Key Points:

When you spend much of your life around horses, you can start preferring them to humans

I've been crazy about them from the moment I first pressed my face into a horse's neck and sobbed.

Fifty years later, I remain totally enamoured - they don't ask for much, they have extraordinary personalities, and if you gain their trust they'll do anything for you.

Last week, I told a horse-loving friend, Rosie, about Winston Peters who, unlike other MPs, has shot a gun, thrown a horse, and rescued two Kaimanawa wild horses destined for the knackers' yard.

He named them Richard and Rodney, and while poor Richard died of worms, Rodney - I last heard - grows fat as butter.

So, stealing a theme from journalist Jane Clifton, who compares politicians with dog breeds, we began finding suitable horse personalities to share with MPs.

Helen Clark is obviously the old bay mare. For years, she's delivered a stellar performance, occasionally stumbling but quickly finding her feet. She's bossy.

Like the grey mare, Trixie, I rode along the south Wairarapa coast last week, Clark must be at the front of the pack or she gets snappy, laying her ears back and kicking or biting the other horses.

When things go her way she walks out briskly, interested in her surroundings, a great ride.

But start going downhill, or let other horses get in front, and she pig-roots - a minor form of bucking - tosses her head and turns caustic.

John Key's unproven as station hack, eventer or showjumper, but is worth persevering with.

A vet check would return positive recommendations - he's sound and has never foundered, unlike Gerry Brownlee and Parekura Horomia, who need locking in the starvation paddock before they go down with staggers.

Key's always well turned-out, has pleasing paces, and given time and challenges, could become a winner.

Winston Peters is the show pony who delivers on promises.

Beautifully groomed; mane and tail shampooed, brushed, then plaited for extra points, he's charisma on fetlocks. With his coat gleaming, hooves blackened, saddle and bridle clean and supple, he dances into the ring rolling his eyes, playing to the crowd, certain he's going to scoop the prizes despite most judges writing him off at each new gymkhana.

But just when this crowd pleaser's on track for the rosette, as Bob Harvey said of his performance as Labour president, the show pony shat in the parade ring.

The powerful, thrillingly scary, rearing, snorting and occasionally uncontrollable stallion has to be Hone Harawira.

Nobody expected this steed to grow from the shaggy, station-bred, desperado he once was, into the impressive black National Bank lookalike he's become.

But there you go - horses never lose their capacity to astonish.

Send them to the knackers' yard in haste and repent at leisure.

Phil Goff, with his bursts of speed, ability to turn on a sixpence and competitive spirit (especially at social barbecues) is the quintessential polo pony.

In full flight with veins filled to burst, adrenaline surging and nostrils flaring, he commands undivided attention from spectators.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the next chukka sees him riding off the other horses and leading the team, or being relegated to another support role.

Champing at the bit behind is the feisty little chestnut, Darren Hughes, nuzzling up the selectors and spreading his charm.

With Peter Dunne, the name says it all - a reliable, bombproof dun gelding trusted with your granny or the fearful kiddie who's never visited a farm. Good in traffic, easy to float and shoe, often underrated, you'd be surprised how valuable these old faithfuls really are.

Rodney Hide's like the little teaser stallion - a pint-sized troublemaker useful for egging on the mares (literally); a loner who entertains everyone, but must remain over the fence, plotting and alone in his paddock, maybe a donkey for company, lest he sully the popularity of the winning herd.

So which horse are we missing in the House of Representatives?

The champion thoroughbred who shimmers with a big heart and the will to win.

These horses capture our souls, racing ahead here and internationally while we cheer them on, revelling in the Kiwi pride they give us while lifting our spirits. Fighting fit, disciplined, highly strung but nonetheless great performers, they deliver riches to us all. Desert Gold, Gloaming, Phar Lap - where are your MP doppelgangers?