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.