8. BALANCE, Qualities of a Horse-man, Pat Parelli
When you think of 'balance' in terms of riding and horsemanship, most of the time it has to do with being able to move in a clear and fluid way with your horse. But the further I go into Natural Horse-Man-Ship, Parelli style, the more it becomes a lifestyle choice and philosophy. It's bleeding over into my everyday interactions with friends and family.
Last night John (handsome feller you see in the slide show...my husband) and I went to visit with some friends and to have dinner. They're folks we haven't seen much in the past year or two (time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future!). We've all known each other for many years, so it wasn't hard to slip back into our old patterns. There's a real comfort in that too.
But I also found myself watching, listening and interacting with the ideas of BALANCE ( keeping conversations on an even keel, up beat and attentive), TIMING (knowing when to listen and when to carry my side of the conversation in a positive and progressive way), RESPECT ( TIMING magnified, embracing them just as they are) and, with this set of folks, EXPERIENCE (remembering funny stories together, talking about their children and grandchildren). Later I had the chance to practice IMPULSION and FLEXION when we went for a long, after dinner walk.
The walk was fascinating because we all had different levels of fitness, so I slowed, or sped up and matched pace with each of them as we changed pairs. At one point, one of them was walking so fast...with me keeping up and matching pace and energy levels...that we were very nearly cantering! It was all I could do to keep from saying "YEEE HAW!". I was having that much fun. Ask me if I'm obsessed?!
This morning I did the same things with Lucky and Apache, trying to repeat some of the same QUALITIES OF A HORSE-MAN as I did last night. I met the guys at the gate, touching hands to nose and stopping to just enjoy the early morning sounds. I consciously tried to match myself to their rhythms and patterns. When I opened the gate to the OUTSIDE (the other side of the fence is always better!), I gave them their signal to walk through softly. And they did too, but this morning they elected to stay with me!
Usually the grass beckons so the most I get is a nice little rub or nod, but today they spent the morning hanging up around me and the stalls while I did chores, even following me into the barn voluntarily. It was all very nice and soft, easy and graceful. They followed me, watching to see what I was going to do next, going in and out of gates stopping to graze while I dumped yet another load of wet and soiled bedding. Magic!
The further I go into this, the more I stick to the program, the better the relationship becomes between my little herd and I. Most of you have no reason to know this, but that's a HUGE breakthrough for me. I've never followed any program to the letter before. Even while I went to school at University and acquired my degrees I was still an independent agent of sorts (course, when you focus on Fine Arts, that's somewhat encouraged), always questioning and debating, experimenting and doing a terrible job of "standing in line" (I'm still not very good at that part...standing in line)
So, today was a quiet start to the week. When it was time to come in for grain, I whistled. They came, trotting and gaiting across the field to me. That's my reward, when they come to me like that. It's their way of offering RESPECT, and HEART AND DESIRE.
Yeee haaaw! I'm having fun now.
Nancy, smiling at the way things change...and always stay the same