Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Friday, February 17, 2012

Having FUN

I was chatting with my friend Tina the other night on Facebook and we were talking about having FUN with our horses.  It's in all caps for a reason because we think, say and even type it with enthusiasm.  I am coming to realize that most of the really cool stuff going on with Cricket is because I'm having FUN.

My only real goal with Parelli was to pass L3.  I started PNH in 2002 when the home study ended at L3 and anything beyond was available only through direct study at the centers.  Even when the program changed to put L4 in home study format, I never changed my original goal.  With Cricket being innately introverted, I imagined L4 to be another adventure in frustration for both of us.

So when I returned from camp with my green string, I became lost.  I didn't know what to do so I just started goofing off.  Trying things just for fun and laughing when things didn't go so well.  And that's when it all started changing.  Cricket started becoming more engaged.  She began offering more energy.  She started having FUN.

Now I have this tiny inkling that maybe L4 is possible.  But if I'm going to get there, I'm going to play my way there.  I'm going to have FUN.

Last night I had FUN.  Since the stalls weren't ready when I arrived at the barn, I took Cricket and Etruska into the arena while they were being cleaned.  I put them both on featherlines -one white and one black so I knew which was which - and I played tandem games with my LBI/E and my best friend's RBE/I.  I had them circling, Cricket stretched and blowing at the canter and Etruska stretched and blowing at the trot (because she's a big ol' warmblood and can trot to Cricket's QH canter).  We did some COD and that was a little comical but we worked it out.  I finished with some FLC with Cricket alone and we had a fabulous canter draw to finish it off.

Yeah, maybe we can get to L4 if we keep having FUN.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Don't Try, Just Do It

I will never forget the lesson in which I first heard these words: Don't try, just do it.

I was taking periodic lessons from a natural dressage instructor.  He had laid out a pattern for me to ride and when he'd finished giving his instruction, my reply was, "I'll try."  And that's when I heard those words.

How many times, in doing something with our horses, do we try?  We try to get out to the barn more often, we try to follow the Patterns, we try to be more creative, less demanding, more provocative, less critical.

If I asked you to try to tie your shoes, that request would seem silly.  Of course you can tie your shoes.  You don't try, you just do it.  But if I asked you to do it with one hand, would your reply be to do it or to say, "I'll try."

You see, buried in the phrase I'll try is the acceptance of failure.  Think about it.

Saying "I'll try" is the precursor to saying "I tried."  I'll try to get to the barn three times a week leads to I didn't get out there at all but at least I tried.

Don't try, just do it.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with failure.  And there's nothing wrong with fear.  Failure can be the gateway to amazing discoveries.  Fear is the mind protecting the body.

I'll try is not about failure or fear.  It's about the fear of failure.

The fear of failure stops us from moving forward.

I've been afraid.  I've failed.  I'll be there again, no doubt.  But I don't want to be afraid to fail.  Being afraid to fail keeps me in the arena.  Being afraid to fail keeps me walking endless, boring circles.  Being afraid to fail keeps me from being a partner and a leader.

I have experienced amazing things with Cricket over the last year and even more so over the past several months.  In large part because I've finally quit trying.

Monday, February 6, 2012

In the Dreaming

Several months ago I created a vision of a farm.  My farm.  I even named it.  Cooinda.  It's aboriginal for "happy place."  I knew it was real even though it wasn't yet mine.  In my dream, I built a place where I could simply enjoy my horse and have space, one day, to expand it to something more.

In the last several days, some doors have opened.  There is a distinct possibility that my dream may become reality much sooner than I ever imagined.

I have no idea how this is going to play out.  I'm going to try and trust my intuition.  I'll know it's right when I step foot on the property and it says, "welcome home."