Sunday, May 15, 2011


Huge epiphany brought to me today by Parelli. Ever hear the expression about "the lesser of two evils"? Culturally, everyone pretty much thinks that it's true:
There are downsides to every situation,
nothing you can do about it,
just choose the more tolerable option and live with it.
This is a belief I've carried, that you basically go with:
  • EITHER the option that has the least amount of downsides
  • OR the option that has a few more downsides but ones that are more tolerable
Like with horses. You have two horse owners, and each one has a horse that's essentially great, but with a few downsides. (The typical pronouncement heard by Parelli Event attendees is, "My horse is perfect, BUT he _______. How do I fix that so he stops _______?" We all just smile and sigh, because we know it takes more than a quick fix to one issue.)

Anyway. Back to the story of the two horses.

One is prone to bucking and bolting on the trail; the other won't go no matter how hard you kick him but he doesn't buck. Bucky's owner would rather have the frustration of bucking than not moving (well, at least he goes when I ask, most of the time, and I'm a good rider, so I can hang on when he has a tantrum). Pokey's owner is a timid rider, and would rather have the frustration of a horse that won't go rather than one who goes too fast and too unpredictably (well, at least he doesn't buck or bolt, he's "safe", I'm not gonna fall off and die).

Both are choosing which set of evils they're willing to tolerate.

The Parelli program challenges this belief (one reason it's so controversial and people can't wrap their heads around it at first).

Parelli said,

"Why? Why put up with any evils at all, when you don't have to?"

("What? What do you mean, you don't have to put up with any evils? Huh?!? Isn't that just how horses 'are'?")

The Parelli Program has shown me that there's a third option—no evils. It taught me that I could have a relationship with my horse that is SO GOOD that it eliminates 85% of the "evil" entirely, and transforms the remaining evils from bane into benefit by redirecting the negative behaviors and energy in positive directions.

How? By changing my mindset about horses.

Of course, the first thing that had to change was... ME. Once my mindset shifted, I shifted, and when I shifted, everything else shifted into place.

I've had this head-scratcher of a thought ever since I got into horses: how come it's so easy to attract stuff related to horses and horsemanship, but it doesn't work elsewhere? This is why! Mindset! I've shifted my mindset successfully (I do not have to accept the lesser of two evils, I have a third option, I can eliminate entirely and/or transform evils into blessings) with relation to the area of horses—but I have not yet applied it to any of the OTHER areas of my life.

It was easier for me to do this with horses because the area was new to me, not a lot of mental baggage and beliefs to eradicate first, no big blocks in the way.

The point is, this "lesser evil" belief has permeated every area of my life, and it MANIFESTED. (We don't need to illustrate here all the many, many ways it has done so.)

Now that my eyes are wide open, I'm seeing things in a whole new light, seeing with sharp clarity how every situation I'm experiencing is a crystal clear manifestation of this old belief.

Parelli. WAY more than riding. Or horse training.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

All Still Alive

Wow. Really? Almost a year since my last post. I'll be brief. It's all good. Shaveya has found a new owner, bonus is that she didn't even have to change barns. She's being bred and there should be a Paint foal skittering around the barn next Spring.

Cheerios is absolutely fine, and still my partner, though I've been lax with my studies. Not giving up on PNH, just not as active. Life is happening. Temp jobs, estate closing, dealing with life in general.

I did take Cheerios to a Carol Coppinger Level 2/3 clinic last summer, that was interesting (did I post about that?)... Carol is always awesome. Cheerios was quite the character, though. And it was hot. OMG was it hot. Blazing sun, humidity—I thought I was gonna die, and apparently Cheerios did too, because he decided to lay down while I was on him.

One thing I've learned, clinics are not to be taken lightly. If you are planning to attend one, make sure you AND your horse are in shape for it. Oh, if it's a Level One clinic and you haven't done much with your horse prior to it, you'll probably be all right. But for upper level clinics? Make sure you've been out there playing with your horse steadily and getting BOTH of you some form of moderate, consistent aerobic exercise for at least six weeks beforehand. Make sure YOU are in decent shape. You don't have to be skinny, just have endurance and be as fit as you can because it is WORK. It's fun, but it is hard, sweaty, physically-demanding work, even if you spend the day in the saddle rather than on your feet.

Think of it this way: would you dare to run the Boston Marathon if you'd only started jogging around the block last week? I think not.

Lesson learned.