Before I started this 30 day challenge I knew writing one entry a day would not be possible; but that wasn't my goal. My goal was to find inspiration to write again. I've lost my interest in reading and writing. I want to get it back...to redevelop an activity I once enjoyed but quit because of burn out, depression and time contraints. So onward and upward...
Day 19-A time you were able to help a "normal" horse or horseman using PNH.
After finishing a ride a few weeks ago as I was leaving the barn another boarder riding her Arabian mare struck up a conversation with me. As our conversation began to wane, she expressed frustration with her quality of circles, in that her mare was bracey and not following her nose. Two things immediately came to my mind, the human head weighs between 10 - 14 pounds and most people (myself included) tend to look down and watch the horses head when they ride. As she rode I spoke about these two points, she stopped as if to think about and absorb the words. When she exclaimed she hadn't thought much about her head position, I smiled with the admission it's a point I have to work on every time I ride because I catch myself doing it. I explained the principle that horses can feel the riders focus and when the rider focuses on the horses head, that brings the weight of the head down and impacts the riders balance, and therefore, the horses balance as well. I suggested she keep her head up and focus her eyes on where she wanted to go. To use her eyes and swivel of her head to direct the horses direction. She tried it, immediately noticed a difference and was amazed. It's a hard thing to remember and I always find myself reverting back to looking at Dukes head when I need to focus on where I want to go. But then I remember his head is not going to fall off and I change my gaze to a point ahead of him and where I want to go, and voila! I immediately feel a diffence in my body and Duke's, especially his trot; it goes from flat and hard, to round and soft.
Day 20-A PNH clinic or lesson that was inspirational. If you have not been to a clinic or had a lesson what educational material has been particularly inspiring.
The Liberty and Horse Behavior dvd, particularly when the 'horsenality' segments where Pat and Linda demonstrate the different characteristics of four of their horses.
Day 21-Criticism you have about the PNH program.
Several times I have heard Pat advise students against following or trying other trainer or clincians methods because it will confuse the student. The problem I have with this viewpoint is that Pat himself was a student of and learned from many different teachers; he openly admits this in almost every demo or lesson I've seen. He's always talking about, and crediting Ray Hunt, Bill Dorrance, Tom Dorrance, Ronny Wills and others...as his mentors. All these men provided him with a well-rounded education and enabled him to turn his love for horses into a lifelong career. I believe him when he says he and Linda want to make the world a better place for horses and humans. But I am skeptical of anyone who discourages their students from exposure to outside influences. That is too cult-like in my opinion. PNH is not a cult, but I have read people call it a cult and refer to the students as brainwashed.
Parelli has covered a lot of educational ground during the past 25+ years, and they have given me the tools I need to develop my horsemanship skills. But as an open minded person I like to explore several options and resources, that is what I learned in high school and college. I have found the quality of PNH educational materials, content and distribution to be among the best, that is why I have stayed.
PNH needs to trust their students and realize that it's okay for us to observe what is out there and evaluate if it's right or wrong for our journey. Through observation we are able to gain a broader understanding of this discipline. We are keen enough to know the difference between quality and quick-fixes.
Day 22-How do you explain PNH when people ask what you are doing with your horse.
Hasn't really come up a lot, yet, but I just say I'm using natural horsemanship and let Duke do the rest of the talking.
Day 23-SADDLING: do you use the PNH saddle and/or theraflex pad if not what do you ride in and what does your horse think of it.
I have two Fallis Balanced Ride saddles, and I use the theraflex pad. The theraflex pad solved a problem with my 50 year old Fallis saddle which has a really wide tree that brought the gullet down on Duke's withers. The theraflex pad and two shims solved that. I recently acquired a new custom made saddle from John Fallis designed for a high withered horse and will use the theraflex pad under a wool saddle blanket.
Interestingly enough, I'm wondering if Pat is still using the theraflex pad. Recent Savvy Club dvd's with him riding show him using different saddle pads and blankets, but not the theraflex. Or maybe he's using it under neath.