What in the world is a pasture potato? Well, I see them all over the world. Driving down the road, I’ll look over to my side, and—behold—I spot one or two horses just standing in the pasture. From human standards, the pasture looks big. But from horse standards, that same pasture is minuscule compared to what's in their heart—what’s in their DNA—which is to be out in the wild, running and roaming free.
It’s no surprise that a healthy morning routine will not only start your day with less stress but help you make time for the things that are important, such as working out or spending more time with family. Sounds almost impossible, right?
Remember every journey starts with a single step, and even a morning habit with occasional ‘misses’ will benefit you more than one you don’t do at all. Here are some morning routines that help you reach your health goals...
“Foundation Before Specialization” is a very interesting catch phrase that reminds us that our horses may have a very difficult time trying to do something specific if they have not yet learned the value of following simple requests.
Imagine being asked to dance a ballroom dance before you’ve even learned which foot is your left foot and which is your right foot. Or perhaps being asked to construct a box before you know what tools will be needed.
What is the difference between playing and training? Well, to me, if I go back to the first weekend of March 1982, I was putting on my first seminar. My opening statement was: “Horsemanship can be obtained naturally through communication, understanding, and psychology versus mechanics, fear, and intimidation."
The Parelli Program has become the world's largest train-your-horse-at-home, web-based program with over 200,000 students. Parelli students apply the principles of communication, understanding, and psychology versus mechanics, fear, and intimidation. If I look at the “traditional” training tactics, and see where they get overdone, I can easily see how it’s perceived by the horse as torture. On the other hand, the word “play” indicates a joyful experience that creates behavior that is positive and highly functional.
From a young age, I felt there was something lacking in my journey with horses. I was taking lessons, working off my horse board, showing, and not having fun. In fact, I was anxious about going in the show ring to the point I couldn’t eat for a day before hand. The horses I was riding were expressing their dislike for the approach by being hard to catch and developing displaced behaviors in their stalls. I didn’t know if there was another way to “be” with horses, but I knew if this is what “being” with horses was like, it was not for me. I shifted my entire focus and decided to stop my journey with horses and redirect to a different path.
In 1990, I wrote a book for Western Horseman entitled Natural Horse-Man-Ship, which outlined the Six Keys of Success. The Six Keys were simple: Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Techniques, Time, and Imagination. These Six Keys still exist (and at the end of the article, I will tell you about the seventh that I discovered after I wrote the book).
What is the difference betweennaturalandnormalhorsemanship?
Firstly, I’d like to start with synonyms of the word “normal”: conventional, common, average, or accepted. All of these words can certainly lead us to the heights of mediocrity, but not far beyond.
Now, let us look at the synonyms of “natural”: there are no known synonyms. But, according to Merriam-Webster, Inc., “natural applies to what conforms to a things essential nature, function, or mode of being.” The reason Pat Parelli coined the term Natural Horsemanship was because it is natural to horses and their way of learning and being. Using these methods, we can influence horses’ behavior in the way that we want them to behave by using the laws of nature.
There are only two kinds of people in the whole wide world: Horse-Lovers and… the other kind.
However, there are seven different types of horse-lovers, and they are start with ‘N’.There are Naturals, Normals, Nuts, Nuisances, Nerds, Nervous—and finally—the Negative Knockers.
We all have our own personalities based on four things: innate characteristics, environmental influences, learned behavior, and spirit. Winston Churchill rightfully said, “There’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
When I was an adolescent, I used to go with my friends to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA. We would get paid 25 cents to walk a hot thoroughbred horse until he cooled down. That process usually took 45 minutes, so we thought we were sitting in tall cotton making all that money.
Every little cowboy wants to wear a pair of spurs. . .
In my opinion, spurs are one of the most misunderstood and misused pieces of real horsemanship equipment. Why do I say that? Because spurs are not really designed to make horses go faster: their real use is to go sideways and up and down.
If used artfully, spurs can help you obtain a higher level of communication with your horse. To do so, we need to develop the philosophy, concept, and skills needed.
So, what is the difference between and English and Western riding foundations with horses? Well, I have been saying for the last four decades that the only real difference between English and Western riding done naturally is the same difference between a fiddle and a violin. In other words, horsemanship is a foundation based on psychology. It’s based on more scope than depth—more lateral thinking and less linear thinking. Regardless of whether we have a horse that is bred to be English or Western, we give them the same foundation. The Seven Games in the Four Savvys to Level Four is a great start for a horse.