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Parelli Center Observations, Part Three

Published: 11/13/2009
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Robin Kroc continues her days at the Florida Parelli Center.
Thanks, Robin, for such a thorough review of your time in Ocala!

Read more about Robin's time at the Parelli Center by clicking here.

Read comments from the anti-Parelli contingent by clicking here.

Day Two:

BFO: prepare, prepare, prepare: on the ground, on the ground, on the ground. Warm up strong to ride soft. It is all so simple but it isn't EASY!

Big topic: Moving in Harmony! Emphasis on doing it on the ground first. Doing in your body what you want the horse to do in his body. The last thing we should use is our reins...eyes, belly button, legs, stick, finally reins. I can't seem to do that consistently yet.

I am feeling more and more comfortable in the saddle. Feeling very stable left to right now. Finding my balance point as I use my direct and indirect rein. More fluid, more of the time. Really hard not to micromanage. Beginning to understand: "trust the horse will respond but be ready to correct, not one more than the other!"
Whew! Hard concept to do consistently.

I am very lucky to have such a lovely horse to play with: Jen is very eager to put her head in the halter every time I enter her pen. She has been very patient with me.

It was humid today, which was hard for me but I relaxed and sat in the shade and cooled off when I got too warm. Luckily the classroom and the lodge where we eat is air conditioned so if we need to cool down we can.

Day Three:

As I said yesterday harmony is such a HUGH subject. We were challenged today on line to watch footfalls, to mirror our horses walking, trotting and cantering (if we could)...to feel their footfalls walking, trotting and cantering... to move in our body the way the horses are moving in their bodies.
We have all heard this before but do we really spend any time doing this mindfully? Do we isolate, separate and recombine? I could feel the front footfalls at the walk, or the back footfalls but could not combine the feeling of all four.
Need to start on the ground again tomorrow.

The Parelli message is so consistent: the principles, the responsibilities, using our phases correctly, using our energy, using our power of focus, approach and retreat, reward the slightest try, being mindful of playing with the horsenality that appears at any given time.
Ride today for tomorrow.
Talking to Pat's students is so interesting. In any conversation it all comes back to the basics. Each one smiles and refers to a principle, or a responsibility, or focus or the correct use of the phases, or energy, or approach and retreat or the seven games, or isolate, separate and recombine.

Day Four:

My backwards got broken and really bracey yesterday. Today I just flowed backwards on Jen's back using my focus and energy. It is amazing how focus improves everything! My yo yo back to send on the circle also broke yesterday. Jen was always crooked. I isolated and separated and did perfect practice today.
Tomorrow I will try to recombine into the circling game.

I rode in the bareback pad today with the hackamore both in the honeycomb and on the playground with patterns: weave, figure eight, follow the rail, point to point, circles, question box. We went over the bridges, through all the squeezes, sideways along logs and over cavelletti poles. Felt really confident!
This morning focused on looking at our journeys as never ending spirals of development containing these elements:

flexion
physical

impulsion
emotional

respect
mental

rapport
philosophy

Whenever we have a question, if we have an "oh boy" moment we see if the fix lies in one of those elements.

We spent time talking about and practicing the fluid rein which offers:
rhythm which will lead to relaxation,
a soft feel for the horse to reach for the bit and
a lengthened stride.

The fluid rein is only useful with the triple link comfort snaffle. Once the horse learns to reach for the contact with the fluid rein you should expect him/her to find the cradle bridle a useful tool for more precision.

We have been constantly reminded to structure short teaching sessions, then do an activity in which the horse feels confident, followed by another teaching opportunity followed by another confident activity and so on.

We rode patterns in the afternoon on a casual rein and a concentrated rein, continuing to use our focus, eyes, belly button, legs stick and the rein if necessary. The riders who had a French link snaffle practiced the fluidity rein.

At the end of my ride I did liberty in the round pen with Jen. She maintained gait, direction and changed direction at the walk, trot and canter with several laps of each gait and direction. Fun!

Tomorrow is our last day. So soon! I am anxious to come home to play with my own horses but I will miss learning from and teaching Jen. She has taught me a lot about sideways. She also loves the falling leaf. I have had such fun with her.

Day Five

Today was the best day.  Kathy Barr who taught the On Line Level 3/4 did a demo with her LBI mare bareback and bridleless in the round pen.  It was absolutely innovative and inspiring!  Kathy and her horse had such a good time. 

Then John Barr played with five horses and a mule who belonged to members of our Moving in Harmony class.
He was absolutely brilliant! Lots to share. 

Then we saw three short videos of Carmen Zuloff, Silke Valentine and Mikey Wallenberg.  AMAZING!

It was sad to say good-bye to all our friends here!  Really great to hang with all these people who are studying Parelli.

We also got to know a soon-to-be "new instructor" who will be based in Rutland, Vermont who will need to do 50 hours of free lessons.





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"An owner of a Tennessee Walking Horse once said that his horse reminded him of a lightning rod, for, as he rode, all the sorrows of his heart flowed down through the splendid muscles of his horse and were grounded in the earth." - Marguerite Henry