This week may find you grappling with changing self-definition. The essays, tasks, and exercises are designed to catapult you into productive introspection and integration of new self awareness. This may be both very difficult and extremely exciting for you. Warning: Do not skip the tool of reading deprivation!
"In dressage, there's very little risk of nose-diving, at least actually diving into the dirt. So the noseband is used for other purposes. Well, the same purpose, of course, shutting the mouth, but for a different reason."
When I see images like this, regularly, I just shake my head. Then when the inevitable comments excuses follow I'm heart-broken because these horses don't seem to stand a chance of being ridden in a more empathetic manner.
"I had broken the contract. I had let personal feelings dictate my actions every time we encountered. Not once did I ever turn and simply ride off, without first giving chase. My father, bumbling and slow as I thought of him when it came to herding cattle, had almost corralled her and, except for the antics of a well meaning hunter, would have. She had fulfilled her part of the contract, She had, in spite of her wildness, given me a calf every year. In fact, as I learned the next day, She had renewed her end of it, for she had been pregnant. I, in return, had caused her death simply to show her who was boss. I sure enough showed her."
This week may find you dealing with unaccustomed bursts of energy and sharp peaks of anger, joy and grief. You are coming into your power as the illusory hold of your previously accepted limits is shaken. You will be asked to consciously experiment with spiritual openmindedness.
As for his reputation as a trainer, overall there's been mixed reviews online, largely complaints that he relies too heavily on his lunge whips to guide the horses during performances (he does a lot of liberty/circus/Cavalia type shows).
If you're unfamiliar with the article, I cannot recommend enough that you read it cover to cover to better understand the true rate of skeletal maturation in the horse. Also why it is a bad idea to start 2 year olds under saddle.
For those who are already familiar, this is an updated version of the old, original article. You could also print out a few copies to have on hand to share with other equestrians who question why you haven't "just started" your horse already.
If you push the people [horse], down deep inside, you really do not know which way they'll go or what they're really thinking. But if you can lead them and get them to follow you, then you have the skill everyone should have, which is to be a leader.
This week addresses self-definition as a major component of creative recovery. You may find yourself drawing new boundaries and staking out new territories as your personal needs, desires, and interests announce themselves. The essays and tools are aimed at moving you into your personal identity, a self-defined you.
"Here should be inserted a word especially for equestrians, because the above truth, which is perfectly obvious to all other animal trainers and utilizers, most often seems to escape riders. At least, they generally behave as if they were unaware of it. Since they are in direct physical contact with the horse and communicate tactile sensations to it through the use of their muscles, they are easily taken in by the utterly false illusion (which is all the more convincing to them because it seems to be verified by certain superficial effects), that they act directly on the horse's body through force, and thereby obtain a sort of mechanical response."
Is there really any viable reason for abusing a horse? According to the Parelli's there are several. But hey, we all make beginner mistakes out of frustration and emotion; and it's what we do with those mistakes that defines us; and the Parelli's have chosen to make excuse after excuse and then invite us to watch a demonstration of their "edutainment".
By remaining silent, by accepting these empty excuses, by quietly accepting this behavior in public we are indirectly helping extreme Animal Right's groups prove their point. That equestrians are incapable of humane treatment of the horses in their care and their community and shouldn't be allowed to own horses.
This week initiates your creative recovery. You may feel both giddy and defiant, hopeful and skeptical. The readings, tasks, and exercises aim at allowing you to establish a sense of safety, which will enable you to explore your creativity with less fear.
I've found that if we pay enough attention we'll see stories, events, ideas almost seek us out depending on what is going on in our lives. The story of an 86-year-old gentleman nearing the end of his life surfaced for me today. His last wish apparently was to give his three ponies one last hug.
If we are going to reclaim our creative nature, and get over the blocks that stop us from being the best teachers, trainers, riders, writers, artists, doctors, mothers, lawyers, dog walkers -- human beings -- that we can be... we need to take it on gently and joyfully, with tools built for the task.
Two basic tools will be sued through this process; Morning Pages & The Artist's Date.
I'll be posting the next week's section each Monday and asking for you to share your thoughts, experiences and any struggles you might be wading through from the previous week in the comments section. Remember you can also share photos when you post comments if you'd like to share anything visual from your week's journey.
Joining in? Introduce yourself in the comments and share what you're hoping to get out of this 12-week journey!
This winter we've been hit particularly hard in the Midwest with sub-zero temperatures, to which I've simply resigned myself to the fact that riding will have to wait.
But, that doesn't mean I've resigned myself to lose any hard-won skills in riding. These can be both physical and mental skills, and there's nothing more rewarding than coming back to riding after a forced holiday feeling like you haven't skipped a beat.
Essentially that $500 foal is being produced because the breeder likes producing baby horses. It isn't to improve the breed, to improve upon the parents. It certainly isn't because they're running a business of any kind. They are hobbyists who are flooding a market where the victim is the horse because they face a future of uncertainty.
You asked for your horse to go left - well you thought you asked anyways. You thought you pressed your right leg to his barrel and applied a direct left rein; but can you be sure? You probably thought nothing about how you caught your horse either, while you approached him head on like a predator and yelled at him for running away. You can't figure out why he won't lead properly without running his shoulder into you sporadically. He doesn't stand still for mounting or walks off as soon as your leg is over his back. He leans on the bit or shies away from any contact, spooks and is either dull or too sensitive to the aids.
Guess what? These aren't training problems, they're communication problems.
The first Rollkur ban went into effect January 1st, 2014 in Switzerland, and it looks like it may put pressure on other Countries to follow suit. Denmark is now in more serious talks about applying a similar ban.
Finally, a step in the right direction! Switzerland officials enacted a law prohibiting the use of hyperflexion (aka Rollkur) in their country. While this doesn't solve the big picture of horse abuse created by extreme flexion of the horse's neck, it is an improvement over the fictitious ban created by the FEI.
Sometimes I worry I'm not doing enough with my horses. Like, "I don't put enough training on them, which I really ought to do because it raises their market value." Without training most horses are deemed at risk of the slaughter-house on the open market. Heck, even with training and championship titles any horse can face a bolt through the head.
Which would you prefer; to be happy, or to prove you're right no matter what? I know what my choice is, yet sometimes I let myself get confused with the thought that being right will make me happy, even if I have to feel absolutely miserable in the process.
Can you love horses and the environment equally? It doesn't take long to realize that horses can be very destructive to pastures, soil and ground water. Is it possible to keep your horses happy while also minimizing the damage to your property, encouraging the health of your pastures and local wildlife?
After watching the trailer I know I'll be looking for this in my Netflix queue.. maybe NSFW in some instances.
"My father was a harness racing jockey and he went into horse breeding and training. I know for a fact that he wasn’t always above board, and he’s the reason why it means nothing to me when I’m told some person’s been in the business for fifty years and therefore they can’t be doing it wrong. I grew up around very successful people who made a lot of money and I know that’s no guarantee of admirable ethics."