A Simple Truth
A Simple Truth
Many believe that I am here to help their horses remove & balance their accumulated baggage, I am. But I'm really here to help you remove your baggage first & foremost because if you're not willing to look at your own thoughts, beliefs & actions, you will not find lasting change in how you work with horses. Horses aren't the problem, people are. Those who are willing to accept & examine this simple truth will excel in unimaginable ways with horses. The truth of horses is simple, it's the person who is complex.
What is the difference between the worlds top horse people & others? Those at the top reached that podium by taking the time to look at their own thoughts & behaviours & made the commitment to take the time to do what was necessary to change. They fell into old habits from time to time as it's part of the growth process, but they were determined to overcome these obstacles by moving beyond their own current belief systems. They became discouraged & felt like they were never going to succeed, as we all do, but they didn't give up. We must learn to prioritize what's important & not allow life to persuade us to create excuses to quit practicing.
The things that prevent us from moving forward are conscious decisions that we choose to allow. The only real obstacles are the ideas we choose to hold onto in our minds. When we are out of a neutral balanced mindset, we feel strongly affected by thoughts & feelings. Instead of viewing these moments as failures, we need to embrace them as a tool to help us notice when we're falling into old habits & move back into our neutral point. Our reflexes & habits of the past have been to strongly identify with these judgemental thoughts & then projecting them onto our horses. These thoughts cannot cause havoc unless we allow them to become personal perceptions. When we're not emotionally attached to unhealthy thoughts & feelings, our interactions with horses will change dramatically & we will be able to clearly hear what our horses have been trying to teach us.
When we hear the word neutral, from a normal perceptive concept, this sounds impersonal, cold or without feeling but it is a true, simple harmony with horses. It's not misinterpreted, projected or manipulated, but perceived through a mind that is in perfect harmony with horses. This place already exists. You're not going to create it, you just need to find what's already there but has been hidden. It's been filtered through our personal, subjective thinking processes that we've been conditioned to believe. We've been searching for something that's already here.
What is a statement? They are opinions given as facts based on a personal belief system. They are not given as a question that requires an answer or invites a discussion. The person making the statement isn't open to learning something new in that moment. The most common statements I hear while assisting clients are, "you didn't do anything differently than I have done, I'm going to take bits & pieces of many methods & create what works for me , & I know how to do everything else, I just need help with this one thing." If you listen, the words a person uses tells us a lot about how thier mind & thought processes work. Obviously, I am doing something different if I was able to accomplish something you couldn't & behaviour is an escalation of progressive habits, never just one single problem.
I have never followed another trainers techniques & have developed my own understandings, however there was a time, many years ago where I was receiving many requests from people who were trying to learn the Parelli methods. There were so many calls for assistance that I watched a level 1 disc that was given to me to try to understand what they were looking for. I learned some very interesting things from these experiences.
What I found was that this introductory disc gave people a new sense of confidence in being able to do more with horses than they were previously able to do. Most of these individuals chose to inflate their egos & suddenly believed they were the worlds best horse trainers. They conducted themselves with deplorable attitudes even though they were reaching out to me for assistance. In the end, I refused to help anyone who was learning level 1 Parelli methods.
I learned that these self-inflated perceptions had nothing to do with Parelli or their methods, but how these people chose to interpret this information & twist it into something aggressive & forceful with horses & other people. I have visited many facilities over the years who advertise to teach Parelli methods & will vehemently defend their practices. In one case, I observed a horse who had refused to move forward because it was frozen in fear. This "Parelli teacher" beat the horse with a whip & jerked on the severe bit it had in its mouth until the horse's mouth was bleeding. It still amazes me how many people will consider this acceptable forms of working with horses, pay these people huge dollars & defend these practices.
Over the years, I have heard many negative remarks regarding Parelli methods. My view is that what Parelli has to offer was a much needed shift in the way people previously perceived horses & there is evidence of Parelli's signature all over this planet. Since Parelli, it has become common place to see bridleless riding, liberty & many other things attributed to the opening of minds by Parelli methods. Those who speak negatively are individuals who have combined it with incompatible methods & didn't bother to complete the entire process to truly understand the deeper & more profound foundational aspects.
Someone who has goals, intentions & believes they know how things should work, does not see what's being offered. They are fixated on fulfilling their projections & can only see what they already know, which doesn't allow space for something new. Only when your mind is quiet can you see.
Who makes it complicated? People have a habit of overthinking & overcomplicating things. We have created a very complicated set of steps & rules to dictate how we should understand & work with horses. Common methods are filled with old ideas & ways of doing things & as good as they were for their time, it's time to replace them with simplicity. Things are changing & the ideas of yesterday are no longer the ideas blooming today.
As long as we have a strong point of view, we will experience things that don't fit into our ideas of right & wrong. We are trying to measure & evaluate behaviour from a personally perceived perspective of good or bad when we should be looking at behaviour as an expression of thoughts & feelings. We will interpret & mislabel our experiences as auspicious instead of viewing what's wrong as good fortune. This is the nature of an unbalanced state of perceptions.
When we are balanced in a neutral mindset, we can no longer view behaviour as a problem & will stop blaming external sources for our perceptions. In this balanced mindset, we will use what was previously unacceptable, as a stepping stone to elevate ourselves to new understandings. We need to embrace adversity, welcome & love it. It's our greatest teacher & will help us advance into new ideas & understandings much quicker & easier. Frictions & limits strengthen our resolve & force us to search for something more. What if nothing was wrong when it came to horses? Can you imagine being in this understanding?
The relationship we can build with horses, that extends beyond our current boxes of systems & rules, contains everything we need to know when we're willing to listen & have discussions with our horses. What I offer is much simpler than a set of rules that you have to adhere to. The foundation of what I teach doesn't involve steps or a system & many have responded to this with a statement of "there must be because that's the way it's always worked."
Common methods have some kind of structure, in that structure are rules, & in those rules therefore are the right & wrong way to do things. These structures & rules were created to try to enhance our knowledge & make sense of what we didn't understand. Humans have created these rules & systems with human ideas, through human perceptions, thinking this was what horses needed. Intellectual understanding does not allow space for growth & deeper knowledge. Experiential understanding creates space for a different kind of knowledge that will be retained without thought & become second nature. It's important to some to amass as much intellectual knowledge as possible because it makes us feel as though we've gained something everlasting, but knowledge alone does not create the connection or higher levels of understanding. It's time to move away from rules of belief & instead find that mutual relationship of listening & discussion with horses.
I never come with a prepared program or set of goals to accomplish for the day. I always work in the moment with what the horses & people present. I work with the horse that's in front of me & what they need in that particular moment. This leads to discussing what's happening with the horse in real time & directs the questions & answers into a spontaneous flow. The level of understanding of the people present & the quality of the questions asked will dictate how deeply I can go into the information being presented, received & understood. I come as I am to meet you where you are & help guide you through a simple process at a level that resonates with you. I'm here to point things out that this horse is trying to share with you in this moment & the deeper meanings behind these discussions. If the things I'm pointing to are grasped, it will create a transformation in those who have come with an open mind & are searching for deeper understanding.
Being in the moment & moving with the flow of horses is not a system nor does it require a set of rules. It only requires that you show up, leave what you think you know at the door when you arrive & begin to listen to what our horses have been trying to tell us for a very long time.
After working with countless people over the years, I found that very few were willing to continue practicing & fell back into their old habits of forcing horses to conform to their dictations. We can become excited with new understandings & seeing forward progress but old habits are always waiting to creep back in & convince us that it's easier to return to our old ways. It's much easier to do what we've always done, because we choose to not take the time & effort needed to change. We have learned to make & justify excuses for ourselves to make ourselves feel better & this often involves blaming horses & other people. We use common phrases like our lives are too busy & we just can't find the time. I even had a person tell me recently that it's just easier to give their horse a sedative than to make the time to fix the problems!
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by what's happening in our own & the outside world. We have these feelings of spiraling out of control when we are not centred & balanced in our perceptions. Horses that are aggressive & explosive are a reflection of our own mental & emotional imbalances. Horses are trying to teach us to live in the moment, step back & observe what's happening around us from an inner place of stillness & quietness. When we can find this inner balance, it doesn't matter what's happening because we can calmly observe the proceedings but not let them pull us out of balance. It's this same lack of balance that that causes us to become angry & frustrated with our horses & will allow the old habits of excuses to prevent us from reaching real changes in our lives. When we are able to perceive the things going on around us without creating a personal attachment to these horses, places & events, we will begin to perceive behaviour with a much different understanding.
It's too easy to fall into old habitual tendencies of moving out of this balance & back into perceiving the environment personally & then trying to manipulate & control what's going on around us. This creates a more comfortable & less threatening environment for us because it moves us back into our comfort zones. In the beginning there will be stress & frustration because you are moving out of your comfort zone. It's normal to fall into old habits & beliefs but it will become increasingly easier if you remain committed to the effort of positive change. It takes time to replace old habits & stabilize in this this new neutral balance for you & your horse. You are the only person responsible for the choices you make for you & your horse's future. Only you can decide if it's worth the time & effort commitment. The truth of horses is simple, it's people who are complex.