DbarH Equine Training. Natural Horsemanship.
Medicine Lodge Valley, Dillon, Montana

Personality of the Horse

When a horse is being trained, analysis of the horses character type must be sought before instructions are put forth for training/teaching.

What is your horses type?

  • Lazy - stubborn
  • Fighter - fight
  • Nervous - flight
  • Willing - bargainer

Lazy horses can become chums with you very easily and the person may think that the training is going to be a breeze. That is until the person decides to start teaching the horse. The horse goes from lovey dovey to a refusing uncooperative horse.

Fighters don't want anything to do with a person from the start. It maybe called a rebel. Ready on alert all the time. The horse will let you know that he wants to fight by stamping or snorting in a aggressive manor. A person should never approach this type of horse thinking that it will not harm you.

Nervous horses need to be trained with much more patience and slower progress than the other types. A nervous horse may see a candy wrapper and go in to a frenzy while the other types will not think much of this.

Willing horses use their mind to greatest possibility. They rationalize the best of the 4 types of horses. They are thinkers with good courage. A willing personality type will poses the other personality types on occasion, but not as a major trait.

With each of these types the stages of training and the application of the technique will vary. The lazy horse will have different responses to an application than the nervous horse.

Actions of a horse out in the pasture can not determine his/her personality when it come to training.

Environment personality

A horse of course has the inborn personality of fight or flight. But a horse is shaped into a deeper self personality with the surrounding that it is in.

  • Nonhuman surrounding
  • Human surrounding
  • Semi human surrounding

Horse that are in a nonhuman surrounding are known as unhandled horses that are not exposed to handling of humans from birth or the first couple of months of life.

  • They will take quite some confidence building to prove that you the human are not going to harm them. The longer the horse is away from the hands on exposure to humans the longer it will take to get the confidence built.
  • To see in the horses eye what they see humans as would be like the human seeing a alien. If a human saw an alien would we be so willing to be relaxed and trusting?

Horses that are in a human surrounding are horses that have or have had handling from a human.

  • Horses that are handled properly from early in life will not fear humans. It is like the human is scenery. It's there and no big deal.

The horse that is in a semi human surrounding have both characteristics of the nonhuman and human surrounding.

  • One can have a horse in the pasture and not handle try to catch the horse until later on in the horses life. This horse will keep the distance just incase the human is going to "eat" the horse.
  • There is curiosity in these horses.
  • Confidence building will not take as long as the nonhuman surrounding horses.

Variation in personality

  • Mental impressions
  • Endocrine System
  • Nutrition
  • Physical capabilities

Mental impressions made by either nonhuman surrounding or human surroundings have a great deal to do with how an animal will react.

  • If a horse was mishandled in the human surroundings either by abusive action or by not teaching manors will make the teaching process much harder than if the horse had no human contact.
  • Horse in the nonhuman surroundings will have different experiences depending on the environment with in the surrounding. One horse may live in pastures of green year round while another will live in more range conditions where they need to find food and watch for predators.

Endocrine System needs balance.

  • Ductless glands can determine how the nervous system is used along with the mental capabilities.

Nutritional needs in a horse are a must for a health active thinking horse.

  • Without proper nourishments a horse can not function properly. The horse will not be using the brain nor the body normally.

Physical capabilities of the horse may limit or heighten a horse.

  • If a horse is in pain it will not do what you want comfortably. Thus the horse will tell you in the horses own way that something is wrong. Such as bucking, shaking the head, pawing, laying down and limping to name a few. But this does not mean that when the horse bucks, paws or lays down that the horse is in pain. This may also be a horse way of avoiding training.
  • If a horse possess physical characteristics that are limiting for certain disciplines then the human should not push the horse or compare the horse to any other horse. Nor think that every horse is the same.



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Donna Hildreth 1998 - 2009
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