Monday, November 24, 2008

Keeping it real

Between my new job and Duke, my daily schedule has stretched my time. I used to work 8 - 5 Monday to Friday and my evenings were always open, usually spent here on my computer. Now I work 7 - 5 Monday to Thursday, then 8 - Noon on Fridays (love that!). After work I change into my horsey clothes and devote the next two hours to Duke (cleaning his stall and playing with him). Most evenings by the time I get home it's 8 or 8:30, I eat a bite for dinner and then it's time for bed.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Before I got Duke I truly thought I'd done all my homework about horse ownership. Oh boy, was I in for a major shift in my thinking. There is sooooo much I don't know.

Duke is no ordinary horse and he has issues, having spent the last five years of his life as a pasture pet and basically allowed to do whatever he wanted, when he wanted. On the ground he was disrespectful of my space, pushy, dominant, willful and greeted me with pinned ears and hard eyes. In the saddle he pushed through the bit, wouldn't stop or listen to my leg cues, was bracey, and definitely had more go than whoa. On the other hand, he is calm, smart, gentle, friendly and very curious.

In May I became a student of the Parelli Natural HorseManShip teachings. I'm currently studying Level 1 (Partnership) and on the brink of beginning Level 2 (Harmony). When I'm ready, my goal is to have my Level 1 skills assessed by a professional; I've learned this can be done by video and YouTube is an excellent outlet for these assessments. It's a bit scary but it's what I want to do.

The relationship I now have with Duke is due in large part to what I've learned from Parelli. At the stable there are always people ready to hand out advise, but I've learned to filter most of it away from me. At one point I had to bring in a professional trainer to address three critical short comings in Duke's training: trailering, backing/stopping, and pulling back when tied. She was a huge help and much better prepared to deal with these areas than I.

From Duke I am gaining valuable insight into the horse. Man I thought I knew horses, but I didn't know nothing. And you can't fake it with horses, they will see right through any bluff or pretense. They keep things real. Very real.

The journey continues...

Music for the video is "In Your Shoes" written and performed by Katie Drake (niece of Pat Parelli)


kbear's heart 2 said...

Love the video! he looks great and you on him! you definitely have your hands full, but happy you're enjoying life with him:)! hugz~kbear

Melissa said...

I just found your journal through Kbear's and I will be following. Duke is beautiful and I look forward to coming back and reading everything and getting up to date. Enjoy him!

Sandra said...

He is gorgeous Dona. I don`t know very much about horses but I have a friend who has several of her own, I know she would love Duke. :o)

Love Sandra xxxx