In which we take a quiz about horses, and Fiddle sees cervidae

I'm an ENFP*. My horse is a SECF**. Who knew?
*ENFP: Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving
** SECF: Submissive Energetic Curious Friendly

Blog-friend Leah Fry started the stampede to the Horse Personality Quiz website. Now everybody wants to know what "horse-personality type" is standing around in the pasture. How could we resist?

We couldn't, obviously!

The quiz asks questions like "Is your horse the first in the herd to eat?" and "Does your horse like to be touched, petted and groomed?" You can answer questions online and get a quick "diagnosis" of your horse's personality type--sort of an equine Myers-Briggs Assessment.

I read a different book last year covering the same topic: Ride The Right Horse by Yvonne Barteau (thanks, Sky!).

When I read it, I clearly identified Fiddle as an Aloof-Challenging horse, that is, one that prefers to be left alone, and one that will always challenge authority before giving into it.

"That's my horse, all right," I thought.

Nearly a year has passed, and I look at a slightly different personality instrument and discover that my horse is a Submissive Energetic Curious Friendly horse.

Ahem. "Friendly?" "Submissive?" MY HORSE???

Actually, yes.

I took the test last year, just before leaving for a week in the backcountry with Sky and her pretty mare Cricket. We had a wonderful time. We learned a lot. We had lots of fun. And Fiddle grew up a little bit.

Before we left on that trip, Fee's default answer to any request was "NO!" She would acquiesce pretty quickly, but her trademark behavior was refuse first, then agree.

In the space of a year, her behavior has changed dramatically.

She is still strong-minded. She still challenges my authority frequently...but more from habit than actual belief that she might be allowed to dominate. She still believes that if she is given an inch, she should be granted a mile...but she has learned to accept that she probably will not be granted that inch, and most definitely will not be given a mile. She pushes, but not very hard.

If I were to give in even once, I'd be back at Square One. However, I have learned not to give in, and she has learned that I don't, and so her challenging behavior is pretty half-hearted these days. Will she ever stop challenging me? Probably not entirely.

One of the questions on the current quiz reads something like: Does your horse move readily off your leg?

Last year I would have answered emphatically "NO." Now, I answer emphatically "YES." She has learned to move forward with a good attitude. Did her personality change so much? Probably not...but with training and practice, she has learned that my expectations (You will move forward when I touch you with my leg) are not outrageous or even difficult. So, she moves forward readily now. It's a huge change, but it didn't come suddenly. I didn't even notice the change until I took the quiz this evening. Cool.

Last year, she didn't like to be touched or petted at all. She would pin her ears, hump her back, and make the ugliest faces possible. After a year of living in the backyard instead of a boarding barn, she comes forward to have her face scratched. She still isn't as people-oriented and puppy-dog-friendly as Hana, and probably never will be. But she's more comfortable with the routine of grooming and being touched, and she even seeks it out at times. Big change!

Here's Fiddle's Horse Personality Profile:
SECF: Submissive Energetic Curious Friendly ("The Goddess")

The Goddess is loved by most of the other horses and most people.
Hmmm, a bit of overstatement here. I love her. Most people would still be mowed down by her.

They are expressive and sensitive and emotional. You will know how they feel.
Oh, yes. You can see her ears semaphore her emotions from 3 miles down the trail!

They try very hard to please and will worry and be anxious if you are not happy with them.
For Fiddle, this manifests as "perfectionism," and it's the main thing she loves about her dressage lessons.

In the negative they can have scattered energy that is hard to get focused.
Hence the 45-minute warmup before a lesson or the start of an endurance ride. She has strong desires to do what she wants...and the warmup is needed to focus her attention on the task at hand.

This personality can be loved on as much as you want.

Listen to them yes. I always listen. I don't always agree to let her do what she wants, but I always listen to the request.
Play with them
Ask for what you want
Allow them friendships
Be their friend and leader "leader" is a key word here!
Give them variety
Own them forever

Be rigid, bossy, boring
Move them frequently
Keep them alone
Stress them Actually, I do stress Fiddle on purpose, to allow her to experience change in controlled circumstances. If I stayed in her comfort zone, we would never have gotten out of her stall. As a result, she has learned to cope with change and stress in appropriate ways.

So, that's Fiddle. What about Hana?

Hana is SLCF: Submissive Lazy Curious Friendly (The "Steady Eddy")
She will do whatever you like, just ask. She will do whatever you like and not waste a bunch of calories doing additional stuff. And she loves attention.

Here's the details for the SLCF personality type:

If you are a novice or amateur, this is the horse for you. They are quiet and predictable, loving and engaging, willing to learn new things, willing to hang out with you and do nothing. This is not your big ego, career-oriented horse. They are happy to just be. Consistent and loyal, all you need to do is enjoy!

Whatever you want
Appreciate them Hana loves to be told that she's a good girl!
Play with them
Keep variety in their work
Keep workouts short "Short" is a relative term. For an endurance rider, "all day" is short, because it implys that you will be back in camp before dark. That timetable works just fine for Hana!

Have huge expectations
Overtax them
Ignore them
Bore them

Yup, that's our Hana. She is really the nicest, sweetest little horse. She is exactly the kind of nice little horse that Jim deserves. She is exactly the kind of horse I thought I wanted...but I ended up with Fiddle instead. Actually, that worked out okay.

Fiddle had lots of time off after returning from the Renegade Rendezvous camp, but we hit the trails again this morning for a short (2.5 hour) ride around the tree farm. I was grateful for the overcast skies and light rain this morning, because it knocked all the pollen and dust out of the air--I've been sneezing for DAYS!

We saw bunches of deer, especially in the meadows. Here's a picture I call "Where's Waldo: Cervidae Edition." Can you spot all three deer? Calloo, callay, the red huckleberries are ripe and delicious at last!

Huckleberry season is the best, right after blackberry season. I eat the berries, and Fiddle eats the branches and leaves.

Life is good!


  1. My Wild Card sure makes me appreciate my Steady Eddy, the salt of the earth. I only stress Poco when it's a good day to die, but I find if I clear my mind and approach whatever it is with a lalala attitude, he's usually just fine.

  2. The book itself is pretty good too - some nice suggestions on how to adapt what you do to different personality types.

    Dawn is a Wild Card and Maisie is a People Pleaser - that's a nice balance for me.

  3. Fiddle gives me hope that one day Dixie will become a decent partner if I stick with it.

    I saw the deer! I think I saw the third one - were they in an equilateral triangle? (Almost asked if they were in a triangle - well, duh.)

  4. I still think the word "FRIENDLY" is too strong to be applied to Fiddle. She likes to be groomed and scratched by me, and by certain members of my family, including Jim and Madeline and Jill. She flat-out loves the farrier for some reason.

    However, she knows that Willy is scared of her "wicked ears" and she likes to push him around. She acknowledges the poking and prodding of vets, but she doesn't hang around after her vet check hoping that they'll scratch her tummy (like Hana does).

    Friendly? Or just better-trained?

  5. Having sdtudied psychology and being familiar with M-B and similar "inventories", I see such questionnaires as simply "jumping off points" for discussion. They are merely snapshots of one moment in time, from one person's perspective. I tend to take the "results" with a grain of salt.

    I see two out of three of the deer...

    You talk about a "short" 2.5 hour ride... That's about what Kate and I did yesterday (soon to be blogged) with the KVTR group, and it seemed "looong" to me--but then, we haven't done much all spring! ;-)

  6. Fun! My mare came up as the Wild Card, hmmm.

    Her son, Cartman, came up as the Steady Eddie- I'm hoping he is going to be my endurance horse, I suppose steady will be a good thing.

    Karen W.

  7. Isn't it neat how accurate the quiz and assessments are?
    I was just getting ready to do a post on my mare's personality, too.
    Apache is a Wallflower, and I wasn't surprised to find that out at all. That title fits her well.

    The deer must have been a treat to see. I was thrilled when Apache and I saw the Elk run across the trail during our horse camping trip July 4th weekend.

    Huckleberries? I'ver never seen them or tried them before. I don't think they even grow down here.



  8. Otto came out as a SECA ("The Worker Bee"), which I would consider a very accurate statement. I didn't know about this horsie M-B test when I was shopping last summer, but I did know I was looking for a horse that was all business on the trail. In the two brief encounters I had with him before the purchase, I saw glimmers of work ethic and determination, but didn't really have my eye on specific reactions he had in the herd dynamic (which seems to be what the majority of the assessment is reading).

    It's rewarding to see that his behaviors as I observe them now match up to what I was hoping to get personality-wise when I took the chance and bought him.

    And it is VERY interesting to know that your training program has been a catalyst for big changes in Fiddle's attitude. It gives me hope that one day my Worker Bee will learn to cuddle. :)


Post a Comment

To err is human. To be anonymous is not.

Popular posts from this blog

In which you can't believe everything online, and this is a farm blog

In which we explore the Whitehorse Trail : from Fortson Mill to Steelhead Drive

In which there's a safety quiz to share with rider AND non-rider friends