Being the horseman I always wanted to be

I just completed a week spent with a 4 Star Parelli Professional and 5 days of that was lessons/clinic time.  What an experience!  The first two days of lessons were on Oahu with my horse and the final 3 were on Maui at Piiholo Ranch where I leased a finished bridle horse.  Yep, a finished bridle horse!  The amazing “Pecan”:-)  My request was to get a horse that could teach me. Specifically, I mentioned wanting to focus on walk/canter transitions, leads, lead changes, and circling at a canter with no corrections and a casual rein.  During my flight over to Maui I read an article in the “Hana Hou”, the Hawaiian Airlines Magazine, titled Legend for a Day.  It was perfect timing and got me thinking about something I’ve heard Pat Parelli say.  “It’s never to late to be the person you always wanted to be”.  I decided I would be the horseman I’ve always wanted to be.  I even created a mantra for the weekend…”I am the legend”.  Now, this was not an easy thing for me to say to myself much less for me to put in writing.  I am, after all, a RBE/LBE with a strong identification with the phrase Linda talked about when telling us about Elements of Man…”Am I okay?”.  This is precisely the reason I am writing it down and sending it out into the cyber world; to challenge myself and to progress.  “Pecan”, the horse I leased and expected all sorts of education from taught me right away that having a horse that can teach you does NOT mean he doesn’t need a leader.  I didn’t realize I hadn’t shown up fully for him, I just went about my business saying hello to everyone and marveling at the beauty of the ranch.  We started with friendly game as we got to know each other and all was going well.  I was swinging the stick and string over his back and began pulling it away and snapping the ground.  He began moving and before I knew it I was dizzy running in circles backing up with Nita Jo trying to get it through my head and down to my feet to back straight and not back circles.  You know those moments when it all happens so fast you can’t process right away?  Well, this was one of those for me.   I had made an assumption that he wouldn’t get bothered about anything.  It wasn’t what I would call an extreme moment, but it really got me thinking.  We had a break and I thought about the energy and the leadership I had brought to “Pecan”.  I realized that I wasn’t super focused and I wasn’t putting him first; I was putting my fun and my human connections first.  My thoughts were not fully clear and were all over the place…but in a good way. I came to discover that doesn’t matter.  I thought back to that article in the Hana Hou and began telling myself, “I am the horseman I always wanted to be”, “I am the legend”.  Made me almost giggle after I looked around to be sure no one “heard my thoughts” and I required myself to keep focusing on that mantra.  I could feel the power in that mind set.  Like the surfer wrote about in his story, I didn’t need to have anyone else see me that way, but did it for me…and for the horse.  I had realized that when Pat Parelli says he expects us to be loyal to the horse, part of what that means is showing up as the leader the horse needs; putting the relationship first.  Well, having this mantra helped me work towards fulfilling that duty.  Here was a finished bridle horse with lots of life experience and I was creating issues for him until I changed my energy; my leadership.  Of course, some of the challenges I began to create are challenges I see in my own horse.   Hmmmmm….what feedback.  And I am reminded that it’s up to me what I expect and can inspire in my own horse.  I can give excuses or I can “flip the switch” and just do it:-)
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