THE INCREDIBLE MIND OF THE SPANISH BARB HORSE
Those of us lucky enough to work with Spanish Barbs agree, one of their most prized qualities are their minds. The temperament, intelligence and desire to please makes them a joy to have as a partner.
Illustrations of Temperament
No Misshap Here
By Esha Mork
The garage door was left open and my young filly, being curious, walked on in to take a look. When I saw her there, my heart was in my throat. There are a lot of things sitting around that might spook her. My mother-in-law was with me, and she caught the event on film.
I quietly went in and asked her to back out, hoping nothing would happen that would result in an injury. As you can see below, she quietly and carefully backed out and no harm was done. I just can't say enough about the disposition of these horses; my little filly remained calm and unemotional. Even the closing of the rumbling garage door didn't spook her, she was more interested in the grass next to the door.
"I didn't even read , "GENTLING WILD HORSES FOR DUMMIES". I should have, but thankfully, the Spanish Barb Horse temperament kept me safe.
Obviously, a wild horse is fearful around humans, but I blundered in and the horses never ever attempted to bite, kick or lay an ear back". Jane Dobrott
"We brought our little breeding group of wild Spanish Barbs home and four months later rode them in a public event at Tubac Presidio State Park in Arizona. No one happened by and told us that was a very ambitious, and unlikely goal, much less how stupid it was for inexperienced trainers to do. It certainly wasn't our training expertise that prepared the horses to experience the event with such grace.
The day arrived, and we were so proud at the calm and accepting demeanor
of our newly gentled mares. We now know just how remarkable the breed is".
Note: Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, south of Tucson, AZ, is dedicated to preserving the history of the settlement of the territory that would eventually become Arizona. The Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Barb Horses, played an important role in Arizona's history as they were brought to the area by the missionary father, Eusebio Kino. Kino was the first to bring animal husbandry, including what would later become the Wilbur-Cruce horses to the area and established the Presidio of Tubac. Jane Dobrott
"I was so impressed with how my Barb horses handled the gentling process, I wanted to find others that would enjoy and appreciate them. I thought a good way to promote the critically rare, Spanish Barb Horse would be to endurance ride. The Barb is physically built to excel at the sport and my stallion had a very advantageous, low resting heart rate. We got really fit and entered our first training ride.
Not knowing about the "controlled start", I found myself mounted on a stallion, closely surrounded by Arabian mares. The only clue that my mild tempered stallion was thinking along natural lines, was a low, soft nicker. That awakened me and I touched my heels to his side and shortened my reins a bit to get his attention, and that was the last I heard from him. Off we went on our first 25 mile ride. We followed a group of mares from a distance and Santiago stretched out his legs and hit a most exciting, extended trot to match the gait of the mares. He never tried to get close, just kept within the same distance and we flew along the trail ! I had been so naive, I was very fortunate to be on a tractable Barb Stallion".
Note: We never reached our goal of being awarded "Best Condition". Every time we reached a vet check, Santiago's heart rate would go up in response to the mares!
That's us in the yellow slicker
Attuned to Body Language
I lived on a bison ranch when I first became involved with saving the Spanish Barb Horse. My mount was my stallion, with whom I rode endurance, and he was also my choice for moving bison. He had been born in the wilds of the Wilbur Ranch where lions preyed on the horses and only the horses that remained alert, survived.
Bison are a wild animal, they can outrun a horse, and also can be aggressive, especially cows with calves. After a long day moving reluctant animals, my mind would start to wander and I would forget to pay attention to the mother bison cows that always end up at the back of the herd. Fortunately, Santiago never let his attention lapse. If a cow started to turn back toward us, he would swap ends. Fortunately, I had legs of iron back then and could stay with him. He kept me out of danger every time it threatened, and when danger wasn't present, he remained cool and steady.
Please contribute your stories illustrating Spanish Barb temperament