"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, October 27, 2010

Brent Graef clinic notes

Brent Graef Clinic Notes

I have to give the participants and my friend and I credit for enduring a very cold and blustery weekend. Deb and I didn’t get out of bed in time to be on time, and, and let’s just face it…..a girl has GOT to have her coffee! We made it about half hour late on day two. Would have loved to be there for the whole thing, and see the ground work on day one, but such is life….we didn’t. So here is what we got to see.

Ground work…

Definitely a big difference in this style and parelli style, but ….BUT….the two go together well. We didn’t get to see or hear any actual instruction on the how’s to do it, but got to see it in action by all the participants and their horses. There was a feel to them and a connection. I got to hold a horse for someone while she went to her truck, and her horse was stepping toward me to get to her stall and hay. I tried a back up the ‘brent’ way, and I will say her horse was light and responsive. Rather than a driving game, it was a porcupine, light feel on the line to back up. I also got to see a driving yo-yo without a snap, and was impressed that it wasn’t needed in this situation. I thouroughly inspected the “flag” and tree line lead and will be making the purchase for both. The flag stick is VERY light, yet very strong. I think it will be very beneficial for my shoulder. One thing I am noticing as a difference is the CALMness I see in everyone. The lack of DRAMA with the horses, is refreshing to see for sure. There was this amazing warmblood mare there, and Deb and I were drooling over wanting to ride her. She has had a troubled past, as many of our horses have, and she seems like she has taken to being natural like a duck to water. I would never have known she had such a history. There were very green horses there, and very well trained horses there. The participants ranged in age from about 10yo – probably 60yo. All seemed to be taking the information in and processing it well. I would have liked to see more ground work, but the afternoon did not disappoint me, so I will catch more dvd’s from giddyup-flix….he he.

During lunch we walked around and pet all the horses. What can I say, still a little girl dreaming of horses deep in my soul.

Snuggled in a blanket, freezing, Deb and I were the only auditors and on several occasions Brent spoke directly to us, letting us know what they had talked about the day before to get us up to speed as to what they were doing. I really appreciated that. Felt like friends. Gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Mounted excersizes….

I have to say I was impressed with the mounted work. Some people had more trouble with it than others, or some horses found it more challenging than others, but I saw them all get better and benefit. As I said, there was a wide range of skill/experience levels there, both above and under the saddle.

Most of the exercises were at walk. A speed al could benefit from practicing more often. Timing and feel were at the top of the list for “must haves” There was no disconnection between horse and rider, harmony was nice to see. I didn’t see anyone in over their heads and none of the horses appeared to be stressed in ANY way. These may not be in the order they actually happened, but is to the best of my memory….and all are to supple and relax the horse.

#1 ~Disengage to follow through w/ front end:

In this exercise the hind end was asked to yield,(to the right) while not grinding the front end into the ground. Timing with leg (left) and same hand (left) was just as the inside hind leg (left) is leaving the ground, and it must cross the other leg while moving forward as well. Do NOT pull the head past the shoulder, keep ear tips level, front of face vertical to the ground. Keep contact, do not ‘drop’ your horse (rein). Yield hind end half circle, then…yield front end half circle to continue on in original direction of travel. To yield front end, as with the inside hand (left) just as the left front leg is leaving the ground and support with outside leg (right) just as front right leg is leaving the ground. Support with contact on outside rein. Do NOT pull your horses head to your knee or foot at anytime. Keep poll higher than wither was observed……repeat going other direction.

#2 ~Star pattern:

Walk 4-6 steps, back 4-6 steps, on last step, while backing ask front left leg to take a step to the left and repeat. Ask for the sideways step with the left rein just as the left front leg comes off the ground. You will make a star pattern in the dirt when done. Repeat the other direction.

#3 ~Fishtail/Fish head:

Fishtail~While walking in a straight line anywhere off the rail, keep the front end shoulders, neck and head, straight on the line, ask the hind end to step of the line to the left with the right leg just as the right hind is leaving the ground. The right hind should follow he track of the left front leg for a few steps, then bring the hind end back to straight with the left leg just as the right hind is leaving the ground. Repeat to the right. Make sure to keep your shoulders and hands straight.

Fish head~While walking a straight line anywhere off the rail, keep the hind legs moving straight on the line and move the forehand to the left using the left rein just as the left front leg is coming off the ground and support with the right leg. The front right leg should be just in front of the left hind leg for a few steps, then bring them back to the line, using right rein just as the front right leg is coming off the ground and support with the left leg.


Placing cones in a zig/zag fashion. Start at first cone (on left) to next cone (on right), ride just pass the cone a couple steps, halt, yield the hind end to the right, walk to next cone, ride 4-6 steps past, halt, rein back 2-4 steps, on last step, yield front to the right till facing next cone…..repeat. when done with cones, repeat the other direction. Will need 1 extra cone on one side to get both directions equal.



      x\ Hind end yield



/ x front end yield



       x\ Hind end yield



 / x Front end yield

#5~ Trot, side, trot side, trot side/side, trot. Basically trot from first cone to next, halt, side pass to right with pole in front of you, trot to next cone, halt, side pass to left pole in front of you, trot around next two cones, halt at third, side p ass to the left and back again pole in front of you, trot to next cone halt and RELAX!

|                                                      |
|                                                      |
|                                                      |_________x
|                                                                               |               
|                                                                               |
X_<______>_                                                  |
|                                                                               |                
|                                                                               |  
|                                                      x________  |
|                                                      |
X end                                             |
                                                       x Start

Hope my little "drawings" here came out OK, if not i will have to sketch something and scan it.

If your horse does not sidepass well, start with just a step or two of sideways.  Maybe use a barell or something else not jumpable, but also not long.
Savvy On


  1. Great clinic notes, Michelle!

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
    Parelli Central

  2. Thanks Petra....can you believe I didn't write a thing down while I was there, and actually typed this days later....I didn't think I had THAT many brain cells left!


I know I am not perfect.....so be nice!