Friday, July 31, 2015

Parelli Finesse - Lateral Maneuvers & Horse Training

Here is the missing piece if you're riding in Finesse!

I had been struggling with Level 4 Finesse for a while. After a Fast Track and an Externship I still didn't feel like I was really "getting it" and felt very unsuccessful in this Savvy.

I watched ALL of Parelli's Finesse material, including Colleen Kelly's rider biomechanics but still no real breakthroughs were happening for me and my RBE mare, Aspen.

When the Finesse Training Sequence came out I was fortunate enough to get some coaching from a friend and one of Linda Parelli's proteges. I finally felt small, positive changes when playing in Level 4 Finesse. The Carving Turns and Supple Rein were the big things we took away from the FTS lessons.

I continued the struggle as it were for another few months, making small improvements as time went by.

Aspen and I had a lot of things going for us but the final hurdle were lateral movements. I just couldn't figure out why they weren't working. I tried everything, I had taken advantage of a lot of campus time at the Parelli ranch, as well as educational DVDs and other material. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying that Aspen and I couldn't get our laterals to a Level 4 quality.

Then I had a magical lesson with 3-Star Parelli Professional Mattie Cowherd (Partners in Horse Play). In this lesson she said that laterals were simple, it was just Level 1 movements with a Level 4 quality.

To grossly oversimplify, it is basically this:

Shoulder-In and Half Pass are direct reins while Leg Yield and Haunches-In/Out are indirect reins. Add some focus, a little weight to the correct stirrup, and BAM! You're doing laterals with your horse.

It was literally this one, simple piece of information that made it so that in just a handful of rides I could film my Level 4 Finesse.

For anyone that is riding in any Level of the Parelli Program take note! Those simple rein positions and basic Porcupine Games with your leg that you learn in Level 2 FreeStyle - that's what's going to get you there for Level 4 Finesse.

I've likened the connection between Levels and Savvys to rungs on a ladder. In order to reach the top you need to fully explore and develop each rung along the way.

If you're struggling to develop something going forward in your Levels journey then it's time to look back. Start going backward through the 7 Games, the Levels, the Savvy - whatever it is so you can isolate, separate, and recombine. I promise you, it will pay dividends in accelerated progress!

Read Mattie's breakdown of laterals here!

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