Most people think you simply cannot run a cattle ranch without horses, it just isn’t done! When I explain to people that our Ranch has pretty much stopped using horses, they are shocked! For us, it’s become easier and more economical to use ATV’s to work and gather our cattle. Our Ranches are, for the most part, rangeland that is easy to drive ATV’s on, so horses tend to be more work than they are worth.
People not familiar with horses tend to think you can just get on a horse and go. They don’t think about the vaccinations, farrier, the training, the tack, the feed, the time, the supplements that you must provide to your horse to keep him healthy and happy. In stark contrast an ATV needs gas and an occasional oil change to keep it running. It is never cranky or hard to catch in the morning and they rarely buck you off.
When I was a child our Ranch had a huge herd of horses. We bred and raised our own, so in addition to the forty head or so of saddle horses, we also had a bunch of breeding mares. I have memories from when I was very little of horses everywhere on the Ranch, it was amazing! Now we are down to two retired geldings, whose main job is to be a pasture decoration. Of course if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that my horse crazy is back, and I would give my left arm to be back in the saddle on a daily basis (for the record, I never ever, ever thought there would be a time when I worked in an office, fulltime, off the Ranch, away from my horses and cattle. Funny thing about life, I guess).
My dream in life is to own an Akhal-Teke horse, for three reasons. The first being this horse literally has a metallic coat, and for a girl obsessed with palominos, it’s like the zen of horse owning. The second is I would like to ride endurance (I already have the saddle). The third reason is my whole life I’ve been told that I am only to own gelded quarter horses. That is like the equivalent of telling me I can only wear cowboy boots for the rest of my life, not practical or realistic, and it’s just not going to happen. Plus when someone tells me that I can’t do something, I hear “Megan, you simply must do it! You must! You must! You must! Do it! DO it! DO IT!” That mentality has ended a lot of relationships for me, lol.
However, the problem with being the kid and not the parent (ahem, boss more specifically, Dad) on a ranch is you don’t get to make that decision for yourself. So until the time when I get to make decisions for myself, retire from my office job, and can have horses again, I won’t be writing too much about horses. I asked a friend of mine, who is currently in the horse world, to write a guest post for The Beef Jar.
I am a Halflinger. Blonde, buxom, and not afraid of a day’s work, but I’d rather stuff my face with grain and take a nap in the sun. To describe me in human terms, I’m a Type B personality.
As certain personality and physical traits are passed through families and nationality they are also present in horse breeds. Italians are short, boisterous, loud, loving while Germans are built large in stature with harsh personalities (I realize these are based generalizations).Thoroughbreds are fleet footed, sleek Type A personality types while a Quarter Horse is the dude kickin’ it on the beach smokin’ a doobie. Breed personality generalizations are a great place to start when looking for a horse. It will tell you if you will get along with a certain breed as a whole.
If you are a Type A personality that is easily flustered, a Thoroughbred or Arabian is probably not a wise choice. Horses like these are known as “hot bloods.” They are very sensitive and pick up on a rider’s nervous or frustrated energy right away. If you’re learning to ride or taking lessons and are scared, nervous, or frustrated, these horses will generally pick up on your feelings and what started out as a simple half-pass exercise will end up and epic battle ending with horse and rider drenched in sweat and shaking. You’ll want a horse that is naturally calm and level headed such as any breed of Stock Horse (Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, Paints, Criollos, Australian Stock Horses etc). If you’re a Type A person that is a go-getter, never gets nervous and is self confident a Thoroughbred or Arabian is a good personality match.
A Type B personality might suit a hot-blooded horse well, because horses will feed off of the rider’s personality. This gives a hot-blooded horse a calm and relaxed leader to follow. A Type B person also may lack motivation which is not a good thing paired with a horse that is naturally lazy. They will feed off each other and nothing will get done, what started off as a simple half-pass exercise will end with the rider napping and the horse grazing (guilty). However, if all you’re doing is moseying down a trail, this is the perfect match.
I tend to love my Stock Horses, as a Type B I’m easily frustrated with “feather brains” and over-reactions. I love the calm easy-going personality of a Quarter Horse, Paint or cross. My horse CC is actually Paint/Thoroughbred. He has enough athleticism to do what I need and at the same time, I can ride him bareback in a halter down the road.
Another thing to consider is what is going to be your horse’s “job?” All horses need a job, whether it’s 100-mile endurance rides or looking pretty in your yard. Hot-Blooded horses obviously have a lot of energy and are great for someone who rides 5 days a week and is training hard. Quarter Horses or other similar Type B personality horses are great for the weekend rider. However, if you’re schooling 3’ fences a 14.2 hand Quarter Horse might not suit your needs on the other hand you may be a competitive Reiner riding 5days a week and showing every weekend at which point a Stock Horse would be perfect.
Based on your personality type and physical stature, what breed of horse are you?
Natalie Stoppani has a BS in ag communications from Chico State. She is currently looking for a job in the industry, so if you know of anything please let her know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check out her blog and her ask her how you can help Gibbs, a horse she saved from a very sad life.