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Naughty or Nice

When we think of any two horses or any two people for that matter we need to look at each separately for many reasons.

All horses are created equally but they develop their own unique personality based on 4 things:

  • breed 

  • breeding

  • learned behaviour

  • past experiences


When we consider our horses as different and see things through those 4 magnifiers it then becomes clear why certain behaviours or personality traits are present in each individual horse.

Many times we teach our horses things that we really don’t want them to learn. I often repeat to students, “Everything means something to horses”. They are patterned animals as they find great security in things being done in the same way and they are very strong associative learners.


This patterning can afford us some ease in training but if it is something that if we are not careful can turn into a pattern and become sometimes learned behaviour that we don’t want in our horse and is often blamed on the horse.


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Horses Have Innate Personalities


Most horses that work from the left side of their brain are usually very confident and curious. They think before they react for the most part. They want to touch everything with their lips and have a huge play drive. This “naughtiness” is often scolded and punished which of course creates more dominance. Instead turning everything into a game and using reverse psychology often turns something that may be annoying to us into something fun for both horse and human.

Horses that use the right side of their brain are usually much more timid and react quicker to things they are not sure of. They want to learn quickly because being obedient is where they find comfort.  With this kind of horse though, if you are not careful can become a robot, often does not or isn’t allowed to express himself and often holds lots of tension in his stoic body. 




There is much to say about this topic but I wanted to just touch on it so that you all seek to learn more about it. Horse personality is truly interesting and should change the leadership style that we use to help become true partners.  

If you found yourself smiling just a bit while watching the video then, you most likely have a horse that is either one of these guys. So much fun to watch. It actually makes playing really interesting around here. 

What horse personality does your horse have? Would you change the way you work with each of them?

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