"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, February 26, 2010

Flip that Horsenality

Here we are, Friday again, and it is raining…..AGAIN! We got a couple of dry days this week and we had a few back slides and a few victories. I have been doing a horsenality chart on him every two weeks, and it has been interesting, educational, and captivating to watch the change. I would not have been able to move so quickly with him, were it not for the theory of Horsenalities. When I first got him, he seemed extreme in every category of both RB extrovert and introvert. And while he flipped the quadrants in a nano second, he quickly emerged as an RBI. Had I not known that early on, my extrovert personality would have for sure been WAY too much for him. It helped me change my strategy immediately and move forward a lightning fast pace. I am an expert….EXPERT….at RBE’s. Snookie has been an extreme one for the last 22yrs I have owned her. I managed to survive her, and she survived me, as a young woman, non natural and basically just a dumb kid. I don’t know exactly how, but I know Snookie taught me so much, and the fact that I was successful with her before I became natural makes me proud of my innate natural abilities, since I learned it all on my own. No arrogance here, just a 40 yr old woman proud of the 20yo I once was. Anyways, his profile today looks more like a Dalmatian with dots in all 4 quadrants, rather than the one sided, highly uniform row of extreme dots, like orange cones on a highway, that it was in the beginning. Many sections are now so mild they are nearly on the center X. NOTHING falls in the extreme category, and only a few in the moderate. What I find relieving is how much he is moving into the LBE category, but the LBI is a close second. RBI is still dominant, and RBI strategies still work best…Don’t push or rush, and lots of waiting. A long phase one works magic and his phase 4 is still a whisper. It is EASY to accidently use too strong a phase and push him over the top, but he is getting an ever so slight stubborn side and I have accidentally scared the crap out of him, when what seems like a lot of ask on my part isn’t enough to cause him to comply, I go to a ‘different’ technique and start at too high a phase and ……FIREWORKS! But I love how quickly he is OVER things. I think he is a lot like Rose. Just a milder, less argumentative version since the RBI overrides and underlies, the LBE. He is also beginning to view me as his friend, not just his leader. He is touching me more, rubbing his head on me now and coming to me quickly without me having to ask him to. I can’t wait for the day, he waits for me by the gate (he does this) but doesn’t leave once I get there. He also is putting his nose in the halter, in fact seeking out the halter when I am not even ready. We have done two friendly sessions now with the trailer using pellets inside and undemanding time near the trailer along with the L2 online trailer patterns. A big step forward in our friendly game this week…..I got to enter zone 5 for the first time. Not touching him of course, I have no death wish. But I can now slap the ground and toss the stick and string over zones 2-3 (both touching and helicopter), while standing in and touching zone 4. So I took a chance and walked about 5 feet behind him while slapping the ground and safely made it to the other side. I walked 2 full circles around him. He moved his hind end a step and a half so he could more easily see me out of the new eye, but that was it. No fuss, no muss and the lead rope was just lying on the ground. A big leap of faith for him and me. I don’t know what the weather will be like for the weekend or what exactly I have planned for him, but of course it should be interesting.
Savvy On

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just go put your foot on something

We are moving along nicely in level 2 now. Really diggin in full swing. We are playing in all the L2 patterns except change of direction at the trot. But we are close to starting it. First we need to master it at the walk. I really noticed he is terrified of his feet touching things. So clearly we need to tackle this challenge from any direction possible. We started with a small piece of plywood, and he would NOT do it. While playing friendly with the trailer, he put one foot on it and scared the ever loving CRAP out of himself. So I dug out a tarp. Had him follow me and it until he nearly stepped on it, then spread it out for him. Heck no. He goes up to it fine. Sniffs it. Stands real close to it. But no feet. It dawned on me that he, being an RBI can’t handle being “pushed”, so I changed from a “sending” position in zone 2-3, to a leading position in Zone 1. Shazam! He felt less pressure with me 1:farther away, 2: in a less powerful position. Ie: I can’t touch him from there. Both front feet on the tarp. Woo Hoo! I was even able to walk away to the garage, get my phone and take a pic, and he stayed ON THE TARP! So we went to the trailer to play more friendly there. While he is willing to put his head in, he really doesn’t want to “explore”. Not that I can blame him. His only times into a trailer have been horrifying for him. So while my goal is to eventually get him in the trailer, my real goal is to change his mind ABOUT the trailer. So, I was not satisfied with his opinion of it. So I poured grain in there. But I wouldn’t let him get it on his own. Only if I sent him to it. ‘reverse psychology”. I put it from the edge….to just out of reach. In rows from back to front. I would send him to it let him have a few nibbles, then back him out. True to his pattern, try #5, he dang near jumped in. I stopped him though. I don’t want him to scare himself again till he is way more comfortable with the trailer. I would like to get his feet on some kind of pedestal first as well, something he has to step UP onto. Anyways, when I went to “retreat” he would not leave the trailer area. I loved it. I think a few more sessions like that, along with our sideways play around the trailer and squeeze between the trailer, we might be going for a ride in a few short weeks. One night when I put him back in his corral, he actually rubbed on me when I took the halter off. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, that he thinks enough of me to do that. He trusts me enough let his guard down and be friendly with me. While being rubbed on is not my favorite thing to receive. I have learned thru Rose that it really builds rapport with a horse. I do however draw the line, and not let them do it WITH the halter on. Those knots hurt!
Savvy On

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh no you didn't just tell me NO!

Now that he is more comfortable with me and his environment. He is used to eating grass, knows I will be back to get him out to eat more grass…..He is feeling less grateful and more entitled. Just like a domestic horse. I afforded him some latitude on the matter and figured in the end, it will all work for me and not against me. He has, after all, been locked up in a grassless environment for nearly 6 yrs. But I became the toady this week and didn’t like it at all. He was eating and actually told me NO, when I told him that his time was up. Of course, I don’t have to be very stern about it to change his attitude. So he made his little attempt at dominating me, and I told him….”nice try”. I discovered he is terrified of touching things with his feet, so we started working on putting his feet places lastnight. While he touched things with the side of hoof (wall) he didn’t want to touch it with the bottom (sole) So I finally just picked up his leg and worked on setting it there my self. In the end, got both of his feet on a piece of plywood. I had to keep telling myself….”don’t be a predator….. don’t be a predator”…………..”nose, neck MAYBE feet”. Gosh it is hard not to push. When one thing doesn’t work, I try something else, and I have to remind myself, he was a wild horse 6 weeks ago. The progress he has made is amazing. As far as Halter started…..it’s done. He leads like a dream. We started the falling leaf pattern and he was great at it.We are now playing in all of the L2 Online patterns and half of the L2 self assessment tasks. Who could ask for more? This weekend my dad is coming and needs help moving some stuff in his old house, so that only leaves me sat, and I have a bad cold….ICK! Aside from still playing in all that we ARE playing in, I want to tackle the putting his feet on something. I’d like to be able to put him in the trailer in a few weeks so we can start going to play days or at least to an arena where he can run full out.
Savvy On

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Forgot to write an entry...Sorry

I can’t believe I forgot to post an entry last weekend. Oops, Sorry! The last two weeks have had it’s ups and downs for both of us. It finally stopped raining last weekend. Yeah!, but then I had so much work to do. I played with Cha’cote in the morning for a couple of hours. I set up a little course for him. He is great at the weave and fig 8 now. We are working on the 22’ line, which kinda scares him a bit. He got away from me once while trotting, and ran straight into his corral. All was forgiven quickly and we moved on to solving a puzzle. I set up two poles in a “V” with cones at the narrow side and a ball between them. He kinda got the idea and moved the ball with his nose a couple of times, but he preffered to jump it than touch it. I stayed at it too long and missed my chance to quit on a good note. I hate being a predator sometimes! All in all things are progressing nicely. He loves to plant his face in my chest and have me stroke his head forever. He even got sad one day when I put him up, and was the first time he explored me. Sniffing me, and nibbling on the rope and halter hanging on my arm. I decided I had to get my trailer back from my friend, so we could start playing the friendly game with it. I lost my phone on the side of the road, after having left it on the hood of my car. We eventually found the lady who found it, AFTER walking up and down hills for 3 hrs. Then off to date night with the hubby. Sunday we got the trailer back and before we started to play with it, I got out a back of horse cookies and we learned the “sniff it” game. Took him no time at all to get it, that I was pointing him in the direction of peppermint LOVE! Now he sniffs things about 75% of the time when I send him to it. We opened the trailer door and just stood there with our heads in it for a while. His only two times in a trailer have been VERY traumatic, so I don’t mind taking the time to just hang out at the trailer.Monday was dump day, spring clean the tack room day, and fix the fence day. I was too exhausted for two days to do anything else.
Savvy On

Monday, February 8, 2010

A new horse

What a wonderful weekend with Cha’cote. I still can’t believe how light he is, and how he really puts forth a lot of effort into the “try”. He is hyper perceptive, but not hyper active. He see’s everything, yet is so calm. He does have his ‘I’m a wild horse” moments, but at this stage of the game, Snookie’s right brain out bursts are far worse than his. When he does get scared, he is over it quicker than it starts, unlike Snookie the everlasting RBE. When she goes right brain, she can take a really long time to come off the adrenaline. Many moons ago, it may take her hours even a day to recover from a serious moment. Not him, when it is over, it is OVER. I love that. I think a lot of it has to do with him being able to come out of the corral. Any mental illness he suffered while not being halter broke for 6yrs, he definitely seems to be recovering quickly from it. He is a new horse since his freedom to explore has been restored. I definitely wear out faster than him too. I think if I had the time, I could play with him for hours. In the last week, I have established a “training” pattern with him, that we take a good 2-5 min grass break between our 3-10 min ‘training” sessions. He learned quickly, that the more effort he puts into learning something, the quicker he gets to eat some grass! He is by far not stupid, and my front yard is starting to look so nice, since he is eating all the weeds and grass that the others won’t touch.
Savvy On

Saturday, February 6, 2010

RBI's Rock ~Week 5~ 2/6/10

7 days after his first mosey, he is an ablsolute dream. I remember, back when I was around 11-12yrs old, taking lessons at this big barn, there was a girl who had a flaxen chestnut QH. I was so in love with that horse. From that day on I wanted a horse with a flaxen mane. I almost bleached Snookies one time when I was real young, but I didn't. That was so long ago, I had forgotten it was a dream of mine as a child. Now that dream has come true along with the one of owning a wild mustang. I always thought, since having Rose, that my favorite horsenality was LBE.....let me just say that RBI's are running a close second now. He is so easy, light and low key. Sure, there is a wild horse just under the surface, but my God, I can't believe how well this is going. That first week that I spent with him, before bringing him home, I thought it was going to be very difficult. And at first it was. He was a hard nut to crack, but now that I got to the goodness in the center, I am in heaven. Having done the L1 basics and all the seven games in the corral before bringing him out, I think really helped. Today he learned 3patterns and 2 tasks, not to mention, I also dropped the rope numerous times, and walked into the garage. We even did a minute of liberty and I finally had the guts to pick up his back feet. All of that today. That is 8 new things.....EIGHT! I swear, I remember how hard it was to learn this stuff the first time around with Snookie. And how it was easier but still really hard to teach to Tiger Lily. It took ME 6+ mos to get the sideways game down. Hell, maybe even longer. By the time I got to Rose and Jeuli, it was getting much easier as I had by then taught the seven games to all the horses at a TB breeding farm. That is where I perfected my manners program. A condensed version of the games, to get unruley TB's to lead and behave in less than an hour. That's all the time my boss gave me for my "Natural Crap". Miyagi was little to no skin off my back, but this little mustang really takes the cake. I think it beats my dream of going to the Olympics. I have gotten alot of kudo's over the last 6 weeks for taking on such an old mustang. Had he still been at the BLM, he would probably be in Canada at a feedlot headed to slaughter, as the 10+yo, are considered unadoptable and go for special "authority sale". Basically, the "adopter" can buy the horse direct, and bypass the 1yr foster period before the sale becomes final. In other words, he would be in your beloved dog Mitzy's bowl by now. Any horse passed over at an adoption 3 times or over 10yo becomes "authority sale" eligible.
I don't think I will EVER get any breed of horse every again that isn't a Mustang! Check out today's video.

Friday, February 5, 2010

First Trot outside 2/4/10

What a wonderful week for Cha'Cote. He has been able to graze and move about all but one day this week. He has been stellar. We are now playing outside with the fig 8, circle, sideways and his first trot stick to me from behind. The tape is unedited, filmed by my 11yo son Jason. What a trooper he is. You can't see it in the video, but it was starting to rain and the wind was really picking up. Before filming began, Cha'Cote helped me dump his wheel barrel, and at one point took a few trot steps, so I figured I would actually TRY by asking him to trot. In the video are my first 3 attemps where he did NOT trot, and then three times where he did. He was very calm the whole time and had a nice cadence to his trot. Can't wait to see what we come up with this weekend. What ever it is, you will surely be the first to know!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wild thang....I think I LOVE you!

What a dream Cha’cote is. I cannot believe how light and responsive he has become. Just a week ago, he didn’t understand the components of a send, and was basically just moving away from strategically placed pressure. With the sun setting a few minutes later now, there is just enough time for me to take him out when I get home for about 10-15 min of grazing. The first day I put NO pressure on him what so ever, other than yo-yo so I wouldn’t get run over. Monday, he was a little hesitant to come thru the gate again, but it only took me asking him twice for him to come out of his corral. I asked for more yo-yo and farther away on the 22’ line, a few walk/back up transitions, a semi-send with a half circle and a disengage, and two steps each way of sideways. He was great. Lots of love and friendly game. Last night, he came out the gate straight away, he squirted thru just a bit, but nothing to write home about for sure. I wanted to just try a few little things with him to see what he would do. No expectations what so ever. The results I got………WOW…….. I was totally amazed. Very nice sideways, without a fence, about 20feet in length both ways. Good yo-yo, no more than phase 2 for sure, all the way to the end of the 22’ line. Then…..then…while facing me (first time for this BTW) I pointed and he followed, perfect send at the walk. He circled me 3 times and I disengaged. When I switched the rope to the other hand and just started to raise it to point…..he followed and went. He is so perceptive and clearly has an understanding now that I am not just some tall pile of mushy goo flailing about all the time, that he is to ignore and get used to. Tried each way again, same results, and about 12’ out on the line. When he came closer to me a couple of times and I raised my hands a bit toward him, he yielded away to a bigger circle again. All this and he did not get upset about a single thing. I think I LOOOOOVE him. He has never pulled on the lead once, and I have never held the line closer than 6 feet to his halter. He is not greedy about the grass, respects my space and my leadership and appreciates my friendship. I am totally amazed. After I put him away, I came in the house and looked at the online self assessment list again. We have completed L1 except for the touch it pattern, driving point A to B from zone2, and sniffing the trailer.

I realized that I have reached our first goal AND by the deadline I had hoped we would. Out of the corral by the end of the month. We made it by the skin of our teeth. So now what?

Well I guess the next logical step is L2. We ARE outside on a 22' line. I have decided to do all the tasks at a walk first, low key, low pressure. He is an RBI for sure. A few traits of LBE/I, but going slow and lots of WAITING are really paying off big. Until he shows me otherwise, I will be using RBI strategies. He doesn't seem scared (at times he is terrified) rather he is VERY non trusting. I think I have cracked the code though and have earned a great deal of his trust, just not all of it. Him being more gentled now, and able to go outside, I am hoping that the RBI strategies that I am using almost exlusively now will gain that extra bit of trust that I am seeking. I would like to get him in a round pen as soon as possible, but trailering must be conquered first.

Hopefully my friend will return my trailer this weekend, so we can start playing friendly with the outside of it.

I stand in awe of the horse, the horsewoman and the horsemanship program.
Savvy On