"A horse is like a mirror, and it's reflecting what and who you are."

This is just a little diary of my horse life. I teach natural horsemanship and dressage. I am currently working on getting back to L4 Parelli after a car accident and surgery.

I suffered from a fear of failure, as things had not gone according to planned after my time off from my injuries. It had been an paralyzing disability (fear) but my healing is coming along nicely, and I hope to pass my level 4 before the end of 2011.

I don't know where I am going, but I am NOT lost!

I am now reviewing dvd's and books, and blogging my reviews. The link on the left in the categories (DVD Clinician Reviews)will take you straight to it. You will find links to the websites of all dvd clinicians I review and they are located on the left hand side bottom of page of the page. None of the clinicians or trainers I am reviewing, sponsor, endorse or authorize this site. For more info about them please click on thier link.

I hope you enjoy!

Savvy On,

I will be giving Savvy Star Ratings based soley on my opinion of it's value to a parelli student as such

***** Must own

**** Must watch

*** Worth watching, but you won't die without it

** Eh' take it with a grain of salt, you will have to filter alot

* OK, but there is better stuff out there to spend your time and money on

0 stars....skip it, it just isn't worth your time.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mustang Make Over Day 7

This is day 7 of working with the Mustang. It is the first day he has ever had a halter on in 6yrs with humans and the first day anyone has been on his left side.

White Whale Harpooned!....12-21-09

Now for getting the beast in the boat by getting that halter on! I got the rope around his neck today and managed to get on that left side today. It was a a hilarious sight to see me fumbling with the rope, stick ,string and carbiner clip. I hoped to just be able to throw the rope over his back and work it up to his neck and fasten the clip. Not. So I threaded it through the end of the carrot stick and tossed it over utill he was comfortable with it enough to let me grab the other end then he blasted away. It was several attempts into it before I got the feel for it. my arm was tired from lobbing that heavy not over his back so many times. But once caught, he was surprisingly light to the aids. He was leading well off the rope, lowering his head well and then I attempted the dreaded (his dread not mine) left side. Wooo Hooo was that a bit explosive. make no mistake....this IS a WILD horse. He was very adamant about me NOT being on that side. I was able to toss the string over his back a few times and drive his face away a few time. When he leaves....it is lightning fast. All I can say is that I am thankfull for all the practice of closing hands slowly and opening hands quickly. That woulda been one HELL of a Learn Burn! I am happy for Cha'Cote that he finally has a second chance at a good life with humans. Today, after I went in to his stall, left to open round pen and came back....He actually walked halfway to me, waited for me to open the stall door and didn't make me go in to shoo him out. His flight path through the barn is lower and slower now, but a trot still none the less. It is finally suppose to rain tommorow...we both could use a break. He has had two days off in the last 9 days. Although I think I may go out and spend some undemanding time with him while it is raining. In his stall though. He is not going to get off that easy. He has been doing that for years. This is his last chance. Oh...and I brought him a bucket to bring him some grain. He bit me twice yesterday when I tried to hand feed him. He tried to get in and get out so fast he missed the treat all together. Anyways on his way back to his stall, he saw that bucket and hit the brakes like a reining cow horse winning a medal for a sliding stop. snorted at it and went into his stall. I dumped the grain and stepped back and he was soooo sceptical of that bucket. He came in....by way of approach and retread with alot of low snorting and then he dive bombed the bucket and was gone so fast I know he only got one pellet in his lips and then tried to suck in, but his lips were so tight he couldn't. Finally he decided it was safe and ate his special treat much to the despise of his stable mates!
Savvy On

Tower request fly by....helicopter ...Check...12-19-09

Cha'Cota's owner met me out there today. She was very imressed with his progress. How could I ask for more? We had a nice quite session. I brought my son, but forgot my video camera...DOH! So I pulled out my phone and had my 11yo son take 49 43sec vid's over an hour and half. He did such a good job filming but the Quality was...well let's just say....not optimal. Not fun to copy and paste in the phone and then upload and edit. BUT, I now have some footage for you to view. Check out his page for pics and video's.

day6 part 1 & part 2, very bottom of page


 So back to his progress. Today was the first day he faced me in his stall. I used the carrot stick for the first time. When he saw it, he jumped out of his skin. He is overly hyper aware of everything! But he settled into it nicely and ended up yeilding to the pressure on his poll from the string and leading and lowering his head. We got to experience the extreme friendly game slapping the ground and helicopter, all on the right side of course. I was able to play friendly game with the string on his face, but still no hand on the bridge of his nose. Kandi is coming with me tomorrow and will tape me some more and I will attempt to get a rope around his neck and get on that left side. he did start to show me a little of his left eye by staring at me straight on and one time when he disengaged he crossed my path with the left eye as well. He is a great little guy and he is fullfilling a life long dream for me of taming a wild mustang.
Savvy On

A matter of Trust 12-18-09

In trying to explain to less knowledgeable horse owners why their horse is afraid when they are so nice to the horse. It dawned on me today, as Che’Cote’s owner is a 14yo girl who has had him a year, with little success and thus given up. She is not the first human to give up on him, but she was able to brush him a little and give him carrots. After having played with him for a week now, I give her a lot of credit. He must have liked her but not trusted her with his safety. Some may ask, why he would trust her enough to let her brush him but not enough to put the halter on. Being that he needs such strong leadership, I know that is the answer, but how do you explain it to someone who does not know what leadership is.
This is what I came up with.
I like my 11yo son, he is a pretty cool kid. Annoying at times, we have different interests. He likes WWE Smack down, I like horses. It is agonizing to watch it with him, but I do it for him. But just because I do that, does not mean I will trust him to let him drive my car. I trust him to start a fire in the fire place when we are home, but not when he is home alone. I like my son, I even love my son, but I would not expect him to be able to protect me against an attacker. If you think about it, we all know people that we like as friends, but we wouldn't trust them to watch our kids, balance our check book, or with a deep dark juicy bit of gossip! Most people think, in respect to being told their horse doesn’t trust them, automatically think that we mean the horse thinks they will hurt them. And sometimes this is the case, but in most cases it is just that the horse doesn’t trust you to protect them. They also may not trust your judgment. This comes about usually when you ask your horse to do something and they end up getting scared or hurt. So it is vital to set things up in a way to prove to your horse that he can trust not only you, your ability to protect him, but your ability to have good ideas as well. The more times we can have our horse do something that works out well for him the more likely he is to trust us. But it only takes one lapse of good judgment to for him to think “I knew I couldn’t trust you”. So if you don’t know what leadership is and are having problems with your horse….you need to learn and fast. If you do know what it is and are having problems you need to look at your ideas and do they not work out so great for him in the end. An example would be asking him to side pass over a barrel, you don’t keep him lined up very good, he ends up getting a leg caught on it and the barrel flings up at him and scares him or he gets hurt. He will blame you, as it was your idea. Thus causing him to question all your ideas. Eventually he will take the responsibility for navigating such things, but until your skills are good enough, he will blame you. Some horses aren’t so judge mental toward us, but those are the ones that aren’t lacking your trust causing you to seek answers.
Trust, Respect and Admiration are seperate but intertwined. Have you looked at yours lately?
Savvy On

No Halter yet...but maybe Liberty 12-17-09

Would you believe it did NOT rain….AGAIN! It was suppose to be winter storming all week. Why couldn’t it have NOT rained when I tried to take Ochi over the pass? And it is not suppose to rain again until Monday. None the less, I took advantage of the clear sky and visited Mr. mustang again. I talked to his owner today and convinced her to change his name. I told her it is bad Ju-Ju to name a wild horse after violent explosives. We put our heads together and came up with a name. Che’Cote after a famous, peace making Creek Indian Nation Leader….also a character on Star-Trek Voyager (Don’t even get me started on my love of Star-Trek). It seems to fit him well, and maybe he can become a brave soul like his new name sake, rather than living up to his old one!
I only spent a half hour with him, it was foggy and I knew it would be a bad drive home. We quickly reviewed all the previous days lessons and upped the anti by 2. I managed to get the lash of the lunge whip around his nose and taught him to give to pressure and take a few steps forward and to the side, add that to the online list….and to the Liberty list….we can add backing up. Yes he backed a few steps with me at his side facing the same direction.
So I have to remark on what “I” have learned during this last week. Sometimes we can soooo think that we are not being a predator or thinking like a predator. We have our own time schedules to keep, and want everything to go as quickly as possible, but with in reason. Then something happens to make you see that you were. I kept saying, “I know if I could just get the halter on, we could progress so fast”. While that still rings true, I wouldn’t have learned just what I am capable of….without a halter. It definitely forced me, to go by HIS time table, to have a dazzling explosion if I blasted through a threshold, and another if I stayed quiet too long. I have had to think…..think….and think some more about possible ways of getting that halter on. Ways that are within my capabilities, unlike a lariat. Heck, at this point, I am thinking that we could go quite a ways up the liberty ladder, with out a halter at all. And that just may be my plan. Keep picking at the halter, but in the mean time, shoot for the stars at liberty. Seriously, let’s not get lost in the clouds. But who knows, I think I will give it a try.
Savvy On

Nailed a Horsenality down 12-16-09

Completely in fashion with the season, the weather man cannot predict the weather. It did not rain, so I paid the mustang another visit. It is vital for his success that I get as many sessions done in a row that I can. A gap at this point will only mean a back slide. Maybe not a big one, but a back slide none the less. I wish I had a video camera as it seems I have never been able to capture on video any of my initial work with difficult horses. Only the images in my head remain. Anyways, I started out in his stall again, and was able to get to the point where we left off last night in only a few short minutes, tossing the whip over his back and legs and petting his neck. I sent him out to the round pen and he immediately faced up and begged not to have to run around. He only walked more than 5 feet away from me one time, went ¼ lap and came right back. I was able to get my hand on his poll and teach him to lower his head. I was also able to get to his left side about 10ft away at a 45 degree angle to his shoulder. He would let me stand there for a minute then walk to me. As long as I don’t show him my palm, I can walk right up to him and pet him now. And last night was the first night, that I can recall ever seeing him blink at all. He had a huge lick chew session, where he actually rolled his eyes back in his head. Was the first time he yawned and opened his mouth when he lick and chewed. It lasted about 2 minutes.I was just filling out the horsenality chart for him. It is hard to tell with a wild, scared to death horse. I wasn’t sure if he was more of a right brain introvert or extrovert and now I know why. He has 7 dots in each quadrant. However ALL of his dots in the RBE are in the extreme range (a couple I even put on the super extreme) and in the RBI quadrant, 3 are in the mild/moderate. As far as the Left brain side, he has 2 dots in the LBE and none in the LBI. I have also looked again at the strategies for both RBI/E and thought about how he has reacted to my attempts at both. Based on his reactions to RBI strategies, he does not respond well to me be being really quiet , slow , soft and waiting. It seems to scare the bageezers out of him. On the other hand, While it is too soon to determine what he will be when he becomes confident, I suspect it will be an LBE with RBI tendencies, which is probably why I am drawn to him. I tend not to be drawn to, in fact I with-drawl from, introverts. He reminds me of our little Shetland Spirit who is an RBI with LBE tendencies.Being that he seems to be in the extrovert category, he will always need STRONG leadership. And this little guy was so lacking any leader ship for so long, it is no wonder that he is so scared. There are a lot of gentled mustangs there. But he is a hard case. Besides his natural un-gentled behavior, some of his behavior is learned. He has 5 yrs of out lasting a predator and watching humans give up and go away. He was round penned and not asked/allowed to disengage and come in, so staying out there is what he thinks he is suppose to do. At times over the last 5 yrs he has had someone who was able to brush him on his right side and feed him carrots. My biggest concern at this point is those feet. One front hoof is quite long and low, the other is short and high. Since I trim all my horse’s feet myself, I dare to think of how hard this will be to get done. Since the car accident I cannot be bent over for long and usually one hoof will do me in for the day. But, one thing at a time…….gotta get that halter on!
Savvy On

Mustang Breakthrough 12-15-09

Wow! What a difference a day makes. I did some homework/research and confirmed my next brilliant idea before trying it out on said mustang. I decided to try some pole training with him and use my 22' line. Wasn't sure if I was going tonight as we just can't trust any weather people around here. Turns out it wasn't raining when I got off work so I headed out there. I was planning on just using my rope as I had no pole. I saw a longer lunge whip when I got there, so grabbed it to usher him from his stall. But when he decided NOT to leave the stall, I went with it. "You want to stay here? Great me too" "Lets play friendly instead" So I carefully positioned my self and started to rhythmically toss the whip over his back or what ever else I could reach. I will admit, I was very cautious as I was afraid of being trampled or him spinning and kicking me. He freaked out at first. You woulda thought I was tossing a rattle snake at him. I darted out of the way a few times, though he never came at me. After about 50 or so tosses, he was ok with it, so I started rubbing him on his back and neck with the stiff part. Then I started to bounce it on his neck. Then rubbing it on his face as I took it away. I was able to toss it around his back legs without him giving a swift kick to object. I was pleased and sent him into the round pen. He did not run thru the barn in a fractious panic this time, but trotted none the less. I stayed in his stall for about a minute, hoping that after a few repititions of not being chased thru the barn he may choose to travel at a walk at some point. Once there, he was attentive, and eager to face up and not run. But once I started to approach and retreat he thought working might be a good idea, so I helped him with that too. I used more pressure than he wanted, and decided if that was his choice he would have to go to the left and look at me with that eye. He didn't want to do that, so becoming a partner was a good idea. He was disengaging on the right like a pro, letting me touch him quickly and for much longer, AND I was also able to toss the whip over his back and have him not leave. Not the fist time of course, but by the end I was almost leading him with it over his neck as I was disengaging him. At the very end, he was standing close to me, both facing same direction, and he was letting me stoke his jaw, with my fingers up on the left side of his face. He even offered to look toward me, a teeny bit of porcupine accomplished, and I quit when he took a tiny step closer to me while I was stroking. I was a tender quiet moment that made me fall in love with him. I walked away and opened the pen, he softly trotted into the barn, and rather than make a b-line for his stall. I let him explore the barn and find a few bits of hay laying around and then asked him to go to bed. I walked in with him. Tossed the whip over his back a few times, stroked his neck, and left. Heaven. The halter is still my white whale. But I didn't feel frustrated at all tonight, in fact I left with HOPE on the brain. Wish it wasn't going to rain for the next few days. I hate to let a back slide in. I wish he could be here for me to play with more consistently. But wishing won't change anything. All I can do, is not get greedy or let my genetic predatory responsed kick in next time. I think I will dream pleasent dreams tonight.
Savvy On '

Stick with what you know...when you don't know..12-14-09

It is not raining today, so I figure I better go and play with this mustang as it is suppose to rain again tommorow. I have a plan to do the friendly game with my lariat, then make a loop in it and hopefully get it over his head. Hmm, I smell a predator and I am not the only one. I start by sending him to the round pen and then getting those feet moving with the lariat. All is going well but as I start to get close to him with it, he wanted no part of it. Not to mention, I have no idea what I did to it, but lariat won't coil right. It's like a slinky that has been played with by a two year old. I coil it and ....boing....it won't stay. Now I am starting to get tangled up in it. It seemed to just be getting in my way with him as well. Frustration set in, so I chucked it over the fence. Now back to business. By the end of the session though he was disengaging and facing up on his right side pretty good and he was coming off the fence by about two lengths. And more willing to let me pet him on his right side. I also noticed that he has been sent around in the round pen to death with ever asking/allowing him to come in. I had to put a little more pressure than I would have liked in order to make looking at me seem like a good idea. He still doesn't want to look at me with the right eye, but at least we made two laps with out him trying to stop and turn around. All in all, progress was made albiet in small incriments. I did leave feeling a bit disapointed as I know we can make great progress with a halter. And I am feeling a bit like this may be more of a project than I have the desire to take on right now. I have four horses at home that are not getting any play time due to the weather. Hmmm, I guess I have some thinking to do.
Savvy On

Playing with a mustang 12-12-09

So a friend called me and asked for help. She got herself in over her head and has a mustang that is supposedly somewhat gentled but not halter broke and they need to re-home him. I said I would help get him halter broke so he could find him a new home. Of course never having gentled a true wild horse, I made no gaurantee. I told her I would come and and play with him and see what happens. So as only my luck would have it, it was raining, and I had a christmas party to go to right after. But aint no little bit of water gonna scare me. So I played with him for about an hour. I was told he would do better in the round pen than in his stall as he hasn't been touched in there much and is more comfortable in a larger space. So he was sent through the barn to round pen and we got under way. He wanted no part of me and certainly no part of being touched. That's when I found out he hasn't had anything done with him for months and it was only on his right side to about his withers. I did alot of approach and retreat and in the end he let me touch him a few times on his cheek and neck. Of course he will not even look at me with the left eye. I didn't make a big deal about anything as out in the rain is not the ideal first date. After about an hour, I quit when he let me touch him and it started to pour. It was raining so hard we couldn't even hear each other talking in the barn. I was soaked down to my panties. Luckily when I got to my friends house she had her flat iron and blow dryer plugged in for me. All in all it was a good first meeting, and it let me know, getting the halter on him will be my white whale. I will get back as often as I can, as she lives a distance away, and as weather permits.
Savvy On

We passed L2 ... 2++ 11-24-09

I got to work today and checked my email, and found a wonderful surprise. The results of our OLL2....Passed 2++. Ok, so not the most momentous and grand gesture in horsemanship, but for me and Miyagi it is. I am proud that I have learned enough, to take a wild RBE rescued pony, had the guts to actually put my fat butt on international view, and make her a trusting partner in 5 weeks. I first want to say that I am proud that I did not let two fighting kids in the background piss me off. And that I resisted all urges to turn around and KILL them! So a week later I was asking myself, as I was talking about how smart Miyagi is, and it dawned on me, that maybe...just maybe...my horses aren't getting smarter....I am. I doubt 8 yrs ago, when I started on this venture, I could have achieved this in 6mos. Let alone weeks. I got proud...not too proud...as my skills have changed little in the last 2 years since my car accident. So I am most proud that I am completing something I gave up on two years ago. I just watched my OLL1 tape, the one where I was ripped from my couch cushins and forced to produce. And what a difference a few months of playing with my horse made. I didn't recognise my self in the L1 tape. I hated how deteriorated my timing and skills had become, that's when the fear of failure set in. But one day I looked in the mirror and told myself, not only do you have to deal with the horse that shows up, but the YOU that shows up. If Snookie goes all RBE on me, I just treat her accordingly, I don't dismiss her as worthless. So neither should I treat myself that way. Today, I was on top of the world if not on top of the horse! I am already starting L3 on line with Miyagi, and have hopes to tape that in the near future. But first, I am concentrating on L2 freestyle!Savvy On

Ochi found her forever home...Yeah! 11-21-09

What a wonderful day for Ochi. Long for us humans though. The day started at the crack of dawn, blanketed in a thick layer of fog, as we headed to the soccer field for the season end tournament. It was COLD! Usually I am all for girl power, but the first team my son played was comprised entirely of russian robot girls. They were GOOD, dominated the field and won 2-ZIP! We rushed home to unblanket everyone, and clean Ochi up from her romp in the mud left over from yesterday's showers. She was none to thrilled at being hosed off for the second time this week. We headed out again to the soccer field, to be trompled by a lack luster team with a Brazillian Soccer Savant Ringer. He had magic shoes and the brains to back it up. He looked like someone had plucked him straight off a proffesional team to pummel a bunch of 11 year olds. Some how we mangaged to make a goal, but lost 2-1. One more game at the crack of dawn tommorow....yuk!So we rush home, to anxiously await the family who is coming to meet Ochi. They arrived and from the moment they got out of the car, it was like a fairytale. They were a wonderful animal loving family with two horse crazy girls, age 12 and 2. It was adorable to hear the little girls voice say her name. They fell in love with her instantly, and I could just feel it with all my being that they were the right home for Ochi. We made arrangements for me to take her to them next weekend. I couldn't be happier that I decided to bring home two mini's that day instead of one. It was meant to be. I will post pics after I deliver her.
Congratulations...Patti, Josh, Britain and Ysabella!
Savvy OnMichelle

Ochi Mama 11-18-09

My head is realing. Two weekends ago I posted an add for Ochi. When I got little response I thought nothing of it. The economy is in the toilet and horses are luxuries. But it dawned on me that people may think my ad is the same horse for sale by my friend. So I changed the ad to read "different mini", and also sent a shout out on my friends apparently large e-mail list. I am quite honestly overwhelmed by the response. I would have never dreamed it. So many loving arms reaching Ochi's way. We have a very nice gal coming this saturday to look at her, and at this point, she seems like a perfect home. I of course have my fingers crossed that the meeting goes well, everyone falls in love, the clouds part and angels sing from the sky. If not, I have a hefty list of emails to respond to. I feel so bad, turning people away at this point as nothing is a done deal, but I also don't want to make appointments, have people plan thier weekend, and then cancel on them either. So if you are reading this before saturday and are interested, feel free to still email me so I can keep you updated. If it doesn't work out on saturday, I will have to figure out a way to be fair but keep Ochi's needs at the forefront of my thought process. Thank You to all who have or will inquire about Ochi....and we will keep in touch.

Miyagi's breakthrough 11-14-09

If you aren't moving forward, your moving backwards....so they say. A bit of a cheat here, but L3 online is supposed to be done with the 45' line, but you can audition with the 22' line. My yard really is not big enough to warrant using my 45' line, so I decided to move Miyagi on to L3/4 patterns. When we played the other day, I tried using nickermaker's cookies and she turned her nose up. I remembered that she seemed to like the peppermint cookies, so I brought those, my 22' and Drving lines. I figured I am just gonna play and see what happens. The objective was to start really working on transitions while circling, weave, lead by the tail and friendly game/passenger lesson with driving lines. Let me say...hmmm how interesting. She picked up the weave at a walk quite easily. It took us a few minutes to get our bearings with the driving lines, but for a horse who would not let me past her withers 5 weeks ago, I think it was just the right medicine. She was leary at first, and having a little trouble understanding how to "go", but once we got going it seemed to really make her more comfortable having me back there at all. Being able to move, and just being gently guided so we could steer around the yard ornaments, and realizing that nothing bad happened and i was my usual "friendly leader" self, she settled into it nicely, and has a nice rein back on her. We both have room to grow in the not letting the ropes get under those feet, as I have never "driven" before this year. And I only played with it a few times with Rose before the mini's came. Deffinately a learning curve there, no matter how big or small the horse. We then played with leading by the tail, and man did those cookies work wonders. She finished off the bag and I will have to get more before we play again. When we were done, she was taking two steps back from the tail. We met our objective minus transitions. And with that i felt we had crammed as much learning into once session that we could without me getting too direct minded. So the really interesting part is how curious she has been with me since then. She is actually coming to see ME. Leaving food to come see ME. Sniffing ME, saying hi, and just hangin' round ME. The expression on her face is much sweeter and less grumpy looking. On a high, this little lady has weasled her way into my heart. I don't know how, but she did....must be the extrovert in her. I tend to be drawn to them. HMMMM How interesting!Savvy OnMichelle

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where to go from here?

As with all plans in life, there is a series of events that happens along the way to our destination, that causes us to scratch our heads and re-think the situation. Like a plane that takes off from the airport, wind, speed, temperature and pressure continually knock it off course a bit...and if the pilot does not adjust accordingly, he will not arrive at the destination that his passengers have paid for. Sighs. The good news is that some of these events have been a blessing, others not so much. I just taped and submited Online L2. BIG step for me. A small triumph over depression, fear and physical ailments. I have to say, I love the new audition process. I have made more progress in "official" grading than ever before. I suppose it has something to do with being a Gold savvy club member too. As I have never felt before that I could justify spending the money on something like an assessment when it plain wasn't necessary. Now I can just do it, send it in and move on. I also love that it is not structured by tasks, and that each audition (savvy or level) doesn't need to be with the same horse. It gives me more freedom, creativity and time to play with all my horses, as I can concentrate a little here with one horse and a little there with another and then everyone wins. Snookie gets ridden, Rose in Liberty, Miyagi online. I like that! Anyways, it is dark when I get home from work now, Snookie is recovering from some minor injuries, I have these mini's, and it costs money to take my horses to any local arena. Money I just don't have right now. Especially since I have to buy the new levels program when it comes out a special price.So do I concentrate on one savvy at a time, achieving L4 on line, then liberty, then the riding in the spring. Or do I stick with my original plan of following the pathways, one level at a time, until I Officially pass L3 and go from there. Good news is that soccer season is over next weekend after 4 tournament games, and we opted NOT to do basket ball and my husband has got Boy Scouts covered. So even though most of my time is spent in darkness, at least it is mine. I know I have enough space and light to play with the mini's at home. Ochi needs some basic schooling. I guess I could play with her in the evenings for 10-20min. That is something that I CAN do. Play with Miyagi and Rose on the weekends. If weather and my wallet permits, I can go to the arena and tape my freestyle L2. At least I know I can do that one in my sleep on either Snookie or Rose. Lord though I do hate the way look in a saddle right now. Jeans...that's what I need...no breeches! If I time the money and the weather just right, I may even be able to tape my Liberty L3 on the same day with Rose.I don't want to be too goal oriented, thinking only of what I know I am capable of and then the pressure to perform gets to me, fear of failure sets in, and then I sit on the couch and do nothing. I need to remember each day to do what I know can do, no matter how small it may be. Miyagi is working wonders on that whole expectations disaster, so I think I will start on the 45' line with her this weekend. And concentrate on passing L2 with my freestyle. I think if I distract my self with too many other things, I will never do it. So that is it. It is settled. Next stop Freestyle L2.
Thanks for following on THAT journey in my head with me.
Savvy On

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

L2 on line taped with Miyagi...say what?

After we delivered Ochi's sister Onyx to her new forever owners, Kandi came over with Babe to play with us and we had a good time. With Kandi's help I finally taped my L2 online again, and this time it was with Miyagi. The one I taped with Rose, I just was not dressed appropriately for a world wide access debut on youtube. Regardless, I could not be more pleased with her progress. I have only had her for 5 weeks and she was essentially a wild RBE when I got her. Remembering back to day two...bath day....when she darn near pulled my arm out of the socket. I thought she and Ochi had done serious damage to my surgery site. But it was just real sore for a couple of weeks. WHEW!So in our audition, in addition to the compulsories:Trot fig 8, trot-stop-back up, massage front legs, friendly with stick and string, put front legs on pedestal.We: lead by the front leg, side passed over a pole, figure 8 over a pole, solved the "squeezed thru cones with a ball" puzzle, pushed the ball around, friendly game with the ball.Had I known that we were still under 8 minutes, I would have shown more of her 7 games, like yo-yo driving and porcupine. But if I should not pass for some reason, I will remember to add them. Not too bad for a couple of old ladies, I say.The only pattern that needs more work is the weave at a trot and the circling game at speed. She also needs more trust to trot behind me. She tends to drift out a little, but we make strides during each play session. She still gets a little right brained at this point with distance and speed and I cannot fault her for that. Nor will I push her thru this. On each of the patterns I play with each day, if she is ready for a higher degree of difficulty then we do it, but I don't push her in another as they are not transferable. Her overall progress alone is outstanding and she deserves a big 5 star hug for the level of trust she is giving me thus far. She is getting a little "trick" IE, in the sense that she assuming I want something and starting to offer before I ask. Also not a bad thing especially at this stage. So now it is time to start asking her to listen more and wait for instructions without making her feel wrong for what she is offering. She gets upset really easily if I ask her to stop doing what she THINKS I want, so this will be a great test of my savvy.I am sure some people will wonder why I would choose such a green horse to tape something that comes so easily to another of my horses. And the answer is this....my return to a life with horses after my absence has been hard on me mentally and Rose feels it. She gets bored easily, and I feel I am torturing her during this process of fighting my own demons. Not fair to her. I get very nervous when "performing" be it something as big as a show or as small as a private video taping. So add to that, my fear of not living up to my own expectations with Rose, and my emotional fitness goes to hell in a hand basket like a rocket to the moon. Long story short, I feel no expectations with Miyagi for the auditions and thus I can relax because I am just so proud of not only her progress, but my own as well. I can be proud of my knowledge and ability to help horses transform from fear full to trusting, from uneducated prey animal to a willing partner.
To see the video click link below
Savvy On

OLL2 Miyagi ~ Pass 2++

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Houdini Who!

Well we have been having a blast with these little ladies. After a week in the pony palace, Ochi decided she wanted to be with the big horses and kept escaping! I came out one morning and she was gone. I look over and see Snookie, Rose and Spirit in a huddle, staring toward the corner. They couldn't decide if she was boogie mans minion or a very ugly dog, and were all frozen with fear. I put her back and a few hours later she was out again. I put the big horses in the front and turned Miyagi out there too for the day and put them back that night. Come out the next morning to find Miyagi alone again and Ochi standing under Rose's nose. I gave up putting her back and tore the whole thing down. Of course Spirit and Miyagi went at like old rivals fighting over some unclaimed country. Over the next week, there were some skirmishes at feeding time, but over all things were going well. Then last weekend some one kicked the crud out of Snookie and cut 3 of her legs. Poor old lady. I ran out of bandages quickly. She is OK but still healing. I noticed that both Miyagi's and Ochi's back toes were quite sharp. oh dear! I wasn't quite ready to deal with hoof trimming these ladies. Miyagi first. With the help of Kandi holding the lead, I was actually able to use the grinder on Miyagi. Whew...that's a long way down to the ground, and the grinder sure makes fast work of a hard job. Ochi on the other hand has demonstrated that she is truly an LBI except with those feet. Man alive can she kick. It was lightning fast. definitely an RBI response. With alot of savvy approach and retreat, I was able to file them the old fashioned way. Oddly she had no problem with me holding her leg with a rope, but if I put my hand down there.....SHAZAM! It took a little while, but eventually she was confident enough to let me do my job. We also had a terrible storm a few weeks ago. I got them each a blanket. I started with Ochi as her blanket required a bit of adjustment. When I put her back in, I wish I had a video cam with me. Miyagi freaked out at the sight of her. She ran around like an idiot, snorting and tail high. Ochi quickly discovered that she could now chase her cranky grandmother around and proceeded to do it for a full 2 minutes. Then she rolled 20 or so times to try to rid herself of the beast. I took Miyagi out to put hers on, and she was not so agreeable. She decided there was no way in hell I was getting the thing that ate Ochi anywhere near her. But alas, she was no match for my savvy, and went back in prepared for the storm. They were just adorable in their little blankies!I know that I just don't have the time everyone needs to keep them both, and since Ochi is younger, cuter, and more easy going...I have decided it will be easier to re-home her instead of Miyagi. She is as sweet as they come and reminds me alot of Tiger Lily. She has no fear of the biggies, and has even been shown to pin an ear or two at them, though she moves quickly out of their way.I have been working with Miyagi and come to the conclusion, after alot of head scratching that she is an RBE/LBE, albeit a calm one. I can at least catch her now with out alot of effort on my part. Definitely have to use the catching game strategy though. She is a smart cookie! You can read about her on-line progress in the On-Line category of the blog as it applies to my L2 audition.
Savvy On

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Miyagi and the 7 games

I am definitely pleased with her progress. When I first got her, I couldn't even walk farther back than her withers, now I am using a power grinder on her back feet, so I would say we are nailing the friendly game. I have discovered that she is an LBE/RBE and that has helped with our progress immensely. I first took her to a local barn to play with a friend on the extreme cowboy obstacles. We started in the arena where I began to teach her the 7 games. Yo-yo she picked up amazingly fast, driving and porcupine frond and back end went very well too. Side ways was a dream, but she had trouble with the send and allow of the circle game. She started to get it to the left, but flat out refused to go to the right. I just let it be what it be, as she was doing quite well for her first day of play. We went in the round pen for a liberty catching session as she is the queen of not being caught. She was more tired than me in the end, so that was good, since she was catching me! Then we went out on the obstacles and I couldn't have been more pleased. Technically the only games we played were friendly, send and squeeze, and put your nose on it. All I figured would help to get her back in the trailer which she has boycotted as a mode of transportation. She went thru a car wash made of pvc pipes, fallen limb trash pile, up and down moguls and 2.5 ft high steps, thru a 5ft deep trench, over telephone poles, on a teeter-totter bridge, a tractor tire pedestal....Surely she will get in the trailer...........NOT! So as I remind myself that it is not about the trailer....even though it is the only way get her back home. Some people came to give me a hand with encouraging her, and just putting her feet in one at a time. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it as the day went so well. I have all the time in the world to take the time it takes at home. Loaded up, we went home feeling like we conquered the world. We spent the next week playing with the seven games some more and playing friendly with the trailer.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"Baths" are done...um sort of.

Well what a day. We started off by worming the girls, and then to give them baths. Kandi wormed them and it was, no exaggeration, a breeze. No fuss, no muss. I would liked to have let them settle in longer before the stress of a bath, but the days are getting shorter and colder and I work and comute....AND...it's hard to see in the before photo's, but they are FILTHY. Miyagi's tail probably had 5lbs of pooh stuck to it. Hard long poo balls that probably could have been sliced and had rings counted for age like a tree. Let me just say that a 150 lb mini IS strong. And a 400lb mini...oh my. I felt like my sons favorite wrestler in WWE. Joni came to help, thank god. She was initiated into the world of rescue by letter of demand. My birthday...I get to choose. We skipped our planned trail ride to care for the mini's. I figured it would not go smoothly, but it did go according to planned. That little Ochi, not halter trained, and no desire what so ever to be wet, in the end stood still enough for me to lather up and rinse her face and top side. I used the EZ-all sprayer and it helped. After dragging me all around the back yard, with approach and retreat, she started to play in the water with her lips. After all the hullabaloo, everything else was a breeze. As I suspected, she felt nothing was as bad as that BATH. Miyagi was a different story and with 400lbs to back up her flight method, I had my hands full for sure. She learned more quickly that if she stopped and faced the water, it would go away. Again, all I could get was the face and top line, but that was fine for a first bath. Her tail however, was a whole other story. With the thickness of the pooh, her short stature, my bad back and wanting nothing to do with me behind her with the hose, I had to bring in the re-enforcements. The non horsey husband. He stood close to her and reassured her, while I soaked her tail in a bucket of shampoo. I massaged and rubbed and picked apart that pooh for nearly an hour and still couldn't get it all. But I knew I had enough gone that once dry I could brush out the rest. I slathered it with a finishing detangler and brushed when dry. Voila! Still dirty, but next time it will be a breeze. I banged their tails because they were dragging the ground and Miyagi was stepping on hers. During Miyagi's primping and fussing, Joni took Ochi for a walk around the house a few times, and unlike the drag fest from the night before, she was leading like she had been halter broke since the day she was born. They both are leading so well, that I took off the halters for good. They both stood for nearly 5 minutes to have me and Joni scratch away all evidence of ever having worn one 24/7. They both were easy to catch and halter again for our little post bath photo session that Joni made me do. I must admit, I looked better too after changing my clothes. Rose 16hh and Miyagi 34" have decided that they are of equal stature and skill and both defend the same section of fencing. I think they will get along just fine in the end. I have to take my shower now, I smell and have work in the morning.
Savvy On

Oh dear, I did it again...more rescues

This story starts at it's most interesting spot....How I tried to explain to my husband that I went to a pony show with one horse and came home with three! It was a long day that started at 7am getting the trailer ready, my son showered and dressed and on the road by 8:05. The soccer game started at 9:10 and as always we have to be 30min early. Spirit loaded well, and despite his sheer terror, he was a good sport at the soccer field while he waited an hour and a half in the trailer. He had company for a while as a few horse crazy girls stood on the tire well and pet him through the window. The team won 5-0, then off to the show. We had a great day even though we were late. It was my sons second show ever and Spirits first. They had a blast! I think Spirit felt special with all the grooming, loves and cookies. He rarely is the center of attention at home. And not to mention without two evil 16hh TB mares bossing him around, he felt like king of the ponies, as he towered over all the mini's. There was only one pony bigger, she was a welsh pony. Spirit fell in love with this little black shetland mare who was pregnant. I think it was the lack of mama drama, knowing he wouldn't be the "baby daddy" must have been the appeal. After the show we left to go pick up our mini's that we agreed to rescue. One for me and one for Kandi (my best friend). So this is where I back up and explain the plight of the little black horses. The story is that there was an elderly couple in the bay area, hoarders, who were in over thier heads. One stallion and 14 mares and fillies. All black, and while well fed, they were severely neglected. Most were not halter broke, and some had health issues and/or ticks, needing hoof care, worming and vaccinations. And of course....A BATH! ASPCA had seized all but two and they had been in quarantine for about 3 weeks then transfered to a local "holding" rescue facility (Fancier Farms). We were foretold about them by two days, but of course, that tid-bit is left out of the husband version. As always, many details are. We rolled into the farm three trucks and trailers deep. A mini rescue convoy, if you will. We walk over to the stall and there are only three left. The matriarch 12yo grandmother and two yearlings. I told Kandi to pick hers first, as she was the one to share with me. She chose "blue halter". I had already decided on the older mare before we got there, and that left "red halter" all alone, so I took her too. Being that we were all experienced horse handlers, these little ladies loaded without incident. Though "red halter" either drug me or I drug her to the trailer. We took turns dragging. We tied grandma in with Spirit who was happy for company, and left "red halter" loose. She snuggled in between them and they didn't make a sound all the way home. You would have never known there were horses in the trailer. My son on the other hand couldn't stay quiet. He proceeded to tell me that my rescue count for the year is "7". WHAT?! No way! So out come his little fingers and a one by one count of compassion. Starting with our two kittens Zack and Miley, then our puppy Roxy (which I pointed out the technicality of dad actually bringing her home) a teeny kitten that we saved on the side of the road while taking my mom to the hospital that a vet was gracious enough to take, a puppy that I nearly ran over on the way to work and a co-worker took home, and now these two. Yup that is 7. Damn kid. I pull in the drive, park, and proceed with a guilty look that could not be disguised, into the garage to start the explaination. Before I could utter a word, my husband knew something was up. He insisted that I must have wrecked the truck. I assured him I had not, as he was headed to inspect his beloved white dodge. I stopped him and began the explaining. As always he was understanding and proceeded to begin his "honey do" of building be a small gate, and I headed to construct a corral. Luckily, we had t-posts still in the ground for a pen that we had made earlier for a friends horse that had an injury. I was quite please that I was able to complete a home for them in under an hour. There was a rush as they were still in the trailer. They have a huge oak tree for shade and enough room to move around freely. When we went to unload, poor Spirit was at the end of his lead rope with the baby under his nose eating hay. He had the look of, "seriously?...why am I the babysitter?" None the less, there they all stood quiet as mice. So me, my barely knows anything about horses son, and knows even less about horses husband...leading the unleadable to the back of the house. The trick of course...getting them in gate with out the evil TB mares making a nuisance of themselves. We fed them away from the gate, and put Spirit in to join them. Luckily, they wanted NOTHING to do with the TB eating goblins, as it took a few minutes to travel the 10 foot distance from one gate to the other. Baby first, carrot stick ready for fending of evil mares if needed, she had all heels dug in, unwilling to make the final 6inch journey into the newly constructed palace. And with a final "jump" in she came. Grandma was more willing, and they were now in there new home, with no one being mauled. Whew!Kandi drove thru the front gate moments later. She will be my mini "expert" I will field all my "mini" questions to, as these are my first. With in minutes she is shaking her head NO. There I stand with a small flake of hay...."What...too much?" Her head shaking now seriously YES. I put some down...."Now?" Head shaking with eyes rolling now...NO. "WHAT?" ...."STILL?" So she watches as I keep pulling hay from my hands until I get the all approving nod. "I mean really, c'mon, grandma is quite obese any ways, and baby is not in any danger of being starved either. I'll get you trained" she reasures me. They settled in well, with grandma "owning" all the piles of hay, but there were enough that baby still got to eat. I have named grandma "Miyagi" Me-ah-gee and baby "Ochi" Oh-chee. I removed the catch ropes from thier halters as I have not had a problem getting close to them. Today I will make my signature rope halters for them. It started to rain, but luckily it was only for about 5 minutes. I checked on them a few times before I crashed, and they were quiet. The big horses of course want NOTHING to do with them. I woke up this morning and Ochi had some goop in one of her eyes. I will have to get some ointment from the vet for that. No snotty nose, so that is a good sign. Today will be bath day. I will ad some "Eqyss Micro Tek" to the shampoo. Good bacteria/fungus killer. They both have beautifull long curly tails that are full of nasty poo. After they are dry, they will be wormed and tick checked. My other best friend Joni (non horsey person) will be here soon to help with the make over. We were going to go for a trail ride, but since we are both exhausted, and the ponies will be enough to finish us off, we decide that the ponies will be a fun way to spend the day together. That really is the most important part. My plan for these girls is to take them thru my manners program, and one of them to follow the Parelli Patterns on line to level 4 and hopefully Liberty level 4 as well. We would like to keep one of them and adopt out the other in the spring. Which one we will keep we are not yet sure, I am leaning toward Miyagi at this point because, she is an alpha mare and I feel she truely could hold her own with the big girls. At this point they are terrified of her!Follow along on thier journey with them here on my blog. You can view the lovely ladies in my photo's page. And follow along with Kandi's rescue "Onyx" on her web site. www.kandilandminis.weebly.com Savvy OnMichelle

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why does life have to get in the way

Well, I have done NOTHING for two weeks and I am just peeved. I took a week off work to stay home and work on the house. Little did I know that it was ALL I was going to do. My cement floors look great! We stained them. They are fabulous. But my horses?….nothing! I will have to say that Snookie is looking fabulous from her weight gain program. Rose on the other hand came up with an abscess in her front right foot a week ago and was in agony. I soaked it, put a poultice on and wrapped it every day for the last 5 days. She wouldn’t even put a teeny bit of weight on it. No swelling, heat or a mark on her leg. I got some bute for her though. I couldn’t stand to see her in pain like that. She still managed to kick Spirit’s butt. I think that being able to walk on it a little helped with the congestion in her tendons. They were tight. It is a side effect of not walking on the foot. This morning she was trotting around and had not had bute for 2 days. I am so happy it was nothing major or life threatening. I have to say, I am happy to have the knowledge that I do from my previous experiences. To know when to call the vet and when not to. When to have them out and when not to. Three vets agreed that it sounded like an abscess and to give it a few days with soaking/poulticing before someone needed to come out. It only cost me $32 for two tubes of bute, and I didn’t even use half of one. But now I own a soaking boot and have bute on hand. I plan on getting back to it tonight with Snookie. Time change will be coming soon, and before I know it, it will be getting dark before I get home from work. I know I have to tape my L2 freestyle before that happens. I think I need to watch a video or two as well. So back to the blogging to keep me on my game before I lose sight of it all.
Savvy On

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's OFFICIAL!!!!!!

I am officially L1 Parelli. I got my certificate and red string and pin. It means I am back in the game. Back in my life and, as only a direct line thinking predator can desire, I have something to show for it. WOO HOO! Now to tape that L2. Hopefully I won't be too hot tonight, and I can tape it again. I will tape it 10 times (not all tonight of course, 1 a day) and re-evaluate from there. Some how the fear of failure is starting to melt away. We shall see!

So Inspired

I took my mother to see the movie Julie & Julia. I was inspired. I have decided to make my blog more official. Or something like that…more purposeful. I am going to count all the tasks in the self assessments and official auditions, see how many days seem feasible to accomplish this but no more than 1yr 1mo. That will be my birthday. I am turning 40 in just 30 short days. I have been depressed about it for years. Now that it is finally here, I am not sure how I feel about it anymore. I know that I was upset that I never realized most of my equestrian dreams. I never went to the Olympics, I was never Rookie of the year in grand prix show jumping, I never rode a grand prix dressage test at Buckingham Palace. I never competed in three day eventing. Heck, I don’t even have a shelter for my horses anymore or an arena to do all these tasks in. But I do know that I am Officially L1 in Parelli. It is kind of a joke now as it was really not a test of my skills for sure, but the real accomplishment was the fact that I did get off the couch and get back into my life after a year and a half off. I am a great horse person who still has a lot to learn, but I CAN pass L4 Parelli, I just need to put my mind to it. I think it would be a real inspirational thing to do, considering how I thought I would just die if I ever turned 40. Take the whole dreaded year and make it something greater than I ever thought it could be. So that is my plan, now I just need to do the math. ICK!
Savvy On

Old friends, New Beginnings

OMG! So much to tell since Wednesday. I can’t believe I haven’t posted since then. Shame on me! The queen of excuses...it was really too dang hot to do much! I will stick to the freestyle stuff here and then put the rest in the misc category. I gave Snookie a little break on the hill therapy and let her work on the flat for a few days. I knew our big ride was going be this weekend and didn’t want to KILL her! Also, since it was my best friend riding her, who knows nothing about horses, I wanted to do a little test drive/tune up. She was light as a feather in all the seven games and lateral flexion. Not bad for not being played with for so long. Except for yo-yo…backing has always been hard for her, but still she did it well. So, she is really starting to put good weight on…Yay! I could not tell my friend how nervous I was, for all of us. Snookie being old and prone to spooking, her knowing nothing, me and my nerves riding Rose, and Rose because it was her very first REAL trail ride. We got off to a late start and by then it was getting quite warm. We hosed the girls off first, then loaded up. Short drive to the lake. Small issue getting mounted. …Next time I will remember a mounting block! The plan was to just take it slow and respect the horses thresholds as we got to them. First one was 10ft down the trail. Stop chew weeds, 4 more steps, and so the first half hour went. Rose was in the lead, as I feel Snookie didn’t feel as confident with a non horse person aboard to take the lead like usual. Rose the brave one…not so brave. That’s ok. Took a while but we made it about 100 yards. Then the dried creek bed in the shade with berry bushes. That was a NO GO! I dismounted and led her through. Found a rock and remounted. Finally I urged my friend to take Snookie in the lead. No need to request twice. She clearly was ready to stop fiddle-fart’n around and get the show on the road. Rose immediately followed suit and both were as calm as can be. Then we got to the fork in the road, both trails lead to a switch back up a pretty steep hill. We chose the harder one by mistake and Snookie led the way. Halfway up I could see her falter and had Joni stop and we dismounted again. After we mounted back up, we enjoyed the beautiful view of the foothills. We eventually came to another steep hill and decided it was just too much for our first outing and not fair to Snookie. We headed back and of course, now headed home, the two had a steady rhythmic march. We dismounted again to traverse the switchback downhill. I knew Snookie couldn't handle it. Mounted again, and stopped in the shade and let them graze a few minutes. We made it back safely and had a wonderful time. When we started…my friend literally knew nothing about riding. Snookie took good care of her, and us of her. I survived my fear…in fact conquered it. I was terrified I would kill my best friend or my senior citizen mare. We decided we will do it again soon, but next time we will go to the other lake with not so steep hills. What a great birthday present!
Savvy On

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I figured now that I have Snookie going and following a good evening habit, it was time to drop the excuses and get back to L2 online. Snookie can't handle Rose leaving her, and vice versa. I have been doing hill therapy in the pasture and then taking Snookie out to eat next to the fence. I had to think about how I was going to get Rose out without snookie and without the others eating Snookies food. So I figured take Rose out and let Snookie and spirtit graze while we played. Then put Rose up and feed Snookie. Yet again Snookie blasted through the gate. I was none to thrilled. But that is a lesson for another day. I told myself, for motivation purposes, I would tape my L2 online every night till I was satisfied, even if it takes a month. That takes a little pressure off of me since I get huge anxiety at shows and while taping. I play Rose a while and try a "car"pod for the camera. It was too far away, so I asked my husband to tape me. The taping went well except for I hate the way I look...trying to put those issues aside...and Rose wanted to be very close to me a few times and I had to really put pressure on to get her to move out. We did all the compulsories and a few "show your stuff" stuff. Nothing too fancy. But my husband started whining about the barbecue being left alone and I got a bit stupid. Turns out it melted the knob off...oops. My big problem was after we were done and the logistics of feeding Snookie. She was loose and since I soak her food, there wasn't time for the "soak" with her digging through it. I will have to plan that out a little better or I will never move forward, All in all it was a good play session and we even learned something new. I watched the video, not pleased with my body or my general "flow" but at least I know what I am dealing with and can plan accordingly to dress different and what areas need to be fine tuned. I can say that I am happy I am keeping a diary of all this so I can look back at my growth thru this difficult time of dealing with the fear of failure and mostly I am being held accountable.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fun But little progress

Well, aside from the bizarre walk about on sat, Sunday was a great horse day all around. I had fun with my friend for NINE hours, delivering, picking up, picking up, delivering and bringing home a bunch of mini’s. The smallest….26”. I got car sick for a while, and we had to avert some major traffic delays, but all in all was a fun day. Saturday I did nothing with Snookie…I figured her stroll thru the neighborhood was enough for both of us. But Sunday I amped up the hill therapy. We did 10 laps each direction of walking downhill and trotting uphill. I got her enzymes in the mail…think I already mentioned it. Last night I had a parents boy scout meeting, so I couldn't’t do anything by the time I got home. Tonight I am gonna try really hard to play with both Snookie and Rose tonight, but the farrier is coming for Rose So I may get cheated out of it again. I have to have help trimming feet…my back is killing me, and Rose is the biggest PILL for me. Not bad, my back just can’t take her right now. Once the farrier is done I will be able to keep up on her feet in a matter of minutes with the power grinder. Since Hill therapy is #1 priority, as it the first step to riding again and passing L2 Freestyle, Snookie gets the play time first for a few weeks.
Savvy On

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Avoidance is like a drug!

I need a patch or something. So even though I have made it out there every day for Snookie...I only played with Rose once. Ya, there was back to school night, my sister came in from Arizona, it was hot, I was tired, some really good reality TV...but the reality is...I was avoiding. Hmmm. At least the first week of hill therapy is over and we made progress. Now I suppose I shall play with Rose tomorrow whether I want to or not. Gonna be hard. Lots of excuses. Going to see a horse with a friend and sons first soccer game of the season. But I know I am going out of town with a friend on Sunday to pick up and deliver two horses. I can feel the comfort of my couch cushions gently caressing my behind and telling my rump love stories to keep me there. Maybe I can tape a couch pillow to my arm as a patch. LOL. That would at the very least be a good friendly game with my RBE! Wish me luck and sweat...it's gonna be a scorcher.
Savvy ON

3 big steps for horse, one giant leap for Freestyle

Hill therapy...today she actually took some BIG steps, about 12-15 inches in stride with the hind, going downhill to the right. They have been mostly been 4-6 inches. We always start to the left as I want her to have the warm up, joints lubed, before we go to the right. It was after 10 laps, she just went for it. I have been really watching how she moves, what muscles are engaged and when. The level of her head...almost to the ground at times.....and the best of all...all her licking and chewing. I don't know what it is that she is "digesting". All I am doing is standing in the middle and making sure she is moving. How she travels is totally up to her. I watched the top of her neck grow out of her withers today while going uphill, so round and "on the bit"....dressagy term...Then during her bath, I gave her a massage while she ate. I felt these new muscles behind the scapula and also on the hip. Cool! I got her enzymes in the mail today...yeah! Riding is just a hop skip and a jump away!Savvy ON

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hill therapy breakthrough

Last night was a big breakthrough in the hill therapy. She made it 15 times each way. Good girl Snookie. I was really studying her body afterward while she ate. I gave her a half bath…top line only…and felt some new muscle development, and a bit of fat pad on her side right about where the saddle and girth meet. I think I will add a little more food, now that she is used to the extra feedings she is getting. Can’t wait for our trail ride and my special Freestyle audition. Don’t want to spill the beans and then not be able to do it. But I am working on the plan in my mind. Great fantasy at the least.
Savvy On

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

HMM How interesting

So I start off the night making Snookie's food and meeting her at the gate. She saw the carrot stick and walked away but came right back. Rose and Spirit are far away. I halter her and we walk down the hill. We start off to the left as we have been and added 2 laps totalling 12. Rose and Spirit narrowly close to watch the alpha be my minion. Snookie's circles take an egg shape as she gets close the the others. Small rest near Rose before we change direction. Turn to the right and proceed with a small..."I'm old, I don't think I can do this today" protest. I assure her that she can proceed and aim her toward the rock free path down the hill. She stops again and looks at me..."are you sure I have to do this?"....I assure her that YES she does. One lap complete and yet another question on the down hill path. "lick chew, lick chew..NO" I reassure her that even though she is old...she will not die from this. 3 laps down...I get the "let's see if she is really serious" look. YES I am serious....please keep walking. I don't want to be down her tonight either...so let's do 5 more and we will call it quits. 4 more laps down..now totalling 7. No sooner do the words..."one more" leave my lips...when something up the hill causes Rose to take off in the only way an LBE can......SQUEALING AND LEAPING. All of a sudden my "I can't make it another lap" senior citizen has an RBE moment and is careening around, in the only way an RBE can...."I don't care if I break my legs in the process...I will not be left to die alone" 1lap, 2laps, 3 laps 4....I lost count... could be more!...lots of dust and rope wiggling and back to something resembling a non right brain horse makes a lap that is walking, thinking, licking and chewing again. As we walk up the hill toward the gate, I turn to her and say..."I thought you couldn't do any more?" She replied..."Ya well...where's my grain". We walk thru the gate and I notice my wonderful husband was tearing out the broken door jam of the garage and making horse eating monster noises. Thanks hun. She is definitely getting stronger just 3 more days and I am changing to a spot where she can trot. I plan on riding Saturday and Sunday at the walk.

Hill therapy day 3

Wow…this is starting to work. Last night she went, 11 laps to the left and then 7 to the right. I could tell that was it for her. I can really see a difference in the way she is starting to move her body. At first she was really pulling herself up the hill with her front end now she is starting to push more from behind and even take some bigger steps. She has always been a little more short strided with the right hind, so when her left hind touches the ground going uphill, I kiss a little to ask her to push a little harder with that leg, to help her take a longer stride with the right. She is licking and chewing every time she gets to the top of the hill. I am patient and let her stop sometimes on the downhill. She gets all four feet square under her then starts again. She is cute and does ask me. The look says…”hey I’m old, do you mind if regroup?” I think it is helping our relationship as I think she is aware that I care about the fact that she is doing the best she can and I don’t push her. Since she knows she doesn’t get her evening gruel with out a therapy session, she is still waiting at the gate for me. That makes me happy that she hasn’t decided to head for the back of the pasture. It must not be that bad in her mind. I re-read the Parelli hill therapy outline and decided to stick with the walking for a at least 7 days or until we make 15 laps each direction. Not sure yet, but that is my current thought. It says that 7 days in a row the first week is imperative. My sister showed up from Arizona last night. So that is all I did with the horses.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to the Basics

Rose did well last night, but golly my arms get tired with that heavy 22’ line. We started with the 7 games. She seems really stuck in the driving game HQ on left side. We will play with that some more tonight. Yo-Yo from a finger wiggle to the end of the 22’ line. Played the friendly game with her muzzle. Porcupine back by tail pull…needed a phase 3 though. Side ways game to the right, hind end trailed and was slow to respond. Same as driving game. Needs more playtime. Figure 8 at a trot was nice. We side passed over the pole and played the friendly game with snookie's butt at the same time. She was perfect. I think she enjoyed playing with me…she has been quite jealous of Snookie. Hopefully we will be back to L3 soon. No pressure though..I can't handle it. I keep telling myself...start with what you CAN do.

Hill therapy off to a good start

Snookie is doing well on her new diet, is getting about 3 baths a week now. Everyone is towing the line with the routine and not getting as jealous. I purchased an enzyme supplement for her today. Hopefully those will help her. She is doing well on hill therapy too. She has had hip/hock problems with her right hind for years now so she doesn’t do as well going to the right. We walked 6 circles to the left, then 4 to the right then 4 to the left on a hill that is . I only make her go to the right till I see her start to shake on that leg. First day was 3 circles right, last night 4. I think I will go to a less steep hill tonight and try trotting a bit. Maybe rotate 1 day trotting 1 day walking 1 day flat with cavaletti.. For more info on Hill Therapy google “parelli hill therapy” We should be riding at a walk this weekend and taping L2 freestyle no later than 9-13-09. I have a wild idea for my audition….but it is my little secret for now…

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How stupid could I be?

So I decided that a good move toward riding was to clean my saddles. My friend and I are going on a trail ride in a few weeks, thought it was also a nice gesture not to have my non horsey friend ride in filth. So I dug out all my saddles and drug them to the garage, stand and all. Then I went on the hunt for my saddle soap and conditioner. Geez I couldn't find it. Reorganized the tack room a few months back with a friend. Looked in the boo boo goo drawer, as the conditioner is in a jar like fura ointment. It is an expensive German bee's wax goo, and the jar is white and orange. So, after searching every nook and cranny of the tack room, when I found it, bottom of jar broken and covered in dirt and grass at the bottom of my trunk with my saddle soap, thought nothing of it. Cleaned the jar, wrapped it in tape, labeled it, and proceeded to spend almost two hours cleaning and hand rubbing the conditioner...no rags. My saddle seemed a little sticky, but I figured since it was so danged hot....what ever. I grabbed my surcingle and decided to have a glass of ice water and a smoke before starting the next item. So I sat, and as the cool water passed my lips, I noticed something odd, peeking out behind my careful tape job. I scrunched a bit of tape down to notice the words...."water soluble antibiotic for the prevention of infection"WTF...I just spent an hour rubbing my $1500 dressage saddle with fura ointment. Apparently one time, I bought a jar that was not in the usual black container with neon yellow lid. It never occurred to me to read the jar. It is the only thing I own...I thought...in a white and orange jar. At least I know my saddle will never get an infection.Now where in the heck could that conditioner be. Guess I will start tearing apart the house.Good news is that I started hill therapy with Snookie. Her special feeding program is going quite well. I can lead her to and from the pasture with out a halter, and the others are learning not to rush the gate while I take her out. Snookie is enjoying the attention. Rose is jealous. What a brat. Squealing and rearing and running around when we leave. Begging for my attention when we return. Spirit, what a champ! He knows I am never coming for him, so his sweet face just politely asks for a cookie. BTW did I mention it looks like an Anna Sewell pasture. Rose is near black...like Black Beauty...Snookie, a dainty copper chestnut like Ginger, and Spirit a plucky little grey pony like Merrylegs. I love it...like my childhood dream come true!Savvy ON

Friday, August 14, 2009

Got a plan!

Well I finally have a plan for freestyle. Get snookie some weight and conditioning. Do a trial run on L2 taping. Should be do-able. All that will get her ready for a ride with my friend at the lake. We plan on going in a month. I am very excited about the ride. It will be Rose's first time at the lake, and the first time riding with my best friend since we were kids and rented horses. She is not a "horse lover" but Snookie should babysit her just fine. Ahhh, something to look forward to.

New Long Lines

Bought some new long lines. Well rope anyways. I chose 3/8's so they are not so heavy for my arms and 18' so they are not so long. When I tried them out, they kept coming undone. I also kept letting the rope drag as my arms were killing me, so she kept stepping over them....her favorite game. But nonetheless we persevered and practiced weaving at a trot. We did well for the first time on that pattern at a trot. 1 down and 6 to go. I went and bought snaps, that will help. And I am gonna dig out the surcingle. I suppose I have a disability for now, and besides, the great classical dressage masters use surcingles, so I won't put myself down for that. Now I just have to find the dang thing.

Initial Progress

Well this has been a big week for me. Without going into too many details……due to the car accident, surgery, putting a horse to sleep and some “home” issues, I havn’t played with my horses for basically a year. And to make matters worse, barely cared for them from jan-june. July was a pivotal month. I finally got the health & desire to play again, and this week to do even more than that. I think I am about to take my life back. I realized that my level 4 goals were a bit too much pressure for me and my horses at our current level of fitness and being so out of tune. If I can’t even make it from the couch to the tack room, how am I gonna go passing L4. Not to mention, when I did play with my horses I expected us to pick up right where we left off. I know better than that, but I couldn't help being frustrated that we both were so out of tune and sync and that the accident has caused my arms to be so weak and uncoordinated. It sucks to have the knowledge in your head, but you can’t make your body do it. What do I do now? I did some reflection of the last 6 weeks. It was the kick in the butt I needed to get started. I now own every educational piece of Parelli material…just missing mastery manuals 1-6, but those are not far away. I have no excuse to not to figure this out. So I pondered. “Take the time it takes…so it takes less time” Starting over will take less time, than to sit in this funky place, floundering around in the stink of mediocrity for the next few months.So I re-arranged my life so that I can “move closer and stay longer.” I re-structured some things that will facilitate success instead of setting my self up for failure. This blog is one of them. I hope that it will keep me accountable to myself for my time. Another is that I upgraded my Parelli Savvy Club membership to GOLD. Since my pathetic performance yielded a PASS for L1, I will tape my L2 online this weekend and see how that goes. And since it is “free” now to audition, I can just start from scratch and go one level, one savvy at a time and there is no pressure on me to “perform”. I realized that my fear this time was 'fear of failure". If I sit on my couch, I can live in my little fantasy world of how great I WAS. But if I played with my horses I would have to be faced with my current level of mediocrity. Fear of "whatever" is the single greatest crippling disability.I woke up Sunday and asked myself…what “CAN” I do Today?I can give the horses a bath….done. I can go to the store and buy new long lines…done. I can “try” the new long lines out on Rose…done. I can trim some feet…done. I can hop on bareback for a few min and play at the walk…done. I honestly feel like I have accomplished more in the last week than I have in the last six. With the herd smaller by one, I can also cater to Snookie’s special diet more easily. She can eat her special food without being bombarded on both sides. I hope her senior butt can recover the weight well. She has always been a hard keeper. So onward and upwards….Savvy On

Saturday, August 8, 2009

AHHHH Freestyle

This will be the last savvy for me to get my L4 in. I know I could pass L2 right now on either Rose or Snookie, but I do not want to tape a L2 and waste $50, just to tape L4 when we finally get there. I have waited all these years for official assessment, I can wait a little longer. That way when I pass L4 freestyle, I will officially get L2, L3 & L4 all at once. I think though that I will start riding Rose around the yard with a neck string. We can work on doing all the patterns at a walk. Maybe I will do this for 5 min after each of my online sessions with her. Since I have alot of work to do to pass the other savvies, and another horse to get into shape, this one is gonna sit on the back burner for now. Who knows maybe I will be able to do it with Snookie. Just wanted a starting point for this savvy on the blog.

Starting Status Finesse

HMMM...good question. I know what I know, and I know what my horses know. At the moment it is way more than we can DO. I have been "in the saddle" once in the last year.....MAYBE twice. Before the car accident, Rose and I were finally making progress and starting to canter a few strides before she would buck. It took me almost a year with Rose to get over the confidence issues I created in myself when starting Jueli the bucking horse. Rose being a LBE, and VERY defensive about saddling when I bought her back, we just needed lots of time together for us both to get over our issues. Of course the parelli program was instrumental in overcoming those issues. I may just pay to have someone ride her a couple of times in canter to get thru it. I havn't made up my mind on that one yet. Baby steps for now. Of course I can do all this stuff (knowledge wise) with Snookie. The biggest hurdles with her will be a bit, I have not ridden her in a bit for about 4yrs. She never liked them but tolerated them. No money for a cradle bridle yet. And also the flying lead changes. Her hip and hock issues may keep her from being able to do them. Together we are a the equivalent to a nursing home. Not the stuff dreams are made of. BUT.....and this is a big BUT....Snookie was my first horse of my very own (apricot really was but I only hima year before he passed away) A Young dumb teenager, I bought her off the track. She is an EXTREME RBE. She has taught me alot over the years, and originally I didn't want to use her for my assessments because I felt it was cheating the NH experience. I wanted my assesments to be from a horse that I started from the beginning naturally. Well now that she is getting on in years, and starting to have her senior moments, I was thinking that it would only be fair to her to be a big part in my passing level 4 PNH. Why not? Regardless of how I taught her what she knows, it was still me who taught it to her. No one else. It is still my knowledge and skills. So I am planning to pass my finesse with her. I would hate for her to pass away and not be a part of PNH journey "officially". I used to ride her bridless before PNH. She wore a bridle, I just didn't use it. So my first step I have planned for my Finesse is to get us both in shape. I have started hill therapy with her, why not, I live on a hill! And I am trying to get a theraflex pad for her. Her withers are so high I don't know if my gel pad will be enough anymore. So I will post as we start to progress.

Starting Status Liberty

This is to have a starting place in the blog, basically, where am I now. On the self assesment, I only have a couple of tasks to complete. My biggest hurdle right now?... No good place to practice liberty. Working on that one at the moment. We need to freshen up on transitions and Zone 5 work. A few of the tasks are ones that were not available until the new patterns, so those are ones I need to complete. Since I have done nothing for 9 mos really, I am starting slow, and one savvy at a time. As soon as I get a play pen together, Liberty will be ON!