Horse personalities? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-18-2013, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Horse personalities?

So, I read this article about your horses personality type. I also know of but not about the "horsanalities" of one popular trainer. Which makes me wonder is there any merit to it? Sure I know horses have personalities, but I am not sure how I feel about human personality types and tests much less horse ones. I feel this way on the hippie grounds that "you can't put us all in a box, man". None-the-less there are trends. I do believe in type A personalities to an extent. So, do you think a personality test for your horse is of value? Do you think certain horse personalities respond to better or worse to certain techniques? How many horse personalities do you think there are?

In my case, I saw an article in Aprils horse and rider about the horse personalities. They describe one "type" and its really really like my one horse. Bad habits, response to frustration were spot on. Trouble is I can't apply any of the other personalities to the other 8 horses at pasture. The one is "oh yes thats totally his personalities". The others are "oh, I guess that could be so and so".
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-18-2013, 09:18 PM
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I think horses have individual personalities. I'm not so sure about this thing called "horsenalities".

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post #3 of 11 Old 04-18-2013, 09:20 PM
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I'm hesitant to label a horse. Sure there may be an overall tendancy to behaviors indicative of a type. But, with any living thing, lots of factors can influence behavior on any given day.

I'd rather meet and assess where a horse is at each time I ride it and adjust my approach to that. To me, that's part of being a decent rider. Getting the best out of a horse by giving the horse the best chance to be successful at what needs to be done.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-18-2013, 09:34 PM
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Totally agree with the last thing boots said. Just like I try not to label my students, I try not to label my horse. Maybe this is an overly romantic viewpoint, but I think each trait is on a continuum and no horse will fit one personality description to a T. Tee? Anyway, I try not to go into a session with my horse with a preconceived opinion about how she's going to behave because when I've done that in the past, I've really blocked her from her true potential. When o think she's going to be hot and spooky, which is she IS, sometimes, I don't challenge her or myself.

Hm. I don't even know if that answers your question anymore :P

Pardon the typos, but my phone doesn't let me backspace!
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-18-2013, 09:34 PM
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Every horse has their own individual personality -- they might be alike in some ways but arent truly the same.. my brothers and i are all very outgoing- friendly- like to joke around etc- we are all very different people.

Our gelding and my friends gelding are both real friendly- love human interaction- love to take your stuff- really playful- our gelding is lazy- top dog- and likes to trot at fastest and is kinda stubborn to get to run-- my friends horse is very fast- loves to go fast- and is very easily excitable- not top dog.

In a way they are very similar but they arent the same personality.. they would be the 'silly type'

There are so many types.. 'our mare would be the 'few fries short of a happymeal type' lol. Just kidding shed be the 'sweet type'
Our other mare would be the 'curious type'
Our stud would be 'curious type'
there are so many..

If you look at the older cartoons or horsey books- they will have matched the people up with horses that act just like them- or are as quirky as them-- in really thatd be such a bad idea- but this is what reminded me of that, lol.
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Last edited by toto; 04-18-2013 at 09:37 PM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-18-2013, 09:39 PM
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I think there are as many horse personalities as there are people personalities.
I always saw it like this- your personality is the result of many, many things, including your genetics, childhood atmosphere/ environment, etc. I can't say I believe in astrology, but everything I've read about my sign (Taurus) has lined up perfectly with everything I know about myself- so, I haven't rejected the possibility of there being other factors in what makes a personality.
I don't believe that personalities, for horses or people, can be broken down into four categories, or whatever number someone's trying to sell at the moment. Everyone tries to do that, but in the end they always end up adding that 'and all the other stuff that doesn't fit here or there' category. It's like trying to sort millions of marbles into X amount of boxes- do you sort by color, pattern, size...? What if you have a marble that's swirly, but is also blue? Does it go into the blue box or the swirly box? You can ignore one or the other, but the marble is still both... and then you still only have so many boxes.
To me, those '4 types of horse personalities' things are just very general guide lines- you can pick the one that fits your horse most, and try to use those methods that it prescribes. But in the end, I don't think it's something to put a lot of faith in at all. In all my experience with horses, I have never once needed to look up a guide to personalities in order to find out what the horse is- the best possible way to do that is to observe and work with the horse yourself and form your own conclusions. You don't need someone else's observations of other horses to tell you what your horse is in your eyes. Same with people. You can tell me a person is a Sagittarius, a Type A personality, whatever, but it means nothing compared to my observations which can tell me if that person is shy, nice, easily offended, emotional, etc. Of course, this is coming from someone who's very good at reading other people and especially animals...
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-21-2013, 08:00 AM
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Your post reminded me of an article that I saw in EQUUS magazine. That being said, I definitely think that horses can have some overall general tendencies, but it is my opinion that each horse's individual personality is unique and should be approached that way. :)

.*. Let a horse whisper in your ear and breathe on your heart. You will never regret it. .*.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-21-2013, 09:54 AM
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A terrific amount of horse personality can be put down to the way it is handled.
A horse that has the handler under control is going to be pushy, demanding and wanting its way. It will often be difficult under a saddle, resentful of being made to do something it doesn't want to, nappy (barn sour) spooky and reactive when it wants.

Get that horse to realise that it is not boss on the ground with firm fair corrections and much of the riding problems will disappear.
That horse will have learnt that trying to get its own way does not work so complying to the handler/rider is by far the easiest way out.

So, that horse could be classed as a certain type one week and totally the opposite the following, if it has been corrected and put in its place.

Horses do all have different characters and some are more complex than others. I do not like labelling them as a certain type because it will not always apply.
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-21-2013, 10:09 AM
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Every horse has their own personality, being the owner of six I certainly can vouch for that. I spend lots of time with my horses, so I get to see their individuality every day. Some horses are not comfortable enough to let their personalities shine through, and other times people think because a horse behaves in a certain way that is their personality. (I've heard the, "My horse loves me and runs up to me every day and noses at me to say 'let's go!' Never mind I give him 465,148 treats every time I visit him.")

The 'horsenalities' sold by the Parellis are, IMO, a way to get shallow people to understand the adjustments you have to make for horses that have different temperaments. When I say shallow, I don't really mean dumb, but people who can't grasp certain concepts, and some people need something well-worded to understand that horses are individuals who need individualized training. If they do something different and don't explain why they do it, then it is harder to market. It is a valid way to market it to large groups of people, but to be a smaller trainer it can get difficult to explain why you did this to that horse instead of this you did with that other horse.

In brief overview of my opinion, it is all about marketing. It has some validity, but is just used to explain things to many people at once. But horses rarely stay textbook and sometimes will, at certain moments, switch around in the groups.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-21-2013, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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I can see where everyone is coming from and thats certainly a side of the coin that I can see. On the other hand there are several personality tests that are suggested for people to take to determine what job they should do/are most adapted to. Which makes me think that if CEOs of fortune 500 companies swear by using these tests than maybe its of use for horses.

Personality is a factor of environment just like people; however, I don't think its entirely dependent on the handler. There are horses that spook and act like dinks even in the most capable hands. Likewise, there are horses that are total sweet hearts and never set a toe out of line even though their people give them 1001 reasons to. Which creates a nature/nurture debate.
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