What I am feeling is “okay”.
It took a good reminder to convince me that it is okay to feel what I feel about my horse. Some people don’t understand. It’s okay. For me, it’s about being safe and having confidence.
With that, I started Parelli Level 2 this evening. I had started it a couple of years ago after Level 1 but was not able to really focus on it or make any commitments that would have a positive result. It was so good to listen to Linda and her counterpart, Dr. Stephanie Burns, and better understand where I am in my comfort zone—and in the not-so-comfortable zone.
One evening while riding Carter in the south pasture along with my sister-in-law on her mare, I was feeling great and Carter was responding well. My confidence level was much higher and I could tell Carter was enjoying himself. C sat on her horse while I rode up next to her and we sat in their backs and talked about it all. I noticed something changed in Carter. He seemed flexible, but his ears were positioned differently. C said, “he’s just listening to you, that’s all.”
But I know where his ears are when he is listening to me. This was different. I went to move him forward and he did not step. A bit more of a squeeze and I felt the tension below me. I took a very deep breath myself and as I exhaled I totally relaxed as if like jello on his back. His ears remained as they were. C told me to give him more nudge. But I didn’t. I knew. Something was very different. He had lost all confidence.
I was not going to let that get to me. But I was not going to be unsafe about it. We were going to finish that evening on a good note. I got off.
Carter is an Arabian and he is a bit jumpier than most warm bloods. I have relied on ear position and tension in his stride to determine his nervousness. Perhaps I watch his ears too often. Everyone tells me this. I have more to learn. But I am glad I paid attention. For Carter screams with his ears. I can read him like a book!
We played at liberty all the way back to the gate. I loved every minute of it and once I got him moving again and focused on something other than the dark dragons behind the trees, I could tell he was having fun. We have a lot to learn about liberty but the ground games I played with him were very simple.
C asked if I was going to get back on. By this time, I did not feel safe to get back in the saddle and for once I was glad to say it. Would you get on a horse when you don’t feel safe? Of course not! And I am not going to fake it either and be a big gal and prove to everyone on the porch that I have control of my horse and I can ride well.
I will get there when I’m good and ready. And I will get there when Carter is ready.
I just watched the first video of Parelli Level 2 with Pat, Linda and Dr. Stephanie and it confirmed to me that I need to pay attention to how I learn and that what I am feeling right now is a-okay!
Time to set some goals.