A story I heard the other day about two pasture mates nicely illustrates how equine personalities differ. One of the pasture mates was a Fell Pony, and the other was a racehorse. In an email I received recently, different personality types were discussed. One type is confident, concerned about pecking order, and food oriented, and another type is fearful, quick to blow up and takes a long time to calm down. The email came to mind when I heard about the two pasture mates because of their differing responses to similar situations.
The story about the pasture mates came from my mentor, whose good friend and neighbor has racehorses. One of the racehorses needed a pasture companion, so Joe offered a yearling Fell filly. The filly and the racehorse soon developed a strong bond. After some months together, it was time to separate the two so the racehorse could go off to training. The racehorse, though, was not interested in leaving his Fell friend behind. He refused to be caught and began racing around the edge of the field. The Fell filly joined him in the race, keeping pace with her friend by cutting the corners. She seemed to enjoy the fact that she was keeping up with a fleeter-footed animal, and her friend seemed confused that he couldn’t outrun her.
Eventually it became clear that to catch the racehorse, creative measures would be required. Joe haltered his filly and brought her out of the pasture and gave her some feed, which she eagerly accepted. The racehorse noticed that his friend was no longer racing with him, and after a time his owner was able to catch and halter him. The racehorse, though, was still unwilling to leave his Fell friend behind and refused to load into the horse trailer. Again the Fell filly showed her calm confidence by loading into the trailer without incident. Her racehorse friend then followed suit. She was unloaded, and the racehorse was hauled away, but not without calling loud and heartfelt goodbyes to his Fell friend. The filly returned to a herd of her own kind with no fuss at all.