Breakthroughs with Walter

Dear Friends,

Every time Walter is here it’s thought provoking and challenging! One of his mantras is, “to the limit, but not over the limit” and speaks of constantly challenging yourself to improve. If you only do what you know how to do and stay comfortable, you really don’t improve very much. So it’s funny that just when I think I have achieved something and want Walter to ‘notice’ it, he pushes me to the next boundary. It’s a good lesson in humility, because even I find myself wanting to show him what I’ve accomplished and can get a little tight because now that he’s pushing me towards the next limit, I feel that he’s only seeing me having trouble again!

Of course, the truth is he can see the changes and the improvements, but this is not a time for me to show off to him, it’s time to learn! Our time with Walter is so precious and moments like these remind me to keep focused on where I’m heading instead of trying to feed what’s apparently left of my ego (I had a big ego-ectomy the first day I did a Parelli clinic!).

So this last time I had a GREAT compliment from Walter, two in fact. :) The first was that he could see the big changes in my horse since my breakthrough in contact – I wrote a little about this to you before, but I’ve written a big article on it that will be published in the May Savvy Times magazine; and the second was that he read my article manuscript and said, “You got it. And you’ve made it so simple to understand.”

So here’s what he saw in me and Remmer on the first day of my week of lessons – Remmer was round, relaxed and ‘through’ in the contact: active hind leg, up in the back, reaching way under himself, and steady in the contact. And I was more relaxed as a rider because Remmer was doing his part – acting like a partner instead of letting me work harder than him. Of course, all the details on this are in my article! So everything was smoother, more ‘up,’ more powerful and athletic…and it was the first video tape of my lesson that I felt good about – all the others I’ve watched and learned and seen what’s wrong (as well as what has improved) but never wanted to show anyone!

Dressage is so hard to do well and to have the horse enjoy, too. My greatest breakthrough between my January and March lessons with Walter was finding the key to my horse’s mind – getting Remmer really into it instead of just being obedient. Walter’s comment was “Goooooood! You’ve been working hard since last time!” Yep, but mentally hard more than anything. I was determined to figure out the mental game of collection and contact for horses. :)

Oh, I just remembered the third big compliment while Walter was here – after reading my article he said, “maybe tomorrow I will just watch as you ride, and let you know if there is anything you can improve.” That’s HUGE! Usually he is coaching me every step, every moment. Now he believes I can feel what I’m supposed to feel, and for him to direct anything will be too late. In fact, the lesson the day before was a lot like that; he kind of stopped talking, just kept saying “goooood, gooooooood” and so I started doing things (transitions, shorter, longer, etc.) because I felt Remmer was waiting for the next thing.

I cannot wait for my next sessions, breakthroughs are so cool no matter how dark the hour is before the dawn!

Yours Naturally,


Filed under Horsemanship, Remmer

18 responses to “Breakthroughs with Walter

  1. Linda,

    Walter was my idol before I met Pat Parelli at the National Finals Rodeo, years ago. I was so glad when you picked him as your coach. My experiance with the Parelli training and the 6 weeks I spent at Pagosa, was the best time in my life.

    Thanks for your inspiration and sharing your journey with Walter.

    Nancy Fellows

  2. Pamela Watson

    Linda,I understand the fine line between ego and and the journey of self have shared so much of your personal expereince. It has been the best way for me to learn. Being able to watch and see changes happening when the rider finds the feel to connect to the mind and spirit of the horse.Thankyou for putting yourself out there for all of us to learn. April 10 I will have an opportunity to audit Walter Z here in the hillcountry near Harper Tx the following weekend I’ll be in Beaumont Tx to watch you and Pat. Then Monday the Gold savvy summit. Thanks again for causing learning to be so rewarding and so much fun.

  3. Jill

    Thank you very much for sharing with us.
    I truly inspire to ride as well as you do!
    Through this program I feel I can always see new ways to keep reaching for “never ending self improvement”!
    Thank you

  4. Jeanie Shepherd

    That constant challenge to improve yourself, is so applicable in so many ways. The sharing Linda does with us is valuable beyond words.

  5. Lynn Wasser

    Dear Linda,
    All I have to add is how amazing it is to me that your journey has led you back to the beginning, but rather one of fear and frustration, now you have brought Walter in as a bridge. You are the perfect model of creating your own Reality with the patience required to just let Life unfold…..I know you know how fortunate you are and that creates worlds..
    Thank you for being so open with us all, Lynn

  6. I really hope that one day all dressage riders will know how to make their horses enjoy riding as much as Remmer does. I don’t like the look in dressage horses’ eyes, they are always so tense and looks trapped between the reins and the rider’s legs. I think you’re a great example to follow, Linda, not only by Parelli students, but also for so called classic riders. Maybe they will appreciate it one day.

  7. Blacky

    I’m soooo happy for You!
    I really wish so hard that I can one day take some lessons with Mr. Zettl.
    Thanks to Him and You I’m interested in Dressage again! The first 8 years of my riding I had frustrating experiences with English-riding: the aids my teacher tought me didn’t make any sense neither to me nor to my horse. Although she did not teach the Rollkur. But constant driving aids, that my my horse very desensitive to my leg and to “get her head down” I had to do constantly something with the reins, so my horse git sour in her mouth. Then I changed with her to Reining and thanks to this great trainer I got, all problems were solved in one month! After that I thought Westerriding is the superior way to ride and English-riding is just nosense :-S
    So it is amazing that You could change my mind :-)
    Thank You so much!
    And pleeeeeaaaase put some of Your lessons with Mr. Zettl in a DVD that we can learn from it!! And it would be great to hear You comment Your “pathway” with Remmer. It would be soooooooo educating for us! Please, please, please! :-)

  8. Shelly Forceville


    Your openness and honesty, and willingness to share all of this with all of us, is a shining recommendation of your character and integrity. This is an inspiration to me, and hopefully an example to many.

    Wishing you every success and happiness.

    Thank you so much.

  9. VickiGG

    Can’t wait to read more in the May savvy times Linda. Thanks.

  10. Pam

    Can’t wait for the article! Sundance and I shared aha moments today. We’ve been working and wanting him to reach and enjoy the contact…and he did…today!! It was so wonderful. I could feel your excitement as you chronicled your accomplishments! Thanks so much for being human and able to relate to us.

  11. Ann Rasmussen

    You are an inspiration to me. At times I feel those breakthroughs (at a lower level), those connections to my horse partner. It is euphoric. Thank you for sharing so openly with us.

  12. Bambi

    Linda, YOU are SO blessed!!
    I get SO excited to hear when people have such GREAT things going on in their lives!! I know jealousy and envy are wrong,,,but how can a person help it?? LOL
    You are a great inspiration to all horse people!! Keep doing what you do!
    To GOD be the glory!! Amen??

  13. I love the fact that you share your experiences with us all and your lack of ego shines through.
    The connection you have with Remmer must be amazing and that’s the elusive something I’m aiming for.

  14. Jeane DeVries

    Lovely! Can’t wait to see you ride again.

  15. Hello Linda,
    Couple on things to tell you.
    My wife Robyn had a wonderfull time at Wilton Australia in her course and came away with her level 2++ with big smiles and renewed confidance. She had a bit of a cry because it all had to end and come back to reality. But she’s fine and her efforts have increased with both her horse and mine.
    Last night she went for her first grading in Tae Kwon Do, she passed without any mishap with a beaming smile, broke the board and all. I wish to thank you and Pat for your course and wisdom and confidance biulding. Thanks for being in this world at this present time.
    Also I had a message from Fiona Darling about her 4 weeks in the Masters program, in there was these points of wisdom.
    The 3 Laws (like Laws of Nature) of Parelli
    *Put the Relationship first
    *Foundation before specialization
    *Never ending self improvement

    4 Agreements: Don Miguel Ruiz
    #Be impeccable with your word
    #Don’t take things personally
    #Don’t make assumptions
    #Always do your best

    As I said we are into martial Arts and I have been reading alot about the Bushido code of the Samurai. (Honor, Duty & Loyalty, Complete Sincerity, Honesty & Justice, Compassion, Tolerance, Heroic Courage) Your 3 laws and 4 agreements are very much in standing and complement the Samurai Code.
    This is just an observation and I wish you could pass it on to Pat, for he is very much a Master in his Horse Martial Arts. Very much a Samurai in his own code.

    Good luck to both and may the universal energy be with you.

    Glenn & Robyn

  16. Pippa D

    I know the feeling, it’s when we shut out the outside world and become one with our horse. This doesn’t always happen every time but when it does….it’s magic. I too had a flatwork lesson with my trainer not Parelli but surprisingly very similar and sensitive, and he just watched me ride without saying much, that is a real compliment. I feel I have come a long way from my first lesson with him when he made me ride my very electric Irish sport horse mare with only a thin piece of string around her neck and no reins, riding many transitions. This was prior to me becoming interested in Parelli. Well done Linda and Remmer enjoy the magic feeling :o)

  17. Laura

    Linda thank you so much for pushing through! We learn so much from you and Pat. But, I think more from you, cause your closer to our level. Maybe ;) (At least it wasn’t that long!) Pat is our insperation, and you put it into laymans terms. THANKS to both of you! You are a blessing to the horse world and my little piece of it!

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