Friday, February 15, 2013

Sometimes, You have the Answer, but Linda Parelli Still Needs to Prove It to You

In the summer of 2012, I learned something important and it is time to share it.

It's funny how your dreams come true in interesting ways. You know where it is you want to be, but it is so far away, you wonder how the heck you are going to ever get there. That is the ride we have to take, the horse we have to mount, in order to find out. So, when Kristi Smith asked me about getting a lesson with Linda Parelli I realized that I had been riding that dream ever since I got off the couch (literally) in the spring of 2010 and printed out the application for a Fast Track at the Parelli Campus in the summer of 2011.

I was in an Externship lead by Kristi in 2012. We were six weeks in--half way through--and things had been getting steadily worse between Blu and I. I was not really panicking, but I was pulling out all the stops and trying everything and going to all the resources at my disposal in an attempt to turn things around. Blu was putting less and less effort into everything and all of the help from interns and finally Kristi was not really making the changes that any of them expected would happen.

In 2011, during my first Fast Track, an instructor told me my LBI was actually an RBI. I decided that in order to live with this fact, Blu would have to categorized as an extremely confident, centered right-brained introvert because he is definitely a confident little booger. He is sweet and agreeable, too, though, so I did live with it. I called him a cuspy-pony--one on the cusp of being LBI or RBI. In non-Horsenality terms, that means he was a good-natured horse who could lose confidence if pushed too fast but could also be confident and even naughty.

The interns I got help from gave me strategies for improving our results for both Horsenalities. Then Kristi played with him herself and I could tell that she felt "yucky" about the result--something was not adding up. Where there should have been improvement in the way of a spark or a "Yeah!" or some kind of increased effort coming from a deeper place where the horse's true intention comes from, we were getting a little fizzle.

So, Kristi, being the amazing instructor she is, went up for further assistance with diagnosing Blu's poor performance. And when you are Kristi Smith, "up" means Linda Parelli. And that, my friends, is how I got to be waiting in the Extern playground with my trusty Blu for Linda Parelli.

I cannot say in words that I know how relieved I was when Linda reached her hand forward to offer Blu the horseman's handshake and, when he bumped her hand with his cute little nose, she said, "Left Brained." In the first words of our lesson, I learned how important it is to believe in myself and trust myself a little more when it comes to my horses. During my Fast Track, it would have been more valuable for me to not let the use of Horsenalities be used to change the place on the chart that I let my horse fall.

It is okay if your LBI gets unconfident every once in a while. It is also perfectly acceptable if your LBI getting unconfident looks like an RBI. It does not even have to mean that he is a cuspy-pony. It just means he got unconfident. It is your responsibility to build his trust back up, slow things down, and FIX IT. Fix it, for your LBI.

That's all for today, although that was not all for the lesson with Linda--she went on to see what we were missing--but I want to share with you how much simpler things are than they appear. My horse was not some bipolar quadriped. Don't get me wrong--he can be tricky--but that does not call for changing who he is at his core in my mind.

There is more to come--I need to tell you about two more important things. One probably will not be a surprise. The other will, but it is going to be a blinding flash of the obvious for you, I'm sure.

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