The Enneagrammed Equestrian

The latest “trend” (or… re-trend?) going around Instagram is the Enneagram of Personality… another method of personality testing. As I’ve found myself with a little more time on my hands lately, it naturally piqued my interest. I’ve been seeing people posting memes with numbers in them and I just had to know wtf this enneagram stuff was about in order to get the memes. I mean, there’s a bunch of froo froo stuff about using the enneagram for self improvement and blah blah blah but really… just profile me and everyone else and help me understand memes. I’m living for memes. So, I took the test. And, well… I do indeed feel seriously profiled.

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 5:

Appears lost in thought or absentminded

Extremely difficult-to-crack inner world

In-depth knowledge on specific subjects of interest

Gives insightful, well thought-out responses

Thinks extensively before speaking

Has clear boundaries between family, friends and work

Withdrawn and extremely independent

 

Type 5, eh? Yup, that’s pretty accurate. It went on to give a detailed profile of Type 5, called The Investigator or The Observer or The Quiet Specialist. “Usually introverted and analytical, Investigators gather and process information to build with and synthesize patterns and ideas. ” Do I have a few dozen spreadsheets on my computer with detailed pedigree data of top level event horses? MAYBE. “Their work spaces are typically minimalist with the exception of a collection of items pertaining to their core interests.” Stop reading my blog. “With dreams of working and researching alone in a secluded area for the rest of their lives” I SAID STOP READING MY BLOG.

Ok, so… it’s a little accurate. And how does it relate to me as an equestrian? Look at this part:

They are energized by spending hours of time alone, tinkering with their personal projects and research. The path to mastery in a particular area is a journey each Investigator readily embarks on. They may appear calm and collected on the surface, but when topics of interest come up in conversation, they transform into a giddy and energetic version of themselves. This sudden gear-shift may surprise those who are unaware of the Investigator’s hidden passions.

Riding is a single-person sport, so it makes sense that I was drawn more to it. It’s also one that you can never truly master, there is SO MUCH knowledge to be had on such an endless variety of things. I definitely prefer a project horse/greenie. And yeah, please don’t try to talk to me about anything but horses. I am very awkward and have no idea what to say. They legit call me the Ice Queen at work because of my stoic detachment. Not my fault there aren’t any horses there. Just mention a horse and suddenly you can’t get me to shut up.

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Investigators are offbeat, withdrawn and emotionally closed off. They may have a select few esoteric interests which they keep hidden from the public eye—and opt to present an aloof and distant aura. 

So yeah we’re weirdos that keep everything bottled up inside. Got it.

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Fives are usually somewhat restrained when it comes to emotional expression, but they often have stronger feelings than they let on. Few people know what is going on beneath the surface, as Fives have an often exaggerated need for privacy and a deep seated fear of intrusion.

Yeah true. I do think that I’m more demonstrative when it comes to the horses though. They are probably the thing that draws me more toward normalcy and prevents me from getting lodged too deep within myself. My balance I guess.

They’re well-versed in topics of their interest and may be named the ‘bookworm’ from peers. 

Apparently we also really like to read, both to get information and as a form of escapism. That is 1000% true, as evidenced by the sheer volume of books I read every year. I’ve always been a voracious reader of both horse and non-horse books, fiction and non-fiction.

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also the wrong use of your vs you’re drives me bonkers with this

The most basic desire of the Enneagram Type 5 is to feel helpful and competent.

Enneagram Fives have the motivational need to know and understand. Fives value making sense of the world around them and, as a result, objectivity and knowledge are important to them.

So the more I’ve thought about all this (and I’ve thought about it a lot in the past week) the more I realize how true this is. I do feel most comfortable and secure when I feel competent, or at least informed. It’s probably why I feel such a compulsion to do a deep dive into anything that interests me, so I feel like I can fully understand it. Like… reading the rule book cover to cover to help ease my show anxiety. Or… spending 2 hours researching KIT genes to wrap my head around why Remi has so much white. There’s an endless number of examples, I do this all the time, but never really stepped back to think about why I’m like this. Totally completely absolutely has to do with my basic need to understand things and feel competent in order to feel comfortable. And I also do get a ton of satisfaction out of feeling helpful. 

“To create rapport: Approach them slowly and thoughtfully. Give them room to think things over.”

This makes me sound like a mustang fresh off the range. HAHAHAHA.

Sensitive to sound, touch and intrusion

Ok how tf does this thing know I hate loud noises (like, even the vacuum) and am generally uncomfortable being touched? Creepy. Also if you want to get punched, interrupt me while I’m reading.

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“Fives tend to get stuck in their heads.”

Oh look, a summary of aaaaalllll of my riding problems.

“Fives need to balance their tendency to withdraw or withhold from people by reaching out to others, even if this involves discomfort or conflict.”

Now this is particularly interesting, because I think in my case “reaching out” kind of took on the format of this blog. It is a big source of my connection with people, and I say things here I wouldn’t have felt comfortable saying out loud before. It’s helped me come out of my shell a lot, I think.

why I think I’m better in print…

Fives are very cerebral in their orientation and believe that knowledge is power. They have a hunger for knowledge and understanding that leads them to explore information in great depth. They may have a voracious appetite for information on certain topics and enjoy building real expertise and wisdom based on these.

Horses. Horseshorseshorseshorses. BREEDING.

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So really this post could have just been titled “reasons why I am probably the most annoying person in the world”. Ta-da.

Has anyone else explored the enneagram stuff and thought about how it applies to both your regular life and your horse life/riding? What’s your enneagram number? Please tell me there are more 5’s…

27 thoughts on “The Enneagrammed Equestrian

  1. Arrrghhhhh I had a huge comment that WordPress appears to have eaten?! Trying again….

    I dove deep into the enneagram back in 2010-2011. I even have a few books on the subject, though Austen (hi, Austen!) has had one of them for a couple years now lol.

    I’m a six through and through and, at my core, am happiest when I feel a sense of safety/security. However, I integrate toward a nine. My brother, whom I’ve always felt quite different from personality-wise, is also a six. Except he integrates toward a three. The thinking triad 3-6-9 is interesting that way. Another fun fact: every man I’ve ever seriously dated (including the one I married) is a seven. Apparently I have a type!

    I’ve never thought about the enneagram as far as my equestrian life goes. From a competition standpoint, I do tend to enter things very over-prepared. I want to feel security and feel confident that things will go well. Griffin’s first HT was at Elementary/Starter, but we’d been regularly practicing BN-level things at home. For endurance, I make sure Q is conditioned to a point where the ride we set out to do is more than achievable.

    When I strike outside of my comfort zone, which I do believe is incredibly important for growth/learning, I have to work hard to manage my anxiety. This anxiety ultimately revolves around feelings of security, both physical safety and mental safety (needing to be knowledgeable and understanding the ins and outs of a subject at hand).

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    1. That’s so interesting. I was wondering if maybe I tend to gravitate more toward certain numbers without really knowing it, hence me asking all my friend what theirs is lol.

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    2. Lol. Def still have your book. Can see it from where I sit right now! I think the last time I took a quiz, I was a 7. Now I’m equally a 5-6 with a lot of 4 thrown in. It’s spot on that I live my life examining risk factors. That’s also a large part of my job, so makes sense that those things would be emphasized now more than a few years ago. I also feel like owning huskies and thoroughbreds and loving to trail ride, my life goal is to spot the deer and the squirrels before my dogs run after them and my horse runs away from them. LOL

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  2. Interesting that the Enneagram system is having a resurgence. It’s been around since the 70’s. I’m an 8 – the Challenger / Protector, with a side of 5. Also an INFJ. Seems pretty spot on. Interpreting the results definitely highlights where I have room for improvement lol…

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  3. I’m not sure about the strict divides between friends, family and work – that only 80% describes you imo – but the rest, wow that describes you to a T.

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  4. Did you spring for $19.99 full report? It’s interesting info to see how my 1980-1990 results holds up to 2020 results …dating myself a bit. Love your blog – please keep posting (with all of your unique traits.)

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  5. This is super fascinating! I’ve known for awhile that I’m a 4 with a 5 wing – “The Individualist/Bohemian” – but I’ve never thought about how it could apply to riding, specifically. Which resource did you use to look further into it? I’ve been using the Enneagram Institute but it’s a lot more flowery and intense to digest than it sounds like your info was

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    1. I’m blind – saw the link after writing that post. Looked more into 4w5 and it made a lot of the 4 stuff that wasn’t quite right shift to be spot on – highly emotional, more likely to withdraw if they feel as though no one will ever really understand them, often sees themself as flawed, tendency to become sullen and depressed, tendency to self-sabotage because that sort of ‘punishment’ is what we feel we deserve. But also highly loving, gentle, passionate, and generous whenever we’re at our best. Which is…bang on, honestly.

      “If you are the Enneagram Type 4 with the 5 Wing, you desire to be avant-garde. You see yourself as original, sincere, mysterious, subtle, artistic and independent.”

      “Communicate and resolve conflict in a sensitive, honest, direct way.”

      Basically…I got the “Too Damn Much” genes. All of them. Every single one. And all of the “Handle With Care; I’m Fragile” ones. What a life.

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  6. I am a 9 through and through. I found another website with a more in depth description and it was 100% accurate. Who has been in my head and knows all those things?!?!?

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  7. Just spent way too much time diving into enneagrams…. After taking several free tests I come out as a 4 and 5 but think I’m a 4, big difference seemingly that 4’s like to talk about their feelings. The Ron Swanson meme is too good; I found one online that puts all Parks and Rec characters on the enneagram circle and Ron is a 5 and April a 4.

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  8. Counter-phobic 6 with a 5 wing here!!
    Dug into all the Enneagram books in the 90s, and enjoying seeing all the resurgence of it now.
    Mine is definitely reflected in my horse life. Fear driven but I stubbornly keep showing up and doing it anyway, while thoroughly researching anything that catches my attention. (Anyone up for discussing the X factor gene in TBs?! 😍🤗)

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  9. As I predicted after reading this post, I am also a resounding 5. Introverted, reading all the time, and I know a lot about things like horses and microbiology: my two big passions. So you’re not alone!

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  10. You are not alone. When I read your blog this morning, I thought you were describing me. So I took the test and I am in fact a 5. I tend to go down rabbit holes, and I like it. I thought I was weird, but in fact I’m just a 5.

    And the dog cake sums up my entire life.

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  11. I feel like Work Olivia and Barn Olivia have entirely different personalities, so I think I need to take it multiple times. Like Work Olivia is a solid type 8 because I hate being told what to do and will take on anything, but Barn Olivia is closer to a 9. So on second thought maybe there’s just a solid wing there. I love this stuff.

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  12. Okay so I was obsessed with Myers Briggs in my late teens/early 20’s (I’m an INFJ) but never heard about the Enneagram until recently.

    So I didn’t really know what to expect, but looks like I’m a 1 with 2 as a strong second – I think that means 1 with a 2 wing? One is the “Perfectionist” – ahem…I guess that shows up in my riding life pretty clearly since I’m a dressage rider, huh? 😉

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  13. Haha, I am totally a 5. My emotional range vascilates between 1 and 1.5 publicly, so much so that its like mild Asperger’s – “People with this condition may be socially awkward and have an all-absorbing interest in specific topics.”

    #Accurate

    I watched Moneyball for the first time and thought “Wait, doesnt everyone do this?”

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  14. I’m a 9, the peacemaker. Under basic desire it says: inner stability, peace of mind. I changed Peebs show name when I got him to Peace of Mind. Also, nines tend to focus on the “bright side of life”. Cinder’s show name is Bright Side. This is too fucking weird

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