How Different Horse Types and Temperaments Cope with Stress

Part of determining which Five Element horse temperaments are best for certain disciplines involves determining each types ability to handle pressure and stress. Selecting a horse temperament with low coping skills for a high pressure career will likely result in having a horse with many health issues even if the horse is able to perform. Lets look at the coping or lack of coping skills of each type.

Fire horses are probably the least likely horses to do well under pressure. These horses want to please and they are very sensitive. As the horse with a Fire temperament gets tired or sore he is less able to perform well because he does not tolerate pain well. As the Fire horse’s performance suffers his self esteem drops as well and self esteem is very important to this type horse. I say this because the Fire horse temperament thrives on being admired by others so any lack luster performance that does not bring praise stresses him. A stressed Fire horse will quickly go off feed and digestive problems are not far behind.

Earth horses are so laid back that they can handle quite a bit of stress. As a matter of fact it may take a little pressure to bring their performance to its peak because the Earth horse temperament is a bit lazy. The challenging training schedule for such high pressure disciplines as show jumping or rodeo can keep the Earth horse fit and healthy where on their own they might get fat and out of shape. Earth horses are also steady performers that enjoy the company of people. A stressed Earth horse will get grumpy and tend to balk when asked to step up his performance. Muscle soreness and swelling in the legs are health signs that indicate stress in the Earth horse temperament.

Metal horses are by far the toughest horse temperament. They have a very high pain threshold and once they learn a job will perform it even when they are tired or hurt. A Metal horse that is enjoying his career will be energetic and maybe even a bit strong willed. On the other hand a stressed Metal horse temperament will be shut down and robot like in his performance. Health problems that indicate stress include respiratory infections, impaction type colic and lower front leg arthritis and heel pain.

Water horse temperaments are a close second to Fire horses in their lack of coping ability. Water horses don’t have the desire to please but are more concerned about self preservation. If the Water horse is intimidated by large, cheering crowds or overfaced with difficult jumps or obstacles he will fight for his survival. This may mean violent resistance to entering the show ring or dangerous behavior such as running away or trying to jump out of the ring if forced in. Health challenges include weight loss and digestive upset. Lower back pain and hind leg arthritis are also health challenges the Water horse can face.

Wood horses actually thrive on pressure. They love competition and the more physical work involved the better. Wood horses do not hold up as well to hard work and the Metal horse but emotionally they want to keep working so it is important to pay attention to minor injuries and not let them get worse. If too much pressure is put on the Wood horse temperament he will become aggressive and tend to bite or kick when handled. They can also get digestive issues and tightness through the ribs.

Matching the horse temperament with the best coping skills to the tough careers is ideal and if your horse does not handle pressure well be prepared to go the extra mile with care if you decide the take on a high pressure discipline.

Learn more on the Horse Harmony Website
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Introduction to the Horse Harmony Personality Types and Temperament System


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