I'd like to toss in my little experience...
A couple of years back, I was working with a mare (no longer one of my own) that was at my farm. This mare had always been incredibly difficult, hot headed, and all around dangerous to be with. (the type of arabian that gives others such a bad name.) The problem with her was that in one minute, everything would be perfectly fine, and then in the next second, she would explode. It wasn't that she was dumb, she just genuinely enjoyed hurting people. We tried everything with her. Every conceivable training and imprinting technique. The mare simply despised every human that ever got close to her, and would literally inflict damage upon herself than to allow anyone to do anything with her. Another one of her traits, was that she was horribly aggressive towards other horses. Not just simple dominance play, but literally trying to tear another horse apart, and she would maliciously attack any baby that was not her own. So we had to be very careful with who was put with her. We had our Abraxas Halimaar daughter with her, simply because they had already spent a couple of years together before coming to our place, and although the mare was very dominant, she didn't really try to hurt the Abraxas Halimaar daughter like she would other mares.
You couldn't teach this mare to accept anything, because she would just get worse and worse at it. One month she would be perfectly fine at being tied, and then the next month she would half break her neck in her explosive rages. I didn't fully understand what was happening at the time, so I didn't quite comprehend the situation with a mare that was geniunely mentally unstable. I was new with dealing with horses, and I had grown up thinking that there were no bad horses, just bad people who mistreated horses. I thought with enough love and positive handling I could 'fix' her. It wasn't until later when other people (breeders, trainers, vets and their professors) who had been dealing with horses for 20, 30, 40 years who had dealt with all types of breeds, including arabians, told me what it really was... but that was only after the following incident.
Towards the end of my learning experience with this mare, I was preparing to worm her. I had wormed her close to a dozen times over the period that I had had her, and I never had any trouble with her in that aspect. She had never given any hint that she found what I was doing distasteful. I use flavored wormers, and she always seemed to really enjoy it, like she would a treat or something. But when I inserted the wormer, she did exactly what everyone else around me had been warning me she would do eventually, but I hadn't wanted to believe them. She snapped.
She yanked back hard and fast enough that the lead rope ripped from my hands, reared back on her hind legs, pinned her ears, and literally came DOWN on top of me. Trying to pound me into the ground. My father was with me at the time, standing beside me, and he made a grap for the lead rope to yank her away, but not before she brought all her weight from a rearing position, down directly on top of my foot.
I've been kicked, I've been stomped, thrown into walls, dragged across gravel, gotten my hands tangled up in a halter and dragged across several acres, bitten, thrown, but I have never been in as much agony as I was in that moment. I'm curled on the ground, screaming bloody murder, and here comes Marley, my sweet, innocent, docile Abraxas Halimaar daughter who's had the crap kicked out her by this other mare more times than not, at full speed. I didn't actually see her coming, as I was a little more preoccupied with finding out whether or not my foot was still attached to my body (it sure didn't feel like it was) but all of a sudden I hear her concerned nickering, and the light from the sun is blotted out, and I look up, and she is literally standing over me. I am staring up at the underside of her chest, with both legs braced on either side, and she is turned facing the other mare, just daring her to come back. I was so shocked it didn't even occur to me to be concerned about the fact I was underneath her for a few moments. When I finally dragged myself out from underneath her, she starts that low nervous nickering again, and starts licking the back of my neck and shoulders. She's one of those mares that likes to lick everybody like a dog would so I didn't think twice about it. I pulled myself up off the ground by grabbing a handful of her mane. We were out in the middle of a paddock, so there was nothing else out there to use to get myself up, and my father was occupied with controlling the mare, who was back to grazing, and acting as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
I kept my arms wrapped around Marley's neck for a little while, and once I had determined that I could still walk - somewhat - I hobbled over to gate with her right walking beside me the entire time. I swear, words couldn't express how much I loved that mare in that moment. And she was young at that time. No more than 6 years old, and still a maiden. Had never had a baby. But she treated me like I was hers in those few moments it took me to recover from the other mare's attack.
It wasn't until late that night after I had taken a shower that I felt a burning sensation on the back of my neck. When I checked it in the mirror, it took me a moment to realize what it was. When the mare had yanked away from me so quickly, ripping the nylon lead rop from my hands, the force of it had caused the tail to snap back and wrap around my neck, leaving a seriously nasty looking rope burn. Don't ask me how it happened, I'm still not sure. I didn't feel it when it happened. But I think Marley knew it was there, given the attention she gave the back of my neck when I was on the ground. Or maybe that is just wishful thinking. All I know is she has a very special place in my heart, because she did something that I thought no horse would ever do. She protected me when I was hurt, even if it meant she was going to get thrashed by that crazy mare. And she tried to take care of me in her own special way afterwards. Trying to make the pain go away.
To this day, when people ask me why I chose to continue to work with arabians, I relay that story. Most don't believe me, they think I'm just making it up, but those that really know me, and know I don't lie about things like this, it makes them stop and think, and maybe, just maybe, it plants a little seed in their brains that will later bring them back around to my door, asking me if I have any arabians for sale... Particularly, one of Marley's babies! (wink)
Song of Egypt Arabianshttp://www.songofegypt.com"... Proudly standing sons of Ansata Ibn Halima, Ansata Imperial, Ansata Shah Zaman, and Makhsous... "