HI Spy: What’s One Thing about Your Horse that You’d Like to Change?


What is one thing you would change about your horse?
Photo: Lesley Ward

Do any of these comments sound familiar?”

“If only my horse were a more stylish jumper, I’d get better ribbons in my hunter classes.”

“My horse has the world’s roughest jog. It’s impossible to sit.”

“I wish my horse wouldn’t spook so much on the trails.”

“My horse is known as a mischief maker around the barn. He’s always into something, eating something or destroying something. It’s getting embarrassing.”

“I can’t ride my old horse very often because he has soundness issues. If only I could wave a magic wand and make him young again.”

Magic wands and wishes aside, what’s the one thing you’d change about your horse?  We might envision our horses as perfect, but if we’re truly honest we can think of at least one flaw we’d love to fix. It could be a conformation fault, an anti-social disposition, a chronic health problem or a difficult training issue.  With the New Year just a few months away, what would you like to see go out with 2008?

When 2009 dawns, would you like to have a horse that executes perfect flying lead changes or willingly crosses water? Do you hope that 2009 brings a year free of vet bills for your aging horse? Are you hoping that next spring your mare finally delivers that colored foal you’ve been hoping for?

Though we love our horses, flaws and all, this latest installment of HI Spy asks, “What’s one thing about your horse that you’d like to change?” Click on Submit a Comment below and share your response with your fellow online readers. Some of the answers will appear in an upcoming issue of Horse Illustrated. And don’t worry. We won’t let your horse know what you said.

See more HI Spy questions>>

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Cindy Hale
Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show...


  1. My horse balks or runs at out certain jumps with no rhyme or reason. Also bay is so common I want something unique and I love chestnut.

  2. I keep my 2 horses out side except when I bring them in morning and evening to eat their grain. I would like my 8 year old gelding to eat his grain a little faster. He is a wonderful horse but I have to leave him in for 45 min. to an hour to eat his grain both morning and evening. He is not an easy keeper so I have to make sure he eats it all before letting him back out.

  3. I have an older mare (24) that is set in her ways, and I wish that she would quit trying to bite while I saddle her. She has been this way ever since I got her. I wish her attitude would change, as she tried some things out on the trail too.

  4. My gelding is great riding, but the one thing i would want to ever change about him is his age. He’s 13, and to me it doesn’t see mas though i have much mroe time to love him. IF he were younger, i would feel as though i would have him forever.

  5. My horses feet. No madder what we do to try to keep them from chipping and cracking. Even our farrier admits my horse has bad feet. I have tried everything!!!

  6. Kacey is just about perfect for me. I know there are things he could do if I knew how to teach him, but so what. He’s solid on trails, great ground manners and I can put my 6 year old great-granddaughter on him & know he won’t do anything to hurt her. I would like for him to be younger, but then he wouldn’t be the same horse he is today. He does tend to crib if there isn’t enough grass, but that is pretty minor compared to all the this he is & does right !!!

  7. I don’t really have a horse, but one of my favorite horses to ride is called suruhano. He’s this really awesome horse, and he’s got the world’s best canter. It’s like sitting on a really spring see-saw. And the thing is, he doesn’t even have to put an effort into his work.
    BUT, he is impossible to move. Squeezing with your legs hardly does anything, so i tap him with the whip. doesn’t work either. so i drive him with my seat, and he GOES WAY TOO FAST.
    so i just kind of end up in the saddle, sweating like i just ran 2 miles, while he just stands there, looking goofy and hardly breaking a sweat.

  8. I completely adore my horse her name is misty and I would never want a different house in my whole life.Shes extremely loving and is great with cues and pressure. There is only one thing that i would rather her not do and that is she shys from everything. she has gotten better because she threw me off a couple times in the begining but she still does it most o the time is when we are on the trail. while on the trail she will actually look for stuff to spook at. the weird thing is that she is better if she is on the trail alone. if there is another horse there she spooks more and she will actually shy away from stuff while when we are by ourself she just flinches. another thing is i cant get her in right lead. when i got her she only did left and weve gotten it to were she will go into it if we are lunging her but no matter what ive tried i cant happen to get her into right lead while im on her back. I dont know what to try next.

  9. I don’t think there is anything i’d like to change about the horse I have now. To me she is perfect. But the horse I used to have spooked at a lot of things on the trail. It would of been nice to of gotten rid of that, but she always made things interesting.

  10. I wish my pony would canter! He’s still green! I think this tops the list! I’ve been riding for seven years and still are compeeing in w/t classes!

  11. I wouldn’t change anything about my horses. Both of them have their own quirks but that’s what is teaching me to become a better rider; expecting these, looking for and watching for possible ‘situations’ all have made me more knowledgeable about a horse’s limits and abilities and how to deal with them. Also, because of this, I can ride nearly any horse and be able to deal with the quirks they throw at me.

  12. I have a real heavy boned quarab with the head of an arab as well as the tail. He’s adorable but he’s 13 and I just wish he was a bit younger. It urks me to have such a wonderful horse be stiff in the morning.

  13. I wish my horse would extend and make a 5 stride line instead of doing it in 7 or six if I push him. He’s amazing, unflappable, and can run a 17 second barrel run, jump 3′ 6″, and is up for moonlight bareback rides, but I wish he had a naturally long canter stride.

  14. If I could change anything about my horse, it was but that she would have more confidince in herself. She trusts me, but she doesn’t trust herself sometimes. I love her though. Oh, and maybe a longer tail. 🙂

  15. I have three. Each one has issues. My four year old I would make him less spooky if I could. My five year old I would give him some respect for solid objects. My six year old I would give her a like, instead of a dislike, of people in general.

  16. if my mare had better legs, she could do anything! she has bowed her front left twice in her life b/c she’s over the knee. other than that, there is nothing i would change about her b/c she has no other major flaws. i wish i could change other people’s perception of the Thoroughbred though, that would be nice =]

  17. I don’t have a hores but there is a paint that I’m fond of. His name is Domingo. His trot is like a jack hammer.And his feet are the worst.But I love him anyway!!!

  18. My horse has arthritis in his hocks. I knew that when I bought him. He’s always been sound, but it’s always in the back of my mind. So I would like to change his creaky hocks!

  19. my 12yr old Appaloosa gelding has more ‘woah’ then ‘go’, and sometimes, i just wish he’d have a little more go, so we could do events such as barrels. I don’t want to be the fastest person out there, but..it’d be nice if i could atleast get him to canter..

  20. I do not have my own horse, but my sister has a horse. He spookish, but although it racks my nerves to see him shy, even try to bolt with my sister on him – its impossible not to love Jet. My dream horse – Vegas – is crazy! His sole goal is to throw his rider – but its part of spirit – I wouldn’t change it for all the money in the world

  21. Being overreactive is part of my horse’s nature, but sometimes it can be a little too much. When we’re going straight or around the outside of the ring, he’ll do flying lead changes for me. However, when running between barrels, he finds it hard, and in the process of attempting to switch plows over barrels with his chest. When I ask him to change leads in between the barrels instead of going around it later, he won’t do anything, but if I tell him to, he has a mini flipout session and it takes precious time to get him back on track, then he knocks the barrel over, anyway. I’ve been working on getting him to use his butt to run, but he’ll often instinctively pull himslf forward with his shoulders, anyway. Darn it, I wish I just had more time to work with him!

  22. Stubborn, mischievous, spirited–these are just some of the adjectives that describe my extremely unique horse. Sometimes he tries my patience so much that I just want to scream in frustation (sometimes I give into that urge:), while other times he is the sweetest and most loving horse on earth. While I wish he wasn’t so stubborn and a little more obedient, these things are what makes him so special. He’s one of a kind! I sure don’t know what I’d do without him. He certainly keeps my life exciting!

  23. I wish my horse didn’t have such an unhealthy since of curiosity. like wondering what would happen if he tried to make friends with a 4″ rattle snake(which he did try once) or what would my owner do if i descided to make lunch out of her shoe? though my horse is practicaly bombproof there are some things i wish he had sense enough to stay away from.(like rattle snakes!)

  24. Better hooves. Even though she is in the best of conditions, she got canker this year. It has been a long haul but, six months and a hospital plate later, the canker is just about gone. The up side to this issue is that I see her every day. Thankfully, I can still ride since she has the hospital plate on.

  25. My horse has a terrible fear of 4-wheelers. The owners of the barn, ride them often, and my horse, Leo, bolts, bucks, and tries to rear. I wish he wouldn’t be so scared of them!

  26. I wish my horse wouldn’t go crazy out in big open spaces. She is almost always perfect in small inclosed places, but out in her own field, or the other fields she goes crazy. Trotting in place, bolting, and any other outragious thing you can think of she does. She is a Thoroughbred, and must REALLY want to run. If you haev any suggestions than please e-mail me at w_amy@ymail.com

  27. I wish my Percheron mare would stop pawing in her stall or when she is cross tied. She does it when someone is at the barn and is not paying attention to her. Its like an obsession with her. When she is cross tied, she could dig a hole if you let it go on enough. She was rescued a few years ago so I just correct her gently and go on. Everyone, humans and horses, have faults or things we wish we could change. I love her anyway.

  28. I wish my Walker would stop jumping at every little move ment. He does it with everything from loud noises to the wind and shadows. And that my Saddlebred would stop being so pushy and rude.

  29. I wish that my horse’s physical ability was equal to what she thinks she is capable of.
    My horse, Perse, used to be a Grand Prix jumper. Now she is 22 years old and she thinks she is still 10. She always wants to take the highest jump in the ring. If only she could!

  30. That he would not get so excited at times and just relax. We are on our way there but if it could happen overnight that would be great.

  31. I wish that my horse would stop spooking at literally everything! I love him to death and learned how to handle a spook like him, but the last time I went to a hunter/jumper show, he spooked at every single jump.

  32. I wish my horse would not get “bucky” in the spring and fall. This fall he bucked me off and I broke my ring finger on my left hand. Ouch!

  33. I wish my horse would realize that it won’t kill him worked for an hour most days and that he won’t die from being away from his pasture mate. I wish he would take his job seriously and look forward to it.

  34. I wish that people would stop posting bad things about their horse. Im sure that your horse wishes you would do something, too.

  35. If I could change one thing about my horse, it would be his rushing. I have been working at him slowing over jumps for over a year. He trots them very well but still likes to go a little faster at the canter. That can be our New Year’s resolution!

  36. I wish my paint gelding was slower in his gaits. They’re all so difficult to sit because they’re so fast and jolty. HIs trot is basically a bouncy house, his lope…have you ever wished horses came with seat-belts?!

  37. If i could change one thing about my horse, it would be for him to finally realize that you dont have to jump over ground poles! He jumps 3 feet without looking at it but for some reason he sees ground poles and rushes and then overjumps them.
    Gotta love him though!

  38. If I could change one thing about my horse … it would be that he would realize that a trail ride isnt a race like everything else he does. And I also wish that this”Hallie” person would mind her bees-wax and get over it 🙂

  39. I have several horses, all with there own issues. The one thing i know for sure is that is what makes them who they are. I love each horse for who they are and what they can do. It would be very boring if they were all the same and never did anything wrong. So I guess I would not change a thing.

  40. One thing that I would change about my horse, is that he would’nt kick other horses (while I’m riding). He’s my first horse and thats his worse habbit. The horse could be 20ft. away and he’d still try and kick.

  41. Barn Sour, Riding in the field or on the road he will take spells were he just STOPS and tries to turn around to go back and then he will BACK up with me or try to rear up until I get him going again. He has blocked traffic and backed me off in a ditch……This is very aggravating…..I wish he would just go on and NOT do this…

  42. If I could change something about my 3 yo Paint Horse, it would be one thing: his choppy lope. He is very heavy on the forehand and since he is my first western pleasure horse, I have a hard time improving his lope. And don’t ask me about the head set!

  43. My foxtrotter is the love of my life, but she has a bad habit of getting to a certain point when I am riding and not wanting to go any further. She tosses her head and balks constantly and has even been known to pivot on her hind legs. I eventually convince her that she is NOT getting her way. Other than that, she is a gentle, loving horse.

  44. I would agree with Bryana from Sandy UT, usually the problem lies with the rider and not the horse, EXCEPT for the lameness issues! I have a TB mare with an old track injury and I really wish I had that magic wand now! I can only ride her for short distances on soft surfaces, but she is still a great horse and I love her!

  45. Let see, wow, ok. I would like to change the fact my show horse seems to think jumps are going to eat him, since once he gets over a fence, and starts to actually trot over it, he looks really good. I think. And my little pony…hmmm…the attitude can be a problem.

  46. The one thing i would change with the three horses are :
    Mindy – the way she speeds up at jumps but you can tell she loves it and loves to go too fast
    Lucy – her attitude but she is retired … so it doesnt matter now lol
    Allie – wishing that she would grow faster so i can start riding her lol only three more yrs
    all my horses have an area to get better in but i wouldn’t change it for everything in the world i love the challenge!

  47. the two things i would change about my horse jake is that he could be a purebred, and put his head down when he canters. when im in the show ring, im not saying all, but some judges kind of look over him because he isnt flashy, and doesnt standout. if he and another horse are to tie, more than likely the judge will pick the purebred over him. he has gone through training for four years now, and i still cant get him lower his head when cantering. i know that it is his natural head carriage for the dominant breed in him, but it may be hte difference in first and second place in a class. sometimes i wish judges would accept him for who he is, and what he does.

  48. The pony I ride isnt mine, but i would love for him to slow down. he thinks trot means canter and canter mean run like an idiot. if onyl he would go slower!

  49. If there was one thing I could change about my horse it would be that he would listen to me more. Sometimes he likes to do his own thing when I’m trying to get him to do another.

  50. If I could change something about my horse, I would have to say I would want her to be able to Tolt.
    Icelandics and Pasofinos can “tolt” or “gate”
    But my Quarter Horse cannot.
    Therefore if I could change one thing, it would have to be, getting her to tolt.
    Other than that, I love her the way she is! Inside and Out!

  51. One thing I would like to change about my horse is her bumpy jog. I have tried numerous things to level her out but nothing seems to work. Although I must say her lope is now extremely smooth since I started working with her on balence and flexibility

  52. My horse has weird strides. When you watch her move, she LOOKS very fluid and collected, but when you are on her, she feels really slow and uncoordinated.

  53. I wish that my horse wasn’t so pushy and crabby when one first bring him in. He’s bitten so many people, it’s getting really bad. Thank goodness for roundpens, though.

  54. my horse tends to get spooked at evry silly things, one day ill put his white saddle pad on and he will be just fine, and next day ill try the same thing and he goes nuts. 🙂 he is weird but i love him that way 😀

  55. I wish he didn’t get such a thick winter coat! In a Northern climate it’d be great, but during our often-warm South Texas winters, it doesn’t bode so well.

  56. My horse is a great eventer and jumper, but he’s 12, 14.2hh, and a QH. I wish he was 16.1, a warmblood, and a little younger. But he’s great anyways!

  57. there are things that anyone else who rode my pony would say they wanted to change, like her bouncy trot, or her bull neck which isn’t supple at all and it is very hard to make her go round, and, if I haden’t owned her for 3 yrs. there would be soooooo many things i would want to change, but changing those things would change her personalitity, which makes her Piper. If I changed all that, she wouldn’t be my cute, adorable, Chincoteague Piper that everone luvs! But, I wish she would be nicer to other horses and be able to get close to them w/o kickin them, so we could play more polocrosse and play tag games that my friend says are really fun.

  58. If i could change one thing about my horse Maybel it would be that she didn’t have as much energy. I have to lunge her before I ride her, and that takes a lot of time.

  59. I wish he weren’t accident prone………really. He’s hog-tied himself in winter blankets, he’s gotten stuck in the barn gate (???) and as a matter of fact, yes, a horse CAN get his foot through the handle of an eggbutt stall ball…’nuff said.

  60. The one and only thing I would change on my horse Blaze who is almost 9 years old is his lamness. He has navicular in both front feet and ringbone in the front left. I had him xrayed twice by two differnt vets and got the same results. He’s is an awsome horse fun to ride with a great personality. I whish I could fix his feet so he would not be in any more pain.

  61. On my APHA registered, 7 year old mare???? Hmmmm, maybe……there is really nothing to change about her, I lover her funny personality and every thing, one thing I would change is her conformation, she has a low set neck and a long back.

  62. The only thing i would change about my horse is that when he was young his ankles dropped and he is a great jumper but cant jump high as he can because they arent strong enough. Its kind of depressing but he is still a great horse. P.S. He takes MSM for the joints and he wears support boots so he acts completely normal and feels no pain. 🙂

  63. If I could change something about my horse it would be his teeth. He has a proble. If he gets mad he bits. He once bit a holl in my fav t-sheet. And I would change his age. I would make him youger so he would live even longer so I can have more years with the best horse in the world, Dancer (:

  64. It would definetely be his trot. I can’t sit it at all! And he’s SOOOO hyper! Even though he’s at least 20.

  65. I really wouldn’t change anything about my horse. exept that he is kinda spooky at times. I love him so much!

  66. My horse is totally herd-bound. If you take her to a show without any companions she’s fine, but if she is in the same general area as her buddies but can’t see them, she freaks out.

  67. the one thing i would like to change abot her is when you want har to move she will back up. It dosent matter where you are she would back up into a ditch before she would move. i have tried everything and nothin works

  68. For Tico: I wish that his canter wasn’t so over powering
    For Save Me: I wish he wouldn’t pull on the bit and he would be better about putting on the bridle
    For Rok Starr: I wish that he wouldn’t be so bad about the left lead canter

  69. I don’t think I would change my horse, but would definetly change other people’s opinion of him! He’s extremely laid back, loves everyone, and is a very reliable mount but people tend to freak out when they hear he’s a stallion! I wish I could take him out and people would give him a chance before they passed judgements.

  70. Lance- could you PLEASE for ONCE jump the whole line every time I ask you? I KNOW it gets boring, but we do it wrong every time! Also- I KNOw you’re on A TON of grain, but the excess energy canter is NOT fun. Can ya tone it down a little? Same with the TWEAK OUT extended trot, and the backing-up-wiht-your-nose-in-my-face thing.

  71. Laverne:
    Will you please just try to get the right lead on the first try every once in a while?
    PLEASE tone it down! It doesn’t help you get to go in when you turn in to a speed demon!

  72. I wish Bobo, the horse I lease would not be so pushy. When ever I am leading him he slams his head into my stomach and it hurts. But I can’t complain he has won me lots of ribbons!

  73. I think if I had anything to change about my 7 year old horse Atlantis, it would be her shyness to movement around her. She has the best personality anyone could want. She is just so shy to movement around her head.

  74. I wish my horse was young again,He is 30 an this was his last ridding season due to his shoulder dislocating in and out when he rolls.He is a beatiful ride and is going o be very hard to replace.(I am keeping him of course,he will retierd)

  75. I love my horse just the way she is other than her front right leg. It has tendentious in it and although I ice it after every ride, warm up for a long time and stretch her legs and use leg wraps to help support it, it still is never 100% That would be the only thing I would change so we could ride longer and jump high.

  76. At times my horse can be a bit lazy or stubborn. She doesn’t always want to take the bit, and her trot is a little bumpy. But she’s an all around great horse! I love her to death, and I’d honestly have to say that there’s nothing about her I’d change. If she was changed, she wouldn’t be who she is!

  77. Of course, I love my equine friend, Thumper. But he has recently developed a kicking habit, another add-on to his occasional little tantrums. Today he kicked me in his stall and while I was blanketing him. I wish he had some ground manners!

  78. I love my horse. He is such a pain to catch though! when out in the field, I can lose up to an hour of lesson time just bribing him to come in. It’s sorta wierd though that I will chase him for fifteen minutes and then give up and he’ll get nervous that I’m going to leave him. Yeah, how dare I? Then he’ll PUT his head in the halter for me! Ugh…

  79. It would be nice if I could get my Quarter Horse, Lilly, to stop kicking her door whenever one of my barn buds walk by. Shes gouged holes in 2 doors already and my horsey “landlord” is ready to kick us out. He’s a nice guy, but he can’t keep replacing the doors. It’s too much for him, and I don’t know what to do, as there’s not a barn around here for miles after this one.

  80. I don’t have a horse, but there is some things I would like to change about my favorite school horse, Jazzy. She’s an Arabian and I ride dressage…and she has the tightest and most hollow back I have ever seen! I have to give it to her though, she’s had lots of little kids on that back yanking on her reins, and she’s taught me a lot.

  81. If there was one thing I could change about my horse, it would have to be his eating urges! He is constantly controlled by his stomach. Whenever we’re out riding, he always wants to go back to the barn and eat! Whenever I open his tack box, he thinks that he is about to be fed!I wish he would pay attention to the ride and not his food!

  82. I wish he were more focused on riding and training instead of having to sniff every pile of poop on the ground or saying hi to every human, horse and dog. I also wish he wasn’t so prone to getting into fights with other horses and getting flesh injuries on such a regular basis.

  83. My horse used to be ridden by little kids before we bought her. So when they put on the girth they pinched her and now she hates when you put her girth on. She’ll lay her ears back and bite. I’ve been working with her and she’s gotten a little better.

  84. my lesson horse is lazy she is really chubby and when i ask for a working trot she sometimes bucks or rears me and my instructor have worked hard and she doesn’t buck or rear anymore now my instructor keeps on telling me be tough if she tries to buck do spirals or if she starts cantering when you are trotting pull the reins back and now my lessons are move enjoyable

  85. I don’t have my own horse, but I sometimes ride a white pony gelding. He’s great when we’re out in the arena, but when I’m grooming him he’s always trying to bite me and kick. He’s like this to everyone and he almost always has his ears pinned back. Even though he was a few problems, there ins’t a lot that I would change about him and he’s taught me a lot.

  86. The only thing I would change would be her one white hind coronet. as a buckskin she would be perfect if it weren’t there.

  87. this horse is not mine but i ride her her name is secret she is so lazy she never can just stay at a working trot she either canters ( scary when i was a begginer ) or walks ( annoying ) she was the first horse i ever rode but i still love her so much she also bucks

  88. If I could change one thing about the Mustang I am leased it would be either his magnetism to grass or his attitude to large groups of horses, especially other stallions or geldings. My Mustang was born in the wild of Utah, captured at around 6 months, and then brought to Oregon where he has had 5 owners (most of the owner changes were health issues with the person). Until he landed with the family who leases him to me my Mustang never got complete training on manners of grass. So add these to componets together and grass is a horror story. He can be going down a steep hill and will stop to eat, nearly throwing me off! If he sees green… by by.
    His other main problem is his competitiveness to large groups of horses and other stallions or geldings. I believe this to come from his wild days or the fact that he is the alpha in the barn. I have had some near injuries, most accruing when he is around a bunch of new horses. But I have to admit that he is improving.
    I love my Mustang more than anything! He is my heart and there is never a time I feel like I have kissed him enough. Just these two things. And every time I am around him he improves.

  89. My horse’s unpredictability when it comes to being brought in from the pasture. She loves to ride and sometimes she comes right up to me and sticks her head in the halter…..othertimes it could take me half an hour to catch her or I give up.

  90. My horse is broody and unpredictable, and by far the most difficult horse I’ve ever ridden. However, I wouldn’t wish to change him in any way. It’s the most difficult horses who teach us the most, and I’m grateful that he doesn’t spoil me.

  91. My horse was in an accident before I owned her. I dont know what happend but it left her with some pretty bad scares. I would like to change that and go back in time to before the accident and try to prevent it. I always wish she didnt have this handycap but then I think about it and if she never was in that accident then I wouldn’t have her. She was given to me because of her injury’s so in the end I wouldn’t change a thing.

  92. The only thing I would change about my horse is make her younger. She is 25 now and is stiff; I would love to go back in time and take better care of her so that she could feel better when she got older.

  93. I just wanted to clarify my previous comment. It wasn’t that we were irresponsible horse owners, in fact, we didn’t own Ladybug until she was 20. She had been used extensivley as a broodmare before we got her. She also had been a padded show horse. She still has the scars from soring. I wish we could have had her before the damage from the cruel treatment became irreversible.

  94. I’d make my horse a little taller (she’s a pony) and a little more predictable on the trails. I also wish she had more jumping training, but that will come with time and hard work. She’s worth every bit of work I’ve had to put in, and I love her just the way she is 🙂

  95. I wish I could take away my senior mare’s arthritis problems and allergies to make her more comfortable. I would also like to take some years off of her so we could have more time together.


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