"A horse is like a mirror, and it's reflecting what and who you are."

This is just a little diary of my horse life. I teach natural horsemanship and dressage. I am currently working on getting back to L4 Parelli after a car accident and surgery.

I suffered from a fear of failure, as things had not gone according to planned after my time off from my injuries. It had been an paralyzing disability (fear) but my healing is coming along nicely, and I hope to pass my level 4 before the end of 2011.

I don't know where I am going, but I am NOT lost!

I am now reviewing dvd's and books, and blogging my reviews. The link on the left in the categories (DVD Clinician Reviews)will take you straight to it. You will find links to the websites of all dvd clinicians I review and they are located on the left hand side bottom of page of the page. None of the clinicians or trainers I am reviewing, sponsor, endorse or authorize this site. For more info about them please click on thier link.

I hope you enjoy!

Savvy On,

I will be giving Savvy Star Ratings based soley on my opinion of it's value to a parelli student as such

***** Must own

**** Must watch

*** Worth watching, but you won't die without it

** Eh' take it with a grain of salt, you will have to filter alot

* OK, but there is better stuff out there to spend your time and money on

0 stars....skip it, it just isn't worth your time.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Whole Heart: #3 Perceptions pt2 What am I doing?

So what IS my quest?  Level 4, to get back what I once had.  The Journey to the Black String.
But why am I so catatonic?

There I was, on my journey, so clost to my goal, my first destination, I could taste it.  Then...WHAMO...my life turned upside down in a flash.  A flash that has blinded me for far too long.
I thought my mistake was thinking I could just pick up where I left off.  But that didn't give me the result I expected or desired, and I was devestated.  The harder I tried, the worse it seemed to get.  And now I think I know why.  Not that I haven't uttered those words before...but God keeps giving me the puzzle pieces so far apart, that it is hard to see the picture in my mind.  At the very least, I got another piece of the puzzle.

I can't remember how I got to level 4 in the first place.  Why is that? I know some of the obvious reasons.  But now I know the subtle reasons...the reason that really matters.  Parelli has a map for success.  A pretty good one too.  Obvious reason #1....They keep changing the lay of the land on me.  #2 the tour guide is often not available or helpful with the lack of an in depth look at L3/4 education.  But that is not the real problem.  At least I don't think so anymore.

After completing chapter 1 of this book, it has revealed to me a revelation about my journey.  And all journeys really.Ya know how google maps you type in your current location and destination and it gives you the directions?  And how you can drag and drop your path to choose a different one?  That is how the levels pathway kinda is.  The problem is, it doesnt account for detours, traffic jams, pit stops....you know....the 'what if you dont get the results you think you should be getting"

Mark reminded me, that results are just that.  They aren't good or bad.  Just valuable feedback that will direct you to your next move.  This is how I got so stuck.  Stuck because I thought my results were bad because they didn't yeild me the outcome I thought they should and thus reacted negatively toward them.  Rather than view them the way I did the first time I traveled down the road to L4.
"We need to remember what the horse offers in response to our request, is simply information, nothing more, nothing less"  It isn't wrong or right.  It is just information to help us decide what move to make next.  Kinda like a Tom Tom navigator.  If we deviate from our predescribed route, it keeps us on course by giving us directions from our new 'current location'

because it was so long ago, I can't remember all the little detours we took along the way.  Each little nuance....request I made....her response to each request, that led me to the next step.  Since I was learning, I had no arrogance or ego, underlying my interpretation of her response.  I have been so busy trying to stay on the predetermined route, that I was ignoring my horses response.  I just kept making all right turns, and ultimately going in circles ending in the very same spot, all in the name of trying to get back on this predetermined path.  How on earth can I remember every little spot I placed each foot, of every step of the way the first time I traveled this road?   And really, even if I could, the problem is, each of those steps were taken because of what ever response to her feedback in the moment, and thus not appropriate for THIS step, THIS time.  I need to pay attention and navigate myself, based on todays response, to this moments request.

So on this path, this time, how do I plan my route?  What requests will I make?  What IS my destination?  Until now, I thought my destination was a black string.  And ultimately it is.  But from where I stand, this is like charting a map to China.  THAT is a huge journey!  I think what I need to do first is figure a way to navigate out my driveway.    I need to have smaller trips in mind.  Smaller goals.  This brings me back to my success with Cha'cote and the 'why' I had success with him and not Rose.  Unlike Rose, I had no 'path' try and remember and duplicate.  He was a virtual clean slate.  I had no choice but to keep things small and simple, and take one day, one step at a time.  I had NO intentions of auditioning with him.  That seemed almost impossible anyways, so I never even had it on my mind, or the map.  And in so 'not' doing, I arrived there sooner with him, than with Rose, a horse who had been there before and has NO confidence issues.  Just like he says in the book...

"Those that don't worry about making mistakes, will make less mistakes than those who do worry about making mistakes"

So now I think I just need to pick a task & ONLY one task.  Probably go back to the basics....AGAIN...That's right, the 7 games on a 12' line, and the L1 patterns, and friggin do it right this time.  Try my hand again at those driving lines, something that has no memories to chase down. Not have some arbitrary reward in mind, other than that of the relationship with my horse.

For all intents and purposes, I am a better L5 than I am a L4.  Sounds wierd, right? But I know why.  I am a better horseperson now than I was 3ys ago.  How can that be, with so many failures in the last 3ys?  Kind of obvious now, and really only important to me and my ego.  But here we go anyways.  I have taught the 7 games to well over 100 horses. I have alot of experience with rank horses.  Having worked on 2 large TB breeding farms, RB extroverts are kinda my thing.  But they exhaust me. I have taken 7 horses through what is now known as the current OLL2. And of those 7, 4 thru what is the current OLL3.  And of those, only 1 thru what is the current OLL4. 

Since L5 is about specialization, difficult horses, teaching, training, colt starting etc.  I have been doing those since before parelli, so I do them quite well, it is only the subject matter that has changed a bit.  But I only have experience with 2 horses with L4.  Snookie in the freestyle and finesse, back in the day, we could have passed those with our eyes closed.  Turns out, I was quite "natural" in the saddle, before I knew what natural was. 3rd level dressage and bridless riding kinda covers the freestyle and finesse dept.  And since nothing I have learned in parelli is different than what I was already doing....guess I was doing parelli too!  And then there is Rose with the online and liberty.  Rose is my liberty queen and the only thing we havn't done much of is driving with 2 lines.  And here I am beating myself for something I don't have as much experience with.  I don't know why I am so hard on myself.....ego I guess.  I think I need to start treating myself like I do my students.  Focusing on what is good, not my mistakes.  My horses don't care what color my string is...why should I? 

So that is my revelation for the day.  Drop the ego, and give myself a break...we all make mistakes.
I wonder what chapter 2 has in store for me.

Onwards and Upwards to Savvy

Another obvious, is my complete arrogance that I know more than my horse.

Book: Whole Heart, Whole Horse by Mark Rashid


  1. How coincidental...I just finished reading this book and am starting it again, this time to take notes. It struck some chords with me as well, and has me licking and chewing on a few things. I've also made a decision to go back to the beginning and fill some holes with my L4 partner, Dixie.

    Thanks for sharing - I enjoy your blog!

  2. I guess i am kinda taking notes...blogging...it is amazing how it just came to me....actually I have been searching now for 3 mos, and still on this journey to find the answer to my problems....unfortuanately it is within myself, i just need a guide to help me find it.

    Thanks for enjoying my blog!


I know I am not perfect.....so be nice!