Horse Temperament: Does your horse have feelings?

I have been criticized for my horse temperament typing system because I talk about horses having feelings similar to people. I am in one camp and the other believes that the only concern the horse has is to stay alive and be alright. The answer probably lives somewhere in the middle.

I believe the more domesticated the horse the more he adopts human feelings. The more we leave a horse alone and let him be a horse the more he thinks and feels like a horse. For example, the horse that lives out on 50 acres with a herd of his buddies and is ridden only on the weekend thinks more like a horse than the horse that goes down the road on the show circuit with his person.

So what I am saying is the horse is capable of human like feelings and each horse temperament expresses feelings differently. So, if you believe, like I do, that horses have feelings then isn’t it important for us to honor them? But, the horse can’t verbally tell us his feelings so how do we know? We type them.

Horse temperament typing helps us have a better idea how our horse feels. We can use the physical characteristics to type our horse and then anticipate how he is going to feel about things. For example, is the food and comfort oriented Earth horse going to get excited about a 50 mile endurance ride? I think not. Or is the sensitive Fire horse going to excel in the tough world of horse racing? Not likely. Is your competitive Wood horse just as excited as you are about the class A horse show coming up. Yes he is.

Horse temperament typing is not about putting your horse into a box. It is about finding out who he is so you can better honor and understand him. But first, you have to believe he has feelings. Madalyn

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