The following is a post I posted on a parelli yahoo group I'm a member of.
Okay, this is going to be long, but so much happened and so many thoughts are swirling around my head right now! Here goes!
I got Arie up at the arena Thursday morning. I went to check in and Trevor Carter and Tara Harris (they are married now) were the ones checking the spotlighters in. Trevor asked me how I was doing and I said I was doing just fine (which was true!). He said "Good, I'm glad to hear that, a lot of the other people are having trouble breathing!" I then went to unload Arie from the trailer.....it was going to be interesting seeing as I had to walk him, basically in the "basement" of the complex, to the stall. It was concrete floors with huge concrete columns, and semis were driving by, a train, horses calling, people walking all around, the volunteers setting up in the arena (which was right next to the entry).....LOTS of commotion. He was a star! He did stop and snort at a man-hole in front of the entry, so I just stopped and allowed him to relax and waited until he was ready. Then he walked past it with no worries. Apparently Trevor saw this and said to me, "Nicely done" as we walked past. Woohoo!! Lol. I got Arie settled and once I threw him some hay he was perfectly at ease lol! No RB from him! A little while later I got Arie out and decided to get him used to the arena entry-way where we would have to go Friday morning. He was looking around, hit some thresholds, but nothing bad at all. It didn't take him long before he was perfectly fine with his new environment. There was a guy who even walked by with a big green ball over his head and Arie didn't really care. So at 4:00 we had orientation where Trevor told us that we would have time in the arena that night. When I got Arie out again he was great! We went into the arena and just played around for awhile....at one point there were 15 other horses in the arena AND all the booths and tents and banners were all in place, talk about extreme! Arie didn't care, we were just trying not to run into anyone! And get this......he was so soft and so connected that I decided I wanted to ride him bareback!! I still can't believe I did that!! He was amazing! We were walking and trotting around the arena for probably a good half hour. He was perfect! So later that night I find out that I'm going to be the first spotlighter in the morning.....I about had a heart attack when I saw that!!
Arie was perfectly fine Friday morning, aside from being cranky that he was stuck in a box. He really doesn't like being stalled, but you can't blame him. I was trying very hard to keep my emotions in check, and now looking back on it I did go somewhat introverted....I couldn't really talk much. I knew I had to get out of my head and get my head in the game! Once I got Arie out and went to the warm-up arena I started feeling better. When the time came I was intructed to warm up behind one of the semi trailer things that was parked inside the arena so no one could see me while Pat talked. About half an hour later we were on! Arie had been calm up to this point, but when we entered the arena I felt some tension from him, but I believe a large part of that was due to my nerves. The music started and I noticed before too long that he would not go away from me. My drive really didn't exist but I had TONS of draw. Too much draw.......however Arie did WONDERFUL! He pushed the ball, jumped the barrels, weaved in and out of the cones, stood on the pedestal......and the trailer we were able to use was the Parelli semi-horse trailer! It had 2 ramps that folded down and Arie loaded in there like a champ and I followed him through and out the other side. That was cool. Pat ended up giving me all 3 of my songs and toward the end of the third song I decided to try something. I was going to try to stand by ramp #1 on the trailer, send Arie in, and allow him to go through the trailer and out ramp #2, then turn, face, and go back through without moving my feet (I had the 45 ft. Rope on). He did it beautifully!!! So now it was time for Pat to tell me his thoughts.....yikes!! The very first thing he said to me was "Do you have any performance goals with this horse?" I said yes and that I wanted to do dressage and jumping. He said that was great and that Arie was a nice quality horse and he really wants to see him get to Level 4 (which is foundation for performance). He awarded me a green ribbon for Level 3 and told me that my draw is really close to being Level 4 standard, but that my drive was an issue. So basically he ended up coming into the arena with me (AAAAA-MAZING!), took the carrot stick and showed me how to get my drive working. He backed Arie up, pointed out on the circle and said "One..........twothree!" and tagged Arie on the rump with the string pretty firmly. So he went around and at one point turned and faced us so Pat said to back up and as he reeled Arie in he was saying, "Come here, what a good horsey, what a nice horse...." then he stood up straight and said "Now get outta here" and sent Arie out again strongly. This was to get Arie respecting the Send more (he is mighty LB!) and to balance out my drive and draw. Pat was saying that Arie was so drawn to me, which is nice, but that my drive was now lost and it wasn't in balance anymore. So Arie was going around and he made a change, and soon he looked at us so we backed up and brought him in. Arie burried his head in Pat's chest, closed his eyes and sighed. It was beautiful. I told Pat that he was said to be a man hater when I got him and he and the audience just laughed. I then told him that he was going to be put down for his aggressive behavior and the look of disgust ran across his face as he said, "This horse was going to be put down??" He then told me that he was very proud of me for what I've been able to accomplish with Arie in the short time I've had him. That meant A LOT coming from him. I mean A LOT. He said that Arie was in a good place and we shouldn't do anything more, so he gave me a hug and I left the arena. That's the shorter version of my lesson with Pat!
Later in the afternoon I got Arie out to play with him some, just to get him out of the stall. I went over all the things Pat told me in my lesson and THANK GOODNESS my brain hadn't froze while Pat was RIGHT NEXT TO ME! Because I was able to do what he had told me to do and the difference in Arie was IMMEDIATE! His ears came forward, his play drive came way up, he was offering me SO MUCH, and my draw stayed intact and even got better in quality. I was thrilled!! So then that night at around 10:00-10:30 after dinner, Tina and I went back to the barn to check on Arie and the arena was still open, so I took him out to play a little. His online was amazing! It was so good that I wanted to play with him at Liberty (I had the arena to myself at this point). I unclipped my lead and sent him away from me......long story short, lets just say I think he's been DYING for me to get this right!!! Since my drive was fixed and my drive and draw seemed to be better in balance, Arie was offering me things I never expected him to offer me at this stage. We haven't really played at Liberty hardly at all, but he was jumping the barrels (and single barrels) at Liberty, trotting around me in a 12 ft. Circle, sticking to me at the canter, doing falling leaf patterns, I think he did a couple flying lead changes.....then the really amazing couple of things happened! I went and sat on the very edge of one of the 3 barrels that were laying down and asked Arie to jump over them, turn and face, then go back over, turn and face, etc while I remained sitting down. HE DID IT LIKE HE HAD DONE IT ALL HIS LIFE!!!!!! I was hardly doing anything!! He was completely LB, he was soft, VERY connected and tuned in, it was absolutely incredible! THEN, if things couldn't have gotten any better, I sent him off at a canter and from where I was standing, Arie, on HIS OWN, jumped over the barrels without any direction from me at all! I thought it was a fluke, because the circle he was doing was about 12 ft. If not a little shorter, and he could have easily gone around the barrels. I wasn't even asking him to go over the barrels! So I sent him off again at a canter and by golly he did the same thing 4 more times!!!!!!!!!! He stayed on the circle and jumped the barrels while I just stood still!!!!!! I was in shock!!! AND I HAVE WITNESSES!!!! LOL!
Saturday morning Ferrah Green, 2 star instructor, came up to me and told me I had done a great job in the spotlight, and I ended up telling her about the Liberty session with Arie. She said, "Dude, that's Level 4 stuff you were doing!" OMG!!! Saturday night I was able to go into the arena again and play at Liberty and he was amazing! I have witnesses for that, too!! Doing stick to me at all 3 gaits was the real highlight.
Back-tracking some, Pat's lessons with Walter were so amazingly inspiring. I learned a lot from listening to Walter, things that I will be incorporating into my riding sessions with Arie. I can't wait to ride! I am more motivated than ever to get my Freestyle and Finesse riding down! Lauren's new horse, West Pointe, is GORGEOUS! HUGE movement but man is he lovely to watch! Oh, and did I mention that he's a hanoverian, like Arie? Lol! I'm not partial to huge, chestnust warmbloods at all, lol! Pat did a great job with him, and of course Magic was just as amazing as ever. She really is a Super Horse!
*sighs* What can I say about Lauren's demo? Honestly, I'm at a loss for words. She is such an amazing person. I think every one in the audience was crying. Her story was so moving and the way she talked about Malie (sp?) and how much she tried for her in every way she could reminded me of the way I always felt about Rango. Lauren is truly an inspiration!
Rebecca and Arie