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RE: [RC] [RC] Chalk and Cheese (was: Boldness in horses) - Jennifer Adam

I have to agree with Kat, here. I have two mustangs from the same herd. BLM agents helping with their gather confirmed that they had the same sire, but different dams. I've had them both for one year. One is a coming two year old, the other is four. If we want to talk acreage, they're usually in an 8 acre pasture but have been out on 360 acres of pasture and have gone on long walks exploring around 1600 acres. They are in a small herd situation with a few other horses. I have used the same gentling techniques with both and I spend the same amount of time with both.

My filly - the two year old - is the boldest horse I've ever known. She was a breeze to gentle because from the day I unloaded her she was busy investigating and exploring. Nothing scares her - she's the first to walk up to something new and she is supremely confident. Even as the baby of the herd, she is quite sure of herself and only reluctantly bows to the two boss mares. I have not started her under saddle yet so I don't know how she'll go with a rider, but I've taken her on many trail walks and she *loves* to go forward, looking all round her with her ears pricked and her tail flagged. I have to be very firm and very consistent to keep her from rushing ahead of me, and we're dealing with a few issues because she thinks her way is the best way. But I think she'll make a great trail horse - the first day in halter she crossed a creek and stepped over a log, walked past a barking dog, and went up to a pick-up truck.

The four year old is a gelding and he's very shy, very reserved, and very spooky. He worries about everything and needs constant reassurance. I am just now starting him under saddle - he tries very hard to please and trusts me so he'll go where I ask, but he needs me to show him it's okay. He does okay by himself but only if he trusts his rider - which, right now, is just me. He used to spook at *everything* but with time and lots of groundwork has learned to face his fears and control himself, but he'll never be "bold." I think lots of miles will improve his confidence, but never make him "bold."

The main difference is that the gelding spent more time on the range with his herdmates, but according to the earlier argument that would make him more rather than less bold. And I have another mustang that spent even more time on the range than him and she falls somewhere in the middle of the boldness range. So, IMHO, "boldness" is a personality trait and is mostly inherited. I certainly think it can be influenced by training/handling, but - as I think Heidi said - you have to work with what the horse already has.

I also had a horse that pretended to be insecure just to get out of going where he didn't feel like going, but that's another story... :P

Jen Adam

Donna Coss said:

> I am not certain if it is result of nature /
> versus nurture, but I find that the horses that
> I raise out in a herd situation, on at least 40
> acres, so there is room to roam and interact
> much as a wild herd would, gives me horses
> that are extremely self confident!

Kat said:

I have two horses (half brothers, same sire) who were born about 1 month
apart, and they were different from each other with respect to
"boldness" "self-cofidence" or whatever you want to call it, from the
day they were born (and subsequently raised in a herd situation on 100+

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[RC] Chalk and Cheese (was: Boldness in horses), k s swigart