Always testing authority. Severe ADD at times. Talented but not always focused. Enjoys being in control. Doesn’t always play well with others. Kind. Respectful.
That is the description of one of my horses of 11 years, and his personality almost mirrors mine.
I can say that goes for every horse that has been mine. Not horses I’ve owned per’ se, but horses that were mine; we had a lot in common. Were these horses a reflection of me? Did I create their similar personalities, or simply did I find a good match working with a like personality?
It’s funny, but true, you can tell a lot about a person by getting to know their horse.
Think about it.
A horse pins his ears until eye contact is made, then the ears go forward. The owner happens to be a behind-the-back talker, but always has nothing but kind words to your face.
A horse is calm but aloof. Very gentle, does what’s asked of him, basically has zero athletic skill. Couldn’t care less about treats, almost wooden while being groomed. Owner is sweet lady in her 50’s. Can’t ride to save her life, doesn’t care. She is also nice a cordial, but somewhat callus. Her and the horse get along quite well, and though there are lots of petting, brushing, and sweet talk, their shared affection is non-existent.
Then there is the insecure horse, not spooky, just a little needy; always looking for reassurance that they are doing a good job. They don’t take well to criticism and are often easily discouraged. The owner also is soft spoken, always trying to please, but under the slightest hint of anything negative, they crumble.
How about a spooky horse, not genuine spooky, just a horse looking for attention and always making a big deal out of everything. Often mistaken with being sensitive, they aren’t, they just don’t listen very well, take a long time to learn, and are easily distracted by the possibility of something better happening. The owner, often a hypochondriac horse owner, wants everyone to pay attention to them, their problems, and their news; sometimes going so far as making up interesting things about their lives just so they can be in the spotlight of the conversation, even if for only 5 minutes.
Or, a genuinely spooky horse scared of anything new, always waiting for something bad to happen. If a jump moves from the middle of the ring to the corner, it must mean a monster is playing tricks and waiting in the shadows just to eat them. The horse is nervous, untrusting, and insecure about themselves, their environment, and everyone they meet, is very clingy to their own kind, often magnetized by the leader of the herd, even if they are not treated kindly. The owner is also untrusting and assumes there is always an ongoing elaborate scheme to set them up for failure. Scared to try new things and absolutely unable to handle change of any kind, this person lives by routine and any deviation could ruin their whole year. Generally in and out of abusive relationships both with significant others and close friends, they are drawn to outspoken, strong people who often take advantage of their weakness (e.g. trainers).
And think of the dud, the horse that doesn’t have much personality or talent, lacks interest in much of anything, is a slow learner because of limited intelligence, and, lack of motivation. This is a horse that would do incredibly well with clicker training, given focus, purpose, and simple motivational tasks to almost learn a personality. Then there’s the owner, a young gal without much genuine personality of her own, is often fake, rarely motivated, and is sometimes a know-it-all purely because they’re keenly aware of true talent and skill shortfalls. Professionally, they usually do freelance work, or maybe volunteer, you know, for the proof of purpose.
Any of those hit home? ‘Twas not my intention.
But with most animals, it’s true they’re windows into what the person is like. Think people about with ill-behaved dogs, schizophrenic cats, or pot-bellied pigs; how many parallels between human and animal can you draw?
Horses can have so many different personality traits that mirror many owners. Sometimes I think people actually buy horses with similar personalities unconsciously, and other times I think the horse picks up on traits of the owner. Or are seeing these parallels merely a work of fiction; an unconscious desire within the observer to draw connections and links?
Who knows for sure, but it sure is funny to guess what a person is like just by getting to know their horse. You do it too. How many times has your prediction been right?
And maybe more interestingly, what does your horse tell people about you?