Some of you may remember my andalusian mare, Condoleezza, and the ups and downs we’ve experienced over the years. Connie came into my life a yearling, allowing us to grow up together. Although I am not fond of the term “sacrificial lamb,” that is the most accurate way to depict our relationship. She was the first horse I started on my own, showed in dressage, passed my official Parelli auditions with, and ultimately the partner who accompanied me for my first course at Parelli University.
In the past five years she has sustained two major injuries, keeping her from traveling with me. Most recently she acquired a tear in her collateral ligament that has put her out to pasture, mending with the rolling seasons.This week marks one year since I had to leave her behind and assume my position at Linda’s, horseless.
As much heartache as this caused, it has been a situation where light was shed in unexpected ways. In retrospect this unplanned course has offered me the opportunity to learn from Linda’s mare, Na’vi, as well as bring two wonderful horses (Postre and Tango) into my training program.
Tango, a nine year old Lusitano-cross joined me in Florida last November. From the moment we made contact I felt an overwhelming feeling of familiarity. This little guy radiated the same energy, expression, sweetness and “try” as my Condoleezza.
Interacting with Tango everyday has been a huge blessing; softening the blow of leaving behind my best friend. The two are of course individuals, however, they offer that same comfortable click that seems to suit my personality.
In March I participated in a three-week colt starting course that raised both my confidence and awareness. I returned empowered to expect more from every interaction with my horses. I was specifically compelled to up the anti by officially bringing my horses through the levels. Through the years I have brought many horses to Level 4 in some areas but not all. It hit me that I had fallen into the comfort of focusing on what comes natural, and had unconsciously avoided the weak areas.
I would like to include you in my resolution to bring as many horses as possible through Level 4 in all four savvys. I decided to start with Connie’s kindred spirit, Tango.
Since March we have officially passed Level 4 on-line and Freestyle through Parelli’s audition process. My goal is to knock out our liberty and finesse auditions by the end of this summer season in Colorado.
Although I officially passed my Level 4 years ago it has been very rewarding to go through the process again. Each horse requires a different feel and has caused me to become more efficient in their development. Looking back I recall several teary moments when filming my original Level 4. Since then I have become more centered in front of the camera and I am able to put the horse’s needs first regardless of the situation.
Now, when filming I tell myself “it is not about getting the footage today. It’s about preparing the horse for tomorrow.” This has allowed me to remain present with my horses and keep their confidence and connection as the number one priority.
I hope you feel inspired to get out there and raise your level of expectations and horsemanship. If you have any questions about the audition process please feel free to contact me!
Below you can view Tango and I’s most recent auditions:)
Me and Tango performing our Level 4 Freestyle audition. We filmed this at the Florida campus in Ocala, FL on a sizzling April day with 90% humidity. You will see both of us are a little sweaty, but thats the price you pay to ride in a beautiful tropical playground:)