Yesterday was farrier day. It was Guinness' first time having his feet picked up! And I was stunned with his behavior. It was totally unexpected. Normally, when a young horse gets it's feet picked up for the first time there's some jumping about. Often you'll see some mini rears, speedy backing up, and pawing or swinging of feet. (Based on my past experiences.)
So this is what I was expecting. It didn't happen. First we trimmed Bacardi. Guinness hung out and made a general pest of himself. Next, I walked up to Guinness and slipped a halter on him. I led him closer to Derek. Derek gave him a few pets and then reached down and asked for his front foot. There was some swinging of the foot, but it was as if a light bulb went off in his head. "Oh, all you want to do is pick it up??" And that was the extent of the expected baby tantrum. Blew me away. His head came down, his ears relaxed to the side and he chewed and licked his lips.
The other four feet went easier. Derek said when he asked for his feet Guinness gave them gentle, and Derek didn't need to use much pressure in the asking.
It has made me believe with every fiber of my being that you can't train a nice temperament into a horse - it's either their or not. Case in point - Buddy the demon horse. He was a blank slate horse, range wild when I got him. And his disposition and attitude remained awful. I'm convinced he was bi-polar. This is the horse that would hunt you down and chase you in the pen. He couldn't live with any other horse or livestock because he was so mean to them. And after three months of training he decided he was going to buck and that was the end of the story. This is a horse I gave up on - sold for $500. Best decision I've ever made. The only thing I worried about is that he'd hurt someone - but he did kick the man who bought him (while he was looking) and showed his true colors. So he knew what he was buying.
Guinness, now there's a whole different experience.