Category Archives: Lifestyle

Recalling My Dream

Dear Friends,

I had a wonderful play with my horses today, the first since we arrived in Pagosa last week.  Things are just starting to get green and there is still snow on the mountain tops, just gorgeous.  Our crew is busy getting the ranch (campus) ready for the summer and Pat has his sleeves rolled up and is making lots of changes.  Vinny is in dachshund heaven with lots of mole holes everywhere… I have to keep him on a leash when we go outside because he won’t come when I call!  His instincts take over and he frantically digs and tears at holes hoping to find a prize in there so I’ve got to put a fence up around the house to contain him here!

Back to my ride, after a short session in the little arena behind my house (the one you’ve seen on many of our DVDs with the gorgeous Russian Sage bushes – which are just sticks right now!), Remmer was tuned in and ready to go.  So I mounted up and turned Allure loose to follow and went for a ride from my house all the way over to the other side of the ranch.  Remmer is so funny, he is the most perceptive horse I’ve ever owned, noticing the tiniest changes and differences and always making sure they are not life threatening!  Our neighbors have some goats (weren’t there last summer) and he saw them from the hill almost half a mile away and was frozen in place for a good 2 minutes.

After about 40 mins of cruising around kind of like a trail ride, nice and relaxing, I headed to Arena Grande in preparation for a Savvy Club video segment we’re shooting tomorrow.  Remmer was just lovely, and as I rode home with Allure grazing and then galloping to catch up with me, I suddenly remembered a ski trip my parents took us kids on in Australia when I was about 8 years old.  We were in Perisher Valley having lunch in the hotel and there was a dramatic life-size bronze of the Man From Snowy River outside.  As I gazed out the window a woman cantered up on her horse with another horse following her at liberty.  I watched as she stopped to talk to someone and the other horse was playing around her.  I was so excited!  I was so obsessed with horses and this was like a dream… I ran out the door just as she cantered off amidst swirling clouds of snow.  I remember the gripping feeling in my heart… I was seeing something I dreamed about.

And now here I am doing just that.  Sometimes it feels unbelievable to me, the level of unity and connection I have with my horses is so special.

Is there something you always dreamed of doing with horses that you can now do?  How about sharing it with us? :)

Yours naturally,

Linda

Advertisements

69 Comments

Filed under Remmer, Vinny

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 :)

Linda

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.

48 Comments

Filed under Horsemanship, Lifestyle, Remmer, Teaching

Texas Event… done!

Dear Friends,

As I write we’re enroute from Texas to Pagosa Springs for the summer, stopping tonight in New Mexico to visit the folks who gave us Vinny.  By the way, check out Vinny’s new t-shirt, Texas T that is!  Sue Lynn gave it to him “so he’ll always be a little bit Texan” – it even says “Vinny” on it – don’t know if you can see that.  I took a photo of him in it at the rest stop we were at for lunch.

Vinny's Texas T!

We had a great weekend in Beaumont, TX and visited with a lot of Savvy Club members and newcomers to Parelli.  I love hearing your transformational stories and thanks for making me cry and then wanting a photo!!  Our horses were super – Remmer is always wonderful for me – and Pat’s horses were spectacular when he rode one and had two others connected with him, one on each side.  He also had his future star “Revlon” appear before a crowd for the first time, which she handled really well.  Other highlights for me were Pat helping his son Caton get through his horse’s cantering issue in front of the crowd, the spotlights with some of Pat’s mastery students on Saturday, the Gold Summit connections on Monday, and the lessons with Pat and with me on Sunday!

Pat helped Barry, a young Texas cowboy who wants to train horses the natural way.  He had a lovely, athletic palomino gelding that he has taken to Level 3 and competes on in roping, among other things.  Pat helped him to slow down, to have some ‘silence between the notes’ which helps create music rather than just noise.  So he started on the ground and then went on to riding, doing less to get more and helping his horse to put more weight on his hindquarters when going into the canter.  Super stuff and Barry won all our hearts with the way he touched his horse and talked about him, apologizing for how he used to be… and how he chose Parelli because it was the only program that used Love, Language and Leadership to train horses.  He said his wife talked him into applying for the lesson and having that experience and watching the weekend only deepened his belief in and respect for the program.

My lesson was with Lisa, who wanted help with being a better leader and whose Left Brain Introvert (LBI) had trailer loading issues.  She would play with trailer all week, but after going somewhere he would not reload and people would end up helping and stuffing him in… which of course brought him back to square one again.

After starting with some leadership techniques, such as having a plan and directing Zone 1 better in the Touch It pattern and moving her horse’s feet before she moved her own, Lisa started looking pretty good!  Then we went to the trailer and did some Touch It with Zone 1, 3 and 4.  That was interesting and further improved Lisa’s technique.  After that is was half circles around the trailer, and finally Yo-Yo’s in and out working on the thresholds:  “come out… go in…. come out…. go in”.

I stepped in at a couple of points to help with the timing, but Lisa was doing a great job.  Buddy really was afraid, but being LBI it was hard for Lisa to read his fear.  I explained that when unconfident, LBIs will go RBI first, and that he wasn’t being stubborn or defiant and that’s why he was still having trouble despite all her practice.  He would go in out of obedience, but it really was not his idea and he was not confident.  So we allowed him to set the pace and each time he reached a threshold we would bring him out and ask him to try again… and when he crossed it in even the smallest way, we would allow him to stay there for a little bit.

By the end of the session he was ‘in’ the trailer, but he was not yet ‘wanting’ to be in, so we reconvened after the show – a number of people stayed to watch – and things went really quickly then.  Buddy was in the trailer within a few minutes and now we worked on thresholds going deeper inside (it was a long trailer!).  We finished with Buddy standing confidently way deep inside and then played approach and retreat with the door until he was relaxed about that too.

Here are some of the BIGGIES that the audience ‘got’:

1.  It has to be the horse’s idea to cross the threshold, don’t push him over it in any way or you destroy trust and confidence.

2.  Making him uncomfortable outside of the trailer only causes a horse to load into the trailer to get away from that rather than having him really want to be in the trailer.  That’s why we don’t use that approach.  It certainly would not be using Love, Language and Leadership!

2.  “The next move is his”.  So once he’s at the threshold, we WAIT until he does something – either moves forwards or wants to come out again.  And if he stays there too long, we bring him out and simply ask him to reapproach.

3.  Never push him forwards once he’s stopped, you can only encourage his thoughts otherwise you are forcing the horse.  The bottom line is that the horse has to be able to TRUST that you won’t push him “over the cliff”, that you will allow it to be his decision to go there.  When you can do that, your horse will try his heart out for you.  He will trust you and feel safe with you, and the effects will be felt in everything else you do with him too.  Anyone can force a horse to get in, the real art is in helping him to develop the confidence to load himself.  Such fun, I love this stuff.

4.  It really, TRULY, is NOT ABOUT THE TRAILER!  It’s all about the trust your horse has for you as his leader.

Our next event is in Oregon.  I’m looking forward to seeing you there, meeting new horse lovers and seeing who we have for our lessons on Savvy Club Sunday.

Keep it natural,

Linda

26 Comments

Filed under Events, Horsemanship, Teaching, Vinny

Cavalia

Dear Friends,

Seeing Cavalia again, for the third time, was every bit as riveting as the first. What an incredible show and organization; it is inspiring on every level.

We were there for Pat’s birthday with his parents, Walter Zettl and his wife Heide, Patrick Handley (my co- creator of the Horsenality-Personality work), Julia Ryman (Parelli Instructor), Amy Book (now Bowers) and her husband Nate. Of course when we there, we met up with other Parelli students – some Savvy Club members and some Externs and Mastery Students. We also met up with Jeremy (one of the dolphin trainers from SeaWorld).

With Pat’s parents, Jack and Doris Parelli

With Pat’s parents, Jack and Doris Parelli

From Left to Right: Cavalia Creator Normand Latourelle, me, Pat, Heide Zettl, Walter Zettl, Benjamins's wife, Benjamin and their baby.

It got even more fun when Benjamin Aillaud, Equestrian Director of Cavalia, and Normand Latourelle, Cavalia’s owner and creator, showed us around the stables and explained all the complexities of the staging. It was just awe inspiring! I hope you get to see Cavalia, and if you’ve already been, you know what I’m talking about!

The highlight again for us was the liberty with nine horses (mostly Arabians) performed by Silvia Zerbini. She’s an eighth generation circus trainer and very, very good. If you want any inspiration for your liberty, you have to see this! During the stable tour she showed us a new black Arabian that she’s developing. Talk about Left-Brain Extrovert! He has a huge play drive and how she talks about teaching him was interesting – she said he is such a fast learner and very exuberant. Hmmmm, how interesting!

Yours Naturally,
Linda

Vinny helps Pat drive to Cavalia

Vinny helped us drive there!

16 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Recommendations & Reviews, Vinny

A Day in the Life…

Dear Friends,

When Pat and I are preparing for a tele-seminar, our team in Pagosa sends a call for questions to our club members. One of the questions asked for a recent tele-seminar was, “What is a day in the life of Linda Parelli like?” I didn’t get to answer it “on the air,” but I thought it would be more appropriate here on my blog anyway…

The first thing I do is feed my horses. It’s so important to me to do this because I get to interact in a non-demanding way, build the relationship and check on their health. Then I’m back inside writing articles, or this blog, or developing new teaching materials. Most of my day is spent writing, writing, writing! I try to play with my horses but don’t get to them every day sometimes. Walter Zettl is here right now, so I’m riding every morning in a lesson.

I always make lunch, and sometimes Pat makes it back to the house to join me. I also cook almost every night. I care a lot about what I eat (some would call me a food snob!) so I love fresh salads, nuts, avocado or soups for lunch. Dinner is always a creative process for me, a way to relax and unwind…mmmm, getting hungry just thinking about it.

About once a week I’m with the Mastery students doing coaching sessions, and then I also stop in at the school and visit with the students in an open Q & A session. Our faculty is so good these days, it’s very rare that I get called in to help with a difficult horse.

A little while ago I was asked to think about tweeting, but the tweets were so boring we decided not to do it – What are you doing? I’m sitting on the couch writing an article on my laptop, and Vinny is lying beside me. Later that day…what are you doing? I’m sitting on the couch writing another article on my laptop, and Vinny is lying beside me!

So, I do have a working day and can’t always put my horse time as first priority. We don’t travel as much as we used to, but I can still be away for a week or so, such as when we were in Pagosa a few weeks ago for planning meetings and filming for Savvy Club. In just over a week now, we’ll have our first event of the year, in Lexington VA. I’m so looking forward to that, it’s always fun to connect with avid students!

Yours Naturally,
Linda

20 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Vinny