“A horse doesn’t care how much you know until it knows how much you care.” Or something like that.
I find so often in the horse industry there is a tendency to partake in dick measuring contests. And I will be the first to admit there has been many times I’ve whipped out a ruler.
My filly helps to put my ego in check. Quite often actually. She reminds me that I don’t know everything, and in fact, I know nothing when it comes to her groundwork and being a leader.
Today I learned that in order for my horse and I to continue our positive development I need to prove to her that I am a leader. I need to prove to her that she can trust me and that I am confident enough for her to want to follow my guidance.
Basically, I need to grow some balls and be the leader/partner/one-day rider that my horse needs. I need to stop being such a perfectionist and stop getting so discouraged because I’m out of my comfort zone.
When I was working in Alberta a few years ago and I was learning Parelli, I had no motivation because I was working with horses that weren’t my own, and horses that were up for sale. I wasn’t concerned about having a bond, but had I of known better, I should have been concerned about having their respect. I got discouraged because Parelli was something so far from what I knew, and if I practiced Parelli it meant that everything I had known and done for the past 11 years (give or take a few) had been wrong. That was too much for my 20-year old brain to handle at that time so I didn’t try to learn – I closed off my brain and I focused on riding.
Fast forward to a few months later when I had moved back to NS and bought my 4-year-old gelding that needed to be started. I admit that I tried: I purchased a monthly subscription to the Parelli site, made a profile and watched videos. I bought a rope halter (no carrot stick though, I was still immature enough that I was scared of what others would think), and I attempted to play with my horse.
With no guidance, no support and repeated strange looks and questions of “why aren’t you just lunging him?” “why aren’t you just getting on?” I gave up and went back into my old ways.
I wanted this time to be different. I saw the ways that horse and human connections were created through natural horsemanship, and I saw the amazing things that could be accomplished. I wanted that too.
There have been some days that I thought/think that my filly and I are a bad match. But I truly don’t believe we are. My filly teaches me so much and has taught me an immense amount already. She reminds me that I need a lot of help, and that we have the potential to be awesome together if I take the time to learn and be the leader she needs me to be. My filly pushes me to be not only a better horseman but a better person. She reminds me to not be so closed-minded and to deflate my ego. She reminds me that I need to stop my thoughts and take the time to look at my surroundings – you can learn a lot from reading people/animal’s body language and silent conversations.
I was never a trainer. I was a rider. I put rides on green horses to bring them further along, and the ones that needed starting, I tacked up and got on. I didn’t train; I was a passenger with a good seat and a fearless attitude.
I love my filly. I love Parelli. I love the lessons that I’m continuously learning – no matter how tough they may seem at the time.
Now, I truly believe in pushing through when the going gets tough because the end results are/will be awesome.