About Me

My photo
North Lawrence, New York, United States
I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Are you guilty of putting the horse before the cart?


This wonderful image is from MetroNet IQ and was used in a story about a municipal broadband debate. However, this common euphemism clearly illustrates what many horse people are guilty of, me included. Ok, so what does this euphemism really mean, "Putting the horse before the cart?" To me, it illustrates many things in life but today, I am talking about horses.

As you know, I have been catching up on Parelli DVDs this weekend which to me is the epitome of studying. I am afterall a Parelli student. I know that some of the material are truly review and that it is mostly known information. However, it is presented in a different manner and thus, I find a great deal of value in it. Repetition is the crux of learning--Pat always tells us he will tell us again and again those things we need to know--eventually it all sinks in.

So far this weekend I have watched the October 2008 Savvy Club DVD, Natural Rider, Beyond the Round Pen - Liberty, and Calm Ride. I am also reading through the November 2008, issue 21 Savvy Times and will be done this evening. Like I said, I always learn something new, see something from a different perspective, or gain an insight I never imagined.

I know that I have often put the horse before the cart because I have a very extroverted and driven personality that desires everything now, not tomorrow, but now. I have set up expectations that are unrealistic (for example: I think I can go out and have a great ride because I have imagined it, planned for it, then it will happen, automatically--yeah right! What side of the corral did my horse wake up on? Have I truly prepared for it? I have to remember these and other factors--horses are not cars that you can turn on and off, drive where you want--they are living creatures with brains!)

I sometimes fall into the direct-line thinking trap because of this too. (Read my post about direct-line thinking here: http://naturalhorselover.blogspot.com/2008/12/dont-be-direct-line-thinker.html ) Anyhow, this type of behavior (the horse before the cart) can make a person feel defeated, unsuccessful, and sometimes even stagnates progress. This would be like me thinking because my horse Whiskey loves to jump that we can go straight to the competition circuit, without practice, without preparation, and without studying the nuiances of the sport. Horsemanship is no different than any other subject area--to be an expert or to even just be proficient, you have to do your homework (lecture and lab), test yourself, practice, and strive for constant improvement. This is why the Parelli's have sections of their courses where you are in a classroom and not just time with your horse. --it totally makes sense (I really want to go to the ISC.)

So why do I bring this all up? In reviewing these study materials this weekend, as it always happens, I am feeling motivated again, empowered, and ready to get back at it! But, this is where the horse before the cart comes in. I have to study before I go play because it prepares me for success. If I play without a plan and without knowledge to help me, I am putting the cart before the horse. The realization of where barries are is very important. I need to avoid or conquer hurdles in many forms.

Thinking about how far along we all were in Virginia and seeing where we are now, I can place blame in many places: (blame/excuses are a barrier)

1. The move from Virginia to New York caused the set-back.
2. The facilities at our new farm are all but non-existent whereas we had things relatively in order in Virginia.
3. The weather is very cold, the weather is wet, it gets too dark too soon, etc.
4. My horses are adjusting to their new surroundings.
5. I am adjusting to my new life and responsibilities.
6. I am too tired.
7. I am not in shape.
8. I am not good enough.
9. I don't deserve it.
10. I don't have someone to join me--I am all alone.
11. And the list could go on!

Is this list sounding familiar? Do you have something similiar? HMMMM, Have you read Dr. Stephanie Burn's book, "Great Lies We Live By?" Well I have and now, I know in order to succeed, I have to read it again to start making progress again. This is just another addition to my education and I need a review session!

Although many of the listed items are true, they are all excuses. I think that the crux of it is me putting the horse before the cart. How I believe I did this is that I came here thinking that everything would be the same or better, immediately. My expectations were far from reality and therefore, I had what I perceived as slow progress or failure. (Rick keeps reminding me that we have only been here for a short time--I know but sometimes I forget or ignore that reality.) One huge problem is me not taking the time it takes and being happy for what we do have in place and taking advantage of that. I don't think that I am lazy but perhaps have become a little complacent. Funny thing is, I finally know that I am not alone. I've chatted with other PNHRs of all levels and we have all expereinced this. Whew--I am normal.

This realization is not the solution but action is. I need to create an action plan and stick to it (much like I need to have in place to become healthy and fit again). It is so simple yet so difficult! How intereting. (Speaking of fitness, I did walk my Morgan today for about 30 minutes through deep snow.)

S0, I have two easy choices: 1. Do something 2. Do nothing

Choice 1: Do Something
Doing something means getting back on track, playing with my horses daily, and going out with a plan recognizing my limitations and embracing the things we can do. We will have success, over time. It won't all come together immediately but if I put the time in, we will be back to having a great time again.

Choice 2: Do Nothing
Do nothing and I'll still have horses living here but I will not have a good rapport or relationship with them, I won't be having fun, and will feel worse for it. Guilt, failure, and other feelings alike.

My advice or thought of the day is to do something but not put the cart before the horse. To be realistic and proactive, and be happy that you are on this journey. My plan is to complete watching any DVDs I have until January 2nd when I will purchase the Parelli Patterns which will serve as another study tool. I've heard that the concepts are the same but the footage and explanations are new. I plan to go through the new assessment model. But thinking more practically, I will play with each horse, even if just in the confines of the barn, at least 15-30 minutes. Each time, I will go out with a purpose/plan in mind--I start tonight.

Here are a few Parellisms to keep you thinking and to keep you motivated!
  • There is only one rule - there are no rules .
  • The horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care.
  • Allow your horse time to digest your thoughts.
  • Do it for the horse, not to him.
  • Don't walk the extra mile for someone walking in the opposite direction.
  • Slow and right beats fast and wrong.
  • Practice doesn't make perfect - only perfect practice makes perfect!
  • Never ask a trying horse to try.
  • Cause your ideas to become your horse's ideas, but understand his ideas first.
  • If your horse is recreation for you...can you be recreation for your horse?
  • Find out what happens before what happens happens.
  • If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.
  • Take the time it takes so it takes less time.
  • Play with the horse that shows up.
  • Expect a lot, accept a little, reward the slightest try.


Jeanne said...

I love how the excuses can be eliminated with one fell swoop by realizing it boils down to two choices (do or not do). Hopefully you've chose to "do". Although, sometimes the dwell time we allow ourselves during the "not do" times is just as important.

Love the Parellisms (Parelli-isms?) as well, especially this one, which resonates for me rather loudly this week:

Don't walk the extra mile for someone walking in the opposite direction.


Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Yep--I choose TO DO SOMETHING. I went out tonight and got in some quality play time with the horses. We only could do ground stuff as it was pretty dark but between the minimal light and the snow, we worked it out. It was also starting to rain but, we played and played--in total. about 30 minutes. I have this urge to go back out! The fun is like a drug, the more you do the more you want.Just like the videos, the more I watch the more I want to do!

I can identify with the parellism, "Don't walk the extra mile for someone walking in the opposite direction." I've done that a great deal in my life but no longer. I only have a limited amount of time and I am destined to lead by example, if someone wants to come for the ride then they are welcomed to, if not, c'est la vie!

I truly feel happy tonight. I love my horses, I love Parelli, and I love that someone is reading this blog!

Thanks for reading the blog and commenting! Best wishes to you.


sarinawilson23 said...

I have seen the website www.saddleonline.com while searching internet and it has biggest collection of Horse Saddles, Leather Jackets, Apparel, Harness.

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Cool--I did not know anyone actually linked to my site! Thanks for reading.