Horse-Man-Ship, it all counts!

For my personal growth this year I decided to join a Couch To 5K beginners running clinic.  It's a 12 week program that guarantees that anyone can go from having zero fitness and being a couch potato to running 3 miles (5k) at the end of the clinic.

I hate running.  It's hard, I don't like it, I'm not motivated in the least to run.  In fact, if you ever saw me running before this clinic started it was safe to assume I was being chased by a bear or something equally dangerous, like bees.

For years I've held this delusional idea that if you're running you better be consistently running 8-10 minute miles, otherwise you're failing.  I'd try to run, I'd do 4 minutes of solid sprinting and be worn out and out of breath.  So I quit.  I obviously wasn't meant to run, if I was it wouldn't be so painful and an 8 minute mile wouldn't be so hard.

When the opportunity came up to participate in this clinic I decided this would be a great emotional and mental fitness challenge and secondary to that, a physical challenge.

I paid my $120 to sign up and was motivated and inspired to begin... until the first day of class.  I tried to find any reason not to go to the first class but I had paid a lot of money and I owed it to myself to try.  So I showed up.

The very first thing our running coach said was that we were already 90% of the way there.  Showing up is the hardest part and we were all there.  Old, young, skinny, fat, all of us not fit enough to run a 5K.  But we showed up.

Yesterday was the half way point of the course!  Half way there!!  Hump week!!!  So naturally we got a great pep talk from our running coach.

She emphatically told us that simply the act of running makes you a runner.  When you're running you're a runner.  If you go out for a run and need to walk half of it you're still a runner during the parts you are running.  You're certainly more of a runner than everyone else that's not even trying!  

Who gave us these myths that we believe about running?  Who told us the 8 minute mile is the goal and if you can't reach it you're simply not a runner?  Where do we get the information required to ensure our own personal failure?

Technically speaking, running is when there is a moment that you have both feet off the ground.  During the walk you always have one foot on the dirt, but when you run there is a moment of suspension.  That's it.  

If you have a moment of suspension you're running and that makes you a runner!  It doesn't matter if you're running so slow that your small dog can walk next to you to keep up - if you're not walking you're running!

Wow.  That was a HUGE moment for me.  I'm already a runner.  I have permission to go at the pace I need because if I make the goal too big or too hard or with no achievable milestones along the way then I will undoubtedly fail.

Last Saturday I ran my first mile and a half ever!  I ran slow, slow enough that my dog was actually walking next to me at times.  But it doesn't matter because I was running!  I ran it.  It is an AMAZING feeling to be able to say that.  I never thought I'd run a mile and a half but now I KNOW I can run 3 miles by the end of this course.

Our running coach has given us something to believe in, at first it was the program and now it is ourselves.  

So now, horse lovers, I challenge you - are you a horseman?  What makes a horseman and what myths are keeping you from success and achieving your dreams?

Pat Parelli has said that horse-man-ship can be likened to putting a horse and a human on a ship going somewhere together.  If you're in the boat and you're trying, you're already there!  That's horsemanship.  It's effort, it's not perfection.

Natural horsemanship is a philosophy, a way of life, it's putting the horse before yourself.  It's not riding bridle-less, it's not about a Level 4 black string, it's not 5-horse Liberty, it's not fancy tricks.  

So what is keeping you from your dream?  Don't let some preconceived notion of what you think being a true horseman is deter you from getting off your couch and seeing your horse!  Don't let fear, or doubt, or lack of self-worth dictate what you think is possible.

Believing in the Parelli Program is a great place to start but don't forget to believe in yourself too.

What does a successful horseman look like?  It is someone who has simply shown up and is doing their very best to treat the horse the way the horse wants to be treated.  If you can do that you're a horseman.

Thanks for reading and be sure to share!

Interested in learning more about my Couch to 5K running clinic?  Check out GECKO at!  Kirsten Le Roux is our awesome, motivational, inspirational coach!  If you ever have the opportunity to meet her or run with her, do it! :)

Interested in getting long lasting results and developing a better relationship with your horse?  Try a  FREE 90-Day Preview of the Parelli Membership at!  Click Get Started then choose Preview and enter referral code P9610!