Monday, April 26, 2010
This weekend I indulged one of my non-writing interests - my love of horses. I attended a clinic conducted by David Lichman, a Licensed 5-star Parelli Natural Horsemanship Instructor, and spent two days hanging out with other women who love horses and a bunch of beautiful, well-trained horses.
Since this was my first introduction to Parelli, I did not take my horse and do the whole clinic. I paid a fee to observe as David worked with riders and horses, and was able to ask some questions, when I dared. These were some serious horse people who were very advanced in their riding, and even though I have been riding off and on since I was a kid, my horsemanship couldn't begin to compare.
This clinic was recommended to me by a friend who knew that I have some problems with my horse that were limiting my ability to enjoy him. My friend told me that a different approach to how I was relating to Banjo would help. And she was right.
The Parelli method of training is based on respect for and love of horses – and an understanding of horse nature and psychology. The training avoids using force, fear, harsh bits or mechanical training aids and relies on establishing trust and respect between horse and rider. Quite different from the techniques I had seen used on horses all my life.
In addition to what I learned about working with Banjo, I noted how much joy the clinic participants had while riding and going through the lessons.
One of the techniques that David is known for is using music during the clinics and by the end of The Rhythm of the Ride, horses were literally dancing through the arena to the beat of the music.
And the best part? I used some of the things I learned in a couple of sessions with Banjo and had positive results. Not that he is ready to do what I saw the horses doing this weekend, but it is a good first step.