"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.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cha'cote's first day with herd!

woooo hooooo
lame stuff of snookie being alpha at watering hole at the end....she just HAD to drink from the exact spot rose was.....and rose didn't get her morning bath in the tub....
anyways, heres the pics and a bit of video clip. so funny the rest of the herd ate together...usually they split up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Michelle & Twilight

This is my friends mini Filly that is for sale. I went to play with her for the first time in this video. She is such a pretty girl. She will be a stunner in the show ring!  I had alot of fun playing with her.  If I needed another horse......and a mini at that....I would buy her in a heart beat!  She is soooo pretty, and soo much fun.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Michelle & Wild Bill

This is another of my friends mini's for sale that I played with....what a darling little LBI!

Michelle & Spitfire

And yet another of my friends mini's. this one is soooo cute. only 4mos old. darling little boy

Whew, what a load off!

I had the farrier out today.  first time using him.  I got behind on everyone, and there was no way, with my back, neck and shoulder I could get everyone caught up.  So he did Cha'cote first.  he was unsure of a new person, but did a good job of trying to be good.   Phil used the hoof stand when Cha'cote woud allow it.  So this was the 4th time having his fronts trimmed and the first time for the backs.....which barely needed more than a rasp.  Snookie was in the worst shape as her feet still behave as founder feet.  But she was a good ole girl and and let him make her feet real pretty.  Rose was.....ROSE....not too bad, but a bit of a pill at one point or another.  All in all, the cost is worth my horses having pretty and healthy feet again, without me killing myself to get it done.  Now hopefully I can keep up on it weekly with the grinder.  Here's to hope.

I have soccer in the morning....at the butt crack of dawn......ugh!  But I absolutely plan on playing with both Rose and Cha'cote tomorrow and play with OLL4 tasks.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

OMG, how cute is this?

I got my youngest student ever last night, except for when Jason was little. She is 4 and half years old, and she is beyond adorable. I don’t remember kids being that small at her age. Her name is Riley. I had her play with Miyagi, brushing her, then I taught her the friendly game, yo-yo and figure 8. Her hands are so small they barely grip all the way around the rope. Miyagi is a great teacher too. She knows just enough to do what Riley will ask of her, as long as she asks the right way. And she is just “pony’ enough that Riley will have to work for it.

She has NO fear of horses, and even though Cha’cote was afraid of her at first, he eventually let her pet him, as she was persistent. He was at liberty in the yard, and the quiet way she had about her near 3 foot stature, must have looked sneaky to him. He sniffed her head and backed away or turned a bit away from her a few times. But there was no way, no how, this darling girl with long brown curly hair was giving up on her idea. Her mother and I watched, and I described how sometimes it is best to leave children alone, as long as everything is safe, and let the horse teach them. I gave her a pointer to face away from him and side pass in toward his shoulder and to scratch him hard and not tickle him. She took it from there. You could see how her lateral thinking skills were developing, rather than being so direct lined as she was when she first arrived. Cha’cote is a great teacher of that! Either you approach right, or your leaving empty handed. She left with a whole heartfull.

By the time her mother and I were done chatting, it was past her bed time. But you would never know it. She was playing in the dirt, checking on the horses, and otherwise a flash back to my youth. I told her mother it was beyond clear her connection with horses, and THAT won’t be going away. She is a 4yo horse crazy girl! She has the incurable disease. And it is nice to see that her mother not only recognizes it, but is indulging it to the best of their financial ability. So as true to myself as I can be….. We are working out a working student kind of thing, so she can come over weekly to ‘just be” with the horses. That way, I get a little help with everyone, and everyone just might get some attention around here, and one darling girl gets to live her dreams.

Savvy On


Thursday, August 19, 2010

"sacking out" or dare I say...."toweling" out....

So last night I played a little more with the rope around cha'cote's girth and even taught him to porcupine his FQ's toward me with the girth rope....he he....

Then I got a big striped beach towel and began to treat it like a saddle pad.  he was fine with it on his back, neck, rump and even face....as long as it was coming from behind.  If it was coming from infront of him...holy cow....he was convinced it was going to kill him.  after about 20min of desensitizing, he accepted me walking towards his face from in front of him, then rubbing his face with said towel. Yeah!  he even was taking a few steps with the towel on his back, without any signs of bucking.  WHEW!

I think it is time to do another horsenality chart on him.  While I think he will always inately be an RBI, he seems to get QUITE confident with himself now at times, and tries to play a little dominance stuff with me.  Since I am his only friend, I try to oblige him, but only as long as he knows I am still the leader. Not him!

I think I am having the trimmer out next week.  I have fallen behind on EVERYONE.  I can easily do Miyagi & Spirit completely and Rose & Snookie's front feet with the grinder.  But the back feet and all of Cha'cote will be too much for my back and neck......there is just no way.  I have never done Cha'cote's backs and want a professional to get them started for me.  they are not over grown, and mostly still in a really nice shape, but desperately need to be done for sure.  And there is NO way he will let me near him with the grinder.  Rose and Miyagi self trim pretty good, but Snookie and Spirit.....ugh....nope.  I hate to spend the money, but I just can't do it all myself all the time.  I try to do a horse a week for my backs sake, but off schedule again.  UGH!

Last night I gave Snookie a special bath in medicated shampoo and leave in.  Her top line is so flat now that the dirt and oils and hair, don't fall down to the ground even when she rolls. She definately is enjoying our 1/1 time and so am I.  She is such a good 'ole gal.  I took pics of her last night.  But they just don't show what my eye sees up close.

Savvy On

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sobbing tears of sadness.... =(

Well, I have been tending to Snookies wound for well over a week now.  It is healing sooo slowly.  After she ate her special old lady food, leg hosed and doctored, I started to groom her.  Then I started to cry.  It really hit me how bad she looks.  She had taken this year very hard.  She has lost alot of weight, and her 'pooper" is really sunk in.  I laid my cheek on her forehead and cried for about 10min stroking her face and muzzle.  I realized I will probably never ride her again....and that just makes me more mad about that damn car accident.  She was still healthy and realtively fit for a senior, and due to my pain and depression, I wasn't able to keep her in a decent condition.  And I never got to ride her again.  I could just hit someone right now.  She was such a lovely horse in her prime.  Shiney like a new copper penny.  Now just a dull orange.  I am going to have to buy half the feed store suplements to see if it is even possible to get her back in good weight.  The food she has been getting, isn't doing it.  So I need more, probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, vitamin/minerals, flax seed, rice bran, beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and senior suplements.  That will cost a small fortune!  I think I need to find a way for my mom to be able to feed her mid day for me too.  right now, all I can do, is an extra feeding when I get home after work.  I toss a ton of hay in the am, her extra feed @ 6pm, then feed everyone around 10pm.  to give her time to digest her treat.  So, I will hit up the feed store tonight, and see how deep in the negative my check book can go!

Sad day,

oooh, saddle prep w Cha'cote

Ok, lets not get too excited here, but I finally had the guts to put the rope around his girth area and SQUEEZE....EEEEEK.  not big fuss made, but he was 'uncomfortable' at first.  I did lots of sliding it around, tightening and releasing when he breathed out.  I even got close to the flank area!  I plan on trying the bareback pad tonight and see what happens.  I hope he is not a fool about it.  I tried to get a bit more provocative with him the other night, he got more dominant with me!   Hmmmm, how interesting!  This morning he was, leaping around in his corral.  Normally I am not up that early.  Acording to my husband he does it almost every day.  All I ever get to see is him asleep in the corner.  Here's to a saddle pad...cheers!

Savvy On

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pat Parelli Passed me with a 3++

Woo Hoo! After “fighting for my life” defending my position to Pat himself…..he went home and did as promised, he reviewed my audtion. I figured he was not going to do it on tues, his first day back home, so I ran home after work, pulled Cha’cote out and taped a ‘supplemental’ video showing the power of neutral in circling game. Pat did say it was THE #1 thing needed done well to pass L3, and I didn’t show it. Not that we can’t, I just didn’t. I wanted to tape it quickly and get it on youtube before he had the time to sit down to review it. I figured, if Pat Parelli was going to take HIS time to review it, I didn’t want it to be a WASTE of his time. I got an email late wed from Ann that he had reviewed it, and she would get me the results the next day. Thurs came and went, Friday came and went….and at this point figured I would hear nothing over the weekend. TORTURE….I tell ya! But sat late afternoon I logged on to find the results! The extra video helped, but of course that wasn’t the whole story. There was a huge discrepancy in my orig score and his score. Well here, you can read for yourself:

Hi Michelle,
Pat, Hillary Rose and I reviewed your audition for your On Line.
Congratulations, Pat assessed you at Level 3++!!!! We apologize for
the discrepancy between Hillary's score and Pat's. This has been a
great learning experience for Hillary, and Pat will be holding another
training with everyone who scores the auditions, to make sure everyone
is on track with his vision. We hold these trainings periodically,
and your audition brought to light that it's time to do another one
:^) Thank you so much for speaking up, and for voicing your concern.
This is how we are all able to get our "good better, and our better
Your video of your neutral circling game was very helpful, and was a
necessary part of being able to give this score, so thanks for being
so proactive in getting that filmed and sent in!

Great job with everything that you are doing, and we hope to see you again soon!


I could just about DIE now! Just goes to show: No one is perfect, it is OK to question things, and sometimes…..SOMETIMES, you just might be right! If feels good to be acknowledged for my strengths and even got a few 4’s. With Cha’Cote! The mustang!

The whole story is on the savvy forum, online section, thread ‘I taped my OLL3 with my mustang”

I give a blow by blow, section by section, side by side comparison of the two score cards, my remarks on each section and why it did not make sense to me, and rightly so. Now I can move on. I don’t know if I will ever be able to pass Freestyle L3, much more L4, as it just hurts too much to ride, But one can always DREAM!

I have SAVVY!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

3..2..1..DRAW! We got good DRAW!

Wow, one thing that shines in this hole day is that I have awesome draw with Cha'cote! This is the rest of the video. I edited out 10+ minutes of me talking. Like I said, I had no idea the camera was rolling! Got some zone 5 liberty passenger in here too!

Enjoy and
Savvy On

Cha'Cote's first liberty circles in arena

Well my proudest moment to date! This is Cha'Cote's first time ever going any where besides from the wild to the BLM. From there to his last home, and from there to my home. He was a champ! Took some convincing to get him to let us shut the door on the trailer....but finally he did. Short 7 min drive to where my friend boards. We opened the door. He stuck his head out, and stood there. I was terrified he would rush out and bail on me. Nope! Such a good boy. Then he trusted me to lead him thru the barn. then we went into the arena. I showed him all the walls, played a teeny bit online, then went LIBERTY. I was shocked he went straight to circling me and not leaving, and then a great draw. Looked over my shoulder and my friend was gone. So I shared my excitement with a total stranger and asked her to watch. I was afraid it wouldn't happen again and wanted a witness to tell my friend. He did it again. 'bout 3 circles. So we chated a few min and my friend came back. i was hoopin and hollering, and started to show her. she grabbed her video camera, and he did it AGAIN! She started grooming after a couple of min and I thought she turned the camera off. I didn't know she was this sneaky, but she set it down and left it on. So this is me playing at liberty with Cha'cote for the first time. there a few more videos to come....sorry...so excited I am posting it ALL!

Cha'cote's first friend and gallop

Hey Ho! I am soooo happy! Finally took Cha'Cote on his very first outing. Here is the video of his very first gallop in 6ys, and his first friend Mick. We picked Mick because we knew he would be gentle, but we also knew he would not let up and make Cha'cote play and run. Mick is my firends 3yo paint gelding. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blinding **FLASH** of the obscure! Huge FEAR breakthru

WOW, I just realized that I had a major breakthrough this weekend, biggest that I have had in the last 2.5yrs. OK so you know I have been suffering from a fear of failure since trying to come back after my accident. In that time, I had no confidence in myself. I let my daily failures get the better of me and felt as though I would never be good enough again. When I sent in my OLL3, I honestly did not expect to pass. However when I received my results of Pre3, I was devastated. But in looking at it, the scores did not make sense. It was not for the reasons that I thought it would be. So luckily I found myself at the Fresno event, arguing my case to anyone who would listen. And while it didn’t make sense to anyone else either (and now I know why, will write about that one later) I found in all of this that “I” was defending MYSELF. Usually I am putting myself down, unable to accept others compliments or their evaluation of my skills, feeling I was unworthy of any accolades. I found myself this weekend saying again and again “I am better than this score, why can’t they see that”, and the truth is, “I” am the one who couldn’t see it. Next thing I know, I am standing face to face with Pat Parelli himself, begging for him to explain to me what it all meant. I got an explanation, and walked away understanding. While I do NOT agree with the system. It is what it is, and if I want to pass, then _X_ needs to be shown. I did not show it. Long drive home, waiting patiently for Pat to review my video himself…..not going to there right now….saying to myself (my friend was just a sounding board at this point, I hate to say I can’t recall a single word she said)…..

“Ya know what? I don’t care what my score or result is. I am not re-doing it. I know I am a solid L3, and I am not going to torture my horses, not even one more time, taping this dang thing. We are ALL sick of it. In my book I passed, and I am moving forward to my OLL4 and LIBERTY4 auditions.”

Funny the confidence you find in yourself when you are fighting for your life. All I needed was to hear myself trying to justify this or that, and now I finally believe in myself.

At the tour stop, Linda had people stand up who had passed L1 (officially or self assessed) and a lot stood up. Then she asked for L2 grads and quite a number of people sat down. Then L3 grads, and just about everybody sat down. Then L4 grads. I stood there, in my own little world for a moment, and was watching Linda look for people on the other side of the arena, giggling with the crowd at her missing some joke or something. Then I started to look around and I too could not see anyone standing. I heard someone yell out from behind me to Linda, but she couldn’t hear them, so I yelled out her name (I have a big loud voice) and she turned around, glared me right in the eye, and said, ‘Just you? Congratulations!”

I instantly realized at that moment that 2000+ eyes were staring at ME. The whole room went white, then black, and I have no recollection of what happened in the following 5-10 minutes. At the time, I felt like a liar. But I know better than that. Official status is for our ego, our real status is measured by our horses. I hold their opinion higher than Pats. And even if I fail my audition, by Pats hands, My horses know I am a L5, and that is fine by me!

Savvy On

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Power of Neutral video

Well long story will get to later, but here is my "extra" video for my OLL3 showing my neutral. I hadn't played with him for 5 weeks, pulled him out, no warm up, NOTHING, just straight to this. he was too upset to canter, but the point is my neutral in the circle game anyways. the rest was really to make sure i got my draw back. I was upset that he didn't come to me the first time and was not going to leave it at that. when done we did a liberty walk in zone 5 about 30feet then onto the pedestal from zone 5. of course the camera wasn't on!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wild to OLL3 in 6 mos video 6mos in 10min

Well it has taken me all day, but I got all 6 mos into a 10min video. WHEW!

Probably too long, but I am submiting it anyways to parellitube for the "relationship" contest. Wish us luck!

Cha'Cote is a 10yo BLM Mustang gelding.  I got him on 1-1-10, as a wild, ungentled, unhalter broke renegade, who in 6ys outwitted 3 owners, and now is pardoned from prison, and close to being set free in a herd setting.  Snookie, Rose, Miyagi and Spirit will teach him LOTS!