Tales about Aviation, Coaching, Farming, Software Development

Two Opposites: Right-Brain Extrovert vs Left-Brain Introvert

Keeping the reins a bit loose instead of maintaining a tight contact with his head (we use a bit-less bridle) changed Maximiliano’s wish to go faster. We had some nice weather here in Buffalo, NY, and were out at the training court. He let me mount without moving his feet. He walked around the court in a slow walk. Everything was perfect. At least as long as we were going left.

As soon as we were going right, things started to change. Suddenly he wanted to go faster again. So I let him and apparently moving his feet faster made him calm down.

There is that interesting phenomenon of the two hemispheres of the horses brain. They are interconnected but horses can focus on two different things at the same time. They can watch a potential threat on one side and be curious about something else on the other.

According to Parelli right-brain horses tend to be submissive, fearful, not confident, nervous and reactive. That pretty much describes Maximiliano in his current stage of development. He can’t stand still easily, panics easily because of a perceived threat and is always very alert. That does qualify him enough so that I say he is a right-brain extrovert.

Today we were in the aisle between the stalls and it was feeding time. All the other horses got excited because there were food coming their way. What did Maximiliano do? He jumped in the air. All four feet went up and somehow he managed to do a jump while keeping in position. I was holding him with the lead rope and after a quick “hey!” he calmed down. But still… So that’s another point for begin a right-brain extrovert: over reactive.

Max, on the other hand, seems to be just the opposite. He is dominant, brave (approaches new object without fear to investigate), confident and pretty calm. He does tolerate many things too. There is hardly anything that worries or frightens him. Now I see that a left-brain introvert also gets easily bored, is pushy and has a tendency to buck or charge. Also they are stubborn and food focused and lazy. Well… That again is a pretty accurate description of little Max.

Today the two spent some time in the indoor arena. There was little Max pushing around the much bigger Maximiliano who was trying to get away from the little bugger. Max played the dominant horse biting the other one a bit to make him move. At one point - I was standing in the center of the arena - Maximiliano got bored of the game and went to me - like seeking refuge. So I grabbed his halter and ordered the approaching Max to stop and go away, which he did. We were clearly playing the game of finding out what our pecking order is. Little Max got the message and went to play elsewhere and Maximiliano apparently was happy to be with me instead of with pushy Max.

So it appears that I have two horses with exactly the opposite personality. Now, that’s fun. It certainly is a great opportunity for my own education. We shall see how it turns out in the long run.