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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Back to Basics - Part 1

When I set out on my Parelli journey in 2002, the home study program went through L3. So that was my goal.  Achieving my green string left me a little lost.  What to do now?  Surely L4 with a LBI was insane and totally out of the question.  In the past several months, Cricket's extroversion is growing and suddenly L4 doesn't seem like such a pipe dream.

But I keep having this little stumbling blocks.  Like maintain gait at the canter.  Like circle at the end of a 45'.  Like execute a clean FLC on line.  In thinking about this - because I'm a left-brain introvert and we love to think - I came to the realization that if L4 is just L1 with excellence, I needed to look in L1 for my answers.  I decided to revisit Parelli Connect and work through the eLearning modules, looking at the L1 concepts through the lens of a L4 student.

What follows are some of my thoughts from the first 4 or 5 lessons.

Too often, I treat Cricket like a prisoner instead of a partner.
In reading the first lesson, I realize that too often I treat Cricket like a prisoner. No, I don't trap her or cross-tie her but have a tendency to get stronger instead of softer and I'm far too impatient with her. Need to start framing things like a partner.

Preparing to Play: Simulations
I don't know if I've ever made a program of simulations with my carrot stick. Hmm, how interesting! I lack precision in L4 . . . Could the two things be related? Methinks yes.

"Your [carrot] stick is attached to your attitude." ~ Linda Parelli
In my last Carol camp, we talked at great length about *intention*. The stick is an extension of your intention. So rolling this all together, if the stick is just my attitude and intention, C's actions in response to the stick are nothing more than her attitude and intentions about me.

I know that sounds a little garbled but where I'm going is that using the stick is not about getting a particular movement but offering an attitude and intention that creates desire and movement. If C responds appropriately to my attitude and intention then I'll get the requested movement but that flows from her attitude.

It's little wonder why on line was/is my worst savvy. I can use that halter and rope to either make Cricket do as I please or at the very least make us both miserable in the process. If the CS is an extension of attitude and intention - if that's what makes it a "tool" - then the halter and lead are no different. If I use the line to make her do something then all my "natural" just went out the window.

"Most people keep having the same problem over and over, year after year… which adds up to a lot more than two days."
This is the crux of my impetus for going back to L1. I have certainly spent much more than 2 days trying to cause Cricket to maintain gait on the circle, especially at the canter. I don't think we've solved it, by any means. But paying attention to *intention* and thinking about Cricket as a partner vs. a prisoner has yielded some of the most positive results we've had in a LONG time.

"When you open your hands, you release everything." ~ P. Parelli
The above might be a bit of a paraphrase as I don't have the scrap of paper where I wrote it down. Pat was discussing "hands that close slowly and open quickly as well as energy control.

So how many times, when I release, do I hold the tension or intention in my body? How is my grip on the line? On the stick? How is my attitude towards my horse? Have I truly released her into the movement or I'm I holding tension in critique?

Please feel free to join the discussions by connecting with me and looking for the eL-TotD (eLearning Thought of the Day). 

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