Friday, August 26, 2011

Any Other Day

This morning was just like any other morning for the longest time. We met at 8 a.m. in the lodge for a meeting with Lee Palmer and had a Q&A for what our next step would be from here. Just like any other day, it seemed. Just like any other day, I am not sure what my timeline or schedule looks like, but I do know where I am going to end up--in an externship then up through the mastery program and out in the field as an instructor.

Just like any other day, the instructors had fun exercises to test our skills. We all headed outside to play a game of hunker down. Hunker Down is a game that tests your feel. It is really testing your focus, feel, timing, and balance. Two people stand on buckets about 12' apart holding the ends of a 45' line. On "Go!" they reel in the rope. The object of the game is to get all of the rope or stay on the bucket longer. The trick is that when you yank, the opponent lets the line drift so you lose your balance and fall off. However, if you let too much drift out, then you will run out of rope. I won against my first opponent. Then all the participants who lost played to try and get into the next round. Then a winner and loser/winner played. I beat that opponent, too. After two more rounds, I was the winner of the class. Then it was me vs. Ryan Rose. Everyone was cheering me on and in less than 17 seconds, Ryan got greedy pulling the rope and I let the rope slide through my hands--and off the bucket he fell! It was so cool. I played against Pete Rodda later and lost. He had a different technique of trying to throw the rope around me. It didn't make it, but it did cause me to loose my focus which lead to the collapse feel, timing, and balance--and off the bucket I fell. I was redeemed a little bit because Ryan played against Pete and won, so by extension, I beat Pete :). I was the champion hunker-downer of the class so I did a victory lap of high fives :)

Next we played a game I have never played before called Helium Stick. This game is supposed to test your porcupine game, but it really tests the team-manship of the group. The point of the game is to lower a graphite telescopic pole to the ground as a team with everyone maintaining contact with the stick. The set up is to have two rows of people facing one another with there index fingers held out to support the stick. The tricky part is that when everyone goes to make contact with the stick, the stick is so light, they push it up. The result is the stick seems to float up instead of going down--hence the name "Helium Stick." Some of the members of our group became quite upset and even though everyone participated in answering as a group "I am" to the question "who is responsible for getting the stick to the ground?" there was a lot of blaming and dissension right up to when that stick landed in the grass. I learned an extremely valuable lesson about the difference between a group of strong individuals and a strong group.

Nicky Mummery and I had a conversation about the factors that affect how well a group bonds and turns into a family or team. We used the last fast track of some 60 students who became the most closely knit fast track anyone has ever witnessed and our 20 or so students who are some of the strongest individuals the instructors have seen in a fast track. We concluded that it has a lot to do with the set up of ground rules on the first day. An interesting observation is that the smaller fast track's instructors did not arrive until after the first and second days, so the leadership was a little wonky for the first few days. We made a conjecture that perhaps those first few days are crucial to creating an environment of boundaries and that those boundaries are somehow related to the atmosphere of the team. Hmm...It was a super engaging conversation with Nicky and I gathered a lot of observations to use for making courses more successful or having a successful student(s) as an instructor.

I took care of Blu and got back to the lodge in time for our final circle. It was surprising how small the circle was compared to the final circle of the last fast track--that circle took up the whole room. Ryan led us in recalling what we did weeks 1-4. For week 3, Bonnie unveiled the comic I drew of last week's conga horse with Ryan spooking at the fast trackers following him and his spur stuck in an office chair. . . moving on. Strange how long ago that seems and how much we did each week. Then students shared highlights. The emotions were muted compared to the onslaught of tears and sniffling last fast track. That is why I did not say anything--I quickly turn into a mess and for the time being, my psyche was maintaining a state of disbelief that it was over.

My favorite part of the meeting was flash mobbing the instructors with quotes from the course. I had Ryan's "A snaffle should fit like underwear--no wrinkles. At least that's how I wear mine--just trying to keep it natural--the 7th key to success is support," and Tanya's "I'm the frog!" where she lays down on her stomach during the horse shoe up and puts her arms and legs off the ground behind her so that she's shaped like the frog of the hoof. We were all in hysterics.

We closed with gifts for the instructors. Bonnie got the most beautiful purple scarf because she fancies wearing silk scarves when we are out horsing around in the sun. Tanya received yoga lessons with Theresa Zenner at Parelli Central for the rest of the month and Theresa's yoga DVD for after Tanya leaves. Finally, Ryan opened up his gift bag to find a beautiful framed photo of him spinning Glo bridleless, an awesome Aussie Slang encyclopedia, and a gift certificate to his favorite stop for ice cream in town.

After lunch, I went up to the office to see if I could help out. LeeAnn Thacker gave me the Volunteer Manual and I got to "work" making myself at home per LeeAnn's directions. I memorized the extension numbers in the manual and cleaned out the closet. I helped out some of the students who were leaving and needed office-y help. Mostly I blogged, though :).

The office closed at 5 and I went down to the lodge for dinner. Tonight was super-special because the 1-Star course wrapped up today and Dennis made cake and ice cream to celebrate the new 1-star trainee instructors. The cake was delicious, but the ice cream was the real treat--our first ice cream on campus. All of the students from my fast tracks that went on to the 1-star course graduated. It was an exciting evening.

At home, we watched McLeod's Daughters and the episode was very sad. I was set up in a sad disposition when our roommate Diana left. I hugged her-big hug- and laughed remembering the first time I hugged her during the first week. I kind of had no reason and it really confused her. The incident became a big part of our evidence that Diana doesn't like hugs, hahaha. For the first time all day, it hit home that everyone was leaving me again. I can't wait to see them again.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
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