Friday, June 24, 2011

Miss Perfect

I really shouldn't have put that goal in there in that last post . . . because look back a bit about what I hoped to accomplish this year and know that NONE of it is now even POSSIBLE. sigh. Well.

But Increase changed the dynamic now didn't she.

And what I really want to say is just how perfect she is. Which makes me laugh because, you know, horses and horses and people are people and perfection is a long straight line not to be found in this old round world but still, she's perfect. She is funny without being obnoxious, curious without being pushy, smart without being mean. She has that wants-to-please thing that is so great about horses -- now that she feels like she can trust this place and her place here, and me and Ro, she's like, "What can I do for you?"

Today she wore a saddle for the first time. Today she cantered on the lunge really successfully for the first time (in that she'd cantered before but this time with some confidence, at least in one direction). Today she long-lined, just a bit, for the first time.

She also had some backsets as they say. She pulled at the tie for the first time in a long while, and she did it about four times too. But she was never upset by what made her pull or by the pulling itself or by the not getting loose. I guess that was all, really. She objected just a bit to the bit going in her mouth (which caused one of the pulls) but then again, it has been in her mouth three times so far.

She is doing so well.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

saddles on and not on

We have a goal of going to a horse show July 30, showing in hand and schooling under saddle. And no, I haven’t saddled her yet. But she is responding to everything so very well. I think, really, it is just the consistent handling. She knows where she is, that she has friends, that she has food. It has been several weeks since she tested being tied (by sitting down and pulling). She’ll work with Duke picking right beside of her and she’ll work on the other side of the farm away from him, where she can neither see nor hear him. My daughter is feeling confident leading her which is good since she will be on the ground with me in the saddle.

I haven’t ridden Rol in a few weeks. There are lots of excuses, like how hot it got there for a bit, and how hard it is to do all the work with that many horses and ride in the heat with no help, and how I have to borrow a saddle, and blah blah blah. Excuses are utterly irrelevant. I think the truth is, Lisa thinks allowing me to ride the girl is something she is doing for me, and it is but my riding her and showing her also does something for Lisa and Lisa doesn’t recognize or acknowledge that and I’m tired of the one sided stuff in that relationship. So I talk to Rol and I think about riding her but I haven’t been on her. And probably won’t be.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

not quite buying it

Parelli, that is. I mean, I'm downright hostile to their trademarking everything under the sun, and their aggressive marketing. But I'm willing to learn anything that will prove helpful and a number of things that will not. So I audited the clinic since it was free to do so.

And I'm interested in the techniques, but again find myself hostile to the insider lingo, and to useless and (worse) meaningless platitudes like "you have a 50-50 chance of being right."

Ah, but I was impressed with the clinician's handling of one unruly horse. While it may be a Parelli euphemism that the horse is never wrong, he just is, I can tell you right now that when a horse tries to bite me or strike me or otherwise attack me (which that particular horse has), that is the wrong answer and I don't give a darn what else is going on in his life right then, it is still the wrong answer. And my response to him would likely be hell no. I'll tell you, even upon reflection, I believe that horses, dogs, children, friends, bosses, even chickens, occasionally need a hell no! I sometimes need a hell no. But I willing to listen, and I'm willing to learn to say hell no in a different way too. I was impressed that Richard's response to the horse did not raise the volume but did suppress the behavior. Some. I'm not convinced. Yet.

My biggest question about the whole thing is, what the heck is the purpose? I know, I know, the relationship. That's like the NPR sponsor who is promoting a more peaceful and verdant world -- who isn't doing that? Of course it is about relationship. A plethora of insider lingo and dance steps does not a relationship facilitate or a purpose make. The purpose that I can see is the enrichment of the Parelli's and the people willing to jump through their hoops to do these clinics. I certainly would have felt ripped off if I'd paid $75 to be in the beginner "clinic". The afternoon individual sessions were much more worthwhile to the participants from my perspective. But dressage is not an end, it is a means, an improvement to the horse and the way he goes. I don't have any real interest in getting my horse to do figure eights in front of me, or in riding bridle-less. I don't care about that. I care about performance, whether that is dressage, cross country, barrel racing, or cutting. That's what I like, being good.

Another thing I was impressed with was the last lady in the afternoon and how she danced with her horse. Not that it sold me on Parelli but it reminds me of how sensitive to pressure horses, indeed, pretty much all animals, can be. Of course, they must be sensitized and not desensitized to it to actually be that way. Like mindfulness, it is a natural state but not a common one. But that lady and her horse definitely knew their Parelli dance. There are also dressage dances and cuttin' dances and lots of other dances and, as Corinthians might say, none is without signification. Which also means there is no more signification to Parelli than Parelli. I think that's what it means anyway.

Lisa had the chance today to describe all the stuff going on around JEF to several different people. I was not included in any of it. As a Parelli clinician would say, information, neither right nor wrong just is.