Posts tagged horse personalities

Quick Tips On Your Horse’s Personality Type

“A horse is a horse, of course, of course…,” Mr. Ed sang for his theme song, but did he fit the average horse mold? Not on your life!

Horses have as diverse personalities as we humans do, and being able to identify them can really help you find your horse-match made in Heaven. One ingenious personality typing system, devised by equine veterinarian, Dr. Madalyn Ward, can be studied in her book, Horse Harmony – Understanding Horse Types & Temperaments. And you can test your horse (and yourself) for free on her site in order to see if the two of you are a good match. Dr. Ward’s system is based on ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine, which breaks down constitutional types into 11 different groups, each of which is unique in terms of what kind of nutrition, activity, training/learning methods, etc. suit it best.

Intrigued? Here are a few quick clues on identifying the personality type that best fits your horse. These are excerpted from Dr. Ward’s most recent newsletter, with permission. If you like what you see here, visit the site, take the test, and, better yet, buy the book to read about your horse’s type in depth.

Horse Temperament: 11 Quirks for 11 Types
We list 11 quirks below, one associated with each horse temperament type. Scan through the list and see if any of these quirks rings a bell. This will help you determine your horse’s temperament type, especially if you are straddling the fence between two types!
Fire: Often rolls the tongue or flaps the lips, especially when younger or under stress.
Earth: When happy, often gives a contented sigh and carries an air of calm and peace.
Water: When balanced, has the keen look of the eagle and is one of the most regal-looking types.
Metal: Thrilled to do his job as soon as he learns it. Does a trademark grimace with his mouth when he can’t figure out his job.
Wood: Loves to break things. If every gate, post, and horse toy on your place is busted or bent, you’re horse is a Wood!
Shao Yang (Fire/Wood): Dislikes being touched, especially on the feet or toward the hind end.
Jue Yin (Wood/Fire): Causes trouble in a playful way … loves to mess with you!
Tai Yang (Water/Fire): Exuberant and loves to move … the happier he is, the faster he moves, ears pricked and exuberant! Why walk when you can trot? Why trot when you can canter?
Shao Yin (Fire/Water): The most affectionate type, likely to nudge you, loving, innocent.
Yang Ming (Metal/Earth): Willing to please, not very spontaneous (will give lots of warning before bucking or shying or causing trouble).
Tai Yin (Earth/Metal): Very dedicated to one person, to the point of happily doing just about anything for the person they love, even if the task is difficult. Will perform for others, but not eagerly.
Horse Temperament: Quirks Ring a Bell?
Hopefully the above list of quirks will help you more easily determine your horse’s temperament type. Sometimes it’s the little things that our horses do that make them stand out as one horse temperament type or another.

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Do You Have The Wrong Horse . . . For YOU?

Leslie's Daughter, Maddie, and Clyde

Don’t get me “wrong” here. No horse is innately wrong. No more than you or I are innately wrong. I’m just using the word “wrong” to ascertain whether you and your horse are a good match or not. If not, it’s nobody’s fault, certainly not your horse’s.

It is sad but true. Stupendous numbers of us horse-lovers, myself included, have bought or taken in horses with whom we are absolutely, positively ill-matched. And I do mean horribly ill-matched. And these ill-fated pairings end up with no one being happy. The person can’t do what they’d like to do with their horse (i.e. they never attain their goal of dressage, or jumping, or whatever it may have been); the horse ends up as a pasture potato.

Today I did a session for a woman and her new horse that I hope will be inspirational to any of you reading this who find yourselves part of an ill-matched pair with your horse.

Leslie bought 7-year-old Clyde just two months ago.  She admits now that when she first met him she was not drawn to him and felt no bond with him at all (and wishes now that she had listened to that). But he had a lot going for him, a great track record in his work (Rodeo! Oh dear!), and was very sweet and docile when she brought him home. He had just come off a 3-day cutting competition, had a slight injury, and was probably dead tired, so his docility doesn’t surprise me.

Clyde very quickly turned into a bored and biting demon.

What Leslie wanted in a horse was a best buddy, a loving companion, a partner who could help her improve her riding skills. What she got was a frustrated equine workaholic who, finding himself living alone in a stall and small paddock situation, was not about to return her hugs. He showed her this by constantly invading her space, nipping at her, and, finally, biting her in the back while she was grooming him. Ouch!

I know from experience how much that must have hurt Leslie’s feelings, and how much she hoped and wished that this relationship would become what she envisioned. But she was smart enough to realize early on that Clyde was unhappy . . . which of course made her unhappy too. My hat is off to Leslie that she followed her intuition about this and sought help and input at such an early stage — she contacted an animal communicator (me, in this case) to find out what Clyde really wanted and how he felt about his situation.

You can imagine the response. Clyde confirmed all her instincts: yes, he was horribly bored; he had not really bonded with Leslie; he did not want to be coddled; he wanted to work hard, really hard, every day; he needed to be back “on the ranch” or where there was lots of room and with other horses, etc., etc. AND, regarding his biting, he actually said:

“Just tell her to knock me silly and yell at me!! I dare her!!”

This guy wanted to respect Leslie, and apparently her “knocking him silly” would help.

The bottom line:  Leslie is going to find Clyde the home and work he wants and deserves. And she will find herself another horse who has a totally different personality. She feels badly because she expected him to change — and in fact changed his name, which he hated — but she shouldn’t. She’s done so right by him . . . and no doubt learned a lot about her own needs, so it’s a win-win outcome here. And Clyde? Clyde was SO excited when we told him that she was going to get him back into a working environment with a strong leader who could care less if he ever cuddled with her!

So I urge you. Follow Leslie’s lead. It’s not easy. But if you’ve got the wrong horse . . . for you . . . gut it up and make a change. It will be best in the long run for both of you. As Clyde would say: “I dare you!”


One way to get a handle on your horse’s personality type, and your own — and thereby tell whether you are a good match — is to go take the personality tests at Dr. Madalyn Ward’s Horse Harmony website. And read up on the different personality types. It’s fascinating stuff and SO helpful!

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A Horse for Your Child? For Christmas?


What do you do if your kid asks for a horse for Christmas?

Supposing you say, “Yes,” how do you go about picking one?

How do you choose a good horse for kids? How do you find a horse who is kind, gentle, loving, and willing to please? Just as important, how do you stay away from horses who buck, kick, bite, and have other horrible vices?

These are all important questions to ask when you shopping for a horse for kids. My answer is simple:

To find a good horse for kids, choose one with the right horse personality type.

There are certain horses with personality types custom-made for kids, and other types that should definitely be avoided. When it comes to the safety and fun of your little ones, you definitely want to go with horse personality types that make good children’s horses. Luckily, that’s not difficult. There’s even an online test to help you do just that.

Five-Element Horse Personality Types
If you have been around horses for any length of time, then you know that each has a distinct personality, just like humans. Some are mischievous while others are competitive. Some spend their lives trying to please while others only want to win at all costs. Certain horses are tough as nails, others are as soft as marshmallows. It all depends on their personality type.

The Five-Element horse personality typing system I developed predicts a horse’s behavior and health challenges, as well as the best career and management style for the horse. The system is based on the five elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Water, Fire, Wood, Metal and Earth. There are five straight types (based on each of the five elements), as well as six combination types.

The Best Horse Personality Types for Kids
So which horse personality type should you choose as a good horse for kids? Based on my experience, the best children’s horse is a horse that has one of the following three personality types:

#1: The Earth Horse Personality Type
The Earth horse is generally sweet, gentle, and has a sweet tooth. His motto is, “Let’s be a team!” The Earth horse loves children and makes a reliable lesson horse. Fond of routine, once an Earth horse learns his job he can be depended on to do it well. He is perhaps a bit on the sluggish side (he likes to stop and graze), but other than that makes an excellent children’s horse. He is usually too lazy to bother with bucking or running, and as long as he is well fed and has a steady routine, he makes a great kid’s horse.

#2: The Shao Yin (Fire/Water) Horse Personality Type
The Shao Yin horse is highly intelligent, fun-loving, and can make an excellent horse for kids. When trained, the Shao Yin horse is a wonderful caretaker for beginner riders and children alike. This kind of horse loves to figure things out. He is also gentle, affectionate, and kind. Shao Yin horses don’t do well under pressure, which makes them perfect horses for low-key events like playdays or gymkhanas. Because they love attention and are very sociable, these horses enjoy hours of grooming, grazing, and “quality time” with kids.

#3: The Yang Ming (Metal/Earth) Horse Personality Type
The Yang Ming horse is a loyal horse who tries his best to please. Once this type of horse has learned his job, he will never forget it. He will perform flawlessly in a number of disciplines, being highly versatile as well as reliable. His only demand is that he be treated fairly. While not as affectionate as the Earth or Shao Yin types, the Yang Ming horse works hard and is a good caretaker. His steady disposition and reliability make him an excellent children’s horse.

Two Other Possible Horse Personality Types for Kids
While Earth, Shao Yin, and Yang Ming horses are my top picks as horse personality types suitable for kids, there are two other types that can also be good children’s horses when well-trained: Metal and Tai Yin horses. If your child is older, more experienced, or wants to be competitive in rodeo or on the show circuit, either of these two horse personality types may work well.

The Metal Horse Personality Type
The Metal horse is extremely hard-working, can stand up to a rigorous training schedule, and, once trained, never forgets his job. Early in his career, the Metal horse must understand his job or he may be prone to bucking, making him a poor choice for children. However, the well-trained and experienced Metal horse can make a good children’s horse. He will do his job well and without complaint. He isn’t the “best friend” type of horse, but is a suitable horse for the kid who wants to do Little Britches rodeo and be competitive in the show ring.

The Tai Yin (Earth/Metal) Horse
The Tai Yin horse can also make a good horse for kids as long as he gets along with the child. This kind of horse is often a “one-person” horse and does not get along well with everyone. However, if this horse likes your child he will try his heart out. Although the Tai Yin horse is not highly affectionate he will often demonstrate caring through hard work and fierce loyalty. This kind of horse will do almost anything for a person he likes, and thus makes a good kid’s horse for any child he likes.

Test a Horse’s Personality Before Buying
Now that you know which horse personality types are suitable as children’s horses, how do you know what kind of personality a horse has? Suppose you are considering several horses to buy for your child. How do you know which to choose? Simple. Just test the personality of each horse you are considering.

Visit the Horse Harmony Test website to test each horse’s personality. This online horse personality test will tell you the personality type of each horse. You can then read a short summary of each horse at Horse Harmony.

If you don’t know the horse well enough to type him, ask his current owner to test the horse for you. You might be surprised. The seemingly gentle horse with a gleam in his eye may look like the perfect children’s horse, yet the Horse Harmony Test may reveal the horse to be a Jue Yin, a tricky horse not at all suitable as a horse for kids.

The test is no-cost, so it can’t hurt to type any horses you are considering for your child. For that matter, if you already own horses, it may be interesting for you to test them as well. You can also test your own personality on the same site, just for kicks!

Horse Personality Typing Resources
To recap, here are all the places you can learn more about horse personality typing to help you find the perfect children’s horse:

Horse Personality Type Test

Horse Personality Type Information

Horse Personality Type Book

Horse Personality Type Ebooks

Horse Personality Type Educational Audios

Have fun typing prospective or current horses, yourself, and your children, and learning lots about all kinds of personality types … and good luck finding the best horse for your kids!

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