I started thinking about assessing and how some people seem to move through the levels and savvys and assessing, and others, like me, get stuck.
A long long time ago, in the dark ages, I did an in-person Level 1 assessment. Looking back I am not sure how I managed to even make the appointment. Remember my heart pounding and worrying about how my mare Jeepers would react to my nervousness. Fortunately, she was a LBI and just rolled her eyes and helped me out. Well that was until we got to passenger lesson at the trot. By then she had had enough and headed straight for the lone tree in the middle of the paddock/riding ring. The tree with low branches.
We passed and never looked back. That’s the problem.
I came to Parelli to develop my relationship with Jeepers, and to feel confident riding out on trails. After going to the barn, grooming, tacking up and riding in a ring, I realized I wanted more. More of a relationship, more of a connection, more confidence, more more more.
It has been quite a journey, my confidence has slowly built up and I ride the trails. Oh I still have thresholds but with Jeepers’ help and understanding we ventured out. I remember the first time we trailered with a friend to a new trail head and I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m one of them!” (A trail rider). I now ride with Cici who is a RBI. Quite a different experience.
Before I saddle up I spend lots of time on the ground online checking to see who has shown up that day. Cici has taught me never to assume. She can go from seemingly “fine” to what I call her Blonde Bombshell Ballet (BBBs) – leaping, bucking, galloping, airs above the ground – in a nanosecond.
I’m following the Levels and the Patterns. I’ve moved from a 12’ line to a 22’ and have just begun playing with a 45” online. Freestyle I play with the patterns, have begun to use a carrot stick riding and even ride with a bareback pad. I just haven’t assessed.
Did I mention I am a Right Brain Introvert? And that testing or being judged is not my forte? My thoughts range from: Why go through the anguish of taping an assessment? What is holding me back? Do I need to? Why should I bother? I can do a self-assessment. What difference does it make? I’m developing my relationship and connection with Cici, my confidence has grown, and I’m trail riding – isn’t that enough of an assessment?
Lying in bed last night, out of the blue, my husband asks me what’s the issue with assessing? Huh? Where did that come from? How does he know? He’s been listening to me?!?! He said he thought not assessing was holding me back. That I was probably further along the path than I knew or took credit for.
He asks what I need to do for an assessment. I explain about the taping, the requirements and go on to describe some of the YouTube assessments I’ve watched. Where the cameraperson is running down the path in the woods and the image is bouncing up and down. Where the camera is set up at one end of the ring and the person and horse at the other are soooo tiny you can barely make out what they are doing. About the relationship each person has with their horse that shines through. About the little moments where they take the time to acknowledge and show their love.
He offers to be my cameraman in a few months when he is feeling better. How can I refuse? It’s not just about me any longer.
The full ranch experience
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