Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Green String and Some "Thank You's"

I am proud to announce, that after 6 years of playing and enjoying the journey, Prin and I received confirmation that we had passed our Liberty audition, the final leg of our level 3 journey. I received this fantastic news in person this Saturday at the Kansas City celebration, after Kristi Smith viewed our audition. We passed with a very solid L3+ (everything was L3+ or above--had things in L3++, L4 and one in L4+, too, YAY!)

Fortunately, I had a wonderful group of friends there to share this with. Starting with Kristi, at least a dozen people got a very happy and excited Fran flung at them. I cried for about 10 minutes, and went through the initiation process from Farrah in receiving my green string, which included having to unlock an EXTREMELY stubborn trailer door, being "knighted" with the string, and then being taught to follow a feel rather rudely by it (in the photo we took, I look like the LBI cartoon, and Farrah looks sadistic--she enjoyed strangling me I think!), and then trying to find enough greenery in a very sad, run down Kansas City parking lot to take a nice photo of the two of us together. All of those coming soon, as soon as I can get them from Farrah.

I'm in the process of making a video of Prin and me throughout the years to commemorate the accomplishment, which I hope to have done in a couple of weeks. In the mean time, I've got some thank yous to say to the people that have helped me on this journey:

Firstly, to Kristi Smith. Thank you so much for taking my audition as your last, and giving me honest, useful and positive feedback on it. Thanks for being there for both me and for Prin at the center, for the many times I couldn't find my positive attitude, and when I needed a good smack into reality. Thanks for helping guide and shape my LBEness into something positive, and for being a dose of similarity when I was overwhelmed by my LBI trailer-mates ;) I can't say enough for what your presence in my life means.

Next to Farrah Green. Where can I start there? Big sister, best friend, mentor, idol, wonderful companion, teacher, shoulder to cry on, supporter, voice of sanity and reason...any other role I'm missing that she plays in my life? Farrah is pretty much the reason I am where I am in my journey. She opened my eyes to a level of detail, subtlety and particular that i didn't even realize existed, and helped me find it in my relationships with horses and humans. She's offered me opportunities that I never would have had, had she not been there. She's stuck with me through thick and thin, good and bad, and one particular REALLY REALLY UGLY. She's pushed me (sometimes not so willingly) into doing things I'd never have done otherwise. Just ask our company the first time we ate sushi together ;) I never would have believed in myself or my horses enough to film my auditions or pass my level 2, but Farrah did, and so I learned to as well. She's encouraged my teaching and my learning, and gotten me to a level of confidence in both myself and in leaders (and as a LEARNER!) that I didn't know existed. I could keep gushing, but I'm on the point of sounding like a sap as it is. Words can't really describe what Farrah means to me in my life, and I'm so thankful that Julia Wooldridge was stubborn enough to drag me to that first clinic in April 2008. My life and journey would have have been very different had she not.

Next to Linda Parelli. I can honestly say I've never met someone who supports me as much as Linda does. Whether it's out of a maternal state of mind, or just someone who recognized a devoted above-and-beyond student, Linda has helped me through some of the toughest times of my life, both with and without horses. Linda truly "gets" me in a way that no one else does. Often when no one else can answer my questions or get into my head, Linda will break down the barrier with a list of brilliant questions and a mind full of advice. I can ALWAYS count on honest, productive feedback, a heart full of fantastic support and a hand to guide me when I fall off course. She's largely responsible for the learner I am today, and because of that, I give her a large portion of the credit for my accomplishing level 3.

Michelle Manshardt--My fellow tiny person in the Farrah camp! Michelle might not realize it, but her sense of humor and total ability to become 6 characters at once in a fantastic improv. show has gotten me to laugh when I needed it most. She's made seeing the humor in everything and every situation so much easier. Michelle is also truly a master at redirecting strong negative energy into something really productive, something that I've needed quite often. Overall, just a wonderful friend, someone I can always count on to have an interesting discussion and lots of fantastic information up her sleeve when I need it. Thanks for making our threesome a funsome :)

Next--the Savvy Sisters--you know who you are. This journey without friends is nothing. We've known each-other forever (Anna, Emily, this is year 8, can you believe it?!), we've laughed, cried, fought, made chocolate chip cookies (BOBS!),and grown up together. And through it all, we're still friends--how the hell? We were definitely brought together because of this wonderful program, but we stuck together through love and friendship. I appreciate everything you all have done for me, being there when I needed support, good or bad, always willing to hear me, answer the phone late at night or early in the morning, always there for me and my crazy escapades all over Parelli events (through swamps, flying lead changes in the warm-up arena that led to very suspicious boyfriends, signatures on foreheads, sleeping on newly purchased theraflex pads, and trying to pose seductively for photos while cracking up laughing, chucking bark out of trees at Linda and Remmer riding), and for all the other various great times--Starbucks with Sarah("Ma' you know where you are?"), Floating on inflatable alligators with Virge ("Yes...I do need to know that this thing is unsafe for children under 8...IN CHINESE!"), on the way to Karen Rohlf's clinic with Jessica and Katie ("Pronouns are for amateurs...Fran, Anne, Katie, and Jessica are NOT amateurs, Fran, Anne, Katie, and Jessica are PROFESSIONALS!"), Late-night conversations with Carissa ("Fran is totally 1/2 pornographic water buffalo."), Bobs with Anna ("We must name them...they shall be called Bob!")...and the list goes on and on, please feel free to add memories if you care to--the bottom line is, I love you girls, I'd never have made it here without ya!

To my parents--yes, we butt heads, fight, disagree about just about everything involved with my horsemanship journey, but in the end, I know and appreciate the undying support that is there. They have helped this journey of mine in any way that they can, and I appreciate it sometimes more than I remember to tell them. My mom's tears of happiness and pride when I told her about passing level 3 was all I needed as a reminder.

To my local group--Students and friends alike:

Richard for pointing me TO Parelli and giving this little girl the opportunity to ride all those years ago. Supporting, promoting, and allowing me to hijack his property for my own uses in more recent years. Thanks for hauling my butt everywhere I need to go, taking thousands of fantastic photos and always allowing me "just one more horse" ;)

Sherri for being a total guinea pig--bet you didn't know that, did you? :) Poor poor person has suffered most of my worst possible teaching and horsemanship moments. I may never forgive myself for almost getting killed on your property, allowing my silly LBE to eat your window, or putting your horse sore for 4 weeks. And yet here she stays--supportive and tolerant (when she can be, anyway, bless her)

All my students for allowing me to grow and become more well rounded as a horsewoman and teacher. Thank you for trusting me and putting your journeys in my hands, and allowing me to learn from you. I promise to keep improving upon everything I do, and to always put the relationship first :)

Finally--to you guys--my readers, friends, etc. It's been so much fun to go to tour stops and celebrations and be greeted with "Wait, are you Fran with Princess? And Crest? I follow your blog! I love it!" It makes me feel really good that people are interested and excited in sharing my journey with me. I really appreciate your feedback and support throughout.

Thank you! And now that I'm thoroughly emotionally drained, i think I'll go finish de-tangling Hart's mane. Savvy on :)


Katie Hufton said...

FRAN, YOU MADE ME CRY. I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! <3<3<3<3 Congratulations on your L3. You deserve it. Much love and cheers to many more crazy moments and memories to come!

Jeanne said...

Congratulations, Fran! This is a huge accomplishment. Well done!

Lauren, Sonny, and Red said...

Congrats, you deserve it!

Carissa said...

awww, I almost cried!! lol, I'm so happy for you!!!!!
haha.. late night convo's are the best. "Hey, guess what I'm doing???" "oh I don't know... BRUSHING YOUR TEETH!!!!!!"

and thank YOU for all that you've helped me with through the years, whether it was horsemanship or everything else.

lol.. You must at least come to Dillon and visit me there, we can do secretly parellize the Equestrian team horses. hahahaha. right.

Virginia said...

Yay you made it! And ditto on the huge accomplishment! Next thing it will be level 4. Keep at it. Hopefully the hart man will be good as new soon so you can get some funds! hehe.