"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, January 30, 2011

A few pics from our ride

Trail ride yesterday. Went around the neighborhood for the first time ever. Rose was intimidating my friend while we were tacking up. I told my friend she was likely looking for a cookie, didn’t make my friend feel any better though. she gave Rose a VERY wide berth, 20ft or so. Probably watching me saddle her did her in. Rose was horrid when I put the saddle on her, but it was the first time, she was fine with the girth. It is the second time I have used my new girth. Hmmmm, how interesting!!!!

This was only Rose’s 5th (i think) trail ride ever. She is such the LBE….she was in front the whole time, never spooked, at the crazy dogs, bouncing goats, galloping donkey….but that puddle…..was a no go! She walked at a strong pace and had to keep stopping for Snookie to catch up with out trotting. she stopped every time i asked her to. i chose to let her walk fast, then ask her to stop and wait as opposed to constantly holding her back to a slower pace.

All cars slowed to a crawl when I raised my hand. I very much appreciated that. so many people are just so stupid when it comes to horses and waving hands! It went so well that my friend is coming up again in a few weeks, and we will tackle that puddle that stand between us and the off road trails that i didn’t know existed……for 2.5ys of living here….just 3 blocks away! Rose was a good girl and I couldn’t have been more proud of her……

OH…..and I wasn’t scared at ALL!!!!!…in case you dont know the story, it took me a year to get over my fear of riding her when i got her….she can be EVIL!!!

Well I could not have asked more of my old friend than what she gave yesterday. She is 27ys old, and out of shape, but she enjoyed getting out yesterday. She kept a steady pace, unwilling to waver from her speed. Normally getting left behind will send her into a RBE panic attack, but not yesterday. She kept her head relatively low to gain the most power of that old body. She had the look of a baby sitter the whole time for my non horsey friend. We didn’t do too much as Snook just wouldn’t be able to. I dont want to push her to a point of struggling. She didn’t mind the goats, donkey, cars, dogs, horses, NOTHING…..kinda out of the norm for the ex-race horse city girl who loaths anything ‘country’. My friend feels very confident with the Snookster, which is good, because it has taken her 23ys to get to this place. She just walked along, and apeared to be saying……"I am just to old to give a @#$%^ any more, c’mon lets get with it" She was a precious angel the whole time, and allowed my and my friend to share some girl time, as we hardly ever even get to see each other anymore. Thanks Snook for being my best teacher, I love you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I told you wierd things were happening to me, Right?

Ok, so some of the strangest things have been happening lately. I said I didn't want to talk about it and jinx it, but I just have to share now.....but don't think I am not knocking the hell out of my wooden desk as I type this.....

So I am not a lucky person.  Not being negative or anything, it is just my reality.  I have always been the person that is a day late and dollar short.  My best friend is the luckiest person and is always in the right place at the right time to get the deal of the century.  Any ways, ever since my lame settlement for my car accident....I won't go into details other than if ever a person could feel the pain of injustice, it is me over this. But it this three year ordeal is over now, I will have to live with my pain forever, and I am doing my best to just put it behind me, and put the scraps of my life back together, and just get on with life the best I can.

So back to what I was saying, ever since then, wierd GOOD stuff has been coming my way.  Now don't go crazy thinking I won the lottery or anything, nothing that exciting for sure, but good things none the less.  This week has been just another one to add.  It seemed like it wasn't good, as my mom has been in a terrible state.  Oh ya, my disabled mom lives with us, and last weekend had another horrible gall blader attack, and I had to to take her to the hospital on monday, she had surgery on tues, and she is still not well and may have another surgery.  We will know more tomorow.  So I had planned for my best friend (non horse person) to come visit me today and go for a trail ride.  It has been planned for over a week.  Well first my mom, then on thursday, my truck was having mysterious issues with the transmission that mysteriously went away, but I was still leary of hooking the trailer up to it.  Then it seemed as though my mom was to be discharged today with rain predicted for sunday.  We  found out last night she was not being discharged, so again I said 'whew'.  But then I woke up to husband saying "crap I have to go to work"....in his truck of course, and he got free tickets to the hockey game tonight and...he would probably be back in time for us to hitch up, and we would probably be back before he and my son need to leave for the game.  It would all be cutting it close though.  Then my friend was running late, and the stirrups were missing for my extra saddle, had to dig thru the tack room to find them, and time was just getting tighter and tighter.  Well it really seemed to me like there were just too many signs, one after another, pointing in the direction that I should NOT hook the trailer up and go the lake for a ride, and that I should just grow a pair, and take my friend around the neighborhood.....I have not in 2.5ys of living here, ridden the horses on the roads here.

Well I told my friend it felt like I was the person who had a gut feeling I should not get on the plane, so I dont, and then it goes down in a firey inferno and I was the one person spared by a 'feeling'.  She agreed. So off we went down the road, and I discovered that there are off road trails just 3 blocks away.  Both Rose and Snookie were GREAT.  We had lovely time....though I am in pain now....And I likely never would have had the courage to ride out my front drive way had there not been all these signs keeping me away from the lake today.  I am just tickled pink with the fact that my friend will be coming back again in a few weeks to ride again.  I may even have the courage to ride alone ponying Snookie from Rose.  Not an easy thing since my accident, but after having such a great ride, I feel confident that I 'could' if I so 'choose'.  Yet another wierd thing going my way in the last few weeks...almost like God is trying to appologise for letting me get screwed by someone else diving wrecklessly.  Hmm....now we will have to see if I jinxed my self talking about it.....just in case I don't want to mention the other mini-cool things that have happened....no need to push my luck!

Oh, and BTW....water hole rituals, Mark Rashid... strike again.  seems my new strategy is paying off with Rose.  While she was completely horrid when I put the saddle ON her, she for the first time did not make a face while girthing up!  2nd time I used my new girth.  She was annoying while tied....just being a nuisance....but I didn't let it bother me, and I didn't make a big deal out of it, and she was so much better.  I treated her like my FRIEND....rather than a means to an end....rather than getting MORE leadership....I became a better friend.....VIOLA.....Rose being a sweet horse again. 

Savvy On

Would you want to be YOUR horse?

Or how about someone elses horse?  Thinking back on the Ray Hunt dvd that I watched, the FtWorth benifit.  Was the colt start with about 30-40 horses.  I stated in my review, that I was less than impressed with alot of what was going on with those colts.  But it really struck me this morning, thinking about being able to see so many being done at the same time with so many different techniques that I thought to my self......which horse would I want to be.  "Would I want to be the horse assigned to 'that' guy......or 'that' guy?"  I quickly got this flash......too many times I said to myself...."I wouldn't want to be that horse, or that one, or that one...." unfortunately I said it ALOT.  But I can say, I didn't say it about them all....so that is good news.  There were definately a few that I could say...."I wouldn't mind being that guys horse"

So what do you think your horse might say about you?  Do you think he sits there wishing he could be 'that' guys horse, instead of yours?  If you think he might be secretely wishing he was someone elses horse.....maybe you ought to think about why he might feel that way, and do something about it.  I know there have been times MY horses probably wished I wasn't thier human.  But I feel I am on the right track now, as I have ditched a few techniques, and added a few more, that the horses seem to appreciate...and I am seeing a difference.  What more can I ask of myself......never ending self improvement for sure.

Something to think about.
Savvy On

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Considering the Horse: #3 Unfixable Horses

Oh dear, this one educated me...BIG time.  Please read the whole thing, as the end will likely educate YOU big time too.  I guess with my success rescuing, rehabing and rehoming horses...via my success in the parelli program (and my previous knowlege) I just kinda assumed that all horses are 'fixable' by the right person.  That somewhere in the world there would someone with the right skill and personality to match each horse and could fix it, and that too many horses never have the good fortune of meeting that person.  Same theory on horses with hoof problems.  So this chapter and having just seen a few of Pete Ramey's dvds.....both Mark and Pete talk about the ones they couldn't save.  Both describe the account as VERY humbling.  We are not gods, no farrier or clinician is a god....we cannot save them all.  Some are just too far gone, and some the owner get in thier own way.  But some, a small number here, but some......no one can save.  He wrote some things in this chapter that literally made me cry, and all of this pain is man made. 

One of the causes is severe long time abuse....some horses just can't recover no matter how good you are.  you can help them, but you can't cure them.  Another is undiagnosed serious physical issues, such as ulcers.  But the one I had no idea about is in breeding.  I knew genetically you could have some huge problems......but I never really put much thought into it.  I know of MANY big time QH/Paint breeders who do what is called 'line breeding'....and have heard a few breeders state...."if the colt comes out great...I'm a genious....If it is messed up....I'm a moron".....

WTF???  What on earth could cause a person not to hear how incredibly stupid that is?  Maybe they were line bred?  I dunno....but the whole thing sounds REALLY stupid to me.  There are so many great horses to choose from, why on earth would you choose to breed in a way that could seriously comprimise your end product? One of the great phonoms that has always plagued me, is the breeding of Impressive lines.  So many horses have suffered the fate of death due to this human selfishness.  It is one of the reasons I will never buy or rescue a 'grade' quarter horse.  Too easy for someone to take a 'well bred' hypp positive horse to a 'sale' and not tell anyone of his breeding or his genetic problems, and just say it is 'grade'.  They buyer thinks they are getting a great deal, and when they get home, the horse has a siezure....hopefully not while riding, and is ultimately put down.  Pitifully sad and is a fault that only humans can claim. Selfish....and usually for the dream of some stupid ribon at some stupid show.  Thank god the AQHA has finally recognised this via the genetic testing discovered, and is no longer letting them be registered.  But it has not stopped people from breeding them.  IF the colt turns out hypp negative...they register it.....if not....it is sold as 'grade'.  I think they have now made a ruling that if one of the parents is hypp positive the foal CANNOT be registered, but dont quote me on that as I just don't follow QH news.  So to sum up, line breeding is only slightly less risky than in-breeding....which I hope we all know is BAD!!!

So apparently, what can happen is that horses just don't have the genetic make up, that makes them 'normal'.  They can display behavior that is highly dangerous to them selves for no apparent reasons. I have once seen a horse like this, but I don't believe it was the breeding, I believe it was from an accident that the foal suffered at one day old. The filly had run into the stall wall pretty hard head first and she was just never 'right'.  She had an infection that needed 3x daily care, and it took two of us to get the job done.  One to hold her, one to treat her.  One day I thought she was doing well, one arm wrapped around her chest, the other around her rump.  She was about 5dys old.  She leaped straight up and head butted me.  I saw stars and then everything went black....and then a thud as I hit the ground.  When I awoke, I was certain my nose was broken, though it wasn't, and I had two black eyes.  I became more than a little determined to help this filly. I spent several sessions a day with her for a month.  I did TTouch massages with her and every NH technique I knew of.  Every session ended very well, and every session began as though she had never seen me before.  it was the saddest thing I ever saw.  I was then, and still am, convinced something was not right with this filly and never would be.  Not long after that I wasn't working at that farm due to getting my furrent job with the government.  But I worried about her fate, and if I had to lay money on it.....I would bet she is no longer alive.  She, as with all TB's, was destined for the race track, and I can't imagine her 'fitting' in very well there, and if still alive, she would be about 6ys old now.  I think I will pay Donna a visit and see if she can remember this filly and knows what became of her.

Anyhoo, I need to quote something from the book because I swear it ripped my heart out.  It sent chills thru my whole body.  Through some of the things that have happened to me in my life, I can feel the pain of the horse in his story, and of her desperate cry for help.  Basically it is about this mare who was given to him by the owner with the stipulation he would try to help her before putting her down.  Her name was dusty....

"What I soon came to find out, was that Dusty had some problems that were bigger than both of us"
She was very unpredictable, some days she was great, others she would....."pull away, rearing and shaking her head violently".....after getting away, "she would spin and buck in place" and then "stop and look at me. The look of terror that was on her face slowly dissipated into one I can only call helplessness"

One day "at the end of the tantrum, she ran directly into the side of the nearby barn, scraping her head and shoulder before stopping.  To this day, it's hard to explain the feeling I got when she looked at me.  I swear that she was saying, "can you please help me?"......"I felt the mare was trying to tell me something"

"Less than week later, while grazing with another horse in a 5 acre pasture, the mare suddenly panicked for no apparent reason......she turned and began running as fast as she could.  When she came upon a 4 strand barbed wire fence that enclosed the pasture, she never slowed a beat and hit it full speed.
By the time I got there, she was standing quietly about a quarter mile away, being tended to by susie.  The injuries she sustained when she went thru the fence were so severe that there was no question that she'd have to be put down. I immediatly went to the truck and returned with my rifle.  As I approached, she nickered as if to say,

"There...that's what I've been trying to tell you all along.  Finally, now you understand"

One of my best friends has just such a horse.  She and I have talked at great lengths over the years about him, and last year he did something like this to himself.  He was retired in a 1000 acre pasture with a couple dozen other retirees, and for some reason also went thru a fence.  It cost her about a few thousand dollars to save his life, but I had let her know then, horses just don't do the things he does, and maybe she should seriouisly consider puttin him out of his mental misery.  He is over twenty now, and has been like this since she got him as a yearling! She has decided, if he ever again does ANY thing to himself, she will give the nod for the vet to grant is life long request.  Reading this chapter confirmed to me, that we have been right all along suspecting that he just isn't 'right' and never will be.  Is it fair to make a horse continue to suffer this way?

I hope all of you reading this will read the book and story in it's full and original form, as i just can't retype the whole thing for you and Mark of course tells it better than I do.

Please consider that when your horse acts out, he may not need more leadership, he may be trying to tell you something very important and as his friend you should at least try to figure out what it is.

Savvy On

Considering the horse: Mark Rashid 2nd edition with updates.

Considering the Horse: #2 Problem Causes

This is a very important chapter as I believe it is a subject too many people forget to investigate.  PAIN.....that's right.....maybe your crazy horse is in pain.  There are a myriad of physical issues that will only manifest themselves into what appears to be a 'training' issue.  Limping isn't the only way a horse can tell you some thing is wrong with him.  Palpating his body will only yield you results for that body part and only for that moment in time.  There is nothing you can on your own do, to observe or palpate......what is going on with his insides.....without a vet's asssistance.  Sometimes, we subconsciously ignore the fact that we may need the vet, trimmer, dentist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, saddle fitter, etc......because our finances don't allow for it.......AND worse yet....because we think that our training method is so good, that we our selves can fix the issue.  He tells some really great stories about some horses whos 'training' issues were magically fixed with one visit from health professional.  Ulcers, teeth, feet and saddles, seem to round out the top of list for 'training' related physical issues.  So it is a great reminder for me as someone who rescues to never forget the possibilities of physical causes FIRST.....because there is ONLY one way for our horse to tell us he is hurting.....and that is to act it out.

A great human example of acting out from pain....is when a woman is in labor.  We have all seen it in the movies and tv shows.......someone says something stupid, with good intentions, to the 98lb woman trying to give birth to a 10lb watermelon, and the obcenities start flying out of her mouth.....often followed by a death grip to whom ever her fingers can latch on to......concluded with some sort of death threat.  When we don't feel good we get grouchy.....why should we assume it would be any different with an animal.

The other leading cause of 'training' issues is abuse.  The scars can be both mental and physical, and he gives some great examples of this too.  Unfortunately, due to a current owners lack of horse handlinig knowledge, or lack of knowlege in medical investigation......they all too often blame that a horse must have been abused in it's past, and the investigation stops cold in it's tracks.  They cannot see that THEY are the ones teaching a horse to behave in that way, due to ignorance of horse behavior....and assume the horse has been hit before.  The other unfortunate is that often they are right....as horses are abused horribly every day.  Thru cruelty and anger, frustration of a training method not working, lack of knowledge, and well meaning owners getting frustrated.  We have a bad day, the horse gets the brunt of it, and we say to our selves it was wrong and we won't do it again.  But why do we do it in the first place?  Why do we go there?  Something to think about for sure.  Have you gone too far?  Frustration, anger and abuse...start.....where knowlege ends.  Get smart fast as your horse NEVER deserves a phase 4 because you don't know what a phase 1 is.

The good part of the chapter is that it educates you to what may be ailing your horse so that it might be corrected....the bad part is that it leads you to the next chapter......'unfixable horses'.....a stark reality.

Savvy On

Considering the horse: Mark Rashid 2nd edition with updates.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Considering the Horse: #1 Horse Sense

Mark Rashid is an amazingly talented writer.  Not that a cowboy can't be smart and philosphical.....but DANG this guy is gooood.  He is beyond intuitive.  His style of writing just sucks you in like sitting with a good friend over a cup of coffee.  The more I read, the more blessed I feel that he comes here close to me twice a year and I get a chance to meet what may well be the wisest person I ever meet in my life.  Some unusual things have been happening to me lately, all strangely good in the midst of one of the largest injustices ever to happen to me.  I am not known for having good luck.  For this reason, I never gamble, as the cards always seem stacked against me.  No pity party, just my reality.  The only part that makes it seem harsh, is the fact that one of my best friends is quite possibly the luckiest person to ever roam the planet.  My luck streak, seems to be just enough to keep me afloat.  No more, sometimes less.  So, this causes me to be somewhat superstitious about things, as I never know what kharma (assumedly from a past life) will throw at me next, and she is not routinley very nice to me. For this reason, I am NOT going to talk about these strange occurances, I will knock on some wood, in hopes I don't jinx myself.

So this first chapter is simply an introduction to the fact that we should REALLY consider the horses point of view when around them.  I of course cannot tell a story like he can, and while I do tend to see things very differently from the majority of folks, Mark sees things in the most ironic and metaphoric ways and tells these stories in such a way, that your imagination takes you right there to that place and time that he is speaking of, and causes you to have one epiphany after another without even realizing you are in the midst of changing your life for ever.  Problem is....trying to read two of books at the same time.  He talks of his mentor, and of the first time he ever saw a horse 'broke' and how it was the first time he was made to realize this undeniable fact, that we must always consider the horses point of view.  To be more patient, more quiet, and to never be on a time schedule as that is when you most assuredly run out of time and cause trouble for you and your horse.  Instantly I go back to my trailering issues with Cha'cote, and how they began, the day I filmed my OLL3 with him, and the next time with the trailer I was rushing to try to get him to a play day.  Cha'cote spent 6 yrs locked in a stall, if ever there was a horse that has no time table, it is him.  He waited his life away, and he is probably the single best horse at taking his time to get something done.  He has all the time in the world, and I best get me some more for my self, if ever I stand a chance to change his mind up about the trailer.

This along with watching a Pete Ramey dvd today, I am reminded, more likely taught, that is just when you think you may know it all, or have it all figured out, that life throws you a curve ball to put your insignifant self back into your rightfull place in the universe.  And that is.....a full time student of life and the horse!

Savvy On

Considering the horse: Mark Rashid 2nd edition with updates.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


That is the sound of my relationship going down the toilet if I don’t ‘chill’ a little more. I started with a new student this past weekend. I used it as a great opportunity to test out my ability soften, relax and BE the ‘quiet’ leader. WITH some new horses that I don’t have ANY ‘history’ with. To BE the leader that a horse likes and wants to be with, from the get-go, rather than being a dominant leader. Old habits are hard to break though, and I think I need to take it down a few more notches. Thinking about watching Mark Rashid on those two dvds as I reviewed them for a second time to write the review….I was able to reflect on the results of my new quietness. I am pleased with them. I really want to stress this…..it is amazing how much you can do, with so little. By not adding to the already existing anxiety of the horse, via jumping into assertiveness too quickly. By only blocking your own space, rather than intruding upon theirs, can tell a horse a lot about you, and if you are someone he thinks worthy of ‘trying’ for, rather than feeling intruded upon until he decides to submit.

One of her horses is an LBI, but is sweet and sensitive, so not too lazy of a soul. She was having problems with him turning his rear to her and occasionally offering to kick. After lessons in blocking and driving, we played a little blend of hide your hiney/taking territory. And in retrospect, I would like to use a little less energy. All was well, and he caught on quick, I just want to be mindful for myself, that I still need to take my energy down even more. Being an extrovert my self, my energy can be ON like a neon light, even though I am in neutral. I need to dig out my i-pod, and get my relaxing music on, and just chill in the quietness. MORE sharing territory. More sharing territory. More sharing territory.

Savvy On

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cha'cote's first saddle...

Pad!...well bareback pad. We did it! this is his first time having the pad or anything on him. I played with a towel months ago.....a little rope around the belly....but just the one time. He was terrified if it approached him from the front with it. Better on the side, but it still took alot of approach and retreat before I could touch him with it. But once on him, he was fine. I was soooo scared to tighten the girth. On a scale of 1-10 my adrenaline level was about 1000. Afraid he would buck ontop of me, get loose then go thru the barb wire fence. Same fear the first time i led him out of his paddock....and just like that time.....nothing. NOTHING!!! he didn't care one iota. Like he was born with the dang thing on. he was more irritated he couldn't eat grass. I used my new phone to video this, and if I would have known I could get them OFF of there, i would have filmed more.

We also did some more zone 5 touch it, and he also didn't hesitate with that either. what a good boy.

I took those words of Rays to heart yesterday. No more handicapping, no more holding back. The past is the past....I am going to let go of it so i can grab onto the future!

Savvy On

DVD Review:**** Mark Rashid "Ground Work troubleshooting"

Groundwork Troubleshooting ****

The one thing that I think is SOOOO great about this dvd, is that it is a stark reminder about  PNH principle #2 Do not make or teach assumptions.  Both the horses in this dvd were assumed to have 'behavioral' issues....how ever by being quiet, and not ADDING to the horses anxiety, Mark is able to make alot of discoveries and help this horse with his REAL issues.

some of the dvd is repetative and a bit like watching paint dry, but it does offer the opportunity to explore horse behavior, and a simpler, kinder way to get some things accomplished.  We also get to see mark doing something similar to "WHR leading from behind", on a hard to catch horse.

The more I look, the more I see these rituals at the core of the most successfull techniques.....hmmm how interesting!

Lateral thinking demo at it's finest for sure.  Also goes hand in hand with some of the L&HB stuff....kinda cool.

It is also really educational to see how keeping things quiet, you can actually get so much done.  he takes a horse with purported catching problems and difficulty having his feet held, and at liberty, in a fairly large corral, works this horse thru his feet handling issues, all with out restraint.  Pretty awesome in my book and all the more learning that you don't HAVE to cause a a big fuss to get thru to a horse or to get them to yield and release to you.  Mucho Bravo....no lasso...no chasing....no big motions or gestures.....just simple quiet leadership.  LOVE it!

For sure give this dvd 4*s, as this is not to be missed at how much you can get, while doing so little.

Savvy On

DVD Review:**** Mark Rashid "Ground driving 101"

Ground Driving 101 ****

I really like Marks style of it not being about "my way or the highway"

If you are new to ground driving or having problems or just thinking about getting ready to do it.....here is the one to watch.  Low key, lots of explanation, lots of reasons and techniques.

Also, if you want to see the how and why of having more than 'neutral' in your bag-o-tricks....you will get that here too.

He gives ALOT of instruction with rope work in regards to long lining, lots of tips and tricks to rope energy and management and it's effects on the horse...ie: a likely reaction to 'this' type of rope movement, or 'that' type of rope movement.

LOTS of getting prepared with communication before strapping on the second rope.  I would consider this dvd a VERY solid foundation in long lining/ground driving.  it is not the upper level, dressagy or fancy stuff though.  But since Level 4 really is just the foundation primarily anyways, it IS upper level parelli and will surely help you get well on your way.  Quite detailed.

He also give a lesson in making and tying soft cotton ropes.....kewl!

Savvy On

DVD Review:**** Cynthia Royal ~ Horse Talk: Relationship

Cynthia Royal~Horse Talk~Relationship ****

This is the HOW of her liberty method.  The how of the 'rituals'. It is VERY detailed, and layed out in a methodical, easy to understand format.  This is again like the Resnick WHR's, but there is ALOT of details and video footage of the HOW to do things.  Lots and lots of examples from new to the method horses to seasoned experienced horses.

For all you upper level parelli students looking for some upper level support.  Here ya go, this stuff is sure to launch your Liberty into the next stratesphere. I am still waiting for the 'day two' disk to be available from her live clinic set, at the same time I am getting a new dvd from my que.

As I search for upper level support, I am noticing that there are few who DO upper level freestyle and liberty, thus making the parelli program a hard hard act to follow.  BUT...it is out there, you just gotta sort thru some rif raf to find it.  Lucky for you, am doing that, and sharing the results.  So there are few who do liberty, who have dvd's, that are educational.  So far, Carolyn Resnick and Cynthia Royal, are leading a VERY small pack, and if you have to chose, I would say you cannot go wrong with either of them.  As with the WHR's, if this is a direction you want to go, and you choose Cynthia, I would get her clinic dvd's first, so you can hear the "why's", and then follow up with this dvd for the "how's".

There is a difference between Carolyn and Cynthia.  Cynthia is a performer, who puts on a spectacular show....for Carolyn it is just a way of life.  Cynthia does not do alot of teaching, other than to new trainers in her crew for the show.  Carolyn teaches and trains to people everywhere.  Regardless, they are very similar, and if you want to REALLY understand how horses interact with each other, you can't go wrong with either of them, and would only benifit you twice as much to view both women educational material.

I think every person interested in horse behavior should watch these, so she gets a big fat 4*'s on this one!

Think, act and behave like the 'leader' and you can't go wrong.

Savvy On

DVD Review:***** Cynthia Royal Live 2day Malibu Clinic

Cynthia Royal: Clinic Live #1 *****
Want to excel at Liberty??  You will love this.

I really like Cynthia's way of describing things.  Her basic philosphy is the same as Resnicks WHR's.  So if you liked that, this will be more of the same with a slightly different twist.  They go together well, and since i have yet to hear of anyone else that does the WHR type training, these two 'resnick/royal' will give you what you need to play with thes rituals.  This type of training is about creating that bond with your horse that makes everything else possible.  Becoming the "dominant" horse thru the 7 games will only get you so far....it is these bonding rituals that makes you the LEADER.  Otherwise you and your horse will just be arguing over the #2 spot.

This dvd is smart and the rituals well ordered and explained.

The first dvd is not alot, if any, of the HOW....but the WHY is what you need first anyways, and this is gonna tell ya WHY you should do it, and HOW it works....the other dvd's are for the "how to".  This is an excellent introduction to this type of training, and I can certainly say that if you cant get your hands on the WHR, get this and you will be just fine.
So what is the #1 need of a horse....A leader/herd.

The herd/leader gives them all thier needs....food, water, safety, grooming, play, and companionship.

You will learn plenty in this dvd about herd behavior, herd needs and herd culture....and most importantly how you too can join in and have an even better relationship with your horse, being the leader not just the dominant horse!

Iam still waiting for the second dvd in this series to be available when I am 'ready' for my next dvd to be shipped, so I will review the second one....when ever ya'all send it back to giddy-up!

Run, don't walk to your nearest dvd shop to pick this up.....5*s as you just gotta see and hear this if you want to truley be the best for your horse.

I just discovered the coolest thing.....for a mere $9....yes...just $9.....you can download this dvd set to your computer.  If that is not the coolest thing....I dont know what is.  However, there is a glitch and they are not offering it till probably march of 2011, check back at her site until it is offered.  Click here to download from Cynthia's site.

Savvy On

In a Parelli Rut? Here's an idea.....

I posted this on a thread on the savvy forum in response to a L3/4 student being in a rut. 

"I would say....think back to your first day with parelli. what was the reason that drew you to it? was it a dangerous horse, fear issues in the saddle or on trail, just wanting a better relationship???

what ever it is....first ask yourself if you have accomplished it. now nothing is ever 100% so dont get too picky on this one. if you have...ie horse not dangerous anymore, your fear is gone, you are a good enough leader to go on trail, your relationship is great.....etc....

then put all that you have learned into purpose. i think that is what alot of us miss....the purpose....you are not alone, i hit a huge wall over a year ago.....but we are clawing our way to the top of it thru other avenues.

so if you like trail riding, maybe your next step would be to join actha and do some trail riding competitions. if it was the dangerous horse....and he no longer is....then get out there and DO something with him now that he is safe. take him to a play day, go on trail, join a new club and meet new friends, start going to local shows.....if it was your confidence and that is back.....then go do what ever it was you were afraid to do, that brought you here.....

you do NOT have to graduate level four to enjoy life and do things.

go rope that cow, hang out with a friend, or enjoy the vast open meadow.....

i think we get so caught up in the levels we forget why we are doing them in the first place.....and then dont recognise when we are ready to actually do them.

if you dont know why, or cant remember why, or never had any goals.....then start going to different types of competition.....cow horse, dressage, driving, trail, jumping.....long list....and see which ones intrest you....and then MAKE a goal and get out there and try things.

GO....BE.........ENJOY. "

Then it got me thinking more and more about the importance of what I said, in relation to my self and my own journey.  Hello!?!  Is anyone listening to themselves.....certainly I don't.  Geesh.  I think it was sparked by Ray Hunts surmon on the mount.  We do tend to hold ourselves back with labels and thus handicaping ourselves from doing the things that would enjoy. 
For me, this is going to be my come back year.  Things are going to change around here, and we are all going to have to persevere and push thru pain, fear, and hard descisions to get thru to the other side.  I myself am thinking of joining actha, cutting back on the herd and finding more time to enjoy my horses with no agenda.  Just enjoying each others company and the company of my friends.
Savvy On

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What is Horsemanship

I have been struggling with this question for a while now.  I know how it feels, and what to DO, so to speak....but how do you put it into a few words.  Watching an interview with Pat Parelli on the Rick Lamb show, Pat give his definition of it.....so I want to quote him here as it is perfectly explained.

"Horsemanship is the skills and habits both humans and horses need to become partners"

"Natural horsemanship is the natural phenomenon that a horse and a human can be absolute partners"

This said in the context that horsemanship is the foundation, and things like dressage are the training that is the icing.

I very much enjoyed the interview, probably my favorite Pat has ever done.  To see for yourself, click links below.

Interview Part 1 click here

Interview Part 2 click here

Savvy On

DVD Review:**** Ray Hunt Ft Worth #2

Ft Worth Benifit disk 2 ****

Very important message from Ray Hunt at the end.....

The first part is a really good horsemanship surman by Ray.  The camera is mostly aimed at him, so not alot of colt starting to watch.  But what I could see, there seemed to be two categories, those that get it, and those that don't.  Probably would surprise many, who I think fits into each category.  I still, on this day two, see some ego.  Great technique, but little to no heart. There are some young guys there in the beginings of thier journey and they are off to a great start.  But quite a few, who have been around the block a few times, and it is telling what is NOT in thier hearts.  There are some guys out there, that I wish I knew there names as I would love one of them to start Cha'cote for me, there are others that I know thier names, and that name means nothing to me as I watch them, as I would not want them to touch my horse.  Again....I am thankfull that Pat is not one of those, and he could start a horse of mine for sure.  Anyways, imagine my surprise when I heard Ray say this....

"They're getting alot of things done, but they are missing alot of what i am trying to teach, they're missing what Tom was trying to get across,  I don't mean that wrong, there's so much to go, with what these boys are doing.  Nobody is doing anything wrong on purpose.  they might not have it figured out yet, but i bet they're not doing it to be wrong." 

Now I can only imagine being one of the trainer/riders there that day, hearing that....wondering who asked themselves..... is he was talking about ME?, or did thier ego say 'he's certainly not talking about me?

What your going to do with a horse sometimes is a great idea, but our presentaion isn't right...it isn't fitting what your trying to do, so back off and start over.....when the horse can't figure out what you want, then that is when he is trouble,

Words that stuck out to me.....In the midst of difficulty, there is alot of opportunity....if you get your mind set on one thing, they'll (horse) make it impossible for you....the animal has no pride or ego to get in his way....the horse is the most honest animal you can work with, he will tell you the honest to god's truth....it's amazing what the horse has to go thru to please the human....it's amazing what a horse does INSPITE of a human, not BECAUSE of a human....there is truth in the consequences, you gotta be able to handle the consequences otherwise your in the wrong business.....discipline is during the act or before the act, punishment is after the act, don't punish your horse, the horse does not need that and i will not allow that here....you're not going to take from the horse, without giving to him first....

Now here is where my review is going to go off the beaten path.  It kinda has to, because it is really alot different fromt the first dvd.  And the reason I give this part 5*s.  Ray kinda gets a bit passionate for a few minutes.  If I got to name this DVD I would have named it, "Surmon on the mount".  I think what he has to say here is VERY important, even if it is 10ys old.  There can really only be a handful of people he is talking about here, and that is all I am going to say about that.  As it is pretty self explanatory.  This surmon of Ray's though, is one more step in my journey.  Something I really needed to hear.  As a STUDENT.  It is the permission I needed to be ME, and to be A-OK with that as well.  I think he was speaking to the 'riders' in the colt start/clinic....even though most were putting thier colts away, but it is recorded for all time....right here on this little dvd.  Pay attention, he may just be talking to YOU.

"You ask my opinion of where you're at, you're all about the same.  Alot of people put a label on these people, you're in square one, or you're in square two, or you're a square five.  Who put them in THIER square? (those who invented "squares") Who told them where the hell THEY were at?  What a bunch of bullonie!  I won't go along with it.  They handicap thier students.  The student is probably ahead of them.  But they wouldn't admit it.  Alot of you folks are ahead of me.  I don't know nothin. But at least "I" know it.  But I'm not gonna handicap you."  ....***story about a guy who said he couldnt rope a cow because the horse was only a square 2 (green ridden 3weeks) so ultimately he did not rope it, because he had already made his mind up that it couldn't be done, self fulfilling prophecy***.... "see how he handicapped him self?  You get on a horses back, do the job.  Get it done.  But the people can't do that today.  My word.   And he was told he was a square two.  When he was a square three.  How can he get ahead?  Look where his mind is at.  How can he help his horse?  Sad, very sad.  That's a bunch of *** Who put them in that class anyways?  Who put them there?  They're probably, like i said, down the line no further than thier student.   I would never ever do that.  It's a cryin shame.  I want that student to be sharp and brite, and he can do what ever he can do.  And i would want to bring it out. I would want him to work at it.  Work is not a dirty word.  Don't you EVER think you can't do something.  Cuz when say you can't, you can't, cuz you said you couldn't.  Can't is not in my dictionary.  And I will not let it be in yours as long as your with me.  Because when you say you can't, you've already commited it to your wit.  There isn't such a thing as can't......***lot's more than i can type, mostly about his troubled horse he is on*** ....I'm proud of all of you....When I say where I tell you, where you are at.  It shouldnt' be an insult, I would never want it to be an insult to any of you.  But you've got a long ways to go.  But it's there to be had.  The world wasn't made in a day.  Set your goals high.  Stay on the same course you're on.  You can do anything you are capable of doing.........Be what you can be....let everything fall into line.  .....Some people with thier horse, it is so much better than it ever has been, that they are not going to try to seek out the rest of it.  Too much work, it aint worth it.  That dont make 'em wrong.  It's better than it ever was in thier life, so it's up to them what ever they want to do.  There is so much more to be had if they want it.  But it isn't worth it to alot of people.  It dont mean anything, it's worthless.  It means everything in the world to me.....

Really the whole dvd is a surmon on the mount.  straight from the horses mouth.  if you want to see/hear Ray in action, this is it, listen to the whole thing, as i have only jotted down what I dont ever want to forget.....and what I think NONE of us should ever forget.  So this review has gone a bit from a review....to a bit of a regular blog post.......

Take Note and 
Savvy On

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dvd Review: Dancing Hoofbeats "Horse Tricks"

Tricks so easy, even a Kid can do them. 0*'s

Well I am going to be nice here, because as a mother, I thought the girl did a GREAT job.  If she was my student I would be proud of her.  But as an educational dvd, there are much better ones out there.  I think at best it is maybe an inspirational dvd for kids, and for that I would give it 2*'s.  So if you have kids that are interested in this kind of stuff, go for it.  It was a smart and patient 12yo girl who stars in this very short dvd, and she does a good job.

Dvd Review:*** Wrangler Jayne #1

Touching your Horse ~ ***
 with your Heart #1

If you are looking for natural horsemanship with the Phillip Nye (he trained Magic) influence, which many are....myself included.....Jayne is one of the closest scources to Phillip you can get, as he is somewhat of a recluse and he has no available material to purchase.  I know....been searching for nearly a year!

Right off the bat she is relatable,kind, and detailed.  This dvd covers basics of catching, haltering, leading, blocking, and friendly.

I feel this is an excellent introduction to natural horsemanship, if one is starting out and doesn't have the money to buy dvd's.....this would be a great first video to rent.

I am realizing what may be missing from most NH programs is the art of bonding and friendly.  When it is present, it is presented more of something that just ahs to be done, rather that something that has to be felt.  The art of bonding is talked about, but oh so often really not done or misunderstood at best.  So I feel Jayne has a great way to get one started, in a way that REALLY does include some mutual bonding, to take things a bit slower to start, before you start to push yourself on your horse in any dominance games.  I like that.  I will say that if you have an extroverted horse, especially a right brained one...there are no examples of 'crazy' horses and what to do with that.  Maybe it is a good thing.  Maybe some of our problems with these extroverts is that WE are too extroverted, and maybe if we just take down OUR energy....they would be able to take down thiers.  I am seeing hints of this with a few students and thier extroverts.....me and mine are beyond initial training, so I cannot say for sure if it is a great place to start.....just something to ponder.

It appears that to get through all the (7) games, you will need to rent all 6 dvds.  there are 2 dvd's in each of the three series.
Series one: Touching your horse with your heart
Series two: Comunicating with your horse with your heart
Series three: Heart moves
Then on to riding
Series four: Relaxed Riding vol 1

She also has a dvd of a successful PNH Level one submission.....be it of the old Level 1, most likely the 'original' level one.  I be it shows some great horsemanship!  Along with that a dvd about a brumby foal that she starts.

I like Jayne, I like her style, I only give her 3*s because all of this is covered in Parelli material, so nothing is lost by not viewing, other than seeing her gentle style, and to see that YES, less can be more.  If you dont have parelli material, or are new to Natural Horsemanship....I am giving this 5*s as a great place to start!

Savvy On

Saturday, January 8, 2011

DVD Review:*** Ray Hunt ~ Ft Worth #1

Ft Worth Benifit ~ colt starting ***
Presented by Ray Hunt ~ 2001
Disk One

Half of this is basically a colt starting demonstration, something like Road to the Horse, except this is with Ray Hunt there to 'help' the trainers if needed....and also he is 'narrating' as they go. There had to be at least 30-40 horses and 30-40 trainers/riders.  They are instructed to do what they need to do to get the job done and no more.....and to do thier best to keep the horse out of trouble. They could put the saddle on as soon or late as they see fit. The Clinicians/trainers/riders I see that I can recognise AND know their names, or they posted thier names... are: Pat Parelli, Dennis Reis, Joe Walter, Craig Cameron, Richard Winters, Buck Branneman, Ben Qunters, Ty Heth, Curt Pate, Mike Sears, Phil Anthony, Buster McLaury, Joel Elliot, Rick Cornwell, David Brown, Tom Curtin, ....

Step 1 ~ Catch the horse.  they were instructed to help each other to get each horse caught.  Ray talked alot about getting a horse 'ready' to be caught....sounds good to me....and it seems as though this was done to success......BUT....I found it interesting that All clinicians took the time it took sans halter, with as little pressure as possible.....yet many as soon as the rope was on....a whole lot of yanking started. But if all else fails.....ROPE 'EM.....Mental note to self.....IS this really THE way? 

Step 2 ~ Saddle the horse.  Some trainers had saddles on with in minutes....yet still didn't have the horse leading and following and giving to any pressure, still alot of yanking.  Others seemed to take more time with the horse before saddling, and they seemed to have better comunication once in the saddle.  One guy gets dumped and mowed over.....OUCH!

Step 3 ~ Ride the horse.  I will say that I saw good and bad horsemanship, despite this being a Ray Hunt event.  I am sure there were trainers/riders there of varying levels of skill, so I will cut them a break a bit....but for the most part, some of still reminded me of the old west, break 'em kinda thing.  I did see some displays of some GREAT horsemanship that was kind and considerate of the horses feelings. Thankfully Pat fell into this group.  I noticed alot of guys rubbing the horse, but there was not alot of love in the touch.  More like it was done only because it HAD to be done.  Because the horse requires it, not because it is felt in thier heart.

The RAY factor:  I watched Ray rope a horse, and handle a few horses, and not once did I feel that Ray did not have his heart in his hands.  There was NO force from Ray.  Not one tug of the rope, or touch of the finger was done without feeling of the horse and for the horse.  I think even though someone may be a devout student of Rays, they can clearly miss this about him and what he is teaching.  Some may understand his techniques, but they don't understand his heart.  Some are on thier way, but still have a ways to go.  I believe that because some dont get this, they do resort to force and then 'justify' the why they had to, rather than look inside themselves and see that while they may poses the skill of the hand, they not yet truely poses the skill of the heart.  he helps this one guy who clearly does not understand the 'release', and maybe this is why he comes and helps him!  Let me tell ya...this guy gets SCHOOLED!!  He talks about how a horse should be 'on the payrole' by the third day.  And that too many, pick at a horse for too long, causing them to be cranky and sullen, because we have drug the horse down to our level of inadequacy, rather than getting skilled enough to rise to the horses level.  Personally I think it is a double edge sword.  One can easily misinterpret that, and cause a a horse a great deal of mental stress and abuse if one also goes too quickly.  It does no good for an unskilled person to go too quickly and beyond thier own skills.  A balance needs to be found.  Get better quick for your horse.  No need to rush it, but it also shouldn't take forever.  If you are sitting with a cranky horse.....maybe you are just taking to long to get good enough for your horse.  However, he also.....talks about not going too far the first day, and had this great rider, Joe Walter, quit for the day and stated "you dont want to get him tired or discouraged....he's made some pretty good changes"...."you might want to do more.....but you'd wind up with less"....BRILLIANT!  I see most colt starter go for more at this point.......just sayin!

The words that stuck out to me....that i feel are particular to remember....dont force you self on the horse, let him come to you..... fix it up and wait.....pet him, pet him.....get his feet to move, then direct them.....what i', trying to tell him (horse) is that everything is going to be OK.....we're trying not to upset him (horse) he might get upset anyways, but we're trying NOT to upset him.....a little is good, a little too much is no good.....

Dennis Reis spoke about a lesson with Tom Dorrance he had, Dennis has a problem, yada yada...Tom rubs on horses eys, problem goes away....Tom says to Dennis...."I think your horse needs to feel more appreciated."

I think it is horrifically sad, that horses are still raised from birth, without handling, that this type of colt starting is still needed.  There is no reason a breeding farm cannot imprint, then handle weanlings so that they are AT LEAST gentled and have some sort of communication with humans established.  Isn't it great that these trainers can do this?...Aren't they special?  blah blah blah....crap.....To me a master horseman knows the value later in life, of halter starting a foal today.

The other half is a horsemanship lesson with Ray.

Lesson:  It was simple excercizes, with a whole mess of horses.....trained horses.  The 'lesson' was to get more while doing less while adjusting to fit the situation (horses everywhere!).  Stop with the least amount of reins....go with the least amount of seat/legs....etc.....lets just say there were more than a few who needed to do less....ALOT less.  There were a few who rode real nice and were soft on the mouth, had a good seat with good balance, and used little leg.  Some even doing a bit of nice riding on contact.  But mostly....I was NOT impressed.  IF these are students....fine....but if some of these people are charging money for lessons....oh boy!

This is a long DVD....3hours....I will review disk 2 another day.

I give this disk 3*s because there is good stuff in there, but you could live without it if you never saw it.  as a parelli student, i can say, Pat teaches this stuff and he teaches it well.  I am clearly not a fan of starting a colt the day he is pulled out of pasture completely untouched....If you are a fan of that...I would give it 5*'s and say this is a good one to watch....NO one does it better than Ray....that I have seen so far!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A most Wonderful Gift!

Somewhere in the heavens, an Angel came down and kissed one sweet young child.  She is nearly an adult, and clearly has a heart of gold, filled with oooey goooey LOVE.  She drew me the most wonderful, precious gift....a portrait of my son when he was 3yo, saying HI to Snookie.  I just cried when I saw it, as it was a long time ago when I took this picture of them, and as a mother......I miss his 3yo self.  Esther....My Love....Thank You so much for this.  I can't scan my pic of Cha'cote, it is glued in a frame!  So I wanted to get this one before I frame it for life!

Don't ever Change!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Off Topic 'HOT' musician!!!! Paolo Nutini

I just have to share...as a 'cougar' I have a total 'mrs. robinson' crush on this young artist.  I am sure all you young girls out there have heard of him long before my discovery of him....but he is brand new to ME....and what a cutie patootie!!!!  I love his singer/song writer Indie style of alternative music.  So I am just sharing with my online friends.....cuz he makes me wish I was 20yo again!  Happy new year to me!