Horse characters & Behaviour: #2 Extroverted horses

In our last article we talked about the different parts of the brain that our horse uses: the instinctive side (when in flight mode) and the rational side (when in thinking mode). If you haven’t read this article yet, I suggest you take the time for it first à Ratio vs Instinct.


And then the time has come to ask yourself the next question to know what type of character your horse is showing and you will be able to adapt your training methods to it. The question is: Is my horse generally acting like an extrovert or an introvert?

In this article we will mostly be talking about the first category. And of course you ask now what this extroversion means? Well, first you ask yourself the following questions:


  • Does my horse move his feet easily/does he use a lot of energy?
  • Is my horse charismatic? (Can you usually clearly tell how he is feeling?)
  • Is my horse generally a pretty ‘happy’ horse à does he frolic and play a lot? (If you’re not sure, then make sure you watch him when he’s not in contact with you, for example when he is in his herd in the pasture).

If the answer to at least 2 of these questions is Yes, then there is a big chance that you’re dealing with an extrovert.

But why is it so important to know this? When we train our horses and play with them it is important to have a connection. This simply means that your horse feels attracted to you; feels connected to you and likes to be around you. And the other way around.

One of the most important ways to get this connection with your horse is to show him that what is important to him, is also important to you. You have to show him that you understand where he’s coming from and he will automatically feel more at home with you.


How to do this? You match his energy level.
An extroverted horse likes to move and use energy for a good cause. Just like extroverted people like to move their mouth a lot and be noticeably present. Just imagine you’re an extrovert yourself; you like to be heard, you’re social and are looking for a fun conversation. But during your lunch hour you have a partner for the conversation that behaves like a real introvert; he doesn’t say a lot, you can’t tell from his expressions what he thinks or feels and you don’t really feel he’s actively engaged in the conversation. Would you enjoy this conversation? Or would you feel like you’re talking to a wall and you’d rather have someone actively listening and participating in the conversation?


Now imagine your horse feeling like this: he has been waiting all day for his special playmate. There she comes to get him and play together. He’s excited and can’t wait to find out what cool new ideas she has for him. But instead of taking him out and doing some exciting stuff she just wants to relax. She brushes him extensively, has a long chat with her neighbor on their way to the arena, and when they get there she just wants to walk! Can you imagine that your little extrovert was NOT waiting for this at all?

Watch your horse this week, and try to give him a number for his general extroversion (from 10 to -10). Maybe he will even show up differently every day? Or maybe he moves his feet more easily in the pasture than when he is with you?

And then try and match his energy. If he likes to move his feet; just help him with it; find exercises for him to do where he can move a lot!