The word match has different connotations depending on how it is used. Which definition fits you and your horse? When you and your horse spend time together, are you in harmony or do you burst into flames?
I have several horses, all with different personalities. Because of this I can ride my high-powered machine horse or my super laid back horse. I can choose which one suits my mood and my mission. Many people are well matched with their horses and enjoy a harmony with one another. Other people are in an opposition match with their horse.
Finding a horse that brings you positive experiences is very important for both you and the horse. Horses have distinct personalities. Programs like Parelli have defined these personalities and related characteristics very well. If you want a beginner type horse, easygoing and not too spirited, then a left-brain introvert is a great choice. While the flashy pinto in the pen might catch your eye, he might also be meant for an experienced rider. If you are a dominating and controlling person, you won’t like a left-brain introvert. They are generally docile but won’t always be happy with standing still, being bored and having it be your way or the highway!
If you are ok with a more reactive horse, go for the right brain horses. They tend to be athletic thinkers with lots of heart and forward motion. This horse personality can be one of the best performance horses.
To find the best horse match for you, consider these characteristics:
Energy: Do you want a horse that is always chomping at the bit and ready to go? Or do you want an easy-going horse that moves along at an easy pace while you enjoy talking to friends.
Size: If you are 5’2”, it will be easier to saddle and mount a shorter horse. But if you love the hunter/jumper discipline you will most likely want a tall horse. When riding in the mountains I have found a tall horse to be a problem when getting under fallen trees and they are also more difficult for packing. If you are a big tall man, you will likely feel more comfortable with a strong horse at least 15 hands.
Temperament: As discussed above, it is important to find a horse that is a good balance for your experience level and your personality type. Don’t expect a left-brain introvert to love trotting for 25 miles in an endurance ride.
Easy/hard keeper: If you have endless fields of lush grass, maybe a harder keeper is a better fit. If you board your horse and feed is limited, then an easy keeper will work well.
Riding Frequency: If you can only ride once a week or less, then a high-powered, “hot” horse is not the best fit. Choose a horse with an energy level that matches your available saddle time.
Age: A young horse needs more turnout, exercise and time in the saddle than does a seasoned older horse. While younger, unfinished horses are usually cheaper, you will spend much more time and money on training getting them finished.
If you do have a horse that is too sluggish for your needs, consider giving them Formula 707 Peakcare Performance MX. It can help overall energy level and ensures that the horse is getting enough iron. If you have a nervous horse, try using Formula 707 Lifecare Calming. It can help a high-strung horse get its head in the game and perform better.
Thanks for reading! Happy trails from southwest Colorado.