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!