Saturday, March 27, 2010

Winging It!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010 - The Ocala Parelli Players had originally scheduled a play day for today but when Pat and Linda invited students to the ISC for games/challenges/tournaments, we decided to change our normal play day to a play day at the center. What a great time we had and our group was well represented: Tinker, Liane, "J", Terri, Beth, Nicole, Kim, Kathy, and Jennifer Hall all came to play. We are all at different levels in the program but the support shown for each other was awesome!!

Everyone tried their hands at online, and liberty and some tried the freestyle/timed events. Then the externs/interns suprised us by asking if anyone wanted to participate in a spotlight. Well several of us, Liane, Tinker, Nicole, Kathy, and Jennifer, decided to stretch ourselves and go WAAAAYYY out of our comfort zones and do a spotlight. EVERYONE WAS AMAZING!!! I'm so proud of our group, the savvy everyone showed and the relationships with our horses was fantastic.

Tinker did an online spotlight and the progress she has made with Goalie is nothing short of amazing. And knowing how nervous she was, I'm in awe of how you focused on what you were doing and taking care of Goalie's confidence. I'm so proud of you Tinker!!

Liane did an online spotlight as well and despite not having played much with Duke,(Duke was her mother's horse and Liane took him on when her mom passed away) Duke was great and tried everything Liane asked of him and their relationship looks like it is very special. I could feel the love Liane has for her mother being communicated to Duke and could see him responding to that! Awesome job Liane!!

Nicole decided to do a liberty spotlight and she and Ligero were spectacular!! I'm amazed every time I watch them in liberty play. What the audience didn't see is the level of play in the 100' play pen is the same kind of play they have in an open field. I just hope one day Renegade and I can play like that!! I could see Nicole and Ligero just having a ball with each other, both enjoying their play, sharing a mutual respect, and giving us, the audience, a glimpse of what is possible when a horse and human are in harmony!! Fantastic performance Nicole!!!

Jennifer did a great spotlight, doing a little of each of the three savvys: online, liberty, and freestyle. I enjoyed watching the smooth and subtle communication between Jennifer and her horse Jake.

I chose liberty for my spotlight. I was pretty nervous because this took me way out of my comfort zone and I wasn't at all sure what would happen. Renegade and I have not done a lot of liberty play and the little we have done has been in a 60' play pen, this one was 100'!! I truely thought Renegade would leave and I'd have a hard time getting him back BUT...big suprise...he was pretty intrigued with the whole thing!! He did walk off when I took off the halter but I drew him back easily. Without realizing it, we managed to play all the games with different obstacles. Friendly with the ball, sideways from and to over a pole using energy only, squeeze between barrels and over barrels, yo-yo using energy only, driving in the stick to me game at a trot around the pen, and porcupine to turn the fq and hq. Funny thing is I was concentrating so hard on what we were doing that I couldn't hear the audience or the music, there was only me and my horse!! When we finished everyone kept commenting on the amazing draw we have and how nice Renegade's expression was when I was drawing him to me!! I was/am on cloud nine!!

After we finished our spotlight I took Renegade over to the little stream to get a drink and let him play in the water a little (and to retreat from the play pen for a bit). Renegade went right in the water, took a drink, then waded in up to his knees. He took a walk up the stream then we went back to the play pen to watch the rest of the spotlights. While we were standing there, Renegade decided to lay down next to me and take a roll. I was thrilled about him laying down next to me, not so thrilled he had his saddle on. Good thing it's a synthetic and is easy to clean LOL!! The Cradle Bridle hanging off the horn didn't fare as well. It has a bit of sand in it and I'll have to clean it well tomorrow!!

Reflecting on our experience today, I am:

1.) Glad I did my spotlight BEFORE Nicole and Jennifer. I'm sure I would have been a lot more nervous having to follow their performances!! As it was, Renegade and I warmed up the crowd for them LOL!!

2.) There was a great representation of each of the levels and all of the savvys and a nice progression through them.

3.) I can go WWWAAAAAYYYY out of my comfort zone and survive, learn, and grow!! And...I can have fun doing it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4.) Renegade gives me a lot of gifts when I trust him and take the time to recognize his efforts. Many times he offers me soooo much more than I've asked for and that both excites and amazes me!!

5.) Renegade can also be disobedient at times but with the right strategies I can get and keep his attention and do it without a fight or argument.

6.) I'm so blessed to have to many savvy friends from our play group to support and encourage me through my horsemanship journey. I absolutely believe the support I get from my play group friends is essential to inspire, motivate, and help me progress through the program!! Thanks gals, I couldn't do it without you.

7.) Renegade has been a very challenging horse for me but I'm grateful I never gave up on him or me. I'm sure I might have progressed at a quicker rate through the program with an "easier" horse but as Garth Brooks said "I would have missed the dance". Renegade has been a great teacher and has taught me soooo much: patience, persistence, FOCUS, how to play and have fun, how to laugh at my mistakes and bloopers, how to forgive and start over, and how to be a leader being assertive but not aggressive. He's also helped me become much more confident and because of Renegade I've met some really wonderful people. Had it not been for Renegade, I may never have found Parelli, and I would have missed one of the best opportunities of my life!!

Thank you Renegade for being my teacher! I'm indebted to you and grateful you've tolerated my unconscious incompetence for so long. I only hope I can repay you in full as we continue to build our relationship. Thank you my friend and partner!!

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