A Shooting Star is Born
by Jesse Peters, 4-Star Senior Parelli Professional & Horse Development Specialist
On Saturday April 22nd, 2017, my horse GPW and I were awarded the Open Division First Place prize for the Star Search during Epic Night of the Horse at the Midwest Horse fair.
I’ve been preparing for this presentation for a long time. Knowing what elements I wanted to put into my performance, I’ve been slowly and gently practicing all of the elements for the past few months. I really wanted to enter the competition zone in my mind the week before. We drove up to Wisconsin and stayed at the Horse First Farm on Monday and Tuesday night and up through late Wednesday afternoon. I practiced putting all of those elements together several times into what I hoped would be a really great final performance.
GPW and I took the night off on Wednesday and started preparing on Thursday for the rehearsal, knowing that it was going to be a big piece for the producers, who were looking to set the order of go. So, I knew I needed to have a great rehearsal.
The crowd and judges responded amazingly. The manager of the horse fair told me afterwards that I was so amazing and incredible that she couldn’t dream of not asking me back as a presenter next year for the Midwest Horse Fair. She’s also looking forward to me submitting some rodeo performances next year. So I’ll be not only teaching during the day but also performing in front of an 8,000 person sold out crowd each night, which is one of the best rodeos in the country. I’ll be performing two nights in front of 16,000 people total, and they’re going to see what GPW and I have to share. We’ll be sharing the Parelli message at the 2018 Midwest Horse Fair and getting to share more of the depth and scope that I’ve put into the relationship and foundation of the relationship I have with GPW.
If someone wants to do CMS using a Parelli foundation, they really should be at least a Level 4 student if not a Level 4 graduate, which is ideal. Their Friendly Game needs to be beyond Level 4, and their horsemanship and steering really, really need to be top notch.
There are really three different aspects to the CMS: marksmanship, horsemanship, and speed. Your marksmanship has to be exceptional. You have to be good with handling and shooting guns and aiming. Then there’s horsemanship, which needs to be at a level that you can go in and execute almost any pattern. There are roughly 80 patterns that are selected at random for any given competition. So you have to be ready to turn left, right, slow your horse down, speed him up, make very precise turns, and then execute speed.
With those different aspects of the sport, the Parelli Program is an amazing foundation for a shooting horse. It is a great job for the horses. Once they understand their job and understand that they don’t have to be afraid of the shooting, the horse really, really enjoys it and craves it. I can go from relaxed, loping, quiet to then turning his speed up to full speed, execute beautiful carved turns in a pattern, get across that start and finish line at mach speed with or without a bridle, and come right back down to a slow lope. That’s the value of the Parelli Program: teaching the horse the physical, mental, and emotional fitness that it takes to be able to be excellent and brilliant and be ready to be stretched high and low and in and out and not lose their confidence along the way.
I want to thank my family, Pat and Linda, and all of the Parelli community for jumping behind me and supporting me and encouraging me and lifting GPW and me up to be able to be the best that we can be.
For the full story, stay tuned for the Sport’s Highlight of the May Issue of Savvy Times.
Transcribed and edited by Amanda Sims
Photo courtesy of Midwest Horse Fair.