Engage with the equines!

Horses and horsemanship pretty much dominate my life these days, even though I didn’t know one end of a horse from another when I began. I started with horses from scratch, at age 42. It’s been a process, to put it lightly.

Here is a very quick rundown of what happened to me, as introduction for stories of equestrian adventures you may soon be privy to.

2005: about the first thing I did when we arrived in our new country home was obtain a horse, the obliging yet deceiving Jack.

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I didn’t want Jack to be lonely on our place, so I sauntered down to a local horse rescue and adopted the cutest thing they had, almost without question. Game-changer. Life-changer. Too bad he didn’t have his real eyes showing at the rescue, I could have been saved. It’s Danny.

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After a few years of frolicking around with those two,

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I decided I needed a new horse, one that didn’t have a lot of baggage and bad habits. I wound up with Bridger, a really, really new horse.

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Without a broken bone yet, Bridger and I have progressed, as follows:

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There, 9 years of intense initiation, grindingly hard work, intermittent terror, cyclical discouragement and a hell of a lot of joy, all encapsulated in a comic strip.

Great quotes by great horsemen

“The human is full of opinions, but the horse is the truth.” Ray Hunt

“What I know about the horse, I learned from the horse.” Tom Dorrance

“You can ask your horse to do your thing, but you ask him . . . You do not make anything happen, no more than you can make a friendship happen.” Ray Hunt

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” Peter Campbell

“When I hear somebody talk about a horse or cow being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that the animal has somehow outfoxed them.” Tom Dorrance

“I could start over 500 days in a row, and it doesn’t bother me a bit.” Buck Brannaman

“I want the [riders] to try to figure out something; I want them to work at figuring out the whole horse–his mind, body and spirit.” Tom Dorrance

We’re all Dead End Streets

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So you’re driving along a beautiful island on the Atlantic seaboard when you see a street sign with your name on it. “How serendipitous,” you think. You stop to take a picture, a strange kind of selfie, and only when you look at the resulting picture do you notice the Dead End sign. Your street, the street that is you, is a dead end. “Geez,” you think, Charlie Brown style, “figures.”

But hey, we’re all dead end streets. And we’re all one-way, for that matter (certain rifts in the space-time continuum excepted). It’s not a depressing commentary on my particular life, it’s a quirky note from the great beyond, applicable to one and all.

So we’re all headed inexorably to that mysterious cul-de-sac with no outlet (certain reincarnations and eternal lives excepted); the interest comes in how you make your way along. My street meanders a lot. It’s also perpetually under construction, the kind where the flag person stops you for an hour even though there’s not a truck or jackhammer in sight. Sometimes I get to envying other people’s see-50-miles, straight-shot, eight-lane boulevards. But then again, how fast do you really want to travel this particular road, right? The slower I go, the more interesting stuff there seems to be.

Please, step into my personality type

It’s time to visit with the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator!

Why, you might ask? Because it’s interesting! Who doesn’t love to answer questions about yourself and have your personality and character summed up by someone you’ve never met? Look yourself up, you know you want to!

But seriously, it’s pretty cool stuff. I’ve found it frighteningly accurate and it elucidates–or at least lays bare for the world’s inspection–the myriad things I don’t understand about myself. And, IMHO, for all those who encounter me in any form, it should explain a lot.

If you’re going to spend any time here, you’ll need to know that I’m an INFJ, variously dubbed the “advocate” or the “protector,” which isn’t what I would call it.

I knew being me was a challenge, and Meyers-Briggs makes it official (thanks, Isabel and Katharine!). Here are my personal highlights:

The good:
“INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals.”
“Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities.”
“They are usually right, and they usually know it.”
“INFJs are concerned for people’s feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone.”
“INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations”
“The INFJ individual is gifted in ways the other types are not.”

The bad:
“They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand.”
“Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubbornness and tendency to ignore other peoples’ opinions.”
“INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.”
“Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ”

The WTF???:
“Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all types.”
INFJs’ intuitiveness “is the sort of thing that other types may scorn and scoff at.”
“INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them.”

So, in other words, INFJ is a rare bird, difficult to understand, scoffed at by other types and blessed with the inability to find inner peace. Sweet! But it’s all good because she is also unusually gifted with intuition and insight and is a pretty nice person. When she’s not being stubborn, dismissive and secretive, that is.

Snarking aside, elsewhere I will delve further into the gifts of the serious introvert, and they are legion (h/t to Susan Cain for being our champion).

I’d love to hear from the three other INFJs in the English-speaking world. And to hear what types you all are and what you think of MBTI generally (there is certainly criticism of it out there in the world, e.g., but it works for me).