So what does one do to prepare for a 4 week intense learning experience?
That was a question I asked myself a few times in the past 8 months, yes it has been 8 months since I signed up for the course!
- First of all I needed to get the paperwork done, the Parelli paperwork was peanuts compared to what you need to do to take your horse from Belgium to the UK. Not only does your horse need to be checked by a veterinarian from the food inspection which is logical, but also your trailer and car need to be approved, including yourself. Yes you need to prove that you can actually drive a trailer! Oh oops sorry sir, I just assumed I could drive a trailer and now I notice I actually can’t? The only thing I can say is: I won’t do those except for the horse check, I might be stupid and silly but nobody can tell me if there actually is a law that says you need these papers. When asked this question one only can say that they “might” give you a fine in “some” countries. I hate bureaucracy!
- Then there is the mental part. Preparing the kids, myself and the family for one month without seeing each other. I try to talk to my kids about it as much as possible, but they don’t seem to really understand how long a month is. I will even miss their first school day, that’s a bummer! For my emotions it’s always last minute, I try not to worry or think about those kind of things until it’s there. That usually helps with the worst part, the goodbyes.
- The horses left behind: Educating my boyfriend and parents on how to take care of Missy and Meneertje (Mister) while Fresco and I are away. I particularly stress on the poop scooping part! Don’t want to be scooping poop of one entire month when I come back. Then there’s the food which is a bit more challenging to explain because I all do it on a feeling. They are in the pastures now but there isn’t always enough grass for them to eat, so when do you change pasture and still make sure there is enough grass until I come back? And when do you feed additional hay? That’s one I’ll have to write down I’m afraid.
- The physical part: I really wanted to get in shape for the fast Track. Why would I want to do that? Well, the fast track is not something I am doing just because it seems like fun, this is my heart and soul, my whole dedication, a pathway to a huge dream that I did not believe to be possible for many (20) years. The dream was: working with horses every day in a natural way. The only word I would change in this dream, now that I’m a Parelli student, is working into playing. So because I wanted to get 100% out of the course and not be held back by any physical challenges such as too much weight, back pain, headaches, or no stamina to do what I should do, I prepared very well. I followed the 6 week “Gain health, loose weight” program of Helen Hall (you might know her from Stephanie Burns) and must have lost about 7 kilos or more and lots of cm all over my body. I also gained incredible health which I notice by how much energy I have now and my muscles have been trained as well. I have been walking every morning for 40 minutes within a certain heart rate zone and this has made an incredible change in my body and shape. I now feel physically ready for the Fast track!
- The work part: I quit my job to be able to spend more times with my kids, but also to play with my horses more. I am now an independent Freelancer and as you can see on my website I give trainings in leadership and communication. I also do various freelance jobs for companies, such as giving operational advice, translating, administration and other. Basically anything that can get some money in because this decision has put a big hole in our finances but luckily my boyfriend was and is extremely supportive. I’m not sure yet how I would be able to pay for the professional course, but I’ll worry about that once we get there.
- The theoretical part: AAAAAAAARRRRGGGG, this is the part I fear most. I had no idea there would be a test at the beginning of the course until someone told me, that’s when I froze and suddenly woke up to see that my theory was as good as, well, peanuts. I couldn’t recite the principles, qualities, success keys and so on. I have heard them over and over and over again, but I guess they just didn’t stick as well as I thought. Or maybe it’s my brain that freezes up when I’m thinking about the possibility to fail. When I was a kid I always failed at theoretical tests about horses, I’m not sure why. Something tells me it’s because it was so important to me that I didn’t want to fail, which made me freeze and blackout. So here I still have some work to do on the RBI side of my personality. My little quiz cards are all ready with the answer on the back, now I just need to get to it and start testing myself. I guess I already know where my Achilles heel is…
Well so far for preparation. I didn’t even start about the operational side, I’ll spare you the details! And I can’t really prepare my horsemanship as we are constantly evolving and there really is no point in rushing everything. I actually found a spot now with Fresco where we again have fun and enjoy each others company without any sign of stress. It has been a while since we were at that spot, guess it’s all part of a new level of incompetence!
Talk to you later maties!