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After completing a two-week Horsemanship immersion with 4 Star Parelli Professional Sam Caporn and Neil Pye, former Dean of the Parelli University and Professional Program, I have much to ponder, process and soak in.

Investing in myself and my horsemanship was the perfect 60th birthday present! In the weeks coming up to the Course I had many personal doubts. Was I fit enough to last the distance? How would I cope as a learner? Would I fit in with the other students? Did I ride well enough?

It has now been a few days since the Course finished, and I am delighted to report that I feel blessed and totally blown away with the opportunity I experienced. The essence of the Parelli Program is developing mental and emotional fitness in horses, however for me it was more like a personal development program; understanding and learning more about ‘how to think like a horse’ was the bonus!

As a learner, I realised during this Course that my behaviour and my innate nature of being quiet, introverted and an over thinker would limit my learning if I did not make some changes. I had to be open and willing to learn; that often meant moving into situations and experiences that I initially found unsettling or even a little uncomfortable. Having previously decided that I was determined to give this Course my all, I had no choice but to experience and work through my personal limits and doubts which eventually lead me to find space and balance on the other side.

The world we live in offers us very convenient labels – our personality, our illnesses, our gender, our background – we can all easily hide behind these masks. Facebook and Instagram feed this desire to give ourselves a label and define our lives (again, with masks firmly in place). Horses and the study of horsemanship offer us the key to open the door to move past the roles and labels that define us and into our authentic selves.

Today is step one on the new journey, a new day with more time living in the moment and with more space in my moments. I better realise the power I have as an individual and the choices I have in regards to the roles I choose to play.

I have realised, as a practicing predator, that I was hanging onto some of those roles, habits and behaviours, however now my grip is not so tight. There have been moments where I been able to feel my partnership muscles and then recognise when the predatorial ones return – when I play on the ground and in the saddle, as well as in day to day life!

It’s the start of a new chapter as I head into my 6th 12 year cycle, I can now see it is time to look at life more through my horse’s eyes; less through my roles, my ego or the latest tag line on social media.

As the man who coined the phrase “Natural Horsemanship” and the founder of the Parelli Program, Pat Parelli has always said “Life is Perfect”! I totally agree and look forward to sharing more Reflections as the days unfold.

Doing my best to ‘Keep it Natural’