Thursday, April 15

An Interesting session.

Hmmm... This session was... puzzling, a tiny bit of a break through, thoughtful, and different.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit during the night/day. There are some things that Mark Rashid talks about in his book, that are mind tickling and they really make you stop and think. Here they are:
  • Lightness is the outside of the body, usually a bit disconnected/a result of repetition.
  • Softness is the inside of the horse. It comes willingly and rarely. It has to do with the horse's heart.

Then there's this one:

  • Be precise about what direction you want your horse to go, the speed you want your horse to go, and the destination you want your horse to go. Or else you will be riding in somewhat of a 'bubble.'
 And those really made me stop and think, especially the one about lightness. It's what Parelli says to aim for. 
But I think I'm changing my focus from lightness.... to softness. And you can aim for softness. It's given to you, and it's the result of phenomenal trust.


I shouldn't have been contemplating that when I went out to play with Eddie. But... I was. So, I looked around the pasture, (and my brain is talking to myself the whole time) Almost like I'm giving myself a lesson. So, I look around the pasture, and see all the obstacles, or play things. I realize that we have done every imaginable thing with them. Sideways over them, jump them, touch them, sniff them, put a foot on it, sideways towards off of it, sideways onto it, circle around it, circle over it, circle under it, jump it, straddle it, sniff it. You name it.
So we decided on a question box, sort of game. He changes gait every time we go through it. Well... His attitude was definitely snarky. So I stopped, let him graze. And rewound what just happened in my mind. He had thrown out a buck, hop, and snort when I asked him to go faster with a phase 3. Hmmm... Thinking.... Thinking.... Thinking..... My mind started talking to me again, saying,
"What does he look like when he does that?" The instructor inside my head asked.
"Mad." I answered.
"Try again..."
He had done this so many times, that he was literally going, "Not again!" And I have seen that look. It was when he was tired of doing the 7 games. So with nothing more to go on from Parelli, I turned to things Mark Rashid had stated.

I began to ask him, more precisely to go somewhere, at a specific speed. And once we were doing that, he was much better. But once I started it, after a somewhat unsuccessful draw, he started offering all these things, like sidewaysing over poles and anything he knew how to do. But it wasn't a good thing!!!! It was like, "Here, I'll do this real quick, then I can go graze. Just let me graze!"
So it was really eye opening. But then I asked him to move up into the canter, and I was precise, not firm, about where I was going, and he got to come with me. Then we started doing some really amazing things. Each time he went over the log, which is only 3 feet long, I asked him to do something different. At first I asked him to canter to it, and canter after it. With me just thinking it. Then by the next lap was made, I asked him to canter to it, and trot after it. Which he did with me just thinking it. Then by the last lap, I asked him to trot to it, and trot after it. Which took a tiny wiggle, but mostly just with my intent.


I think Eddie has given me his whole heart. And I've given him 99.9% of mine. It's just that .1% of trust when I ride.

So there were a lot of downs, and a lot of ups in that session. Just sort of mind boggling to him not wanting to do anything, to him offering his heart.

Lots to learn, lots to learn!
I think we'll have another short session later today and see how things go.

~Lea & Eddie~

Check out my new website!

Proverbs 4:23
23 Keep your heart with all diligence,
      For out of it
spring the issues of life.


Heather P said...


I love today's post. I've been following your blog for about a month now and I really enjoy reading about your adventures. I have gotten very interested in Parelli Method's because I like the idea of having "tasks" to accomplish and a plan to follow. But I too recently read one of Mark Rashid's books and found myself in the exact same situation as you did today. To what end am I working on all these tricks? How will I know when I've accomplished what I truly set out to do which is build a trusting, fair, honest relationship with my horse. Tough questions that we must sometimes ask ourselves as the caregivers and caretakers of our four legged friends. Horsemanship is truly a journey with no destination and I'm glad to know I'm not alone. Keep up the great work!

Rose said...

Lea, Pat Parelli calls it "The power of Focus". As a leader we are to know the goal, ie: canter to the pole, stop, go, etc. We focus, think, and they mirror our thoughts, body language. A good leader has a specific plan. Each thing we do, we are to advance the speed, the distance or the lightness. Keri learned that if she is not sure if Prince should jump a barrel or straddle it, even as he approached the barrel, he will try to do both. If she knows, "straddle", prepares and asks, he does it wonderfully. One Parelli instructor has reminded us that all the games and tasks are puzzles and we have the answer, the horse has the time line and we are to allow them the time to solve the puzzles. So, the more advance the horse/human relationship and communication, the more precise the puzzle answer can be ie:right foot on the four inch round pole. Just some thoughts from my Parelli journey...

Playing, partnering and progressing in the Pat Parelli program, Rose Standish

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