Monday, September 9, 2013

Are you like your horse? Horse personalities

Are we like our horse?
Have you been told that you are a lot like your horse? Do you think so? (photo I took at Walkabout Tour 2012 of Clinton Anderson's miniature guide-book horse.)

I've heard it said with regards to dogs, that we look a lot like our dogs.

Could it be true for personalities?

Wouldn't it be GRAND to think that we could be majestic and run like our horses!! Something I truly believe that is what we all love about our horses.

And their kinship.

Here in this second article, I want to discuss horse personalities to see if you have a good match with your horse.

Horse Personalities

Update: Here's an article on on horse personalities.

According to J. Warren Evans, Professor of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, in his book Horses: A Guide to Selection, Care and Employment, (1981) there are six basic temperament types. He defines them as quiet, interested, nervous, extremely nervous, stubborn and treacherous.

Oh! Those aren't good odds, are they? 2 out of 6 would be for beginner or average rider who just wants to enjoy their horse. I'd like to investigate more. It does tell us that not all horses would match well with some riders. Perhaps that is where we have some common behaviour problems with our horses. Do you think so too?

Horse Behaviour

For my Equine Studies course on horse behaviour, I studied the books of Dr. Jim and Linda McCall: Influencing Horse Behaviour, and Horses Behavin' Badly.  Also books by Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. So if horse behaviour is not your passion as it is for me, you will notice that the study of horse behaviour has given us horse people a rich history of study and information. There is a lot to talk about here so I will touch on a few trainers as I mentioned.

 Horsenality TM - Pat and Linda Parelli

I've been given the opportunity to read and understand the Parelli version of horse personalities from a Parelli Horsenality Report for our handler Lisa-Lou and horse Sissy-Apollo as was mentioned in the 1st article of this series. (Names have changed to represent an unknown handler/horse again.)

Linda Parelli describes in this youtube video the Parelli version of horse personality typing called Horsenality.

A few years ago, Linda joined together with Dr. Patrick Handleya licensed psychologist and human personality assessment expert. He is the founder and director of the Insight Institute, Inc., On the Insight Institute website: "In addition to the INSIGHT Inventory, Dr. Handley has also created, with Linda Parelli, the Parelli Humanality Assessment to help people understand themselves and others...".

According to the Parelli Horsenality profiling report for our horse in question, a horsenality is made up of 4 things:
1. Innate Characteristics - what the horse is born with
2. Learned Behaviour - the good and the undesirable experiences of the horse's past
3. Environment - the herd, the training, the demands, the sights and sounds.
4. Spirit - the level of intensity the horse expresses itself with: mild, moderate, extreme.

The report also states that there are 4 horse personalities or characteristics: Left-Brain Extrovert, Right-Brain Extrovert, Left-Brain Introvert, Right-Brain Introvert. Sissy-Apollo is a left-brain introvert. The avatar for the left-brain introvert is a horse sitting on it's butt while sticking its tongue out. More on that in another article.

This is quite a new approach to horse personalities. I've not seen other information quite like this. It sounds quite fascinating. When I first heard about it, it reminded me of the human Myers-Briggs personality typing. I am an INFP. Are you familiar with this?

Downunder Horsemanship - Clinton Anderson

Clinton divides horses into 2 basic types: cold-blooded and hot-blooded. Cold blooded horses are more laid back like draft type horses. Here is what Clinton has to say about hot blooded horses: "While the Method works on all types of horses, every horse will require you to vary your approach slightly. I break horses into two broad groups - hot-blooded horses and cold-blooded horses.

Breeds like Arabians, Thoroughbreds and some bloodlines of Quarter Horses tend to be hot-blooded. These horses are generally very reactive, sensitive and intelligent. They love to go and move forward."

Clinton has a chapter in his Philosophy book (pg. 76) that talks about horse personalities. Throughout this book, he also talks about different horse characteristics like left-brain and right-brain, thinking side vs. reactive side, horses as prey animals and gaining respect from the disrespectful horse to name a few.

Clinton also states in his book that "Finding a horse that fits your personality type is the key to enjoying your partnership and achieving your horsemanship goals."

And I would add by saying... solving some common horse behaviour problems.

Linda and Pat Parelli add: “A relationship based on trust, communication, understanding, and psychology is the key to ultimate natural horsemanship. To do this you need to learn to read your horse very well, to understand what is important to the individual Horsenality.”
In the next article, I will address some common behaviour problems and how the horse and handler need to work together to solve the problem.

Putting my spin on horse behaviour.
@KISS Reiners

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