Manic? Hysterical? Slightly potty?

Which horse friend didn't ever hear these or similar popular prejudices/opinions about Arabian horses? Well, what is true about this and what is the proverbial "urban legend"? We as Arabian horse owners want to take up the cudgels for this race and answer with some (provocative?) counter questions:

  • Do you dare to go on a hack without a saddle?
  • Do you dare to go on a hack just with a halter instead of a bridle/curb?
  • Do you dare to go on a hack alone with your horse?
  • Do you dare to go on a hack in the dark or during twilight?
  • Do you dare to do all of those "daredevilries" at the same time?
  • Can you ride your horse through a trail or jumping course just with a neck ring?
  • Can you participate with your horse in a barrel race without anything - even without a neck ring - without the horse bolting?
  • Can you take along a led horse on a hack? Does it work when riding a stallion?
  • Can you stay in walk when on a hack in pairs, if your partner separates from you and gallops away? And does your horse stay in walk if your partner after some time turns around, gallops towards you and without slowing down passes you in 2m distance, galloping away again in the oposite direction?
  • Can you, when participating in a hunt and you loose your whip, come to a halt, turn around, ride against the advancing galloping block, come to a halt, recollect your whip and then comfortably trail the galloping block?
  • Can you go biking with your horse, your horse trotts/canters next to your bike, without running over you or dragging you into the next ditch? And does this still hold, when unexpectedly encountering a huge harvester-thresher, running under full load in 5m distance?
  • Can you keep your horse under control, when going on a hack in the forrest and suddenly due to the last storm a couple of days ago in 10m distance to you a weakened tree breaks off and falls on the way? Do you stay in the saddle or end up in the dirt? And how many m do you need to regain 100% control?

 Why do all those things work with our Arabians, whereas they are so "manic", "slightly potty" and "hysterical"?


This question cannot be answered in one sentence and we are "only" leisure riders and no declared horse professionals, making their living with these animals. But us come to mind by all means the following points:

  • Arabian horses are a bit more sensitive than warmblood horses and they want to be handled sensitive as well. We surely don't want to point with the finger at someone and every rider surely will, personally addressed, abruptly repulse this. But in fact there are lots of riders of any shade out there who don't handle their animals as sensitive as it was necessary and resonable. And whilst a wormblood due to his character surely can cope with this wrong/non ideal attendance (every now and then), the sensitive Arabian does have a problem with this! What we want to say: In our perception in most cases it is the human being himself, who makes the Arabian horse the proverbial hysteric! But the hystery is not at all anchored in the character of the Arabian, as is presumed only too pleased.
  • Horses are companionable gregarious animals, they need the social contact to other horses. And horses are migrating animals who have originally been created by nature to move around the countryside grazing for a good portion of the day. Now, how does this fit together with the extreme example of a box stabling - thankfully stands are not allowed anymore nowadays - without pasture access, interrupted only by being ridden day-to-day in always the same hall for just an hour? Clearly spoken: It is in fact not really species-appropriate# and it stresses the horses needlessly and avoidably. And stress is the antagonist to even temperedness and strong nerves. Therefore box stabling for us is no viable form of horse keeping since many, many years. Our horses are being keept in an open stable, they have the possibility to establish contact to conspecifics at any time and they are free to choose to take shelter (what they also will do during foul weather) or run around outsides. The result with our horses is serenity, concinnity and a reliable hacking partner, who ist willingly collaborating.
  • "Who doesn't dare..." - Who doesn't know this adage? E. g. I may not expect I could go on a hack with a serene horse if I never do go on a hack, for it is a completely new, unknown situation for the animal and I will get an according reaction. Thus I will not go on a hack because my horse is not serene and my horse is not serene in the countryside because I never go there with him and so he doesn't know it. How could this chicken-and-egg question* be solved? In fact quite easily, the solution is "start to do it". And indeed we literally mean "to start" and not "knee-jerk, we'll go through this today". Animals do learn like humans do, by assigning them a negotiable exercise, giving them a stimulus and by repetiton with an appropriate rise of demmand. To stay with the hacking example, you start with rather little, short rides, if necessary just in sighting distance of the stable, and you rise this in an appropriate way each time - a bit longer, a bit further away. And sometimes it simply works. In this way many problems can be tackled and mastered, entering the trailer, moats, etc.


* The chicken-and-egg question by the way may be considered generally solved:
Of course the egg was there at first, wherefrom else should the chicken have come? Eh, and the egg? Well, it did mutate, natch!

# This link is German only at the moment, as we found no appropriate corresponding English article. Maybe you could help us out?

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This page was last modified on 19/02/2016 from Sabine Brockamp