Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Sunday, April 6, 2008

"If you're REALLY CONFUSED, grab your pants!"

Haha, ugh what an ugly day weather-wise. It rained all afternoon, cutting into my lesson time with one of my students, and making for a nasty drive around the area.

Had a nice late morning/early afternoon though. I went to Stillwater to Painted Sky Stables to audit a Farrah Green Level 2 clinic, which another one of my students was riding in. I've audited several clinics in the past, but nothing since I've been on the career path to be a PNH instructor, so I actually paid more attention to the teaching strategies than I did to the actual subject matter being taught. (Though I did take some of that in as well, of course)

I arrived at the clinic at about 12:00 or so, and just in time for the last 10 minutes before lunch break. Farrah was talking about the value and importance of a strong focus on where you want to go, and she was using my student's mare as a demo. Kristina is a LB dominant mare, and she uses just about anything (Lack of focus, lack of cookie beyond obstacle, lack of perfect texture footing) as an excuse to NOT do what is being asked. I missed most of the demo, but from what i saw, Kristina suddenly realized she could jump barrels when Julia focused, and it all ended well. Definitely a good refresher lesson on focus. It's one of those things, that even though it was a L2 clinic, I had little reminders and ideas that lead me on little tangents that may actually become useful for my horses.

During lunch break, I met with some really great local PNHers, and passed my name out to people. I love spreading the word and meeting other PNHers. We had some entertaining conversations (Apparently it's understandable if I feel I need tall socks?), and I think I've made some friends.

I also had a fairly nice conversation with Farrah. I'm always impressed at how approachable Parelli Professionals are, and just how down to earth they are. Farrah was no exception to this. She was friendly, and genuinely interested in what I had to say. We just chit-chatted, mainly about video assessing vs. Live assessing (we both hate video cameras), and about the few tasks I have left to pass in my level 3, and how I might go about accomplishing them. Also told her a little bit about Crest, didn't actually get to our horror story, which might have been a good thing.

Going into the afternoon session, the first thing we did was a break-down of the horse's gaits, beat for beat, and we simulated them in our bodies. I have done this exercise a million times, but have never been in charge of EXPLAINING how to do it to a group. BOY was THAT interesting. As a level 3 student, I know the beats, order of footfalls, and weight distribution of each gait, but showing people how to do it, counting the strides off, and then getting 4 people doing it in sync with ME was TOUGH! That's where my title line comes into play. We were talking about the diagonal footfalls of the canter and how they fell into place with the rest, and Farrah, in explaining, said "Seriously, if you guys are really confused just grab your opposite pants leg and think of it all as one unit!" That became the quote of the day! It was quite humorous.

That's about it for the day. OH! And I got a new student, a friend of a student's mom-YAY!

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