Monday, August 22, 2011

Giving Yourself Permission

I have learned a lot since I have been here, and one of the most empowering lessons I have come to truly grasp is what a good student I am. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I realize what I achieved and came to understand at home from the DVD courses I took. It is clear that I just need to continue to experience the principles and techniques to get them intertwined with the fibers of my thoughts . . . and then the real learning will begin.

This morning Pete and Ryan lead the morning logistics meeting with flex and fast track students. Pete has a ritual of giving Dove chocolates to his students and then adding "in Parelli" or "on my journey" to the end of the little proverbs on the wrappers. The flex track students agreed to share their chocolates with the fast track students. Mine said "Give yourself permission on your journey." That is important to me because I have the tendency to be hard on myself.

The fast track headed over to the round corrals to play a game of "Use Your 45' Lines to Push the Ball Across the Other Team's Line." My team was called "Buffalo Gals" courtesy of Lee Ann, and we won 3 out of 4 games! I learned that when your rope is wet and sandy, it is painful to reel it in quick!I played driving from zone 5 on the rail using my stick and rope for corrections. That made much more sense to Blu than just continually correcting by moving up a zone.

Ryan Rose watched me play a circling game to give me observations and pointers about the status of and methods to improve our connection. Ryan said Blu needs more variety and less predictability, now. Also, his one-sidedness coming in is something to fix, not just observe. For his change of direction, if I have to use the line, I should just draw him in and start over. At liberty, if he is not drawing in for the change, I should put energy on every time he passes behind me and wait for him to ask a question then change his direction. That's actually a technique I have tried before.

So, first I fixed his one-sidedness. He would come in and put me in his left eye. I played a game of sending him back out on the circle immediately if he put me on the side and resting if he put me in the other eye or straight on. For the rest of the session, he was changed.

Next I needed to find a way to make it interesting. I sent him back out the gate, and with the panel still open, I sent him around the outside of the pen. At first he wanted to turn and leave, but I just stayed persistent in the proper position. It was uncomfortable for him out there because the line kept getting jarred on the bumps of the panels. After a few laps, I began reaching out with my drawing feeling each time he got to the gate. After one pass, he began to respond to the feeling with opposition reflex. After a few passes like that, he came right in and I brought him in.

In the lodge during a horsemanship and theory question time, I shared the story about the circle on the outside of the pen. Ryan used me as an example of a good puzzle solver later in the meeting. Praise and recognition for the day!

I talked to Lee during lunch about my new path with Parelli since the Florida campus externship is out of the picture. I was pleased with what she said about my new plan. There is something to be said for staying on campus for eons, doing everything consecutively and fluidly. At the same time, though, there is a lot of value in doing a little then going home to get experience and returning again. With the externship starting May 7th, I would be able to do 2012 spring semester at MSU and then finish the externship during the summer so I could start the 2012-2013 school year. I still have to talk to my parents about this plan, but it is my goal for the time being.

Linda was a fashionably late for her 2 o'clock meeting with the flex and fast track students, so the instructors put on a sort of spur of the moment talent show. Tanya pulled out her stock whips, Pete danced, Jamie did card tricks, Grady told terrible joke, Maddie sang Amazing Grace, and Bonnie and Tanya sang an Australian kid's song with the hand/body motions. In Parelliland, waiting around is fun.

I asked the first question "What is the best lesson you learned last week during filming?" Linda talked about never making assumptions about what her horse was okay with. She told us the following story:
It was time to do the section on spooking. The horses were completely fine with the people hiding in the bushes, so Neil suggested opening an umbrella. So Linda had to talk through how to deal with a spooking horse as her horse was spooking at this umbrella--for multiple takes. What happened was the horses got desensitized with each pass while the humans got sensitized because she anticipated-- "Oh gosh, here it comes."--and got tighter. But that was not the worst of it. What she really learned was that Hot Jazz was not okay with a camera man in zone 5. As she and Pat went over a hill, a camera man was posted just below it and was supposed to shoot them walking by but stay stationary. So as they went down the hill (after waving good bye to the camera on top of the hill) the other camera man turned with them and Jazzy shot up! For the next takes, the camera man knew that he was just supposed to stay still and get them walking by, but Linda learned that Hot Jazz is not a fan of camera men in zone 5.

I also asked about making myself clearer about what I want when I am asking for a soft feel in walk/canter transitions so that he can win the game faster. Linda's answer was to have an instructor help me through it. The group got a valuable lecture on fluidity, though because a common problem with soft feel, collection, and transitions in general is the rider not moving their body as they are asking for the transition. She demonstrated the very lateral swing of the walk, the vertical rise and fall of the trot, and the rock of the canter that the rider should do in the upper body.

Linda was of course a great speaker for us and she brought her doggies with her, so we were all more than entertained. She promised to bring Remmer up to campus some time before the end of this week, too. What a treat that will be!

In the afternoon, a thunderstorm was rolling in, but we did not cancel our ride right away. Like magic, the clouds disipated and we never did get rained on during our workshop. We focused on lateral movements and Blu was amazing. He did every thing and it was the easiest it has ever been for us because Blu was finally comfortable moving his body that way. Everything is just falling into place!

Natural Horsewoman Out.

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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