Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lessons in the Porcupine Game

I’ve been on the ranch now for about 3 weeks, which means that I have been here for about a 3rd of the amount of time I am here for. In just three weeks, I have learned an immense amount of information. Not only have I learned where some holes are in my horsemanship, but also I can improve in my interactions with others, and the way I am in my own skin.

For now, I’ll focus on my progressions with Hank. At home, I was having trouble with Hank pulling on the 45’ line when we get out there playing on it, so I went back to a 22’ and then to a 12’ to see if I could fix it. I tried all of the arrows I knew to fix it, but nothing was really working. It was getting better, but not a lot better. After a few days here, I asked Berin about it. He had me show him what I had been playing with, and after a bit, he asked if he could play with Hank. While playing, Berin used a lot more energy to help Hank find the release of the halter. He simply kept adding pressure behind the drive line until Hank softened and found the release. Berin also found a few holes in my porcupine game in other zones, and helped me become aware of them and understand how to progress them.  Since then, I have had a huge focus on porcupine game in general. Hank, being an introvert, responds slower already, which makes it difficult for me to determine whether he is thinking or simply not responding when I’m asking for a porcupine game. But with Berin’s help, I am now about to see that he was pulling my chain and teaching me to allow him to not yield softly to pressure! He has gotten a lot softer all around over the past week and a half, and I hope it only gets better from here. It was a good lesson in being effective to be understood.

Well, more lessons will come, and I’m sure I’ll expand on this one as the time goes by, so stay tuned!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Parelli Campus Experience

 Hank is shedding! People keep telling me it's snowing here in FL whenever they look at me grooming Hank...buckets of hair!
 I ride Hank across the street to lunch as many days as I can, what a nice ride!
 Hank cooling off in the trailer, he was trying to find a shady spot!
 Hank and his buddy Mo tied up while we're at lunch.
We got driving education with Nate Bowers this week, very cool!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cross-Country Skiing

Ok, so I know what you're thinking (well probably not, but it's just a creative way to start...ha), "what does cross country skiing have to do with horses and horsemanship? Well, I suggest going out and trying it, and you'll see!!

But until then, let me tell you my interesting connections...

The first time I went cross country skiing I was in middle school. The second time I went was last week. The third time was today. Since my mom passed away, all of these things that were hers are now mine if I so choose to take them. What's nice is, when I use them, I think of her. But alas, this is not a blog about my mom, it is about cross country skiing and it's connection to horsemanship.

I went skiing for the first time in a long time last Saturday, and was wobbly, couldn't get going very easily, couldn't stop very easily, and couldn't turn very easily. How did I get anywhere then? Persistence, and a good attitude. What are the three things that we keep reminding ourselves to be while studying horses, and through our lives? Be Positive, Progressive and Natural. Ha, I did that without even thinking! Yay! So I was just feeling it out the first time (well second really) to see if it was something I wanted to pursue. Turns out, even though I wasn't very good, I wanted to get out there again! But...the snow melted, and I had to wait.

You should have seen me yesterday waiting for the snow to start falling. I was pretty excited when it did! You know what that means...more skiing! So today, I went a little out of my comfort zone (but not too far!) and took my skis to the park own the road. I was a little nervous about seeing someone, and having them watch my fumble around, and about the hills...there are some bigger hills and curvy trails in the woods, and I still couldn't turn very can see where I'm going. Even so, I went.

I got to the park, put on my skis and off I went. The snow was perfect, the air was chilly, a wonderful day for a ski. As I went up and down the hills, twisting and turning through the woods, I was still having trouble turning. I realized I was looking at my feet...hmmmm. What do I tell my students all the time? Look where you're going! What was I not doing? Looking where I was going! I looked up, and surprise!! I turned without even thinking about it. Imagine that, you FOCUS where you are going and it's a heck of a lot easier to go there! Timing, feel and balance came into play also, and as I was going along I would try really hard to focus on my feel, timing and balance. But surprisingly enough, the times where I was just enjoying myself, and not focusing on those three things, but just focusing on where I was going, were the times that my feel, timing and balance were in harmony. Lastly, I grew up downhill skiing, and for anyone who has done both, you know the way you propel yourself very different. Sometimes I would find myself trying to move the way I would with downhill skis. I had to retrain my brain and my muscles to the new way and get the muscle memory going.

Now, if that's not similar to horsemanship, than I don't know what is. :)  What are the 10 Qualities of a Horseman? Heart and Desire, respect, impulsion, flexion, attitude/focus, feel, timing, balance, savvy experience. There are some major similarities there!

In the end, it seems everything can connect back to the principles we learn in Parelli. Can we strive to be positive, progressive and natural in every situation, and most of all, put the relationship first, whether it's with yourself, someone else, or your horse.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


December 2010: the year is almost over. I love endings; I love the feeling of accomplishing something; I love looking back at the progress that's been made.

I've been teaching out in the field as a Parelli Professional for just over a year now, and what a year it has been. I've had my fair share of highs and lows, successes and lessons learned. I've kept "positive, progressive and natural" on loop in my mind. It's a wonderful motto that has helped me keep myself in check.

With those two things in mind, I take a look at the last year of my life: I became a Parelli Professional (a dream of mine since I started Parelli 7 years ago), my mother unexpectedly passed away, I got engaged to be married, my success as an instructor grew, my fiance left for deployment for a year, I progressed in the Parelli program professionally, and I encountered lesson after lesson in personal development. And as Linda quoted her mentor, Glynn Braddy in her blog this past summer,“personal growth is rarely comfortable or convenient,” I see the hardships, but I also see the growth.

Interestingly enough, I felt the uncomfortable feelings, and I knew I was growing from them, but not until I really began to reflect on the year did I really see any changes. So imagine how it felt for someone who likes results to not feel or see any growth? But look what I reflecting back on where I used to be, comparing it to where I am now, while continuing to live in the present, I can see and feel the growth! "Observe, remember, compare and adjust," when did I hear that the first time? 2006. I just learned it at a deeper level this year, and became more aware of what it means.

Now that I can see how far I've come, the distance I have to go has become clearer. Never-ending self-improvement, right?

So most of the personal development that I've had this year has come with uncomfortable situations, which I am now thankful for.  It has all only made me a better instructor, and it has caused me to want to be even better!

Thank you to all of you who have impacted my year, and thank you for your understanding, patience and acceptance of me and my journey. Thank you to all my students, all my friends, other Parelli Professionals, my family, my horses and Steve. What a lucky person I am to have you all in my life.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Where has the time gone?! How could I have not written anything in a whole week?! WOW!

It has been a great one...

I had the wonderful opportunity this week to be a coach on the Fast Track course here at the center. It was their first week, and in just one week is has been amazing to watch the students develop.  On Monday, I helped with Check-in and saw some very right-brained people and horses arrive.  I remember when I first came to the center here in Colorado with my horse in 2006. Ok, well actually I don't remember all of it. I honestly was so right brained that I do not remember arriving here, unloading my tack and horse and getting settled. It's finny because a couple people since that day have told me they remembered meeting me and talking to me that day, and I have no recollection of it at all. How interesting. It's great to see now that I have the tools and savvy to stay in the moment enough to remember right-brained moments. All it takes is time...surprise, surprise. And being aware of it I guess! 

But watching the students over the course of the week, testing them, teaching them and just talking with them has been a phenomenal opportunity. I can see how ridiculously brilliant the fast track curriculum is and can't wait to take some of the concepts from it and apply them to teaching at home. What I'm seeing from this week, in personal life and here at the ranch, that anything you want to accomplish, you must first be ready to accept the time-line. Whether it's something you want to accomplish with your horse, or something else, it's not usually on your time-line, no matter how much we'd like it to be. It's hard for us as humans to live with things we can't change and to try not to force things to happen. But with horses, we have to, and I believe, with ourselves and our own progress we have to be patient and not force results too. Ah yes, the wonderful Parelli saying, "take the time it takes and it takes less time." I've seen a lot of that this week.

All in all, obviously a great week here on campus. Learning tons and meeting awesome people. I love getting to know new students, feel their enthusiasm, and be part of their journey! Thanks everyone for allowing me to be part of your horsemanship journey. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 5 and 6

Hello all!

Yesterday, our final day of the instructor course was filled with logistical information and congratulations for those of us who passed the course (which, it turns out, is everyone who was in the course). So we are excited to say, that there are a lot of new 1 and 2 star instructors out there all over the world! There were a couple in a countries in Europe who are the first ones there, so it's pretty cool to see the program growing like it is! After the course was over we had a dinner with Pat and Linda and had a campfire. Campfires in the mountains are one of the most beautiful things one can see, or feel. The ranch has the most amazing view I've ever seen, and if you've seen it on videos, it's about 1000 times better in person.

Today was a great day, we spent the day with Linda doing a saddle fit and shimming demonstration. She had 4 students in the arena and did a saddle fit transformation on the horses. It was really great to see the change in the horses and to watch them relax, start using their bodies and moving more freely. Very educational also. I also got to sit in the New Cruiser saddle that is the English and Western hybrid. It's very comfortable to sit in and one of the girls who rode in it today loved it. It made her feel safe, but at the same time was not as big and heavy as the western.

Well, I'm off to relax tonight. Tomorrow looks like a low key day.

Until next time...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 4

Good morning!

I'm trying to feel better and hopefully I do soon! I think I'm on the up-swing of my sickness.

Well, back to Wednesday...We gave presentations this morning to one of the managers/administrative staff. They were short and sweet, and it was easy. I have gotten a lot more comfortable in front of people now that I've been an Instructor for almost a year. Then we had a session with Jim Patterson who is not the author of the book "Play to Win" but teaches the concepts from the book.  If anyone wants a good book to read on self-development, read it! We spent the day learning some team-building tools, how our brains work and how much information we actually make up, how to problem solve in a relationship (with anyone you care about), tools and strategies to not mis-judge and make assumptions about others, and a few other wonderful concepts. If anyone wants to talk more about this I am more than happy to! It was a wonderful day and exactly what I needed. It's amazing to me how we are presented with exactly what we need just when we need it (even if we think it's the last thing we need).

Then on to Thursday....I was really sick all day and if I hadn't been here, I would have been in bed all day. We spent the morning with pat watching him give a lesson to some students and he spoke to us about the future of the program and expectation and such. We then spent the rest of the day with Linda learning some phenomenal teaching tools. She is such an amazing teacher and has a true talent for how to share information in such a way that you can really walk away understanding the idea.

That's about it for now, off to another day..not sure what it has to hold but I'm looking forward to it!