Inspired by others who did the same thing, I took the horse personality test for Lilly. If you want to take the test, you can find it here.
According to the test, Lilly is a 'People Pleaser'. Soft, sensitive, and very sweet describes this horse that will try and try to please you. They like to be told exactly what you want and then have you help them perform it. This is not your go-it-alone type of horse. They need you for support and can get very rattled if expectations are too high. This horse is in your life for the relationship.
Wow! Does that describe Lilly to a T or what? She is super sweet, but not very confident and looks to me and other horses when she needs support. When it comes to training, I have to be very precise about what I'm asking and then I have to show her how to do it. That has been difficult for me since the start of our partnership. She's much more of a challenge than horses in my past, but the relationship we have developed because of this is one that I cherish.
She will try and try and try, and gets upset with herself if she isn't able to figure out what I want. We take things very slow to help keep her confidence up and so that she can succeed.
I love the part that states "this horse is in your life for the relationship". Truer words have never been written. :)
The author of the test also has a book that describes the personalities in more detail. Through Amazon, I was able to search inside the book and read the entire chapter on People Pleasers. (That's cheating, I know...) Very interesting and so incredibly applicable to Lilly's personality.
"The relationship is much more important to them than the job. They would be happy to do the same circle for 8 years as long as it made you happy." It states that new things must be introduced slowly and repeated for an extended period of time so that they understand they're doing the right thing. Because these horses try so hard, riders can think the horse has the idea and move on to more advanced work even though the horse is actually not ready.
The book also comments on cantering and how it can take a long time to develop with this type of personality. (Oh so true!!) Lunging can also be difficult because the horse feels like we're pushing them away when we send them out on the line. Lilly has never very good on the lunge line. I may now know why!
Jumping and dressage are suggested careers for this type of horse because they're constantly being told what to do and that's what a horse like Lilly is looking for. Unfortunately, Lilly can't jump because of her tendon issues, but I have often thought about trying our hand at dressage. Pleasure classes seem so mindless at times, and Lilly has a tough time going around all on her own. I can't just set her up and let her go, I have to constantly communicate with her about how I want her to be moving.
"They are touchy, cuddly, expressive, cute, loveable, and smart." She is definitely a love bug and enjoys being close to me. I also think she is incredibly smart.
This test was definitely a lot of fun, and I have even more appreciation now for Lilly and the type of horse she is.