"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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Liberty w Rose at

just checking these old video's out for reference for my liberty L3 audition

Liberty Session w/Rose

just checking these old video's out for reference for my liberty L3 audition

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Smokey For Sale

My friend was sick, so I played with her mini for her to make a for sale video. It is the first time I played with him ever. She has done a great job with him. If I didn't already have to many horses.....and a need for another "mini' I would buy him myself. Adorable!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Days without a learn burn…0

Gosh darn it, it did it again. Another flippin’ learn burn! So I was playing with Cha’Cote after not having played with him all week due to his boo boo on his face. It is right where the halter lays on his face. At first he didn’t want me to catch or halter him….TURD! He shy’d at the BLUE halter and of course in the end, let me halter him. I only did a little on Saturday with him, as my son had a friend over for an all weekend sleep over and we were leaving early in the day to take them to town to see an Ice Hockey game. So Sunday, I decided we needed to learn something new. I chose jumping a barrel as that is basically the only thing left for him to conquer in order to be done with level 2, with the exception of a few friendly games. As a recently wild mustang and RBI, I am taking those a little slower.

We started the squeeze game with 2 barrels laying down far apart, then closer, then upright far apart, then closer, then laying down again and very close, then laying down together for a jump. I taped close to 40 min of video for my self….don’t worry, edited it down to less than 5min so that the other 5min is of something special that I will tell you about in a moment. So here we are playing with the squeeze game, all the other horse loose around us grazing, he decided to jump, knocked the barrel….scared the tar out of himself and split on me. In my mastered learning of just letting go, as not to hurt my shoulders or surgery site….AND….not get a learn burn, I caught up with him and stepped on the rope about half way up. Snookie scared him, he moved, I let the rope slide out from under my foot……and thought to my self….man my ankle feels hot (other foot) at that point there was only a foot or two of rope left and the damage done. Friggin learn burn on my ankle. ARRGGHH! Not too bad….but I almost passed out blowing on it when I applied the liquid skin medicine….YOWZA! All was well after that and he eventually jumped the barrel. We did a lot of approach and retreat….nose, neck, MAYBE feet. He touched and made noise on the barrel a lot with his knees and feet, and even investigated it with his nose a time or two. That is huge for him as he does not like things making noise when he touches them. So I was very proud of his bravery and he really put his heart into the “TRY” for me. Such a good boy. So proud of him. He also, found me cool enough to rub his head on my butt for a few seconds.

So here is the something special. After he jumped it the one time…..I quit then and there and took the halter off. He hung around, so I decided to play with him at liberty and see what would happen. OMG…we played hide your hiney, stick to me yo-yo……and ….AND…..drum roll please…………………SIDEWAYS! He had the whole half acre yard, with grass to tempt him to leave…and he didn’t. Well he did eventually, of course, but he stayed for almost 6 min. SIX MINUTES! All caught on tape, except for the unhaltering part as I figured no one…including myself, needs a whole minute and half of my big butt in close up! Anyways….I am sooooo happy. Once we get the jumping the barrels thing consistant…He will be officially a level 3 online student!

Here’s the video…enjoy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I am a blubbering FOOL

I am a blubbering fool right now. Snookie and I used to once be one. While I rode her, we did wondrous things so in synch, that no one else could see the cues. We were so in tune with one another, that I couldn’t tell where I ended and she began. She could read my cues by what felt like just a thought. Her legs felt like my legs. I felt like I was IN her body. I suppose I am lucky. Her career ended when she got laminitis so bad that her coffin bones almost penetrated her soles. It was a year before we knew she was truly out of the woods and would not have to be put down. That was 9yrs ago. I got an extra 9 years of her love. She has been barefoot for 6 yrs, and I have been her only hoof trimmer for the last 5yrs. She is old, but otherwise healthy. She has been my best friend and teacher for 22yrs now. I know her better than I think I will ever know any another horse. My best friend said to me that maybe it is time to let Snookie pass the torch to Rose. I think she is right. Not that I won’t give it a go. Expect nothing and accept what ever I get.I just feel like I bought a lottery ticket with my favorite lucky numbers. Held on to it so long I forgot I had it. Came across it in the pocket of my favorite old jeans…checked the numbers to discover that not only did I win the big jackpot, but also that the ticket expired!
Savvy On

Discouraged...but still hopefull

So I rode Snookie last night to asses where she is and what it will take to tape FSL3. Turns out a lot. Not training wise, but conditioning wise. In fact, I am not even sure she could do it. She is an old lady, and it is starting to show. Despite the fact that she lives on a hill, she is in no shape for something like this. At least not now. It is only a little set back in my fear of failure journey, but a big one in my levels journey. It leaves me with one of only two choices. Both of which will probably take the same amount of time, but only one of them could potentially get me killed. I can either start Snookie again on hill therapy and dig out her hoof boots, or I can suck it up and get over my fear of Rose bucking in the canter. Something I am not willing to tackle at home on my rock hard ground. Regardless, both horses need an arena for one reason or another. That =’s $$$$$$.
Of these compulsories, I have checked what should be relatively easy to do with each horse. Anything not marked means they will take time to accomplish.

_x__Open Gate
___Simple Change
N/R_Flying Change (L4)

Obstacles: (Choose 3)
____Small jump

_x__Stand Still
__x_Back up

_x__Follow the Rail
or clover leaf
_x__Question Box

When I look at it this way….it doesn’t look so bad. I just wish I could describe how Snookie FELT while riding her. It breaks my heart that my dear friend has had the youth suck out of her. She was a magnificent spirit in her day. And now an old soul. She is a wise old lady, but still nutty as a mouse in a snake house.
I used to make excuses when I first moved up here about my 5acre ranch. I had no arena, and no relatively flat area. Took years to get a good round pen, then I made excuses about how small that was. I would now give anything to have that place back. To have my round pen back. I would give anything to have the last 2 yrs of my life back without the accident. But I can’t, so I guess there is not use crying over lost time. I vowed that with this property, I would not make excuses for it, and would make the best of it no matter what. So one of the things I am thinking is that I can ride in their pasture on the hill instead of the flat front yard. Seems a little backward, but my thought is that maybe if Rose is cantering up a hill, she wont buck. Would require some big rock removal though to create a track. And clearly get all issues resolved on the ground. I am thinking that I also need to start putting my pennies together to make a playpen, so I can work on liberty stuff. I think I am going to survey the land tonight with a measuring string and see what I really have to work with. No matter what, I have to deal with the horse that shows up. I am going to have to start from where we are now, not where we once were. I guess I am just going to have to focus on both of them and see who gets there first. Now all I need is a plan. How to get from here to there? One is a communication/fear issue, the other is an age/conditioning issue. Last night I was quite a bit upset about this. Thinking of horrible things….like the day I will have to put Snookie to rest and then of all the wonderful memories we have made together….what a tear jerker moment I was having. Jeesh….she ain’t dead yet. Today I feel better though. Have you ever noticed that the best solution to our problems is usually staring you in the face, and you are too blind to see it. And once you do….you feel sooooooo stupid that you didn’t think of it sooner? I have such a fierce grip on the past that the future, and quite honestly the present too, is invisible to me. I cannot move forward, if I can’t let go. Oh crud, her come the tears again. I just need to take the time it takes……so it will take less time. I don’t know, maybe this is more of the fog lifting. A Crisper clarity of mind. But HELLO….Follow the dang program….IDIOT! I may have to brush up on L1….cringe…but if that is where we are, even if it isn’t….it is not a bad idea. DO the PATTERNS. Rather than aimlessly stabbing in the dark. Follow a plan, and start at the beginning. Hmmm How interesting?
Big sad sighs. I think I need to re-evaluate my goal of L4 by my birthday, and hope I can manage at least L3 by then. More sighs and a couple more tears.
Savvy on

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tough Love pt deux 3/21/10

It’s official. Rose had been making a CHUMP of me. Only thru clarity of mind was I able to cure it. If you had the time to view Saturdays video, you will see a marked improvement in Sundays. And I know now why I was unable to achieve any satisfying results last year. I was not emotionally ready to deal with anything. Barely physically, but for sure the one thing I was severely lacking, was clarity of mind. I was in a fog, still in a lot of pain from time to time, and grieving a few great losses. I was mad at the world last year and I was lost. I thought I had found my self, but really I was just living in a fake it till you make it funk. This has been a long process, with a lot of detours, to lead me to yesterdays victory. It has been like putting a puzzle together with all the wrong pieces. Yesterday, all the pieces finally fell into place.
Funny thing, I always tell people,….” Extreme frustration is always (if you are looking for it) followed by profound discovery”. Yet when it was my turn, I shut down and did not look for an answer. I am so glad I used the gold hot line for Cha’Cote’s little cantering problem on monday, because by the time they were able to catch me on the phone on Friday, I now had a cantering problem with Rose. hmmm how interesting. Both my wild extreme RBI mustang, and my well trained mid level 4 extreme LBE TB….had the same problem. HHMMMM…I say….How interesting? The advice I got for Cha’cote was spot on….teach him a better yo-yo game in walk and trot in the circling game. LOTS of transitions within and between the gaits. I hadn’t yet really taught him that….BRAVO….correct diagnosis, AND it worked well. So I slipped in my question about Rose before she could hang up on me. Her advice was to use a 45’ line, something I am not comfortable using yet. I cringed when she said it. But, we didn’t go too deep into it other than that, because I didn’t yet realize just what a huge problem I had until the following day. I had been confused a week ago, she was awesome and ONLY needed help in the canter….and it deteriorated from there.
Here is the cool part….this is a bit odd but follow along…the PP’s advice was wrong….for now….but I think in the end it will be right. Because her other advice about Cha’cote led me to discover the right answer in what is wrong with ME, so I can fix what is wrong in her. But before I can fix HER confidence issue about cantering in my crappy yard, (the 45’ line should give her the space to be a little more balanced and actually complete a circle in canter) I had to fix our little struggle for who is in control, and who is steering the ship on our journey. While I hadn’t taught Cha’Cote the yo-yo in depth on a circle, Rose has a great yo-yo, but it was broken(along with driving and porcupine). I was treating her like I was teaching her these things for the first time, and giving her WAY too much leeway and benefit of the doubt. And with each day, she was growing more and more militant. To the point where I felt like I was trying to push and pull a tank around. I was treating her like a baby, and not like the highly intelligent being that she is. So she was treating me like an idiot and playing some serious games with me, when I tried to regain control, just to see what I would do. Turns out not much. And that is when she started to take advantage of the situation. I watched Saturdays video about 10 times, and I just kept screaming at myself….why are you doing this?…why aren’t you doing that? And it became glaringly clear…..I was a CHUMP. I had no phase one, because I really had no phase 4. AND…get this…..the answer to my own little problem, is the exact same answer and had literally, just given someone else during a phone coaching session, moments before I played with Rose on Saturday. DOH! Talk about clueless. Small but Looooong phase one…..EFFECTIVE and fast phase 4. Couple that with working solely on yo-yo and do you wanna know what?….Canter became Rose’s Idea! Saturday, she was pulling…. constantly pulling on the rope, and Sunday there was slack in it! Saturday, I couldn’t make her GO-YO, ended up with a NO-NO, Sunday, I couldn’t make her whoa-YO, and hopefully tonight will have a nice YO-YO. I know things are a little hard to see in the video as we are a distance away. But what you will see, is that Rose CAN see every little thing I do, and is capable of responding, but was choosing not to. And I was doing little about it (even though I was doing too much….nag…nag….nag), thinking it was going to take time, probably a considerable amount, to get things back like they were. BULL CRUD. She is capable right now of putting effort into responding to my requests. Then I can choose how to respond to what she is offering me, instead of just giving me nothing. You will see, instead of Saturdays episode of ME putting a whole lot of effort into trying to get her to move…..ON Sunday….ha ha ha…..long small phase one (sometimes it’s so small you wont be able to see at the distance) and a VERY “just” phase 4. You will see her stand and stare at me like she is blind, then shoot like a rocket. Funny thing is….I only tagged her once…maybe twice…..Saturday she was getting tagged a lot, and I was getting less and less of a response. Not any more…I say jump….she says how high. Also, I would not allow her to come in unless invited and with a very happy look, not a crappy look!
Regardless, this was a big gamble, as I could have been way wrong, could have had her tie up, could have ruined the relationship, could have been reading it all wrong….again….
But I know it was right by the results. We went to the pedestal, and played sideways, and I was more ‘benefit of the doubty” because this particular game is new to her, and I could see her unconfidence and treated her accordingly. In the end, I took the halter off and played a minute at liberty and we did our first ever sideways at LIBERTY! Caught on camera too! Before the accident, this is what we were working on, in a round pen, and she would always bail on me. And that is when I was playing with her, at the top of our game, everyday. I have to be on the right track…just have to be. And I am thinking that Sundays session should be it in the extreme phase 4 department. I have a feeling tonight I will have a whole new horse on my hands. Possibly with one little reminder.
One last note….I am now absolutely, 100%, not shadow of a doubt convinced…..she steps on that rope to dominate me. My skills are no different with any other horse, yet she is the only one to constantly step over and on the rope.
Sorry the videos are long, but they are real time, un-edited, no holds barred insight, and invaluable as a learning tool to me to review as many times as required to find the problem so I can find a solution. I have somewhere 1000’s of hours of dressage riding on VHS. What a dork I am!

Savvy On

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tough Love 3/20/10

This video is of an epic struggle for power and control. Power over one another in a fight to the death over leadership. Subtle dominance games over the ownership of the cones, direction, speed, rope, feet and each other. It is long, and I am in my barney sweats. I look fat AND pregnant......but in an effort to share the difficulties of owning an extreme LBE, I thought I would share our play session you. You will need your savvy glasses, as some of it is so subtle it can easily be passed off as utter LACK of savvy. I did realize after this session, that Cha'cote put me in the habit of NEVER pushing, and boy I must have stunk the joint up with the stench of CHUMP! It was during the weave that it became apparent that this is NOT about us being out of tune and needing to take time to get back in the swing of things. Rose LOVES to put her nose/feet on things almost as much as she LOVES to go sideways, especially over things. She likes to sideways over an upright barrel. OKAY!
I knew we were having problems cantering, and when she started acting like she didn't know how to go sideways, I knew I had been HAD! She was acting like she forgot everything. couldn't back, porcupine, disengage you name it. First the weave...."I think I will step on these cones instead of going around them" All stearing was lost. My shoulders were tired from catching cha'cote last night, so I changed to another game....Circle. So then she tried to control the speed, then direction, and once I got her to canter well and disengaged her.....I don't know how, but she managed to get all 4 feet to stand on the rope! Her third favorite thing to do. After this session I realized all the other times she has done this in the past.....just not all in one session. So it became glaringly clear....these are big time dominance games. i think since I havn't played with her for basically 2 yrs. She is wondering who I think I am.... coming and telling HER what to do. I had spoken to a PP on friday, and she suggested my yo-yo was broke and BOY was she right. She said to work on lots of transitions within and between gaits. So it is when I got that going that she decided to take control of her feet all together and not move at all. toward the end, I ask her to stick to me yo-yo, and it looks atrocious....but if you could only know, that my phase one in this video, is normally her phase 4. And this is why I just had to say, enough is enough. I know you know this....I know you would never disrespect Snookie this way, and you will no longer do it to me. I had to get really firm to disengage her hind end (not on video) I am so glad I did. As much as i hate being such a Biotch...(she WAS getting cookies in between tho)....in the end, she respected me, and followed me around the yard including driving game at liberty no halter. She was light (about a L3 quality) and while it was not as good as it once was (L4 quality). It was certainly much more acceptable than what I was getting (less than L1 quality). I was letting this week get to me, and it took me all day to get the courage and desire to play with her. I hope I wasn't too firm. We will see how we both feel in the morning.
Savvy On

Friday, March 19, 2010

All is well that ends...er um....(well?)

Well this sure has been a crudy week for me. Tonight has gone right along with this weeks theme of terrible things that end....OK. Rose is fine. Wheew! So I plan on doing more with her this weekend. I will just have to back off a little on the firm, take a hit in the "leadership" "respect" department, so I can leave with a sound but slightly evil horse. After a dazzling experience at wal-mart, I figured I would just let everyone graze together tonight and play with no one......I will come back to that thought in a minute. I turned Cha'Cote out first and then the herd. Everyone was getting along famously, grazing and occasionally slutting up to him. Something out of a fantasy movie for sure. I came in and started to play on the puter. I remembered that I ordered pizza delivery and that they should be here any moment, so I ran out to put everyone away and open the gate. They were all in the back yard, and when I came thru the door, Rose immediately headed for the pasture gate with Snookie in tow. Hmmm, how interesting? She usually is playing games NOT to go in there. So I hurried along and nudged them thru the gate. Then I saw Cha'Cote in there. Ahhhhh, I knew it wasn't because I magically found some secret hidden horse whisperer skills. I shut the gate and rounded up Spirit and Miyagi. Just then the pizza girl shows up. Cha'Cote looked fine and all was calm, so I got my dinner and decided to eat before I got him out. Little did I know, it was not the right call. It is now pitch black, just slightly darker than when I put them away. However, I am now trying to catch a recently halter broke wild mustang, on a hill, with a ton of rocks, 3 evil mares and a nosey gelding, with a flash light. Hmmmm. He of course, was in the lower farthest corner. I get there and Snookie and Rose decide that he belongs to them, and I need to just go back in the house. I shoo them away, and manage to get up and pet him, get the rope around his neck, and here they come again. He freak and got away from me. Of course he makes it up the highest, farthest corner, waits for me, then heads back down. Lather rinse repeat........6 times. The mob followed him everywhere which didn't help. Each time he wanted more to come to me, I know I am the only safety he has ever known, but he was just to scared to trust anyone or anything. Finally, he let me really rub him again, and I really took my time before I went for the rope. Success. I don't know how a raging migrain is success, but somehow it is.

The second the halter was tied, he instantly relaxed, till we got to the gate. I love how when things are thier idea, it's not scary. How do I get him to squeeze thru a 4 ft gate, that he doesn't want to go thru, with out Snookie barging her way over him. I didn't really think acting a fool to get them to leave, would be productive for him. So I crossed my finger and prayed. The third time I asked she shot thru like a bullet leaving a gun. Yanked my arm.....I was hoping he would turn and face, which he did 20 feet after I let go of the rope to quickly shut the gate. Now in the light I could see he had a boo boo. Of course. I nice 50c coin size rub on his neck. Now I gotta go looking thru the boo boo goo, to find one that doesn't use ozone depleating aerosol.....you know the kind that scare scared horses. Nothing that squirted or burned to bad. Not that I have experience using and being burned by any.....dork....and none that were true goooo. Luckily, I have something that worked out great. Set it down and noticed a nice cut on his cheek. Dangit. He was not so appreciative of me doctoring that one. Did I mention his previous owners are coming tomorrow to see him? GREAT! The walk all the way back to his corral was completely uneventful. Whew. My head is now pounding.

Now back to my little thought in the beginning. Am I just kidding myself that I just wanted to let everyone graze, or is that this stupid shattered confidence rearing it's ugly head? This IS the first week of no rain and longer days. I have really only been playing on the weekends for months, which has been a huge improvement for me. Not alot of pressure. Doing what HAD to be done with Cha'Cote. So it was EASIER to do things, as they HAD to be done. Now it is just for my enjoyment, and includes Rose and moving forward with my levels auditions. Hmmmm. Too much too soon? I don't know. We will see how I feel in the morning. I am going with a friend to play with her mini and video tape something for her ad for him as he is for sale. Picking up a cradle bridle to try out on Snookie then coming home to get Cha'Cote ready for his visit. I was feeling on top of the world a week ago, what a mighty long fall this was. I think I have caught myself before hitting rock bottom. Only time will tell.

Savvy On


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Houston....We have a problem!

Holy Crud! Complete confidence melt down. Here we go again. Just when I think I have this thing nailed….**Kablamo**….something to shatter it again. I got home and pulled Rose out to play with her online to practice for the L3 audition and things just went from bad to worse. While I just recently remembered what I love about her…..I now remember what I hate about her. Well not so much hate about her…I hate what she brings out/shuts down in ME. She has this little problem of tying up. When it happens it is debilitating for her and she cannot be played with for months. Medicine, supplements for months after daily injections for a week. Here is the problem that occurs, that is debilitating for ME ……before she falls subject to the episode. Rose is VERY smart. Smarter than the average smart horse. Here would be a typical scenario that leads to utter failure or a lame horse, and in fact what happened last night.
I am asking rose to canter and she refuses. I get more firm and tell her she has to canter. She gets more defiant and stops and looks at me and wants to charge me or change direction. Again I have to be firm until she complies. The reason for this is because if I don’t, she knows instantly that she is the dominant one, sensing weakness in me, and it can quickly become dangerous as she has no problem upping the anti to get her way. I am fair and reward even the slightest try on her part….ie: when I ask for canter if she speeds up the trot…I reward by relaxing my body and stop asking…wait a few strides…..and then ask again. I do not have a problem being firm and not letting her bully me. This technique was confirmed on my OLL2 audition remarks regarding Miyagi….who is also a dominant LBE mare.
“as a dominant mare, remember that Miyagi will hold you to a high standard so be fair but firm enough that she says "yes, Ma'am!"”
So if Miyagi, a mild LBE holds me to a high standard, can you imagine the standard that Rose, and extreme LBE holds me to? I have heard it explained, that the LBE must believe that you are worthy of their efforts. That if you are not more savvy than them, they will not respect you as a worthy leader, and will not put for the effort in a try for you. I have always been mindful of this with her, and it has always been a balancing act for me, because if I get too firm with her when she is just being exuberant and playing, she gets highly offended. Firm with her has always been a micro fine line. And usually I only have to get firm once.
So here is my dilemma. The first time she tied up was after her very first long distance trailer ride, about 3.5hrs. We were in a new place, and the footing was a teeny bit deep in the round pen and it was a very hot day. We had been playing for less than 5 min when she refused to canter. At that time, we were so in tune that I couldn’t believe that she was refusing to do anything. So I pushed and pushed until she cantered. She only went about 5 strides and came to an abrupt stop and refused to move a single foot, but I then could see something different in her eyes. She was not being defiant, I could tell something was wrong. I went up to her to go put her away figuring it was hot, and noticed she couldn’t move her back legs, especially her left one. It took a half hour to get her to the stall. Where I then called the vet, diagnosis “tie up” and I couldn’t take her home for 2 days…thus missing my first day at a new job….eeeek! Since that day 3 yrs ago, I have been completely paranoid, that I will not recognize the difference between an attack and defiance, because I can’t tell the difference, and thus respond inappropriately. If my response is wrong, it could have devastating consequences. If I don’t push when I should, she knows I am a chump. If I push when I shouldn’t I could put her in severe pain. THAT BLOWS! So after I finally convinced her that she could in fact trot in a complete circle without stopping, and give me at least one stride of canter, I disengaged her and brought her in to me. Her back leg was moving funny and that is when I remembered. CRAP! The worst thing you can do with a horse that is tying up is make them move even one step. We just stood there. I felt totally and completely defeated. And I began to cry uncontrollably. I rubbed her and stroked her and played a little friendly game. Then took the halter off so she could decide when she wanted to move. She walked off almost instantly and her leg was moving fine, although it did look a little weird. Whew! So did I do the right thing or am I a CHUMP? The jury is still out on that one! I will have to check her out tonight when I get home and see how she is walking. She looked ok this morning when I fed. She has always looked a little odd in the back end to me, because she is the only horse I have ever seen up close, that doesn’t drag her back feet. They swing different than other horses, and the way she places them on the ground is different too.
Anyways, I then played with Cha’cote, just some light stuff, while everyone else was still in the yard. He was quick to stand with all four feet on the pedestal and his sideways is getting really relaxed. I asked him ONE time to canter each direction, which he did immediately, of which I immediately disengaged him when he broke to the trot. He is so expressive in his canter depart, it is like a carousel horse leaping into it, just like Rose! Aiye Aiye Aiye! Lord help me now!
Savvy On

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Every which way....all friendly!

On my commute home, all I could think about was WHAT to do with Cha’Cote when I got home. I actually felt a little of my confidence dwindle away…..Man is that a fragile little thing! I decided a good thing to do would be to play the friendly game in as many ways as I could think of…but things he already knew….so he could feel like a winner when we were done. I started with grooming as he still can get bothered by the shedding blade. He totally ground ties great for this. I am now able to pick up both feet from one side and clean them. I proceeded to the back feet, something I have apparently forgot he had. The mind sure can trick you when you are afraid of something. So this is the 3rd time I have played with his back feet. I even got to use the hoof pick for a half a second on one of them. Next up was the extreme friendly with the c/s and string. Progress was made as he did not move at all while I was totally ‘IN” zone 5, nor when I switched sides back there. Whew….that one is scary for me. Probably more so than for him even. I soooo don’t want to get kicked. Sad that I expect him to totally trust me, but I don’t totally trust him. We both of course have good sound reason to not be 100% faithful to the idea of trusting each other. From there we did just a couple min of weave and fig 8 at the trot and proceeded to the pedestal. Of course he had no problem standing with his front feet on it, or walking across with all 4. But he has yet to let those back feet stay there more than the split second it takes to get across. Well no more! He did it. He finally stood with all 4 feet on the pedestal! I desperately dug for my phone in my pocket to get a picture, and try as I might, I could not get one with ALL of him in the frame….non blurry. He would move before I could get far enough away. But I managed to get a pick of him with just his hind feet on it. I yelled for someone to come out of the house, but to no avail….the TV must have been blaring. Then we did some sideways over a pole and some stick to me. All in all a good evening with an end result of deeper trust. I’ll take it!
Savvy On

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Smack! Smack! Smack!

That is the sound of my foot hitting my ass. I did it again. I pushed Cha’Cote a little too far, and made him go all right brain. How could I let that happen? Easy with an RBI actually. It was going really well and I got greedy. Plain and simple. I had canter on the brain and it went so well on Saturday, that I hadn’t realized WHY it went so well on sat. #1 my attitude. I hate it when I let THAT one get away from me. I have spent so much time on getting it really good over the last 8 yrs, that the difference in my attitude is so subtle now, it’s hard to recognize the switch. We were doing trot circles and they were sooooo beautiful. Very balanced with awesome cadence. So relaxed….he was really confident in the trot. There was my first big mistake..not recognizing that it was the first time he was REALLY confident at the trot and QUITTING on that note. But NO, I had to go getting all predator, direct line and GREEDY. Just had to Canter. Which BTW started off good too, thus this is where I made mistake #2. Having survived mistake #1 at this point, I completely abandoned the proven strategy that has been working up to this point. And rather than ask for and receive the canter (insert #of strides) THEN disengage and reward/comfort/reassure him…..I kept him going because he was agreeable. Next thing I know, the circles are getting closer and closer to his corral, then he got a sticky spot, and then he went full blown RBE and refused to do anything other than act like I was going to kill him. OOOPS! One would think, the stage I am at, the extensive knowledge I have on RBE’s (thank you Snookie) that I would’ve noticed this quickly….like on the first circle…..but no….I had to go so far as to take him from consistently picking up the canter both directions, to refusing to going to the left and instead rushing the trot going sideways. DOH! Luckily this only went on for a few minutes when it dawned on me what a complete idiot I was being. So, first thing first…..fig 8 to focus the RBE, then LOTS of friendly game for the RBI. Once we made up, I asked for the canter to the right one time, immediately disengaged and rewarded with a 20min graze fest!
So now the only question I have for myself is this…Do I play with the canter again tonight, so I can prove to him that I won’t be a predator about it……or is doing it again, in and of itself being a predator. Tough call. So, being a Savvy Gold member I figure I will give that hot line a try and see what they have to say about it. Just hung up, and it was a pleasant experience for sure, though I may not have an answer for a day or two. Soooooo, kinda looks like, if I am to wait for a response from them, I am forced to NOT screw up again tonight. Which is probably the right answer anyways. The biggest thing with RBI’s is that you have to prove…PROVE…that you will not push them. It takes very little to break the trust they put in you. And then takes a lot to gain it back. I really don’t want to have to travel that path with him, since I am still on the path of gaining his trust, the last thing I want to do is lose it.
So I guess I will play with trot, and focus on quality and confidence, not quantity and skill. But I am starting to see what he looks like when going from confident to um-er…explosive!
Savvy On

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring is in the air, Cha'Cote is in LOVE

What a great weekend. Didn’t get to play with them yesterday as I was helping my dad move, but on Saturday….what a great day. First I let the herd graze and run around having their fun in the sun. Rose and Cha’cote fell in love over his fence. It was nice to see him interact with another horse. He was biting her and playing, and she would turn around for him to smell her, and he did. Then he would give the stallion smile. She would take of and come back 5 min later to start it all again.
I played with Rose on line and we did great. No huge issues on my part. I played extreme friendly in zone 5 and, I’m not sure, but I think she fell asleep. It was at that moment I remembered just how much I enjoy this horse. She isn’t spooky, she is smart, very athletic, very charismatic….with a touch of evil to keep me on my toes. We played with the elements needed to pass L3 online. One of which is cantering. Almost got one full lap out of her each way. She is not confident cantering in my yard, across the gravel driveway into slick mud, and I cannot blame her. So we took it real slow. Even though she has no problem galloping on her own around the whole yard! After a ‘pre audition check”, the only thing we need to play with to tape OLL3 is the cantering. We did everything else straight away. With the sun going down later now, and no rain predicted for the week. The yard should be dry enough to canter all week.
So while I was playing with Rose I let Cha’Cote out for the first time with everyone to graze. Non eventful, they ignored him. UNTIL…..I turned Rose loose and went to catch him. Of course Rose wanted to know what I was doing and where I was going. So now as I approach him, it is with my evil twin in tow. He trotted down the ditch and up into the back yard. Everyone followed. I got back there with my camera and started taking pics and filming. He got trapped between the two ho’s and eventually got free, they followed him, I followed them. Once in the front yard he and Spirit were greeting one another. I got close and they took off. Like a bat out of hell. Instantly thick as thieves. From there my concern grew, as now that there is a party, Snook and Rose want to join in. Where ya’ll going. Next thing I know, Cha’cote is in front and the mob is following him. I say follow as they did not appear to have their usual chase scene look in their eyes. But he didn’t know the difference and was rippin n burning to get away. For all I know, he was just having fun, but I couldn’t see joy in his eyes. Not that my blind old lady eyes can follow that fast. Any ways, I had his corral open, thinking he could escape in there. Three laps he passed it by, and the last time, Rose Snookie and Spirit went in instead. So….why look a gift horse in the mouth? I shut the gate and made my way to catch him. It took some convincing, but I didn’t have to chase him to catch him. Yeah! I then let Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys out while I played with him. Oddly, they left us alone and I didn’t get to prove to him that I would protect him. HMMM how interesting. Could it be that they KNOW I am the herd leader and didn’t challenge me and my goings on?? I have no idea!
We basically covered things that we have been playing with and only added CANTERING to our now 28 L2 tasks being played in out of 35, 12 of which we have completed. We also have completed 4 of 7 L2 patterns. Nonetheless, we have now finally officially moved into L3 online. Be it, just the fringe of it. But we are playing in 8 of 36 L3 tasks and have officially completed the last task of L1. So back to cantering. We got up to a half a circle each way, not to bad. Honestly, I don’t think it would be long, and we could tape a OLL3 audition. Though I don’t want to get cocky, that’s when it all goes to hell in a hand basket and fast! So that was our weekend. How was yours?
Savvy On

Friday, March 12, 2010

I passed! I Passed! I PASSED! Freestyle L2

I am officially a L2 Graduate! I can't believe how fast I got my results. Submitting my audition via email, and having the video available on youtube certainly helped. I just got the email, congratulating me on a score of 2+. I can't believe it. I hadn't touched Rose in 4-5 months, oh except for a trail ride I went on with my best friend Joni back in Oct or Nov. Can't remember. None the less, I have not really ridden her since my surgery back in July of '08. So this is good news for everyone. Look at my video and pay attention. It is the relationship that matters when you audition. Well skill is definately something to strive for, obviously, but at the heart of it, it is the relationship that needs to shine through. You don't have to be a skinny kid, you can use a skinny 11yo kid to tape it for you, and you don't have to be perfect. They can see your level of savvy by the way you handle yourself when it doesn't go right. I knew I could have tried to force her to steer better in the fig 8 trot, or to trot more in the fig 8, but THAT would have requried a jab at out relationship, and that would not have been good. A few more sessions and we will be back to doing things well. Gosh I feel on top of the world right now. All the things that the stupid car accident has taken away from me, all the things my fear has taken away from me, all the things my personal home problem took away from me.....I am now....FINALLY...starting to get some of it BACK! So there! That is the middle hoof for all of those who have tried to take me down!I am BACK!
Savvy On

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lil Turd

Last night I had the “opportunity” to catch Cha’cote twice while loose in the yard. I had turned him loose so I could muck out his corral. The first was relatively non eventful. He was down in the ditch, and after I survived NOT falling while traversing the rocks and hill, he walked to the far end and finally let me catch and halter him. I brought him up to the flat part and started to play with him. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had this notion to try the “spin and go”. I must have been smoking crack at work again (actually it was a horrible day at work) I had the end of the 12’ line and went to walk behind him. As soon as the rope touched his but, he bolted. Luckily no learn burn as I was already at the end of the rope, though I certainly deserved one for sure. So now he is trotting around the yard like any other domestic horse that is superior to his human. I got the stick and string and wiggled it enough to get him to come out of the ditch again, but now he is headed to the back yard. I get back there and he lets me real close, but takes off again for the front yard. Funny how he didn’t seem to mind the rope touching his but as he was evading me! By the time I gimped my way to the front yard, he looked at me and decided I could catch him. Thank God. I was not in the mood to play ring around the house. It royally sucks when my son makes me play it. Amazing how big my itty bitty house gets after 2 laps. It won't be long before he figures out that I really am NOT faster than him. So we played our 7 games and I then decided to start a friendly game that up to last night, he was unwilling to play with me. Letting me touch him while he grazes. If I am touching him, he will not lower hi head to graze. Well I stood there rubbing him, over a tall patch of his favorite weeds, till he just couldn’t take it any more. Munch, munch, rub, rub, two partners in a tub! After that, we called it a night and I put him to bed.
Savvy On

Monday, March 8, 2010

Freestyle L2..Pass 2+

Well Folks….I did it. I taped my Freestyle L2 audition and sent it in today. That’s right. I took Rose out, after not touching her for about 4-5months, and hopped on and taped it. Love being a gold member. No stress, just tape it and send it in. If I don’t pass…..I am not out $50 that I have to pay again with a resubmission, and I will get some feed back on what I should work on. Though I know what I need to work on. A LOT! I did it more for my fear makeover than my levels journey. Rose was a good sport, then she had a little LBE fit, then she got with the program. I can’t believe I used a bareback pad either. I basically just hopped on to have a little fun and see if I could do it. The hardest part was clamoring up onto the barrel to mount her. THANK GOD she didn’t move. It is hard to see in the video, but that barrel was not very sturdy. I was a little shaky at first, but my balance came back real quick. She has a wide enough back for me ride bareback on, unlike Snookie, whom is like riding a 2x4. Rose hates to be saddled, and boy was she voicing her opinion about it. I played Linda’s game that she plays with Allure, where she plays with his mouth more than he wants her to. Smacking her will only start a HUGE fight. She is very defensive about being saddled….Oddly….sometimes I even give her a cookie….it blows her mind. I don’t do it all the time though because I don’t want to set up a habit. The other thing I do with her, with the bareback pad is….
I reach under and grab the girth and then the billet with the same hand, so it is snug, and if she gives a dirty look or tries to bite me (almost a guarantee if we haven’t ridden in a while) I start to make the pad VERY annoying, sliding the whole thing around, bouncing the girth on her belly, pulling down on the pad….what ever I can do to make it annoying. As soon as her face softens, I stop. Basically she can be nice and I will be nice and saddle her with my very softest savvy….But if she wants to be a witch, it will be worse than she fears. And I always finish with a very annoying muzzle rub. This process is what worked, after many months of trial and error on a very defensive, claustrophobic extreme LBE!
She was really good on my mounting though…..also a big claustrophobic moment for her…usually. But she didn’t seem to mind much….that was good. We practiced the things I would want to do for the audition, and she got a little hard to steer. She is so sensitive, that if one side of your body squeezes just a hair more than the other, she will side pass, turn or bend in half. So then she started dive bombing things…..she likes to make me think she is going to jump something so I will stop asking her to work…..she knows I will stop her as I am too chicken to jump. Viola….she is super horse that doesn’t have to do any thing at all, and I am the low life human who loses again. So, we worked thru a few of those, got out my tummy butterflies about trotting bareback…..she has an amazingly swinging back and if I am not careful, I’ll bounce right off. But I didn’t….Yeah! She definitely needs some mastery in the porcupine and driving on the hind end, especially on the left side. I noticed that last year when we played together. So I will be focusing a lot of attention on that. But for this audition, I just focused on the relationship over the compulsories, and just doing it. Hoping that we would be able to complete all the things on the list before we ran out of our 10 min camera time….I did NOT want to have to scramble my way back up onto that barrel! So I put the video on my audition page. I should know in less than 6 weeks if I passed. And I couldn’t be happier that daylight saving is this weekend. The sky is black just around 7 pm now, so that means in one week, I will be able to do some serious playing after work during the week. Weather permitting of course. Right now, there just isn’t much time after a commute, wardrobe change and hugs n kisses for the family. So check out the video….nothing pretty…but it is more for my soul than my skills!
Savvy On

Saturday, March 6, 2010

We're Back...I'm BACK!

Well I finally had the gumption to play with Rose. My fears are almost gone. It was amazing...SHE was amazing. The play time before I broke out the camera was way better, but this should suffice. As I have stated before. Since I started to play with my horses a year after my car accident, and our timing was so off, I have been afraid to play with Rose. Not afraid of her...but afraid of not living up to how good we were. So the fear got the better of me. And I went catatonic. Playing with Miyagi and ChaCote has helped emensly. "I" am now of sound mind and body, and "I" am in tune with myself. Odly, the weave was one of the first things I tried to play with her last year, and having never done it at the trot, I couldn't get her to. My shoulders still hurt bad and I was too weak to play with the 22' line. I got frustrated and lost my emotional control. Today, we only did it at a walk once and then the trot, and we did it great, first time. She is so smart, being an extreme LBE, if I do it right, she will be easy to get her to do it, but if I don't....oh boy...she is too smart for that and will recognise even the sightest weakness in me and take advantage of it. But now that I have myself together, L3 online is just around the corner. I started playing with driving lines last year and while it was OK, I just didn't have the desire to continue. Well NO more! I hope, weather permiting, to tape my OLL3 by the end of march. And then the weather should be good enough to get OLL4 started. So here is our lame little video of today.
Savvy On

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mustang Makeover week 8

What an amazing weekend. I am of course thankful that it stopped raining and allowed two days of play time. We conquered the dreaded pedestal. Once he got his safety check done, he was brilliant at it. Even does it with me about 12’-15’ away. We also conquered the sideways over a log. Yeah! The trailer is only a few weeks a way at most. We started friendly from zone 5. He absolutely no longer has any resemblance to a wild horse, other than his brand.
Stats: Playing in all the OLL2 patterns and 24 of 35 self assessment tasks. Also we are playing in 5 L3 and 1 L4 tasks. Woo Hoo!
Horsenality victories: Ok, so I brought out the umbrella. I figured it was time to step up the friendly game. Fireworks! Arched neck, snorting…but still trying to comply with my wishes and investigate it. I started off with walking away with it…22’ away… and then approach and retreat. While he calmed down a great deal, I was not satisfied with the results. I was treating him like and RBI, but at the moment he was CLEARLY an RBE….EXTREME! I decided to have him do the fig8 and using the umbrella as the “stick”. Viola! Giving him a job to focus on, an RBE strategy, did the trick. I was even doing it one handed with him behind me. SAY WHAT!?! It is all in the video. He also had his first LBE tantrum. I was letting him graze in between pedestal attempts. If he made an effort, he got to eat grass for a few minutes. When we were done with that pattern and moved on to the next, he decided he should get to graze. I told him no, and he threw a fit. OH BOY! I was thrilled though. Sounds silly to be excited that my horse was throwing a tantrum, but he ordinarily just stand there. He lacks “horsenality” for lack of a better word. He doesn’t know he can converse, not that he is going to get his way, but it is nice to know he is feeling comfortable enough to argue, rather than living in a world of fear. He started rubbing on me real good this weekend too. And that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside that I am worthy of his friendship!
Savvy On,