"A horse is like a mirror, and it's reflecting what and who you are."

This is just a little diary of my horse life. I teach natural horsemanship and dressage. I am currently working on getting back to L4 Parelli after a car accident and surgery.

I suffered from a fear of failure, as things had not gone according to planned after my time off from my injuries. It had been an paralyzing disability (fear) but my healing is coming along nicely, and I hope to pass my level 4 before the end of 2011.

I don't know where I am going, but I am NOT lost!

I am now reviewing dvd's and books, and blogging my reviews. The link on the left in the categories (DVD Clinician Reviews)will take you straight to it. You will find links to the websites of all dvd clinicians I review and they are located on the left hand side bottom of page of the page. None of the clinicians or trainers I am reviewing, sponsor, endorse or authorize this site. For more info about them please click on thier link.

I hope you enjoy!

Savvy On,

I will be giving Savvy Star Ratings based soley on my opinion of it's value to a parelli student as such

***** Must own

**** Must watch

*** Worth watching, but you won't die without it

** Eh' take it with a grain of salt, you will have to filter alot

* OK, but there is better stuff out there to spend your time and money on

0 stars....skip it, it just isn't worth your time.

Friday, December 30, 2011

War Horse Website.....get all the real life facts

There is a wonderful website for a War Horse exebition in the UK.  Obviously I can't swim all the way over there, and that's ok...this website is the next best thing.  It has tons of historical pictures and videos and of course the history of the war horse.  Of course some of the facts and statistics are quite sad.  The average life span of a war horse from the time it set foot off the train was 6 weeks.  Any ways, I thought I would share.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dusted off my dressage gear.....YUK!

I am horrified to have to admit the condition I found my $300 gorgeous Stubben bridle in.....well the parts I have not been using for 8ys.  I bought this bridle for Rose and Tigerlily way back in the day and used it in it's whole....ONCE.  From there I was using a different bridle for Tigerlily's MOOSE head as this one was just too small, I sold Rose shortly after buying it, and with it's burgandy padding, while it looks smashingly FABULOUS on a near black horse...it looked lame on Snookie.  So for her and Lily I used horsemans rope reins with slobber straps, or rope reins with snaps (finesse reins).  Since I bought Rose back a few years later....by then I was only riding her in a halter and was mainly focusing on freestyle riding.  When I decided to start her in the bridle again a few months ago, I dug it out, but left the caveson and reins in the tack shed.....and apparently years ago let it get covered in dust and then tossed in a box with a myriad of other unused tack. 

I noticed quite immediately that when it comes to riding with contact, I do NOT like riding with rope reins.  I have very independant hands and do not like the weight in my hands.  To me it feels like it lies to me, like making me feel as though there is a couple ounces of contact, when in fact there is NONE.  I much prefer to get the glaringly obvious weightless feeling when we have lost the contact, and also prefer to have the wight of the contact only in my hands....not the weight of the reins.  It just muddles up everything for my brain.  When I want 2 ounces of contact.....4 ounces of rein kinda gets in the way.  So....I decided after a few rides now that I needed to go dig my coveted black web dressage reins out of the spider infested no mans land.....the dreaded shed.  And there I found with it....the caveson.....treated like some piece of insignificant crap leather.....covered in dust.  I did all this amidst cooking Cristmas dinner....as only a true horse crazy person can do.....my husband staring at me as took more care in the kitchen with my bridle than I did the whole meal.  LOL.....

THEN.....as if cleaning it wasn't good enough....the leather felt too stiff and it needed my special care....conditioning in the way only *I* can do.....by hand.  I have a wonderful beeswax conditioning salve that is quite expensive and I see no reason to waste any on a towel or sponge...so I massage it in with my bare hands....and yes....I did say 'massage'....like a shiatsu queen I carefully and thouroughly buttered up every nook n cranny.....and it is now so beautiful again.  It is hanging under my saddle like a prized trophy.  and in the open for viewing like the Mona Lisa.  I can't wait to try it on Rose again and see just how pretty she is in it, and just how light those reins are gonna be.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The zoo grew by a half pound!

Well despite my efforts to not rescue anything else... My husband brought home Mondo's (our chi hua hua mix dog) baby sister. There was no way I could compete against 4 pairs of sad eyes begging to keep her. So I proudly introduce Paris.... The Pomeranian chi hua hua, which I have now titled.... Chihuameranian.... We could do no less than name her after a wealthy socialite, since we named her big brother Armando Montelongo, after the reality tv entrepreneur real estate mogul.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DVD Review: ***** Walter Zettl ~ A Matter of Trust 1/1

Vol. #1 Disk 1 *****

Now THIS is a "basics" dvd.  It is practically a "who's who and what's what"of dressage as far as basics go.  It is PACKED full of ALL the basics of dressage...infact more than 'just' the basics.  This is a German Classical style with senstivity and gentleness.  I really enjoyed it.  There was so much packed in there that this could very well take you several sittings to get thru it, depending on how much you know already.  If you are just starting out in dressage, this is a good place to start because nothing is left out. I will say, due to the shear volume of material, that they go quickly, so be prepared to have your finger on the pause button so you can take notes or rewind to hear something again.  There is not a lot of indepth detail on alot of stuff presented, this is really just an indepth overview of everything you should know to get started.  As i have seen of MANY great dressage masters, there is not alot of emphasis on the riders position, mostly on the 'how to train the horse'....so i would say that, like you will find about anywhere else, you will need to seek else where for rider biomechanics.  And that is OK.  No one can be everyTHING to EVERYone.  I highly recomend this dvd for its solid and classical 'basics'.

There is reviewed and explained and demonstrated:

The 6 Principles of the  training scale:
Rhythm, Relaxation, Contact, Schwung, Straightness & Collection

The Golden Mantra:
Ride your horse ~ Calm, Forward & Straight

Well Explained and demonstrated:
Calming exercises/patterns
Forward exercises/patterns
Straightening exercises/patterns

Suppling exercises/patterns

There was beautiful scenes of horses and riders of all levels, and most of them were poll high most of the time.  It is a pet peave of mine...so...i pay close attention to it.  sorry.
For more info on Walter Zettl click here

Savvy On

Sunday, December 4, 2011

DVD Review:**** Sylvia Loch ~ Body and Balance work

Body and Balance Work ****

This was a GREAT dvd. It was simple yet very detailed.  Well organized and compromised just about any movement you want to do with your horse.  It is a classical equitation dvd and covers from the basics to lateral work to flying changes. She has a group of students go thru body awareness exercises on the ground, and during the lecturing shows clips of the students, herself and another trainer riding the movements on horses, showing both the before and after, the bad then the good.  The exercises are for awareness and are simple to do.  It is not complicated in anyway, her concepts make sense and seem easy to apply while in the saddle, which many equitation exercises are not easy to do in the saddle.  I think this dvd will be valuable for any rider, not just dressage riders.

All the riders looked good in the saddle, well poised and balanced and her concepts seem to make positive changes in the students work in the saddle.  She does not leave out the who, what, when, where or how's.  The entire dvd was well organized, flowed easily from one exercise to the next, no confusion in following along and everything seemed like it would be easy to remember from dvd to the arena.

For more info on Sylvia Loch click here

Savvy On

DVD Review: 0 stars ~ Dominique Barbier ~ Mastering the Basics

ZERO Stars ~ Skip it!
Mastering the Basics

God I really hate to do this, but to be fair to worthy media, I just cannot recommend this dvd. Before I get slammed with a slander suit, let me remind you, this is ONLY......MY.......OPINION and I am sure there are people, somewhere, who found this dvd helpful. Regarding 'what' I could even begin to speculate. I was highly disappointed on so many levels, I just can't even give it one star rating. I thought long and hard about my ratings definition prior to my decision. 1 star means I think it is "OK" but better stuff out there". Honestly, I didn't think it was OK on any level, and there are 1000's of things out there better to chose from. IMHO

The whole catalyst for my reviews in the first place, was because I am a Parelli Level 4 graduate I was waiting around for them (PNH) to get around to making some upper level stuff, particularly DRESSAGE, and also to see and learn other methods of NH in order to expand my NH knowlege base. I knew I wasn't the only Parelli student searching for compatible information, so I figured as I came across stuff I would share MY opinion of what I found. Period. So while I am far from a Master in either NH or Dressage, I am also far above the average novice horseman and capable of making the determination if something is worthy of me investing my time and money into learning, or something I would not waste my time on.

I am going to grade and review 3 aspects here.

1: How well it will coincide with not only Parelli Natural Horsemanship, but the General world of Natural Horsemanship as a whole.

2: How well it coincides with what "I" understand to be BASIC Classical Dressage Principles, be it French OR German

3: How well it is presented as a media outlet for home study learning, based on presentation and information presented (or not presented) concepts discussed ~vs~ results shown.

1: As far as PNH/NH goes, I felt it was sub par on every level, even compared to watching novice NH students. The horses in the video appeared to be agitated, nervous, and generally not to happy. As an NH student, you will likely feel as I do, that we spent alot of time, energy and heart to produce a happy well adjusted horse and don't want to chance doing things that will upset this mental/emotional balance. Despite this dvd being labeled "basic"...it was not clear to me what was 'basic' about it. He was kinda all over the place....and thus the horse seemed to follow suit. I honestly do not see how an advanced student would be able to understand it....much less a novice. On the one hand he was using very advanced horses and what appeared (at first) to be novice riders. More on this in the dressagy review. I just didn't see much that could be considered 'better' than basic NH. There are far better recomendations I could give to PNH students as a dressage extension beyond the confines of parelli, AND within the confines of parelli. PNH is already, in and of itself, better at doing this stuff, be it French (Pats kind of style) or German (Linda's kind of style)

2: Classical Dressage principles....OY~VAY....I squired one of his books many many years ago. At the time I just didn't 'get' what he was saying and alot seemed "mystical" and I was looking for cold hard technical facts. I was just at the beginning of my german classical study. I put the book down, found many others that were what i was looking for, realized he was 'french' and never picked it back up again. BUT...in all these years, I still believed, albeit in my limited 'french' understanding, that he was indeed a MASTER of the FRENCH classical school. After watching Phillip Karls dvd's.....I was nearly horrified at what my dressage eyes were seeing. MASTER?? If what he showed was indicative of french 'mastery' (which i know it is not) I don't want any part of it. Not only were the students in the dvd's painful to watch ride, so was he. The stirrups were soooo long, and the feet so far in front that they were horribly balanced in the rising trot work and I have beginner students look better than that in a matter of weeks, so to see a supposed master ride that unbalance i was shocked. He suggested that the rider keep her hands ON the saddle, if I recall right, at all times. Not for balance as an un-confident rider, but to 'keep the horse on the bit'... what? WHAT?? Now, as we move on, this is supposed to be a BASICS dvd, yet all the horses are being ridden in a DOUBLE bridle. There was no mention as to why, but I have never seen ANY one use a double bridle on green horses with green riders, which is exactly what i presume at least one student/horse pair to be. And lastly some core classical principles.....The poll 'should' be the highest point at all times, not here my friends, not even close. At times it appeared to be 'deep' if not downright close to 'rolkur' even if momentary....that is unacceptable in any classical school of thought. The horses hind quarters could not directly follow the forehand due to stiffness and lack of control from the leg, on turns the haunches would just spin out like they were on a carnival ride. I can't even get started on the lunging. I will say that when HE rode his upper level horse, things appeared to be a bit better, it was hardly done with principles, style or grace that I would want to emulate. in ANY fashion.

3: Media attributes. The trifecta of shame. PNH has a reputation for producing in depth, top quality, provocative, well organized and formatted media that we parelli students have become accustomed to. Top notch in every aspect. I am not suggesting i am some princess here that cannot see the good in other peoples work. Not in the least. If you read any of my other reviews, you will see that I am hardly parelli biased. I give credit where credit is due. But I won't sit here and give it where it is not due. I usually try to find SOMEthing positive about even the worst dvd's. So I will say that he does state some good concepts in there, but in my opinion what he is saying is not the results shown on the dvd. You know, the words don't match the view. Then there is no congruent format. It is not well organized despite having 'categories' and the intention of material was not clear. It was very confusing as to what the heck I was watching and why. My only saving grace is that I not only am better educated and can just reject his notions and move on. But also that I didn't pay any money for this dvd. I would then have been a disgruntled consumer as well and felt a little on the jilted side wonder how I could in good conscious sell this dvd to someone else. The only thing I can tell anyone at this point in my French Classical Journey (the beginning btw, after 20ys german) is to seek out Phillipe Karls dvd's, I highly recommend them and will be reviewing others soon.

Clearly I am not affiliated with the author of the dvd. So....By all means contact him directly and ask for clarification/explanation of what he was doing, to give him a chance to refute/rebut my review. It is my personal opinion it is what will be needed to understand what was going on in that video anyways. So that is the best place for more info. Click here to go to his website. Maybe things are different now, or maybe they were having alot of problems while filming. He has nice pics on his site. But this dvd is what it is and I stand by my review of it.

On a personal note. Honestly my heart sunk when I saw him in the rising trot. Just goes to show, now matter how many 'fancy' things someone can do, they can still be lacking severely in even the very basic of basics, and that words can be cheap.....but the picture can be worth a thousand words and a million dollars and a lifetime of chasing the wrong rainbow.

Savvy On

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Classical Dressage day 4 ~ Video~

Well, last day of the 4 day weekend. I made good use of my time and rode 3 days in a row. Today we focused on jaw flexions (chewing the bit) and timing of aids. Rhythm suffered a bit, but, this had more to do with me knowing the camera was on me than anything else. It was good and flowing before i called the honey out of the drunken man-cave to do me a solid. My back was getting stiff too.....havn't spent this much time in the saddle in the last year nearly. Rose is getting pretty good at the jaw flexions and is chewing nicely quite a bit i noticed in the video. she is still having some trouble with the lateral poll flex to the left, and you can see it a couple times in the birds eye view where she tips her nose to the left and sticks her under jaw to the left rather than turning her forehead to the left. tisk tisk. we are getting better. let me tell ya....that was hard holding the camera under my two chins....lots of editing where the camera was caught by my 'cleavage"....but i think over all she is bent nicely, except where i was holding the reins in one hand and the camera in the other. see ya'all next weekend. gonna go do lots of research on french classical dressage this week.

Savvy On

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Classical Dressage day 3 progress

Hell's bells and the bee's knees.....this is pretty dang easy this French Classical Dressage stuff.  Well, not THAT easy...but ya....this is pretty easy.  Maybe my background with dressage and parelli have made this an easy transition, or maybe it really is just that easy....I don't know, but after watching Phillipe Karl's dvd yesterday and again today before riding, having this clear picture in my mind of EXACTLY what I should do, it was pretty easy.  Now I am not saying we have mastered anything by any stretch of the imagination here, but what I am getting at is the YEARS it took me to get to a great place where both Snookie and I had not only a good understanding of the basics, but also to be able to execute them with some form of success.  With this approach, on a OLL4/FSL2 horse, I can't believe how well she is doing in the jaw mobilization.  It honestly is blowing my mind. I believe a good portion of it is my great timing (that i have learned over years of study, still could be way better.) is one of the reasons, and maybe her understanding of pressure/release as well.  And maybe the other half is something to do with it feeling better to have a jaw that is mobile rather than locked.  All these years hearing the term "jaw flexions" gave me one very specific understanding of jaw.  The way Phillip Karl explains it using the term "jaw mobilization"...it gives me a whole new understanding.  Heck, maybe jaw flexions and jaw mobilization are in fact two totally separate things, maybe even a german vs french thing, or maybe just my understanding....i don't know.  All I know is that I get it, i get this, and my horse gets it....and we got it in 2 sessions. I would say in a few more sessions we should have it going good most of the time as well.  She is getting the hang of the poll flexions, but you are only suppose to ask for those after the jaw is mobilized, and lets face it....I am not that "back" as far as my coordination, timing and balance is concerned to put all this together at every moment in every movement.  Not yet, and I am sure not for some time to come.  The good news is that today we also worked on doing figure 8's while doing pirouette's and shoulder in's.  Those were hard, the shoulder in more so.  I think all those years of sideways, turns on the FQ/HQ kinda ruined the 'forward' while doing them.  So for now we are not doing anything that is also not in some fashion...'going forward'.

And the really cool part is that I am having no issues catching her, I do not tie her to saddle her, I have been putting the bridle on prior to the saddle and using the outside rein to stop her from turning to bite me while girthing up....which by the way, using this technique has all but stopped the reaching around to bite me.  I also am not tying her to unsaddle her and she is staying with me when done, as opposed to running off with a high pitched squeal (the tel-tale sign she was not a fan of what ever we did that day).  Woo Hoo!

Savvy On

DVD Review: **** Craig Stevens: Theory of Dressage

Disk 1 ****

Holy Maccaroni.....this is a GREAT dvd for Parelli students.  If you are doing finesse in any sort of fashion, be it in a dressage saddle or western saddle....you really should watch this dvd.  You will not see any pictures or moving video of horses.  It is a theory lesson, regarding why we do what we do, and why we shouldn't do what we hopefully are not doing.  In a short amount of time, you can learn quite a little bit about the French Classical Dressage (FC) style of riding that Pat talks about from time to time.  While it may contradict Linda's "Game of Contact" (founded with German Classical Dressage) it does not in any way contradict PNH with Finesse.  He covers such things as the history of dressage, rein effects, weight and balance effects, resistance effects, half halt, halt by combined effect, rein adjustment, how to hold the rein, and classical seat balance

He states we should never make a rearward retraction, (pull on) the reins, rather only in the halt should we used the combined effect of driving into a solid hand.

I love this saying regarding timing and strength:
"It's not the effect of force, but the force of properly timed effects."

He has a great explanation of whether or not humans are capable of balancing a horse, loved it.
"To modify balance thru suppling excersises to help the horse/rider discover where the center is"

Ride with tact....
Tact: "The application of imagination to sensation"

French:  Never attempt to deal with more than one resistance at a time.  When a horse gets out of balance physically or emotionally, Start with the halt to eliminate resistances of the weight, second: deal with the resistance of force, ie: supple the stiffness....third: then carry on.

German: Ride the horse forward through the resistance into patterns designed to gain suppleness.

In no way am I going to stand up and say every thing he says is a golden rule, simply because at this point I really don't know that much about FC dressage, but honestly whether or not I may agree or disagree, I certainly do understand it all better due to his explanations. His work is supported by French Classical Dressage master Phillipe Karl and Natural Horseman Ed Dabney.  So I am going to say that despite what ever controversy may be going on in the 'modern' dressage world regarding his work, is of no consequence to me, especially since the 'modern' dressage world is most predominantly German Classical at it's roots, if not execution.

Having now watched all 4 of his dvd's, I know he is big on classical equitation gained through suppleing and strength exercises designed to force you to find your balance and the proper seat as opposed to having someone tell you 'put your leg here and your arm here", they can easily be done in a round pen as opposed to having someone lunge you, if your horse is good in the round pen and good with passenger lessons of course. These excersises can be found on disk 1 of the "perfecting the seat" dvd set he has.

I also think this dvd set goes well with Phillipe Karl's dvd's.

Click here for a great article written by Craig regarding French Classical Dressage vs German Classical Dressage equitation.

Click here for an interview with Craig

This video series is no longer available for sale, but you can rent it from Giddyupflix

Click Here for more info on Craig Stevens

DVD Review:**** Phillip Karl ~ CLASSICAL DRESSAGE VOL. 1

School of Aids ****

WOW.....this is a great dvd.  If of course you are interested in Classical Dressage, particularly French Classical (FC). However I could only give it 4 stars for parelli students because French Classical would be somewhat contradictory to Linda's new "Game of Contact" which is more of the German Classical (GC).  I have yet to see her dvd though as it is not yet released.So I really cannot say just how contradictory it is...if it even is at all

I will say that for anyone wanting to know more about FC dressage.....to compare to GC dressage..... this is a GREAT place to start. Also for sure it will go really well for those wanting to do Finesse with western riding.  This is his "basics" dvd and I will say he explains it well, and I learned alot, since I come from a GC dressage background and really never knew, or quite ashamedly admit, never cared about FC before.  But with my current desire to study FC, this was exactly what I needed to understand what the essence of FC is about.  I am thrilled that it is completely in line with my current situation for my horse, and now I can work on doing all this properly as the rein aids are completely and wonderfully explained.

Now, not being a FC expert, having never studied ANY thing about it, I have to ask though, "Is this all there is too it?  Is it really this easy?"  My current FC study, in it's infancy, I keep reading how easy it is compared to GC.  Which makes it way more fun, according to it's fans.  So watching this, having a relatively thorough, albeit rusty, understanding of GC......added to my relatively thorough understanding of Parelli....it was easy for me to watch this dvd and not have any issues understanding what he was talking about.  It was foreign to me due to my GC background, and a bit opposite in principles, so it took me a minute for me to wrap my brain around it to embrace it, so I had to watch it a couple of times simply to access my memories of years gone by at how it could have related to my dressage back then....but once I did, I could see how it not only completely applies to my current green horse, but it is honestly pretty much what we were starting to do naturally on our own.  So this perfectly showed me not only how to do it properly, but how to apply it to each situation of our riding.  His explaination and examples given, completely cleared up how to get the pole high, keep the horse from getting behind the vertical or bit, how to flex the pole, and how to mobilize the jaw.  It was something that was always a mystery to me what FC students were talking about and how different it is from GC as far as contact is concerned.

At the very least, this dvd will show you how to get that poll up and keep it the highest spot. ;)

I totally loved it, and if there are any French Classical Dressage students, true scholars, who are riding above 3rd level........PLEASE tell me.....is it REALLY this EASY?

Click here For more info on Phillipe Karl

Savvy On

Monday, November 21, 2011

Muscle vs Mindfullness

So I watched my lame little video.....looked at the title i gave it...'back in the saddle'......thinking.....but my A$$ has been in the saddle over the last 4ys.....what makes it different this time?  truth be told, I have not done anything 'dressagy' for probably 13ys.  just been starting my rescues and green beans....

during that time i have been doing parelli, be it my intial "this is crap, gonna prove it wont work with dressage" to "i'm gonna be a PP"  to "something is wrong gotta bail".  with the car accident, my inferior skills upon my return, my horse hating me and life in general.....i have been on this journey for the last year n half.....since my whole OLL3 audition debacle.....and have noticed many times I thought i had 'figured it out'.

Many times I have had these BFO's....that in retrospect were only mini bfo's.  but i think i have it now....I think I finally found the missing piece....or maybe just figured out how all the missing pieces i have found in the last year...have finally completed some cosmic kharmic picture.

a picture that shows me the death grip i had on what ever it was i was holding on to so tightly.....that it took something pretty big to get my attention.  Maybe I needed that smack to my leg to force me let go with the last finger i had gripping on for dear life.

so i recently watched Mark Rashids dvd "developing sofness in the rider".....and just as his books have given me deep spiritual revelations, his words are so profound to me and this dvd was no different.

he talked about our minds needing to be like still water in a pond, so the landscape around it can be mirrored perfectly in the water.....and if you throw stones in the water....the ripples distort the picture.  and just as in life....chaos in your mind distorts your perceptions of people places and things around you.  or something like that....

so my friend and i have been talking about his muscle vs mindfulness concepts nearly every day for the last week about nearly every aspect of our lives.....and then.....I rode.

so here i sit, watching my little lame dressage video....and it hit me....for the first time in 13ys....i saw a glimpse of ME....and realized i have not seen her in a long time.  i saw the soft me, the mindful me, the peaceful me, the get in harmony and help my horse move right me, the dressage me that i never thought i would see again....

unfortunately i saw the FAT me too....but....i guess you cant have your cake and eat it too.....oh wait...that's how i GOT fat.....so i take that back....i guess you can have your cake and your husbands cake and your kids cake...and eat them all in one sitting while crying in your cereal :roll:

i noticed in this last ride, all the fear, judgement, assumptions, ridicule, self loathing, hatred, pain, and worst of all the ANGER....were gone.  i was at peace with myself, and my horse and i danced.  sure it wasn't perfect....not even by a million to one long shot.....but it was ME and i liked what i saw

it wasn't the me that everyone else told me i had to be, the me that everyone expected me to be, the me I thought everyone else wanted me to be.....I was

ME.....and I was pretty dam OK with it.  I cleared the clutter from my head and followed my own set of rules, tuned everything else out.....and listened to my horse.  Instead of 'upping my leadership' and using muscle (not physical rather mental) and i used my intuition and let nature guide me.  i didn't fight muscle with more muscle....I simply redirected the energy using my mindfulness and we danced.

In that lame little dressage video i also saw something else.....HOPE
Hope for the future....that I do have one and it does include dressage....MY dressage......Rose's dressage.....Nature's dressage and

we will dance again. :wink:

Do you REALLY know what Rhythm is?

Do you know the difference between Rhythm and Tempo? We’ve all heard (god I hope we have) that walk is a 4 beat gait, trot a 2 beat gait and canter a 3 beat gait. And we hear the three “R’s” rhythm, relaxation, retreat. But do you REALLY know what RHYTHM is? In my experience in the ‘natural’ world…..the answer is….probably not. You may know someone else’s definition based on ‘their’ overall goal….which is actually…..TEMPO. And also interchangeably use ‘purity of gait’

The greener our eyes are, the bigger we need the picture to be, in order to ‘get’ something. So it is easy for someone to say…..rhythm….in exchange for tempo…when talking about ‘behavior’ and ‘emotions’ in a horse. Or a green horse just learning to ‘rate’ his speed. So we wouldn’t want to see his canter go quickly then slowly then quickly then slowly…..we would like him to be consistent…..but this is actually TEMPO. So unfortunately we don’t, in the end understand and thus incorrectly use the term ‘rhythm’ for ‘tempo’ but it served it’s purpose of helping us identify and correct emotional inconsistencies in our horse, or helping a very green horse get his very basic bearings about himself.

However, in Dressage, Rhythm is a core element, and inconsistencies will cost you big time. It is suppose to be TABOO to cause irregular gaits….ie: RHYTHM…..but they take a fine eye and ear to recognize…..so it would be prudent to REALLY know what it is, what is correct, and what would be considered a crime against nature.

Rhythm: Unconstrained, forward flow of energy through “well timed” steps

Rhythm is the pattern of the beats of the gait….2 beat trot, 3 beat canter and 4 beat walk. It should be even and consistent. It isn’t the ‘beat’ in so much as it is the amount of time ‘between’ the beats….that defines the RHYTHM. We tend to think of the trot as 1-2 1-2- 1-2…. So to define the ‘even’ part….what you need to know is that the time between footfalls should be perfectly even, and it is helpful to think of it as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8….which 4 strides of trot.

If you counted out loud as your horse trotted along…..

that is exactly what you should hear….1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8……..NOT…..1-—2-3-—4-5-—6-7—8.

Same for the walk there, which is the easiest gait to screw up and cause an ambling or shuffling as described above….mainly from too much contact not enough engagement. The trot however is usually screwed up by posting. So when posting, you should think of an imaginary saddle seat hovering over the pommel. You should be spending just as much time with your ‘front’ on the imaginary saddle as you do with your ‘back’ in the real saddle….and the time in between, spent rising, should be equal to the time in between, spent falling. Usually this is the reason for lack of even rhythm in the trot gait. Do it for too long, and you make it a habit hard to break for you and your horse. Now the canter is a whole ‘nuther story. While it is a 3 beat gait, we must remember there is a suspension phase as well, with it’s own ‘beat’ so to speak. Making the canter kind of like a 4 beat gait…..for the purposes of explaining the canter rhythm…………at least if you want your horse to not be totally flat with no elevation or space of time between strides. So a canter rhythm would be like this….. 123-123-123-123……..not 123123123123123…so it might be helpful to go ahead and count out the suspension beat like this 123s123s123s123s123s123s or how I like to do it….123412341234. The longer the suspension phase….the more uphill, springy, engaged, etc the canter will be.

Let’s talk about SERIOUS deviations of purity of gait. These are things you will see caused by such things as Rolkur and again serious lack of impulsion or odd mix of collection/impulsion….this is where the trot becomes a 4 beat gait because of diagonal pair of legs not hitting the ground simultaneously….or the canter becomes a 4 beat gait such as in the often seen 4 beat ‘pirouette’ where the horse is rearing on two hind legs, swings his torso over, then places his front feet down separately…..that is NOT a canter. This would be caused by focusing too much doing the pirouette on the ‘spot’ rather than focusing on keeping the gait pure (3 clear beats) and sacrificing the ‘spot’. As I said in the beginning, it is ‘suppose’ to be taboo to lose purity of gait or have an irregular rhythm. It is suppose to be taboo to not have the poll the highest spot, and taboo to have the nose behind the vertical….yet we almost exclusively see all these deviations from the most elite in the sport. Adhering to “Winning” above basic cardinal principles….will be nothing more than sacrifice at your horse’s expense.

So now that you know WHAT rhythm is and isn’t, let’t talk about TEMPO again. Because lets face it 1---2-3---4-5---6-7---8 IS a rhythm, it just isn’t an even rhythm or the one we are looking for…..it is an irregular rhythm.

So lets say you have a trot…..1---2---3---4---5---6 as your regular working trot….when you shorten or lengthen the stride…this will shorten….1-2-3-4-5-6 or lengthen 1-------2-------3-------4-------5-------6 but see how it stayed regular and even and consistent….if you ever got 123456…..your horse will likely to be found….on the forehand, strung out, emotionally scattered. Time needs to be spent doing lots of half halts and lots of cavaletti work.

Remember, while we want a canter to have a well defined suspension ‘beat’, we do not want him to move like Pepe Le Pew 123--------------123-------

Hope this has help clear up any confusion about what Rhythm really is……and don’t worry……with this knowledge, despite what Gloria Estephan says….the Rhythm isn’t “Gonna getcha’”

Savvy On


Sunday, November 20, 2011

When Pigs Fly

I looked out my window and saw pigs flying and the weather lady said it was indeed a cold day in hell.  It must be if I am doing French Classical Dressage.  Something in my youth, my narrow minded German Classical Dressage Brain said I would never do, ya know.....'when pigs fly or when it is a cold day in hell'.  Ya.....so that day has come, and no one is more shocked than I am.  I currently just do not have the funds for in depth research of this method, to purchase the literature of masters long since dead, or current masters, only to find out they are of the German method.  My library is already a vast one in the German Style.

As I google this, I am finding it difficult to even know where to start.  Much of the literature is still written in the native language of the masters such as French, which of course I cannot speak, let alone read.  I have conceded to reading knowledgeable scholars interpretations, written on forums, blogs and websites along with the few dvd's I have found from Phillipe Karl, Craig Stevens, Jean-Claude Racinet and Dominique Barbier.  So if anyone knows of any produced French style dvd's and books from anyone other than the above authors.... in "english".....PLEASE share with me who they are.

What I am not looking for, at least at this point, is a natural horsemanship interpretation of the subject matter.  I am looking for the Classical Dressage.  I am learning that Dorrance, Parelli and Anderson and the like have for better or worse, a foundation in this style.  But it is their own interpretation as it relates to COW work and the vaquero style.  Like I said, for better or worse, I am learning there is alot that is misinterpreted and or applied incorrectly, and at this point, it just isn't what I am looking for. I want the info from a master artist, not the guy who tries to copy him and fails near miserably, while attempting to manipulate this information to his own end means. Straight from the horses mouth, not the jockey's.

If you would have asked me 20ys or even 2 weeks ago if I ever thought I would be doing this.....lordy the eyes would have been rolling for sure.  But here I am, seeing that it can be learned, easily, even by ME!

Now that I have made my request, let me tell y'all, "long time no see".  I went from not really being online because I was out have a blast with my horse, to not being online due to being a couch jockey from bustin up my knee pretty good and having surgery.  During my time on my back, I thought about a dvd i watched a while back, regarding a "second manner" boucher, which is of course french, and it has been stewing in the back of my mind.  the only thing that caused me to give it a second thought, is the fact that I am limited to walk only on my horse for a while, now that i am back in the saddle.  the french style seemed much more 'do-able" in my current condition since every thing starts at the halt and then walk and so forth.  I didn't have much to go on my first two rides, then I got Phillipe Karls dvd friday and watched it.  OMG....lightbulbs were going off like fireworks, and after only two rides, Rose and I totally "get it" and I wish I woulda done this sooner.

So here I am, spending my non saddle time this weekend, reading dressage forums seeking more info to get an even better understanding of the method.  But so far, there is nothing I don't understand or disagree with.  Not a sentence I ever thought would leave my lips for sure.

This is me, eating crow pie.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Classical Dressage day 1...video

Shoulders in, leg yields, turns on HQ/FQ....I really wanted to have a 'before' video....something to compare things to when the winter is over, and I have spent the cold months......working on WALK. The basic classical principles I am adhering to at this point are.....Poll is the highest point, stay straight, keep forward momentum all with light contact. Being that I am restricted to walk for a while....and walk is the easiest gait to screw up.....I don't want to add the pressure of being on the bit. for all intents and purposes....Rose only has the equivelent of 30-60 days under saddle.....spread over quite a number of years, and I have only had the bit in her mouth @ 10 times. So it would be REALLY easy to cause her to resent the bit, lose impulson, over bend her neck and have c2-3 be the highest point, lose purity of the gaits and get sour to being riden....so for now....poll high, forward and straight on light contact is my only requirements. If things go well, I will play with inside leg to outside rein.....

One thing I noticed watching the video back is how much and how easy it was to get going with the shoulder ins and leg yields with contact. I struggled for YEARS with Snookie to get her to understand how to move her hind end. she found shoulder in easier...but still it was years before i learned how to do it....and with Rose, this was a breeze.....so easy....we over did it and got 4 tracks instead of 3. Which is a suppling excersize too, so i am not going to complain. Again, todays only pain was putting my sock on.

Savvy On

Lyrics to the first song in the video...which I think are so fitting and the reason i chose it.

"Tangled Up In You"
by Staind

You're my world
The shelter from the rain
You're the pills
That take away my pain

You're the light
That helps me find my way
You're the words
When I have nothing to say

And in this world
Where nothing else is true
Here I am
Still tangled up in you

You're the fire
That warms me when i'm cold
You're the hand
I have to hold as I grow old

You're the shore
When I am lost at sea
You're the only thing
That I like about me

How long has it been
Since this storyline began
And I hope it never ends
And goes like this forever

In this world
Where nothing else is true
Here I am
Still tangled up in you

Monday, November 14, 2011

What a little trouble maker!!! picture story of a busy pony

So this is what we see from the garage

"What.....I don't know Nuttin"
"I'm a good boy...didn't do Nuttin"

"What the hell?"...my husband asks...
"Look Closely in your hay shed"

looks like the hay monster to me!

How could he let me sneak up like this?

Oh Crap!  I'm Busted!!!!

Savvy On

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I can RIDE again!!!!

Well it has been 6 weeks since my knee injury, and 3 weeks, I think, since my surgery. I have been good, and stayed off my horse, problem is.... It has thrown me mentally back to my post car accident state of mind, and for the last two days I have found myself finding distractions or letting distractions find me.... In efforts to avoid my horse all together. So I laid in bed this morning, and decided I would be proactive from the second I got my undies on. Instead of following those w sweat pants.... I put my breeches on.... One less thing to "avoid" to help me "avoid" the thing I am obviously subconsciously "avoiding". That was step one. Step two was to claim it to all of you to help hold myself accountable to my promise. Now I just have to wait for them to finish eating. Step 3 will be to let the horses loose in the yard so they will be in my face, then all I will have to do is make the long journey in my mind to actually do this. 

the whole 'move closer stay longer' is the only thing that got me off the couch years ago....but mine is an uncommon and completely irrational fear, though just as debilitating as rational fears. i suffer from a fear of failure. I myself think it is the most ridiculous thing ever, which is what made it so hard to 'diagnose'....'come to grips with' and 'get over' the first time around. the whole process took almost a year, and included every horse i could get my hands on....other than my L4 horse. I had to travel WAY outside parelli to get the answers to having a relationship again with my wonderful rose....yet we still have some issues we are overcoming. So, I knew even with my knee and worries about that.....it wasn't about that at all. I needed to just do it, or I was headed for a serious downward tailspin that would be devastatingly hard to get out of. for pete sakes, I was JUST starting ride again (riding for a whopping whole 2 months) after 3ys off from my car accident, taking care of my mother, getting over this fear of failure thing, yada yada...... I REALLY could not let this current injury put me back there.....nope, not again....ever again. 

So THERE.... I said it..... Now I am going to do it!..........

7 or so hours later.......

.......... I did it!  ............ 

Good news....riding didn't hurt. was able to get on from trailer tirewell on right side, and dismount from left side. It was horribly painful to put my sock on,  close enough to impossible to never want to try that again myself....and putting my boot on was slightly better.  

today was day one of playing with true contact, and playing with lateral work. We had several really good shoulder in's and some really nice turns on the fq/hq's, got some ok leg yeilds, and one or two sufficient haunches in. All this based soley on it being day one....nothing I would ever want it to look like after we have really spent some time playing with it. then i took out the camera....and true to my past....  it went to hell in a handbasket in no time flat  But.....I came away with re-affirming a querry of mine.....that of which i will no longer be riding with the fluidity reins. it gave me false sense of contact and weight in my hands and thus my timing was off a bit, and it was making my releases to abrupt....for me... and was making it harder to help rose in the way that I want things to be. but that was not to bad....our worst problem was her not listening to my injured leg very well, if she decided to at all. CS to the rescue....ended on a great note of being very light to the leg....  

the best news of all.....my fear of the whole bucking thing(my pre car accident fears)......is 100% gone....I didn't have ANY anxiety during the whole tacking up process....and didn't have to go thru my normal pre ride ritual of cigarettes and breathing exercises....woo hooo     lets see here.....I got that fear with Jueli the bucking rescue.....that was .....hmmm.....GOOD LORD......7-8 YEARS ago......and it is FINALLY gone! whew! Really over shadows how ENORMOUS I look in the pics....ugh!

Yeah Me!

Savvy On

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day light savings???...WTH??

Last night I was thinking about daylight savings time and wondering……

Who the heck came up with it?

Who the heck does it benefit?

And where is the piggy bank that they save all this time in?

I stopped at local community K-mart near where I work, which btw is in the worst neighborhood in the worst town in usa. Stockton, where I work, has more crime per capita than New York. A local pizza delivery guy was killed in broad daylight just outside our building at quitting time. And we just had a drive by a few months ago, just a few blocks from here. So as I ran into k-mart quickly for cat food, I hoped I would make it back out before the sunlight was replaced by complete darkness, and I stood in line for what seemed like an eternity as the cashier moved slower than a snail, I pondered this whole daylight savings thing and decided to google it, as it does me and my horsemanship little good.

Appears that it is not the ‘saving’ time frame that I don’t like…it is the ‘standard’ time that gets me. Apparently Benjamin Franklin invented this idea….to allow for us to enjoy more of the sunny summer evenings with an extra hour. Trouble is….going back is no fun at all. While I appreciate the sunlight to feed my horses in the morning during the winter months…..for all intents and purposes, I would prefer a little sunlit evening time to enjoy myself….rather than be stuck in an office all day while the warmth gets used up by all those people NOT stuck in an office. Anyways, I found a whole lot of history and info on daylight saving time. All the trouble it has caused and people it has helped, money wasted and saved, hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil saved, people killed, riots held, wars started and ended…..good lord, seems I am not the only to find it controversial for my life. I guess, if it has been around that long, has caused that much harm and good….who am I too complain…..and who would listen anyways.

Guess I will go play with my horse in the dark

Savvy On

Baggage from the past, apprehension about the future

I started this post with typing just the title.  At the time, I had something on my mind....what it was.....now I cannot remember.  That happens more and more as you get older.  I am getting close to a milestone on my blog....any dang day now.  Anyways, I think it had something to do with my journey and being 'stuck'....yet again.  Feeling a bit lost maybe...not really sure. 

I was scheduled to ride in a Mark Rashid clinic this week. But finances were tight and the closer it got the more I realized I didn’t want to ride in it. I really respect and admire Mark as a writer and a horseman. But when I met him in person, I felt so inferior I could hardly breathe. I don’t know why, but it appears I am intimidated by men Well, I do know why, but that is just “baggage from my past”. . I did not get this feeling when I met Linda, nor when I have met any other well known WOMAN, so I don’t think it is the notoriety. Regardless I felt it was silly to spend so much money for nothing. I would be a ball of nerves, probably not hear over half of what he says, and ultimately learn ZILCH. So, knowing there were other people on the waiting list, who would just love my spot….I backed out. I think this may have been what I typed the title for….a month ago before I got hurt.

I have quite a few posts, laying in wait to be completed…but at least there are words typed in them to help me remember what my ‘thought’ was….and where I was going with it. Here…nothing! Maybe I was just going to talk about how we shouldn’t let our baggage from the past….or our apprehension about the future……chain us to one spot. I am trying to remember if it was a good and inspirational moment about how I felt liberated....or if it was a sad and somber one feeling lonely and stuck.  I just sit here BLANK…..staring……nothing but BLANK……Since I cannot remember where I was gonna go with this….let me just take you to where it took me……I am certainly melancholy lately….more than a few things to bog down the heart…..for some reason I thought of this quote…..so I just googled it. So, let me just share it with you and be done with this post. I think there are some good things in here for me to ponder….she was a wise woman for sure……..

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

― Mother Teresa

For now, I am going to concentrate on completing my 'draft mode' posts, get them published and then move on to milestone.....I have about 10 drafed posts, nearly finished....so let me get to gettin 'er done.

Savvy On

Monday, November 7, 2011

Days without a learn burn…..36

Well, until a month ago…..I had racked up quite a good number of days since I had any kind of horse related injury, so long ago that I can’t even remember what/when it was…….but…..here I sit with a jacked up knee. Things are better today than a month ago for sure, but I can’t believe it has already been a month. Time seems to really have flown by without me, and we rolled the clocks back this last weekend. October is always the month in which all horse enthusiasts get in their last minute fun before the curtain closes on yet another season of horsing around. This week it will be pitch black when I get home from work, so weekdays will not be optimal for play time. I had surgery on my knee 2 weeks ago, but not much got fixed. They thought it was one thing, that would easily be fixed laproscopically……but got in there and found something all together different……that will require a cadaver donor to fix. I am going to pass on that for now……and hope I can return to somewhat normal activities with a knee brace…..and then just sit it out, wait and hope for the best. I can at least straighten my leg now, but the bending is going so slowly.  I am at a 90* bend at best.....good news is.....riding only requires a 112* to a 135* bend.  I rode a barrel at a recent playday, and having something between my legs didn't seem to hurt, so that is a plus as well.  Biggest plus is that Rose is generally a good girl undersaddle so no glaring issues with that either.

So what did I do to jack up my knee you ask?  Well....I was helping a friend with a wild colt.  They could not touch him, much less halter him....so I went over to help her out.  All was going good, I was just a minute or two from being done.....and I had done a mighty fine job of it too, if I do say so myself. The whole thing from start to finish, took less than two hours.  I was haltering him and touching him well, approach was good, I got fly spray on him....and was giving the final 2 squirts when he turned his haunches toward me and bumped me.  I was just too slow to get out of the way and my knee whent the wrong way.  I flew through the air trying to get my feet under me and as I landed my knee went the other way!  Tore the ACL ligament 90%.  As I lay there in a pile of shit, I thought to myself.....the Moral of the story is......be carefull when you toot your own horn....you just may choke on it while you are tooting!

I havn't been on line much, very little to be exact, been riding the green fluffy couch for a month....watching my son hog up the computer to his hearts content!

Savvy On

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Tribe has Spoken

Ocassionaly I am moved to write about something other than horses when the emotion causes inspiration.  So here is...my non horse thoughts....

As I sit and watch my country and more importantly my state, fall apart, I stare across my desk at the welfare office into the teary eyes of a hard working woman accustomed to a 6 figure income, barely surviving the last 6 months on her $1800mo unemployment that just ran out…… having just been told by us…..we can only give her $600 a month. My job for the day was to tell her, for that $600 per month she will need to do 32hrs a week of community service, or we will take the money away. Unlike our most of our other clients, who have never had a job, has not graduated high school much less college, and is a 4th generation welfare client……we cannot send someone with an AA in marketing to school, and I explained that she should be prepared to work somewhere equivalent to fast food, being that for some reason no company in her field of expertise will hire her. After a long talk about the reality of her hitting rock bottom, I mentioned her icy exterior and asked her if she was aware, despite being uncomfortable with her surroundings, that she was very short with me and seemed to have a large chip on her shoulder.

I know that many times, we as humans, are just unaware how transparent we can be, and that maybe she was giving off this kind of energy in interviews. As we talked, her face started to soften, and between her fighting back the tears and letting them flow, her eyes changed from steel to velvet. I told her she should consider walking away from her home and relocating if there was a job anywhere in her field elsewhere, as she is likely going to lose the home anyways, and that there is a glimmer of hope to save her home and rent it out, IF she can find a job else where. I tell ya, there is nothing like the cold hard slap of reality you get at the welfare office, no matter what side of the desk you sit at. I’m sure it felt to her as if she was living in one of those horror movies, in some alternate reality world, hoping for Alfred Hitchcock to come around the corner and end the show. But he didn’t, it was just me. I have calloused to it over the last few years, but am far from having lost all empathy. I had to harden for the sake of my own mental survival as I was having panic and anxiety attacks with each interview I completed with folks like her. Basically because it just hits way to close to home. My husband and I live paycheck to paycheck….and we are just one lost paycheck away from it being us on the other side of my desk.

A little while after this interview, I read an email from my uncle who is a Vietnam vet, and chain mails conspiracy theories daily to his entire contact list. Usually I just read and delete. Some are cartoons of our president, others honoring the fallen heroes, and some are warnings of the doom gloom that is about to befall us should our government continue on the his path. Today was no different, but this time I could feel the warning vibrate on the strings of my inner fear guitar. Then my heart jumped in like the base drum in a marching band. My God….have we become a socialist country without even knowing it? Are we really that close to no longer being the Alpha Country? Financially my husband and I are always hanging on by a fine thread…..and there is never an end in sight. My thoughts raced to all the years of war between our country’s political parties, who is right, who can save us…yada yada yada……and then it hit me.

What if we woke up tomorrow without a government. None of any kind. No one to siphon half my paycheck. No one to pay the fire department, police or schools. No one to hand out welfare checks or food stamps. No one to bail out banks and auto makers, who continue to make millions and millions in profits annually. What if we all, as a nation, had to live like they do on survivor. Obviously not on a paradise island, but right here where we already live…..where ever that may be. Would life, could life, be just like survivor. Either pull your weight and contribute to the good of your local society or be voted out at tribal council. Just like survivor, it would not be just a physical game, where only the strong well physiqued win in the end….it would also be a place where those who take care of camp, find food, have good social skills or a cunning and vindictive streak able to make power moves to either cut the dead weight or dethrone the beautiful bullies and make a giant shift of power in your own favor. But always the overall goal is the survival of all members of the tribe, to keep the tribe strong so that you could win battles with other tribes when there is some kind of dispute. If you didn’t like your tribe, you could leave and find a new tribe that has similar goals to your own. You would have to learn to fit in, in every way, in order to survive. Lets face it, we all have different things to offer a tribe, and few can do everything, so diversity is a must for survival, and there really would be a place for each of us to contribute. Would we then be socialists? Socialists with a twist….the twist….no government control or regime to make the rules up for us. It would literally be up to us to survive. Trading things with other members of the tribe, and with other tribes. Is this not how our country began in the first place? The only promise we were given in the beginning was the right and freedom to “pursue” happiness. Are the states really much different than a bunch of large tribes anyways? Where did we all go so wrong and can we ever fix it? I certainly am tired of pulling my weight, doing my fair share, and being forced to give it up for someone who is not. I would rather it be of my own choice to whom I my weight will carry. Let me pick and choose to whom the burdens I bear will benefit. Let me choose who will be invited into my tribe. Let us all sit down and work out who will be responsible for what. Who will farm, who will heal, who will fight fires, who will transport and who will entertain. We all can’t just lay around and be lazy.

What ever happened to true individual freedom, responsibility and contribution and reward for a hard days work. I stare in shock at my annual federal tax bill and weep for lost spoils. How on earth, does someone who makes as much money as my husband and I do, live the good life that we have worked hard for, when so much of it is taken away from us before we ever see the cold hard cash in our hands. We don’t live an extravagant life style, we do have a few toys, but honestly…..we make too much money to be living this poorly. And why is that? Why do I literally have to pay the way for someone that didn’t earn it. Won’t earn it. Refuses to earn it. They contributed NOTHING to my tribe, nothing more than suck the life blood right out of it, so that we all can be equal. Equally poor that is. I think that we the tribe should be allowed to vote them off. Let them request to join another tribe, the tribe that voted to allow those that don’t contribute, to live off those that do. Why not a tribe made up of only the slackers and those that voted to pay for them. Let them and them alone work hard to plow the fields, plant the fields, water the fields, harvest the fields and then hand their produce over to those who didn’t even have the courtesy to keep them company while they worked so hard. Not a drop of sweat shed from their brow, yet their hands and belly’s full from the rewards. Not so easy to do, when it is your hands that are actually dirty from hard work, much harder than sitting in a comfy chair at the capital, where the only sweat is that of your hands as you sign yet another law, bill or budget to further reduce the possibility of me actually enjoying the rewards of my hard work. Sounds to me like the only ones around here right now to out wit, out last, out play……are the people at the top. We need to have a secret meeting under the banana bush and vote this moron OUT of our tribe. That is what they call a power play blind side in survivor land. These are the only words I long to hear. Obama….grab your torch, the tribe has spoken, it’s time for you to go.

Hope to see you at Tribal Council
Savvy On

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review: ***** "Lessons With Lendon" by Lendon Gray

25 Progressive dressage lessons*****

I cannot begin to say what a great series of lessons this book is comprised of.  Originally, back when I found them and completed them my self, it was a monthly article in a magazine.  They were so popular, that they took them and put them in a book.  Lendon has a sensible, natural approach to dressage, from step 1 to step 25, nothing is over looked, no short cuts taken. I had ripped out the articles and chucked the rest of the magazine, and still have them in a binder for reference.  These are the 'lessons' that finally got me on the proper and classical road to success, that I had searched for, for so long.  These are the lessons that finally fixed all the damage that an international "I" level dressage judge had created with us.  These are the lessons that finally got Snookie to stop spooking and running for the hills with me barely attached.  I highly recomend this book to anyone riding a horse of any level, you never know what steps you may have missed in your horses training, and you certainly don't want to create any holes with your new baby!

Lendon literally starts you off at go and whoa, because if you don't have that, what good is the rest of it?  From the very basics to preparing for your first dressage show, she generously shares advice from an Olympians perspective.  If you are working on your Finesse Savvy, you can't go wrong with this book as a resource.  Dressage saddle not required!

Savvy On

Feeling a little blue today....

I came across this old post that I never published, it was still in draft mode.  Boy...I'm surprised I didn't slit my wrists that day!...........

As I was getting dressed for work this morning, my mind was realing, as it always does, thinking of 1000 things at once.  Maybe if I had just been thinking of finding my blutooth, instead of everything else, I would not have searched the house 3x over to no avail.  But there I stood, in between jamies and work clothes, and caught a glimps of myself in my closet mirror (12ft long, kinda hard not to) as I was having a conversation with someone else in my head, and it dawned on me.....that despite my best intentions and efforts....I will never be ME again.  The 'me' I have been searching for now for 3ys.  Well, OK....yes I 'could', but I am not sure I could handle the sacrifices I would have to make.  Basically, I would need to give up all but one of my horses, so I could board again, to have daily access to good footing.  That also in turn, means more time away from home.....and who would it be that I keep.  Snookie cannot be re-homed at her age, and will not do well alone, even if i kept her and boarded one other.  It is kinda like trying to decide which of your kids you will shove out the door.  The reality of my property is just depressing. I feel like I have known this all along.  Seems like I have.  But it really hit me this morning. HARD.  So what do I do now.  I am not giving up, that's for sure.  But clearly I need a different goal.  This is something that I have also felt all along that I had.  And maybe I did.  There was an opening in the Mark Rashid clinic in april, I was first on the wait list.  but I dont have the $$ right now for a clinic, and will have to wait until Nov for my planned clinic with him.  But I soooo need it right NOW.  I am thinking of what I can do in my 'arena', to make it honestly usable for more than just playing around. Something that I can feel good about asking my horses to work in.  I think that has been a major set back, that I will not ask my horses to work on bad footing.  Sucks enough that it is small, it should at least be proper for good biomechanics.

Savvy On

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Miyagi is back....and oh boy....was the dust flying. Got some good behavior on video, from alpha to omega!

Wild Thang! video of chacote's freedoms

This is why I do what I do.....rescue those that no one can or will. To be able to set a horse free....free from hunger, free from physical pain, mental suffering, emotional anguish, and downright imprisonment. Freedom from those that neglect their needs, and then freedom from the past. Freedom from themselves. Cha'cote was a long time coming to be confident to do this.....I love the way he is walking in this video...with purpose and self confidence....WANTing to be a part of the fun, and confident enough to make his own fun. It has been 1 year and 10 mos since I rescued him, wild and terrified....begging to be set free.....and we are finally there. Enjoy with me the beauty of freedom.

Friday, September 23, 2011

DVD Review:**** 5Mike Schaffer: Right From The Start

Right from the Start****

It is refreshing to see educational dressage dvd's that so clearly show that many traditional and classical riders and their methods are 'natural'.  Most NH'rs think that the NH 'techniques' are what makes natural....well....natural....and they couldn't be farther from the truth.  The TRUTH is, natural is in your mind, it is in concepts and philosophy, not in a stick and a rope. 

Mike has a philosophy that if you start a horse on the ground to accept and give to the bit, before you get on his back, you will save him YEARS of confusion and pain.  I agree with this whole heartedly.  Another of his steps is to release knots in the neck with massage and to supple the horse with lateral movements on the ground before you mount up.  Nothing un-natural about that.  His technique was simple to understand and very well demonstrated with several un-started horses and horses he was re-starting that had years of evasions to the bit. His technique only took minutes for the horse to understand the lesson, because Mike understands.....it's all about the release.  He demonstrated this time and again.  He also shows a rider how to do this, and walked her literally one step at a time through the process, from ground to saddle.  The changes in the horse were nothing short of amazing.  

As for my dressage principles, I feel this is a great tool in teaching the horse to give to the bit, but I caution you, we do not want them so soft, that they travel around over bent longitudinally and behind the bit or vertical.......OR over bent laterally, crooked and falling out thru the shoulder.  This dvd is about 'giving to the bit', so remember, it all starts in the back end, driving your horse, straight, over his back, reaching TO the bit, TO the contact, and ACCEPTING that contact....not about a head set, or avoiding the contact.

I am giving this dvd 4 *"s as I believe very strongly it is a must see for anyone who is about to, or already has, put a bit in their horses mouth, and it is simple, concise, and not convoluted with any other content not related to the subject.

click here for more info about Mike Schaffer

Savvy On

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chacote makes a big move

Well he did it! He made the 75foot trek right after I fed this morning, leaving the comfort and safety of his sacred corner to eat with the girls! I guess the ant CAN move the rubber tree plant!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

There's an APP for that!

Aa a very satisfied but techno challenged iPhone owner, I just found out there is a blogger ap! I can upload pics such as this one of my cat passed out under the curtain, or this one of my lovely Rose and my now sold cradle bridle! No video upload. But I find this cool, as often my son hoards the desk top!

Tech Savvy On

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Who's My leader Now?...horse behavior video

Dear Lord we are at it again.! Horse sitting for a friend while she is laid up....here are the antics when I introduced them!

So, I told you all about the new draft mare Syrah and my TB mare Rose....war for pasture domination.....it was about 2.5 weeks before Rose conceded that Syrah was the leader....or so I thought? They are best buds now, and I don't see Rose ever being able to move Syrah, and she does move out of Syrah's way....but I don't really see Syrah leading her anywhere. they just seem to go places together, but when push comes to shove....it is Rose who moves....

So now enters Hoss.....other pasture mates are Chacote the RBI mustang and Spirit the RBI(with humans)/LBE(with horses) shetland....whom is very VERY loving and playful with new horses! Everyone scatters about the pasture, Rose seems to be the dominant protector of the herd. the one to try to keep Hoss from the others, and the one to drive him away, and from what I could see, was 'herding' Syrah. there were times when Syrah was moving him, but mostly it was Rose. It didn't take long, and Rose n Syrah where at one end of the pasture, Hoss n Spirit at the other, and poor chacote in the middle. Spirit n Hoss were play biting each other for about 20 or so minutes, like geldings like to do, taging each others face, chest, neck n leggs to see who can take it the longest without moving. Too cute! I figured all is well for now and proceed out to help my son with his homework. I came out to feed later....and this is where things got ugly.....

Normally feed half the hay respectively in each upper corner, about 100ft apart, with a blind curve in fence so they really can't see most of what the other side is up to. girls eat at one end, boys eat at the other. i always feed girls first, they never come over to boys side, until they are nearly done. Just as when I put Syrah in there, both Rose and Syrah came over to boys hay and stole it. I though this was Rose, tagging along with Syrah, but when I couldn't find Hoss I started to look around....got a flash light, and found him in the lower furthest corner from everyone and all the food. Hmmm.....I called him, from the girls side as it was closer and the girls were at the boys side, he started to come, traveled about 5ft.....and Rose came tearing out of the darkness, she only had to go about 1/4-1/3 away from the boys hay, to effectively dominate both territories. Quite impressive IMO, to be able to dominate over half of that pasture while staying in a relatively small area herself. she went back to boys food, i called him, he tried again, took 2 steps, she went half the distance she did the time before....and was again...impressively effective. I tried one more time calling him, after she had turned back to the hay...he started to take a step, i heard movement from boys corner, but this time she must have gone only a few feet as she never appeard out from the dark corner....and was yet again effective. Sooooooooo....I had to go get a lead rope, CS/string and go get him and do some effective chasing of my own..........

I chased them from the boys hay, spirit stayed at girls hay, chacote was grateful to have evil girls away from his sacred corner, left Hoss with chacote, and then Rose and I had stare down. All the other horses were eating but her. Hoss was behind me in the corner, I stood with the body language that said....this is MINE....MY teritory, MY horse, I would not walk this way if I were you. She stared at me, in 'gear' 'foot waiting to let off the clutch' ....it was a SHOW DOWN....for 5...FIVE...minutes.......the second she lowered her 'posturing'....I lowered mine and stood in a neutral but still in a facing her position. As soon as she turned away, I did so as well...that took about 3 min......I then hid where she couldn't see me, i fiddle with the gate to make the noise so maybe she would think i left, to see if she was going to charge him if I wasn't there. she did not. i waited 5 minutes. I know later she did chase him....but the poor guy stood no chance of eating at all, at least he got a little before she chased him off.

This morning, i awoke to him and spirit, eating scraps of hay from the night before, and when I fed, I thru a few flakes farther down the hill so if he got chased off, he would stand a better chance of eating......I had to go in again and get him. even though they were not chasing him....he learned his lesson well last night and was afraid to pass them by himself....

anyways, i made a video for his Mommy to watch while she is laid up. he is like her baby and she misses him terribly. at least she can see pics of how he is getting along while she is in the hospital.

I got some good footage of the Rose and Syrah "herding" and "taking territory-ish' behavior, and was wondering if anyone else could see who they would choose as the 'leader' Rose or Syrah....cuz now I am confused....or maybe the dynamics changed when the new horse was introduced, and gave Rose the chance to be leader again...or maybe she was all along and I got it wrong.....
Savvy On