Way more than horsemanship

Dear Friends,

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.


Filed under Horsemanship, Lifestyle, Remmer, Teaching

48 responses to “Way more than horsemanship

  1. Jan Morrison

    I have loved horses all my life, but was never able to have one until at the age of 57 I bought a 3 year old green broke mare. She has always been really gentle and calm, but even calm horses spook once in a while. Less than a month after I got her Lucky spooked, I panicked and I fell off. The result was compression fractures in two vertebrae and a broken pelvis.
    I lay in the hospital that night, believing my lifelong dream had just gone up in smoke and wondering what I was going to do with my brand new horse I couldn’t ride. Somehow, through all the pain, I came to the conclusion that I would find a way to be with my horse and enjoy having her, even if I was never able to ride again.

    As soon as I was able to walk, I started doing lots of ground work. And I looked for every bit of information I could find on how to build a relationship with my horse. Unfortunately, it took two more wrecks and three years before I finally found Parelli.

    It’s been 5 1/2 years since the first wreck and Lucky and I have come a long way. I now know that my “calm” horse was actually catatonic some of the time. She’s a left brain introvert who goes right brain introvert when she becomes unconfident. I now have strategies for recognizing and dealing with the horse that shows up.

    At the time, I thought that wreck was the end of my journey with horses, but it was really the beginning. It eventually brought me to Parelli and a much better, still improving, relationship with my wonderful Lucky.

    • Like you, I came to know Parelli because I had a problem horse. Getting people here before they go down that road is the future we’re shooting for. Thank you for being part of this.

      • Jan Morrison

        Just an additional note: I don’t really think I had a problem horse. She just had a problem owner – me. I didn’t know enough and couldn’t ride well enough to stay on her when she spooked – which she really only did twice in the three years before I found Parelli. All three wrecks were caused by me – the first one because I was essentially dozing on horseback, the second because I made her go down a ditch bank when she told me in no uncertain terms she was afraid, and the third because I was clumsy and kicked her and lost my balance while dismounting.

        Since Parelli I don’t “fall asleep” on horseback, I get off and/or retreat when she tells me she’s reached a threshold, and I don’t ride until I’m so tired I can’t dismount without losing my balance.

        If I’m not in shape to ride, I don’t. We have fun on the ground. I get off “when the thought crosses my mind”. It doesn’t matter to me anymore if there wasn’t really a problem or if someone else could have or would have stayed on. If I don’t feel safe, which doesn’t happen much anymore, I either don’t get on or I get off right away.

        I don’t regret the wrecks because they taught me so much. Of course it would have been better if I could have gotten to where I am now without them. But I didn’t.

  2. Wow, the above comments brought tears to my eyes. All I have to say is THANK GOODNESS FOR PARELLI. Having always loved horses but having always had an element of respectful fear of them. I now have respectful confidence, which is so liberating, I don’t get mad, I’m so relaxed and this has changed how horses are with me. I haven’t felt fear since I learned about the Prey/Predator aspect and how wise it is to GET OFF, that is such a nugget of information and until that becomes the mantra of every horse rider we will continue to see stories of riders getting hurt. Keep on blogging Linda it makes mine and my horses day. :-)

  3. Diana Stevenson

    I too am traveling that journey of understanding the meaning of life’s challenges. My horsemanship, spirituality and humanity are all tied into one. It seems that my horses have been sent to me to bring out the REAL me and I am so grateful. Thank you so much for your personal touch, when you went out of your way to speak to me after my spot light in Madison last year it help me more than you could possible imagine. Since then Hunter and I have really become partners, I am back riding with confidence and together he is helping me find my true self while teaching me to live in the moment! How cool is that!!! Thanks so very much!!!!!

  4. jo meyer

    Linda —
    You continue to be my model for being REAL —

  5. Kristen

    Linda, I didn’t think it was possible to look up to you more than I do now, but once again you’ve proven me wrong. I’m eighteen now, and I hope to one day be even half the woman you are. You amaze and inspire me every day in every way. I’m so glad that you are who you are and do what you do, for if it wasn’t for you, the world would be a less beautiful place. I love you, Linda. You are my shero :)

  6. For me it was the day I let my horse down.

    Since then, I’ve learned to remember the question, “What’s good about this?” when I feel I’m in the dark.

    What was great about that day (and I can only say it looking back!) was that it changed my life by sealing my commitment to the Parelli method of horse training in a way that held fast, firm and true. Looking back, a lot of beautiful things (and many more growth spurts) have come my way because of what happened that day – though at the time, I remember, while walking my horse home and both our heads hanging low, the feelings were of regret and shame.

    Briefly, I had just allowed (even tried to help) a clinician force my horse into a straight load. As part of the workshop and demo he had just loaded about 5 or 6 skeptical horses, and he was very skilled, but none were as spirited that day as mine who went from LBE to RBE. The fact that two hours later my horse (sweaty and defeated) got into the trailer felt heavy in my heart and a sense of failure, though I understand the clinician’s honest effort to ‘get the job done’ and train the horse. There was no joy and no rapport.

    Thanks to that very experience, today I get a deep sense of gratification, joy and confidence when I load the same horse into any trailer. Sometimes it’s quick, sometimes less quick, I don’t care if it happens at all. But it happens, and each time I feel just on-top-the-world empowered and Grateful that I can have a conversation of this quality with my horse. Or any horse…it’s a promise I’ll never break.

    Thank you, Linda, I’ve learned so much from you, it’s not even funny. Every little thing you share means so much. And so this is how I relate to your “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.”

    And now, I just need to glue in the perspective of “..try to live my life as if I was looking back 10 years out from now” Another gem .. to help get good better and better best ;-)

  7. Patti D

    First of all, I have forever in my mind the incredible view of the mountains from my camper while staying at the ISC. It is truly breathtaking!

    Horsemanship and perspective. In 2 words-Emotional fitness! When I started this journey 10 years ago it was all about goals, control, micromanagement, fear. My horse has taught me so much about taking feedback and seeing another point of view, allowing mistakes to happen and accepting the try, laughing at myself, allowing myself to play, and living in the moment.

    I am from the school of thought that everything happens for a reason and the seasons of our lives serve a purpose for us to learn and grow. It is our choice to embrace or reject the experiences. I choose to extract all I can from those times. At times it is not so pleasurable but I always find in hindsight that I have grown or learned something from the experience. And when it is pleasurable, I can drink in every minute and just enjoy it to the fullest.

    Parelli is “way more than horsemanship”. The motivation for never ending self improvement can change the world for both horses and humans. Let’s keep it going!

  8. Kristin Schmidt


    When I look back at the horses in my life, I think about the spring we purchased our now 20 year old Arab mare. She was greenbroke and now I know, scared of EVERYTHING – she still is. After I took a serious fall off her one Easter Sunday, we decided to send her to a ‘trainer’. Well, two months after sending her to him, we brought her home, a frightened, broken mess. Well, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have ridden her that day, and, she wouldn’t still be greenbroke and scared of her own shadow. And, I probably wouldn’t have the serious fear of riding that I do now. Now, she is our foundation broodmare and gets to live with 3 of her ‘babies’. The oldest of which, at the age of 12, is helping me overcome my fear of riding, although I have a long way to go.

    • Way to go Kristin. I hope you have all the tools we’ve shared about overcoming fear. And another great way to approach this is as if you are a Right Brain Introvert horse. Everything we write about teaching and developing this Horsenality is what you should apply to yourself.

  9. Jodi Lachance

    Oh boy! The question you pose (knowing what you know now…) is one I have reflected on alot. I think many of us who come to Parelli after many years of being with horses in more traditional ways probably experience some guilt, shame and even greif when thinking about some of our past actions and how that could be different, knowing what we know now. For me, this centers on one particular horse.

    She was a thoroughbred mare named Rose that my coach bought when I was 16 and had been riding for eight years. She was four and had a foal at her side who was soon weaned. She also had a large scar on her hindquarters, and we didnt know any of her history besides that fact that she was 4 and bareley halter broken.

    She was sent to a trainers for backing, and within a month they were riding her at walk, trot and canter. When she spooked at things in the arena, they would force her to go past time and time again until she stopped 9likley out of exhaustions, remember she had never had structured physical excercise before, let alone with a rider). When she returned, she became my project.

    She was a very angry mare, and could be quite aggressive. she bit, would try to pin people to the wall to squash them if she could, kicked someone else once, and once ran someone down in the pasture even though they were going nowhere near her. Needless to say, I kept a close eye on her when I was around her and somehow escaped injury.

    She was also incredibly left brained! (or as I thought then, lazy and stubborn). Passive resistance was her thing, and no ammoutn of spurring or use of dressage whips could move her if she did not want to. I am ashamed to say that I was part of these ‘training’ methods at the instruction of others, but always went away feeling less confident, disempowered, and deeply saddened. I have always valued patience and kindness, but at the time this did not pay off right away and not knowing any other way, I continued as instructed by traditional methods.

    My riding coach has always been a gentle and kind rider and person, though she subscribes to traditional methods. However with this horse, the intimidation factor did not work. I remember reading or hearing in some Parelli material about how traditional horsemenship does not have strategies to deal with very confident left brained introverts, and how when feeling mistreated these horses become angry, not scared. That was Rosie exactly.

    That was 10 years ago now, and my thoughts often travel back to that horse and what I would have done differently. She was sold as a broodmare after 2 years and few positive results, but the person who bought her was afraid of her and did not handle her at all. The last time I saw her, she was in a stall, baring her teeth and kicking the door, looking much more aggressive then I had recalled. I do not know what happened to her from then.

    I try to think of this as a learning oppourtunity, not a cause for personal shame. It certianly highlights for me a turning point in my time with horses, and Parelli has been like coming hiome- my perasonal values can now be upheld within my passion-horses. I sometimes wich I could find that horse, and try to undo some of the damage, knowing what I do now.

    • I think at some level horses know they are helping us humans. And we are the sum of our experiences, not all of them good, but ALL of them valuable.
      When I studied with Robert Kiyosaki* in the 1980s he had a great term for so-called mistakes. He called them learning experiences… and you’d better learn from them!
      To this day I repeat this, and I also add: Mistakes are only something you make when you know better.
      Jodi, you should feel proud for what this horse has taught you, even years later.

  10. DeeDee

    Back in 2004 I took a bad (for me) fall off Sonny the second day of my 10 week course at the ISC in Pagosa Springs. Keep in mind it was 100% operator error and I knew it. As someone who had always ridden with ‘Whoa’ in my heart, this event made all my fears worse. I spent the rest of that time and many years later still being scared and depressed with ‘my performance’. During that summer, on the ride up to Skuch Mountain, I let myself fall back in the pack and then disappear back to the low lands. Later, Stephanie’s book on fear helped me see I had done the sane thing, but at the time I was crying the whole way and horrified with myself, tho I knew it was the only answer for me on that day.

    Fast forward please to my recent years. For my love of riding and the love of my savvy friends, my confidence when riding returned. And lo and behold, I even went further and now ride with ‘Lets Go!’ in my heart. I still have the steadiest horse in the bunch. And he loves to go go go when our time is right.

    I would never have imagined how much further ahead I would be when I recovered from the fear. And recovered from some longer term, deeply embedded fear.

    So, that’s my story and I am sticking to it!

  11. Dee Wiet

    My husband and I purchased Euphrates, a 17-1 hand Swedish Warmblood, when the horse was 7 years old and under saddle just 6 weeks. He was “trained” the normal way. I had just retired my show horse warmblood who was retired due to a horrific illness. The purchase of Euphrates was impulsive. He’s gorgeous and a beautiful mover, but had NO foundation, little did I know, since I was pre-Parelli.
    After the purchase, I got him home and realized I was way over my head with this horse. I secretly regretted having bought him, terribly missed riding my other horse, and wondered if I’d ever have a safe horse again. Had I known then that studying and unwaveringly following Parelli that I’d have that wonderful, safe horse, I would have felt that I had a path to follow. That I would have the support from Pat, Linda, Savvy Club, and the Parelli professionals I’ve worked with was something I wasn’t aware of at the time. Had it not been for Euphrates, I wouldn’t have been in the Parelli program at all, since I thought I knew it all about horses!
    Now that I’ve been that route, I will have savvy with future horses I will have as life partners. I’m continuing my journey with Euphrates and his pasture mate, but I know that I have the confidence to deal with issues that present themselves….the feeling I hadn’t had before Parelli.

  12. Anna

    My saddle didn’t fit my mare for five years. I would try different shim patterns whenever I could muster up the courage. I was so afraid of it moving forward! I kept thinking, I just want to be able to ride my horse. Seems simple right?
    I went to a clinic with Nita Jo Rush last summer and tried her Fluidity. Of course, that saddle fit Pip, but there was no way I could afford it. I’m a college student, which means, I’m poor until my loans are paid off (7 years probably).
    But this year, I bought a different gullet for my Wintec 500. I bought the widest of the Wintec Wide gullet system off eBay. When I went up to Nita Jo’s for a Freestyle and Finesse workshop a few weeks ago, we played around with saddle fit during the lunch break. I had been trying to fit my saddle with 5 shims (3 thick and 2 thin). And every time, it rode right up onto her neck. So Nita Jo says, “Let’s try something really radical – one shim.” And guess what?! It fit! My saddle stayed in place all day long. And it has ever since! We can ride in the arena or out on trail at all 4 gaits without my saddle riding forward.
    I never thought this day would come. I very much believed that I was going to have to buy a Fluidity before my saddle fit. And I will buy one someday. But right now, my saddle fits, and that’s all I could ask for. If I would have known that I would be able to ride with my saddle, I would have been a lot more optimistic throughout this journey. It was very hard on me emotionally. Seeing everyone else ride was tough. But all that is behind me now, and I learned a lot. Now, I am fascinated with saddle fit and I am trying to get it right on all the horses I play with. I couldn’t be happier, and I can’t thank Nita Jo enough for helping me with my horsemanship.

    • …and every horse will thank you! When I first became aware of how badly saddles could affect horses I too became obsessed about it.
      I think of three major areas to get right when riding a horse:
      1. The rider
      2. The pad
      3. The saddle
      When you can get 3 out of 3, you’re there! Right now you’ve got 2 out of 3 and better than that, your savvy is growing by leaps and bounds. I wish I knew that at your age!

  13. Amanda

    OK here goes, this is embarrassing to admit but if it helps other people and is in some way cathartic for me then I’ll go for it….

    I remember my first forays into Liberty. This was quite a long time before the developments in Horsenality and I simply wasn’t picking up on the fact that my horse wasn’t ready for Liberty, but Liberty is so cool isn’t it so I really wanted to have a go. Time and again I would put an unconfident horse in the the “round pen” and pour pressure on him. I remember one time as he got more unconfident I started slapping the ground to get him to face me and of course he voted with his feet and left the pen. Ashamedly this happened on more than one occasion. I remember feeling totally crestfallen, angry that he couldn’t see how great all this was and of course so frustrated I could have exploded. PLEASE NOTE that I did not take this out on my horse in the conventional sense but as far as he was concerned I had already done that. I just put him up, went home and felt like a failure.

    Eventually I took a step back and thought it might be a better idea not to put him through that again (at that stage I wasn’t really thinking of myself) so put Liberty on the back burner. Thankfully I’m much better now, I am much better at not letting my emotions get in the way but of course there is still room for improvement. So having put my own Liberty ambitions on one side and handed the time line over to my horse I was asked recently by a Parelli instructor to take the halter off my horse in an arena with 6 other horses playing with their humans. Not only did he stay with me (….most of the time…….!) but I could play the first three games with relative ease, and even when he did get lost a couple of times the expression on his face when he found me again was a sight for sore eyes.

    I wish I’d been able to imagine myself looking back from then.

    • I think that’s why horses are so good for our personal development – they are willing to forgive us the moment we make the changes.
      Thank you for sharing, we’ve all been there in some way or another!

  14. Linda thank you for your thoughts about perspective, horsemanship and the massive impact that has on our lifestyle. Looking back, I can see one lesson that stands out for me. That was teaching a 20 month old Percheron to pick up his feet. He had not been worked with and the methods that commonly worked with smaller horses didn’t work with him. He also had an odd habit of wanting to back up when it was time to lead off. So, in looking at what was the easiest thing for him to understand, (backing up), I worked with him on backing up one step at a time. Then I would set him up so that the next foot that was to come off the ground was the one I would pick up. In this was he was able to grasp the concept of balancing on his other three legs while I picked up the one that did not have his weight on it. This simple approach really worked well for this horse, and he is able to find his balance in many other ways as well.

  15. Joanne McMillan

    Knowing that it was ok for the horse to not be forced into the trailer etc. would have made my journey a lot less stressfu. and therefore less stressful for my partner. As your program has grown( and your sharing of knowledge) it has given so many more arrows and a calmer approach in the approach PNH offers to the horse. I suspect that Pat just always did that naturally and would have been surprised that so many of us missed so much, naturally. It’s now ok to take more time and yet still realize that we can get the job done and everyone can get a good nights sleep. Thanks.

  16. Lovely. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts as well as the visual images of spring in Pagosa. And for the reminder that ‘this too will pass.’ This is helpful to me on a number of levels!

    I am right now in the midst of an experience that I HOPE will be something I look back on, knowing that it all worked out well. I have a filly, she’ll be 2 in May, that I got last year in September. I started her with Parelli, which I myself had only just discovered. I’ve worked with horses my whole life and had heard of Parelli, but never got any exposure to it. I loved the program, and it was a great foundation to lay for both my horse and myself.

    Having a horse that is too young to ride, and being who I am, wanted to explore different things and approaches. I took my girl to a local trainer who I like a lot, but had never really been exposed to her style of training. Let’s just say that she uses a different approach, and she had some good observances to make. But insofar as her overall training approach, I should have followed my gut feeling, which said “NO” from the beginning. I didn’t, and subjected my horse and myself to two weeks of following this new approach. Some issues seemed to improve, but I started to see new ones that I didn’t like at all. Dakota went from being very relaxed (a bit too relaxed at times!) to bracy and suspicious of me. For the first time since I’ve had her, she started to display a lack of confidence. Primarily in me, I think. She lost confidence in things that were easy and no issue at all, like getting into the trailer. My husband once said she’d follow me over a cliff if I asked her, but I started to notice that she didn’t seem to trust my guidance.

    How could she, considering some of the things I was doing with her? It was much more about force, without giving her the time to understand what I was asking her to do. I was getting results, but some of those results, and that kind of relationship that was being established, was NOT what I wanted at all. Not for me, and not for her. Needless to say I’ve tossed that approach out and am trying to undo some of the damage I believe it produced in my relationship with my girl.

    I can’t honestly say that I’ll stick just with the Parelli program as such. I do know I’m extremely grateful that I was exposed to Parelli first, and that I poured through the Savvy Club vault, dvds, books, and everything I could get my hands on. It gave me the awareness to know when things were going in a very wrong direction. I came across a well-known quote Ronnie Willis recently about how there were 100 techniques in training a horse, that 70 of those would be effective, but only 10 or so that would be good for the horse.

    The trainer I took Dakota to is in that 70 percent. She gets things done, and her horses are definitely “well trained.” But these past two weeks have shown me clearly the difference between the 70% and the 10% that is good for the horse. A painful lesson for me and for Dakota, but a lesson well learned nevertheless.

    So yes, I hope when I have the distance more time will give me, and I look back on this experience, my future self will have that thought. That I’ll know then what I can’t know now–that my horse and I will be fine, and that she’ll forgive me for doing things that I knew and felt were wrong. She’s an awesome little girl, and she has a good mind, so I think my chances are good!

    • Don’t you just love that quote? Thanks for sharing it. My heart aches for what you must be going through, I’ve seen this myself many years ago which became the deciding factor for me to seek a better way.
      I think what you’ve described here really demonstrates what effect “Putting the relationship first” has. You’ll win her back, don’t worry. And now she has something to compare to!

      • Hi Linda,

        Thanks so much for the caring response. Things have gone better these past few days. It was very interesting. I know this whole experience confused her, so she was bracey and a bit suspicious of me, but started to relax once she saw I was ‘back to normal’! I got really, really soft with her, went back to basics, releasing on the slightest try, etc. The most noticeable was doing yo-yo with her. She normally would put her ears up and come to me with zero resistance. It was hard getting her away from me in the first place, so she always liked it when I asked her in. But she was now pulling back when I asked her to come to me. Nearly broke my heart! But I eventually got so soft with her I barely combed the rope, so there was barely any feel at all. It was like a light-bulb went off in her mind. I saw her whole expression change, her ears came way up, and she came to me without any resistance at all. It was wonderful moment!!! I stopped right there and called it a day!

        The next day, zero resistance. Ears up, that adorable face asking questions again. Trusting me again. It was as if in that moment she got that whatever that was, it was over! It was a huge learning experience for me, and a very painful one! I experienced the temptation of going for ‘results’ and lost sight of what I yearn for with my horse–a true partnership that honors the amazing creature that she is.

        Thanks for your kind words, and for doing what you and Pat do!


        PS, yes the quote is great! It came back to me at just the right time!

  17. Kallista

    Hi Linda,

    I had a 10 year break from horses – ( due to kids & business ) and have just got back into it and have been surprised at how much more Savvy I have and more emotionally fit I am with the passing of a decade – despite not touching a horse !!

    10 years ago I only had one horse a RBE thoroughbred, and I used to rush him so much ! although I was working on Lvl 3 – my progress was quite slow…

    I have been back into horses now only about 1 month – and are playing with 3 very different horses – and my progress is so fast !!! because ….I am actually going slower with them all …

    Looking back I was so impulsive – ALL the time !! -and emotionally unfit – and had a big ego – trying to achieve progress to get the admiration of others…

    Now as I am older and quite wary of risks/ injury (with three young kids to care for) I definatley read the horse better, are respecting thresholds, not asking too much in a session (as I am time short with the kids now !), giving lots of pauses and knowing when to quit vs repeating over & over… and with “relationship first” mantra – that puts a much longer time line on what you are trying to achive…

    So If I could look back – accepting that going slower would get me there faster – that would have been very benefitial.

    Mind you – Pat has always said – “take the time it takes…” and “slow and right is better than…”


    PS – also well done on the remarkable improvement of PNH resources in the 10 yeas I’ve been out of it. Its also great you are out front more – you are a gifted communicator in your own right.

  18. Jackie

    As I read Linda’s question I was once again reminded of how fortunate I am to have the horses I currently play with. Had I known when I lost my lovely LBE levels horse that it would ultimately lead me to my current horses, I know it would have brought me peace. My arab/saddlebred led me to Parelli and taught me sooooo much! Looking back now I can see his gift was to take me on the start of this amazing Parelli horsemanship journey and my new partners will continue the life journey with me. Yes, I agree that had I know then what I know now I could have found more peace in the transition.
    What resonates the most for me are Linda’s powerful words “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”.
    Thank you Linda for so much more than you can ever know.


  19. Pat Marzoline

    Yes, there are times I do look back on what I’ve done and what I need to do to make it better. I feel alone in my endeavors mainly because the one person closest to me doesn’t see the changes.

    Before Parelli, I would yell and scream at the horses, like I’ve heard others do. I’ve learned to be quiet, patient, and caring. My farrier is the only one who tells me I have done well with Gem, and gives me the confidence to keep on doing this. I take that back Marc Rea has helped me tremendously and always gives me positive feedback every time we talk, have a lesson, or a at a play day.

    Thank you, Linda for your message, it really spoke to me.

  20. Ann Rasmussen

    What a beautiful picture you paint of the seasons. I often experience my relationship with my horse through the seasons. As the darkness of winter falls upon us, our relationship moves into a quiet and calmer time together. His thick winter coat and my bulky coat muffles the cold harshness.

    As light returns and spring moves into summer, our relationship opens into warmth and green. The sun energizes our bodies and we prance and play together.

    The cycle begins again, each season bringing it’s own uniqueness and necessity.

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