Monday, June 21, 2010

Beth, Louie, Jazz Hands, Revelation.

Beth is heading out for the Parelli University Fast Track Course (a boot camp of sorts for Parelli students with professional goals). Her course starts on Monday! I am so excited for her.

I've been her eyes on the ground and task master for quizzing her on Pat's book. (I love to try to catch her off guard! "quick! what are the 10 qualities of a horseman?" lol)

I was helping her the other day with The Game of Contact. It was amazing to see from the ground because Louie was really starting to reach for her hand. The thing was that Beth was letting slack in at just the wrong time. Gosh I know I've done that a million times. It was crazy to see from my vantage point...he looked like he was completely being abandoned just when he was trying.

Its so counter intuitive in a way. Horsemen have hands that close slowly and open quickly right? All this time we've built up the "jazz hands" response. (a friend who is just starting Parelli has coined "jazz hands" after watching the Parelli Level 1 Dvd. I told her I am totally stealing it.) We add steady pressure by degrees and then when we get a response.... Open!

Beth wasn't quite doing the total "jazz hands"...she wasn't throwing away the reins completely. . . but she was letting go of the contact. In this game that is not upholding our responsibility. When our horse starts to take the contact we have to "follow". But not abandon. For me it was a huge revelation to see it on Louie's face..."where are you going???". A release is important for sure. To communicate to the horse that he is right...that that is what we wanted...but we need to get a few steps of what we want first. Then. Stop and rest.

Beth sent me an email last night. I love it and have her permission to share. My favorite thing she said is that it is ok to be "wrong" -ish. Another distinction beyond just getting outside your comfort zone. We talked about it while she was riding. I said, "he's ok. he'll live if you hold too long for a lap. just see if you can keep the contact and feel the steadiness of it. if you get it wrong. that's ok!".

Here is her email:

"I now realize the contact game is just another piece of the puzzle that seems so far beyond my mind to get..yet I feel it is right in my grasp. Its like any other game I have learned to play thanks to Pat and moments it does not feel like I am making any progress not because of the horse..but because of my blocks and my moments of unconfidence in myself and how trusting I am that its all good.

It is okay to be "wrong" ish if you trust in the fact that we can only learn if we use love language and leadership to attempt new things)..You cannot get a forward move by sitting still and waiting for life to happen.. We have to take risks and learn and grow.The contact game has taught me I have to engage and be alive in the is another game that will inspire us all to keep growing wanting and needing more ! : )

It is contagious in the fact that even though I so do not have it yet it has inspired me to be more precise in all other areas of play with my horse!!!!!!" - Beth Weaver


  1. Thanks Emma & Beth! I enjoyed Beth's email so much that I copied it and sent it out to my local playgroup members. It occurs to me that this could apply to ANY of the games that we learn! :-)

  2. i know! i thought it was so insightful. i can't wait to tell her you sent it out.

  3. Your blog came at just the right time! My last session with Minnie I realized I was probably throwing the reins away too much and now I know....I WAS! Thank you to Beth for letting you post her email.