Its great visiting with those two for many reasons. I love having a fellow student (and dear friend) like Beth. And Louie...well, Louie was my first Parelli partner. About a year and a half ago he and Beth got together because they are perfect for each other. I'm so so grateful that he is still firmly rooted in the family. I love him a lot.
Sometimes I get a chance to go over to their place to see what they're up to. The two of them have passed their Level 3 Online* and Liberty* and so are working on Level 3/4 Freestyle*, Level 4 Online and Liberty. It is so fun to get to see them playing in level 3/4. I learn sooooo much! Knowing Louie so well is great too because Beth doesn't have to explain his horsenality to me.
Plus, there are things that only I (and Kip) would really appreciate. For instance, last night, they played Online (we fiddled with a few things . . I gave a little outside perspective and helped with some of the L4 things I've already done) then she saddled him. La la la and off they went to play a little more Online...then she got on and they showed off some really good Freestyle riding with 2 carrot sticks. An outsider would most likely not even notice anything. Which is the point. Saddling wasn't even a blip. That is a BIG HUGE DEAL!!!!
When Beth got Louie from us he had a few issues that I hadn't helped him get all the way through. One was trailer loading and the other was saddling. I started Louie about 3 months prior to becoming a serious Parelli student. I was using another popular "natural horsemanship" method. I exacerbated an already shaky Porcupine/Friendly game which I didn't recognize at the time. But, we got around it. I thought at the time that the goal was to "get on my horse and then fix the problem". I wasn't even thinking of his claustrophobia.
So I just made sure that Louie was safe to get on (I have to say without that method I could have been VERY unsafe) and didn't worry about him really and truly being ok with the saddle. He stood still and tolerated saddling. Once I got on and we were going things were mostly fine but starting the sessions off with that mental tension .... I can only see now how much more progress he can make when he starts off completely relaxed and confident.
The trailer issue is a lot the same although I don't think I created it. Louie was run through the sale barn and when we bought him we just got him into our trailer any way we could. (chased him through a chute and into it) When I started "training" him I began the miserable task of trying to fix the issue without the keys to success. As the years when by and I got farther in the the Parelli program my savvy increased and I was able to help him some. But I committed to Lil a few years after that and did not choose to spend the hours with Louie and the trailer.
Well, Beth has chosen to lay a real foundation. She spent a gajillion days and nights last year making the horse trailer a friendly place for Louie to be. She got him so good, so confident that she hauled him safely all the way to Reno Nevada (Lil and I went too) and he'll still hop happily in.
She has done the same with the saddle...taking the time it takes...however long it takes...for him to be like he was last night. Let loose. COMPLETELY LET LOOSE for saddling. Leg cocked... could have been eating grass in the sunshine let loose. I'm so proud of them both and very very happy for Lou.
A big highlight for me last night was when Beth and I had a big discussion about the Porcupine and Friendly games specifically with the tail. Louie, Lil and Nigel all lead backwards by the tail. All do it at Liberty. Lil even makes turns and responds from just a few hairs. But.....................we were talking about it getting so good.....again those words....so let loose....that it feels as soft and gentle and relaxed as the feel we have with our horses on the halter usually. We were wondering what it will be like when our horse is so trusting of us that the whole dock of the tail is perfectly relaxed and we get a super soft following feel without ANY tension. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm that'll be a whole nother level of excellence.