Hi, my name is Maggie Mae Doster. I’m 18 years old, and I’ve been in 4-H for about five years. I’ve been a part of the Dreamcatcher's horse project for two years. In our horse project, we practice Parelli Natural Horsemanship, which is a form of Natural Horsemanship developed by Pat and Linda Parelli. Parelli Natural Horsemanship focuses on teaching the human, rather than training the horse. Pat and Linda have discovered that understanding the psychology, personality and nature of horses can become the basis for a deep, seamless, and mutually beneficial relationship between human and horse. This approach is now recognized worldwide as an innovative and effective method of natural horse training.
Halfway through my Parelli journey thus far, I was introduced to the Horsenalities, a term coined by the Parelli’s. Horsenality is a combination of the words ‘horse’ and ‘personality’, and is a convenient way to characterize the different personalities found in horses. The Horsenality system helps people to discover the horse’s innate character. If you know how your horse thinks exactly, then you can figure out how to ask him to do things without confusing or frustrating him. By knowing what’s uniquely important to an individual horse, both horse and rider can become more balanced, centered, and confident.
Within the Parelli method of horse training, Horsenality is divided into four main categories: Extroverted, Introverted, Left-brained, and Right-brained. It’s all pretty simple once you break it down.
- high energy
- they have a tendency to run
- they have more ‘go’ than ‘whoa’
- slower, they have a tendency to stop
- they have more ‘whoa’ than ‘go’
- not confident
Horse personalities come in 4 combinations:
· Left-brained Extrovert
· Right-brained Extrovert
· Left-brained Introvert
· Right-brained Introvert
Right-brained Introverts are quiet and obedient, but tend to be hesitant and distrustful. They can blow up at the drop of a hat. Right-brained Extroverts tend to be hyper alert or panicky, high-headed and over reactive. Right-brainers have to have a leader- someone to depend on- in order for them to relax. If they can’t relax, they can’t hear or see you, and that’s a really good way to get hurt.
Left-brained Introverts are clever, food oriented, stubborn, and often times unmotivated. A Left-brained Introvert needs someone that is creative, but willing to take thinks slow. Left-brained Extroverts are, to say the least, fun! The fact of the matter is that they think ten times faster than us. A Left-brained Extrovert is mischievous, very mouthy, playful, and charismatic. They’re the type of horse that would steal your hat and run away with it.
Each of the different Horsenalities has many positive attributes. Extroverts are athletic, and are fast learners. Introverts are calm and dependable- they make good therapy or school horses.
The Parelli’s have developed these Horsenality charts, so that we can effectively diagnose our horses. It’s important to remember that some horses can be ‘well-rounded’- they exhibit characteristics in every quadrant of the chart. Some horses can be Left-brained one instant, and Right-brained the next. A horse’s Horsenality depends on which quadrant has the most spaces filled in. Once we know how to talk to our horse in a language it can understand, we can develop a much stronger bond with our horses.