Wow - what a day! This morning started off cool and beautiful and I got a lovely greeting from one lovely Thoroughbred mare this morning waiting for her few minutes of morning turnout. Boy, do I love my sweet horse! :)
After our morning meeting we had a brief chat with Pat where he told us about his expectations for us as Parelli Professionals and how to be optimistic and realistic at the same time to achieve our goals. Pat talked to us outside the lodge while astride one of his horses, even just sitting on his horse everything he did was with the utmost quality and his horse was so responsive and connected. He makes it seem so easy and so simple to be that good, to have a horse that light and ready - and I suppose it really is simple... but not always easy. That's where earning it comes to play - earning it from the horse and earning it from yourself.
Pat bid us farewell and we headed back to the Extern barn for our morning with Linda! I was surprised that I wasn't really nervous at all - I felt excited and anxious this morning but when it came time to actually ride in front of her I just found calmness. I can only do my best and trying to mask any issues I have when riding Aspen or hide at the far corner of the arena would only be counter productive to being positive and progressive. Who better than Linda to get help from? She instructed us to go ride and demonstrate where we're at and to show Soft Touch in preparation for Game of Contact in her planned future sessions with us.
She helped show us how Soft Touch should feel with a simulation holding the reins and then sent us off again with the instruction to keep our fingers closed but soft, shoulders loose, and elbows elastic. It's surprising how much contact (for lack of a better word) that you can have with a horse's mouth during Soft Touch - it actually feels better to the horse to have a steady or firm feel in the mouth than a light, wispy, fly-like feeling that is just annoying or confusing. She also explained that in Level 1 and 2 people tend to reduce the speed of their horses for control but in Level 3 and 4 we need that speed and momentum again for higher level maneuvers and advancing techniques. We asked our horses to trot out a bit until they found a good rhythm and stretch while working on the Soft Touch. Toward the end of the session as I went by Linda she called out - "Samantha! That's looking great!" I about rode right into the fence I was so excited and flattered. So awesome and so inspiring and so motivating and validating and everything wonderful that happens to you when Linda Parelli pays you a compliment.
After Linda left I got a little clarification on weighting stirrups from Susan to help in shaping my circles - push down with your toe, not out and you won't lean off the side of your horse!
We wrapped up the day with a game of catch to wake us up after lunch and half the class did their breed presentations - I closed the day out with some awesome liberty trailer loading with Aspen then cleaned up for the evening and went home.
I can't believe I am living this life right now! So amazing!