Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Notes from the Performance Summit

DAY ONE "Purpose" September 10, 2010:
Journal Enrty: Next year, I will be here on campus for the fast track. I was in a daze, today. I was just trying to soak it all in and remember everything forever. I really never thought I would be able to come here. The turmoil I have struggled through in order to be here. . . well, it was well worth it. By the end of the day, I could picture Blu and I here in Colorado. I have a lot of packing to do.

Pat Working Cows:
-was teaching the dogs to push the cows toward him
-the dogs must be told to go to the water and get a drink/cool off because they will easily work themselves to death
-Pat would have Peppy retreat sideways from the herd as they were coming toward him

-Buster Welch is a master in cutting
-Linda's story: didn't want to compete anymore because she
--didn't want to be judged on the same line as the people she was competing with because they were not putting the horse first
--even though Parelli improved her scores by 10% (!), it changed how she looked at her horses
-her new goal is to become a master of horsemanship. She still has no interest in competing, but does not discourage others from competing
-Level 4 is NOT nirvana, people! There is more after that. You can, if you choose, make level 4 an art form, but there is more.
-Pat's definition of horsemanship: habits and skills that horses and humans neeed to become partners

-want my horse to
--be calm, trustful, consistent, friendly, confident
--see what I want and try to do it

Luis Ortega was a rawhide master (Pat has a set of reins made by him that are valued at $27K)

Jaquima a Frenos: Hackamore to Bit
-they (Spanish) rode first in a hackamore in order to stay out of the horse's mouth to preserve its sensitivity. Once the horse had a foundation in the jaquima, it graduated to freno, the bit.

Mark Fitch DVM on "Corral side manner"
-a vet who uses NH to be a safer veterinarian medicine practitioner
-it's about finding a balance between fear and respect
-gives demos and lectures

Cow Talk from Pat:
-rope the heels when they are extended backwards
-rope heels with an underhand swing
-hula hand is when you swing the rope overhand
-toreador game (try it!)
--have one rider with a carrot stick be the bull
--avoid the bull at the last minute by swinging either the hind end or forequarters at the very last possible instant
--start slow and increase speed of the bull
-sword fight while mounted (with carrot sticks)
--avoid a charge by going sideways
--see how fast you can go sideways with this purpose!

Reining Cow Horse Demo

Laws of Natural Horsemanship:
#1 Relationship First
#2 Foundation before Specialization
#3 Neverending self improvement

Some other things to think about:
Purpose can be something as simple as going to the fencepost to get your jacket. But having that purpose gives you something to focus on.
How can we give the various patterns and maneuvers a purpose with the skills we have today?

Linda's Handout:
What purpose does for you:
1. Gives you something specific to do, puts principle to purpose.
2. Improves your leaderhip.
3. Gets you to focus on an outcome and stop thinking about your horse.
"Focus gives you feel. Focus and feel give you timing. Focus, feel, and timing give you balance."
4. Accelerates your skill development
5. Helps you appreciate just how much of a partner you can teach your horse to become.
6. You'll see how the Parelli foundation has prepared you for anything you want to go on and do with purpose.

What purpose does for your horse:
1. Increases your horse's focus and motivation.
2. Relieves boredom.
3. Gives your horse responsibility
4. Your horse really becomes your partner

What simulations do for you:
1. Improves your skills without sacrificing your horse
2. Can be scaled up or down according to your needs
3. Builds confidence.
4. Allows you to break things down, repeat movements to perfect them
5. More fun!

What simulations do for your horse:
1. Builds confidence
2. Allows you to slow things down and vary them according to your horse's needs
3. More interesting!

DAY TWO "Competition" September 11, 2010:
Journal Entry: Today started out with a moment of silence for the those who have lost and sacrificed on the 9/11 terrorist attack, followed by the singing of the national anthem by Rick, a savvy club member, while Pat rode Peppy carrying a flag.
I really liked today. I loved seeing the savvy competition team. They are doing quite well. Walter Zettl was amazing. He is such a loving man. I did not go to the dance because Pat and I were quite tired and we both had a long day ahead of us on Sunday. I had Sonic for dinner. It was really delicious!

Instructors and Scholarships:
-most of the instructors WILL travel out-of-state, so don't assume that they won't
-on the website, the instructors are ranked by grades
-as an instructor works his or her way to higher instructor ranking, he or she will get more marketing aid
-Tim Sullivan is the steward of scholarship fund
-Instructors will each be teaching in a fundraiser event to build up the scholarship fund
-Pat and Linda are each hosting fundraiser events
--Linda has a contact game course coming up in November at the Florida Parelli Center
--Pat will have "ride with Pat in the morning, golf with Pat in the afternoon" events as his fundraiser
-a long term goal of Tim Sullivan is to have a dorm on campus for students to stay in (with electricity and water, etc.)
-more money going into the scholarship fund and back to the students, less to administration

-Atrition rate in the competition world is atrocious
-in order to compete, you need high ambition
-horses learn 7-10 times faster than us (that is why it is hard on them when we are not progressive)
-most competition horses get worse as they progress in their career. Pat's cutting horses are only getting better and better.
-the Parelli level 4 is the BEGINNING of classical dressage
-level 5 graduate should do well regionally; level 6 graduate should do well nationally; level 7 graduate should do well internationally; 8-10 is purely and art form
-What you need to compete:
--good foundation
--never-ending self improvement
-The Talent Quotient
--Linda told Remmer's and then Allure's story while they stood with her on line. Remmer is not as talented as Allure.
--Lauren Barwick told Westpoint's story while he walked around on line and she kept rolling along with him, knowing it was important to him that he move his feet. Westpoint has gobs of talent.
-Dr. Jans (spelling is questionable) rode in on his Mustang named Thistle and announced that his goal was to ride in the Tevis Cup Race with Thistle. Thistle is a three strike mustang, which means that she did not sell and did not sell again, so she was on her third strike after that, it does not matter where they go, and they frequently go to slaughter.
-Walter Zettl gives a speech/lecture and then gives Linda a lesson
--it is easy to teach PNH students
--building the horse's relationship on the ground is so important for the horse to feel for you
--when you cheat the foundation, you have to cheat through your entire career
--one mistake opens the door for more (so if you make a transition before the horse is ready, it will mess up that gait and might throw the whole test off)
--Your aids need to change, not the horse
--While Walter was giving Linda the lesson, Pat would pop in and point out how what Walter was having Linda do was a part of the seven games
---Friendly Game
----Let the horse freely walk around the new place that is away from the herd
----As you begin to make contact, approach and retreat
----"Remember you go to the most sensitive part of the horse" Walter said in regards to taking up the reins
----Allow the horse to find his balance
----When the horse goes faster or slower when you make contact, it is a sign of distrust
---Yo-yo Game
----lengthen and shorten the horse, lengthen and shorten
---Lateral flexion
----Flex the horse first to tell him the turn is coming
---Sideways Game
----Flying lead changes (AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Something that struck me as a BFO sort of moment was to not ask for the lead change until the horse was in balance. Also, Walter did not want Linda to make transition blank until Remmer was in balance. This way, when she asked for whatever transition, it was graceful and the horse remained your partner)
---Squeeze Game
-Next, Pat and his team presented new equipment!
--9' get down string- this is a savvy string that can be attached the cavesson and then to you while you ride. When you "get down," you can lead or tie the horse safely by the get down string. All of Pat's horses were using this string this weekend.
--22' feather lines- these are sold in pairs. They are like 22' savvy strings. Their lightness is better suited for driving than the heavy 22' lines. I purchased a pair of these. Thanks, Pat (Patricia).
--9' lead rope- this rope is meant for utility, like leading your horse or tying him up or holding him for the farrier/vet. Pat also demonstrated with the eye-end how you can remove the clip and use it to lead by the foot without the danger of the metal loop. He also, for fun, stopped Magic by pulling on the rope while he was riding.
--22' 7 Games Line- Parelli has modifiend the 22' line. They no longer sell the professional's line. Instead, the line features an eye on one end for you to attach the clip of your choice and the other end has a handle. His reasoning for the handle is because in many of the auditions evaluated and just seeing students in general, a big problem is never using the entire 22' line. The plan is that having the handle will make you remember to keep your hand on the handle. Beware that you will need to make sure the your hand does not go all the way through the loop and that it does not catch on something.
--12' 7 Games line- same deal as the 22' line, only they kept the popper.
--45' line- the Hondo has been taken off and replaced with an eye. You can throw the end toward your horse without worrying about metal hitting her in the face or something. You can attach the clip of your choice to the eye. Pat showed as that you can do rope tricks with it, too.
-Tracks-when you follow the rail, make sure you are on track 1--not track 1 1/2 or 2 and not drifting amongst various tracks. Pat placed his horse deliberately close to the fence while his proteges rode on the rail to demonstrate where track one was.
-Linda came in to talk about body position for finesse
--Amy Book-Bowers rode Sapphire freestyle then took up the reins without changing her body position from the freestyle position so Linda could show us the importance of riding with finesse in our body if we wanted finesse in the horse. When she asked Amy to change to the finesse position, Sapphire instantly changed her posture and moved with more elegance. It was very interesting to see it so blatantly illustrated.
--Sequence of Finesse Body Positioning: engage Glutes > wrap Thighs > michael jackson your Pelvis > pull your Belly Button back to you spine > close your Ribs > pull your Arm Pits down > push with your Triceps
---Glutes- just as you want your horse's hindquarters to engage, so must you engage you hindquarters. This is unlike when you ride with fluidity in freestyle where you want your body to be totally relaxed.
---Thighs- Linda illustrated what your muscles should do by putting her hands on top of her legs then wrapping them around the outside of her legs.
---Pelvis- Linda has been having trouble explaining to students what she means by "lift your pelvis to your belly button," but had a breakthrough with a student when she said "like Michael Jackson." Problem solved.
---Arm Pits- we here "put your shoulders back," and the instructor or trainer is trying to achieve the same look that Linda is speaking of. However, when we put our shoulders back, we find that our ribs come open, our chest goes out, and our back hollows. So, instead, if you pull your arm pits down, it keeps your back and chest where they should be and puts your shoulders into proper position.
---Triceps- when we hold the reins with our biceps, we are pulling. What Linda explains is to push the reins with our triceps while we hold our arms in position. This keeps us from bracing and has a better feel to the horse than when we hold with our biceps.
-The Game of Contact- Linda is using the game of contact to restore Westpoint's confidence (which was severely damaged by to much specialization as a young horse) in contact with the bit. We got to see her ride through a session with him on the game.
--if the horse pulls with his nose, she lets the reins slide through her hands. She creates no resistance.
--if he doesn't take the contact, she takes it. this is a form of reverse psychology, and eventually, he wants to take it, so she gives it. I don't know that I can picture in my mind how this works.
--if he gets crooked, even a little, she takes the rein that is getting slack from the crookedness and shortens it even more so that he is more crooked than he intended. This is a form of reverse psychology or the "do that and then some" game and causes him to want to be straight.
--a principle of the game of contact is to allow zero brace
--Linda said that she has tried the game of contact on all kinds of horses with various horsenalities. On that note, she said that she and Pat are always testing their own theories and trying to find holes or ways that they don't work so they can present the best material to their students.
--After Linda's ride, Lauren came out and announced that she was giving Westpoint to Linda and continuing her search for her dream horse because Westpoint would not be ready for competition for a long time due to his rough past. It was the most selfless demonstration I have ever seen in my time in the horse industry, other than when Frank Hopkins released Hidalgo at the end of his career. There were tears from both ladies. Linda is very excited to have a horse like Westpoint--another warmblood, so now she has a trio.
-NERVOUSNESS- Lauren--directly after her tearful announcement, made a presentation on dealing with nerves when you compete
--you can't control what happens during the day- you need to accept that
--stick everything in a jar and leave it at the gate while you are competing. everything will be there when you come out, but you need to be there with and for your horse while you are competing
--when you or your horse are having a bad time of things, just smile and have a sense of humor. note that this could actually help you place better because the judge will appreciate your positive attitude and patience. "Boy you had a rough ride, but you handled it extremely well!"
--be in the moment, always prepping for the next maneuver or movement
--focus on mastering just two things at a time- instead of trying to get all of everything mastered in one go, master two things at a time--like straightness and downward transitions--until those two things are done with unconscious competence. Then, you can pick two more things. Eventually, you will build up to being unconsciously competent at many things and it is not so overwhelming.
--Concentration and relaxation are key
---know yourself and know what you need and what you need to do
----write it all down
----tell those around you and those who will be helping you
---listen to your voice on CD talking about a good ride. Put it to music. The music matters. Lauren once put it to war like music and it go her a little too pumped and her mare was like "what are you on and where's Lauren!!?"
--once you have done something, first talk about all the good things in great detail. only after you have done that should you mention some of the things you would like to improve. This helps your mind remember the good things, like positive reinforcement. If you focus to hard on the bad things, you begin to lose the good you had.
--beating yourself up is NOT productive! (this is something I need to work on, for sure)
--I really like Lauren. She is so witty and wonderful. I hope that I get to speak with her someday. Anyway, she left and Linda came in to talk about nervousness
--think about everything that could go wrong . . . way ahead of time. This surprises many people, but the idea is to be prepared for it yourself and to prepare your horse for it. If you come up with an instance that you are not sure what you would do about, call a Parelli Professional or the Parelli office for help
--have unshakeable focus so the horse feels that focus (this is especially important for a horse that is either RBE or going RBE.
---you need to be absolutely focused and not let your horse flap your focus. That is what patterns do for you. This is what the "what purpose does for you #3" is talking about
-Jim Crew, the Parelli's farrier, came in and talked a bit about his theory on hoof care
--almost all horses' legs are different lengths (this is also true in humans)
--the idea behind how he shoes is to level the shoulders and hips by using orthodics to make the distance from each shoulder to the ground the same and to do the same for the distance from each hip to the ground
--Length of the frog (x) divided by two, multiplied by the apex of the frog(y) equals the length of the frog (f). So: (x/2)y=f
--watch the movie Prefontaine with these concepts in mind
-Pat did a small demo about how patterns can help barrel racers
--use infinity to keep your horse from rushing patterns (emotionally and mentally leading to poor physical form of rushing)
--Peppy had never done this pattern of 6 barrels (two 3-leaf clovers) before and he picked up on the pattern pretty quick.

Linda's Notes:
What specialization does for you:
1. Causes you to pursue a higher level of quality--both training and riding
2. Tests your emotional fitness . . . those nerves!
3. Helps you prepare for the best . . . and the worst!
4. Tests your principles. What/who are you competing against?
5. Impresses on you how important it is to stay focused. It's not about the . . . it's all about what you focus on. Don't get distracted!
6. Reminds you not to be so direct-line and over focused that other things get out of balance--like the relationship, confidence, the ability to put your horse's needs first.
7. Develop excellence in your horse without stressing him.
8. Causes you to explore your horse's potential . . . or at least think about it!
9. Learn that it's not about the competition.

What specialization does for your horse:
1. Gives him a feeling of purpose: Specializaiton is an artificial form of "purpose." Take the lessons you learned yesterday and draw them here.
2. Optimizes your horse's potential; he gets to do what he's bred for.

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About Me

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I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving