Green on Green

There is a saying in the horse industry that “green on green makes black and blue” and I totally agree. But I chose to fight the system anyways.

When I purchased my filly as a 7-month old, I wanted a new challenge. I’ve had the chance to own/ride relatively well-trained horses that I’m proud to have brought along to become “relatively more” well-trained. I’ve worked as a trainer for green horses – both for horses that had no prior under-saddle training and needed to be fully started, and some that were already started and needed to be brought further along. I’ve also started my own gelding and was very proud of his development and the relationship we built by doing all of the training together.

I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to continuously take things further and challenge myself, so I decided to do the obvious next step: get a baby. I’ve never worked with a horse that young, and I’ve never really focused on ground work – at all, to be completely honest.

I started learning Parelli when I was working out west and wanted to further my skills, so I contacted my current trainer, Kaila Watters, purchased my filly, brought her to Kaila’s, and began my new adventure.

Has it been easy? Hell-to-the-No. There have been times (many times, actually) that I’ve questioned my decision. “Why the hell did I get a baby? What was I thinking? Parelli? Man, this so isn’t my thing. It’s out of my comfort zone and I’d rather just tack up and get on.”

It probably didn’t help that my filly is pretty much the most stubborn horse I’ve ever met (well… there was this quarter horse mare in Alberta… *shudder*) and that she likes to give me the horse equivalent of a middle finger on a daily basis and continuously test me. Women.

However, at the end of the day, when I look back on the vast amount of things I’ve learned these past months, the amount of confidence I’ve slowly but surely gained, and the way that I’ve learned to check my ego at the door, I can only be thankful of the opportunity that I’ve presented myself with. I will be a better horseman because of this, and my filly and I will have a stronger bond because we’re going through it together.

There is absolutely no way I could have done this without the continuous help of Kaila. I have put Miley in a month’s training with Kaila now twice, we also do weekly lessons and the results I continue to see are tremendous. Without Kaila’s help, Miley would probably be in a different home by now. So Kaila, if you’re reading this, thank you.

Kaila working with Miley while I was gimped up with a broken pelvis.

Kaila working with Miley while I was gimped up with a broken pelvis.

Today I was at a Parelli clinic and will continue to attend for the next three days. I respect Parelli training so much and I love that I’m learning it. I admit that it can be scary doing something so far from what you’re used to, but when I see the results that others achieve with their practice, and when I see the difference in Miley, and the difference in my confidence (slowly gaining) on the ground, I am so happy to be a Parelli student. I can’t wait to continue developing myself and my horse with natural horsemanship training.

I believe there are four steps in the learning process:

1) You don’t know that you don’t know
2) You know that you don’t know
3) You don’t know that you know
4) You know

I think I’m at step 2. I know that I don’t know. I know that I need help but I also know that I will learn. When Miley is of age for me to being working with her under saddle (1-1 1/2 years?) I will feel that comfort. But I’m so glad that I’m experiencing all that I’m experiencing now. With that being said, I also know that I’m not perfect (definitely not!) when it comes to riding and will need continuous guidance and training. (Kaila: consider this your warning.)

Sometimes I wonder if a newbie Parelli student, whom isn’t confident on the ground to begin with, should have bought a green (make that very green) horse. Some would say I shouldn’t have. But you know what? I don’t care. Things are going great with my stubborn, frustrating filly and I can’t wait for us to build our relationship even further and learn together.

F*** the system.

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