It’s great to have goals. In fact, as humans (and equestrian humans, in particular) goal-setting is a natural byproduct of our direct-line nature. Goals can help keep us motivated and focused when we might otherwise lack direction or get bored.
Given this goal-oriented, direct-line nature of ours, it can sometimes be easy to put our goals and aspirations over the needs of and our relationship with our horse. Now, before you start getting all down on yourself, realize that we all have done this at one point or another, and often it is completely unintentional. Remember when Dr. Patrick Handley said: “We judge ourselves by our intention, but we judge others by their behavior.” Being the good Parelli students that we are, we certainly do not intend to put our goals over our horse; sometimes it just happens. You know, when you think, “…if only I could get one more step of sideways, or maybe do it just a little bit faster.”We’ve all been there, inch-by-inch, step-by-step, slowly and innocently making withdrawals from our piggy bank of rapport with our horse.
So, why am I bringing this up? Recently, I was watching one of the Liberty and Horse Behavior DVDs in which one of Linda‘s students was reflecting on what helped her achieve more with her horse during that particular day of the course. The student simply said this: “I planned the day around the success of my horse, rather than the success of myself.”
Hmmm, how interesting! This definitely got me thinking. My goals are all set with the good of my horse in mind, but is every step I take toward achieving those goals planned with the success of my horse in mind?
I’ll be the first to say thank you to whomever that student was for reminding me to put the relationship first, and to not make the assumption that what is necessary for my success and what is necessary for the success of my horse at that moment will always be the same. Of course, this is not to say that it will never be the same either. As Pat always says, “never say never, don’t always say always, and usually say usually.”
Are you smiling yet? I know I am, and that’s because Parelli has changed the way I think about this beautiful journey of horsemanship and life itself. Plan the day around the success of your horse. Plan every day around the success of your horse! In doing so, you might wake up and find you have beyond achieved your goals.