So here we are in Pagosa – we arrived 3 days ago. The weather has been lovely and sunny, and today it is a little cooler. The snow on the mountains is so picturesque and brings to life something I say every time we come back to Pagosa… it makes my heart POUND!
It’s fun to watch my horses as they settle back in to their summer digs. Remmer is such a chicken-spook (innately speaking) so when he gets back here he thinks that the area behind my barn is very dangerous! Allure doesn’t but he will follow Remmer’s lead and do as any good follower would – jump and run when the leader runs! In about a week Remmer will be just fine but I am savvy enough not to force the issue. I make it his choice because I know that when I’m there he is fine… it’s when he’s by himself (or the leader of his two-horse herd with Allure) that he has to do whatever it is that makes him feel safe. So he can hang out in other parts of his multi-acre field, the places in which he feels more safe.
From the Levels Program DVDs, filmed in the summer of 2009, many of you have seen the beautiful purple-colored Russian Sage plants on the bank above the little arena behind my house. Right now it all looks brown and barren and there are still a few big snowy patches at the bottom of the bank! Today, Caton pointed out the tire marks he made in one with the 4-wheeler!
I look at this and marvel at nature… because in just a few weeks it is going to look very different. Winter is a time of potential, when the dark is initiating processes we won’t see until the emergence of Spring. And as Spring goes into Summer we realize the full beauty of nature as we harvest its riches, feed our senses and gain nurturance. Then there is the Fall, the autumn that seeds the new cycle that begins with winter again… but here is where we celebrate the culmination of four seasons.
It is in moments like this that I covet the lessons I learned from my mentor whom I met in the mid 1980s, Glynn Braddy. He taught me then (and still does) about the seasons of life… to understand that the best and the hardest times are nothing more than ‘phases’ we are going through, and that this too will pass. How easy it is to experience moments and periods of difficulty, of frustration, and not be able to see beyond them. I believe that what we make of life is our own, to understand that we have choices and we can choose to be enriched by the experience. I think about how often I have looked back and thought… “If not for that, this would not have happened”. But at that time I remember being terribly frustrated or perplexed by it. I could have saved myself the stress.
Glynn paved the way for me because when I met Pat a few years later, I had already been groomed in understanding things from a different perspective, to not be angered or frustrated by events as they unfolded. So as I learned these same lessons about horses I found myself in familiar territory and realized an element of peace and excitement that I didn’t know was available in my horsemanship. I met Pat in 1989, and it literally changed my life with horses… and then my life’s course. And to this very day, it helps me differentiate training approaches because I see when it honors the horse, honors the student, honors the self… and when it doesn’t.
To this day I try to live my life as if I was looking back 10 years out from now. It doesn’t necessarily make me smarter, but it gives me a sense of perspective and peace in my every day existence. Above all, it makes me want to be the most and the best that I can be.
Are there any experiences you have had on your horsemanship journey with your horse (let’s not get into the life ones!) that now, knowing what you know, would have made you a whole lot more peaceful at that time?! I think it’s valuable for you to share these. Many will learn from it and even me. I know that every time I invest an hour or much more with students at our courses, this subject becomes one of the most empowering elements of all. Thank you for sharing, and for contributing to the values and preciousness of life through horses :)
PS Glynn Braddy is hard to find… most likely on purpose. Apart from shaping my emotional and philosophical intelligence, he was my inspiration for Horsenalities (as a SC member you can access that story in the vault!)… and he also formulated Parelli Essentials, the biochemical stroke of brilliance that none of our horses would ever be without. It is way, WAY more than a supplement. It grooms the digestive system in a way that helps them get 10 times more out of their feed and supplements than you can imagine. If I was stuck on a desert island with my horses, and I could bring only one thing for them… this would be it.