Saturday's Adventure in Horsemanship

December 08, 2014

I love how relaxed these two are
When I bought Tank 10 years ago, I had hazy ideas of what we would do together. I knew I would ride, of course, maybe jump some low obstacles, and I wanted just to be able to hang out with him, to be near my very own horse. My lifelong dream. For a while, riding casually and hanging out was enough. Then I saw a demonstration by a group of people who used the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program—the things they could do with their horses, on a lead line, under saddle and at liberty (with no tack)! Both people and horses looked like they were having fun. My curiosity piqued, I started learning about Natural Horsemanship and my relationship with Tank became infinitely better.

But it’s been a couple of years since the last Parelli infusion and we’ve become too set in our ways. When I’m not planning to ride, I’ve gotten into the habit of only hanging out—pleasant, but not the best use of my barn time if I want to strengthen our bond and be able to do more things together. I’ve become lazy about coming up with games to play with him. And playing with Tank is good for his mental and emotional stimulation, as well as cementing my role as leader. I’m pretty sure right now he whinnies when he sees me because he knows he’ll get snacks, not because he can’t wait to see what we do together! (Hey, it’s a start. At least he likes to see me coming.)

So hoping for inspiration, Saturday I attended the first day of Pat and Linda Parelli’s Future of Horsemanship Tour in Tampa. This was my second time at a Parelli event (see “Mind: Blown”). This event was smaller than the one I attended in 2012, and not quite as packed with information. Most of the presentations were different, however, and this year they had a brief demo of Cowboy Mounted Shooting by Jesse Peters—which he performed bridleless—way cool! The photos aren’t very good because he was going so fast, and yet he was able to navigate the course and slide to a stop on a dime. Amazing partnership.



Jesse Peters
I won’t get all technical with you, but I did come away with some new ideas for playing with Tank, and, of course, some other little life lesson-y tidbits!

“When you take off the lead rope and halter, you’re left with the truth.”
When you take away the external controls, will the horse stay with you or wander off? What kind of relationship/partnership do you have? In my horse world, the truth is that sometimes Tank will stay with me and sometimes he won’t. I’m not yet the most interesting thing in his world. Applying this principle to the rest of my life, I ask myself what would I do/say/eat if I didn’t have external controls? If I were trying to please only myself and honor my deepest beliefs and wishes? How would my life be different?

Ernie following Pat and Slider
Use psychology to improve training.
One of my favorite segments was the one on horse personalities—or horsenalities (since horses aren’t people). The Parellis have broken horsenality into four categories: left brain introverts, left brain extroverts, right brain introverts, right brain extroverts. (Tank is a left brain introvert.) This is important because each type of horse needs a slightly different approach in order to learn. This goes for people, too, however you want to divide and categorize them. Communicating with spouses, children, coworkers, family members and friends can be enhanced by understanding their personalities and choosing the communication techniques most likely to get through.

I want to become a better horsewoman, and in order to do that, I need to put a bit more time and thought into my horsey activities. I’ll have to rebalance my other activities, and sometimes that’s uncomfortable. (For instance: to go to this event I had to miss my library’s annual holiday book sale!) I believe it will be worth it. And now, to the barn!

What do you want more of in your life? What, if anything, will you have to give up or change?

Linda and Hot Jazz

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6 comments

  1. Dear Kathy - this looks like such a great event. I didn't realize about the left brain - right brain in horses. Very interesting. So glad you got the opportunity to revisit this type of training. Have a beautiful day.

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  2. Debbie--Thanks, it was some much-needed inspiration. I'm not sure if the left brain/right brain thing in horses is the same as in humans, but that's how I've seen horses with similar characteristics categorized.

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  3. Hi Kathy, I have enjoyed catching up on here today. Sorry that I haven't been around; I have barely been on my own blog.

    This is a very interesting post, and on a topic that is all new to me. I like how you think about things and consciously look for new ways to grow.

    Thanks so much for your visits and comments.

    Hugs,
    Kathy M.

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  4. Kathy--Glad to have you back. Hope life is settling down for you a bit (though with Christmas coming, that's probably a vain hope). I appreciate your taking the time to catch up, and your kind comments as well!

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  5. Sounds like you learned a lot. I would like to do more art, which means I need to stop wasting so much time justi piddling, which really translates into too much time on the computer.

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  6. I know what you mean, Cheryl. I feel like I piddle away too much time, too, and often it's on the computer. I've experimented with using a kitchen timer to keep myself from getting lost online, and that helps...when I remember to use it!

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