"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.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What is a ‘principle’ and how does it affect our outcome and ultimate success?


1-A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system or belief or behavior or a chain of reasoning used as a rule to govern one’s behavior.

Many like to think that a technique is what guides us on this journey, or makes what we do ‘natural’ but it is not. Techniques are just a facilitator of our principles to help us achieve our goals. In the parelli system, those techniques and principles were chosen for us, but they are not unique to parelli. Having principles, adhered to and revered as absolute truths, is what lets us know if you are on the right track. Too often, students (of any method) get far to hung up on ‘perfection’ of a task or technique and the principles get lost in the fog. And I often wonder why. This is as common place at the highest of levels as it is at the lowest of levels. The FEI is one of the most notable to let the mebers of their group completely ignore the ‘principles’ and now Dressage is so far away from where it started…yet their own rules never changed……and to make up for it, our perception and definition of the ‘principles’ has become so distorted, we cannot even recognize them when we see them….Such as the principle of having ‘the poll as the highest point’…..it is a rare few individuals who can even recognize what it looks like. Most people ‘think’ they have it, and they could not be farther than the truth.

I have been studying French Classical Dressage lately, and the more I get into it, the clearer the connection between Dressage and NH becomes, most specifically Baucherism….though one does NOT automatically equal the other. (Baucherism is a method discovered and developed by Francois Baucher in the mid 1800’s after he studied François Robichon de La Guérinière’s work from the early 1700’s) In all systems, we usually have a relatively lengthy list of ‘principles’….but when you get to the heart of the matter there are usually only a select few that are highly regarded…and usually only one, maybe two, that are thought of as the “holy grail”…..that usually, if adhered to at all times, it will keep you out of trouble and make your road to success a short one. And usually you can say this about them,

“It matters not what technique you use, what style you ride, so long as you do nothing to lose (principle) and do everything to gain (principle)….you will always be on the road to success”

So I thought I would make a list of principles for myself, since I have been reminded by a book I am reading, just what MY holy grail is, and my lack of adherence has caused me great struggles in my pursuit of my own perfection. Obviously the ‘goal’ is improvement in tangible skills, but really those skills are a facilitator to a higher level of conceptuality and philosophical understanding of the principles….which then garner even greater skills…and so on and so on, repeating the cycle in a never ending circle of self improvement. There is a rule that states, if something applies in every situation than it is a RULE, if it does not, then it is a TOOL.

So here is my list of principles that state I can do anything I want so long as I have, create or do not destroy the following….

1. Relaxation (both physical AND mental/emotional) Front to Back

2. The relationship comes first

3. Never use force, be it physical or mental~ includes: Don’t act like a predator, don’t be direct line, Patience BEFORE justice(long phase one)

4. Lightness and Feel~ includes: Release of the aids, no micro management, Timing the aids at the moment when the horse can optimally comply

5. Hands w/out legs, Legs w/out hands

6. Poll the highest point (except when stretching down) & Nose in-front of the vertical, Back not Hollow

7. Keep the rhythm pure

8. Straightness

Principles I used to use that I no longer use, use sparingly, or only use in a safety situation, and why.

1. “The attitude of justice is effective.” It may be effective but it can be harmful physically if misunderstood and also because it can destroy relaxation, relationship, and rhythm and often eventually involves force.

2. “Immobile Neutral on a circle.” Too much mayhem goes on that is not seen by way of not watching the horse, and it pulls me away from many of the above principles that are FAR more important to me.

For now I think that is about it. Should I come across any more I will update this.

I think if more people put relaxation at the top of their list, they would avert many problems. It needs to be the first thing you get, such as when you first approach your horse, do not do things in that approach that cause him to become tense, as you begin your session, again, do not CAUSE tension…..then your first goal is to reduce and remove what ever tension he had there to begin with. Then you can move on to the days lesson, again not CAUSING tension with any of your requests. Should your request be met with tension….stop…find out what caused it and fix it before moving on. Was he not prepared for your request, was it too demanding due to his level of skill and understanding, did you ask too abruptly or strongly, did you ask at a moment he could not possibly respond correctly, was he distracted….etc….

Relaxation does not mean dead btw. It doesn’t mean create a mindless plug. He should still be alert, sensitive and responsive…..but FREE from tension, both physical and mental.

So these are my thoughts on this rainy day

Savvy On


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