When you play with a horse for the first time, what are some quick tests you can apply to check his Horsenality and trainability? Use the first three of the Parelli Seven Games to gauge the horse you are working with:
1) Friendly Game: Rub the horse all over with your hands and a Carrot Stick and Savvy String, then slap the ground with the stick and string. A horse that is terrified of the Friendly Game and takes a long time to settle is probably over sensitive and very highly strung, probably a Right-Brain Extrovert or Right-Brain Introvert. However, right-brained horses can also be the most sensitive and bonding, which is a positive trait. If the horse appears annoyed the Friendly Game or doesn’t care, that probably means it is a Left-Brained Extrovert or Left-Brained Introvert and will have to be motivated by food and play. However, these horses are often the most tolerant and brave.
2) Porcupine Game: Ask the horse to move off of steady pressure on the forequarters and hindquarters with your fingers or the Carrot Stick. Also ask your horse to follow a feel off the halter and lead and back up off of pressure on this nose. A horse that panics when you apply physical pressure is more likely to push on the bit and either ignore you or panic when you use the reins. Left-brained horses will be harder to move the forequarters and back up and try to bite you. Right-brained horses will be harder to move the hindquarters and either freeze up or run away. Look for how quickly the horse learns to yield from the pressure. This will also help you assess his “teachability.”
3) Driving Game: Use the Carrot Stick and Savvy String to put rhythmic pressure on the horse and cause him to move his forehand, hindquarters and back up. This means moving the stick and string in a circular motion towards the horse and touching him with it if he does not move from the rhythmic motion. As with the Porcupine Game, left-brained horses will be harder to back up and move the forehand, while right-brained horses will be harder to move the hindquarters. If a horse braces against the rhythmic pressure, this tells you how bracy he is likely to be under saddle.
Want to learn more about the Seven Games as a test with a new horse? Go to the Learning Library under the Resources tab on Parelli Connect and search “Seven Games” - there are tons of videos on the Seven Games with a new horse: http://parelliconnect.com/resources