Horse Training Tips – Training Fads Part 2

Dear Friend and Horseman,

Welcome to another Horse Training Tips Newsletter.

I thought I’d send a follow-up to that last training tips newsletter,
as the response to it was pretty interesting.

I thought I’d catch a lot of flack over my comment about the “imprinting” of foals.

I basically said, I’m not in favor of it.

At least, not the way most people do it.

They usually create a desensitized, disrespectful juvenile delinquent that’s really tough to train for any of the high performance events.

A ton of people responded but to my surprise weren’t complaining.

Many of the readers who responded were professional horsemen who agreed with me.

What was really surprising, was the amount of flack I got because of my comment about wanting my horses to have a FLAT forehead.

Most of the comments were from Arabian owners who felt that since many Arabians have a BULGING forehead, they should be exempt from my prejudice.

Many asked if I’d ever ridden an Arabian.

And if I’d give it a try, I would love them.

Here is my response to that…

Yes, I am prejudice in favor of Quarter Horses because I specialize in cutting, reining and working cow horse events.

Generally, Quarter Horses are without equal in those events.

Yes, I have ridden my share of Arabians, in reining and cutting.

I showed one Arabian that won a few reinings for me. (Big slide, blazing spin but the worst lead changer I’ve ever shown).

Just like any other breed I’ve ridden, some of the Arabians were good and some were not.

The BEST ones, ALL had a FLAT forehead.

A friend of mine, Judd Miller, has some of the top Arabian cutting horses in the U.S.

His best ones ALL have a FLAT forehead.

Two other friends of mine have contacts in both Europe and the Middle East.

I have seen (and ridden) some of the Arabians that are bred in those countries.

It’s like night and day.

Those horses are better than the Arabians we breed here. (strictly my opinion, based on what I’ve seen and ridden). And yes, they also have flat foreheads.

Now, there is always an exception to the rule.

I have seen decent horses that had a bulging forehead but they are the exception, not the rule.

I’m also talking about “competition” here, not just a riding horse. There’s a big difference.

It is my opinion… No… It’s my strong belief… we are a nation that has screwed up just about every breed of horse we touch.

I feel we have ruined the Arabian breed here in the United States. We bred them mostly to look flashy at halter and not much else.

We are in the process of ruining the Morgan breed also. Morgans used to be some of the best all-around good horses ever. Now, we are repeating the mistakes of the Arabian breeders.

We are changing the Appaloosa into something that is no longer an Appaloosa.

I don’t know what in the hell we’re doing to the Quarter Horse breed.

It appears we have three different breed types in the same registry.

We are also inbreeding way too much.

To make matters worse, the AQHA has relaxed it’s registration policy to the point of being ridiculous.

I’m talking about MULTIPLE embryo transfers, excessive WHITE and the “now accessible if you have enough money” CLONES.

If we keep this up, we’ll be in big trouble.

We’ll have to go OUTSIDE the United States to be able to find a REAL American Quarter horse.

My other pet peeve is that we are breeding 13 hand ponies for cutting and reining competition.

For pete’s sake, we need to get some size back in these horses.

They don’t need to be huge but at least shoot for something 14 hands or better.

Thank you for being patient while I rant and rave.

I don’t have a realistic solution to any of this.

I just know I’m bugged by it.

Well, this wraps it up for this newsletter. I hope you liked it.

Until next time, have fun training your horse.

Larry Trocha
Larry Trocha

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  1. Ray Maynard says

    I never realized how much the QH has changed over the years. When I was a kid (1950s) we had Quarter Horses and they were pretty good size and had a lot of endurance, heck being kids, we used to race each other all the time. I now trail ride and have switched to gaited (TWH & MFT). When my Fox Trotter (she is the old foundation bred line) finally quit growing at 6 I couldn’t find a saddle big enough for her and had to have one custom made on a draft tree. it seems the saddles made today are for much smaller horses. I agree that it seems people are breeding for what show judges want to see to the detriment of a lot of the breeds.

  2. Ken Ridout says

    Gday Larry,
    I totally agree with your comments.
    Here in Australia we have similar issues and thats with both our Australian Stock horse and the Quarter horses. These two breeds are practically inseparable at the moment due to the cross breeding. I have started breeding Quarter horses over Thoroughbred Mares to try and get some decent lungs and endurance in my horses and something that is over 15Hands High. I am 6ft 1 and a bigger bodied guy. I plat high level Polocrosse and need horses capable of galloping and stopping and turning hard for 8 minutes at a time. Almost all studs here only breed for cutting , reining and campdrafting where a few minutes is all they have to be ridden for in a groomed arena. love your hints and would be honoured to meet you one day.

  3. Lori says

    OMG, I could not agree more! I am at this moment looking for a quarter horse. I do NOT want a small horse, and to me, that is anything under 15HH, and in fact, would prefer 15.3 or so. There used to be a time when 15.2H was average!! Now, it is considered HUGE! lol I agree with your comments about imprinting. It is not necessary, but if done well, I guess it could be useful for some. My son just competed in the Mustang Makeover, and placed a respectable 9th. He took a 5 year old mustang who was right off the range, and had three months to do as much as he could with it. In fact, because of his work schedule he only put 25 days on the horse. But after that time, this horse was his true partner, followed him around like a puppy, and would do, or at least try to do, anything my son asked of him in a very calm, relaxed manner. Not everyone can do this, nor should they even try, as it’s always the poor horse who suffers the most. But, imprinting is not at all necessary and it sure can result in a very dull horse. We are absolutely screwing around too much with breeding. When I watched all these mustangs compete, observing their correct conformation, their super healthy feet which had never been touched before, etc., I realized that the reason these horses are so healthy and wonderful and able to have survived in the wild, is because WE (humans) did not play a part in their reproduction, or lives up to that point!

  4. James Poston says

    I have a 9 yr old mare that I started as a 2 yr old with a rounded forehead. She was and is still the least willing to please of any I have started since. She will work well but will fuss and test you every ride. My 25 yr old highly educated daughter argues that the phrenology “myth” was dispelled years ago…well in humans anyway.

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