#76 Welcoming the Return

May 04, 2023

Do you often have realizations in your horsemanship apply to other areas of your life and vice versa?

Me too. 

Yesterday, I realized it had been over a week since I'd written in my journal- something that has become a routine thing in the mornings. I sat on my spot on the couch with Roo and Dash (my CFO's- Chief Joy Officers) by my side, opened to a fresh page and started again. 

That's when the realization from my horsemanship hit me. 

Years ago, I was playing with the Follow the Rail pattern (a foundational pattern taught in the Parelli program).

The pattern entails choosing a path (in the beginning it's easiest to use a fence line) and helping your horse to choose the same path. If they veer off the path, you simply correct them and release when they're back on the path. Simple... but like most simple things in horsemanship and life- it's not necessarily easy. 

One of the challenges lies in that we as humans can become so fixed to the pattern or the goal that we get frustrated when our horses veer off. That frustration can mess up our timing because we might release our physical aids when our horse comes back to the path, but we won't create a good feeling for them to return to as well. 

While I was riding the pattern (years ago as I mentioned earlier) the realization hit me that I needed to welcome the return. I wanted my horse to feel the comfort in the path. If I was frustrated that they left or if I tried to keep them from leaving in the first place- the path wouldn't be a good place to return to. 

With this change of perspective- the pattern had multiple opportunities to celebrate the return instead of multiple opportunities for focusing on the "mistake". The mistake just became an opportunity to practice making the path a comfortable place.

Now I'm back on the couch, pen in hand and celebrating that I'd returned to my journal. Full disclosure- the celebration happened after I had thoughts of disappointment that I'd missed so many days... thanks to the Follow the Rail memory, I chose to welcome the return instead. 

Maybe you have something in your life you're wanting to make a new habit- time with your horse, learning a new skill... We all stray from the path- it's just human- but there's always the choice to return. Maybe there's something you can return to today- I hope you are able to welcome the return and celebrate- make it a place you want to return to, not a place that you'll scold yourself for leaving. 

And one last thought... if you end up forgetting to welcome the return- and you catch yourself scolding yourself- you're human! You've got another opportunity to welcome the return. Each time you practice welcoming the return- similar to the Follow the Rail pattern- it will get easier and easier, more and more comfortable. It's worth the effort. 

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