Safe, sound, and savvy horsekeeping

Parelli recently posted a link on Facebook to an article about saving money on vet bills by preventing injury and illness. The article lists 21 things you can do during day-to-day horsekeeping to keep everyone safe and sane, and as I read it, I compared it to how things are done here.

I’m happy to report that Equine Partners, Inc., scores 100 percent. While the list is not a comprehensive guide to everything that needs doing around horses, it is a good checklist for evaluating your own practices and any boarding facility you use in the future.

One of the coolest things about being part of an all-Parelli ranch is that every person who works here sees each horse as an individual being, with a unique horsenality and needs. They don’t blame the horses, and they put in the extra time, energy, and effort to ensure that the ranch is as safe and comfortable as possible for horses (and humans!).

Categories: Health, Love, Ranch Hand, Reflections | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

‘We will end up somewhere between the romance and the reality.’ ~ Pat Parelli

The Wild Horse Taming Naturally event in Reno this past weekend transformed the way I feel about my relationship with horses. I’ve never seen the first 20 hours of a horse’s first relationship with a human, and seeing it with 8 mustangs and 8 horsemen simultaneously was almost unbearable in its intensity, subtlety, and beauty.

I came back to see the new website for Parelli University, with the paths to various levels of professionalism mapped out, all of which begin with achieving Level 3. I ache for the opportunity, and there it is, right there, everything I need to do to qualify and progress. Except a saddle horse.

I’m caught now between inspiration and despair.

  • Can I work more efficiently in my business to keep the income steady while giving myself more horse time?
  • Can I dedicate myself fully to my horsemanship and put it above watching movies, going to restaurants, drinking wine, and reading?
  • Can I become mentally, emotionally, and physically fit enough?

I have, in the months since my last blog post, experienced tremendous growth with both Rocky and River. (I’ve left Salsa mainly to Jan, who has also made huge strides as she conquers Level 1.)

Yet I have not been on any sort of map even though my hallway is festooned with Parelli Patterns posters and I am watching DVDs and reading articles and going to events and taking lessons with Erin.

  • Can I afford lessons so I can learn to ride without owning a rideable horse?
  • Can I give purpose and fulfillment to Rocky while increasing the time I spend with River?
  • Can I still work on writing a novella if I devote my time to horsemanship?

I have learned the basics of ponying a horse off a saddle horse. I even loaded River into the trailer, from horseback, on a lesson horse. I know what to do now, and need experience to gain the skills. I see how ponying a horse gives purpose to all three of you and would be a perfect activity for Rocky, me, and River or Salsa, if Rocky weren’t so sore all the time.

Let’s see what happens. ~ Emperor Gregor Vorbarra, in the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold

I’m confident now, confident about setting something up and seeing what happens, confident that I can experiment some without ruining the horses’ day, much less ruining their lives. I’m looking for a local roping person to come out and teach us some basic roping skills: how to coil the rope, shake out a loop, swirl it around, toss it, loosen the noose from a distance, and so on.

I also bought a book called Where Does My Horse Hurt? by a horsewoman who is both a vet and a chiropractor. Among many other wonderful things, the book has dozens of “checks” that teach you how to figure out not only what hurts, but why, and possibly how to fix it.

Today I drove Rocky from zones 4 and 5 around the ranch, using my new feather lines and several patches of grass to do a point-to-point pattern.  I also played a little with River — my current project with her is teaching her to lift her feet, hold them up, rest them on the hoof stand, and in general exhibit some self-control and patience during her farrier appointments.

  • Can I rebuild my core self around horses without neglecting or harming my human relationships?
  • Can I replace writing goals with horsemanship goals?
  • Can I afford not to take lessons?
  • Can I pay off my massive debts and also save toward my Parelli University education?

I don’t want to miss River’s development, and I want to progress as a rider without causing Rocky to feel cast aside. Yet I feel so overloaded, with work and finances and relationships and business administration and writing projects and just the day-to-day appointments and commitments that make up modern American life.

  • Can I let go of everything and let it unfold?
Categories: Reflections | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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