A New Journey Begins
By Betsy Kelleher
Well, I did it. I signed up for The Great Rider Horsemanship Challenge with Patrick King Horsemanship. This is nothing like Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy Race or the Extreme Mustang Makeover. It’s a 52 week online training course to improve your horsemanship, for $49.95. Sounds like a bargain to me.
For that price, I figure I’ll learn at least one thing during a year’s time to make it worthwhile. Or maybe I’ll find the incentive to do one thing more than I’ve done before. I thrive on incentives. I read about this course in the Horse Family Magazine online, and signed up at Mr. King’s website address: http://pkhorsemanship.com/the-challenge/. If you’re interested, sign up before April 30th, or you’ll have to wait until next January. Be sure to check out that website for more information.
So who is this Patrick King? He is from Pennsylvania, he studied under Ray Hunt, and he has participated in an Extreme Mustang Makeover. He also works with camels and other animals at Living Treasures Animal Park in Donegal, PA. I hadn’t heard about him before, but I like his price. I don’t have to trailer a horse anywhere and I can do what I want when I have time.
The first step, after payment, is to download and print a 200 page Pathways to Progress Personal Horsemanship Journal. Sounds a little like Pat Parelli, but other than all that paper and ink, it cost nothing for the materials. I have yet to punch holes in those 200 pages so I can put them into a notebook big enough to accommodate the whole one-inch pile. Many of those pages provide designated spaces to record daily progress in the assignments. One section helps you define goals and dreams and create a specific map from where you are now to where you want to be. I believe that section may take awhile to consider and complete. Maybe I need to think hard about what my goals and dreams are these days.
I also printed off a list of items needed for each week’s assignment. Some weeks require a helper. And there are three pages that explain the tasks and skills in each of the three stages of Patrick King’s Foundation Program. Wish I hadn’t read that third stage just yet, because it sounds like more than I will ever accomplish. Since I’m working with gaited horses, it doesn’t seem to fit how I ride. And yet—I know some gaited horse riders who have done a lot more than I thought possible! On his website, Mr. King says “You really can do more than you think you can.” We’ll see. Anyway, I don’t think he will send anyone to check up on me.
There is a video to watch each week, explaining the weekly assignment. I’ve already viewed the video for Week One, an easy exercise to improve a deep seat while riding. I’m thinking since I was able to stay in the saddle when Lady spun with me, my riding seat can’t be too bad. But I could use more assurance, in case she ever does that again! The first video emphasizes that “Results require action,” and says to “Get started today.” So I did. I rode my gelding and practiced the exercise from Week One’s video. Now to record what I did in the Working Session Logs starting on page 25. OK, I think I will add dividers in my notebook for the various sections so I can find them easily.
Besides the Journal and the weekly videos, there are also weekly emails with helpful tips and instructions (like I need more emails!). But I can ask questions by email as well, or even talk to Mr. King by phone, which sounds great to me. I’m hoping this course might help me to enjoy riding again! Perhaps I need a “challenge!”
I smile when someone asks me why I still take riding lessons after owning horses for more than 30 years. I certainly don’t expect to learn everything there is to learn, but I do hope to improve in what I am doing. And each horse offers different possibilities of learning. My riding lessons just keep showing me how much more I need to learn!
There are other challenges in life besides horseback riding. Does anyone want to know more about living an exciting, abundant life? One book contains a lifelong training course on that, and it usually costs the same or less than Patrick King’s one-year program. That book is the Holy Bible. II Timothy 3:16-17 affirms that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
If your goal is to be made complete and thoroughly equipped to face life’s challenges, then study God’s Word. The exciting part of this lifetime journey is intimate communication with the Author Himself. Since the Bible was inspired by God, it is full of truth and wisdom—the ultimate authority of our Sovereign Lord. We can count on it.
Scripture is His love letter to each one of us. If you desire to hear God speak to you personally, read His Word. If you honestly search and take time to listen, you will hear Him. If you need guidance and help with decisions, or information on how to live, it’s in there. Scripture contains the history of early Christianity—the failures and successes of men and women just like us and God’s dealings with them—as well as guidelines for finding happiness and security and eternal life.
You will have to read it again and again to learn all that you want to know, and you’ll need to meditate, to seriously think about what you’ve read. As a result, you will know God better, you will begin to see life from His perspective and to experience His blessings.
Within the pages of Scripture is your opportunity for a life-long relationship with God Himself as your private teacher, through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ, and by the power of His Holy Spirit. Day by day and moment by moment, you can be in the presence of our sovereign Creator as He leads you into His Kingdom! Don’t ignore this life-changing, life-saving challenge!
(Originally published in the April 2011 issue of the Illinois Horse Network)