Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 29, 2013

New book helps pair people with the perfect horse

By Carson Gerber
Kokomo Tribune

Bunker Hill — Who are you? Are you pensive, impatient, accommodating or enthusiastic? Are you logical, quick, friendly or dramatic?

It’s a question of defining your personality. And if you’re a horse enthusiast, it’s also a question of discovering the type of horse that’s right for you.

That’s the goal of a new book written by Miami County residents Eunice Rush and Marry Morrow called, “Know You, Know Your Horse: An Intimate Look at Human and Horse Personalities”.

It hit bookstores across the country earlier this month, and the two currently are touring the Midwest for book signings and speaking engagements.  

Morrow said horses have distinct personalities just like people do. And just like people, riders get along with horses who share their same character traits.

“If you have the same core personality as your horse, you have a lot better chance of living a long, successful life together,” she said.

It seems like a simple enough idea, but Rush said it’s actually a radical method to choosing a horse and finding the best way to train it for a smooth, comfortable ride.

“This is a totally new concept,” she said. “We couldn’t find anything, anywhere like it. I think it’s a very, very unique approach.”

And Rush and Morrow would know.

Morrow said she’s studied natural horsemanship since she was 17 years old, and currently runs a horse-training program near Denver called From the Ground Up Horsemanship. She travels all over, helping riders learn what motivates and comforts their horses and teaching a non-confrontational training style. Morrow said she was responsible for the horse-side of the book.

Rush, a 62-year-old Bunker Hill resident, said she’s ridden horses since she was 10 years old. For more than 25 years, she’s worked in management and taught employees how to read personality traits to cater their sales to clients. Rush said she was responsible for the human-side of the book.

The two authors said they made an unlikely writing team. Morrow said she’s an analytical introvert, while Rush said she’s a decisive extrovert. Morrow wanted tons of details in the book. Rush just wanted to get it written.

“We had to combine two very different philosophies on how to write this,” Rush said. “But it was nice having two perspectives coming into it.”

The two met at one of Morrow’s training clinics and became fast friends. Rush said the “light bulb came on” for the book after the two analyzed each others’ personalities, and then the personality of their favorite horses. Sure enough, they discovered their most-loved equines shared their own character traits.

After two years of research traveling to Ohio, Kentucky and all over Indiana, observing and learning how riders got along with their animals, that initial hypothesis was proven correct.

A year later, the two had the first manuscript typed up. After intensive editing from their publisher, Trafalgar Square Books in Vermont, it was ready for print.  

Morrow said “Know You, Know Your Horse” is full of questionnaires to determine riders’ personalities, as well as a horse’s natural demeanor.

When it comes to people, Rush said there are four basic categories: analysts, mediators, advocates and powerful.

There are also four categories for horses. The thinker is curious, food-oriented and inventive. The worker is willful, friendly and hard-working. Actors are reserved, devoted and intense. And talkers are spirited, active and impulsive.

“I think all living things have a personality — it’s just a matter how they react,” Morrow said. “As people, we all change constantly. When you’re at home, you’re at your core personality. But you probably take on a different personality when you’re at work. But horses tend not to change. They are what they are, and it’s difficult to make them change.”

By finding horses that share a rider’s character, Morrow said people ensure a tight bond with their equine, which makes for fun, comfortable and safe rides.

It also ensures the horse is happy, too.

“It’s a two-way street. Horses can not like their rider just as much as a rider might not like his horse,” Rush said. “Happy horses, happy people — that’s the main goal.”

Morrow admitted the book appeals to a small minority of readers, but she said she’s talked to teachers and business people who have read it and found it illuminated how to deal with students and clients with different personalities.

“Yes, it’s a niche book. Yes, it will be in the horse section at bookstores,” she said. “But we’re hoping this reaches a much larger audience, because everyone can learn something about themselves from it.”