Monday, February 14, 2011

The Story Of Monty

Five years ago I was in Florida for the six week course at the Parelli Center. The weekend before the course I got to go to a Five Star Parelli Professional David Lichman clinic that happened to be nearby. Sitting on the fence I was captivated by a glorious white horse who seemed joyful and willing and moved like magic. I had to talk with his owner to find out what kind of horse this was! I just had to know more about him!

Ellen, his friendly, outgoing, red headed, Brazilian owner told me that he was a 13 year old Lusitano that she imported from Mexico. She said that he came out of a very old breeding farm and was a stallion for 8 years. If I remember correctly, she said that she was doing Parelli and learning freestyle for fun as he had a very extensive dressage background. Then she said: "You must ride him!" She marched out of the clinic into the round pen and I was sucked along by her magnetic personality.Before I knew it I was sitting on this fancy horse named Monty. I loved his flowing walk and how safe he felt. He willingly trotted when I asked and I got to feel how round and suspended it was. I was laughing and laughing. Then Ellen told me to passage. Of course I didn't know what to do and only got a bit of a collected trot. She said she would show me so I went to get off. "NO! She said. "I'll have him bow for you first." I protested, as I'd never done anything like that before. She wouldn't have it. "I have babies do this on him!" So he bowed and I didn't topple forward after all. It was a cool feeling.

Ellen proceeded to get on and show me his passage which seemed effortless. It was so clear to me that this horse had been born for this stuff. Mentally, Emotionally and Physically. As we parted so she could get back to the clinic, I kissed him on the nose and thought to myself that someday I would have a horse like this. Someday...

Three years later my husband's horse was getting older and his young one was not started yet. So when a friend of a friend was looking for a person for her Lipizzan, Kip took the plunge, bought him and named him Nigel. I loved the fact that he was safe and well going. But I had no idea that this was the horse I had been dreaming about all along. He reminded me so much of Monty! Bred and born for everything I wanted to do. As I started to cotton on I asked Kip if I could play with him when he didn't have time. He very generously said yes. Basically, the rest is history.

Last summer Wendy Dinnerstein and I met at a Karen Rolf clinic. We were kindred spirits right from the start and I was very interested in the equestrian park and education center for parelli students One With Horses that she and her husband Marc founded.

Last fall Kip and I got to play at the facility and I was in awe of what she and Marc had created in such a short time. In November Wendy and I got to travel together to Florida for Linda's Game of Contact clinic. We were together nearly every second of the day and evenings. We basically talked non stop for a week straight.

Over the week I realized that I d0 fit into the One With Horses plan. My passion is Dressage. I love the development of horses into beautifully moving athletes. When done correctly its a spectacular example of a horse and human partnership, sharing power, harmony, peace and joy. Being one with your horse basically.

I love seeing a choppy quarter horse change into a fluid mover, a bad banana arabian stretch and relax, an off the track thoroughbred get strong and happy and of course the ones that were bred specifically for dressage reach their heritage's potential to be spectacular and to live and contribute for a long long time. As Karen Rohlf says, Parelli Foundation is Gold. Pure Gold. It’s so true. Because as you guys know, everything in Levels 1-4 in Online, Freestyle, and Liberty are what allows you to achieve beautiful Finesse. We are lucky to have so many Parelli professionals in our area to teach these. I'm excited to help people if they are interested in dressage.On the plane home from Florida Wendy and I were still talking. We both agreed that the most important thing to do to change the world for horses and humans is to be a great example. BE THE CHANGE. Pat and Linda's demonstrations were so key to getting the whole Parelli movement going. People need to see the results. Not just hear it talked about. As Pat and Linda focus more and more on teaching at home it is time for us students to get out there and share our journeys and success. Wendy and I realized that a great addition to One With Horses would be a designated Demo and Competition team. Wendy's cute little curly horse Dan is well into level 4 and being an LBI does really well out and about. For me though...we needed a dream horse. We needed a horse that could live at One With Horses to make it easy to practice together and get on the trailer together and go. We wrote down a description of this horse.

We wanted a gelding, not a youngster, well going and experienced, doing piaffe, passage, and flying changes, LBE/LBI, confident and friendly by nature and a gorgeous mover. Pretty much again I was using Monty as a template. The biggest challenge with a horse like this is A. they don't grow on trees and B. they are wickedly expensive. Never the less we wrote it all down and trusted that the universe would eventually come through for us.

Two months later I was lying in bed browsing the Internet on my smart phone. I checked in on the Savvy Club Forum. In recent topics there was a thread that said Level 3 lusitano free to a good home. Naturally I was curious and clicked it. I could not believe my eyes. It was MONTY!!!! Adrenaline shot through my body and my mind started racing. This was him. The template horse! The actual horse! The Dream Horse.

Even though it was 11pm, I texted Wendy. "Are you awake?" She was not awake. But my text roused both her and Marc and she wrote back that she was. I sent back, with a lot of exclamation points, that I had found the dream horse. She said to call the owner in the morning.

I called Ellen first thing. She phoned me back later in the day and we talked for over an hour. In the end she told me no. I could not have him. She really wanted him to have a person. She figured that since I'd be two hours from him I would not be that. She understandably wanted a human for him that would see him everyday. Since I already had Nigel it was not the right thing to bring him to my house. Plus that wasn't my vision anyway. My vision for him was to be an ambassador for Parelli. A shining example of what is possible with a Parelli foundation and a specialization of dressage.

I acknowledged Ellen's desires for Monty's new life and yet still made my case for his roll as a Demo and Competition horse. I shared all about One With Horses and why he needed to live there. And how pampered he would be. She said it sounded really nice but no. Sorry. I asked her to think about it and let me know if she changed her mind. I also sent her some video of Nigel and I playing.

Meanwhile that morning Wendy had sent a request to David Lichman for a recommendation to give to Ellen and to see if he remembered the horse. The evening after Ellen had told me no, David had emailed Wendy back to say he remembered the horse, that he was great and that he himself would take him if he had more time. He also wrote a recommendation for One With Horses as his new home. Ellen wrote me the next morning to say she was reconsidering! Woohooo! I suggested that she talk with Wendy next.

By the time Wendy called me that evening she had decided that the best thing was to fly to Florida so that Ellen could meet us and really feel good about Monty's new home. We jetted out there together and spent two days with Ellen, Monty and her other horses. It was so much fun to meet her. Wendy and Monty bonded and I was reconvicted that he was indeed the horse I remembered.

At the end of our visit Ellen was convinced too and on the condition that Wendy would be his steward and that he would be a cornerstone of the demo and competition team she would donate him to One With Horses. In a little over two months after Wendy and I had hatched our plan the Monty arrived here in Washington.Over the remainder of the year, Wendy and I pretty exclusively will be playing with him. Wendy, as promised, will be his daily person and caretaker as well as focusing on finding and filling the gaps in his foundation. It will be my extreme pleasure to uncover and develop his dressage. We plan to get both he and Dan out to some schooling shows to get them used to the hoopla and hope to incorporate some demos at One With Horses as well as off site. I hear that just being around he lends a certain "ambiance". Ellen did tell us that he has a reputation for causing people to fall in love with him so watch out!So that's the story of Monty. I'm stoked.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

He Blows My Socks Off.

Nigel is so amazing.

I say it all the time but I can’t help it. Last night, he did the BEST long rear so far. I gave him a jackpot for it but seemed he was wanting to go again. I wondered if I could ask him to walk forwards on his hind legs…should I push it? Or shouldn't I?

I dithered for a minute…but felt like the first one was so positive and understood that if he didn’t do the next one as long it would be fine.

He went up and balanced. I kissed to him and did a little draw in my body. He started walking towards me on his hind legs! One, two, three, four, five SIX…I wooped and jumped in the air….he held it for another 2 or 3 seconds just to show off! The stopping and staying up again is a big deal because it shows so much balance.

He blew my socks off i have to say.