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Horsenality™ Report


Showcased at the Parelli Horse and Soul Tour, October 19-20 at the Tunica Arena and Expo Center, learning to evaluate a horse’s personality is a major part of the Parelli training program. Using a typology similar to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for human personalities, “horsenality” is a term coined by Pat Parelli for a system of personality types for horses.

Modern personality typologies are based on the work of Carl Jung and his book Psychological Types, first published in the original German by Rascher Verlag 1921. In this book, Jung categorized people into primary types of psychological function: two dichotomous pairs of cognitive functions: the rational functions (thinking and feeling) and the non-rational functions (sensing and intuition). Jung suggested that these functions are expressed in either an introverted or an extraverted form. Jung distinguished four basic psychic functions: sensation, intuition, thinking, feeling. Thinking and feeling are rational, while sensation and intuition are non-rational. Attitudes are distinguished as extravert (meaning outward-turning) and introvert (meaning inward-turning). Each of the cognitive functions can operate in the external world of behavior, action, people, and things (extraverted attitude) or the internal world of ideas and reflection  (introverted attitude).

Horsenality™, a combination of the words “horse” and “personality,” builds on the human psychological research, typing horse personalities similarly. The idea is that, like human ones, effective personality typologies reveal and increase knowledge and understanding of individuals. The goal of horsenality is to help humans better understand horses’ basic nature and mentality, and to help horse owners understand their horse’s individual personality. This, in turn, leads to adapting training techniques in ways that are most effective for the horse’s personality type.

Here’s how Parelli describes it: “Horses are prey animals, hunted in nature. Safety is their primary concern and fear is their primary reaction. They are herd animals who look to their “alpha” for leadership.” Once a horse understands the horse’s basic nature, the next step is to better understand the horse’s individual personality. The main categories of the Horsenality™ typology are: Extroverted, Introverted, Left-brain oriented, Right-brain oriented. Parelli theorizes that horse personalities come in these combinations: Right-Brain Extrovert, Right-Brain Introvert, Left-Brain Extrovert, Left-Brain Introvert.

Parelli says that Extroverted horses tend to:
  • have high energy
  • have more “go”
  • be quick
  • have a tendency to run
As opposed to Introverted horses, who exhibit these qualities:
  • low energy
  • more “whoa”
  • slow
  • has a tendency to stop
Right-Brain horses tend to be:
  • submissive
  • fearful
  • not confident
  • nervous
  • reactive
Whereas Left-Brain horses tend to be:
  • dominant
  • brave
  • confident
  • calm
  • tolerant
The first step is to develop the animal’s “Horsenality™ report.” Then there are specific recommendations for clear training strategies based on the horse’s individual personality.

More information about the book is available at

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