The Power of Positive Partnerships

I had the privilege to watch true excellence in horsemanship at the Colt Start event in Ft. Worth Texas this past weekend. It was just as Pat promised – beautiful, exciting and educating. It was also tender, thrilling, humorous and enlightening. Thanks Pat for once again blowing us all away and at the same time ….  wanting more. :)

This was my first time volunteering at a Parelli event. What a blast this was, I highly recommend it! I met up with some old friends and made some new ones. One part reunion, one part work, many parts of fun, and truckloads of learning, this past weekend was a great example in the power of positive partnerships. Beginning on Thursday, setup day, the positive impact of teamwork was evident as we all worked together to get the booths and product displays set up and organize the many boxes that arrived on pallet after pallet after pallet. Oh boy! Although they assigned us to an area for the weekend it was common to see each of us jumping in with a big Yes and a big Smile whenever anyone needed an extra hand or two.

Including this happy little guy!

 

The impact of positive teamwork was powerful and evident as the coliseum was filled with excited & happy attendees, many for whom this was their FIRST Parelli event!

 

 

 

 

We also had a fascinating Horsenality session with Linda, Lyndsey, Westy & Jazzy! Wow what a super example in contrast… so clear for us to see ….and such a  joy to realize the possibilities of a positive partnership. The highlight was watching Westy practically inhale the bit as he eagerly took it up in his mouth. Wowee! And then Linda blew us away when she indicated her intentions to ride Westy bridleless during the Summit in September. I plan to attend and cannot wait to see that awesome display of harmony.

 

A heartfelt farewell to Magic as she retires and enters motherhood.

 

There was not a dry eye in the house when Magic entered the arena for one last public dance with Pat as she begins her latest adventure into motherhood.

Miss Magic we will miss you on tour, but rejoice in your new journey. xoxoxoxo!

 

 

 

 

The colts were beautiful to watch as they progressed from nervous reactive prey animals to more confident responsive budding partners…. all within only 3 days. Proof that Pat’s principles of Love, Language and Leadership are the keys to a powerful partnership between horse and human. His colt start professionals John, Jake, Berin, Rhett, James, Trevor, Ryan and Kalley (girl power Kalley!) left us speechlessly riveted to our seats as they introduced themselves to the colts and over the course of the next 3 days created beautiful relationships while developing confidence, acceptance, and understanding as the foundations to a true partnership.

 

 

And then …. enter the cows!! OK blew our second pair of socks off with that!!! Pat skillfully and lovingly guided his colt start team as needed and encouraged them and us to rejoice in the beauty of a positive start FOR the horse.

 

The results were magical. In the end, while the colts relaxed at liberty, the colt start team gathered to tell us what each of them learned over the course of the weekend. While they spoke the colts began to surround them and sniff, investigate and nibble them! Tom Dorrance was certainly smiling from above to see the colts display of curiosity. Nothing was ‘knocked out’ of these precious equines. Instead they were given a brilliant, powerful, positive beginning to a beautiful partnership with humans.

For me that was the highlight of the event….. the power of developing positive partnerships….. for horses, humans, teams, audiences….. for all. Oh geez …… where is my Kleenex?

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Standing on Dovely!

As prep for our mentor session with Rachel next Tuesday Dove & I have been filming where we are at with our online and freestyle focus points for the month. We’ve been playing with upwards canter departures, point 2 point, refined indirect & direct reins and so on. And then every now & then we spice it up….. So naturally I played with standing on my horse. Until yesterday we’d do this next to a fence so I could hold steady in case she got nervous and moved off. Well after warming up for an hour and then filming for another 30 – 40 minutes Dove was so relaxed that we tried this in the middle of the of the arena. Needless to say my thighs were a tad tired and I am no longer 20 years old…… plus I had on my cowgirl boots which felt a bit slick on my saddle seat….. but that didn’t stop me! So here is a short video of us from yesterday….. Enjoy!

 

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Bareback & Bridleless in Reno!

Dove & I recently visited our friends in Reno for a  weekend and  had fun playing with them bareback & bridleless! We all stayed at Suzy’s place called Snake Ranch and enjoyed 3 days of horsemanship together.

 

My friends Robbie & Bella and Suzy & Amy joined us for a Savvy Clap! We all had fun testing our relationships Online, Liberty, & Freestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s another cute pic of us with Amy & Suzy. I love how Dove is looking over to Amy.

 

 

 

 

Then on Monday morning Suzy & I took our ponies out for a trail ride out her front door! Next time I’ll wear my helmet cam so you can see the awesome views!

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Having fun with Spice Girl

We had some sudden lovely weather the other day and I took advantage of it and played with my younger mare Spice. I will bring both Dove & Spice to Reno next month for a clinic with Trevor and Tara Carter so thought I’d better check out where our freestyle was at after a long wet and cold winter.

So here is a short video….. introducing, …drum roll please…. no we need a bigger drum roll because she is….. my Drama Queen, Miss Spice!

It started to rain so we ended before I soaked my camera. It was a very interesting session. We tested various versions of our games to check for any Ya But’s, Oh no’s, and Yes M’ams.

I have a few items to discuss with Miss Spice but overall I was pleased with her change in attitude and willingness to stay present with me. Only 4 weeks to go until Reno!

Next sesson I’ll bring my other helmet and go offroad! LOL

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Time for a tune-up!

Recently Dove & I traveled to David Lichman’s for a private lesson. My good friend Jamie asked for an update on what we learned. So I thought I would share it with y’all too. :)

We arrived a bit early so Dove & I played at Liberty in his arena. She promptly saw this hairy sheep in the neighbor’s yard across the fence and was immediately drawn to it. How interesting… she is in a confident and dominant mood. Cool. So we played with our close spins and stick to me in his round pen which is at one end of the arena… I left the gate open…. circling was going nicely and then Dove left me ….through the gate. ha ha She crossed the arena to check in with the other horses so I applied a bit of pressure (make it uncomfortable to leave me) and she came cantering back to me when I asked for her. Uber cool! This was her first canter to me at Liberty! Ah the magic of the Lichman atmosphere! Oh and our lesson had not yet begun.

David arrived and we both got super engrossed in knot tying! Dove, still at Liberty, stood with us and took a nap while we fiddled with some cool braiding and knots.

Then I gave him my sob story about my dismal porcupine game and how I would sure love his input. So we began online and Dove was so-so at this one and ok at that one but nothing to write home or blog about! David observed that I needed to give Dove something more to do and if she wanted to move away, I should gently but firmly get her back in position and go somewhere with our porcupine. Then he noticed that she was bracing – head up and tight. So we played with that for a while, I had just my index finger pressed horizontally on the halter knot to ask her to back up, and then tapped her front feet with my stick or foot to get more response. I had to also press down with my index finger if she raised her head. I needed to be a bit more insistent vs. so nice and soft. ;) Ah yes David figured me out. ha ha

Before we moved to riding we addressed one of Dove’s old ghosts…. ropes and her hind legs. This is not a new subject but the good news is that we have progressed to a point where I have enough savvy to help her even more now. It has been a very long and at times dangerous road. She can get quite explosive if she gets worried enough. This is where David commented that my softness and niceness can help balance her out after moments when I must apply pressure. The brief history is that Dove has barbed wire and/or rope scars on her hind legs – from her fetlocks to her hocks. She has this on both hind legs although they are different lengths and could therefore be from more than one incident. I do not know if this occurred as a result of an accident while she was ridden or if this happened in pasture, or if it was inflicted by a previous predator. Either way they are what they are and have left her very skeptical of anything tight around her hind legs. David is well aware of the issue and has helped me progress with her tolerance, acceptance and now even relaxation when we play with ropes back there. So for this lesson he wound the 45’ rope around her in such a way that it would come free if need be. The hondo end dangled just above the ground and the rope then wound around her chest crossed over her back over the hondo end and then behind her legs on her gaskin area. We started on her more confident left side… aka the easier side. Phew. David helped in the beginning and then handed her over to me and in the end we were getting some nice low headed trotting in a circle, some straight lines, and even some backing … she backs up and into the rope pressure. I will continue this for the next 30 days and will hold off switching to her harder side until she gets really, really confident with this. BTW we are on our 4th session with this and I have already gotten some nice soft canter strides and even jumped over a small jump. Wahoo! My little pony tries her heart out for me.

Here’s a little video clip from our 4th session at home:

Next we played with leading by the hind leg which was progressing to a new point using the 22’. David helped get me into a safer position to ask her for a step sideways with her hind leg. I needed to add in some driving her Zone 1 away so she would then also step her free leg over. Oh boy lots of homework!!

Next we saddled up and played with our freestyle porcupine game. Not surprisingly we had similar results – Dove bracing with her head up when backing. So while I was in the saddle, David helped me from the ground by tapping her front legs with the carrot stick and adding in some downward pressure on her halter to lower her head. Then he handed me the carrot stick and showed me how to tap her HQ, once she started backing to ask her to put more effort into it. Whoa that was alot for me to think about all at once. ha ha I have to admit that at first I had brain overload and tended to raise my rein too soon, but with some repetition I regained my savvy composure and felt some nice tries on Dove’s part. So we ended our lesson on this soft note.

Before we packed up to leave I put my helmet cam on David while he tied the fiador knot. He said he will post it on his website. I need to practice that knot a whole lot before I will remember it! LOL We then schlepped our tack back to my trailer, Dove almost self-loaded and we made the trip home in record time.

Another great tune-up from a Master Instructor. Thank you David!

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Reflections

Full of learning, stretching, testing, and reaching milestones, this past month has been in a word ……. supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Which according to Wickipedia roughly translates to “Atoning for educability through delicate beauty.”

After 2 life changing weeks spent at the fabulous Florida Parelli campus, I returned home on my 50th birthday, and began the next chapter in my horsemanship journey. I must admit my head was in the horse clouds and thus the freezing temperatures were quite annoying since all I wanted to do was play with my horses and talk to them about all that I had learned! Come on Mother Nature what were you thinking? I had heard that my family enjoyed pleasant 70 degree weather while my fingers grew numb in Florida and now I come home to more frost? Humph putting on my emotional fitness jacket, I made the best of it and played under the shelters. Wouldn’t you know it but my two mares & I had one of THE BEST sessions with accepting the bit EVER! Not only was Dove lowering her head and taking the bit quietly into her mouth AT LIBERTY but Miss Spice was nibbling and grabbing at it, impatient for her turn. Amazing what a difference two weeks makes …. to my savvy! Thank you Parelli!

So after learning came stretching ….. my attention, time, and energy between my horsemanship and my teachermanship. OK Mother Nature I guess you had a good plan because the cold wet weather was a handy motivator to stay indoors and focus on getting my little duckies in a row preparing for my new role as a 1 Star Junior Parelli Professional Trainee. Oh yea… say that new title 5 times fast! Cool!

Then came the testing phase. My first few students have been my close girlfriends who I can count on to give me the straight scoop, honest feedback and tons of support and encouragement. Yeah for my BFF’s! I had a blast giving them lessons last week. Both have injured horses at the moment so they used my horses and let me tell you that was double the fun for me!

And now to today….. reaching milestones ….. what a pleasant time I had teaching a new student today. Helping her progress one spoonful of information at a time, and then to see her big beautiful white Boulonnais, a french draft horse, with two big ears and soft dreamy eyes from across the arena …. a sign that what just transpired between them was … well magic. Ah friends this is what we all do this for. My heart gave this big sigh and I could feel the love, language and leadership all around us. So as I returned back to my horses this afternoon everything seemed happy & easy. Dove & I had a great session again with biting the cones and playing with our perfect circling game. Then we spent another hour playing with our trailer and in the end she was loading with me sitting on the fender. I am ever so grateful for my little Rockstar Dove. We ended our session with a test drive of our new GoPro Helmet Cam that my husband and son got me for my birthday.

Enjoy!

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Fabulous Florida!

Linda presented a seminar on The Elements of Man on Saturday which ended a fabulous week of learning and growth. Every day last week was incredible ….. so much to process. Pat & Linda are amazing teachers and so inspiring and thought provoking. Our course was led by Carol Coppinger, Nita Jo Rush and Ann Kiser a power trio of knowledge, energy and encouragement. This was another dream come true for me because I had wanted to take lessons with Carol, Nita Jo & Ann. Who knew it would be all at once as an instructor course! Double cool surprise. I am proud to say that our entire class of 73 students passed with 80% or better which means look out horse world there are 73 new 1 Star Junior Parelli Professionals coming your way and yours truly is one of them! YeHaw!

I had the day off yesterday (Sunday) and today. Tomorrow I get the privilege to watch dressage master Walter Zettl give lessons. Wow I anticipate that I will fill my entire notebook in one day with all that I will see and learn! Good thing I brought extra notebooks because there will be 3 days of lessons to watch, weather permitting. Then next Saturday there will be a full day on saddle fitting which I also get to attend. Oh Boy!!! This will make two weeks of pure Parelli education. I think I need to pinch myself to make sure I am not just dreaming. ;) It will take me some time to assimilate all that I have learned, but for certain I will share it once it percolates up. For now know that Parelli has a top shelf Instructor Training Program in addition to it’s phenomenal Horsemanship program.

2011 is going to be one Rockin good year for horse lovers!

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Soaring with eagles

That’s what it feels like when you are in a room with 150 like minded and like hearted people! We are on our fourth day of this fabulous Instructor course and I must say that this is more than an instructor course. Yes we have learned about how to progress our teaching skills but there is so much more that Pat & Linda have offered and exposed us to. The enhancements that are coming soon to Parelli Connect along with the progressive Mastery Program updates will have a huge positive impact towards changing the world to be a better place for horses and humans.

And friends that was after only 3 days! This morning weather permitting (rain hold on please) we have the privilege to watch Pat with the Mastery students and see what excellence with horses looks like up close and in the moment. Yesterday we were to watch what Kalley is doing with the young horse development program but mother nature forced us indoors. We then had the unique opportunity to have a Q & A session with Kalley. Wow folks she mesmerized us with her stories and explanations of the pieces to the program. At the end we all wished we could be Kalley’s horse. She has a truly special quality of energy about her. Thank you Kalley for making yourself so available for our stream of questions!

Our main stewards of this course are Carol Coppinger, Nita J Rush, and Ann Kiser. Talk about a powerful trio! They have sprinkled in just the right amount of serious discussion and humorous interaction to keep us focused and relaxed while they stuff our heads with information. Brilliant strategy. Today and tomorrow afternoon we will take the theory and policy tests once more and Friday we will have a graduation party! On Saturday we have a little icing on the cake as Linda will present a seminar on the Elements of Man. This may be the first time in a long time that I will need to take Sunday off to recharge! :)

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Fun inflight!

Met a new friend while traveling to Orlando. My new gal pal, Margaret & I are having fun trying to watch TV while on the plane! Of course we would. We were able to watch 3 mins of the comedy Two and A Half Men. And every once in while we holler back to Margie who is sitting behind us! You can imagine all the giggling and carrying one three gals can do on a long flight. ;) Needless to say I don’t think the guy in the window seat is too pleased. I think he’ll be alright though he came equipped with an iPod.

We do have a rather stern, all rules kind of flight attendant, who frankly scares us a little. We may have to wait until we land to get out of our seats. LOL. She has been heard barking at someone that they were in her way.. Oops… Better explain the friendly game to Margaret in case we need to visit the powder room. PNH to the rescue! And then there was the incident when Margie dared to ask for a spoon for her Starbucks oatmeal. Of course she is a fellow Parellli student and used her savvy. She came back with the spoon in the end.

Well friends time to try the TV show thingie again…. It’s a long flight.

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Off to visit the "enchanted" campus

This week has been Busy with a captial “B” getting ready to fly out to Florida tomorrow morning for 2 weeks. Uh yea baby TWO WEEKS! I am quite excited about attending the 1 Star Instructor course at the “enchanted” campus and getting to reunite with my former Fast Track mates. I still managed to find ample time to goof off with my ponies though. All work and no fun make Kimmy a dull cowgirl! In the beginning of the week we played with obstacles at my friends ranch and today my Mom came by so I promptly put her skills with a camera to good use. Thanks Mom!! xoxoxoxo

TTFN (tah tah for now) ~kim

My Sweet & Playful Gelding Chero
Miss Fancy Spice Girl
My Rockstar Dove

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