Horsemanship on display at Ag Expo

By Tony Parra

People from around New Mexico made their way into the show arena at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds to learn how to manage their horses.
Jinita Hays, an instructor from Lovington of the Pat and Linda Parelli instructional school, gave attendees of the 13th Annual New Mexico Ag Expo tips on how to properly ride a horse and teach it tricks. There were two horsemanship seminars on Tuesday during the Ag Expo.
Hays advised people of the six keys to success when it comes to horsemanship: Attitude, knowledge, tools, technique, time and imagination. Hays said the element she has the biggest problem with is imagination.
Dianne Fuchs, who has a ranch in Santa Rosa and owns five horses, said the problem she and her family have with advancing their horsemanship skills is time.
“It (seminar) was pretty interesting,” Fuchs said. “She did a pretty good job. It’s tough finding time. We have five boys that we home-school and we ranch.”
For Wendy Tombs of Portales, many of the things she heard, she already knew. Tombs said she preaches some of the similar techniques in her school of horsemanship, located a few miles northwest of Portales. Tombs said she has been teaching horsemanship for six years.
“I thought the seminar was very good,” Tombs said. “A person needs to understand how important safety is for their horse. Body language is very important.”
Tombs said she owns 27 horses. Tombs said many of her clients are from Cannon Air Force Base and don’t have horses, but they want to learn horsemanship.
Darlene Davis, who lives southeast of Elida, practices horsemanship on her horses and rides with a mounted group called the Cowbells. Davis said she has learned from Tombs on managing her horse and maintaining a good relationship.
Hays said she used to be on the Eastern New Mexico University Rodeo team in 1982 and 1983 and during that time competed in the intercollegiate finals. She said she was involved in rodeo until an injury at the age of 36.
After that, Hays said she looked into the Parelli instructional school and believed because of her experience in rodeo that she was ahead of the game.
“I was humbled by the experience,” Hays said. “It was a big change for my mare, but a bigger change for myself. In five years I developed my horse to a level four. We transformed together.”
There are 10 levels in the Parelli program, according to the Parelli Web site. Some of the levels are: Partnership (level one), Harmony (level two), Refinement (level three), Versatility (level four) and on up to ultimate unity (level 10).