QUARTER HORSES VS ARABIANS

QUARTER HORSES VS ARABIANS

February 10, 2021 8 Comments

Don Jessop

I'm not partial to one breed or another. And... no way in heck am I going to open the heated discussion, qualifying one breed over another. When some folks get into horses, they get stuck in one small part of the industry and as a result, one of several emotions most likely shows up when horses are compared. Genuine curiosity for some. Morbid curiosity for others, they might be thinking, "Oh boy, this guy is gonna get himself in some trouble here. This should be fun." Anger and defensiveness might pop up for others.

But why would a simple discussion about horse breeds bring up negative emotions like anger and defensiveness? Believe it or not, some people read the title and said, "Uh... No way! I'm not even going there!" and didn't even click on the link to read more. The same emotions would have come up for some people if I titled this article, horses vs mules, or warmbloods vs pleasure horses, or goats vs sheep. We all love our animals and most of us have favorites.

I find all of these emotions fantastic and curious. I love human emotion and the people that so willingly express them. I think we all need to embrace emotion from time to time rather than run for cover. I admire folks who wear their emotions on their sleeve. And I admire them even more when they can roll their sleeves up and allow spaces to learn and grow. Just food for thought anyway. 

So back to the question about quarter horses vs Arabians. Truthfully, it's like comparing pink lady apples to gala apples. They're both apples. What flavor do you like? It's okay to prefer one over the other. It's your right and no one should take that away from you because you like the flavor of something different. Whenever people start arguing about how quarter horses, or other breeds, are smarter, or how Arabians are more sensitive than other breeds, I just tell them, they've not seen the whole spectrum of animals. I've met mules that will safely guide you over a mountain pass and I've met mules that will throw you away before you get a chance to dream of riding in the mountains. I've met quarter horses that will safely carry a child and quarter horses that will kick you in the teeth. I've met Arabians that will spook at butterflies and I've met Arabians that wouldn't spook at the apocalypse.

The point is. Breeds don't matter as much as people think. Unless you think they do. In which case, you have the right to. I believe in helping people find the right horse for their dreams, and I often start with breeds as a generalization but I never pass up a horse because he's the wrong breed. Arabians can make extraordinary Western performance horses, and quarter horses can make extraordinary English performance horses. So, just in case you're looking for a new horse... stay open, you might just find a diamond in the rough.

Look for horses that catch your eye and your heart. Look for horses that show a connection to humans. And when they don't, look for ways to help them learn to connect to humans and human goals in a positive way. Stay open, have fun, don't judge too quickly. Don't let the opinions of others sway you too much either. Many trainers are biased. Guess what, me too. Listen to the messages, but don't buy into any form of religious-like beliefs about horses, and maybe even other topics, without examining the whole picture yourself. 

Thanks for reading. Comment below. Tell me your story of how a particular breed pleasantly surprised you.~



8 Responses

Kaye T Harris
Kaye T Harris

February 23, 2021

Thanks for this article! I have been a TB/QH/Appaloosa person mainly because they are what crossed my path. I DID have a preconceived notion about Arabs. And then when needing a replacement for my retiring 31 year old Quarter Pony I happened across a video of an Egyptian Arabian that I just felt was “MY” horse. I watch again and again. And travelled 500 miles to meet/get her. And she IS “MY” horse. Everything I wanted. And that was July of 2019 and as a lifetime broodmare had only been under saddle for about 6 mos. And we ended last year with some blues at our Competition Trail events. But the REAL “blue” has been the connection with this horse. I LOVE her and now feel rather silly for not knowing how amazing this breed is and can be. With exceptions like any breed as you say. And I have 19. The other thing is when I’m asked by students “who is your favorite”. I say “for what”? Yes, I really connect with my own personal mare “Ms B”, yet I can tell you that I would use Honey for a parade, or Mikey for a relaxing trail ride or Daisy for beginners or Kahn to teach a first canter and on…..Thanks Don!

Sarrena Perry
Sarrena Perry

February 12, 2021

You hit the ball out of the park here! This hit home on both horses we now have, as well as the ones we are looking at. First, I have owned and trained horses most of my 50 years of life and never had I ever rode or wanted to ride one of them shaky tail froo froo gaited horses, lol Well, my husband and I stayed at an AirBnB on a horse breeding farm in MT while looking at land for our mustang sanctuary. We had inquired about leasing horses to trail ride the mountain. We got there and the woman said she only had two horses left that she bought a few months back that were sitting in the pasture since she got them, but I could try them and use them if I wanted. Of course!, was my immediate reaction. She then says, have you ever ridden a gaited horse before. SAY WHAT, umm no, then she says, you’re in for a treat… so we walked out to the pasture they were in I locked on to what was one of the most beautiful horses I had ever seen in all my life. She trotted (she gaits beautifully and trots and canters on command) right up to me and the woman said, yeah, that is the first one. All I could think was there was no way this was one of those fancy froo froo horses, ha ha. She was a little hot from not being ridden for over a year or more, I found out after a bucking session; after which this horse and I bonded instantly. She respected me for not coming off and just throwing her back in the pasture and I fell in love with those gaits! The next day I bought her! Skip forward a few months. My husband now needs a horse… he falls in love with a horse posted on a rescue site that had been “saved from the slaughter truck at the last minute”. We went to look at her and she was a bit smaller then they had said but he had to have her, But… she’s an unbroke 3YO… this did not matter, he HAD TO HAVE HER. So, we got her. Now that she has some meat on her bones, really starting to fill out and has grown at least an inch in height (she was quite malnourished when the rescue got her) she has shown her true colors… a B&W paint, with a beautiful refined yet stocky build and a crest to her neck and that tail… oh that distinctly Arab tail. I was raised to believe Arabs were those spooky “air heads” you just don’t want for a beginner rider. My husband is a beginner. We have had this horse a month, she is the most absolutely sane mare, yup mare, that even when she was in full blown heat (for probably the first time ever), her molars coming in and her baby teeth caps coming off in front has been dead calm while I am working her. Not a spook in the world, I have even pulled a tarp over our heads, she has drug it all around the property and down a trail as part of her ground work… but play tag with her in the arena loose and you’ll see that flare come out big time, that is if she is not staring at her beautiful self in the mirror, lol The 2 types of horses I was raised to stay away from are now two of the best we could have ever wished for… we are now looking at Mules for our son, because that is what he wants, and I am working on becoming a TIPP trainer for Mustangs… if it has 4 legs we love it!

Terri Barney
Terri Barney

February 11, 2021

Very well written. Agree completely

Mary Swinson
Mary Swinson

February 11, 2021

I do have a preference for Quarter Horses, for myself, at this time in my life. But my favorite horse I’ve ever owned was little bay Arab mare! She was the kindest, calmest most loving horse I had ever partnered with. I was a bumbling little girl learning to ride, and she took care of me, and taught me to be a better rider. I’ve never met another like her and I still miss her to this day. And while I choose quarter horses for myself now, I appreciate the beauty in every breed! They all have something to bring to the table.

Dawn
Dawn

February 11, 2021

Couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve had quarter horses, a morgan, Paso finos, TWHs, and mountain horses. All were great horses although very different. I thought I was going to stay with “gaited”breeds but my most recent purchase was a very young standardbred x KY mountain horse. Didn’t care about the breed, nor whether he would have a lateral or diagonal gait, but really connected with his easy-going personality. Turns out this “mixed breed” has the best personality of any horse I’ve ever owned!

Donna Tourtellotte
Donna Tourtellotte

February 11, 2021

Over my lifetime with horses, I have had a AQ, Arab, Mustang, Paint/Mustang, Morab, Appendix QH, TWH and 2 Morgans, one of which was a great horse and the other one was a mean contrary horse. They all brought something different to my life. They all had different personalities. We all have a favorite horse :) Mine was my last horse, a Lippitt Morgan. As humans, we are all a little opinionated at times on our favorite subject.

Tricia C.
Tricia C.

February 11, 2021

I thought I loved OTTB’s who were tall dark and handsome – with a great sense of humor – but always said I don’t care if they are purple polka dotted if they have a great brain, and are super sound! Joyfully I have wound up with a spotted wonder – who is oldenburg, thoroughbred and dutch – palomino pinto with 2 blue eyes! I had to search my soul and my checklist but could not be happier with this brand new match! It’s Day 12 and I am thrilled! He is smart and curious and we are learning every day! Thank you for your blog and your wisdom – I always enjoy your insights!

Mary Jo Devlin
Mary Jo Devlin

February 11, 2021

Arabs get a bad rap. They’re too sensitive and smart for many. We Arab owners must take offense to any negativity about our breed and launch a narrative about their assets.

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