Wednesday, March 24, 2010
She was a donation to In the Company of Horses, but when we got her, she really didn't want anything to do with humans or horses. We turned her out in Jeanne's 29 acres with her herd and only fed and cared for her for one year. She eventually found her place in the herd, but she never seemed comfortable or "at home".
Then one day I was on my way back home from my horsemanship mentor Aimee Brimhall and I stopped in at Jeanne's. While I was at Aimee's we had spent several days learning to see and think in mental pictures and then be able to share those mental pictures with others, humans then horses. So when I got to Jeanne's Valentine was running the fenceline and yelling at me. Now I have been to Jeanne's countless times over her year with us, with and without horses. She knew my herd, but my experience with Valentine was limited to the first day I met her and trailer loaded her and brought her to Jeanne's. So of course I went over to see what she wanted. I went ahead and offered to put my rope on her and invited her out. I was committed to using no body language, only mental pictures. That is hard because communication is mostly body language and I have practiced using body language with horses for many years. So I cleared my head and had a thought and picture that Valentine and I go somewhere together, and before I knew it, she had lept into the air and all I saw was sky around her, I was amazed! All I did was have a thought! I realized I needed to be clear in my thoughts with her, like lets go over there, not just lets go somewhere. I said to Jeanne, right there, I have to take this horse home with me! So, I put her in the trailer, and she was mine!
Now, when we got home it was interesting, my herd accepted her right away, no hooves flying, no biting, just pure acceptance of this mare right away. And it was there that I really began to learn about leadership from Valentine. I had been learning from Aimee about what herd leaders do. How they act, and now I had my own example right in my yard to show me, every day.
Aimee is truly a student of the horse. She was a young home schooled girl in Montana who went to the Parelli University at 15 years of age. When she got home her parents, wanted to see results from what she learned, so she began starting colts to earn $$ for her next semester the Parelli University. When I began to study with her, she had 78 colt starts under her belt. So, like Pat Parelli says, I can't experience, experience for you, but second hand gold is as good as new. So for me, Aimee's vast experience with horses and her ability to communicate about that, has been a gift for me. It was just what I had always been looking for since my handsome Sorrel gelding came into my life and managed things so well 15 years earlier! And, now I had this lovely new horse, beautiful, smart, willing, and athletic who totally picked me!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
It was in 2005 when I found out there is an international program where people were using horses as feedback, professionally, to help other people grow and learn about themselves! I love it! All these years, as my horses were plainly telling me, very clearly, about who I was being, I was learning a craft, a new business!
Now, for me, it wasn't always easy to know just what they wanted me to know, but it was easy for me to see what my friends horses wanted them to know, so I started asking Jeanne, what she saw my horse telling me! It was great! or not, but it was what was going on right then and there. Honestly it wasn't until years later that I actually appreciated this feedback and started to be able to see what my own horses were telling me.
Maybe I was helping a horse with some worry load in a trailer or stop running over it's owner, I could have someone elses horse on the end of my rope and get the feedback easily, but my own horses were much harder for me. I'm sure its because it was personal for me with my own horses. Other horses didn't know me and I didn't know them. I was there to help and they seemed to know it. They were easy, and the results I found were consistent, they taught me to be able to use my own mirrors at home.
I have been a student of Parelli Natural Horsemanship since 1996. I was in my first clinic with Pat Parelli himself, and I learned so much about horses in that weekend, that when Pat said, just follow my program through the foundation program, then go out and do what ever you want with horses, you will have a solid foundation built on principals to see you through all the rest of your horse days. So I did. And in 2005, I got to fulfill on the dream of going to Horsemans' Heaven the International Study Center of Parelli Natural Horsemanship in Pagosa Springs Colorado for the entire year! Patches of course is the horse that took me to Parelli University and got me here today. She is quite the girl. Full of opinions, beautiful in every way. 2005 was the fulfillment of my Parelli Journey. Pat said, now, after your level 3 you have a license to learn. So, once again I listened and I went on to study with Aimee Brimhall McCord.
Aimee listened to the horses like no one I had ever imagined. Aimee brought my awareness around horses to a new level, to the level of being, without thinking about it, just feeling. And shortly after I found Aimee, I found play. Play with horses! Fun, artistry, dancing, connection all with a childlike wonder. This is where things started to get really good! The answer always became yes! All I needed to do was figure out the question, that was the fun part! Horses became a game of interaction for me, a source of lightness, light on my line, light on the earth and light in my life, and I found MOST horses have a wonderful sense of humor! They offer all matter of antics. This is when my herd evolved into a friendly, fun close knit herd, this is also when Valentine came into my life. ....