Monday, August 23, 2010

.........learning by beloved Game of Contact*.

It sure was a riveting day teaching my fearless subjects Kim and her quarter horse Tunes, Shannon and her Iberian warmblood Desi and Lisa and her quarter horse Minnie.

This whole Game of Contact thing is FASCINATING to me. I want more people and horses to play with!

Kim and Tunes have been doing a lot of cool fun stuff (like extreme trail courses!) but not really any arena stuff. So we just played around with the concepts of free forward movement.

Shannon and Desi have been together since Desi was just a few months old. Shannon has done quite a bit of Parelli with her and takes dressage lessons once a week. I feel like Desi came "through" about 80% of what she is capable of. I can't wait to see her in a few months!Lisa and Minnie were on their 8th session with the game of contact. Even I can't believe how differently she moves!!! wow!

All three girls had such upbeat happy attitudes and made the whole day fun. They were sweet to their horses and didn't once (at least not that they let on) get frustrated. The horses were troupers too. Even when they got a little emotional with the new information, they hung in there and tried their hardest. It was a pleasure.
I want to say thank you to Jim and Lisa for hosting the clinic. Beth for her support and Kip for being my assistant scientist and recording the data via video camera.

ONWARDS!...or should I say: FORWARDS!

*I must add that this is actually my understanding of Linda Parelli's Game of Contact. Its her brain child. See the glossary at the bottom of the page for the Parelli links.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

....Getting Unconscious.

A few months have gone by since my lesson with Linda Parelli*. Thankfully I have had quite a bit of time with Lil.

Its funny how such a big learning event can be so packed that it takes months of practical application to sift through all the information. Its like little bits of savvy dust that have been swirling around suspended are now settling down to form a visible layer of gold. Lil and I have been continuing to develop our foundation in Four Savvys* to level 4 with delicate attention to the details of cause and effect.

Tiny Tiny details. Tiny changes and little adjustments. Reading Lil just a little bit better. Reading her a little bit faster. Speaking to her a little more softly. Being a horse, Lil notices everything. Because she is a Right Brained* horse she has intense emotional reactions to it all. Because she is usually an Introverted horse* I have to look very carefully to see what she needs from me moment to moment. To be subtle be quick be gentle be right on...requires unconsciousness.

I noticed something interesting in the year after my lesson with Pat in Reno in 2009. Because of physically being there with he and Lil I could think back to how he was with her. Not just what he did. I could think back to how he felt... what it was like to be with him and somehow in doing that I was able to emulate his state not just his actions.

My Linda lesson had another dimension to it. For the first part she was playing with Lil through me. I tuned in not only to her words and directions but purposefully opened my unconscious to the tone of her voice, her timing, her observations and her split second decisions about what Lil needed. The results of being able to recall and apply Linda's example have been very special.

Its not that Lil is suddenly void of emotions....or that I am suddenly a zen master. (not at all. I am still a Right Brained Extrovert) She still is who she is and so am I. Innate characteristics and all. Its just that we are more centered as individuals. And I think it is a result of our partnership.

Wanting to be in partnership with Lil and be better for her has caused me to shift in myself and to notice and effect the most minuscule changes. Because she is a horse, and inherently so forgiving...she has allowed me the latitude to grow as a leader. Because I have grown as a leader she has been able more and more to feel her feelings and yet trust me to acknowledge them and take care of the situation.

Our recent level of trust has enabled us to do some flying changes, pure bridless riding, connected and joyful liberty*, a soft and quiet game of contact and I have even trusted her enough to do some jumping! (which is a deep seeded childhood fear issue for me)

It pretty much goes without saying that the chances of all of this magically coming to me and my horse at this time without the generous mentoring hands on of Pat and Linda Parelli is remote. I suppose the only payback I can give is to USE IT. Don't waste it. Grow everyday and play with my horse.

Thank you Linda and Pat.

My Blog a few days after my lesson.
Linda's Blog on my lesson.
*see glossary at the bottom of the page