Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The 7 Keys to Success - Key no. 5: TIME

Right at the beginning of his Natural Horsemanship book, Pat Parelli introduces his Level 1 theory by outlining the six keys to success.  They are:  Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Techniques, Time and Imagination. Since the original publication of the book years ago, a seventh key has been added:  Support

In my earlier posts, we focused on the first three keys:  AttitudeKnowledgeTools and Techniques.  In this post, I will introduce the fifth key to success, TIME.

Key 5: Time

When they are first learning about the Parelli program, some people might comment that it seems to take a lot of time.  In our society of instant gratification, we tend to want to want to find out what buttons to push to get an immediate result or ‘fix’ the horse.  Unfortunately, this does not work with relationships in general, and certainly not with equines.  One of my favourite sayings is Take the time it takes so it will take less time’.  How many people do you know won’t take the time to do it right, but will continue doing the same thing over and over again without improving their result?

You have to invest time to improve yourself and your horse, IN THAT ORDER.  Yes, you see, most often the answers lie within us, and the horse is just a reflection of our level of knowledge and horsemanship.  Looking in the mirror can be challenging, but once we commit to becoming better partners for our horses, they will often turn around very quickly.  Horses learn 4 to 7 times faster than humans; that is a built-in genetic feature that has allowed them to survive through the ice ages.  We are the slow ones!

Learning is sometimes best done without a horse!  Simulations are a great tool to improve human skills
The great news is that Parelli has a detailed and sequential program that will help you learn what we learned much faster, because you won’t have to spend time figuring out the lessons the hard way! Ask yourself, how much time do you get to spend with your horse? Is it always enjoyable and stimulating? Would you enjoy spending more time if it was more interesting and rewarding? Would it help if the time really counted for something?
Here is the other piece of good news.  With time well-spent playing with your horse, even if you need to take a break in time, you and your partner can pick up right where you left off – there will be no gap in learning.  Why?  Because you are building a relationship… It would be like picking up a conversation with an old friend you had not seen in a while. The foundation of love, language and leadership in equal doses solidifies the relationship and it sticks.

You may also want to consider this question:  are my horse’s basic needs being met when I am away?  Horses need more than food and shelter to thrive mentally and physically.  They require constant movement, social interaction and play to avoid stress, illness and mental disorders.  Keep in mind that even if you see you horse an hour a day, he has 23 more hours to think about things he could be doing either with you, without you or to you… 

Most importantly, make that limited time you might have to spend with him count, so that he starts looking forward to your visits!  I love it when my horses head for the pasture gate when they hear my truck in the driveway, and wait with anticipation as I walk towards them with ears pricked forward and all eyes on me!  Wouldn’t you?
If your horse is recreation for you, are you recreation for your horse?
We would love to hear your comments or questions.  If you enjoyed this post, please don’t hesitate to share with your friends.  Until next time, keep it natural!


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For more info on Parelli training, visit www.vifargent.com

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