Ideally, as we age and mature, we begin to see the value of tapping into our own opposite preferences. For example, judging types can learn to relax the rules a bit. Thinking types can discover that not all decisions must to be logical to be right. If a person can tolerate the mild discomfort of a serious self-examination and can explore new directions of growth, the rewards will be immense.
Personality Type and Riding
Our personality type also influences how we shop for horses, how we ride and train our horses and how we relate to our equine partners. There are, of course, many factors that shape our personalities and our interactions with horses, such as environment, education, intelligence and life experience. But there are many characteristics common to each type that influence our training style and compatibility with horses.
The following examples have been made with the assumption that many of us ride and train our horses largely alone or with only occasional help, such as a weekly or monthly lesson from a local trainer. Riders under constant supervision by a competent trainer can moderate natural tendencies of the individual types that hamper progress. For the rest of us more independent riders, we would be wise to key in on our own strengths and challenges in order to optimize our chances for a successful riding career.
In selecting a horse, it is easy for feeling types to choose with their hearts rather than to face the hard facts. They may be prone to buying the neediest of creatures rather than the most suitable horse, reasoning that all the horse needs is a little more tender loving care. They are the least able to detach themselves and evaluate a horse critically and the most likely to attach themselves emotionally to a horse, whether it is the right horse or not.
When riding, feeling types may shy away from a needed dispute with the horse, thus allowing him to have the upper hand all too often, and we all know where that leads. Also, in their reluctance to deliver a one-time sharp aid, they may deliver numerous, less effective aids, thus becoming "naggers." However, feeling types are more in tune to what the horse is telling them and do not have an unalterable agenda of work that must be accomplished, regardless of what the horse can do.
Thinking types, who naturally face challenges with a more confident attitude, may consider taking on a horse that is beyond their particular riding capabilities in terms of behavior, size or trainability. They assume they can fix just about anything. It may not be long before they realize that they are in way over their heads. In their urgency to decide and fix now, they often fail to patiently take in enough information to embark on the most appropriate course. However, thinking types will take the inevitable setbacks or hiccups in their training journey as just that, a hiccup, and easily move on.
Sensing types will be acutely observant of the actual characteristics of a horse and his current training and behavior but may fail to see the potential or what "could be," thereby passing up a golden opportunity. Because of their sometimes narrow focus, they may jeopardize their success by getting so immersed in a particular training issue that they fail to recognize the solution. If sensing types accept the fact that each glitch in their riding program will not lead to complete ruination of their horses, or themselves as riders, it will help set them back on a forward course. Because they are more naturally able to follow directions and lesson plans as explicitly given, their progress may be more consistent and have fewer holes.
Intuitive types, with their ability to see "what could be" better than "what is now," may overlook the obvious and real issues a particular horse or horse/ rider combination may bring. Their natural idealism combined with their tendency to focus on the overall impression, rather than the details, may make their choices seem impractical. But, because of their optimistic nature, intuitive types--particularly intuitive-feeling types--can be quite adept at convincing themselves that their horses are coming along much better than they actually are. But, because of their ability to see a better tomorrow, the intuitive type is less likely to get bogged down.
Hence, finding your own personality type makes you aware of your tendencies and allows you to work with them. I am an ISFJ, an Introvert-Sensing-Feeling-Judging type. I don't enjoy a daily diet of conflicts. And, since I ride mostly on my own with only occasional trips to my trainer, a challenging type horse was out of the question. As an introvert, I do not need a social horse and would have been happy enough with an aloof horse. But I chose a passive, social/aloof type, which has turned out to be a perfect match for me. He is a rather compliant fellow, and I love his social antics.