Having fun

This weekend I indulged one of my non-writing interests – my love of horses. I attended a clinic conducted by David Lichman, a Licensed 5-star Parelli Natural Horsemanship Instructor, and spent two days hanging out with other women who love horses and a bunch of beautiful, well-trained horses.

Since this was my first introduction to Parelli, I did not take my horse and do the whole clinic. I paid a fee to observe as David worked with riders and horses, and was able to ask some questions, when I dared. These were some serious horse people who were very advanced in their riding, and even though I have been riding off and on since I was a kid, my horsemanship couldn’t begin to compare.

This clinic was recommended to me by a friend who knew that I have some problems with my horse that were limiting my ability to enjoy him. My friend told me that a different approach to how I was relating to Banjo would help. And she was right.

The Parelli method of training is based on respect for and love of horses – and an understanding of horse nature and psychology. The training avoids using force, fear, harsh bits or mechanical training aids and relies on establishing trust and respect between horse and rider. Quite different from the techniques I had seen used on horses all my life.

In addition to what I learned about working with Banjo, I noted how much joy the clinic participants had while riding and going through the lessons.

One of the techniques that David is known for is using music during the clinics and by the end of The Rhythm of the Ride, horses were literally dancing through the arena to the beat of the music.

And the best part? I used some of the things I learned in a couple of sessions with Banjo and had positive results. Not that he is ready to do what I saw the horses doing this weekend, but it is a good first step.

11 thoughts on “Having fun”

  1. You can always pick it up again, Jen. I firmly believe we should follow those wishes as best we can. I may not ride my horse due to some physical limitations, but there are ways to enjoy a horse without riding. That is some of what I learned this weekend.

  2. In my opinion, horses are quite smart, sensitive, easily bored, and slow to trust. But once they trust you, they are completely loyal.

    I fell off one once. Standing still. Don’t ride much 🙂

  3. It wasn’t easy. I’m an inexperienced rider. And I have short legs. I’m guessing the guy didn’t hoist the stirrups high enough because I had a hard time keeping my feet in them.

    I’d done OK until we stopped for something and I turned around to talk to the person on the horse behind me. When I faced the front again, I was listing a little to port and my right foot wasn’t anywhere near the stirrup.

    I tried pulling myself up, but the more I pulled, the closer I got to the ground. I figured I’d do less damage by letting go while we were stopped than by trying to hang on after we started moving again. So I let go.

    The horse’s name was Little John. He turned around and looked at me and I could read his thoughts plain as day:

    “Are you crazy? What’s wrong with you? You’re not supposed to get off here.”

  4. A great read. My wife is currently an intern with Pat and I am working at Savvy Central (Parelli Corp) as part of the social media team. Just wanted you to know that we enjoyed your post. David is a rockstar.
    Brett Lovins

  5. Loved your story, Carol. Glad you were brave enough to share it with us.

    And thanks for the visit and kind words about my post, Brett. I will be doing a feature story next week about the clinic and the Winnsboro connection. And you are right, David is great.

  6. I grew up with a friend who loves horses. This post takes me back. It’s beautiful. I just met you through Karen G. and am now a follower. Memoir and YA: my two favorite genres. I’m anxious to read your books. I’ve added your link to my blog under Published Writers I Follow. Hope you’ll approve and come over to meet me.

  7. Glad you had a wonderful time. I enjoyed watching you learn. Hope to play the seven games with you a Banjo soon and then see you guys in the next Lichman Clinic in Texas. Thanks for blogging and posting photos. Janice

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