Thanks to Nancy Gage from Las Lunas, New Mexico, for this story from my Parelli days:

I met Peggy Gurnett twenty years ago at Pat Parelli’s ranch in Colorado.

I was a middle-aged beginner with a history of falls and injuries, a very timid rider.  I was happy at the walk, okay at the trot, kind of scared at the canter.  But looming ahead of me on the task list was the impossible: the gallop.

Peggy was an apprentice that summer, helping individuals or small groups in our work.  She was athletic, fearless, a bold rider.  I would have been intimidated by her if she hadn’t been so open, real, and nice.

Peggy knew I was afraid, but she never scolded or condescended, never dismissed my feelings.  Never said, “Get over it,” or “Cowboy up.”

One day we were in the big pasture, I on my mellow leopard Appaloosa, Peggy on her big bay gelding.  She suggested that we gallop up a hill.

Uphill would be a little taxing for my horse, she said, and at the top he would be only too happy to stop.  And she’d be right beside me.

I trusted her, I agreed to try, and I did it.  That simple.  I did it.

I’ve never forgotten Peggy’s kindness and wisdom and support.  Galloping up a hill may seem like no big deal.  But to me, it was huge.  It was huge!

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