It can happen that you just don’t match with your horse, that your characters are not compatible. What will you do in that case? Continue, despite all the possible problems you might be facing, or find him a new home that might be a better fit?
If you start looking for a horse, the horse often will be ridden for you to show how he behaves under the current rider, then you can get on yourself, and you will ask some questions while you are there. What we often neglect to do is look at the character of the horse and the compatibility with you as the owner or rider.
There are different types of horses:
Wood horses are horses that want to win, they cannot handle loss very well, and love to work for you. They are dominant, aggressive, assertive, and keep an eye on everything that happens around them. You have to protect this horse from injuries since they always want more, and are quite clumsy. This horse will show you if he like you or not, and, maybe more important, if they respect you. The anger and aggressive behaviour only services when this horse isn’t balanced, or doesn’t understand the answer to your question.
A fire horse loves attention and being in the spotlights. Ze need other horses around and do not like to be alone. They will always try to keep an eye on their friends and what they are doing. This horse works best in a herd and when alone in a stable the ability to touch other horses, they need the contact. They can be scaredy cats and startled easily. The fire horse is extremely sensitive, and will sense the mood of the rider without flaw. It can be difficult eaters and (over)sensitive for pain. This isn’t the easiest horse to work with, but if you have their trust, they will do anything for you.
These are the perfect schooling horses. Not easily fazed, calm, patient, reliable, and loves food. A good horse for a beginner, but when you put on a more experienced rider he can decide to act up. They are far from stupid and rather do their own thing with the beginner than actually work with the experienced one.
The water horse is the most difficult of all. They are mistrusting by nature and on its own. They like to assess the situation from afar and need an owner or rider who will take the time and effort to get to know them. To train a water horse you need a lot of patience and calm. Their intelligence is often overshadowed by fear.
These are the horses that are the most down to earth. They will do their job and expect a fair treatment in return. They don’t like long grooming sessions, just put the saddle on, work and back to the stable. When you mistreat this horse, it will turn into himself and won’t be easy to reach. It will become stiff, depressed and unresponsive. Cool headed horses and very suitable for eventing and western.
You can categorize riders according to the elements as well. Wood and wood look like a good combination, but often they push each other over the limits, they both lack a brake. You as a rider have to be very conscious of not pushing the limits to much.
Most of the horses (and riders) are a combination of several elements, with one that is clearly dominant.
A very good way of determining how you react to each other is doing some ground work. I hear you thinking, I am in no way going to ask if I can do ground work with a horse that is not even mine yet. Why not? Especially in the current market in which the horses are extremely expensive, you really want to be sure of your choice, and not realize after several months that you are not really compatible with your horse. With ground work you get a good idea of the character of the horse and how he will respond to your body language. It can only benefit your decision.
If you want to know more about the different kind of horses, I can recommend this book: Paardentypen – Eric Laarakker. Online you can find a lot of information as well.
And if you want a lesson in ground work or need a second pair of eyes when you go looking for a horse, feel free to reach out!