Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is Your Horse A Rock Star? Update with video

I am sure this book has been covered by bloggers a hundred ways from Sunday but I just had to get my two bits in on this one! "Is Your Horse A Rock Star?" is a book by Dessa Hockley that looks to classify horseinality profiles... it is the equine equivalent of the Meyers-Brigg personality test.

I think it is a positively brilliant way to better understand your horse and could be used to determine the suitably of a horse you are considering for purchase.

It basically works like this: there are sixteen different personality categories. To determine which category a horse falls into you must decide if he is...

1. Dominant (D) or Submissive (S)
2. Energetic (E) or Lazy (L)
3. Curious (C) or Afraid (A)
4. Friendly (F) or Aloof (A)

The four characteristics you pick correlate to a horseinality profile.

So, for instance, my old horse Rocky was Submissive (S), Energetic (E), Afraid (A) and Friendly (F) which made him a SEAF "The People Pleaser".

Click here for more info on the various types.

But if you are like me, (one who thinks things to death) I had to wonder how much of a horses personality was as a result of nature vs.nurture. How do you account for abuse? For lack of exposure and training? I found it fairly easy to peg little JW as he is so virgin and untouched... his view of the world is so direct and unencumbered. Figuring out a horse like Abby with her history of being pushed through training is a little more difficult. Or is it? I had a gelding who was at the top of the pecking order in one herd and at the very bottom of another. I had one who had to be in the lead when on familiar ground but fell to the back of the pack when things became stressful. I found my horses all fell in to multiple categories but there was still a lot of truth in the descriptions of each.

After all, horses are never an exact science.

How accurate did you find the horsinality quiz?

Update: watch the video!


  1. I have this book & found it pretty entertaining.
    One thing to note though is that an owner's natural bias can skew the results.
    IMO you should have a friend that also knows your horse well do the quiz section with you to help you answer the questions objectively.

  2. One thing I like about this fun book is that she makes the point that horses can be anywhere on the spectrum of the pairs of traits - either extreme or more in the middle. Some horses can exhibit traits that aren't part of their "core" personality due to mistreatment or poor socialization. But the core personality shines through. Our Maisie was an Aloof when I got her - she was pretty unhappy with people - but she's really a Friendly.

    I liked a lot of her training suggestions - particularly her nuanced approach to round penning, which I think is misused by a lot of people, including a lot of big-name trainers.

    Certainly worth a read.

  3. @cdncowgirl - I like your idea. I bet our trainer would come up with something completely different for Page.

  4. LOL-Moon ended up with a description that suits him to a T.

    They say he is a DCLA...The Prize Fighter!

    "This horse has opinions and is ready to defend them. It is in your best interest to listen to him. To get the job done you must work with him. He will have numerous rules and requirements. He will also get you to the winner's circle when you have developed a working relationship. Unlike the Rock Star that is there for the glory and recognition, the Prize Fighter is there because they love the sport and the competition."

    I will say one thing, you have to already know your horse pretty well to be able to answer the questions.

    Now I have to see how they classify Frosty. ;)

  5. Bwahahahaha- They got Frosty pegged.

    "Wrap these sweet, kind, gentle horses up and keep them safe. They are not very brave and tend to internalize their worries. They want to please and will try very hard for you, but they can be pushed too fast very easily. They make few demands of you and are quite content to perform the same tasks repeatedly as long as you are pleased with them and the jobs are not to strenuous. Quiet enough for the beginner once they understand what is expected of them."

    He is a SLAF - The Wall Flower

    The 'not to strenuous' part suits Frosty.

    But at this point, I don't know that I would ever trust Frosty with a beginner. Heck, I don't even want Megan riding him. His recent 'blowing up' activity is done so quickly, violently and without provocation, that he could/would hurt someone who does not know how to get bucked off.

    I believe that eventually, he will be less inclined to blow-up so unexpectedly, but considering it is so easy for him, it's always something that could rear it's ugly head.

    I've always resisted the idea that beginners or the youth should be placed on timid horses. These horses gain their confidence through the rider and need someone who has the experience to know when to push them to accept and when to back off and let them figure things out.

  6. BECG- I totally agree. A horse being "safe" doenst really have that much to do with it being "quiet". Especially for kids as they tend to have such great balance and so can handle the little jumps and quick spins. It is the older folks who usually want the horses that dont react to anything.

    CND- I totally agree! I've already had a few debates with my friends on our various horses!

    Kate- I didnt realize there was more in the book. I'll have to pick it up

  7. Got mine pegged to a tee. What do you think?

    Poco: DEAF - The Wild Card
    Strong minded but insecure, this personality needs an equally strong rider to help them feel safe. Be loving and affectionate, but don't give up your leadership. Once you have them on your page, they are very friendly and have a strong desire to please. They can be highly competitive and will give you their all. Not a horse for a junior or amateur until much later in life.

    Jaz: SLCF - The Steady Eddy
    If you are a novice or amateur, this is the horse for you. They are quiet and predictable, loving and engaging, willing to learn new things, willing to hang out with you and do nothing. This is not your big ego, career-oriented horse. They are happy to just be. Consistent and loyal, all you need to do is enjoy!

    That was fun. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I got Rock Star... ha! I think my horse is more like a Gleek in horse form, with a hidden rock star lurking inside the goofball package.

    He definitely needs more of a creative outlet. Maybe I'll teach him to paint?

  9. Hey glad you are enjoying the Rockstar quiz and the book. I wanted to reply to Frosty's owner. If the Wallflower has a high 'Afraid' as yours seems to it may not be a kids horse until it is over 20. Two of my best school horses were an older (over 20) Wild Card and a Wall flower. Even though they were a handful when they were younger, (they were both competitive horses so well exposed) they were always willing for the kids and never minded repeating things over and over. The challenge for you with Frosty will be listening to her before she goes into reactive mod and taking her back into something safe that she can do well. Any questions any of you have feel free to contact me at the horsepersonalites web page.

  10. I own and love this book! It was spot on with Whiskey my older and broke mare. A bit more difficult with the younger horses. Interestingly enough as they mature they seem to be fitting their profile type.