Play vs. Work

When you play with your horse what you begin to develop is a partner.

Play vs work

Yesterday I wrote about the attitude of “working” your horse. When I went out with the idea that I was going to “work” my horse, that is exactly how it felt. Like work. Both for the horse and for myself.

When I started Parelli the first thing I noticed is the word “play”. We say, “Let’s go play with our horse today!” and that is how it feels. Don’t get me wrong. There are days that it’s pure work… but those days I understand that I’m working on myself so I can better play with my horse. I pay attention to what Billy is saying so I can cause our sessions to feel like play to him.

When you play with your horse what you begin to develop is partner. A horse that is as interested in what you want to do. When your horse is interested in the session you can accomplish so much more than you ever imagined!!

The impulsion that can develop is amazing. What seems like effortless flying changes, spanish walks, side passes. Or even the simple things like having your horse run to you in the field and then put it’s own nose in the halter, offering to squeeze all four feet on top of a tiny pedestal, even if that means they are swaying up there trying to keep their balance, accepting you as a rider for the first time without anxiety or angst. These things are more valuable to me than the old days when my horse did what I told it to because it didn’t feel like it had a choice.

As Billy and I walk down this road together, enjoying the journey (even on the tough days…) I am learning so much about myself and how I interact with horses AND people.  Learning to listen to Billy has caused me to be a better listener to the humans in my life as well. What a valuable lesson that has been!

And I’m learning how light an 1100 pound horse can feel on the end of the lead line, or at the tips of my fingers. What a wonderful gift that is.

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