January 11, 2011


As I pause and re-group between completing my Level 3 On Line and launching into my Level 3 Freestyle, I’m doing a little review of my Fast Track notes, and my plan is to do some blog posts on some of the main points that I’ve taken away from the course now that the dust has settled.

First off, I have become truly fascinated by horseanality and personality. I've appreciated the work Parelli has done on horseanality ever since it came out as being something that immediately clarified so much about how to understand and interact with different types of horses. But personality has always seemed a bit more muddy to me, partly because there's so much complex stuff out there on personality (who can even keep track of all the Myers-Briggs designations?), and partly because people just seem unnecessarily convoluted compared to horses.

So I was intrigued when John went over personality a bit on our last day. As I've mentioned before, because of horses, I've begun to see the benefits that thinking about personality can deliver: the ability to be a little kinder to yourself and others by seeing characteristics as just that--characteristics rather than limitations--and the opportunity to establish better relationships based on a better understanding of what motivates both yourself and other people.

But reading horseanalities and personalities doesn't come easily to me, so I've been really happy with the information Parelli has distributed. As far as horseanality goes, everyone involved with Parelli has seen these charts:

Click on charts to see a larger version.

But when it comes to similar breakdowns of personality, I haven't found much out there. Alex directed me to one Parelli instructor's blog that had the following personality chart:

Though things line up differently on this chart, there are some useful parallels here. Sanguine roughly equates to RBE, Choleric to LBE, Melancholic to RBI, and Phlegmatic to LBI. But the obvious limitation is that this chart sees half of the personalities in a purely negative light. The wonderful thing about the way Parelli views personalities and horseanalities is that each type has its challenges, but also its opportunities. You work with the horse/person you find to help them become more centered no matter what their type is (because any of the 4 types, taken to extremes, is going to become negative), but at the same time, you also consider what that horse or person is ideally suited to do or be, given their natural aptitude. And every quadrant has positive potential linked to its characteristics. Here are the horseanalities from this view:

So I'd like to add some (slightly less pretty and less detailed) charts that we got in class to help flesh out personality along similar lines:

Self-talk of the different personality types breaks down in the following way:

(I find this chart a little odd in that it implies LBE's are the clearly desirable personality; however, in terms of what their unconscious tells them they may indeed have fewer challenges.)

Left-brain extroverts and right-brain introverts are on the group/family axis: they are both oriented toward thinking in those terms, though the RBI's run the risk of over-sacrificing for the sake of the relationship.

Right-brain extroverts and left-brain introverts are both on the "self-centered" axis and are the two personality types that tend to butt heads. I can attest to this myself, as I'm an LBI who's had intimate dealings with two RBE's, and it's a situation built for frustration. RBE's tend to be unconfident and get emotional, which is a huge turn-off for LBI's who sit there and wonder to themselves what in the hell is wrong with these people that they can't just sit down and be calm and rational about things. Meanwhile, the RBE's read the LBI's calmness and reticency as not caring, which pisses the RBE's off because they don't understand how the LBI's can be so unfeeling. This whole situation causes the RBE's to go more extroverted and the LBI's to go more introverted, and nobody has much fun.

I find that I can understand and even move into the RBI and LBE quadrants sometimes, but I just don't get RBE's, so I'll be needing to get a good deal further along in my horsemanship journey before I even think about owning a RBE horse (though having a horse with such a horseanality would probably ultimately make me more tolerant of people with that personality, as I find myself a lot more forgiving of horses than I am of people).

Okay, one final personality chart, courtesy of my friend Alex, who is an absolute whiz at nailing other people's personalities. (Alex, incidentally, claims she is a RBE, but while I put a great deal of faith in her readings of people generally, I have trouble believing her reading of herself because I got on with her so well and saw no sign of her going emotional during the month we spent together, despite the fact that we were both under-going a lot of personal growth. It's possible, though, that Alex is just a very together RBE, though she would deny that as well.)

In any case, Alex and I spent a good chunk of our drive home from Colorado talking about personalities, and she explained that she factors body types into her readings as well. The following is how she pegs the different personality types, though I don't recall exactly how she described RBE's:

John did give us a couple of references for further research. Linda based her horseanality stuff on the work of her teacher Glynn Braddy, who came up with something called "The Elements of Man," though I haven't been able to find this. John said the closest book out there is called The Personality Compass by Diane Turner, which I've got on order.

2014 update: I've just taken Linda and Patrick Handley's Horsenality/Humanality course, about which I've begun blogging here.

I'm including below a brief and entertaining video we watched in class that illustrates the four humanalities by the Eysenk names:
 (1) sanguine=RBE
(2) choleric=LBE 
     (3) melancholic=RBI
   (4) phlegmatic=LBI
(Click where it says "Four Basic Personality Types" to watch a larger version on youtube—this video is subtitled.)