Kid horse. I don’t remember when I first heard the term. It seems that it was in the early sixties. Those horses would stand quietly and still to let a small child clamber up into the saddle. Once I saw a little boy even hanging upside down pulling himself up by the wangs (saddle strings) to get into the saddle. The mare stood with her head slightly turned is if to try and help him up. Those horses would barely get out of a walk with a child in the saddle. But some of those same ones, when mounted by a full-grown roper, could come out of a roping box after a calf with vehemence. It’s like they had judgment. And why not? People vary in their degree of kindness and empathy, why not horses?
Later, in the eighties after Texas discovered litigation, a previously unknown term, I was conversing with a local horse trader. He told me he never used the term “kid horse”. He reasoned that if the horse did something dumb and a kid got hurt, the folks might come back to him about it. Like it was a guarantee. He said “if you want to put your kid on the horse, that’s your own business.”
What I find is that some breeds, and some individuals in any breed, are a little more “laid-back“ and comfortable dealing with people. They’re just more domestic. Often this is because they are not bred to race, cut, hunt ,jump, or do hundred mile endurance. A veterinarian, who is a friend of mine, once said “God bless the Quarter Horse.” He was referring to the general ease of dealing with ranch bred cow horses who stand quietly to allow themselves to be dealt with in a clinical setting, or to be calmly ridden on a trail ride. I have known individuals of close to twenty- five horse breeds including Arabians, warm bloods, Pasos, and Andalusians, that have demonstrated that same trait. My mom used to say “pretty is as pretty does.”