As an instructor I meet quite a few students who have confidence issues and I know what it is like to loose confidence myself. Many of us come to Parelli because of it. I was one of them. I got bucked off a second time by my beautiful Quarter Horse gelding, landing on my face. When I opened my eyes, the fence post was right in front of me. My first thought was: I COULD HAVE DIED! It stuck with me for years.... "what if..." paralyzed me... I remember sitting on my paint gelding Harley who was a sweetheart, unable to move or get off, because he had lifted his head and checked out the neighbor's pasture. I sat on my horse, unable to stop crying because I was scared to death, felt out of control and was frustrated with myself beyond belief. Like my friend Theresa Zenner wrote in her blog "Staying in the moment" I remember the many times I thought "what if my horse bucks again", "what if I loose control", "what if I get hurt", ...
And I also remember, WHY I got bucked off in the first place. Back then I didn't know but I learned the "why" in my journey to regaining my confidence.
I was unable to set boundaries!
That very day my neighbor had told me to get back on my unconfident horse, to not let him get away with it after he bucked me off the first time, shying from an irrigation pipe! It didn't feel right. My inner voice said, NO, do not get back on!!! But I did anyway... And here laid my real problem. I was unable to say no!
Growing up I always was a very "obedient" child. It was so much easier to just do what adults told me to. It seemed to be too much trouble to have my own opinion and stand up for myself and it continued into my adulthood. In daily life, in my marriage, with friends... And that's how I lost myself. I didn't know back then, I was so busy pleasing everybody else that I forgot what it felt like to please myself - and keep myself safe for that matter...
This riding accident started a journey of mine. Back then I didn't get hurt physically, but I lost my mental and emotional balance. It probably was never there in the first place, but I didn't know. For a while I tried to start riding again. It scared me to death. I was on the verge of giving up my life's dream, my horses, when I took a fear management clinic. Things got a little better. Then I went to a Parelli Tour Stop in Denver, dragged my family along (my son read Harry Potter 5 in one swoop that weekend) and ended up that summer in a one week Level 1 course in Pagosa Springs. I rode, I enjoyed myself for the first time in a long time on my horse, I started my what I call "recovery".
While playing with my horses, I had to set boundaries. It was the first time in my life that I really, truely noticed that I had a very hard time setting boundaries, not just with my horses, but in "real" life as well. My horses were my "guinea pigs" I have to say, but they taught me well. I am a different person today. I listen to my inner voice, to my instincts. If something doesn't feel good, I won't do it and nobody can MAKE me do things anymore that don't feel right. Check back for my next blog on HOW I learned to say NO!
How does Pat say? Parelli changes lives. We are in the business of making this world a better place - for horses and human. What an awesome job to have!
As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please share!