What personality type is my horse?

by Ditte Young

Updated on February 6, 2024
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes 

Horses are just as different from each other as humans are. They have their minds, temperaments, and ways of being in the world — and just like us, they have their personality types.

At first, it may seem daunting to almost humanize your horse through a horse personality chart. However, several equestrians have described various personalities of horses throughout the years. Most riders already describe their horse’s personality type without even knowing it.

They may say: “My horse is a Princess — she’s very dominant,” or, “My horse wants to play all the time. He’s like a neurodivergent child who will never grow up,” etc. Having heard phrases like these over the last 25 years, it’s clear that humans constantly invest their horses in human qualities.

I also think that understanding your horse’s personality is essential for better horse welfare. When you know it, you also understand the behavior that follows. I have tried my best to explain the different horse personality types in my work over the years.

In this article, I will walk you through these horse personality types, their characteristics, and how you can get to know your horse’s personality better.

Table of Contents

Horse personality types

In my book Understanding your horse, I describe the different personality types of horses. In the following, I’ll introduce you to them. Your horse may be one of these personalities or a mixture of a few. However, the horse’s personality characteristics will always be dominant and more accessible to observe if the horse feels discomfort, is stressed, or reacts to fear.

The playful horse

If you have a Playful horse, your horse will usually have a lot of energy. It almost feels like having an ADHD kid on four legs. Your horse likely has difficulty focusing on a training method for more than 10 minutes. Your horse may be able to practice many things at home, but when you enter a competition, your horse can’t focus on practicing the same things. Your horse instead focuses on everything else besides you and the program.

At the stable, your horse seems impatient when you brush it, clean it, or leave your horse for only a few minutes to pick up the saddle.

With a horse personality like the Playful horse, you must focus on creating versatility in your training and everyday life. Your horse gets bored easily, and because of the high amount of energy, it calls for you to balance your horse’s mental and physical power. Like any other animal, this horse has a heightened energy level; this personality profile helps you connect with your inner child through play.

Many riders think the horse’s characteristic personality creates behavioral issues. They say things like: “My horse never listens to me – he’s very naughty,” or “My horse doesn’t trust me.”

Many riders think their horses can be manipulative. However, this is impossible for them due to the lack of development in the neocortex of their brains. By understanding precisely what the Playful horse needs, the behavioral issues disappear.

You might also be interested in: “How to stop a horse from bucking.

The sensitive horse

When you meet a horse personality like the Sensitive horse, you know it immediately. It is a horse that is very in tune with its nervous system, and the horse’s personality has the most behavioral issues at first sight.

The personality characteristics of the Sensitive horse are typically as follows:

The Sensitive horse is also the horse personality type you can connect with the most. It needs you as a stable leader and always seeks your boundaries, leadership, and aid.

It is also the horse personality type that you can connect with most easily telepathically. When you think of something, the horse instantly responds to your thoughts, energy, or breathing. This way, the Sensitive horse helps you connect with your nervous system and emotions. It requires you to be in the now constantly.

You might also be interested in: “8 signs that your horse trusts you.

The Prince or Princess

This horse personality type is courageous, brave, majestical, seeking, and dominant. This would be the one if I had to pick one horse personality that would manage best at competitions. This horse wants to be seen and is motivated by an acknowledgment from the rider.

Many behavioral issues occur if this horse personality doesn’t have a strong and loving rider.

These can be problems such as:

Many inexperienced riders need to know this horse’s characteristics and personality to avoid conflict riding or conflicts in general at the stables.

This horse personality is typically a mix of another horse personality profile, such as the Playful or Sensitive horse. In these cases, it is difficult to understand why practicing some things at home is possible but somewhat impossible to practice at competitions.

This horse is also the born leader and provides a free leadership course in your everyday life — if you choose to look at it that way.

You might also be interested in: “How to stop a horse from biting.

The King or Queen

I rarely meet this horse personality profile, but when I do, I have no doubt. This horse is a majestical, somewhat spiritual animal who is mentally and physically balanced and wants to help the rider. It is a master, a teacher, and almost a parent. Most riders know they have a “helper” when they have a King or a Queen.

It might look like it differs from the herd’s leader at first sight. Many people think the Princes or the Princesses are the true leaders when, in fact, they are not. The Prince or Princess is physically dominant to the other horses when they signal they want them to move, go away, or follow them. The King or Queen doesn’t have to use body language to make the other horses react to their signals.

They use their energy fields, which communicate both their need for personal space and an energy of determination. The other horse personality types react to this energy since they subconsciously seek a leader.

If this horse personality type has experienced neglect, abuse, or violence from a human being, this horse often becomes dangerous in the hands of a rider. They have learned that the communication must be loud to be heard. I’ve made several online animal communicator courses about horses that will help you know how to communicate with your horse in a way they understand.

The King or Queen needs a human being or rider that is just as balanced as they are.

Common misunderstandings about horse personalities

Some horses exhibit behaviors often misinterpreted as part of their personality profile. For example, horses are often mislabeled as lazy when they need to follow instructions. However, in many cases, there are reasons for this behavior that have nothing to do with laziness. The answer lies in how much the rider truly understands what motivates the horse’s personality type and how to balance this without causing distress or eustress to the horse.

Every horse’s personality comes with a behavioral pattern.

We tend to forget that the horse is a fight-or-flight animal. Horses will react to what they interpret as dangerous, unknown, too much, or anxious situations. They, too, have memories in their nervous systems. Once a problem has been logged as dangerous in their systems, it will forever become hazardous to them. That is also why it takes many years to undo situations they fear, such as trailer loading, separation anxiety, or even fearing the veterinarian.

Each horse personality can calm down and connect and cooperate with their riders. When you know what motivates your horse, you must make more of that. By creating a safe space with your horse, your horse will trust you over time. If you have a Playful horse and are very ambitious, your horse will react negatively to your energy and demands. If you are a dominant person with a Sensitive horse, your horse will be more frightened and “scream” louder to make you understand that you have to lower your dominance.

This is also the beauty of our relations with the different horse personalities. They help us develop as human beings without even knowing it.

You might also be interested in: “How to tell if your horse is in pain.

How to determine your horse’s personality type

Your horse was born with dominant personality characteristics. However, your horse’s characteristics can develop into a distinct personality type when understood.

If you have a Sensitive Prince of a horse, you might have a horse, when in balance, who works perfectly in training; a horse that listens to your help and aids from your leg yield, breath, and hands to how you carry your weight. Your horse will also love to go to competitions with you. You’ll know that you can take home the medals or just the joy of the experiences with your horse.

But! This scenario can never happen if you don’t manage the sensitivity when your horse gets scared of something. If a Sensitive horse is afraid of oncoming horses, this problem will overshadow all its other resources. When you handle the sensitivity, your horse can become a Prince in all its glory.

Here are a few tips on observing and assessing your horse’s personality type:

  • Observe how your horse reacts with other horses in the herd. Is it passive, aggressive, dominant, or does it need space? This information can tell a lot since the Playful and Sensitive horse personality types are passive. The Prince and Princesses are dominant and more aggressive, and the King or Queen are withdrawn or reluctant to be involved in drama but live in harmony and balance. They trust the herd will figure out their problems by themselves.
  • Observe how your horse reacts at the stable and in the box. Is it impatient when you get things and move away from it? Is it dominant and wants its food first? Is it nervous when you take out other horses and it is being left alone in the paddock or box?
  • Observe what your horse does during riding. The answer to many behavioral issues is often underlying health conditions, but the training lets you determine your horse’s personality profile. Look carefully if your horse feels happy, and observe what you do during training to motivate your horse to this emotion. Be aware of conflict behavior, such as if your horse whips its tail or moves fast forward, like running out of your hands, etc.

This makes it easier for you to listen to your horse. Your horse does speak; it doesn’t use words but speaks nonverbally and energetically. This is also known as telepathy or nonverbal communication, which requires sensitivity and a patient rider to truly listen to what the horse has to “say.” 

With the help of a horse whisperer or animal communicator, you can learn how to communicate with your horse telepathically. This will allow you to understand exactly what your horse is trying to tell you and how to strengthen the bond between you and your horse.

Animal Telepathy Mastery

Get to know your horse’s personality type with Ditte Young

I, Ditte Young, have been an equine sports coach, animal communicator, horse whisperer, therapist, and clairvoyant for 25 years. I am the author of three books about animal communication and am known as the most recognized animal communicator and horse whisperer in Europe. I’ve made various online animal communicator courses for those interested in learning more.

I’ve made a specific online course for you who want to know more about your horse’s personality profile and behavior and how to manage this in your everyday life. This course, entitled “Horses’ Personality Profiles,” will help you get to know your horse’s personality profile and gain a new, more profound understanding of how your horse understands you, responds to you, and reads your signals. 

I have taught my telepathic methods to more than 550 people worldwide. Many of my students practice animal communication professionally and can make a living doing it, too.

Want to learn problem solving behavioral techniques applicable to horses from Europe’s most recognized horse communicator? Now is your chance.

You can now participate in my online class Animal Telepathy Mastery from anywhere worldwide.

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