Now the thrilling conclusion of the TTouch Blog Mini Series. I only have three equines, so I can only do so much with this topic.
Today’s contestant: Pony Man, a 5-year-old, medium sized pony with a heart filled with arrogance, and cowardliness, in equal measures. He enjoys galloping up to greet people, or hiding behind trees, sobbing his little heart out, depending on how he’s feeling.
He has an adorable little dished face. He’s just so perfect…like a little china doll…
TTouch says: A tendency to be sensitive and sometimes timid. Yes, this is true about him. He’s very shy around new people, and won’t come up to them. He remembers if you did something to him (like fly sprayed) and he’ll hold it against you for at least a week, and not want to come near you.
Medium sized jowls.
TTouch says: Average ability to learn. I guess so… pretty vague.
He has the adorably named “Teacup muzzle”. Awwww, more proof in my mind that he is so adorable and tiny.
TTouch says: This British Definition came about because the muzzle appeared to be small enough to fit into a teacup. Reflects intelligence and sensitvity. He’s definitely sensitive! I think he’s pretty intelligent too. He figures things out fast. He really would be so perfect if he was a full sized horse…but then he wouldn’t be all tiny and cute, so I’m undecided which is better.
He has a very short mouth! I’m actually surprised I never noticed before.
TTouch says: This can signal inflexibility and a horse who is slow to learn. It’s hard to fit such horses with a comfortable bit, and generally they do better without one, i.e., hackamore. That’s interesting because he is pretty fussy with his bit. I assumed he was still getting used to the idea of it. I’ll have to keep an eye on this… And I don’t think he is slow to learn, but he is kind of inflexible… like literally inflexible, it’s hard to supple him up.
He has what the book describes as a “mobile upper lip. It’s always moving around, he’s very expressive with it.
TTouch says: Curiosity and the physical need to have contact with humans, mouthing them for example. I’m a little taken back from that, because that is him. He follows me around the field, begging me to scratch him and play with him. He loves to have mutual grooming sessions, although he won’t groom me, he’ll groom the air near me, or a nearby horse if there’s one close enough.
Looking through a series of photos of Pony has made me decide that he has “Large, open, and moveable nostrils.”
TTouch says: A sign of a nature that is intelligent, interested, and eagerly active. That is him. He’s very interested in everything around him, even if he’s too shy to check out some of the scary things.
He has a round, soft chin.
TTouch says: Signals a nature that can be easy going and uncomplicated. Yes, he is easy to ride, he’s never bucked, or done anything nasty, either under saddle or in general, and he’s willing. He’s just really shy and sensitive, which means he needs convincing sometimes.
This one was easy. Pony has massive eyes for his little pony self.
TTouch says: Generally indicates a horse who is willing and usually trusts people. He is willing, and he seems to trust/like me. But he’s really shy around people he doesn’t know. So I’m not sure if this is accurate or not.
There are two characteristics I can get from his ears. In addition to the shape, “fine, fluted ears,” he has adorable tufts in his ears.
TTouch says: Usually signifies intelligence. He’s a smart little guy, no question about that.
TTouch says: Often indicates willfulness and inflexibility. He is literally inflexible like we covered earlier. But this directly contradicts earlier statements that he is willing. I would say he’s definitely more willing than not.
He has one swirl, looks like it’s smack dab in the center.
TTouch says: This pattern and position is the standard one displayed by the majority of the horses in our studies and in my observations. It indicates a horse with a generally uncomplicated nature, but there are variations. Sometimes swirls are set a little to one side of the other.
With swirls set to the left as you face the animal, the horse will tend to be a touch more complicated but still trustworthy. Horses who have a swirl set a bit to the right of center may be less cooperative than those with the pattern in the center or to the left.
In general swirls of this sort are less indicate of character than the more complex patterns.
I don’t really have a comment on that one, as it seems to be just vague and general, and doesn’t indicate a whole lot.
After running these three tests, I would say I’m kind of a believer. Maybe like, 65% of a believer. Some of them were dead on, and some seemed really off. A lot of them confirmed what I already knew from knowing my horses for years already.
I could see that this could be useful if you were selecting a new horse. If you had already memorized all the different traits and knew what traits to avoid, theoretically, when you evaluated a prospect, you could decide if they had a personality you would get along with. Since I already know some of the traits, I would be evaluating a potential horse that way, but it’s hard not to get fixated on one specific trait that would be undesirable, and then discount the entire horse. My own horses had a few traits that were undesirable, but I still like their overall personalities.
Overall, a very interesting look at my horses, and I recommend the book if you want to evaluate your own horse. The book goes into further details on evaluating, even taking into account the entire conformation of the horse, and who it could help or hinder their intended job. Technically, I could have gone further with these posts and evaluated everyone’s conformation, but they seemed long enough as it was.
Later on in the book, it talks about exercises to develop your horse’s personality. I have never tried them, so I don’t know if they work, but they are interesting. If you’re interested, it’s Getting in TTouch – Understand and Influence Your Horse’s Personality.