Left-Brain Extroverts & What They Need

by Linda Parelli on June 13, 2012

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason there are a lot of Left-Brain Extroverts in my life at the moment. Must be something I really have to study! The good news is that as I get better at explaining what it is they need, I’m a better teacher.

Recently, at the Horse and Soul tour stop in City of Industry, I was teaching the session on Horsenality™, and there were four horses that depict each of the quadrants. Susan Nelson‘s warmblood mare, Ellie, had been quite a challenge. They’ve made super progress over the past 18 months – good enough to be in the show, which is saying a lot actually. Susan sent me this update and I thought I would share it with you. At the tour stop, I was saying how you need to “rush” the Left-Brain Extrovert, give them lots to do, and then you’ll get their attention and they’ll want to do what you want. This is a beautiful demonstration of just that. Take it away, Susan:

I feel like I am starting to understand Ellie better and am having better and better sessions with getting her to WANT to be with me and not argue and be a pill! So that is great! I have been gone for 17 days and the first thing I did yesterday after getting home was turn her out at liberty – she proceeded to blast around like a rocket, throwing her head and leaping like a deer. So, instead of wishing she would stay with me (because that never works), I started to dash around the pen from obstacle to obstacle – running and jumping on the pedestal, running and jumping on the mounting blocks, running to the barrels and sitting on them, etc. You should have seen the look on her face!

Within 6 minute of starting and her galloping around, watching me and avoiding the crazy lady that was dashing to obstacles, she joined me on the pedestal in one of my mad dashes! Then she stuck with me at the walk and trot running from obstacle to obstacle. Then, I positioned her to back through the barrels (which in the past she would take off) and she paid attention, backed through effortlessly, and then I asked her to sniff each barrel and she did it! It was great! Ah, the little things in life! Then today, I played on the 45-foot line with more “off on a straight line” trips around the pasture when she got “naughty” ideas in her mind – and within about 10 minutes she only wanted to be with ME! So cool! The best part with playing with her this way is that I feel as though I am never really asking her anything – I am just showing her all these really cool other ideas when she gets a naughty one and she ends up being interested in my idea. Calm – Connected – Responsive.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

eric oneal May 31, 2013 at 9:11 pm

i read some of your topics one left sided horses ive got 2 foals 1 filly and a stud colt they are almost 12m old she is more right sided but she will work to her left some what and is slowly getting better but my stud colt does total great to his left he will let me get on his right side to brush him but he wont lead on his right lunge are eany exercise to the right he will start spin and try to fight u head on to keep you on his left i was wondering if their might be some kind of advice you could share with me that will help me and him ive broke and raised app. qut. and mustangs all my life and i ant never had a young colt fight so hard to keep to his left and his personatly is very stern and very jellois he will get between me and another horse and move them and me from eachouther and he wont let eanybody else touch him but me and my 3year old little girl i hope you can send me a e-mail that might help me some with this isue im haven thank you eric oneal ps i get to catch your show sometimes on RFD TV i real enjoy it thank you


Savannah May 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm

wow! i am really considering starting parelli now. but tell me, can kids learn parelli? the local stable has a parelli teacher that comes in every other friday… and i did see a pretty nice TB on equine now.


Taylor Yurick March 10, 2013 at 3:51 am

Having TREMENDOUS difficulty and seeking advice:

I relatively recently (within the last 6 months) purchased an “un-broke”, swedish warmblood gelding that was recently gelded (within the past year)… yes, a lofty decision. He is a tremendously intelligent, and clever left brain extrovert with STRONG introverted tendencies. The ground work leading up to mounting went quite smoothly. He LOVES games, and is extremely bold and curious (perfect). He walk, trots and canters as well as ground poles; however, every now and then (becoming more and more frequent) he decides I am no longer a good enough leader and displays EXTRAORDINARY signs of disresect and stops and stands (WILL NOT MOVE AN INCH FOR ANYTHING). When I say NOTHING can get this horse to move, I mean it. I have had ground people help me by coaxing with pressure, treats, attempting to lead him… nothing!! I am well aware it is a disrespect issue (vet check clean, chiropractor clean, dental exam clean… etc). However, I am completely stumped as to how to fix it since he is quite willing and respectful on the ground and with playing the 7 games. I understand I am working against hormones still which makes things more difficult… I am actually dealing with a Left Brain Extrovert/Introvert hormonal mess (basically a bipolar person). I am becoming quite disheartened because I am working with two completely differnt horses from on the ground to mounted. Please help me bridge the gap from ground to mount!?


Christy April 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm

I’d strongly consider revisiting the pain issue (vet, saddle, etc). I have a LBE gelding who does exactly that (refusing to move, period) but only when he’s uncomfortable in some way (saddle, hocks and ulcers are his big triggers). Interestingly enough he continues to show many stallion behaviors also despite having been gelded years ago. It took us years (and multiple vets and saddlers) to figure out it was not behavioral although there is a behavioral component once he decides it’s going to hurt even once the problem is corrected. When he’s in his extrovert phase he is a very extreme extrovert and when he goes introvert he’s extreme there also, but the introvert only appears when he feels he’s being mistreated, specifically working in pain. I know you said the pain issue has been addressed, but I was there too and my trainer insisted on a second vet opinion which turned up the issues. Just sharing my experience with LBE/I.


ann hemingway January 30, 2013 at 11:52 am

This is just how I play with my LBE encourage him join in laugh have fun…..quickly!! Then he comes to me and has so much expression its so beautiful but feels really messy at the start these horses have so much pride and are so smart they love to make you have fun if you let them……


Haley Ashland November 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I comment everywhere I think there is a piece of advice I might use. My 3YO LBE Arab has had mouthy/biting issues since the day I got him at 2 as a rescue with no handling at all. He is smart and so quick I can’t keep up. Going fast is tougher for ME because I am not very skilled at this (yet) so I think I confuse him with unclear communication. Going slower I can be more clear and he responds well and sometimes gets a good nip in. HE can do everything with an expert who communicates clearly. With me it brings out the bite…QUESTIONS IS: Will I ruin him by playing with him when I am not perfect at this stuff and confuse him when doing more. I need to get better faster I know…but I don’t know if I can keep up.


Susan Nelson 3-Star Licensed Parelli Professional December 4, 2012 at 4:27 am

Hi Haley,

In my opinion, you will get further by moving quicker as Linda suggests, even if you are not the most clear at this point in time. If you are playing slow and clear and your horse is till getting a nip in – then you are NOT winning the games – just slightly amusing your horse which then turns into annoyance – hence the nip! ;-) Don’t worry about being perfect – the timing of your release; even if it doesn’t look pretty getting there! I have had many sessions with Ellie that don’t look very pretty because I have to give her what she needs and not what I would like it to look like – but in return – she gives me back her total attention and gets calmer and more connected to me than I could EVER wish for by going slow. When they think you are interesting then you can be very soft and slow and pretty – but the minute they are not responsive – bump up the game! Good luck!


lynette Pomroy November 7, 2012 at 10:13 am

Forgot to add that when I mounted after playing with him like that – he was very willing. The rain distracted him for a little while but since I kept up with my requests, he ended up ignoring having the rain on his face. :)


Lynette Pomroy November 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

Thank you :) I love it when someone writes an article about something that I do but feel unconfident. I bought a LBE and found that he had so many issues with the human, saddle and being touched in certain spots – he’d bite. I tried friendly game for months and still he’d stress and bite. While I’m sure all the friendly game helped him, our real breakthru came when I upped my energy and rushed him through the games. I’ve wondered if I’m forcing him but yesterday when I rode him (I’d rode him the day before in the same place and he was unconfident and so wanted to repeat the place of riding) and he didn’t want to go so I thought = I’ve got to play on line and with energy. It’s so much fun to have a horse that I can do this with but I did wonder …. any way after playing on line I rode and it began raining and we did turns around trees and yo yo and stopped when he was light and responsive. I knew it worked for him, just doubted myself and my other horse is so different most of the time. Thanks for your blog and passing on your experience :)


Orville November 3, 2012 at 5:00 am

Left brain extrovert, I have never heard it explained that way before. Your example made perfect sense. :)


Cobie October 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

OMG this happened to me this week in a play session with obstacles with by LBE Dillon. He was leaping around, tossing his head and I decided to join him and laugh with him. He loved it. HE got motivated. I LOVE this program, in the past I woudl have shut him down and scolded him. What a difference Parelli has made in our lives all around. THANKS Linda and Susan for sharing.


Debbie August 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Linda, I know you recommend books for people to read sometimes. You may have heard of this book, “Quiet” The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain. It is a facinating read.


DinaMarie Natural Horsewoman & Media Designer August 4, 2012 at 10:14 pm

This is exactly how play time is with my Sweet Lil Norma Jean! Thanks for the inspiration.


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