I was thinking about what I’ve learned about horsenality and humanality recently and suddenly realised that although I’ve played with many horses of all 4 horsenalities and combinations thereof I hadn’t ever personally owned a horse of the same horsenality as my personality. In fact, I was surrounded by my opposites, 4 of our personal horses including my own number 1 horse were RBI, another was RBE whilst the remainder were LBI - I even married an RBI! I mentioned this to Linda Parelli during her visit to Sydney in 2013, and she replied with a smile “get ready then!” “Ha, ha, ha” I thought “I have no intentions of acquiring any more horses for a long time so that’s not going to happen in a hurry”….but apparently the universe had other ideas!
Over the last 12 months my now 5 year old QH gelding ‘Durango’ started to reach early adulthood, and suddenly I realised that my supposedly innately ‘LBI’ horse was actually showing more and more of his LBE nature, which was emerging as he began to have more and more ‘mature’ impulses. His ‘herding’ instinct was increasing, his ‘mouthiness’ was increasing and his behaviour - particularly in the herd was becoming more and more dominant, challenging and hierarchal. ‘UH OH!’ Ready or not! The horse that was turning up each morning in my play sessions was actually much more like, well…ME! He still has some LBI tendencies, he has a ‘lazy streak’, he is calm by nature and pretty consistent, but boy that mind and mouth is BUSY and getting BUSIER! He is a mild spirited horse, so his extroverted nature was not so obvious and also because he was so close to the centre on the LBI/E side of the horsenality chart.
So what is it like to have a ‘like minded’ horse? First, let’s describe me. I am an LBE person very close to the centre on the RBE side of the quadrant. I understand what it is like to want to move my feet and/or my mouth to settle myself emotionally, how frustrating it can be when others DON’T THINK OR MOVE FAST ENOUGH and how a playful mind can either be directed in a productive way, OR turn to ’naughty’ behaviour - ‘mouthiness’ in the human often manifests itself as outspoken, ‘interrupting’, loud and/or blunt verbal language and/or sometimes inappropriate humour and pranks! Yes, I have been accused of being a ‘big mouth’ - mostly by those who have had to live with me 24/7! I also find it difficult to see something being done inefficiently and not ‘interfere’…. I hate to waste time by doing a task more than once because it was done badly. I’m more than likely to do a job myself than trust someone else to do it - I ‘take over’ a lot! (just ask my husband) I’m a BULLDOZER, and proud of it!
Ouch - enough beating up on my own personality...what are my strengths?
I see the big picture, I don’t get ‘lost in the detail’.
• I can manage and direct a lot of energy, I LOVE managing groups of people, bigger events rather than ‘one on one’ scenarios really motivate and excite me, and I LOVE speaking in public when I’m in my ‘element’.
• I am good in a crisis…if there’s an emergency or accident, notice how LBE people step in and take over the situation, prioritise what needs to be done immediately and get everyone safe and secure again. We can DEAL with blood and guts and broken bones, and manage a dangerous situation very well. We are also very good at seeing a dangerous situation developing and circumventing it.
• I can see what needs to happen NOW in order to create an ‘end result’ quickly and efficiently.
• I am a natural ‘leader’ and I am not afraid to challenge, to ask questions, defy the status quo and make ‘breakthroughs’. I can be a bulldozer if I feel something is not ‘right’ and needs to be changed!
• I love everyone! (they don’t always love me though!) I also forgive easily.
• I am realistic and tell it like it is - no BS! I don’t hide my feelings! But I will happily hand over leadership to someone that can prove they are a better leader than me or better suited to the task.
• I get results, and usually fast because I have a very strong focus and energy.
• I don’t waste time and/or energy.
Hmmmm…some of this sounds like a certain buckskin friend of mine
So that sounds like a confident person right? But what about when LBE gets unconfident? What does that look like, and more importantly…what does it feel like? Well let me share with you my personal experience of the ‘unconfident LBE’…maybe it will help you with your LBE horse as it has for me!
Some of my students are surprised when I talk about my experiences with unconfidence, because they don’t know the unconfident me. Of course not - that part of me does not turn up when I am teaching, I have already planned, prepared, strategised and thought out every possible scenario before the clinic even began, and I am confident when I am in charge! However I realised some time ago that it is easy for others to assume that I am always confident, assertive and in charge. They are surprised when I can relate so well to their unconfidence and fear! This ability to relate has been a great asset for my teaching career however.
Playing with many, many LBE horses (particularly at clinics) has made me realise that most people assume the same thing about their LBE horses. They don’t know how to handle LBE unconfidence and they get confused when their normally mouthy, pushy, confident, dominant LBE horse gets scared. It is common for ANY horse to feel unconfident when it is in a new environment like a clinic, and that is where I usually meet their horses, but it is often a new experience for the owner, they have been playing at home where their LBE horse is running rings around them confidently, and not showing fear! They hear me talking about how right brained their horse is, how it is having confidence issues (in the moment) and they immediately think they have got it all wrong, their horse must not be an LBE…maybe the chart was wrong! They don’t know how to handle LBE unconfidence…but I do! I have to ‘handle it’ regularly in myself!
So what is it like? What makes an LBE unconfident, what does it feel like and how does it present? Let me tell you about MY experiences as an unconfident LBE.
First of all, the biggest cause of unconfidence for me is losing control of something, a situation or someone in my care. Handing over control to someone else, or turning loose of control is where I really begin to have trouble. Being in the passenger seat (sometimes literally!) is not a comfortable position for me, unless I KNOW the other person is as good or a better ‘driver’ than me. Sound familiar? Anyone got a horse like this? I feel that horse’s pain!
Here are 2 examples of events that I have trouble with…
1. Flying. I’m not afraid of flying, I’m afraid of CRASHING! I have to have a VERY good reason to fly, I don’t do it for fun…I do it to get to my students or to the Parelli ranch in the USA! I am choosy over airlines - not too cheap and I want to know “what’s their safety record?” I check out the pilots when I board - how young are they? Not too young I hope, but not too old either…because I’m hoping they have good reflexes, spacial awareness and eyesight! I choose aisle seats (closer to the exit) and I prefer larger airplanes to small ones (so I feel less motion) Sounds silly? Believe me, it’s no joke!
2. Heights. I’m working on this, because I want to advance my horsemanship and this is my personal ‘emotional fitness’ training. I began by climbing a ladder until I felt that ’tingle’ in my lower extremities and used ‘move closer stay longer’ strategies until I could climb on our house roof and clean the gutters without having vertigo. I had the opportunity to test my progress by visiting a gondola ride in Tasmania - a very big step for me! The first time I rode that gondola a year ago I could not look around and I was clinging to the pole like a limpet, swearing under my breath the whole ride whilst dangling a hundred feet above a rocky river. I chose to walk 5 kms over a very steep hiking track to return to town that visit, rather than ride the gondola back across the river again. The second visit this year I was able to look around and even wave to people coming the other way and enjoy the scenery. I even bought a ‘return ticket’ and took some photos on the way. I was clutching my iPad pretty tightly though, and I was glad of the 3km walk back to town afterwards, I really needed to MOVE to drop my adrenaline levels back to normal (I overtook about a dozen people half my age on the way back)
When I am unconfident and challenged, my default emotion is frustration followed by anger. I get annoyed, mouthy, snap at my loved ones and I get a lot of housework done - VERY NOISILY AND FAST! If I am around people I don’t know, are intimidated by or submissive to, I either get angry at myself or shut down and start putting up a big mental wall…with a moat, crocodiles and a thorny hedge…you get the picture? If anyone tries to cross that wall, swim the moat or cut down the thorny hedge…I get out my flame thrower and declare war! An unconfident LBE goes on the OFFENSIVE when they are feeling threatened! This is often misunderstood as AGGRESSION. When an LBE is afraid of something…they FIGHT it. So what does an LBE need when they are unconfident?
In my case, I need room to express myself safely - which means I sometimes need to stomp around, muttering and even swearing whilst I do a JOB…without the interference of anyone who may be intimidated or offended by my behaviour. I need to know that the people around me don’t take my expressions of frustration personally, or even seriously! I’m just venting! And for god’s sake, don’t try to use logic, reason with me or calm me down! The very best thing you can do is make a joke and walk away laughing…even squirting me with the hose is better than trying to reason with me! (my eldest son once walked into the kitchen and dumped a bucket of water over me during a fight…we fell about laughing immediately and forgot what we were fighting about! Guess what personality HE is? My husband has the BEST strategy for changing my emotional state when I’m like this…he waits until I look at him, then he pokes his tongue out at me. I just have to laugh! (he’s a very smart RBI)
Durango has moments of unconfidence. In those moments I see myself in him. I see how he reacts to my pressure, how much he needs me to understand that his opposition to me taking control of him and his ’situation’ is because I haven’t PROVED to him yet that I am a more worthy leader - someone he can safely hand over the control to. Just like me, his trust must be earned, it comes from me not judging his natural dominance and opposition but appreciating it, and not assuming that he will always be confident. I need to remember how I feel and what I need from MY leaders in order to feel really safe and confident about handing them MY ‘reins’ so to speak.
So what do I respect and trust in MY leaders? How do they get it right? These are the qualities that an LBE like me values most…
- Firmness with FAIRNESS.
- Integrity - keeping their PROMISES.
- A sense of HUMOUR. They don’t take my ‘passionate outbursts’ personally!
- Forgiveness without weakness. They stand their ground without judgement and acknowledge their own mistakes honestly and completely.
- Certainty - They DON’T HESITATE when directing me to do something or I will naturally take over!
- Clarity - They give directions clearly and succinctly!
- Their ACTIONS speak louder than their words. They walk their talk! I have a VERY good BS meter so they have to mean what they say!
- They make room for me to express myself. They DON’T repress me.
- They give me reasonable boundaries, NOT rigid uncompromising RULES.
- They LISTEN to MY ideas…I have good ones! Lots of them!
What do I do if someone LOSES my respect and/or trust?
I will either push them out of my way, lash out at them, (usually verbally) turn away and withdraw my support or take back control and go my own way. If I am REALLY hurt or feel I have been dishonoured (including dishonesty) badly enough I will AMPUTATE the relationship. LBE is ‘all or nothing’ with relationships where trust/respect are concerned.
What do I do if my leader proves to me they are worthy of following?
I will fight FOR them. I will help them achieve their goals and be a loyal supportive team-mate for life. I will defend them passionately, go ‘to bat’ for them. I will put in every effort to follow them, and offer all that I have. I will willingly and whole heartedly help them achieve their mission. I will show them the BEST of myself! I will also ENTERTAIN them!
Wow, I wonder what that will be like, when Durango feels this for me?
“99% of conflict is caused by a misunderstanding”…I heard this quote years ago, and I have found it to be quite true. In the past I have had the experience of finding out I have been misunderstood, and have lost friends because of it without knowing why. I have felt misunderstood and moved away from someone because of it, without them knowing why….and I have observed friends and colleagues divide themselves because of a perceived ‘slight’ a misunderstanding which then becomes a wound that doesn’t heal.
I have a story, it is a story that belongs to one of my children…this time my youngest son Gabriel. (we were being optimistic when we named him for an angel) It is about what can happen when a misunderstanding occurs, and the potential emotional consequences. Thank god he was too young to leave home at the time or we might still be wondering why he hates his mum and dad…and vets.
So it started with a puppy. We bought Gabe a 5 month old blue heeler pup when he was 5 years old. Gabe was thrilled, and we knew it would be a wonderful thing – boy and dog just seems a natural fit. But at 5 months, he was almost out of the puppy stage, so as soon as I had a spare moment and ‘Buzz – call vet for desexing’ came to the top of my ‘to do’ list, I phoned the local vet and booked him in for the following day. No sooner had I put down the phone, than Justin my husband walked in the door, so I looked up and said “hey honey, I’ve booked Buzz in at the vet’s tomorrow”…no sooner had he said ‘good idea’ than Gabe walked in the door…”hey Gabe!” says Justin “guess what? We’re taking Buzz to the vet tomorrow to get his balls cut off!”….well, he coulda been a little more delicate in how he phrased it, but Gabe is a natural scientist and a robust kinda kid, so no-one was more shocked than Justin and I when he suddenly burst into tears and ran out of the room.
“Good onya darl” I muttered to Justin, as I left the room after him, to cuddle Gabe as he lay crying on his bed.
I tried to console him with the following….
“Don’t worry, he won’t feel a thing, the vet will give him special medicine so he will be asleep the whole time’ – nope, he cried harder.
“Gabe, we have to do this, he’s getting a bit big, and he’s jumping up on you a lot and getting a bit dominant” – “ I HATE VETS, THEY’RE CRUEL!” nope, haven’t helped a bit.
“Gabe, how would you feel if he wandered away from our farm to the neighbours farm and he got shot because he was in with their sheep?” - “I HATE VETS, I HATE VETS!” - man I’ve underestimated this kid’s sensitivity.
Well, all I’ve got left is cuddles. And all day he was tearful, periodically bursting into tears every time he remembered about the next day, and “I hate vets, they’re cruel!” was all I heard all day. By this time Justin is saying “ah, he’s just trying to get attention” and I’m saying “no, he’s serious Jus, we’ve underestimated his feelings for the puppy” I’m now feeling protective of my child and Justin is feeling the urge to ‘toughen him up’…so now we’re feeling a bit of conflict too. In between, we keep looking at each other in despair because all our logic is not getting through one little bit…which is unusual and we are out of answers. Jus is getting cross with Gabe and I’m getting fearful for him.
It was not a great day….for any of us. And then, in the evening, after giving Gabe his bath, dressing him in his pyjamas for the night…he climbed up onto my lap, looked up at me with his big brown eyes, and said…
“Does the vet really have to cut Buzz’s paws off?”
“PAWS!? PAWS!? Oh my god Gabe! Did you think Daddy said ‘PAWS’?
He nodded his head silently…
“NO, NO darling, daddy said BALLS! He’s having his BALLS cut off tomorrow!
His little face lit up, and he smiled from ear to ear, wiped his eyes and said “OH that’s OK! I thought you were going to get Buzz’ paws cut off so he couldn’t jump up on me, or wander off to the neighbours sheep paddocks!”
The next day we happily went off to town, and Gabe happily handed his precious puppy over the vet for de-sexing, and examined the stitches like the scientist he is when we picked him up to come home.
I wonder how many times I’ve been misunderstood. I wonder how many times I’ve misunderstood someone else. After this experience, I have made an effort to give more ‘benefit of the doubt’. To ‘allow’ more…just in case we just simply got ‘Paws’ mixed up with ‘Balls’.