You gotta know when to hold ’em…

Do you know the song “the gambler” by Kenny Rogers?  I grew up listening to that song and recently revisited it.  I was searching itunes for something for a play session and saw “the gambler”.  I decided to download it and set off to play.  Well, that song and the play sessions to follow inspired this blog.  I am preparing for Level 4 auditions with Taxi, the LBE gelding in my life, and started with Online.  The song had great meaning during the OL session because, I was highly aware of the moments when I needed to stop and wait for him when he was learning something new.  This doesn’t match his normally very LBE horsenality, but it’s very important for him that I wait in those moments.  While I was waiting the song was playing on my iPhone…”if you’re gonna play the game boy, you gotta learn to play it right.  You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run”.  It was resonating with me and I began thinking about how much it applies to horsemanship.  I looked at Taxi and thought about knowing when to hold ’em and knowing when to fold ’em and all that could sum up.  I thought about feeling during the day and thinking at night, as Pat Parelli talks about and set off to honor what the song was talking about; bringing everything I’ve learned to the table and trusting that I have it within me to offer Taxi what he needs.  After playing for a bit, we headed to the big arena for Liberty Play; our first session in an open area.  I took off the halter and planned to let him relax while I set up cones.  He came with me.  I smiled and offered a little stick to me, he was super connected and offered to circle me at trot, then canter.  “All right, game on”, I thought.  “Let’s play”.  We cantered around the arena, I asked for circling he offered it, I asked for fig 8 around the cones, he said yes.  We played stick to me all around the rail of the arena with circles peppered in.  Then I’d run away and he’d gallop toward me stopping when I turned and put up my hand.  Yo yo, then canter to me.  Lead by the tail…we were on fire and I was laughing with pure enjoyment.  The song kept playing.  “Every gambler knows, that the secret to surviving…is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.  Cause every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser…”  Hmmm.  Every horseman knows, that the secret to partnership is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep 🙂  This song got me inspired to not only think about, but feel the concepts of taking what the horse is offering, letting the horse set the timeline, knowing when to wait and when to do something…and knowing what that something is based on what the horse is telling us.  I could really feel the meaning of Pat Parelli’s words, “know where to be, when to be and why to be and what to do when you get there…and when to stop doing what you’re doing”.  I took this fun correlation and the song with me to my LBI mare and it was maybe even more resonant there.  She needs very different things than Taxi does, and I have to soften my energy and do a lot of setting it up and waiting, waiting, waiting…and agreeing 🙂  The song helped me turn sessions into a can you set up for me.  Can you honor the 4 responsibilities of the human that Parelli teaches?  For me, there is a resonant message in knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep…every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser…depending on the human.  Music has such an impact on mood and energy for me, that I am inspired to share with you a bit of my process when a song really takes hold.  And it helps me honor the Parelli Value “Get it done with a little fun”.

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