Hello! I've been posting videos to my YouTube account and trying to keep up on Parelli Connect as well but haven't had much time to sit down and properly write anything. A lot of people have been asking me about the Externship - my experience, how it turned out, and what they could expect if they were to attend one. Definitely leave me a comment if I can answer anything for you
Let's see where to begin? I met so many amazing people and made some lasting friendships here. Yes my horsemanship improved and yes I learned a lot about Parelli Professional conduct but when you think of putting the relationship first, you can think of being at the Parelli campus. There is nothing competitive about people all striving for a common goal of good horsemanship and good teammanship. I had some things crop up in my personal life about half way through the course and without the support of our instructors and the entire Extern group I couldn't have finished out the class. For that I am so grateful - I have really come to appreciate the good hearts of nearly everyone in the Parelli community... Can you be a part of something bigger than yourself? Sometimes that's simply being there no matter what for someone else in need. So if anyone from my Externship experience is reading this, thank you for everything. You'll never know how much you all have meant to me in this part of my journey.
Now, on to the course! First exciting bit I should share is that I passed my Level 4 Liberty while there! I decided to film a trial run for an audition just to see where we were at and it turned out to be really great. Aspen was connected, playful, and full of try so I sent it in and passed with marks about half in L4 and half in L4+! Totally awesome! We also got our first Freestyle (pushing) and Finesse (light seat) flying lead changes. I was also introduced to Finesse which we spent quite a bit of time on throughout the course. I have a totally new respect for lateral maneuvers!! I was lucky enough to be chosen for a Finesse lesson with Pat Parelli which was filmed for a DVD series. I'm not sure if it will be used or not but it was a really unique experience to see all the behind the scenes filming process and naturally it was really fun to ride with Pat. That's a whole other blog post in itself! I can tell you that while Aspen was a total Right-Brain fruitcake up there with all the people and cameras, I learned a lot and am still processing all the information I received! A theme for me in the course which also came up in my lesson with Pat is that the horse should take you in the direction you have requested - it shouldn't be you pushing, pulling, dragging, or begging the horse to go forward, backward, or sideways. At one point Pat fairly chased me down on Slider and really got Aspen moving sideways to show me the feeling that I'm looking for. At first it was chaotic and bracy but all of a sudden I felt like she weighed 10 pounds not 1000 pounds, she got light on her feet and fairly hovered sideways. It was a really neat and eye opening experience to realize how ineffective I've been for so long and how much I have to look forward to in lightness in the Porcupine Game. I believe I mentioned it before, either here or on my Parelli Connect, but Porcupine Game is the second game for a reason. It's so important - you really win the horse's mind this way. We also got the pleasure of having Linda come and ride with our class and teach a handful of times. She's really such an amazing horsewoman and teacher - what an eye for picking out the one thing that will make the biggest difference for both the horse and the human! She introduced us to advancing concepts in Finesse including the very beginning ideas of Game of Contact. I will also have to write a post on our Linda visits :) Aspen and I went on our first trail rides, open area riding, and galloping - all exhilarating experiences that pushed me out of my comfort zone and really helped me grow in my horsemanship and leadership! As a class we were invited to participate in the first few days of the Colt Start course with Rob McAuliffe - it's amazing that it's all about relationship and doing the simple things really well. There were a couple extra colts and I had the opportunity to play with one for an afternoon with the Colt Starters - really showed me where I'm strong and where I'm weak in my horsemanship. Rob is truly a horseman and it's always a privilege to be around people like him.... Try to soak up some talent! The Externs also got to sit in on a few days of Pat's Western Performance class - again such a learning experience. Simple things done well. Own the hindquarters. Win the Porcupine Game. For some fun weekend activities we put on a Parelli Games weekend and an Open House in which I was asked to do a Liberty Spotlight! We did a cool 4-Savvy closing Spotlight - everyone did awesome and it was such a fun time visiting with the community and other horse lovers! Our last weekend of the course we went and did a demo at the county fair - I did On-Line and Liberty with Aspen. She was a total rock star and everyone loved her! The Externs also raised just over $1,400 for the Parelli Education Institute! Super awesome!
To wrap it up testing went well, I got a 100% on all written exams and was recommended for 2* instructorship pending the successful submission of my Level 4 Freestyle audition! I promise to write in more detail on some of the things I mentioned above - if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask! Also - I have too many pictures to post on the blog but friend me on Facebook and check out all the photos from the Externship!