On the road home from Lexington…

Dear Friends,

Our first event of the year went very well. The team was super-organized, even quickly remedying a computer crash as the doors opened, and the horse crew had all the horses ready for the big entrance.

This year we decided to do something very different, to start with horses as being horses, and turned them all loose in the arena to play for 15 minutes before Pat came in. It was very cool as you could see them playing dominance games, separating into groups within the herds and keeping the ‘strangers’ at bay. Pat came in and talked about what they were doing, pointed out the different games they played with each other.

Then Pat called in his group of mastery students and they sent the horses galloping around the arena to the fabulous John Denver song “Eagles and Horses,” performed by The Killens, who also produce many of our DVDs and TV shows. It was spectacular, and then spell-binding as each student in turn stepped out and called their horse back to them. What a great way to start, to show horses in their natural state and then partnering up with humans.

My session with Remmer was next up. I love to tell my story about the difficulties I was having that drew me to Pat Parelli for help. My favorite line is, “You can imagine how desperate this dressage rider had to be to go to a cowboy for advice!” Then Remmer comes in, I tell a little about how he came into my life and then we play. But here’s the part I really want to tell you about – the Friday before the event!

While we were driving to Virginia, Pat asked me what I was going to do. I said I wasn’t really sure yet, so he said he thought I should ride bareback, with a halter, and jump the picnic tables and barrels like I so often would do. The only problem was…I hadn’t done that in over a year!!! Uh oh, now Friday was going to be about figuring out if I could do that or not!

First, I played with Remmer on the ground; and I take it really slow and easy, don’t ask too much. (I’ve learned that because one time I asked for a lot and the next day he didn’t offer me a thing!) So we looked like we were doing a lot of nothing. I didn’t even jump him. Then I got on, bareback and in the halter, and what happened next was awful! Walking was fine, but as soon as I went into a trot, I was bouncing all over the place. So I figured I was just rusty from not riding bareback for such a long time, so I asked for the canter. Well, he wouldn’t canter! I asked again and he cantered, and sure enough I ruffled the hairs on his back. No wonder he didn’t want to canter he knew what was coming! Yuk. Hmmm. What was I doing wrong? Suddenly I realized that I was riding him as I had been practicing so hard this past few years in getting back to dressage, I was all ‘collected’ in my body and yet that was not what I was expecting him to do. So I changed my focus, settled back onto my balance point, loosened my legs and everything changed. We cruised around, took the canter easily, everything felt wonderful.

Now, the jump! I slid off and sent Remmer over the upright barrels to see how he would take it – he didn’t even hesitate which was great because I hadn’t jumped him since his abscess back in October/November last year. So I got on, cantered off, headed to the barrels and sailed over with him. That was it. I got off and gave him some cookies.

When it came to our performance on the Saturday morning, everything went beautifully. We were in perfect harmony and as we approached the picnic tables (which we didn’t do on Friday) I could suddenly see that we were half a stride out. Remmer saw it at the same time and I felt him sizing up the jump and checking in with me, but I mentally told him “it’s your call,” either take off early or pop in half a stride. Remmer was feeling great so he took off early and we did this HUGE jump over them. Oh my gosh! I felt like one of those avatars from the movie! He landed and I looked up into the audience and laughed and then he arched and twisted into some exuberant bucks. Luckily they weren’t very big – he looks after me these days! But I pushed on his withers anyway and went with him. As we rounded the corner, there were the upright barrels and I thought “Oh well, might as well take them rather than do another circuit!” Remmer didn’t even hesitate and soared over them. On the other side we came to a walk and I dropped the reins. When I picked them up again he offered me passage so I took it and we pranced around until we got to the pedestal and he stood on it.

As I said to everyone there, “I used to dream about being able to play with horses like that,” and Remmer and I left the ring with a wonderful feeling of connection and unity. Later in my signing line I met many students who said it had brought them to tears and I told them, “Me, too.” It really moves me to have such a magnificent animal as Remmer give me, offer me, so much.

The rest of the day was super. Pat had his Mastery Students come in and demonstrate the Seven Games in 4 Levels, on the ground and riding. So much fun to see the scope of what can be achieved, where it starts and where it can go – they brought the house down!

Savvy Club Sunday was really interesting, for me especially. Pat coached a Level 3-4 student with goals of competing in cow horse events, and I coached a student who’s horse had a tendency to get very fearful and rear up. Pat ended up riding with Jason, doing Clover Leaf’s together and working on more “collection” with Yo-Yo Games played at the canter, while Patty, my student, learned how to manage her energy and maintain her focus with her horse while mastery students bounced balls, dragged tarps and rolled barrels around the arena! The end was spectacular; after I did a simulation with her to point out how she was grabbing instead of holding the rope when asking for disengagement, her horse completely changed and softened, responding to the slightest suggestion from her.

In the last session I gave a demonstration of my latest breakthrough with Remmer in the Game of Contact. He was incredible – round, powerful, enthusiastic. Students and instructors who have known Remmer and watched him over the years could not believe the transformation in him. Even his body looks different, he looks more like an athlete. That was pretty exciting for me, and the first time I’d talked about this and demonstrated it in public. :)

Then the Gold Summit Monday – a more intimate day with Gold Savvy Club members who asked lots of questions, dined with us and got some peeks into the future. I also had some photographs up on screen so I could point out posture issues when it came to discussing the finer points of fluidity.

And now we’re on the way home. I didn’t want to tell you all the details of what went on, but I thought you might find it fun to know that it was a little challenging for me at first!

Best of all, it is always so wonderful to connect with you all in person. Even though we don’t necessarily all get to talk, I see your familiar faces and love your smiles and enthusiasm as you get new ideas or are re-motivated to take your horsemanship to the next level.

How does it go? Good better best, NEVER let it rest!

Maybe some of you can tell me what you learned over the weekend? Tell me one thing that was an “AHA!” for you.

Yours naturally,


Filed under Events, Horsemanship, Remmer

35 responses to “On the road home from Lexington…

  1. Dear Pat and Linda,
    My family and I went to the Lexington show . It was the first time we were able to go see you and we were amazed. Even my husband ,who is not really a horse enthusiest was really watching every minute of the show.
    I have just resently ordered your levels and patterns DVD’s. It was wonderful to watch you and your students and how much can happen with a great relationship with horses.
    Learning to take the time it takes, was really great for me. You are right in that we seem to always be in a hurry to get things accomplished for ourselves, but already I have seen how much better our relationship is by taking some extra time with my horse to help him be more confident and it makes learning easier for both of us.
    I can’t even express how I feel after every time I watch some Parelli. It makes my heart feel good and I want to spend so much time just being with my horses and building a good strong relationship with them.
    Thankyou so much for helping me and I am just getting started.

  2. Diane Netherton

    Dear Linda,

    My whole weekend was just fabulous. It started out traveling from South Carolina to Virginia with two new Parelli friends who “found” me through the savvy club – we are only about 3 miles apart. I was a lonely barn with no Parelli buddies to play with. These two friends Martha Foster and Jamie Robertson have helped to take me places I would not have ventured on my own. Their Parelli support and patiences is incredible and has helped me and Razzy excel in our Parelli journey.

    Aha moments are constantly hitting me in my relationship with my horse and my hubby. What most people don’t realize is Parelli is about our journey through life – everyday. Making the world a better place for Horses and Humans.

    All the events were absolutely wonderful, educational and inspiring. One of my most aha moments was at the Summit meeting on Monday when you sat down with the pointer and described in detail the posture positions was. I would love to have a video of that session so could play it over and over and drill it into my brain – yes I’m obsessed too. During my recent lesson with Ryan Rose, I tried to apply the techniques. Ryan indicated my seat was good but I’m stiff from my knees down. He had me to peddle my feet and relax my knees. Boy what a difference it made. Now if I can only maintain that position. It felt so good to have him working one on one with me and I knew it would be an incredible lesson from just seeing him in Virginia.

    I also was amazed with you and Remmer in your contact lesson and how you make everything seem simple, attainable and still have a happy horse. Dressage – the Parelli way – is my ultimate goal.

    Well I’m off to Florida for my second course this year – Confidence Transformation. I hope to see you there.

    Love you so much


  3. Having a RBE/I I really enjoyed watching you work with your level 1-2 student. I think RB horses need so much freindly game and sold knowledge when it comes to managing thier energy when they are heading off the RB plank. I learned how to help him direct his energy in a positive way. I LOVED the way you used a few mastery students to make distractions for him to get confident about commotion. I don’t have hundreds of people to clap for us, but I can enlist a couple friends to do those kinds of things. You are very very creative and I am not. Thanks for sharing that!

  4. Helene

    Dear Linda and Pat!

    That way You and Pat exercising horses is amazing. You guys are really something worth looking up to. Me and my horse has just started on the fantastic journey into a better world for both of us. We will always continue to fight because it was what you did. You never gave up, so can the world be a better place for us. My biggest dream would have been if you had come to Norway, and it is something I will fight hard to get experience. I know there are many here who need the help you can give them, and I know that many would appreciate it. Is there any chance that this could happen? we would have taken you with open arms!

    Just remember! you are always welcome whether it is in a month or in ten years!

    We will wait anyway!
    – love Helene and my horse :)

  5. Kristen

    My favorite part of the weekend was how many questions I got to ask! And you were so nice and even stayed after the show on Sunday just so we could ask you more questions. Thank you Linda :)

    I am fascinated by “the game of contact” You have such a great way of explaining things. I can’t wait to try it with my horse!

  6. Susanna

    Dear Linda,
    I am a “Parelli baby” and this was my first live event seeing you and Pat. I can honestly say that the weekend changed everything! I was incredibly moved by the way you each spoke about making the world a better place for horses and humans as well as watching you “walk the talk” — your relationships with your horses. The mastery students were incredibly inspiring. Emily and her amazing horse are my heroes. It’s obvious that they have been together for a long time (and my horse and I are just starting with our journey) but I saw what is possible. As long as I continue to put the relationship first, it is possible. For me, this weekend demonstrated at a deeper level that I have to trust the process. It works and I feel incredibly grateful to have witnessed it at this point in my learning. Honestly, the entire weekend was my “aha” moment.

    Lastly, I wanted to thank you for your incredible generosity . . . the access you gave us group of women at the end of Savvy Sunday was extraordinary. It truly speaks to who you are and that you are interested in connecting with people and really helping them. I’m proud to call myself one of your students!

    Thanks again to you and Pat. Y’all be safe!

    • madeleine

      What a great event! Loved watching the horses come in at the very beginning and seeing them play their games with each other.

      My aha moment was watching your lesson and learning not to pull the rope while asking for disengagement. I realized I had been doing that with my horse. What a difference when I tried it at home.

      I’m very excited about attending the conference in FL with my horse. That is a dream come true!

      Thank you for all you do.

    • Thank you, Susanna, I think proof positive is a powerful thing. Sometimes you can hear so much but until you see it for yourself is when it really hits home. I’m so glad you took the time to be there and, as has occurred for all of us, it will work for you, too. Step by step, we’ll guide you and support your learning and you’ll be connected to a huge and wonderful network of special horse lovers :). Thanks too for staying on after the day to hear even more… that says a lot about your dedication!


      • Susanna

        Dear Linda,
        Again, you’re working your magic! Your kind response was exactly what I needed . . . I just came from playing with my girl, Kate, and we had a wash stall battle. Our “play” session ended with her tolerating something she hates and my feeling like a horrible human. I cried as I drove away, convinced that I will never get the hang of this. Which, of course, isn’t true. My relationship with Kate has become one of the most important things in my life and as you and Pat remind us: put the relationship first. All will be fine with us. But your note certainly couldn’t have come at a better time — I feel incredibly supported and grateful. Thank you again!!!!!


  7. Roxy

    This was my first time at an even with Parelli and it was a dream come true. It gave me my inspiration injection that I needed to keep focused and keep going. I will be attending in June in Ohio and I can’t wait to go already, I am hoping to bring some friends to share this amazing experience. I went by myself and I left with some new friendships. We are planning on getting together in Ohio What an amazing time to be around so many like minded people <3 Linda I was wondering, the student and the grey horse that you gave a lesson too……was that horse ok afterward? She was showing many signs of colic. Thank you once again for a mind blowing event, I can't wait to do it all over again.

    big hugs


  8. Mary Buxton

    Dear Linda:
    Katie and I drove in from Philly and represented Greenview Farm with another boarder, Laura. The rest await our detailed report! We of course loved the day – we could only stay for Saturday :(. However, I did want to say how much we enjoyed watching Pete work on his seat….it’s extremely inspiring to see someone learning to develop the independent seat, especially for all of us who are still learning too. He was such a good sport too and should know that watching that demonstration really underscored how all of us can learn to ride like the experienced Parelli folks. It sort of makes it attainable and very down to earth. We loved it! Thank you for a great weekend – we wish we could make it to all the tour stops – this was our 5th in just over 2 years! You and Remmer were fantastic!
    Mary Buxton

  9. Carole

    An overall fabulous weekend!! Volunteering was a blast :)
    My ahaa! moment was watching your lesson with Patty and seeing the extent of the extreme! friendly game; the length of persistence was a definite ahaa. Talking with you afterwards gave me super validation of what I have been doing and put the puzzle together of what I need to do next to help my mare be more confident off in the fields.
    Yesterday I walked her out into the field to hand graze. It was quite windy and we were standing by a small grove of trees which has been a spooky spot for her in the wind at times. She started a little so we just walked around the grove doing traveling circles with me allowing and encouraging the change of direction when she needed it. We continued until she blew out. I let her eat and then we did it again to “check” it. She totally relaxed and we just hung there for a while as she ate. Just a small moment that will make a BIG difference :)
    Thanks Linda! and Pat for all you do!

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