"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 31, 2010

Happy New Year Everyone!

This is gonna be my year....I can just FEEL it!  I wish you all happiness, peace, love, joy and great horsemanship!

Savvy On

WHR herd 10/22/10

Ok, so this is my first pitiful attempt at leading from behind. it was a couple months ago. I learned alot about scattering a horse during this....rather more like scattering a herd....rather more like causing THEM to be a tighter unit, and keep myself on the outside of thier priviledged little club.

Mistake #1 was before I even entered the pasture.....I chose to try to lead a herd before I knew how to lead one horse....DOH! So then....mistake #2....I didn't spend any time just hanging out with them, bonding, before I got all 'dictatorbitch' on them. Mistake #3....I put too much pressure on them the first time I sent them off. So basically I spent 15min trying to figure out what I was doing, that I screwed up in the first 5 seconds! Sad thing is that I really, in my mind at the time, didn't put much pressure on them.

So I played damage control, learning that my hill was steep and my horses swift! Of course you cannot hear me huffing and puffing during this....but I most certainly was. mistake #4....I really should have put the stick down, and figured out a way to just hang with them, as they really didn't let me close enough to even try....not that I did try. I did try not to pursue them, the best I could (hill and fat butt helped with that) as Carolyn describes when they leave you, faster than a walk, do NOT run after them, just keep walking at a snails pace pursuit.....again....my fitness level played into that well!! It does look like I am chasing them off, as they tear off away from me, and since you cant see me in the video, I thought I would share that bit of info. What you do get to see, is what I saw....or more like DIDN'T see....as I tried to work this out. You get a birds eye view of my energy pushing on thier bubble and scattering them....again and again and again!

You get to see a few of my missed opportunities to collect them.....and then....Snookie.....being the grand leader that she is.....she collects and then leaves with her belongings! I was schooled by the master. She is soo good that Miyagi joined in, and I wasn't even playing the game with her.

6min into this, I changed 'games' and went with taking territory....mistake #5....again....I should have been trying to do the first ritual, SHARING territory. Thankfully, around 9 min into it, I tried to share a little space with them, but as you can see at about marker 11:30...Snookie comes to yet again gather her belongings and I went bact to trying to lead from behind.....and off they went....two peas in a pod.....without me.....again. I realized I have ALOT to learn, and just quit to start fresh another day before I made things worse.

If you notice, through out the video. Spirit is smart enough to know when he is not in focus and just sits back and watches the 'fun'. Smart boy he is!

Savvy On.....
or not...

WHR Snook leads from behind

OK all you WHR fans out there.....this is how a true LEADER leads from behind. You are going to have to study closely, because Snookie has to be sooooo soft to move Rose, or else she will scatter her instead of lead her. It took Snookie 6mos to a year after Lily died, to learn how to quiet her self down in her requests in order to gain Rose's respect and willingness to follow her lead. for 6mos she used her abrasive style that she used on Tigerlily and she did nothing more than make her own self fret all day while Rose was scattered all about the pasture. All because she put too much pressure on Rose, so Rose would just take off, rather than patiently walk off and follow Snookies directions from behind.

Now she does OK for Snookie, most times she doesn't run off, but she doesn't always go where Snookie wants either. You can see in the video, Snookie has to make several attempts to get Rose over to the water trough area, as Rose kept circling back to the trees. Snookie has learned to just patiently keep requesting until Rose complies.

I made this video because after learning about the water hole rituals, I watched them interact, and learned that while Rose is a very dominant #2, she clearly is not #1, as this video shows Snookie is the leader. It was then and there that I knew the truths of the WHR's, and knew I needed to learn them....NOW....if I was to ever be as effective as Snookie to truley gain Rose's respect, love and companionship again....that she freely offers to Snookie, and once used to offer to me, long ago when Snookie was busy with Tigerlily. I am very hopefull that the WHR's are going to teach me how to gain Rose's respect as her LEADER and quit fighting over the #2 position.

The WHR most definately ARE the horses living breathing daily culture, and it would behoove us all to learn them!

Savvy On

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Isn't it AMAZING

At how quickly people will turn thier backs on you?  Jesus wouldn't do that, why do humans?  If a christian lost thier way for a while, would Jesus turn his back on them?  I am not a religous person, per se, but I was certainly raised to know his love and compassion, and HIS faith in US.  I am often surprised at how many 'devout' christians, just don't get christianity.  Same goes for PARELLI.....They read the words, but completely miss the message.  I just kinda noticed, that some other LARGE groups and clubs do the same.  Should someone not put on the face of being 'pure' they no longer have value or intrest for the group.  I bet if Jesus was still 'alive' and was the leader of a group, HE would be telling his followers, to support and love those that are waffling, because they are the ones who need to hear his message and feel his love the most.  But here?? No....tow the line or ye shall be shunned.  Whisper or SHOUT against the name and ye shall be burned.  God....I wish more people truley understood your love....I know I do.

From Michelle....you know who I am....the ever constant angry waffler.....Luv Ya Big Guy!
Thanks for all the gifts, friends and love you DO share with me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jueli's Journey

Blast from the past....this is Jeuli.....a rescue from years ago. She is the 'bucking' horse that was chosen by Chris Cox for a bucking horse demo at the Western States Horse Expo. She is now doing 3day eventing with her new owners. I miss her and wish I could have gotten thru MY trust issues with her. Anyways...this was also my very first online video that I made. She was starved and her winter fur made it hard to see in the pics, just how skinny she really was. She turned out to be a very beautiful horse, and would have jumped the moon for me if I asked her.....she really thought I held all the stars in my heart. I miss her!

Monday, December 27, 2010

5-5-5 I am soo mad.....rescue rant!

Well here goes, it was bound to happen that I one of my rescue operations were going to finally piss me off to the point I can't hold back.  So we rescued a $3500 Bull dog today.....and let me say....price per pound....about a dollar!  This dog is so fat he can barely move, breath or sleep.  Meet Bruiser.  He is 6yo, and clearly a big boy.  His nails were curled back under his paws and he could barely walk to the end of our driveway.  Bout as laid back as a dog can get, but he doesn't even know his own name.  He acts like he has never BEEN called anything.  He loves attention.  He was filthy greasy dirty.  I just can't understand why anyone would pay $3500 for a dog they won't take care of.  Clearly he was fed....but that appears to be it.

So I would really like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that OVER feeding is just as unhealthy as UNDER feeding.  If an animal is so fat it isn't functional....it is tooo FAT!  They do not have the ability to go to the store buy the food and over/under feed them selves.  Animals suffer the same types of disease from obesity that humans do, one of which is lethargy, which just exacerbates the problem.  Proper low carb diets are in order for all animals as sugars create insulin problems in animals as well as humans.  PLEASE take the time to learn how to properly feed your animal BEFORE you take it home.

Bruiser will be looking for a new home near immediately, we just could not leave him behind.  Being that English Bull Dogs are generally 'special' needs, we will be screening carefully for the right home for him.

We now have 5 horses, 5 cats and 5 dogs.....where is Dr. Doolittle when you need him?

Friday, December 24, 2010

The REASON behind the reviews

Ok, so whether or not anyone can read between the lines or not, I was having a bit of.....difficulty.....on my PNH journey.  In many ways.....my car accident, the surgery, constant pain, tasks, levels, auditions, relationships, biomechanical correctness, Catwalk, feeling like a failure, depression, some 'domestic" issues, corporate policies....."holy crud batman......this is a long list.....how can you continue on?"

I started to seek help elsewhere, and not one to jump ship in the middle of the ocean, I much prefer the idea of waiting until we dock at the next port of call, and safely arive to shore!  So I took the advice of some other 'friends' on where I ought to start looking.  I wanted advice from others that I knew.....were studying and taught the same things that I believe in.  There really was no one place to come and gather 'objective' reviews of the 'available' material.  I have few options for 'live' instruction, so dvds and books are all I have to go on.  So I figured....If I am doing a mad dash rush through a long list in my giddy-up que....taking notes for myself....I may as well share my observations....from a parelli students perspective.

I know no one is perfect, and I know why most people ARE parelli students.  they are looking for a great relationship with thier horse.  Pretty Plain and Simple.  I am on the hunt to find other methods and techniques that are along the same line as parelli, certainly not the polar opposite.  I am not looking for a replacement in the sense of ONE person to follow.....EVER again.  NO one has all the answers.....but I am re-disovering that Parelli comes the closest to my horsemanship morals and to the ideals I hold dear.

So I hope these reviews are helpful, but as always, they are just MY opinions of the things I am observing...and my self discoveries while I am reading.

May each of you find peace and love and beauty with your horses, with out force or fear.

Savvy On

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DVD Review:** Nevzorov "Haute Ecole Principles"

Nevsorov Haute Ecole Principles. **

First let me start with....

The Good: 
I must say that the production of this film is top notch beautiful as though the money spent was for that of a box office hit.  The imagery and mastery of horsemanship are not to be missed.  You may not learn a whole bunch as it is clearly not educational in the traditional sense, but I think for the higher level student, there is something to be learned in just watching. His horses mover more correctly than any I have seen in quite some time, and all with out means of restraint.  No halter, no bridle, just a cordeo (rope around base of neck NOT near the head) and when lunging a lunge line.  The horses are taught to self collect, and are given the time to build these muscles correctly by not asking too much too soon for too long.  Careful consideration is given to building an athlete with out losing the horses innate spirit and sense of play. 

He gives an indepth description of how to use a cordeo safely, and explains just how vulnerable the horses trachea is to severe damage, in the area that most lasso's are placed when roping a horse.  You can clearly see that his use of it is VERY light, and most of what he does appears as if nearly by magic.  However I know better, and know there is alot of time put into the communication he has built.

He advocates giving frequent breaks for 'free play' that encourage a horse to be more willing to work hard and concentrate for short periods of time.  He also has a very kind way of 'touching' the horse with a twig and shows many examples of his touch.

The Bad:
He does give some very 'scientific biomechanical' explanations....so get out your horse anatomy atlas to interpret.  He is very against the use of halters as according to him they destroy balance.  Can't say that I can argue with him as I have never taught a horse in halter what he can do without one.  But that doesn't mean I am going to toss all mine in the fire just yet.  It's all fine and good within the confines of your own private indoor school, but when you are speaking of the liabilities of safety that most of us are limited to adhere to....a halter does make a bit more prudent if not 'legal' sense.  He goes on to remind that the lunge line should only be used when the horse is already well trained in hand.  In other words, lunging is dangerous to the horses body unless both the handler and horse are well trained. Hmm, after watching his horses 'lunge' how can one argue.  while maybe not practical for new owners, or even owners of good and decent education......HIS horses were stunning to watch.  Also not practical for the 40 and fat group is his own extended trot to match the horses extended trot.  It well make take me another 40ys to get that fit again!

The Ugly: 
He actually advises letting a highly charged stallion gnaw on him with NO reprimand.  To merely move on to the next move.....lethal at best for an inexperienced horse person.  Luckily HE is a master and handles it beautifully, an art form everyone should strive for.....At least he does give a warning at the begining that this is not an educational movie, and no attempts should be made to duplicate it without first understanding the schools principles.....Problem is....this IS his only 'educational' dvd ABOUT his principles......he apparently made it so he can say...."You're wrong in what you do, I am right in what I do.....but I will never reveal my secrets."  Now knowing how he feels about ALL things traditional, even in the new NH sense of the word, I have to say it is quite egotistical of him to think laying a horse on it's back for that long.....IS in any way natural or comfortable or biomechanically correct for the horse.  Tit for tat I guess, like a spade calling a spade....a spade.

CRAP....what's a girl to do??  Guess I will have to continue on in my mediocrity, because if this man had his way, us forty and fatties would be allowed to breath within a mile of a horse much less own and train one.  Sad thing is I would gladly send him money to learn how he teaches the "self carriage".  Oh well, my money stays just as green in my pocket his does.....he he...At least I learned a few things watching it and was mezmerized at it beauty.  He is a master horseman, there is no doubt of that.  One for a budding dressage queen to admire and aspire to for sure!

I have to say I only give this 2 stars as, only an upper level student will likely even be able to notice all the subtle and intricate communication, or understand the biomechanical correctness he strives for.  If you want to see what it online should look like....I give it 4 stars.  But have to knock it back to 2 stars for the fact that he doesn't tell ya HOW to do it.....

Savvy On

Monday, December 20, 2010

DVD Review:*** Karen Scholl: Trailering for Women

Trailering for Women ***

I really enjoyed this dvd.  There is a little issue with sound quality, but not enough to make in-audable.  I like her way with horses, and she is very clear in her descriptions.  She explains every detail, and is very thorough.  It reminded me of a few bad  habits I need to fix and gave me a few ideas for my trailering with Cha'cote, which is the reason I got it in the first place.  I will say that she is very in line with Parellil methods, but there is enough different about her that it gives a new perspective on technique, which I really enjoyed.  More tools in my tool shed of knowlege.  Who doesn't need that.  But since it is so similar, I only gave it 3 stars as it mirrors close enough that you 'could' live without it.  But if you are having trailering issues??.....I give it 5 stars.  She covers getting prepared prior to starting the trailer loading, the trailer loading itself, and how to CLOSE THE DOOR!!!! the one thing most others do NOT talk about, and the one thing Cha'cote doesn't want me to do!

She has a great perspective on the 'try' that I admire and found refreshing. 
She talks about how we need to convey to our horse, through our handling the message that "it is important for you to get on the trailer".  Not because we said so, but because his very life depends on it.  Just as we would not let him step off a cliff.....it is 'important' to listen to us.  I like a tid bit I saw in a 'bridging' piece of student just playing with thier horses, that she doesn't appear to teach strong phase 4's.  I like the way she backs a horse.  It is soft and supple and pain free. She has a great way of sending and disengaging and is great at desribing the how of it.  she also does not believe in letting the horse take off and go at a RB pace.  she when she ask the horse to go, she expects him to leave quietly.  REALLY like that!!  No screaming demons racing around you, wondering when they will ever wind themselves down.  When it comes to the trailer loading she is quiet and has some really great tips for tying IN the trailer and closing the door.  I think anyone with trailering issues should check this out.  Even if your 'issue' is just wanting to know the safe in's and out's of trailer loading and hauling, this is a gread dvd.

I enjoyed it enough that I will be viewing more of her dvds as I would like to see her perspective on a few other things as well.  Have trailer......'got savvy'??  She does!

Savvy On

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Zone 5

Well things were even more confident today...I noticed I need to give a bigger break and release the try for longer, but all in all he did really good. Today was the first time I was ever able to reach his tail with the hose....no more squirting between the hind legs. he got got his legs and tail washed, mane trimmed, tail banged....hims purdy now! He also even got on the pedestal all by himself when we had the tractor going....so cute!

This video shows me too, and shows me expiramenting with different techniques and strategies. he didn't want to put his left hind on there today, so we finally got it in the end. he did not get both on together...but thats OK!

Savvy On

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beginning zone 5 touch it

So my last two sessions with Cha'cote have been starting touch it with zone 5. Got a really rocky start....which is what told me how badly I needed to do alot of it. At first the closest zone5 could confidently stand facing the trailer was about 25-30 feet and a couple of feet from the pedestal. Last time we ended with one foot at a time backing onto the pedestal. This time we easily got 2' from the trailer and inched our way to about a foot from the trailer. we started out pretty easily getting one hind foot on the pedestal, and also backing over a log. He backed the front feet over the small jump and of course when the camera wasn't on, he backed both feet onto the pedestal.....wooo hooo. He is getting WAY more confident already with his feet, and thinking while purposefully and slowly moving his feet, rather than reacting and quickly taking them off of something.....yeah! Will try to get more video tomorrow

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DVD Review:***** Mark Rashid; Finding the Try

Finding the Try *****
This is a VERY good dvd.  When we talk about approach and retreat, releasing on the slightest try….in order for that to be effective, I guess we ought to know what a try looks like….shouldn’t we?  In this dvd, he gives a pre warning that it isn’t a ‘how to’ on the exercises, but rather simply for looking for the try during the exercise.  So that in and of it self is amazing, because it isn’t about….you MUST do it MY way.  It is simply….this is how I do it, might not be a bad idea if you did it too….but lets look at the horse and look for the try.  He also does not point out all the tries, as he wants YOU to be looking for them. 
Having said all that, it is pretty good ‘how to’ of a few very basics, that all our horses need to know.  Such as:  Halt, Rein back, yield hind/fore quarters, impulsion, and collection.  All from the saddle.  What I loved about it is that he is so soft and so subtle, he HAS to point it out to you or you won’t see most of it.  Don’t we all want to be so quiet, with the smallest aids, that no one else can see them and they thing it pure magic??
In watching it, it became glaringly clear how few of us really do see and reward the beginning of a try.  He also doesn’t do phases, so to speak.  He will if he needs to, yet he just seems to never really need to, because his timing is so impeccable that the horse gets it sooner, and thus no need to go to phase 4.  In the dvd he uses an old trained horse that needs some refreshing, a young filly with only 10 rides on her, and hard headed Belgian that doesn’t want to stop or go.  He does all the exercises with each of them, and I was amazed at the lighting fast results he got with that Belgian. 
Throughout the dvd, there was little to no fight, because of the way he views the horses response.  When he asks a horse to do something, and the horse doesn’t give the desired response, he doesn’t see it as a wrong answer, thus does not argue with that answer, and considers just about anything a horse does is a “try”.  The horse IS trying.  He is doing ‘something’ to try to figure out what it is we want from him, so making him feel wrong will only cause resentment towards you.  Now this doesn’t mean let a horse drag you around or run you over or buck you off….nothing that drastic…..but the core difference is in by using a whisper in the first place, and rewarding even the ‘thought’ of doing the right thing, you just never get to that place where the argument leys.  Your horse is more confident and more willing to stay calm as you are not creating a stir in the first place.
Another refreshing point to the dvd is him showing the try in the impulsion department.  I have never been a fan of saying that a horse has to drop gait in order to correct him. I agree that you have to wait for him to make a mistake before you can correct it.  Not doing so is a part of micro management.  However, there are 4 gaits within each gait.  In trot, there is the working, collected, medium and extended trot.  If you ask for a working trot, and your horse breaks to collected…that IS a mistake and break in gait, and should be corrected. And vice versa if he breaks to a medium trot when you ask him to maintain working trot.  He gives a VERY detailed example of this….I loved it….as this is so often mistaken for micro management.  Sure when you have a young, green or spoiled horse, you have to start with just maintaining the 3 basic gaits, but you really should quite quickly be more particular about which trot you ask for, or walk or canter.  You will have a more emotionally fit, supple, obedient, and biomechanically correct horse, and thus less chance of lameness in the long run.
Now the one thing I found annoying was the kissing, but he stated before he started that you could use seat and leg rather than voice, and I think he used voice because it is an aid that we all could tell he was using, and thus be able to see the try or lack there of, immediately after the cue.  But it does reinforce to me….that it is not going to be MY primary vocabulary….it is just annoying….but it is a good example that it is effective.
I loved his simplicity in the lateral work, and his technique in particular for yielding the forequarters.
I think ANYone, regardless of their level….should watch this dvd before you place your rear in the saddle.  It honestly will save you a whole lot of time arguing with your horse, because you missed the try!

Savvy On

Monday, December 6, 2010

Am I missing vital puzzle pieces?

I said in an earlier post about god giving me the pieces to the puzzle so far apart, that I can't make the picture out or what the relationship is from one piece to the next.  I am somehow missing....the big picture here....pardon the pun.  I did a little high tech project here to explain how I feel right now.  Lets suppose I saw a picture, and I liked it so much, I bought it.  But it was a puzzle that I had to put together myself.  Here is the picture on the box. 

I get the box home, I open it and start puting it together.  All the pieces are falling into place, just as I was told they would.  But then one day I notice I have an incomplete picture, kinda like this.  I look everywhere, and the missing pieces are no where to be found.  I call the store and they tell me that all the pieces are there.  But I can't find them, so I start to think it is my fault, that I some how lost the pieces myself.  Not a big deal, since I am told the missing pieces are not vital, and I still have a very nice picture.  And when people look at my puzzle, this is what most of them see, a pretty nice picture.  It is almost complete,and most people don't even have half of thiers done.  I am doing pretty good, BUT if I want a new picture, I will have to have all my pieces in place.

Well, since I decide, I want to get that other picture, and they do not have the pieces to help me complete my picture, I muddle around, desperately making up the pieces myself.  I do a pretty good job of filling in, but lets face it, it is kind of obvious that while all the holes are filled, something is still missing.  I figure it is still ok, and I can get by with this.  I am still nearly done, and gratefull I have made it this far.  And a few people see my puzzle like this.  Pretty darn good.

But as time goes by, I start noticing, that my picture has no essence.  The story is not there and the picture doesn't make any sense, the meaning is just not there.
And the harder and closer I look, I see that the pieces that are missing are so vital, that with out them I cannot have the picture I dreamed of and that since I never had these  pieces all along, that maybe it was my imagination or that I was being naive in thinking that they were ever in the box to begin with, as I was told for so long.  And upon further examination, my picture really looks like this.  Most people do not see the picture like this.  They cannot see, what I can so easily feel.  They are still building thier puzzle, and havn't run out of pieces yet, so they don't even know they are missing.

So of I went on a quest for the missing pieces that I just can't get at my local store.  For some reason, they either have never seen my pieces, or they are holding them back for some unknown reason.  But that's ok.  I am finally at a place that I can say....that's ok.  I found a few stores that keep them in stock.  I may have to do some running around to get each and every piece, but at least I know they exist now.  They are not a fantasy, they were not my imagination as I stand here looking at the first piece in my hand, I know I have never seen anything like this before.  And guess what, I had one of the pieces myself all along, and lost it so long ago, that I couldn't even remember it.  But, I lifted up the couch, and found it right there, all along.  Now that I have expanded my horizons, God is throwing those pieces at me faster that I know what to do with them.  And the funny thing is......Finding these pieces is giving me a whole new picture to play with.  How long did it take you to notice the picture changed?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Whole Heart: #3 Perceptions pt2 What am I doing?

So what IS my quest?  Level 4, to get back what I once had.  The Journey to the Black String.
But why am I so catatonic?

There I was, on my journey, so clost to my goal, my first destination, I could taste it.  Then...WHAMO...my life turned upside down in a flash.  A flash that has blinded me for far too long.
I thought my mistake was thinking I could just pick up where I left off.  But that didn't give me the result I expected or desired, and I was devestated.  The harder I tried, the worse it seemed to get.  And now I think I know why.  Not that I haven't uttered those words before...but God keeps giving me the puzzle pieces so far apart, that it is hard to see the picture in my mind.  At the very least, I got another piece of the puzzle.

I can't remember how I got to level 4 in the first place.  Why is that? I know some of the obvious reasons.  But now I know the subtle reasons...the reason that really matters.  Parelli has a map for success.  A pretty good one too.  Obvious reason #1....They keep changing the lay of the land on me.  #2 the tour guide is often not available or helpful with the lack of an in depth look at L3/4 education.  But that is not the real problem.  At least I don't think so anymore.

After completing chapter 1 of this book, it has revealed to me a revelation about my journey.  And all journeys really.Ya know how google maps you type in your current location and destination and it gives you the directions?  And how you can drag and drop your path to choose a different one?  That is how the levels pathway kinda is.  The problem is, it doesnt account for detours, traffic jams, pit stops....you know....the 'what if you dont get the results you think you should be getting"

Mark reminded me, that results are just that.  They aren't good or bad.  Just valuable feedback that will direct you to your next move.  This is how I got so stuck.  Stuck because I thought my results were bad because they didn't yeild me the outcome I thought they should and thus reacted negatively toward them.  Rather than view them the way I did the first time I traveled down the road to L4.
"We need to remember what the horse offers in response to our request, is simply information, nothing more, nothing less"  It isn't wrong or right.  It is just information to help us decide what move to make next.  Kinda like a Tom Tom navigator.  If we deviate from our predescribed route, it keeps us on course by giving us directions from our new 'current location'

because it was so long ago, I can't remember all the little detours we took along the way.  Each little nuance....request I made....her response to each request, that led me to the next step.  Since I was learning, I had no arrogance or ego, underlying my interpretation of her response.  I have been so busy trying to stay on the predetermined route, that I was ignoring my horses response.  I just kept making all right turns, and ultimately going in circles ending in the very same spot, all in the name of trying to get back on this predetermined path.  How on earth can I remember every little spot I placed each foot, of every step of the way the first time I traveled this road?   And really, even if I could, the problem is, each of those steps were taken because of what ever response to her feedback in the moment, and thus not appropriate for THIS step, THIS time.  I need to pay attention and navigate myself, based on todays response, to this moments request.

So on this path, this time, how do I plan my route?  What requests will I make?  What IS my destination?  Until now, I thought my destination was a black string.  And ultimately it is.  But from where I stand, this is like charting a map to China.  THAT is a huge journey!  I think what I need to do first is figure a way to navigate out my driveway.    I need to have smaller trips in mind.  Smaller goals.  This brings me back to my success with Cha'cote and the 'why' I had success with him and not Rose.  Unlike Rose, I had no 'path' try and remember and duplicate.  He was a virtual clean slate.  I had no choice but to keep things small and simple, and take one day, one step at a time.  I had NO intentions of auditioning with him.  That seemed almost impossible anyways, so I never even had it on my mind, or the map.  And in so 'not' doing, I arrived there sooner with him, than with Rose, a horse who had been there before and has NO confidence issues.  Just like he says in the book...

"Those that don't worry about making mistakes, will make less mistakes than those who do worry about making mistakes"

So now I think I just need to pick a task & ONLY one task.  Probably go back to the basics....AGAIN...That's right, the 7 games on a 12' line, and the L1 patterns, and friggin do it right this time.  Try my hand again at those driving lines, something that has no memories to chase down. Not have some arbitrary reward in mind, other than that of the relationship with my horse.

For all intents and purposes, I am a better L5 than I am a L4.  Sounds wierd, right? But I know why.  I am a better horseperson now than I was 3ys ago.  How can that be, with so many failures in the last 3ys?  Kind of obvious now, and really only important to me and my ego.  But here we go anyways.  I have taught the 7 games to well over 100 horses. I have alot of experience with rank horses.  Having worked on 2 large TB breeding farms, RB extroverts are kinda my thing.  But they exhaust me. I have taken 7 horses through what is now known as the current OLL2. And of those 7, 4 thru what is the current OLL3.  And of those, only 1 thru what is the current OLL4. 

Since L5 is about specialization, difficult horses, teaching, training, colt starting etc.  I have been doing those since before parelli, so I do them quite well, it is only the subject matter that has changed a bit.  But I only have experience with 2 horses with L4.  Snookie in the freestyle and finesse, back in the day, we could have passed those with our eyes closed.  Turns out, I was quite "natural" in the saddle, before I knew what natural was. 3rd level dressage and bridless riding kinda covers the freestyle and finesse dept.  And since nothing I have learned in parelli is different than what I was already doing....guess I was doing parelli too!  And then there is Rose with the online and liberty.  Rose is my liberty queen and the only thing we havn't done much of is driving with 2 lines.  And here I am beating myself for something I don't have as much experience with.  I don't know why I am so hard on myself.....ego I guess.  I think I need to start treating myself like I do my students.  Focusing on what is good, not my mistakes.  My horses don't care what color my string is...why should I? 

So that is my revelation for the day.  Drop the ego, and give myself a break...we all make mistakes.
I wonder what chapter 2 has in store for me.

Onwards and Upwards to Savvy

Another obvious, is my complete arrogance that I know more than my horse.

Book: Whole Heart, Whole Horse by Mark Rashid

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Whole Heart: #2 Perceptions pt1... Here it come's...bring on the tears! Spooky scary.

Man this book is good.  I'm not even PMSing! I had to put it down because I started crying.  NO NO....it's ok...good tears.  I started the first chapter.....and his story (stories can be good for teaching a lesson I am learning) seemed to be going off on a path about something other than horsemanship.....but I was rivited.

Just before I started to read the chapter, after reading the preface...I was thinking about my session today with Cha'cote....as if pony palouza wasn't enough....the preface story got me thinking a bit, about why I keep getting direct line about the trailer, no matter how hard I try not to.  I mean, it wasn't all bad...and it ended on a good note.....zone 5 nearly against the trailer....but that was after I beat my self up for the hour I had just spent with him......somehow making the 'not about the trailer...ALL about the trailer"

His preface helped me to come up with the all too often, hush hush, not talked about EGO.
Even though I would not consider myself egotistical, I guess, in the end, I really am.  Not about my success's, rather my failures.  I stood smoking a cigarette, thinking more coherently than I have in a while, what if someone gave me permission to fail?  What if?? someone actually said to me...."Just because you are level 4 doesn't mean when you fail, we will strip your success right out from under you.  You don't have to prove to me that you are level 4 by gettin this horse in the trailer.....I can see that you are."

What if?

So I came back in, and cracked open the book.  Holy mother of all that is creepy....do you know that is what the first chapter is ALL about!?!  Basically, in this chapter....that is what he said to me!!!!

Of course he didn't write...."Michelle...it's ok if you dont get this mustang in the trailer...no one will think less of you".....but you get the gist.

He tells a story of when he was a kid, how a mistake of dialing a phone number just one number off, ended up so good, he actually grew up a little by whom answered the phone.

Moral of the chapter so far....mistakes are ok...and can lead to good things.

Wo why am I crying?

It is funny how we have such an emotional attachment to words.  How one word can lift you up, tear you down, or stike you so deep to your core that you can't even breathe.  That word for me was 'paralyze'.

He spoke of mistakes being opportunity for growth and goes on to say

"The problem is, fo rsome, just the simple thought of making a mistake can be enough to paralyze them into a state of inactivity and perpetual fear of the unknown"....MICHELLE

So, if anyone has read the header on my home page.....I state how my fear of failure has been.....paralyzing.

How on earth, could this seemingly "just a horseman" be so wise?

I don't know, but I am ready to pick up the book and continue reading........as it seems he wrote this book just for me....so I best get to reading it.

Savvy On

Book: Whole Heart, Whole Horse by Mark Rashid

Whole Heart: #1...WOW...I am awe struck!

Completely and utterly gobsmacked!  I just got my two new books that I bought, and I think I have just found an unlikely source of a philosopher.  I haven't even started the first chapter...just the forward and the preface, and I am touched to my soul.  What book is that you ask?

Whole Heart, Whole Horse
Building trust between Horse and Rider
By Mark Rashid

The preface alone has enough in it to cause me to lick and chew for a lifetime.  I cannot wait to meet him in the spring when he comes to town, and I am more than thrilled that I signed up for a 1/1 lesson with him in Nov '11.  Nearly a year, but something tells me, it will more than be worth the wait.

So it starts out with this seemingly innocent question he had in the early morning fog between sleep and coherent thoughts of being awake.

And how that very simple question, gave him a profound epiphany to his teachings and horsemanship.  His journey to the answer to the question is the sum of the preface.  I have to say that he is an excellent writer as well.  It just sucked me in, and before I could move on, I just had to share my excitement.

So here is the question, try to answer it for your self, and I will get back to you on his answer...it will most assuredly surprise you, as it did me!

"What is mightier....the Rocks in the Grand Canyon, or the River that Runs through it?"

Feel free to comment your answer, and the reason you chose what you chose.

Savvy On

Book: Whole Heart, Whole Horse by Mark Rashid

Mini Palouza Parade Pics

She was the best horse in the parade. Of course I am biased, but .....seriously.....We were able to go up to the kids lined on the street and let them pet her, what a great way to introduce horses to kids. She let a bunch of kids help get her ready and take her for walks. One kid was trying to gain confidence with animals, and we couldn’t get rid of him!

He took her for a few walks and gave her a bunch of cookies. I am so proud of her! She wasn’t bothered by any of the bows, bells or antlers…..and she was a perfect ANGEL, and I think she would make a wonderful therapy pony. She loved all the attention. So if anyone knows anyone who is looking for a therapy pony…..here is your girl! Not bad for a rescue, who kicked all the ASPCA investigators knee caps off! That is why I picked her out of the 13 that were siezed that day. 

Being the oldest, at 12yo, and the rest 1-4ys old, I figured she would be the hardest to place, and the most set in her ways and harder to train.  Of course she passed OLL2 with a 2++ 6 weeks later....but hey, can I help it if I'm gooooood....Just kidding.....better than what they gave her.....they had spray painted them all with letters to identify them, since they were all black.  She got the letter "B".....and they meant it!  When I asked if she was pregnant....the investigator said the stud would have had to be pretty ballsie to mount a #$%^& like her!
We still have no baby over a year later....and the way she treated my friends stud today...I'd say she was right!  More pics on my website click here

Friday, December 3, 2010

It’s not about THE…….Trailer!

It’s about the ……RELATIONSHIP!

How could I be so direct line? AGAIN!!! What the heck is wrong with me? Ya know that little predator just sneaks right in, without warning, and without notice. It takes hold of our thoughts and actions, and before we know it, we abandon all that we know, to get something done. Usually during a difficult task, that may take more than a few sessions to accomplish. So what I think is happening, is that it is soooo gradual, in minute increments during each session, that you don’t see how it is accumulating, until it manifests itself into a full blown predator palouza, that is ALL about the trailer….the relationship flies out the window….with us completely oblivious to what just happened. ARGH!

Cha’cote was getting in the trailer GREAT, once he figured it out. He was confident, calm and trusting while thinking his way into the trailer and he had no problems staying in the trailer as long as I didn’t close the door. Back in august is when it all started, and it was a 1~2 whammy to his confidence. First was the day I taped my OLL3 with him. My husband had removed the wheel chocks to use to protect his precious MG Midget, from what I have no idea. During the filming, Cha'cote got in, felt the trailer really rock, then decided since it hadn’t done that before….he now had good reason to question going in again. Then a couple days later is when he went on his very first outing, and that is what sealed the deal to our trailering doom and gloom.

The next time I went to trailer load him, he said “NO WAY….I know what happens when I get in there!” I had plans that day with a friend, and I got REALLY predator on him, and in the end we did not make it to our destination. It was one of those days that you wish you could erase from your life forever. So then I tried to kiss and make up with him, and you know the saying about RBI’s…..all he can think is…..’I knew I couldn’t trust you not to push me’. And he was right.

So I left it alone for a few weeks, then made my move. I did a lot of undemanding time/sharing territory with the trailer, and that helped a lot. We picked at it here and there, until he was good about going in again….but he still didn’t want to BE in there, unless I was in there too. Nor did he want the door shut. So here I am at a loss for how to really help him. I haven’t had an issue with trailering horses since my HUGE monumental BFO with Ann Kiser 7ys ago. In fact the opposite, I have helped a lot of horses overcome thier trailering issues, so now I am feeling like a failure and knowing I am letting him down, and my ego is a little bruised too.

Talking it over with my friend and student, I had some mini moments of mediocre intelligence, but it is genius I am seeking here. In the end, I reluctantly agreed to try the only solution that came to mind. It seemed reasonable, however, I know that technique will get you so far, it is the principles that get all the way home.

So how do you diagnose a problem? First you figure out the game or games that are broken. This is mostly comprised of the main three games…..friendly, porcupine and driving, and/or the principles and concepts that may be forgotten about, and then think of solutions, experiment with them, and compare results. What's so hard about that....right?

I think it is safe to say that it is obvious that the friendly game needs some help, not surprising since that is his hardest game. And the conccept that my friend and I kept hovering over is ‘making the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy’. But I have been doing that, and the usual technique of ‘a lot of work outside the trailer, rest in the trailer’ really makes him more right brain explosive. I told her the only thing that makes him uncomfortable and start to think about going in, is backing up. He doesn’t like any tugs on the halter, and usually a finger wiggle to back up, is enough to make him start going forward. So the plan we came up with is WAY more backing up than I had been doing. Maybe a few laps of yo-yo around the trailer would be in order? It’s settled, yo-yo is the technique, and discomfort/rest the concept. Not exactly genius.....but it was the best I had to go on at this point.

Now I hadn’t had a chance to work the theory out in practice yet, when I come across a thread on the forum that seemingly has nothing to do with my problem, and only read it by chance anyways. I had skipped most of the responses, but something made me read one of them….and low and behold the lights started blinking and fireworks bursting in the sky. Hmmm….it’s not about the…..trailer! How on earth that one left my brain is beyond me.....but at least someone jogged my memory! Someone mentioned playing the touch it game with zones 3-4-5. He touches the trailer really well with zones 1-2-3. Why on earth it never occurred to me to do it WITH the other zones I will never know…..but…..does a predator really ever think more laterally anyway? I also learned something about myself. I am REALLY good with new horses or difficult horses….it is the ones that I KNOW can do something but won’t, that I have trouble with. And that is when I go all ninja predator. When I can’t understand why they won’t/can’t do something that they have already done to great success. Hmmm, now what is up with that?

Good news is….I have a plan, and just need the weather to help me out a bit, to see if I can put the principles before the goal. Plan: Lots of touch it with zones 3-4-5 on all sorts of things via yo-yo and sideways, and lots of friendly putting all zones near the trailer via yo-yo and sideways….ALL the parts of the trailer…..and lots of yo-yo around the trailer with rest in the trailer. And above all else remember….it’s NOT about the trailer…..it IS about our relationship and his confidence. I also promise NOT to push my RBI, and remember I have brought him a long way in a short time since I rescued him, neither of us are failures….we have all the time in the world to get in the trailer.

So there is my plan, fingers crossed….wish us lots of savvy.

Savvy On

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter juices flowing.....I need sun!

Well it seems that mud, muck and darkness are upon me, and here to stay.  The horses and myself depressed....so I decided to not let the winter be a waste of time.  With the dvd review thing I am doing, it is something to keep me somewhat busy....but....shippping times are slower than netflix....I still sit around waiting for them to come....SOOO, I decided to start a few books too.  I haven't read a horse book for YEARS.  I used to be found with my nose in one, every spare minute of the day when I was riding dressage. So I have a library of great dressage books.  I did read 'the far away horses' by Branneman a couple months ago and it was a delightful read, but not really an educational one, rather an auto-biography.  As someone said on the savvy forum today, more like lessons thru stories.  He is a great story teller for sure.

Well I signed up with some other members to do a book club, and didn't get my book ordered in time and will be behind them a bit in the chatter.  The first book club book is, Tao of Equus.  I also got Mark Rahids "Whole Heart, Whole Horse: Building trust between horse and rider".....So it seems I will be doing book reviews too.  Guess I should get one of those bookshelt widgets for here...I am soooo NON savvy with computers!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Not letting failure, make you feel like a failure.....

Pity Party alert....oh lord...what a day....good and bad.  Big achievements that no one would notice, small failures that stick out like a mutt in a poodle parlor, and of course EVERYONE sees.  So, I decided to take cha'cote to the lesson and playday, figure I could just hang out with him while I am giving a lesson.  Some undemanding time.  Oh boy....the success was that he ripped around, running like a fool.  It was so nice to see this quiet introvert cut loose with the boys.  Sure he was terrified to his very core at first....but they quickly learned they would never be able to sniff him, if he keeps running away from them. So they started mosying up nice and slow.  In the end, Cha'cote was the one instigating PLAY with them.  He even stopped off to see me everynow and then and hang out with me of his own accord.  Can everyone see my heart melting??  We played a little on line.  He got in the trailer OK to get there, not bad...not even 5 min.....My student made HUGE progress in the posting dept today....I was so proud of her

Jaws music inserted here.....

Time to get back in the trailer.  Now since we are having problems, this was not much of a failure....but with all eyes on me....I got nervous, and so did he.....I should have asked them to take thier chatter far, far away.  But....my puny ego thought that would look bad or mean, or that in and of itself would make me some kind of failure.....so.....half hour or so of sheer tortuous patience....he got in.  For the first time I enlisted help from my student, for more than just closing the door.  I have to say, she knows me well enough, that we were almost working as one mind.  She did a great job, of watching when I release, so she could release too.  So that was a cool partnership and a success as well.  But I drove off with my heart sunk low, feeling like the worst of all failures.....Pity Party.......everybody dance now!

Do you know that lil shit, got in the trailer 20+ when we got home!  I think I am gonna have to find some help with this.....I am tired of banging my head on a wall with this and I just don't know how to help him.  I have some ideas for this week......or next weekend.  but the moral of the story.....who am i kidding, I don't know the moral of the story.....My student and I talked for about an hour, while I cried......she is such a good ass kisser!  But really, she reminded me of all my success this year with Cha'cote, the success' I have helped her with, and that feeling good about your self when you are successful is not egotistical, and feeling sad when you fail miserably is not self loathing......I guess there is a moral here.....it is ok to go there....just not ok to live there!

Savvy On

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Playday turns trailer day....good thing!

So I finally had another play day planned, and chose to take Cha'cote because it was a new place, with no toys, and no telling what the ground was like, so no need to risk a fall in the mud trying to ride.  My friend had to work, so there was not much time on the docket to play.  She was going to take some mini's to thier new owner for a visit, and bring her boy to play with while there and invited me along.

As happens all to often, a glitch changed our plans.  Her truck wouldn't start, so I loaded up Cha'cote to pick up the mini's at her place.  I was pleased that Cha'cote loaded well, though not the way I would hope for.  Ever since his first ride on his first outing, he has decided that the trailer is bad.  I had previously asked myself what is needed to be able to go on weeknight playdays with him....and the answer was....he needs to be able to go from his stall to the trailer and load up.  No warm up, no play time first....just get in and go.  So before the time changed, I used each night for nearly two weeks, to come straight home, grab him and go straight to the trailer.  Then the time changed and of course a few other things got in the way of going to a play day.  Anyways, once the door shut, he got worried, but traveled fine to her house.  When I got out to help her load the mini's in the tack room (btw i love my trailer!) I tried to comfort him through the window and he got worse, so I decided to just leave him alone and let him be quiet on his own.  He scrambled a little bit while the babies got in, and off we went.  10min drive, and the sun was already setting when we got there, so I decided it might just be best for him to just sit quietly in the trailer, and realize he was not going to die in there, rather than run into problems getting him back in.

when I got home, he got out in one shot, all 4 feet at once.  I disegaged him, and sat on the trailer edge, with his face in my lap until he started to lick and chew and yawn.  He didnt' seem afraid of putting his head back in the trailer, so I think this may have helped him.  It has been raining all day today, so I hope to either take him to another play day tomorrow, OR maybe take Rose and Snookie and go for a little bit of a ride.  Who knows what I will do.....I guess I will just have to wait and see if he will even be willing to get back in.  Sighs....I wish I had an answer for him...I really do.

Savvy On

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DVD Review:** Ray Hunt "turning loose"

Turning Loose **

I think this is a good place for people to start, who just don't think Natural Horsemanship is needed, or don't know what it is and why people do it.  Warning, this is OLD....don't know the date, but judging by hair styles and clothing, when it was made I was short in the tooth and wearing ditto jeans and velour shirts.  So I am going to veture to guess this is circa the 1970's.  Good God I think he may have been visionary, and been the very first person to make a VHS for sale!  Back then, round these parts, it was not a good time for the horse, and men like Ray Hunt, forged the way and elightened many a hardened cowboy, that horses are more than just a dumb animial.  This dvd is clips from his colt starting clinics, and has alot of interviews from people who learned how to be kind thru his tutelidge.  They tell stories of the horrible things they themselves had done to horses, and show alot of clips of just how bad some horses got treated....and sadly still do to this day.

Much of what he says in this dvd, we have heard from Pat near word for word, as Pat has given him credit where credit is due, this is straight from the horses mouth!  This dvd is primarily a comercial for Hunt and for NH in general.  Bout as close to a modern day tour stop from our well known clinicians if today.  So you won't find a whole lot of 'education' here, but you can ALWAYS learn something from everyone.  So those in higher education, will see usefull bits of colt starting and again horsenality.  Oddly enough, wouldn't ya know, he too drives from behind while circling.  I also noticed his approach to a filly in one clinic, and it is close to how Carolyn does "hello" in the waterhole rituals.  Do not approach without permission!  He calls it "turning loose", but he also uses the term for other things too.

For sure it will spark your brain juices, and remind you of what you have already heard before, but also to hear it from the horses mouth.  to see what can be done if we ourselves turn loose to the horse.  But I have a feeling that since this is more of a promo, that his other dvd's will be a bit more educational.  So because of this, I am only giving this dvd 2 stars. 

The next one of his I will get is "back to the beginning"

Savvy On

Monday, November 22, 2010

DVD Review:* Buck Branneman "from ground up"

From the Ground Up: * ~ 2 Disks

This was a hard review for me to do.  Why?  Because many post Parelli students can't say enough good things about him.  Mainly that he teaches much more advanced stuff in timing, feel and bio-mechanics.  However, most of these people have taken lessons from him, a clinic with him, ridden with him or a student of his...RECENTLY and are not in a colt start situation.....HUGE difference from watching an 18yo colt starting clinic dvd. 

This dvd set brings me instantly back to the "catwalk" incident with Pat a few months ago.  I don't think I have blogged about it yet....guess it is high time to do THAT!  But that is an issue for another post.  But the relevence here, to this review, is this:

During the "Pat and Cat Show" as it infamously became dubbed, I was on the Horse and Hound forum, and defended PNH, as I answered about 200 questions from Parelli Haters, explaining what Parelli is, what NH is, and trying to explain/defend some VERY old videos of Pat trailer loading (circa 1980'ish) Linda and Barney (the one eyed horse circa early 2000's), and Linda and the Grey Arab.  So I thought to myself, before I condemn a man for a video that is nearly 20ys old, I would have to give him the same respect I asked people to give Pat for his 20yo video.  Why?  For God sakes, they are 20 years old. I would hope that ANY horse trainer is significantly better now than they were 20ys ago.  After I watched the first dvd, I asked some current Buck students/post parelli students if this dvd was indicative of the man/trainer he is today.  Of course I was told no, it isn't....but I was also reminded that any good horseman will do what ever they feel is required, based on a split second gut descision, in the face of staying safe, more like alive sometimes, and what will help the horse make a change for the better, while hopefully giving the horse as much 'choice' in the matter as possible, and this includes the likes of Pat Parelli.  I have seen dvd's and video footage, not so old mind you, up to and including Catwalk, where Pat has done just that.  It may not always be pretty, it may not always be appropriate for the venue or audience at hand.  But being a master horseman means helping the horses who cross your path, WHEN they cross your path.  We can't always be so choosy.

As I have said in another dvd review, the dvd doesn't always reflect the "in-person" clinician, nor thier current teachings, and thus, this review does not mean I suggest that one should not seek out auditing or riding with him, which is highly recomended BTW!  And I was highly impressed with his trailer loading dvd, though would like to see how he handles a "Problem Loader".  But if the person also has NOT made any thing current, and they currently sell these old dvd's, I guess we are left with no choice but to judge them based on what is available.  Since I am not rich, and don't have alot of clinicians coming to my area, I can do no less than judge each dvd, from a "home study" student perspective.....the same way I judge Pat and Linda.  Either the material is suitable for home study or it isn't.  So without further adu, here is the review:

Part one: **

First, I would try to order these two parts together, as this one ends in a "to be continued" in the middle of a session with a horse....ooops.  so keep that in mind if renting, try to get them together.  The dvd starts with some difficult to hear audio, because the venue is aparently directly below a small airport!  This is basically a colt starting clinic, and the first thing I notice is that he is on his saddle horse, driving the colt from behind.....hmmmm, how interesting!  Remember in a previous review I said, most of the great masters, actually DO use the water hole rituals, in thier own version....again.....how interesting!

The next thing I notice is that since this is in the infancy of NH becoming "popularized" this is back when most colts were pretty much left alone, and brought in as rank colts to be started, so this is a real plus for Parelli students, that with all that we have learned, are learning, should we be in need of a 'colt start', our horses should 1000% ahead of the game, and not have to endure the harshness that even a master NH horseman can dish out, to save his own hide, while starting a horse that someone else did not prepare them for!  Do your homework people....

I was a bit uncomfortable with some of the harshness, but also know that when you only have a day to make a difference in the lives of 6 colts.....you become 'efficient'.  It was evident to me that Buck knows what he is doing, what he is looking for, and gives the release needed when the horse gives him what he asks.  Compared to some of the cruelest, all too common 'breaking' methods that have been done for centuries, this clinic did it's job of the time period, and showed people that there is a better way, and thank god, it is even better now than it was then.   As he is working with the first colt, in the background, outside the roundpen, are the owners of the next colts, and lets just say.....'oh boy' do they need to learn a thing or two, and clearly are in the right place at the right time.  The antics going on, and the ignorance of the handlers, use to be common place too.  Since most of the people I hang out with are either Parelli or well educated/experience horse people, thankfully I don't see this too often anymore, nor can I say it is me!

Buck is a buisness man.  He is about getting to the business side of the horse and not wasting time.  I think for more advanced students this is a good lesson.  We often are not confident enough, and cause the horse to wait longer than he should to progress.  We do tend to baby them a bit in our own fear or ignorance, and they can infact handle a whole lot more, a whole lot sooner, the better our own skills are, so this is refreshing to see one just get on with it, and not drag it out 7ys from halter starting to saddle starting.

There is definately some things to be learned here.  More experience for our eyes in charting horsenalities.  Looking for the change in the horse. watching for the foot falls, watching the horses body language (eyes, ears, tail etc) and generally seeing how someone else may do things, or what they look for. And just what might take place at a colt starting clinic.  Maybe not with our own horse, but someone elses who has not prepared that horse properly.

Part two: *

This one is the continuation of the ex-racehorse that he was restarting, who didn't want to go forward, from the end of the first video.  This was a good representation of alot of our horses I think, as many of us have some 'stubborn' horses.  Then there was a horse in this part that made it very difficult for me to watch.  I couldn't help but think that given more time, it couldn't be done differently, and what made it very difficult for me to do this review.  It is a 2yo stud colt that had been allowed to get so unruly that he was seriously hurting people.  I think few probably thought much of it at the time, though there were a few questions asked regarding my concernes.  It reminded me of Pat and Cat, and brought up some questions for myself, and reminded me, just why it is so important to help a horse before a problem gets out of hand.  The horse was basically choked down with a lasso.  You could see and hear him struggle to breath, with his tongue hanging out.  Some may suggest that the horse wasn't yielding to him.  But my answer to that is he really didn't offer the horse much other choice.  Yes he saved the life of the horse and human and the problem was solved in the end, but at what cost.  Nothing forced is beautiful, and this is little more than the very thing we all ran away from....with release at the right time.  Call it what ever you want.....coming thru.....but all I saw was a horse that was not given the chance to respond to a less forcefull request, so how on earth does anyone claim to propose what this horse might have done if ask nicer by a master.

It is this reason that I only give this dvd set 1star.  I think a higher level student, or those that rescue, might find more value out of it, for just what a horse might be capable of, and to see higher level solutions to more difficult problems.  But for the average udnergrad.....I only give it 0 stars, and advise if you do watch it, to watch with caution.

I was really hoping that I would see more ground work stuff, and not with vile unstarted horses.  I am told that his "Groundwork" dvd is more what I am looking for, so it is next on the list.  Also hope to attend one of his clinics coming up in april, and compare the dvd to the man.

Savvy On

Sunday, November 21, 2010

DVD Review:** Spanish Walk with Allen Pogue

Spanish Walk and Liberty Pole: **

Yet again, I had to do alot of 'filtering'  But I will say, it gave me alot of IDEAS.  And while I am watching it, all I can think of..IS....why in the HELL don't Pat and Linda do trick dvd's.  Absolutely rediculous that they don't.  As I watched, I was thinking of the many ways, I would have to tweak the 'training' to make it go along with the way I would go about teaching this to the horse.  The problem is, I did infact get inspired by watching this.  NOT because of his method, but because where else was I going to get the ideas on how to do something fun, cool, useful.  Yes, spanish walk is useful. IMO.  Clinton Anderson will be coming out with a 'trick' dvd soon, I think I will have to watch it too!

So here is the deal.  There are quite a few upper level parelli students doing this stuff, and I know it wasn't taught by parelli, but OBVIOUSLY the intrest is there, or students wouldn't be doing it.  I too want to do it, and think it would be a fun way to fill the gloomy winter months.  But I didn't honestly have much of a clue how to start.  So in this dvd, first thing i realized is that there was a pre-curser dvd I should have rented, which is the "shaping behavior' dvd where he teaches the "salute".  That is the pre-requisite to the spanish walk as it teaches the horse to raise and hold it's leg up.  But, I saw enough in this dvd, that I think I can go without, although I will rent the dvd.  Since I was already thinking of what "cue" I would use rather than his incesant voice commands, and exclusive use of the the whip, I got the idea of how to start the 'salute' anyways.

So how he does it, like i said, is voice and whip touches to the legs.  I would prefer to use MY leg as the cue, and the whip touch as the motivator (phase 2-3-4).  I would also like to stand facing forward, so this can be a "stick to me" "mirror me" game.  He does have good tips of what NOT to do, how far NOT to take it.  His use of his 'liberty pole' seems a bit unrealistic, though it works for him.  I can think of better, more natural and 'get in harmony' ways to do it.

So I am giving him 2 stars again, as I am sure there are better trick training dvd's out there, AND I believe there are better ways to do it as well, BUT as I said, 2 stars for getting my imagination flowing and giving me a starting point.

Savvy On

Monday, November 15, 2010

DVD Review:** Fundamentals of Trick Training with Allen Pogue

 Fundamentals of Trick Training ** 

Hmm, what can I say. Sometimes when you can’t get the info where you would like to get it from, you gotta go somewhere else. THEN you gotta filter a lot, and put your own spin on it. This is one of those video’s. Since I have not seen ANY other trick training videos by anyone else, I cannot compare just yet.

Is he ‘gentle’ NO. it is “abuse” NO. is it worth watching….hmmm good question. I think it will depend on your experience, point of view, what you want to do with your horse. I found it Interesting, and educational, but instantly knew I would not do it just as he described. It gave me ideas, and most of it was exactly how I taught Snookie years ago how to stretch herself. It showed me what I already knew, and the next steps to take, to turn the stretch into a bow. Some of his techniques I would say that you have to be a L4 student to try them, in case you get yourself into trouble, you have a better chance of getting yourself out of trouble the more skilled you are. He uses a hobble at some points, which I think you should be very skilled to try this.

I went to a students place for a lesson. One that has been needing to learn some ‘tricks’ to keep them both going as they both get bored quickly. I instructed her through it, in a modification using Parelli strategies, and we had her 3yo paint gelding LBI bowing in a matter of 10min!

So I would say that if you want to learn some tricks, this is not a bad video. No one says you have to be as….er’ um…..”to the point’ as he is. It will definitely give you some ideas on how to teach the bow, you will just have to ‘tweak’ things, which is why I am only giving this dvd 2 stars. I will be getting a few more of his dvd’s, the next one is the Spanish walk dvd. Then I will try to get another trick trainers dvd’s to compare technique and style.

Savvy On


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DVD Review:***** Klaus Hempfling: Coming together

Coming Together *****

Sorry for the delay, my mom had run herself over with her car a few weeks ago, and I have been spending a lot of time caring for her, along with 5 horses, a 12yo kid and a husband and his new puppy!

As I was watching this dvd, a few things started to fall into place with in my mind. It was kind of a light bulb moment, that with too much on my plate has caused that moment to get a bit smeared before I could focus my thoughts back into coherence. So what I learned over the years, is that when your GOOD your GOOD and your horses know you are GOOD before you do. And unfortunately, the opposite is soo true as well. But what makes you GOOD in your horses’ eyes? That is for sure the question isn’t it. The holy grail, all caring horse owners search a lifetime to discover and then hopefully master.

I watched the WHR’s first, then Klaus (dances), then WHR’s again, then Klaus (coming together). Since Klaus is more ‘mystical’ you have to REALLY watch and listen or you will miss A LOT. The subtleties of a true master can go un-noticed by the novice student, admired by the amateur, and truly appreciated as ART by the under grad student. I noticed, he too was doing the WHR’s, just doing them HIS way. And in fact, to a great degree do all the masters, in some form or fashion. This now undeniable fact, completely solidifies my decision to further my education beyond Parelli. As one practitioner may have just the right spin on the technique or concept that YOU or YOUR horse may need.

This dvd is much more educational than the first one, though as one used to the teaching style of the parelli’s, you have to have your pen and paper out as you watch (the second time) to take notes on all the golden nuggets of mastery that are in there. I think that this dvd should first be just watched, then watched again taking notes….think about your thoughts for a few days, then watch it again. You will see ten times more the 3rd time around after you have had that time to digest your own ramblings on concepts, techniques and philosophy.

This dvd will likely enhance all your beliefs on body language, and if you let it, it will take you to the a higher level of communication than you ever thought possible. It absolutely goes hand in hand with WHR’s and Parelli. And if you are a fumbling L3/4 parelli student who is floundering around with little guidance from your long held respected teacher…..this IS what you are looking for. If you are a L1/2 student you can still benefit from watching it, as it may give you a better basic understanding of body language, and just how important it is. And how it can directly effect you from the second you first approach your horse each day. The question you have to ask your self is not ‘how good do you want to be with horses?” rather….”do you want to be great with horses?”

I believe that Resnick/Hempfling/Parelli: is theTRI~FECTA of horsemanship as far as dvd home study goes. Clinics, lessons, and other forms of study are a whole different learning style, and a clinicians value can be drastically different in a different type of venue or environment.

A lot of what Parelli does, is similar to what Resnick/Hempfling does. Of course NOT in the current home study program, and of course with the Parelli spin on it. It is no secret, that I am NOT a fan of the current levels program. And I NEVER will be. The current pathway, separation of the savvy’s, audition, patterns, yeah sure great….but as far as levels packs go…My opinion is they were way closer to a grand slam in the beginning than they are now. One thing that always needs to be kept in mind as a Parelli student is that this is a FOUNDATION program for the HUMAN. Going on beyond L4 or becoming a Parelli Professional, means that you now TEACH……….. warning: hold on to your panties here………..FOUNDATION for HUMANS. You do not learn the icing. You are simply going from the human foundation STUDENT to the human foundation TEACHER. The subject matter stays the same. So for the icing at this point you MUST go outside.

So this dvd will definitely help you with your L3/4 online, and as we all know, liberty is not different, it is just the truth of your strength of bond and communication of your online. There is actually a lot to be learned here, you just need an open mind, and a scathingly critical eye to see the man behind the magic. He does give instruction in this dvd, and some of it, not much, is opposite of Parelli at first glance. But in reality of refinement, and mastery, it is frequently similar. The one thing that he, and most other NH’rs do, that is different, is that in circling, he does not stand still in the center. There is a VERY real and justified reason for this and I am going to blog more about this particular subject later, as what I am re-discovering from my roots, is that parelli’s definition of micro-management, is actually true harmony. In the beginning learning stages for either the horse or human, the Parelli version of ‘neutral’ has it’s vital place as a TOOL, but in MHO, it is not a RULE, and does NOT replace, negate, or substitute this other very legitimate technique. And to use”nuetral’ as the end-all~be-all, just may actually keep you from the refined, higher level harmony you seek. As I said, more on this later, I just felt it was vital to mention it as part of this review, because I don’t think we should dismiss another master for their lack of “Parelli style Neutral” as both have their place in horsemanship as an art form.

In one of your reviews of this dvd, I recommend that you look for similarities to Parelli and WHR’s, rather than it’s differences, in a positive and progressive mind set. Look and ye shall see.

I am reviewing this dvd one more time before returning it, and will continue to blog about my experiences and understandings of this very unique, honest to goodness, one of a kind, horse whisper.  And have decided I am going to have to buy this dvd!

Savvy On


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Horsemanship DVD reviews and critue

I started a new segment in my blog….dvd reviews. If you look to the left, in the Categories, you will see a link ‘Clinician DVD Review”, Just click on that and it will take you to all the DVD reviews I have done so far. I have been using Giddyupflix.com. It is a GREAT resource for valuable educational material. Rent movies like Netflix, and keep them as long as you like! Pat and Linda have really spoiled me on my expectations, as they have given me much over the years, and have left some mighty large shoes for anyone else to fill. I feel let down by the program at the moment. There just isn’t enough ‘how to’ info for the higher levels in the program, so I am forced to seek help from other avenues. It would be wonderful….for me….if Linda finished her version of the program and came out with a level 3-4 to complete the red and blue packs. Until then, I am getting exactly what I need on the outside. One of the things I find is a bummer about the savvy forum is that so many people are so uptight about not being PURE Parelli. So it is difficult to ask for opinions and critiques of other clinicians, as people are afraid to answer. It would be nice to have a ‘review’ that is coming from a Parelli perspective…..so here I am. I am getting close to 8 dvd’s a month, and since I have a critical eye, am full of opinions, and have no qualms in sharing those opinions, this should be no waste of your time to stop by and give it a read.

PLEASE: feel free to comment with your own thoughts or opinions on the dvd's

I will be giving Savvy Star Ratings based on its 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.

Don't forget to subscribe, or stay tuned, you don't want to miss anything!

Water Hole Rituals with Carolyn Resnick 4 dvd review
Dances with Horses with Klaus Hempfling
Coming Together with Klaus Hempfling
Turning Loose with Ray Hunt
Buck Brannaman: #1 Trailer loading, #2 From the ground up,
Pilates for the Dressage rider
Trick training fundamentals with Allen Pogue
Spanish Walk with Allen Pogue
Finding the Try with Mark Rashid

Curently Working ON:
Pilates for the Dressage rider
Buck Brannaman: Ground work
Trailer loading for women with Karen Scholl~in draft mode
Royal Approach…Malibu clinic with Cynthia Royal~in draft mode
(trainer of Shadowfax from lord of the rings)

Up Next:
Haute Ecole with Alexander Nevzorov
Horse talk w Cynthia Royal
Groundwork, ground driving with Mark Rashid

Down the Trail:
Horse tricks w Spanish Vision
Touching your horse with your heart w Wrangler Jane
Barn Manners w Chris Irwin

Savvy On,