I’m not one to humanise animals very much, but there’s one thing I’ve noticed since volunteering at the RDA centre. The ponies there all have character.
Take Bilbo for instance – he’s a 12.2hh Shetland x. He’s only bothered about one thing. Eating. Put a rider on him, and he’s sulking. Ears back, trying to bite his leader type of sulking. He can move fast when he wants to, though that’s not very often. He’s quite happy to have attention in the stall, but he’s still a nibbler.
Cookie – He’s a sweetie. Perfect for putting nervous riders on, since he’ll plod round and not react to anything. When waiting for the riders, he’ll stand with his eyes closed. However, he can be cheeky. He’s tried to take advantage of me a few times.
Magpie – Been at the centre for ages. Knows his job inside out and anticipates when to trot. Otherwise likes attention. Is probably the best when it comes to picking up and cleaning his hooves. Will be retiring at the end of the summer term, since he’s 19, and needs an easier life.
Dave – One of the younger ponies. Mouthy. Quite nice, but lacks manners. Tries to tread on poles in the school, instead of stepping over them. Is probably slightly bored of the work.
That’s just a few examples, but the others all have their own characters as well. While they might not have the same range of emotions or ways to express them as we have, horses definitely do have personalities of sorts.