Contributed by Parelli Professional Holly Scott.
So often I hear other horse people or Parelli students say “I don’t have time to work with my horse as much as I should”. I am sure you yourself have said it once before – I have! Years ago I held myself to this impossibly high standard because I assumed that is what other great, talented horsemen and women did. I am certain many do, some probably more than others depending on how much drive they have to be the best at their craft. Me, I just want to be so good that horses enjoy being with me. That alone will allow me to feel this journey is complete; I am not there yet but one day I will be.
I believe how you get there is your choice but please know, you don’t need to spend 8 to 12 hours a day working horses nor do you need to spend an hour every day at the barn after work. Do you know how much progress I have made in just a few minutes with some things? The secret is how you teach your horse something and when you quit with what you are asking. We’ve heard people say, “play for tomorrow”. This means just that, quit when you know you are just shy of that ‘goal’ and tomorrow guess what, it will be even closer because you didn’t spend hours drilling it into your horse, causing them to check out mentally.
Just spending 5 or 15 quality minutes with your horse is enough to make progress with something. Stop causing yourself to feel guilty that you aren’t spending hours or that your horse isn’t sweating after you do something…that is conditioning, not training. If you are busy, work full time like me or live far away from your horse, please know spending just a few minutes can be meaningful to your goal achievement as all those minutes add up! Don’t let the fact that you only have a few minutes keep you from doing ANYTHING with your horse. It is enough, YOU are enough. Keep progressing, keep trying and enjoy the journey.