Purpose borne leadership

The past couple of weeks I’ve been contemplating my plans and personal growth needs along with skills needed for me to be able to complete my L4 auditions with my horse.  One theme that has been prevalent is my leadership.  There have been moments when my horse (a true LBI) has spooked big and taken off; I wondered, “how did that happen?”  There have been moments when my horse wouldn’t connect to me and try.  There have also been moments when my horse offered HUGE things before I even asked.  At this stage of our journey, we’ve experienced a lot of things together and thanks to Horsenality and Humanality I have some blue prints and fact based formulas I can use to help assess what’s happening with her and with me.

While contemplating the differences in each session, my horse and I had a job to do.  The cattle needed to be moved and we were given the opportunity to do it by ourselves; a really exciting first!  The herd was ready to move and the moment we entered the pasture they were coming toward us, calling and ready.  I didn’t have time to think or worry or plan.  I had to rely on all that I’ve learned from the gentleman who has given me this incredible opportunity, whom I’ve been so blessed to spend time with the last few years.

My horse thought she’d like to eat some Keawe beans, but I knew if we didn’t keep a nice flow, the cattle could disperse in the alley or start going through fences so I simply had to require her to stay with me and move forward.

The clamp clamp clamp of all the hooves behind us sounding like a storm coming and the herd calling back as I gave the calls they know to follow rattled her a bit, but I had to keep her with me.  I said to her, “we’ve got a job to do and you can trust me; now move forward”.  I was mindful to use the lightest phase possible, but do what was necessary.  I remembered to smile to keep my disposition where I wanted it.  I was mindful of being consistent so my horse knew I’d continue to be fair.  I heard the voice of my teacher when she’d go to stop to try to get grass or spook a bit, reminding me there’s more at stake here…and I’d get re committed to doing this job the way he’s taught me, and get the cattle to the new pasture as a complete herd, calmly, with none going through fences or being left behind.

I’d have little moments where I might start to wonder, “what if I screw this up”?  But I’d snap myself out of it, knowing I didn’t have time to do that and reminding myself that I know what to do; he’s taught me.

At one point, wild pigs came running from the grasses and she got high headed, then a nearby gate was swinging in the wind and she really got tense like she might consider running.  However, we had a job to do and the cattle were beginning to stop and I knew that meant they might start turning around or going through fences if I didn’t keep ahead of them, calling.  So, I picked up a steady rein and lightly used the “bother bother” method with my spur as I put my hand on her whither.  I think I said out loud to her, “I got this, you can trust me; but we have a job to do so please come back to me”.  And she did.

The gentleman whom I’ve been lucky enough to learn from about cattle these past few years came and we did a sweep of the original pasture looking for calves or any of the herd that may not have made the move; there were none.  We went back to close all the gates and ride through the herd then sat later talking about horses and horsemanship and I thanked him for giving me the responsibilities that day.

I had realized how important putting Principles to Purpose really is.  I’ve been so thankful to have a purpose for my horse, but on this day I realized just how important having a purpose, a goal that matters to me, is for me as a leader.

I take pride in getting the job done with cattle in a calm, mindful way.  I am passionate about them and about my horse being my partner in that.  It matters to me that a man who has given his time and energy to teach me sees I have been a good student and have learned what he has offered.  At the very depths of my soul, I want to always be able to think that if my horse’s mother was there she’d be smiling as she watched me with her baby, as I’ve heard Pat Parelli talk about.

Putting myself in a situation where I have goals that really are important to me helps me dig up the leadership I need to get it done.

I went back through the Mastery Lesson DVDs and watched a lesson where Linda coached Marion on clarity in transitions between gaits and during the session West Point began to spook.  Linda coached Marion to keep at it and he re connected with her.  I had read Lillan recounting a similar lesson from Linda before and I needed to get that second hand gold again. I was able to absorb it more this time.

Next time I’m in the arena playing with patterns or out in the field riding with obstacles and my horse begins to spook or take over, I’m gonna remember that recent day where I recognized what the leader in me had to look like, to convince her I was worth being followed.

The part I’m most proud of during that ride, is that I never got frustrated with my horse.  I was able to remain in a constant state of emotional awareness and think about what my horse needed from me while getting the job done.  As a predominant RBE, this is a big accomplishment 🙂

As I further contemplate this beautiful lesson, I think about the areas of my life where I’ve had to dig deep and find strength in leadership to get something accomplished that mattered to me or simply had to get done.  The lessons really are everywhere and Parelli really is waaaaayyyyyy more than riding.  I am in awe, yet again, recognizing that because of Parelli, I am on the path to becoming the human being I want to be.  With horse and in life

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