First and foremost I want to let you know I am completely against putting your child or their personality in a "box", there are so many things that make us who we are and each one of you and your children are UNIQUE. The Personality Colors is simply another tool when you're at that moment when you're wondering why your child is reacting so different from you, your partner or their sibling. It's one of those things you can catalog to reference in those "What in the world is going on here" moments we all have as parents or teachers.
So you or child identified mostly as a red personality. Bless you! Haha. These are the "strong-willed", controlling, in-charge type. They are born leaders, assertive, positive and work great under pressure. If you have a Red personality and another color as siblings, you always wonder why your non-red has less self confidence than your Red. They know they're right, and dang it, they ARE more often than not, which leads to that argumentative streak which can sometimes come off as disrespectful or down right sassy.
Guess what!? If you have a Red personality child, horses are THE perfect thing for them (horses are perfect for everyone, but I digress). They can exercise their need for control and they WANT to work hard. Horses can also satisfy their need for loyalty as it is also one of their strongest emotional needs (control, loyalty, appreciation, credit).
Challenges for your Red and Horses:
1. They control through ANGER. If they feel out of control with their horse, they will be the ones lashing out at you or their horse.
2. They can be HARD to teach (if you don't establish you're the boss). They are self-confident and argumentative so they tend to believe their strategy is the best. This can end in an anger filled lesson or riding session.
3. They NEED appreciation. These are the kids that will work the hardest for you in the barn and in the arena, but if they don't feel appreciated and credited for their work, they'll shut down or become angered.
What to do for your Red Riders:
1. Teach them to bond with their horse (and even peer group), FIRST. Loyalty is a primary emotional need for the reds. They need to feel a strong bond between their peers and horse in order to be successful. Do some team work or horsemanship exercises on the ground if you haven't already.
2. When they get angered, they most likely feel out of control. Give them something they CAN control. This might be backing off a challenging pattern or course, and having them lope or trot a couple circles so they feel in control again. Have them go on a short trail ride they know well. If you're with siblings or in a group lesson, empower this child to lead the others in an exercise or activity so they gain back their sense of leadership/control, which will calm them.
2. Identify that you are the boss/parent/trainer. They will respect you more if you are straight with them and they won't control the lesson or session. If you are inconsistent, they will see that as weakness and try to be the boss again. Like above, giving them opportunities to lead an activity will help them feel like a leader without being THE leader. You will not break this child's spirit by letting them know it's your arena. They need to feel like someone is in control or they will fight to have control themselves.
3. Give appreciation for their hard work. They need to feel loyalty and appreciation from you. They will be your hardest workers but if you aren't telling them that, they will shut down. This can be done in the smallest ways...put a post-it note on their horn telling them how amazing they did at the lesson last week. Brag to your spouse (IN FRONT OF THEM) about how well they cleaned the tack room. Put them in a space where they can earn appreciation through ribbons, prizes, etcetera for their hard work and dedication to their horses.
Red personalities are an obvious match in the horse world. They're going to earn the respect of their horse and go far in order to earn credit from others. There are no limits with these kids. Here is to empowering your Red!
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