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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The positive attributes of Horsenalities

If you have been studying the Parelli program, most of you by now have an understanding of HorsenalitiesTM and how to spot the different ones.  For example, you might say «my horse is LBI - he is difficult to motivate, makes me work harder than him, and very food oriented», or «I have an RBE - he is bracy, impulsive, easily scared, likes to move his feet alot».  The negative traits are usually what people can identify more readily and tend to equate with Horsenality. 

However, just like personalities, all Horsenalities also have a set of positive attributes.  Do you know what they are?  Have you experienced the positive side of your horse's Horsenality?  It's important to know, because as you develop your horse, you might be tempted to say that your horse has changed.  Actually, he has most likely revealed the positive traits of his temperament as you build better rapport, respect and impulsion!  You will know that when those positive traits emerge, you are making progress!

I've had the privilege of owning 3 out of the 4 Horsenalities.  My first Parelli horse, Jolie, was a high-spirited RBE.  Easter is a high spirit RBI with lots of emotional and physical baggage.  Menina is my very challenging LBE.  And Blue Moon, the latest addition to the family, is RBE with strong LBE tendencies.

 Blue Moon - she notices everything and she really likes to move her feet!

I love the positive side of my RBI - as we got higher in the levels,  and Easter started trusting (the hardest thing to achieve for this Horsenality), she became my trustworthy, obedient, willing partner who offered so much try at everything I asked, as long as I preserved her confidence and respected her thresholds.  She's the slowest moving horse of the gang, the one I can always count on to stop on a dime or stand still for hours while I talk to students or friends.  Easter is polite, graceful, respectful and sweet.  Those are the positive attributes of an RBI.

Menina, my LBE, can be very challenging.  But when I have her mind and her heart, and we develop obedience, she is the horse that will never run out of steam, is ready to take on just about any challenge, keeps a strong focus on the job at hand and will show off doing it too.  There is lots of exuberance available in this horse; when channeled correctly, it translates into great performance, lots of effort and makes everything look easy.  She is also a very quick learner, is confident in new environments and on the trail, really enjoys some variety and fun, not too mention charismatic.  She never goes unnoticed!  That is the positive side of the LBE horse.

Blue Moon, the RBE, loves a good leader.  If she feels safe, she will not challenge and do anything for me as well as put all kinds of effort into trying.  She wants to please, she has heart and desire and only needs to know you will take care of her to give it all.  She is also a horse with oodles of stamina so long sessions and lots of fast moving paces are right up her alley.  She is the horse who will be most likely to give me those 20 circles at the canter without breaking gait.  The trick is to have them be good confident circles and not just running off mindlessly.  Being RBE, she is very perceptive to my aids, cues and body language and will follow the lightest suggestion. An RBE with good impulsion is lovely to ride because they are just as ready to go as they are ready to whoa and it takes very little to do both.

So, the next time you feel a bit of frustration with your horse's tendencies, take a look at the Positive Attribute chart and  imagine what it will feel like when you become the leader that will bring out the best in your horse.  You will find a copy of the Horsenality charts in the Downloads section of my website.

Keep it natural!
 Menina and Easter, heading out on the trail.  Note the different demeanor!

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