I've always been a major fan of the "hotter blooded" breeds. I started out riding Arabians on the Arabian Horse circuit, learning to ride on them when I was just 4 years old. I got my first horse, a 6 year old Arabian gelding named Farley, when I was 8. During my youthful years, I didn't hear as much of the breed stereotypes against my beloved Arab, solely due to the fact that I was almost always around Arabian horse fanatics. As I grew older, I heard a lot more of them. "Arabians are crazy" , "Arabians are airheaded" or "Arabians are spooky and can't think." And now, I'll be the first to admit that my beloved Farley was spooky. He was hot and he was difficult. He bolted on me a lot and injured me a few times. But, never once did myself, my trainer or family blame that on his breed. We blamed it on his youth. His lack of experience. In reality, much of it was my fault. Our fault. We dropped the ball on his care. He didn't get enough turnout, he was stalled too much and out in a small paddock. The only real time he got to really get out and move was during our rides. That is not fair to do to a horse, especially with the expectation that any reaction, any "playing" is bad behaviour and indicative of a crazy horse of a crazy breed.
As I grew older and ultimately decided to retire from Arabian shows, I finally made the move to allow Farley proper turnout. While his bolting problem got better with age, it was still very much something that he did. With turnout, it completely resolved. He was also MUCH less spooky. Happier. Less hot. The only problem that he DID develop was being hard to catch. Which, again, was my fault for depriving him so much in his earlier years. One of my biggest regrets but also my biggest lessons in terms of understanding these "hotter" breeds and how to care for them. These basic equine care staples should be apart of any horses' life, not just the sharper, hotter breeds who are less likely to put up with deprivation of space.
Now that I've moved onto Thoroughbreds, I hear pretty much the exact same stereotypes. I predominately ride Thoroughbreds but I've also ridden a lot of other breeds including ones that are traditionally stereotyped as quieter, safer.... When in reality, they're not. No horse is truly safe. Thoroughbreds ARE typically more sensitive, but realistically, you shouldn't be riding any horse much differently. Soft hands, a quiet seat and an understanding rider should be apart of any and all horses' lives, regardless of breed. I've had some insanely quiet Thoroughbreds who were safe for kids to deal with while they were kids themselves. How did I make them like this? Desensitization, calm and quiet handling, understanding and TURNOUT. I'm never going to deprive my horses of stimulation again and expect them to robotically obey my commands without having anything to say about it. Misbehaviour isn't always misbehaviour. Horses, like us, have lapses in judgment or random expressions of joy, anxiety or fear. We are imperfect. We are not collected all of the time and would especially not be if we were locked in a small room for much of the day. Why are we expecting more from our horses?
If you are consistently having problems with a certain breed to the point where you deem them stupid or unsafe and completely write off ANY and ALL horses of that breed, ask where your shortcomings are as a rider and handler. A good rider, a good hand and a good trainer should be able to handle horses of all types of breeds. You shouldn't be limited to only sitting on the breeds that are stereotyped as being less sharp and more willing to handle the mistreatment that comes with lack of turnout, poor handling and overly loud hands and seat. Finesse your riding so you can ride even the most sensitive of horses. It'll make you a better, more adaptable rider and better you as an equestrian.
We all love horses, presumably, so why do we hold such animosity to certain breeds? Preferences are understandable and everyone has them. My passion for Thoroughbreds is obvious. I adore them along with many other breeds, however, I as a horse lover and professional would not refuse to ride or train certain breeds in the same way that I've seen other trainers do or even had them do TO me when having students look at my sales horses. Especially in the position of a professional rider, to turn down an entire breed and insist that they're all one in the same when they all, like any breed, have individual personalities and different training backgrounds, is just utterly unprofessional and unacceptable. Provided a horse is suitable for the work you want them to do and suitable to what you as a rider need, their breed should be irrelevant. I've seen all sorts of breeds work out in disciplines that they wouldn't typically seen in and that's because the individual horse breaks that barrier and has someone open minded enough to take the chance on them. If the stereotypes predominately directed at hotter blooded breed were true, how is it that such young children are able to learn on them? That beginners are able to lesson on them, riders who aren't at "professional status" quite yet are able to bring them along? Thoroughbreds and Arabians alike are incredibly popular mounts for people of all ages, if they were truly the out of control, crazy animals that some people like to stereotype them as, this would not be possible. People also claim that Warmblooded influence chills horses out, I'm not denying that these horses can have less of the sensitivity associated with hotter blooded breeds, but if I were to go off of personal experiences and stereotype all Warmbloods off of my personal experience, I would view them as hotter and spookier than Thoroughbreds... BUT- I've worked with probably twice as many TBs as Warmbloods and my Warmblood gelding was previously abused, denied a good start and thus made into an overly cautious, nervous horse. Another gelding I used to ride, an Oldenburg, was far spookier than any Arab I'd encountered, now would it be fair to say all Oldenburgs are incredibly stupid and air headed? Absolutely not. My anecdotal evidence, based off of a handful of experiences doesn't define reality. I still firmly believe that the way in which horses are brought up is what influences them the most.
There are always exceptions to breeds. Horses who prove stereotypes "correct" and horses who disprove them. For the most part, those with the most limited association with said breeds are the ones who stereotype them the most. Why is this? Why do they get the right to have such foul and unrealistic viewpoints on breeds that have horses of all personality types and upbringings falling under these registries? Some horses, of all breeds, are disallowed the type of calmness and natural tendency to take things in a stride. Why, you may ask? Because people neglect to desensitize them from a young age or may handle them overly roughly, instilling fear. They may be not handled enough or handled poorly by people too inexperienced to bring them along properly. Some horses ARE naturally more cautious and worried but this trait is seen in all different breeds. Getting a Quarter Horse isn't going to guarantee you a calm, quiet horse. If you're looking for guaranteed safety, it's probably best to avoid horses entirely.
We need to treat these animals as the individuals they are and realize how our biases develop, usually off of limited experiences. Remaining open minded and reasonable in how you go about dealing with said biases is the right way to go. If you completely write off entire breeds, genders, colours etc, you're really going to miss out on a lot of amazing horses that could have easily changed your preexisting biases. It's our job as horse people to give horses of ANY breed the best start, the best shot at being good horses. Unfortunately, many people drop the ball on this and subsequently ruin certain breeds for those easily swayed by a handful of bad experiences. This is a call to all riders, but especially the professionals of the horse industry, to not allow preexisting biases to force them to flat out refuse to consider horses that would be otherwise suited for what they or their students require.