The reason for this blog is that I keep hearing this comment: “People are using Horsenality™ as an excuse!” We’ve all heard people say “I can’t ask my horse to do this; he’s an introvert” or “She’ll always be crabby and bitchy because she’s a Left-Brain Extrovert!’”
Let’s be clear – knowing your horse’s Horsenality is not about being able to make excuses. It’s about bringing your full attention to this question: are you bringing out the worst or the best in your horse? Knowing about Horsenality means you have the inside scoop as to what it is your horse trusts and respects in a leadership style that would bring out the most positive behaviors. And when you know just how to approach your horse, it will help you make faster progress and get better results.
Let’s talk about introverts:
Introverts take time to process your request, either because they can’t do it or they don’t want to do it right away. Guess which is which!
Right-Brain Introvert – can’t do it. That’s because their emotions get in the way so their first reaction is stress, and stress makes them clam up and shut down until they trust you and can feel completely confident around you. Putting it in human terms, this is the Right-Brain Introvert mother who is both caring and effective with her children. She can think on her feet and do the right thing in the moment. But in another setting, she is tentative and easily intimidated. The more extroverted the situation, the more introverted the Right-Brain Introvert becomes. These horses are often called unpredictable, aloof, tense, and oversensitive.
Left-Brain Introvert – won’t do it. That’s because their opinion of you gets in the way – they think you are lower than them in the pecking order! These horses are often called stubborn, lazy, and arrogant.
When a horse is acting tense, over-reactive, stubborn, lazy, etc., that’s because the rider is bringing out those behaviors. Rushing an introvert will do this – not giving them time to think, and in the case of the Left-Brain Introvert, not being provocative enough at the same time. Note that “provocative” does not necessarily mean to do it faster!
Now, about extroverts:
Extroverts don’t take time to process things, so the slower you are, the worse it is for them (well, and for you too I guess!). Extroverts are either reactionary or domineering. Can you guess which is right-brain and which is left-brain?
Right-Brain Extrovert – reactionary. Right Brain Extroverts tend to react rather than respond. How to tell the difference? Reaction is usually faster than you want, and it’s accompanied by tension and braciness (which means fear). These horses are often called crazy, hard to control, and wired.
Left-Brain Extrovert – domineering. You’ve probably experienced this in the human world, but in the horse world it is often terribly misread. I’ve heard it called naughty, aggressive, untrainable, bitchy, disobedient, and argumentative.
If you are seeing these behaviors in a horse, it’s because, in some way, the rider causing it. Being too slow, too boring, too permissive, too casual or unfocused are often the reasons extroverts will behave negatively around people.
How do you bring out the positive?
Well, I’ve spent thousands of hours writing about exactly this in my electronic Horsenality Match Report (developed in collaboration with Dr. Patrick Handley, who also designed one the most famous relationship matching programs, amongst other amazing personality-based management tools). Being your horse’s “owner”, his partner, his steward, his sponsor, his friend, his mentor, teacher… I think it is vital to know how to make his life with you the best it can be… for BOTH of you. Otherwise, why should you stay together? This relationship can be great… or it can be filled with fear, frustration or feeling like a failure. It’s up to you. As Pat said to me back in 1989, “Don’t blame your horse… you’re the one who bought him!”. Wow. That was my wake-up call. Learning how to figure out what it would take to become the leader this horse would trust and respect was HUGE for me, and that journey continued as I found myself with horses of different Horsenalities. My approach had to change according to each horse’s individual Horsenality. Learning how to make it faster and easier for you has become my life’s passion.
No matter what your goal, you need to learn as much as you can about your horse – how he thinks, how he feels, how he learns, what he likes, what he hates and what’s important to him. It will lead to a more fulfilling partnership – less frustration, more fun, more fulfillment, more love, greater potential and better results.
P.S. I’m not letting my husband read this… he’ll ask me why I’m not doing more of this on him! Haha!