When describing a horse’s temperament and personality one way to simplify the explanations is to refer to the part of the brain the horse tends to operate out of.
There are four different temperament types, not four quarters but four overlapping halves. Introvert and extrovert, and right brain and left brain. An extrovert can be right or left brain, and an introvert can be right or left brain.
This is a great oversimplification because the two halves of the brain work together, nothing only functions naturally in one hemisphere or the other. A horse can show more characteristics of the functions that one side of the brain offers though, and that is what we would call their dominant trait.
All horses have some traits of each type. Some have far more of one type than another and some are evenly balanced in the middle of all of them. When we say extreme right brain it means that they show LOTS of right-brain tendencies. It does not mean they won’t show any left-brain tendencies.
An introvert can also be an extrovert, as in the case of stacked double whorls. Or right brain can also be left brain, like horses with side by side double whorls. In theory, a single-centered whorl should be an even mixture of all four.
Like in people an extroverted horse is one that is social. An extrovert likes to visit, see what is going on in life. They want to be there for the excitement. They may create their own excitement if they get bored. When an extrovert isn’t being kept entertained they will go looking for ways to entertain themselves. They usually have a great sense of humor and will spook, or take things apart, gallop around their pasture or let themselves out of the pasture.
Extroverts are very invested in the external world, everything going on around them. They want to go, to be moving all the time.
They are the hot horses who want to be in the front. Extroverts can get carried away with their desire to be moving and need help to calm down before they can pay attention.
An introverted horse is content within themselves. They are thinking, processing the information around them. Sometimes people make the mistake of underestimating their intelligence because they don’t respond immediately.
That is a major mistake.
Introverts can be extremely intelligent, they don’t want to run around telling everyone about it like an extrovert does. They have a quiet, droll sense of humor.
Introverts like their space. They can be overwhelmed by too much excitement around them. This can cause them to withdraw even further and not respond to overwhelming attempts to get their attention or make them listen.
Instead of trying to make an introvert do anything they need to be given a reason to listen. Explain to them WHY you want them to do it. Make it worth their while. They don’t want to move in the first place. Introverts strongly dislike lots of movement without any apparent purpose.
A horse’s right brain processes their emotions. When the right brain is in control the horse is a subject of their emotions. All the emotions can mean all the feelings. They want to be loved, they want to be appreciated, they want to sit in our lap and be hugged.
The right side of the brain is all about the senses, the world around them, pictures, seeing instead of thinking. Unfortunately, that also means a horse operating in his right brain can be fearful and reactive to stimuli.
They see all the things and everything going on around them. They are alert and aware, because of that, they can be nervous. They can be soothed by lots of repetition, knowing what is coming, and what to expect from you.
Left brain horses are the ones who will undo gate latches, they will untie themselves, they will untie other horses! A left-brain horse wants a game, a challenge, something to keep their busy minds occupied.
A left-brain horse can be one who fears nothing. They can also be the one who sees no reason to listen. When they are interested and want something a left-brain horse sees no reason not to demand you give it to them.
They need work with you to be interesting in order to keep their attention. Once they are bored they see no reason to pay attention to you. Work time needs to be fast-paced and kept interesting. Boredom and repetition are the greatest enemies of a left-brain horse.