Column: Character

20-02-2013 in De PaardenkrantThere are moments in your life in which you look back on the events and think, “Gosh, I should have acted or said that a little different.” Last weekend I had such a moment. As an editor of De Paardenkrant I have written the articles on the Dutch Welsh Stallion Show in Ermelo for a number of years. I know that I sometimes wrote about the characters of stallions. Some appeared to be real rascals in the ring and that’s what I wrote. It did sometimes lead to irate owners, because the stallion didn’t have a bad character at all! It’s only now that I understand.

A good character seems to me quite crucial if you breed child-size ponies. I had that opinion than and it has not changed. I still love see the Section A or B Welsh stallions at the show with a child on their back. Unfortunately, there was only one this year.

It was our own three-year-old Welsh stallion that showed me last weekend that character cannot be judged during the few minutes the stallion is in the arena. My partner and I have worked with our stallion for months to prepare him for the stallion show. A cool, eager to learn and willing to work stallion. One understood his work (such as lunging and trotting along the bike) within no time. A stallion that I would dare to crawl underneath. Of course I had to be consistent with him. He is not ‘dead’. But he is honest, we had each other’s respect and working with him was wonderful.

When we were at the stallion show last weekend he still was a good boy in the stable. But when it was showtime and he was between his peers; by the raging hormones of stress and masculinity through all the new impressions – the behavior of my “buddy” radically changed.

And a little later in the ring, I saw my training buddy trot and somewhat change by the entourage into an imposing stallion. “A real rascal”. Nice to watch, but at that moment I understood that I, as a reporter, should not have written about character on the basis of what I had only briefly seen in the arena.

Daniëlle Carrière