Saturday my riding buddies and I participated in a Parelli clinic at our barn. Parelli is one of the big names in what is known as “natural horsemanship”—a system of training that, among other things, teaches horse handlers to work with horses using body language. According to practitioners, it’s useful for any type of riding or horse discipline, and for all breeds, because it deals with horse/human communication and builds a trusting and respectful relationship, instead of an adversarial—predator vs. prey—one.
Yes, I am very handsome, aren't I?
I won’t bore you with details from the clinic…only let you know that in this I am back at square one with Tank. I am learning his language, and as yet I haven’t mastered it. I’m lucky that Tank is a mellow and forgiving fellow, and any mistakes I make likely won’t hurt our relationship. I am awkward and unsure as I learn the techniques and “games” that will build our levels of communication, respect and trust. Some things I’ve done have sent the wrong messages to him and I have to unlearn some things.
What I’m learning from this is that sometimes you have to take a step backwards to take two steps forward. I’m willing to do that with and for the horse I’ve dreamed of all my life. I’m willing to make mistakes and look foolish if it helps me towards my goal of being the owner he deserves.
Is it dinnertime yet?
What about you? What big, hairy goal would you like to accomplish—and what steps, even steps backward, are you willing to take to get there?