I’ve always loved doing assessments about personality. I enjoy using the results as a lens for self-reflection, and, like any good ENFP, I know these things are flexible and I do not feel defined by or boxed in by the label. It just helps to have an external structure. The recent buzz around Linda’s horsenality/personality match project has had me musing on this subject for a while, but of course it’s not until I start writing that things actually become clear.
Regina the ENFP
For an extrovert, I am extremely solitary, and I love living alone, traveling alone, and can generally hermit just fine — as long as I have the internet to fulfill my social requirements on a daily basis. Of course, I also love spending time with and traveling with lovers; it’s just that I don’t need in-person company as often as I think most extroverts do.
Yet I am definitely extroverted — when around people, whether friends or strangers, I am outgoing, warm, gregarious, and not shy. Well, karaoke makes me shy, but other than that, I can’t think of a social situation where I would feel uncomfortably shy. I stick my foot in my mouth all the time and therefore spend time feeling awkward and embarrassed, but that’s just part of being extroverted. I do try to be aware and not get into “attention competitions” with other extroverts and also not to trample all over the introverts or suck their energy dry. And I have to trust that people get my intentions and don’t get too stuck on whatever nonsense actually flew out of my mouth.
Rocky the RBI
It’s been a long and difficult process of figuring out Rocky’s innate horsenality. He has dots evenly distributed around the LBE/LBI/RBI quadrants and almost as many in the RBE quadrant, in both the challenging attributes and the positive attributes parts of the chart. (I can’t find the PDF for the positive attributes, alas).
As my ability to read horses improves, I’m getting more and more sure that Rocky is innately RBI. He acts LBI in areas where he is totally familiar, and he will edge into LBE when he’s having fun and into RBE if I miss the early right-brain signs and let the fear escalate. But innately, I believe he is RBI.
I settled on innate RBI because one of the main characteristics of this horsenality is “hard to read,” according to the latest Parelli materials (although that phrase is not on the chart). I see now that he reacts by holding still, then trembling, then moving his feet. (I used to miss the holding still.) He’s also very perceptive and reactive. The upside to perceptive and reactive is that he’s very sensitive and responsive.
In fact, my latest chart shows him weighted on the right brain side of the chart, which has not happened before, probably because I was not as good at reading horses. This chart represents an average of all environments, rather than focusing only on Rocky in a comfortable place (more LBI/LBE) or a new place (more RBI/RBE).
Linda’s recent teachings on horsenality have said that you have to know the innate horsenality to communicate well. Other behaviors do not mean his innate horsenality has changed, even though his environment, relationship, comfort level, and so on may have changed. If Rocky goes LBE, I still have to filter the LBE strategies through the RBI strategies, or I risk pushing him across thresholds or putting too much pressure on. I should not just treat him like an innate LBE.
Developing an ENFP/RBI Partnership
I am intuitive and perceptive, and so is Rocky. However, being heavily Perceiving and only lightly Judging makes it difficult for me to be definite about having a plan. The good side is I am flexible and spontaneous and do not tend to go direct-line. The bad side is that I lack horsey leadership and tend to drift away from the day’s program, never mind trying to stick to the months-long patterns programs.
I’m generally strong in feel, too, yet have not trusted my feel with horses. Lately I’ve changed “That’s can’t be right” to “What if I’m right?” What if I believe myself? What if I trust this feel, and go with it? If I’m wrong, at least I’ll find out, rather than not acting on the feel and pre-judging it as wrong. It’s not like I’m going to do anything that endangers or harms the horses.
Just do something. You have a 50/50 percent chance of being right. ~ Linda Parelli
I am extremely verbal — textual, really — by nature. One way I have improved my body language is to explain aloud what I am doing and why. This works better when there is another human around, but I’ve started doing it even when I’m alone, and it’s helping steady me. Unfortunately, while I normally have good physical balance and coordination, I seem to leave it at the gate when I get around horses. I get clumsy which makes me nervous which makes me clumsy. Could it be as simple as that I am looking at horses and trying to do everything right and therefore not putting enough focus in my body?
And I’m also trying to bring more music into our play. Music is one of those things that uses both hemispheres of the brain, involving feel/intuition as much as math/structure. Rocky likes it when I sing to him — I can feel this, I can read it in his body, and he told the animal communicator that he enjoys it — and lately I’ve been putting my iPod in the dock and giving us a soundtrack. It occurs to me as I write (as things so often do, writing being my best processing) that having music on will put me in my body. Music will automatically improve my balance and coordination because I can’t help but dance, even if it’s so subtle no one knows I’m dancing but me and probably Rocky.
We had a great horse weekend — lots of breakthroughs, lots of OH BOY, lots of FUN and confidence and exhilaration. I’ll blog it throughout the week, as I am going down the mountain to Oakland to work on location from Tuesday through Friday, but it’s what inspired me to write about horsenality and personality today. The more I can synch my self with Rocky’s needs, the better it’s all gonna be.