Monday, July 30, 2012

Parelli Horse And Soul Tour Stop - St. Paul

This was the first time the Parelli's had come back to St. Paul (the State Fairgrounds) for a Tour Stop in a long time, and I was excited. It ended up being a real old-fashioned tour stop, and of course my camera decided to only work some of the time. Saturday morning started off with a huge thunderstorm, and we barely had enough time to grab coffee at the Coliseum before the show began. It started off with Pat doing a demo riding a horse named Slider and Bobby Sox (who was featured in the Game of Contact DVDs. She's matured a lot since then). He basically went over "What is Parelli?" and the basic outline of the program. The local Instructors also brought their horses out and had some fun with them.

Then it was Linda's turn, and she went over Horsenality with the Instructors and their horses. It's always amusing to see them play the circling game: the extroverts zoom off like they're in a race while the introverts mosey off. Each Horsenality has different needs and have different strategies. For the Right brain extroverts, you need to help them feel safe and use up their adrenaline as quickly as possible. For Left brain extroverts, engage their brain and their feet so they don't become bored. Right brain introverts, wait for them to ask questions and come out of their shells. Left brain introverts, mess with their heads to get the feet in motion. It was really interesting and I got a lot of new things to try with Royal.

Then it was the Horsenality-Humanality mismatch demo with Linda. The pair were a BIG LBE with a tendency to bolt when he felt like it and a more introverted human. The demo was all about keeping the horse's interest and helping the human match and mirror his energy. After she mounted up, they just trotted around until he got all his energy out and was able to focus.

Then it was time for Game of Contact. It was fairly basic, but educational. The most interesting horse was a little RBE Arabian mare who didn't stretch, she STRETCHED!!!!!!!! Basically diving down with her nose and nearly hitting the ground. The focus with her became about helping her have a softer stretch while still maintaining the contact. Royal sometimes has a tendency to stretch really emphatically and while I appreciate the effort, it can be a little disconcerting. So, that was helpful.

The last session of the day was called "Trailer Loading with a Non-Parelli Horse" and this horse had a history of being really hard to load, even to the point of having to drug her to get her to the Fairgrounds. So of course, when Pat asks the owner to try to load the horse, the horse hopped right in. But she wouldn't get out, so Pat had the owner turn her loose so they could work on her confidence. He had the owner join in a help try to load her at liberty, and she was so unconfident that they had to stay at least 30 feet away at first. So then it become about pressure and release, helping her find the sweet spot of the trailer until...

So that was interesting (the video above isn't mine. I was still on the other side of the Coliseum.) Then Pat and the horse's owner played with the horse for a little while, and the horse made some really big changes.

The next day held less rain and started with a Leads and Lead Changes demo with Pat. It was mostly stuff I'd heard before, but still useful information. Main takeaways: pay attention to the diagonals (handily demonstrated by the different colored polos) and weight distribution.

Next was Rider Biomechanics with Linda and Colleen Kelly. Colleen is really big on side-to-side balance and not letting your leg get too far in front of you. The Instructors were good demo riders and Colleen was entertaining as always.

Afterwards, the rider on the grey horse (Lillian) did an absolutely wonderful On-line, liberty and freestyle demo with her horse, ending with the horse laying down in a release of adrenaline.

Then they had another demo horse, this one a very extreme LBE who had no respect for personal space. Pat had to teach her how to back up and go sideways before anything else could be done. It took a while, but she calmed down and became ridable. Pat rode her over the tarp, jumps and around the big green ball. It was beautiful.

Overall, it was a really inspiring and educational tour stop,  I hope they come back to this area again next year (Madison maybe?). It's always a highlight of the summer.

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