Monday, September 21, 2009

Becoming My Own Best Critic

Ok, I admit that I'm not always the most technologically savvy person. Thank goodness I have friends that encourage me! Producing this blog has been a really positive learning experience. Not only have I had to figure out how the Blogger interface functions, but I've had to learn to how to record, edit, and upload videos & photos.

The next step along my technological learning curve is the editing and uploading of video to YouTube. It turns out that this is the most efficient way to present official assessments to Parelli. It is also a wonderful way to allow my Parelli Play Group (PPG) friends near & far to give me feedback on my training efforts.

Last week, Sierra offered to help me by taping an "audition" tape of Guinness & I performing the various tasks on the Level 2 Online assessment check list. Boy, that was an eye-opening experience!

Frankly, I dread using the 22' rope and often shirk it by playing at liberty in the roundpen. In an effort to not get the bloody thing hung up on the barrels in the required Figure 8 pattern, I decided to spread the barrels further apart and to encourage Guinness to canter the pattern instead of his usual walk. (He rarely seems to gait patterns like this and tends to go straight from a fast walk to a slow canter - perhaps because he is a "gaited" breed.)

Cantering the Figure 8 pattern is really a higher level task then we were prepared to perform. Speeding it up really highlighted our weaknesses - namely that I can't/don't control his shoulder enough at a distance beyond 12'! Boy, was that footage ugly!! And, to beat all, the best (final) effort was inadvertently never recorded.

I did go on and post it to YouTube just to get the hang of that process, and to allow two non-judgmental friends to critique it - and then I deleted it!! Honestly, in that video I really appear to myself as a Level 2 student a bit in over her head. But then again, that is often how we learn.

Yesterday, I taped a 20 minute play session using my little camera & tripod for the first time. (Click on the photo of the Exilim camera for more details.) It worked great and I replayed it on my computer to watch. Wow, was it helpful. A picture is truly worth a thousand words!! I've been watching PNH practitioners both in person and on video since 2003 and I have a pretty darn good idea of what things are supposed to look like. Now I have a tool that will allow me to compare that "ideal" in my mind to how I actually look.

In the old Levels study materials, Pat suggests to do this. But, he cautions to watch the video once and then get rid of it. Use the recordings to make notes, but don't dwell on them or you'll internalize the mistakes. Great advice!

I've been over and over the "new" Level 2 materials, but still have found a review of Program Guide 2, Lesson 2: Transitions On Line and Lesson 3: Change of Direction On Line to be helpful. I'm now going through the "old" Level 2 pocket guides starting with "Stage 2" and working through the lessons systematically. (I will keep in mind that several techniques have evolved since the development of these materials, but there is just too much great information in them to pass up.)

I'm looking forward to recording many more play sessions with Guinness. Maybe someday I'll post a link to one on YouTube. ;-)

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