'em!! And hey with 2 gone, I can officially go shopping again!!

BTW, my "airhead" is very trusting with me. As long as I am cool and calm she will do what is being asked of her, but I have no idea how one would "test" for that. The trust test might just depend on the "bond" one has with their horse?? Same with loyality?

With my good ol' girl, I could of done "escape assesments" She was always good at opening the doors on our old barn. She would let herself out, and then let her colt in the next stall out! She could open the 3rd stall also, but she wouldn't do that, noone of importance to her. ;)

Grins & chuckles,

Angie
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Imogen Bertin
Member
Username: Imogen

Post Number: 626
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 2, 2005 - 10:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

These posts aren't showing up in "last day" etc. I wonder why? Dr O? It would be nice to get some more input from other people.

All the best

Imogen
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Nancy S. Kaplan
Member
Username: Redalert

Post Number: 73
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 2, 2005 - 2:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey All,
Now I will chime in cc Arabians... there are many characteristics which have been attributed to Arabians which really do not fit the breed overall. One of which is their "flightiness," or that of being an "airhead." Some Arabians are breed for halter, for which thay are asked to be(and bred for) snortiness and using their ears and being very "up" at most times. Others are bred for performance, of which they might be suited for western, hunter jumper, sport horse or varying degrees of saddleseat, all of which call for a certain temperament! Since Arabs are used for many more than just one type of riding, they are specialized to varying degrees! What many call"flightiness" is really a desired trait in some horses. I do agree that most Arabs on a whole, though there certainly are exceptions, are generally light to the touch, making them hard for a rider who is not accustomed to this, or expecting more aids to be used will
be disappointed!It does help to know the parents of the horse to see how the ancestors have been used(in what disciplines) and also I will note that the Polish Arabs(PASB...Polish Arabian Stud Book) are used in Poland on the race track where thay have to show soundness(not necessarily the "winner" before they can be bred) therefore an unsound horse(mentally or physically) cannot be bred! Yes, Arabians in general are a "hot" breed ... just know what you are looking for before one makes a purchase. I have to take up for the breed in general, as I have seen too many "solid performers". Just do not expect one to be like a Quarter Horse or a Morgan,etc.
Nancy
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Shirley A. Johnson
Member
Username: Shirl

Post Number: 185
Registered: 2-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 2, 2005 - 2:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Nancy, How do you feel about Arab/Quarter cross. My Sierra was 3/4 Arab and 1/4 quarter. For me she was just the right mix. She had her Arab moments and just before she passed could still gallop and snort like a 6 year old in the arena where it was soft. On the other hand she was very gentle on the ground, nothing bothered her, she would actually lift her feet when she knew they were going to be cleaned. Shots she took like they weren't even there. She was a gentle girl at 22. When younger she had the above traits but could be a hand full at those 'scarey objects'. I loved her personality and she was the special horse of the barn. Very, very 'people oriented'.
Shirl
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Nancy S. Kaplan
Member
Username: Redalert

Post Number: 74
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 2, 2005 - 4:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey Shirl! My favorite horses are Arab crosses... and as previously noted, the cross seems to work more with the qualities of the mare showing through! I woud not count the qualities of the stallion out, but it seems the offspring tend to take on the qualities of their Dams the most!(so why, in every breed I know of, are those stallions promoted so much... another discussion for another day!) The Quarter/Arab cross is extremely popular, and shown quite successfully at shows in western as well as hunter and sport horse! I have friends who own this cross, and do not show, but enjoy their horses on trails and, yes, I almost forgot, some are shown in dressage! I bet your Sierra was something to love... I think the cross has proven to be successful, making a smart and beautifully bodied western horse(but, of course, you already knew that one of this cross worked out very well for you!) Yes, personality plus!!
Nancy
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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 165
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Mar 2, 2005 - 7:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Imogen,

I am hoping also that someone comes into the discussion with something new. Surely there is more than one "clinician" who has some ideas on checking a horses temperament.

Maybe you'll have to write a book on it so it gets out to all horse people ; )!! If you ever get any more info.

Ang
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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 166
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Thursday, Mar 3, 2005 - 9:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Here's an interesting article I found that might add something to this discussion Imogen is trying to get going here:

www.naturalhorse.com/archive/ volume2/Issue8/article_24.php - 30k

Angie
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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 167
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Thursday, Mar 3, 2005 - 9:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

For the link I just posted;

You have to click on Volume 2, scroll down to issue 8, Click on that, and go to Equissentails-Horse Human Relationships Improve Training by Assessing your Horse.

A
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 12223
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Mar 4, 2005 - 8:37 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This post should place this discussion on the 24 your search engine.
DrO
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Christine C. Mills in NC
Member
Username: Chrism

Post Number: 1068
Registered: 4-1999
Posted on Friday, Mar 4, 2005 - 11:18 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Imogen,

I bought my young horse as a foal based on the temperament of both parents. I think there is a huge genetic component associated with temperament.

Now she is coming 5. She has been very easy to start and willing to work. Perfect for me. She isn't a wuss though - lots of energy and sensitive to aids, cues, etc. In general, she matches me just right.

Is she a brilliant mover? She is very good, but not Olympic caliber. Of course, neither am I.

Is she brilliant for breeding? No, she seems to have inherited a couple of small conformation faults from mom, so if she was bred it would be for me or someone who wanted a foal from her for emotional reasons.

I think people buying horses need to understand what they really are looking for and need to be very realistic of their own dreams, current skills and future goals.

An interesting link discussing temperament:

http://www.woodsdressage.com/conformation.asp

I recall seeing an article by Hilda Gurney discussing attributes of horses and importance. If I can locate it, I will post.

Chris
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Liselotte F. Bradford
Member
Username: Lilo

Post Number: 136
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Friday, Mar 4, 2005 - 11:23 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angie,

Thanks for posting that link. Very interesting article.

I remember an incident that happened with my mare when she was young and inexperienced. She is half Arab and half Saddlebred - talk about reactive. We were riding along the road when suddenly something that looked like a gigantic tumbleweed appeared out or the creek bed, moving toward us. I have to admit, it spooked me also. She spun around in a circle, but then stopped to look a the frightening apparition (it happened to be my neighbor who was carrying a huge amount of shrubbery). Another neighbor, who was helping me out with training the mare, was pleased that she turned to face the thing that had scared her so. Thought it was a sign of intelligence.

Anyway, I have always felt that this mare would sense danger long before me. Therefore, if she stops I give her some time to assess the situation.

Lilo
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Christos Axis
Member
Username: Christos

Post Number: 640
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, Mar 4, 2005 - 1:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Trying to refrain from writing a few dozen pages, let me just say this:
I believe that if we are to point out the single most important characteristic of a competition horse, that'd be self confidence. That, of course, applies to all disciplines, but an awful lot more in eventing.
You can win on a short horse, on a horse with conformational flaws, on a slow horse, on a lazy horse, on a crazy horse, on a horse that does not trust the rider, but you can not win on a horse that does not trust himself.
Self confidence may be a tiny bit hereditary and a tiny bit a matter of character, but greatly a matter of early training.
To be confident in itself, a horse must have the chance to develop its skills. That, I believe, does not happen in a stall or a flat pasture. It happens out on the trail and downtown in the Saturday market, next to a confident mother or other familiar horse.
That's where your future champion will learn that there's nothing to fear in this world, that jumping is fun, that water is refreshing, and so on.
When the little one is mature enough to be ridden, you simply build technique and condition in an already very self confident partner.
Unless his conformation is really twisted, I do not see how such a horse can ever fail you.



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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 529
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Mar 4, 2005 - 6:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Some really good points brought out here! Excellent point regarding self-confidence, Christos. I've never done eventing...had I even heard of it when I was young I may have taken it up; it looks very exciting & I was into exciting back then. I can see where confidence would be very necessary, just as it is with a cow horse or even a good trail horse. And , this is where all that early handling, training, ponying, etc. comes in. In Lisa's case, it sounds like the horse had a lot of confidence in Lisa, which is also important (and vica versa.) Christine's point about knowing what you want to use the horse for and know your limitations, also, even if you are in the hands of a trainer. That 17h chestnut prancing around may be beautiful and a great horse for his 6', experienced eventor/owner; but if you're 5'3" (as I am) and prefer slower gaits you'd be happier on a lot shorter horse! (as I am!) This sounds so basic and obvious, but I have right now two georgeous Fresians in my field whose tiny,novice owner is terrified of and who I consequently never see. (at least she send her board checks on time.)
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Christos Axis
Member
Username: Christos

Post Number: 641
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Saturday, Mar 5, 2005 - 4:32 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Effects of early handling:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T48-49NRNRS-3W&_user= 10&_handle=V-WA-A-W-AE-MsSAYZA-UUA-U-AAAWCZCZED-AAAUAVZVED-EZWAWBVWZ-AE-U&_fmt=s ummary&_coverDate=04%2F30%2F1986&_rdoc=3&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%234968%231986 %23999849998%23461787!&_cdi=4968&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=33c1 e2d9c57f2598b25c158e994be970


Observational learning:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T48-49NRNRS-3V&_user= 10&_coverDate=04%2F30%2F1986&_rdoc=2&_fmt=summary&_orig=browse&_sort=d&view=c&_a cct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=d43b27cde772c54e7da8a7d1a d59221b

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T48-3W2T53N-7&_user=1 0&_handle=V-WA-A-W-D-MsSAYZW-UUW-U-AAAWCEEYWE-AAAUAYUZWE-EZWZAVZWZ-D-U&_fmt=summ ary&_coverDate=11%2F30%2F1996&_rdoc=7&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%234968%231996%23 999499997%2379041!&_cdi=4968&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=4258 482349ff1194b54607d670790973

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T48-3V6WS45-1&_user=1 0&_handle=V-WA-A-W-D-MsSAYVA-UUA-U-AAAWCVBZYE-AAAUAWVVYE-EZAACCBVY-D-U&_fmt=summ ary&_coverDate=01%2F18%2F1999&_rdoc=1&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%234968%231999%23 999389996%2333292!&_cdi=4968&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=e0f4 1c75a05cbe20da84656a2f57724b

Learning and memorisation:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T48-48PN7GD-1&_user=1 0&_handle=V-WA-A-W-AZ-MsSAYVA-UUW-U-AAAWZUUYUA-AAAUAYAZUA-EZWZWWZDY-AZ-U&_fmt=su mmary&_coverDate=01%2F31%2F1996&_rdoc=1&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%234968%231996% 23999539996%23433289!&_cdi=4968&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=09d0 b7b8a54924a482f2cbb8a6b758b3

Discrimination learning and concept formation:
http://jas.fass.org/cgi/reprint/72/12/3080?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORM AT=&title=horse&andorexacttitle=and&fulltext=eventing&andorexactfulltext=and&sea rchid=1110010712142_84&stored_search=&FIRSTINDEX=10&sortspec=relevance&journalco de=animalsci

Temperament tests:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_aset=V-WA-A-W-AC-MsSAYWW-UU W-U-AAAWZUBBAY-AAAUAYVAAY-EZWZVBYAW-AC-U&_rdoc=5&_fmt=summary&_udi=B6T48-49MX3MN -1&_coverDate=11%2F25%2F2003&_cdi=4968&_orig=search&_st=13&_sort=d&view=c&_acct= C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=146af5fcc62dac6fb87964eba2dae 874

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_aset=V-WA-A-W-AC-MsSAYWW-UU W-U-AAAWZUBBAY-AAAUAYVAAY-EZWZVBYAW-AC-U&_rdoc=6&_fmt=summary&_udi=B6T48-46C0GJW -4&_coverDate=09%2F10%2F2002&_cdi=4968&_orig=search&_st=13&_sort=d&view=c&_acct= C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6641b93f8adfbd107a72491c1a788 c35
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Imogen Bertin
Member
Username: Imogen

Post Number: 628
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Saturday, Mar 5, 2005 - 6:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Wonderful Christos! If I can get time I'm going to read all those links tomorrow and come back with some comments. Thanks so much.

Imogen
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Linda Lashley
Member
Username: Lhenning

Post Number: 58
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, Mar 7, 2005 - 10:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Cheryl,

My husband and I are interested in adopting a GS pup such as you describe. Do you have pups? If so, please give me your email address so we can discuss this further.

Sorry everyone, I don't mean to intrude on your discussion.

Linda
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Cheryl Hohler
Member
Username: Chohler

Post Number: 111
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Monday, Mar 7, 2005 - 6:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

sorry I do not have any pups at this time. My female is older now. The best pups in the usa are at www.leerburg.com He has links on his website for some other reputable breeders. Working pups are not cheap and not for someone who isn't able to handle a rambunctious dog. If you have more questions email me at shohler@wyoming.com
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Cheryl Hohler
Member
Username: Chohler

Post Number: 112
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Monday, Mar 7, 2005 - 6:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hmmm I can't see all the posts? any ideas
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Penner
Member
Username: Penner

Post Number: 191
Registered: 8-2001
Posted on Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 - 6:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi,
Awhile ago I found this link to 12 Canine & Equine Social Intelligence Tests. That said, I do not know of any real scientific data backing up these tests. They are true dog tests:

"Based on 12 tests for canines from
Stanley Coren The Intelligence of Dogs
ISBN 0-553-37452-"

but this group of academics apparently had some fun using them on horses.

Anyway, I feel by observation over several months, one can pretty much make an accurate assessment of a horse's personality/temperment (at least of the "curious" horse who is easy to spot).

I had 3 horses at the time that I had had for a while. I gave them all the 12 Social Intelligence Tests, I found that my most curious horse, also scored the overall highest of the 3 in these tests. He is also the easiest horse to get to do things, the calmest, even tho he was only a 3YO.

Have fun (& read the entire webpage to understand how they are modifying this for horses)...

http://nicholnl.wcp.muohio.edu/dingosBreakfastClub/IQ/EquineSmarts.html

The actual tests are 1/3 down the page.
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Randi Anderson
Member
Username: Paintluv

Post Number: 11
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Monday, May 2, 2005 - 8:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I was at a seminar where Lynn Palm spoke on this topic. There are certain qualities she looks for in a horse like big eyes, no sclera showing (except for Apps of course) and a wide forhead. There was also something about how the ears are set.
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Erika LIPTON
Member
Username: Erika

Post Number: 53
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Monday, May 2, 2005 - 9:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hmm, Randi, I guess I still don't put a lot of faith in "conformation makes behavior". Too many examples to the contrary. Most currently, my young warmblood mare. She is a solid colored horse but always shows a bit of white around her eyes. Many would say she looks spooky. But she will chase you if you carry a plastic tarp into the field. When my big snowblower would go by and terrify the other horses, Rolex would trot over to watch, only moving back when the snow was pelting her in the face! Not a bit of spook in that girl.
I agree with all of you who say a horse should look distinctive to it's breed--but keep in mind why they look a particular way. Those looks shouldn't come from generations of halter beauties, but working horses who have done the job that made their particular breed distinctive. Don't you think that the halter competition comes after the "can-do"?
I guess it's not just horses, but many dog breeds I can think of have come close to being ruined once they become popular in the show ring. I really get annoyed at people who breed brainless or screwy animals.
Okay, I'll stop ranting now. Great discussion, and great input ffom all of you. Hang in there you Arab owners!
Erika
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Christos Axis
Member
Username: Christos

Post Number: 760
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 6:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Randi, don't be taken for that ride. Big eyes do not see better, well set ears do not hear better and a big forehead does not necessarily harbour a big brain. Even if it does, there's no way to know whether this extra brain will work to your advantage or not.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 620
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 10:17 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Good point, Christos. A lot of time the smarter the horse the more problems. If you are lucky, the smart horse will be a willing and fast learner and a bit mischievious. Others spend all their free time causing problems and trying to think of ways to make your life difficult!

I think you can tell a lot by the look in a horse's eyes and how it reacts to the horses and people around it. Other than that, conformation is related to what it can do performance wise, not it's personality, imo.

However, I have been told that the Arabain breeders of old thought where the forehead whorl is placed and if there are more than one of them it was an indication of intelligence, stubborness, etc. A whorl above the eyes meant intelligent, at eye level average intelligence, below, not so smart. Two whorls, not only intelligent but also a trouble maker.
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Aileen
Member
Username: Sunny66

Post Number: 755
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 10:48 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm LUCKY!! This fits Brave (Egyptian Arabian/Paint Cross) to a tee.. he is a willing and fast learner and very mischievious! He also has large, incredibly expressive eyes, a wide forehead, he has some sclera...but some of it is turning brown...go figure. None of the vets can figure that one out.

To get back to the topic, I too believe that temperment is inherited, as I always look to the parents...that said, I completely agree with Christos that training and exposure has more to do with a confident horse. You can have a horse with amazing parents, but if it is not trained nor exposed with gentle, positive experiences, you will still have a non confident non trusting animal until those issues are addressed.

I know this from personal experience. I was not knowledgeable and my horse took full advantage of me and scared me to death. Sent him to a good trainer and lo and behold, I have myself an angel!
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 623
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 12:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The changing sclera traces to your horses Egyptian roots. It's not uncommon in some famalies for the foals, esp. males, to be born with white around the eye, which changes to brown as they age, esp. if they have really large eyes.
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: Vickiann

Post Number: 44
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 2:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My registered paint horse has the sclera showing around his eyes, has stiped feet and motteled skin under his tail. This makes me wonder if there is some Appaloosa in him because that is 3 out of 4 traits that are looked at when deciding if a horse qualifies as a registered App (and unless something has changed, I think they require only 2 of the 4 to be registered App., even less to register some for breeding only). He has a double whorl on his face and was a real "pistol" when he came to me. If you didn't tie him up he would bite if you wanted to brush him or pick out his feet and he was very defensive while eating. Kindler handling than the "cowboy years" of roping and cutting that he had before he came to me has improved his temperament geatly. He has always been very "bomb proof," but curious and mischievious. I do believe temperament is inherited to a large degree but that handling and a horse's experiences also have an effect on their behavior. Seeing the prior comments about Arabs, would like to add that I also have two "pure Polish" Arabians. One is out of Aladdinn and the other is an Aladdinn Grandson. Though related, the personalities of these two are very different, and they generally have VERY LITTLE in common, except for being very intelligent, quick learners. While it is true they came from two different breeders and were handled differently during the very early years, they have had similar training and handling for the past many years. Neither horse is easily "spooked" though one is certainly much more high-strung than the other. Parades are no problem and have used one of them at Renaissance Faires and performed successfully with things around the arena like a flying pig ride, tents whipping in the wind, flags flying, caged animals right along the arena, not to mention the Knights fighting with armour and shields and swords clanking. I've also ridden him in the dark of night in a Mardis Gras parade, with lights flashing (including ON our horses), music blaring, floats of all kinds, thousands of people waving their arms and screaming, with people coming over the barriers crawling under the horses, even picking up their tails so they could gather beads lying under the horses on the street. In addition, we threw beads and other prizes from horse back (which meant riding without hands on reins). Everything went wonderfully, and my horse thought it was a great, fun time. These are also great trail horses, and I ride with a huge variety of riders and horses on the trail. Sometimes I have been in camp or out on the trail with 200 horses and my Arab is entirely at ease, though in that instance my Paint horse gets rather excited. In my experience, MOST Arabians I've ridden with have been reliable, because they tend to think rather than just react to things.
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Christos Axis
Member
Username: Christos

Post Number: 764
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 9:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the sclera info, Sara, I didn't know.
So my little one has Egyptian roots...this may somehow explain his endurance, but also his talent for filling the place with small pyramids....
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Debbie Green
Member
Username: Green007

Post Number: 71
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 10:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Christos,

As long as your little one doesn't plan on building the pyramids for their intended use, you are in good shape!
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Aileen
Member
Username: Sunny66

Post Number: 756
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 12:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Christos, I know you're joking in your post and very cute :-) Those pyramids I'm sure come in bundles :-)...but I'm curious, has your horses' scelera changed too??

Sara, thanks for that...I was afraid there was something going wrong with his eyes :-)
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Christos Axis
Member
Username: Christos

Post Number: 765
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 1:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes, Aileen, it has changed to dark brown. I like it a lot, it makes him look a bit less crazy.
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Lori
Member
Username: Maggienm

Post Number: 58
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 9:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

What about three whorls? One is directly between, one is just above-offset to the right and the third is higher yet and to the right.
Training has certainly changed the apparent temperament of my gelding. He has gone from a spooky-don't touch me-nippy- fraidy-horse to a friendly loves to be rubbed-spook in place-gentlyman. He is still nervous under saddle but there is improvement there all the time. People can hardly believe he is the same horse
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Cheryl Hohler
Member
Username: Chohler

Post Number: 243
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 1:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Three whorls? Wow! I have a mustang filly with two whorls and she is a pill...

Some arabians do have the white sclera and it changes with age. I have a Zodiac Matador granddaughter who has some white eye but she just turned two it will change with age. I have her half sister and the two are night and day. Mostly because of the way they were brought up I believe. Awesome girls, people say arabians are hot, scared horses. Not so they are spirited and will take anything head on, lap dogs.

Some paints do have appy type characteristics with white eye and striped hooves, doesn't mean they have appy background. Check paint standards it mentions it somewhere.

Out of all my appy's only one is somewhat scardy cat He has a huge amount of white sclera, I think he is extra sensitive to light and I just have to reasure him a little more. He wears a fly mask in the summer so he's not so sensitive to the light. He is the sweetest boy. I imagine a horse with a lot of sclera would be like us putting white paint under our eyes in broad day light no shade. Ouch!

I think that some people don't like white eyed horses because of course it is an expressive eye you can see what they are thinking about and it scares some. Looks wild and crazy.
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