All throughout the equestrian world, it goes without saying that the key to every star equine athlete is the extensive dedication undergone in each stage of its career. From the early stages in a horse’s life, every moment and experience is equally as significant and will all be combined to shape the horse’s character, which will be carried on throughout the rest of its life. This can, of course, be developed upon and horses are always learning and being exposed to new experiences in their lives, but the fundamental core of their spirit will have been formerly defined during the horse’s youth.
In considering this, the importance of good disposition in horses is highlighted. Horses are typically calm, friendly animals. With a consensual nature, the horse is known to be eager to please, enjoying its work and everyday life so long as its needs are met. However, it is when horses are unhappy that issues arise. A horse with past trauma; in pain; living in poor conditions or poorly schooled will inevitably be a horse with a bad temper. These are just some of the many examples of ways in which horses’ disposition will be deterred and the extent of the damage can take on a range of impacts, from being manifested only in certain triggering situations, to being a constant shadow in your horse’s everyday life.
Despite this, whether you are dealing with a young horse with an impressionable mind being shaped for greatness, or an older horse with a past lifetime, there is always something to be done. Another honorable quality that horses possess, one that humans can definitely learn from, is that they are incredibly forgiving creatures. No matter what your horse has gone through in the past, with patience and understanding it can be overcome. Horses are very resilient and loyal. But the responsibility lies with us to understand their characters and bring out the best in their nature.
As with every good partnership, you reap what you sow!
Filipa Santos Cruz