Sunday, December 30, 2007

Water hole

It was a lovely sunny hot day today so we headed off to Royal Oak. Much to my surprise Garbo headed confidently for the water jump and went straight in when I asked him....

He had a great time!!

Then we went for a walk around the bridle path inhand to deal with some thresholds (alone) - this first picture says everything - we were under the willow trees and the sheep hide under there, and birds fly out of the river next to it.... - still never too nervous to take a bite of grass - nervous nibble....

The next day was alot better.... then we rode it too with someone walking next to us..... next step on our own....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Posing for the camera

Check out the rhythm beads!

Sunday at Royal Oak

Well today turned out to be a very good day - we sold our house! So as at Feb 21 we are the proud new owners of 3.5 acres of land so we can build a barn and live in it until we build our house - and - have Garbo and Blue at home on a track system - yay!

So - digressing!....

Did some ground work and riding today.... Garbo remembers the point to point game so well that he just takes off towards the barrel at the end of the arena (so unlike the pre-parelli him!)... it's so funny.....

I tried some circles today too but he wanted to play point to point. Rode a bit with the carrot stick - this is up doing a downwards transition from trot to stop.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saturdays adventures

I had a really good day today too. Made a bit of a breakthrough with Blue. He would not let me be behind zone 1 while I was holding the rope on the farside (near side not so bad) - let alone the Carrot Stick! You know he is so sensitive (or scared) that I can do circle game on a 22ft line, changes of directions, and yo yo without even holding the Carrot Stick. He will never be a 'make me' horse....he will never be one I need to tag!

Complete opposites Garbo and him. Blue is Right Brain Introvert and Garbo Left Brain Introvert/Extrovert!! Garbo is mainly introverted but getting more extroverted as he gets more confident.

Anyway so I put my hand (standing on the far side zone 3) on his back while holding the balance of the 22ft line in my other hand with quite a lot of slack in the rope, and he just kept backing up and turning trying to face me - no way was he going forward if I was not in front of him. After about 10 minutes (and some on the other side reasonably successfully) he would take one step but turn towards me at the same time - so I had to drive his nose away from me (lifting my other hand towards his nose) - of course he still didn't go forward until finally he took a step and I rubbed and stopped. This went on for another 10 minutes. Then I led him for a bit till he started licking again, then we did some yo yo - he thinks if he is on the end of a line he must circle NOW, so unfortunately I had to do a few phase 4 shaking of the rope to stop him doing that half way through yo yo. Then he got the idea.....

Then I went back to zone 3 on the far side and managed to get him walking round nearly 1/4 of the paddock (not too far from the gate!) - so I used driving his nose again to get him to go away from the gate for a period of time and stopped when he had made some good steps away.

Then I rubbed him all over with the rope (slowly) - he was very jumpy - esp on the far side past zone 3.....but I persisted and stopped when he was still.... trouble is I had to be careful he wasn't actually scared and going introverted. Phew he licked finally......

Then we did some circles - just half a circle and come in - then the other way...he is always asking to come in like that Paint on Level Two dvd with Linda (Garbo doesn't do that - he just comes in regardless!)..... and then the other way - of course makes sense now why going to the right is harder for him....

I also noticed he would go faster when the slack in the 22ft line would drag on the ground - so I decided to walk him round the paddock with me leading him and the rest of the 22ft rope dragging along beside him until he was better - from both sides!

So after about another 20 minutes - he was licking and YAWNING - first yawn. So I ended there and untied him - put the rope and halter on the ground and gave him a rub all over.....he sniffed the lead rope and halter and then off he went and did a few blows and chased Alle! Funny. Alle is his paddock mate she is a 16.3 black warmblood mare - and he bosses her around. Go figure.

Oh - and after playing with Blue which one of the grazers told me must have been over an hour, I rode Garbo - he is a bit itchy and grumpy from grass allergies so I need to get some more herbs for him, but I watched all of the DVDs now from Liberty and HB and there was one where they had to wipe the snotty look off the dominant horse's face - so I did that with Garbo today.

He was trotting beside me in the arena (stick to me) and his face was like "what the f**k are we doing this for so I shook the lead rope Phase 4 and he stopped like Whoa Nelly!!..... then I asked for trot again and he had the same look so I did it again..... then he was ears forward sweet as pie.

When he is in his paddock and I take his feed in he has his ears back as he is walking beside me to the place I put the bucket....has always done it although like the Parelli Q&A this week - I can pat him while he is eating, and he is fine, no ears back at all.....only when I am carrying the food in his paddock (he is fine if I am leading him back in while holding the bucket)... so today I drove him away (waving arms at him) each time he did it - hoping like hell no one else saw what I was doing - they were already giving me those looks while I was riding in my hackamore..... and it worked - took about 4 goes but then he was like ears forward, ok Mum..... YAY!!

OK - my ride - I rode down the race (even past a new young filly that Garbo soooooo would have been keen on saying hi to - and risked her running along with us - but she didn't.... always nervous he will buck when others get excited.... but since doing Parelli none of the other horses have got excited when we ride down there!! Hmmmm how interesting!

Then we went into an empty paddock and I tried doing figures of eight on a casual rein but that was a disaster, then I tried sideways along a pole - got one step.....then he took a bite of the pole!

.... then just did a couple of point to points, tried doing tit for tat but still have this niggling fear that he will go to a corner and spook and do a 180 and run back to gate..... he has done that ONCE before when a pine cone fell out of a tree (a really high tree).... so we just walked back to the barn, past the horses, and the filly and he was so good. So apart from the things I was trying to do which didn't work today - well I tried.... hey!

Always tomorrow!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


After spending some time improving our changes of direction and sideways online today I saddled Garbo up and put his beads on and we went riding. I stood on the side of the arena to get on and realised I had forgotten something so left Garbo there and went back to the stable. I headed back to him and he was just standing there looking at me - so sweet.

I had some trot poles still laid out and we trotted a bit over those. We just headed off towards the other end of the arena and he offered trot (this was so not normal 5 months ago) - and then he offered canter, and kept offering canter. The only hard part for me was the circle (turning) I keep leaning in - I have to remember to keep my focus above my shoulders (weight to the outside).

It was so much fun.

Then I got off and put the rope over his neck and ran around the arena and he followed me and stopped when I stopped and trotted when I ran. We did this all the way back to the stable.

No bucks now since August and no lameness either.

Didn't get to work with Blue today - time just flies! Tomorrow!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Rhythm Beads

Today we tried out our new beads - they are wooden and they match Garbo quite well. He wasn't too sure at first when I tried putting them over his head but he was fine with me hanging them over his ears - so off we went for a ride. I think the part that annoyed him was the mane clip...I shall have to get inventive.

My rhythm beads you ask? Well I like the sound and the look of them (secretly always wanted to be a red Indian) - here are some google reasons!
  • Modern rhythm beads emulating the beads, bells, shells and feathers worn according to the American Indian customs – intended to both attract good spirits to the horse and rider and protect them from evil spirits. The eagles feather, for example, was said to aid the sharpness of the eye and make the horse fleet of foot. The make up of the necklets also identified tribe, warrior status and chiefs.
  • Beneficial qualities of wearing certain colours to influence both the body and spirit – turquoise said to be a very powerful protective and healing colour.
  • The powers of crystal vibration affecting the body at cellular / subconscious level to both heal and influence the body both emotionally and physically.
  • The sounds of the bells aiding the horse and rider at a conscious and subconscious level to aid concentration.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Water jump

Yesterday was a fabulous day weather wise and Parelli wise - or savvy wise.

The day before (Sunday) I had taken Garbo down to the large water jump at Royal Oak - on previous occasions he had just avoided looking at it - but on Sunday three other horses went in for a play Both Sunday and Monday were really hot days) - but still on Sunday he just looked and watched and took it all in. I walked around the edge but didn't ask him in, then we went home.

Had a great ride before that - we were doing point to point - Garbo offered canter and his canter is so much nicer now - this was all in our new hakamore. He enjoyed the game and so did I!

So Monday - I was going to ride but it was so hot that Michelle said she was going to take Taz to play in the water jump so we went along too. After Taz going in a couple of times and making big splashes I could see Garbo really wanted to go in but wasn't sure how. He was a little unconfident.

I asked him in (once) and then waited while he thought about it. I just waited calmly not too focussed on him, until he turned away or stopped trying - then I would back him up a couple of steps quietly and ask him again..... he would look at the water, sniff it - pretend to nibble the grass on the edge while looking at Taz playing in it.... then we would go round the side and say hi to Taz.... so then I would ask him again.... at one point he got his nose in.... (wet) - it was so funny watching him think.... he was blinking and chewing and licking...... and gradually his confidence came back.

He never once panicked which was great.

After about 5 or 6 minutes of this I asked him again and I stood on the very edge of the ledge on a piece of grassy mud - and he went straight in.

I took his halter and rope off and sat on the grass in the sun and watched him and Taz play in there for 20 minutes. Taz thought she could make a big splash until Garbo started pawing in the water - first with one foot - then the other... it was so funny.....

After a while they both got out and we played with them at liberty for a while and then washed them off and I took Garbo home - he loaded straight away - he was so cool.

I didn't ride but it was a huge achievement today - first time in the water jump.! All without losing his confidence or trust or dignity.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Today at Royal Oak we played with three obstacles. The swiss ball, cones, and a tarp.

Garbo was so chilled out - he was investigating the tarp while I was getting poles to weight it down, and we played stop at the cone, over the tarp (even at canter). There were two poles holding down the tarp too so it was doubly tricky......

After a short ride he followed me back to the float with no rope.... and he just chilled out.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Liberty and Horse Behaviour

I am up to DVD 4 of this study programme and it has helped me immensely with reading Garbo and when he is being dominant vs confident vs playful vs unconfident.

Todays 'task' from the DVD was to play the 7 games with 3 obstacles using our new strategies and knowledge of reading horse behaviour and then applying the relevant strategies.

So - what did I do different?

Well after watching the demo with Mickey (horse) and Linda - he was alot like Garbo and did the head down thing too - so I realised the head down (head in the sand) was definitely a lack of confidence (he couldn't look at me) which I had suspected but wasn't 100% sure until today. Although he is confident he can be an unconfident learner. So today I was less 'firm' which Jackie had suggested for the dominance and I was more quiet but asking, and he responded really well and I didn't lose his confidence at all.

When asking him to change direction on the circle at trot from right rein to left rein he avoids it/evades it, so today I just brought him back to walk and did it all in extra slow motion. And it worked. I think getting all dominant back at him was just making him less confident and a little fearful.

I am also very aware of not ruining my rapport and not ruining by draw....

So we also did some driving from Zone 3 nearly at the end of the 22ft line which I had not done before. I got him to stop at the cone on the circle so he didn't get bored - he picked that up pretty quick - and his trot was even better - more relaxed.

I was actually in the sloping paddock with Blue as the arena crowd wouldn't have liked my obstacles (a swiss ball, trot poles and a cone). And Blue just watched! Garbo was great, cantering past Blue without getting all wound up....

Then I took the rope off - large paddock, Blue loose in same paddock - not really setting it up for success but I had my treats for incentives! So we did walk/trot/walk/halt with me beside him and for the first time he learnt to back up and or stop with just the carrot stick to the front and side of him (not in front of him).

Then we went and investigated the swiss ball again (at liberty), then we did some small circle game at walk and trot and ended it on a good note.

I walked away and he kept following me. I went to fix some electric tape and he went to have a drink (and smell some poos - as you do) and I was about 50ft away. He looked up, ears forward and came trotting over to me - so cute!

I was really happy with todays session.... lots of good stuff.

Oh - the other things I did differently? I didn't stay on one task too long - did it once good and moved on, I didn't focus on the obstacle, at one point I tried to play 'don't touch the swiss ball' and it worked - he stuck his nose on it.

I released my energy alot and had lots of friendly breaks. I backed him up alot (good for dominance issues) and that fixed most things pretty quickly.

He offered sideways along a pole too!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Level 2 Clinic

Well I have decided after attending my 5th clinic that I am not a clinic kind of person!

I really don't get much out of them and like to ask my own questions without it being a 'group' question. Maybe I am introverted I dunno - but I don't imagine I will attend another.

Don't get me wrong the Parelli clinic was great, Jackie Chant was a good instructor but I feel it's down time learning stuff that I had already done myself at home. Also it was 50/50 ground/riding and I didn't feel I was ready to do that much/that level of riding since I had not really started the Level 2 riding as yet.

Anyway - Garbo was a little on edge when the whole 8 horses went into a big paddock (really windy weekend) with their humans to 'play'. For a horse that at home I have trouble getting much energy out of on the circle he was circling me on the end of the 22ft line at canter every time another horse looked like he was coming near us.

Jackie used Garbo in a couple of demos and everyone was impressed with his draw and his bring back - I have always had more trouble getting him to go away from me.

So - Jackie worked on some dominance issues with him, and we worked on them too - ie not crowding me on the bring back.

Jackie had him going sideways along a fence at trot which I was quite impressed with - didn't know Garbo had it in him to be honest!

My one criticism of Jackie would be that she 'does' alot herself, with your horse, and is not that good at telling you what to do 'while' you are doing it. She's more of a 'watch me and I'll show you' person - which I find is not the best way of learning for me personally. I have to be able to 'do' it for myself - more than once, for it to stick.

But - I picked up some good tips and met some other people doing Parelli which was a nice change. Everyone was pretty friendly.

This piccy is of Garbo in his yard at the clinic checking things out at lunch time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sleep over

I left Garbo at the clinic - in this really steep paddock. He had a friend which was great.

This is him having dinner while the other horse waits patiently for left overs.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Heading home

This is a quick video from yesterdays threshold work.

Moving away from pressure

Since starting Parelli Garbo has stood on his rope loads of times. Initially he would over-react as if I had done it to him - now he figures out the pressure and what to do... check it out...


We dealt with thresholds for Garbo today - recognising when he becomes unconfident and then retreating a little and going back again - a bit further. It was only the drive way but he doesn't have a lot of confidence down there so we just took it slow and had lots of grass stops along the way - a few circles. We stopped and chatted to the other horses along the way and played with some obstacles along the way too.

It was lots of fun.

Today also for the first time the 22ft line felt too short! Didn't think I would ever say that....

He is still a little lame on the right circle initially if lacking impulsion..... and reluctant on the left circle (quicly changes directions as soon as I look away)... really looking forward to the clinic next weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Passed Level 1

Great news - just found out I passed Level 1 - yay!!!

Sent my DVD in to Jackie about a week ago and she emailed me last night - yay! She said a good effort and a pass, some things need a little tweaking but I am going to her clinic at Labour Weekend - double yay.
2nd good news....
Played with Garbo today in the paddock not the arena - Rachel said he was a bit tight in his back end left muscles and to canter him lots. Well she was talking about riding and I am not up to that yet so I decided to get a paddock with a slope and start some hill therapy. She was saying I needed to take him to the track but that's a bit scary for me at the moment - little steps!

I had my 22ft line and we started with yo yo - then circle - and got him up to canter - it was actually easy - he did it on the downhill because it was easier so I just asked him to stay in canter. Did both sides quite well and started travelling so he could canter more straight lines too.

Then - I took the rope off - this paddock is big - probably 5 arenas big. I did yo yo first and then asked for a circle and he trotted round me - as he was heading down hill (towards the open paddock area rather than towards the fence/gate) I thought - this is where he'll just keep going and not circle if he decides to.... BUT he didn't he circled me and then came in! We did it again and he did it again - both ways.... I was so proud my pony! Gave him lots of hugs.

So then I started driving from zone three and doing the stay with trot (to each patch of grass) turning both left and right.... (no rope still).... and he followed me and mirrored my gait (not canter though - have not tried that yet)......

He wandered off once and I zig zagged towards him - really just to re-attach the rope thing to myself - test it at liberty, fix it online, when he turned towards me ears forward so I made the noise Linda tells you to make for going in the saddle in L1 and came trotting over to me!!

I trotted him over to a scary part of the paddock and he wandered away from it after checking it out, so I thought - oh well good time to go and get the rope and take him in..... so started walking back towards the line over the other side of the paddock.... and when he saw I had got like 50ft away he came trotting up to me and walked beside me the rest of the way.

WOW.... so cool

Still worried about this lump on his head though... vet coming Tuesday.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Waiting for the rain to stop

Just squeezed in a ride before the rain - well in between showers actually on Sunday.

Garbo waiting patiently

Today it's been hail, thunder, lightening!

October already

We are officially into month 4 of Parelli.

We have been having our challenges and also making progress.... (with Level 2).

Garbo appears to lack confidence out on the circle at trot and canter (but not so at walk). Also I can get him to do sideways - with and without a fence, from close but get further away and he takes no notice what so ever.

I have been working on strengthening my Sends for the circle, Jackie suggested just practising sends and come backs, and let the circle sort itself out in time.

Done quite a bit more driving from Zone 3 to build his confidence. Even did some at walk trot and canter at liberty in the square pen which was pretty cool.

Riding wise - have not done alot more since the filming but getting more confident. Happy to go in and out of the arena with the rope halter and one rope - went down the race a couple of times as well - it was most relaxing - the kids were away and no one else was at the farm and the sun was shining!! Couldn't ask for much more really.

I have signed up for the Labour Weekend Level 2 clinic plus have a private lesson on the Tuesday. Cool!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Level one assessment filmed

We finished filming my assessment today! It was a nice fine day and I taped off the gate to the arena and off we went. Well we started with saddling without being tied up (loose rope), and then went on to mounting from both sides, dismounting from both sides, and then the 21 minutes Pushing Passenger lesson at trot. Garbo kept doing the same route it was hilarious, down to the dandelions then back to the gate. Everything they say about LB horses needing incentives and being food orientated is so Garbo (and seeing the arena as pointless)!

Well I think it was 20 minutes in the end - but we made it without too many stops in between. He even went into canter a few times (at the same spot each time). That was a first for me - in the rope halter and one rope.

Then we did follow the rail for 2 laps each way and then the emergency dismounts from both sides.

Hopefully I'll pass.

Garbo was pretty knackered after that.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Liberty - 1st try

Today *big grin*

Did our first games at Liberty today - we had done sideways and driving from Zone 3 in the jumping arena at Royal Oak - to get to know the paddock then I did some PPL (building up to 21 mins at trot for L1 assessment!!)... I don't think Garbo has ever trotted for 21 minutes in a row - let alone me!

Anyway- PPL - there were two hills of piled up sand in the paddock and he kept going up onto the top and looking around like he was thinking - "I'm the King of The Castle" - it was so funny.... coming down was interesting!

So - we then went into the round pen and I took the rope off... did some driving game, then tried Yo yo - he kind went sideways, but the come back was FAB! (ears forward looking very pleased) so then I asked for a circle and he circled and then I asked him over a jump - he went over and turned and faced - I asked him back the other way and he hesitated - once he started chewing the pole on the jump *rolleyes* ..... I asked again and he lifted up one foot (I nearly cried - this was from 20ft away and no rope).... I backed him up and asked him again and he circled over the jump - then he just kept jumping over the jump and turning and facing the jump again!

He looked very pleased with himself. I was extremely pleased!

I asked him into the middle and he came trotting over, didn't crowd me....

I think he was relieved to have the rope off! Yay.... fantastic progress today.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Worming - solving problems

Ok - so next challenge on the Solving Problems lesson was worming. ANd today he had a whole syringe of apple sauce - and I was crouching on the ground - yay!!

So happy.

Sideways without a fence

Sideways was always an issue for Garbo and I - and I knew it would be a major breakthrough when we could do sideways from both sides.... I was actually really surprised how quickly he got sideways with a fence from one side so quickly. When I saw in L2 it was sideways without a fence I though holy moley - I better get practising with a fence! Couldn't ignore it anymore.

The circle game had sort of come undone on the 22ft line also lately and I had to think about being more subtle as he really only seems to need subtle aids - any more than Phase 1 he gets unconfident and takes it personally....

Well -here's what I tried today..... and it worked!

1. Friendly in between circles but I did lots like rubbing all over, finding itchy spots - so kind of rewards... and stayed away from Zone One (didn't just pat his head) - I stood back by his wither and he seemed to relax heaps quicker - even snorted heaps

2. I added a jump on one side of the circle (yeehaa)... he had lots of fun

3. I upped to phase 2 after a long phase one for the send and added more energy

4. I looked out of the corner of my eye and listened while looking down for him to come in behind me on the circle and I just waved the savvy string in his direction and he kept going - AND he didn't come in on top of me on the bring in

5. added some poles in a line on the ground for the sideways without a fence and every time he made a few good steps I took him over to the side of the arena for some dandelions - he loved that - and OMG - sideways without a fence - we did it today!!!

Oh - Garbo figured out what happens before what happens happens, some more today - I was yo-yoing him back to start the circle game and he just started circling!

I love my pony!!

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Well today we did loads.....

Started off in the paddock - on a slope redoing the short range circle game to the left to try and build up his confidence again on the left. Then slowly let him drift out. I tried not to let him come in too much. He seems to be worried about me using >phase one while he is circling (maybe since we started transitions) so comes in before I get a chance to do anything. Anyway - we made some small improvements.

Then I did some driving from zone 3 on both sides - towards this big cow - which came running at us! and Garbo didn't freak out.

Then we did some sideways down the outside of the fence paddock - up and down the hill plus round the corner also - lots of fun...

Then some circle game up and down a bank, with some grass stops (to the left to build confidence) on the circle...

Back at the stable we worked on Solving Problems injections.... with my trusty toothpick I simulated the injection and he was shaking then turning his head towards me and then down... but while I was working on getting rid of the shaking he shook his head and turned towards me real fast and bonked me on the head - now I have a lump on my head.!

I carried on after some ice and the shaking appears to have stopped! He kind of looked at me like OOOPs... when it happened.... the instinct was to slap him for hitting me - but I didn't.... just went OUCH!

So a good day all in all....

Friday, August 31, 2007


I took a video today of Garbo and I doing the circle game - trying to get him to go to the left. You would think from looking at it he can't do the circle game at all but he has regressed (like he has never learned it in L1).

Now that I really think about it, it was since he fell over at canter (while kicking out in an upwards transition on 22ft line) and he was really like "help Mum" immediately after that almost like he thought I caused him to fall over. (He got straight back up and continued circling then came in - I was so proud). Since then I would say he has been more and more un-confident about going to the left.
I tried today just being really friendly like my instructor suggested and sending zone 1 and 2....
I tried being softer when he came in today and he did turn in a little straighter and not so much side on. The bring in to the right was still difficult.....
I have also tried going right back to the short range circle game.

More on today

I have realised today (and after watching lots of Pats videos in the last couple of days) that I need to ride more.... just really do the Pushing Passenger Lesson for 21 minutes in a row or more.... it's the only way I will get better and more confident.

Just have to figure out a way to block off the exit from the arena as today all he did was 10m circles away and back to the exit.


George took these photos... I liked this one...

First day with one rope in arena at yard

Today I tried the Pushing Passenger lesson in the arena at the yard where I graze. First time I have ventured out with my one rope and halter where;
  • non Parelli people could see
  • there were distractions like builders and building noises, feed buckets rattling
  • Garbo was on his own turf
I was really pleased with my efforts although I didn't keep at it for very long - the yard suddenly got extremely busy and others were then riding, trailers full of stones going down the drive at 50kmh - all those kinds of things so I called it a day at that and got off and did some ground work.

Then we did some more 'Problem Solving - L2" and worked on injections - used a toothpick to simulate the needle. He shook his neck for a couple of times then he put his head down and towards me and I released. He managed a couple of times also without the shake at all - so really pleased with that.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Play date

Play Date with Scribble!

After Fridays delayed loading from Royal Oak we went out again today. On the way home - same thing - after playing with a young horse for an hour in the round pen, after they left it took me an hour to load him.

I tried all of the following;
  • Yo Yo in
  • Leading in
  • Send in
  • Squeeze past ramp (fine)
  • Squeeze in
  • Played circle game again in round pen and tried again (that worked on Friday)
  • Tried driving from Zone 3 with CS
  • Tried using the clicker
  • Tried showing him carrots in the trailer
  • In the end - much to my disappointment in myself - I pulled him in! I leaned on the rope matching his resistance until he took a step forward - then I released - he weighs 600kgs - took three pulls. Once 3/4's of the way in he just got on as if to say - oh - is that all... and started eating the carrots and munching on hay.
I am not sure how to read him...... but How Interesting!!

Here's a snippet on video - it was basically back to - lets just relax and come in - and me trying to figure him out period....

Friday, August 24, 2007


Had another up and down today - but it ended really well.

I had been reading the Oct 2006 article in the Savvy Times about the L2 student loading her horse. She was talking about taking 7 hours the first day until her horse was completely at ease - she said she never got angry or bored or frustrated and neither did her horse..... well this got me thinking - as well as Linda's words echoing in my head "do the opposite of what your horse expects you to do"....

Well Garbo usually loads well - he's not snappy about it - he dawdles and stops before the ramp - looks around - if I added any pressure like having a whip or CS in my hand or twirling the rope he would run off at 100 miles an hour - probably due to the fact that some 'helpful' yard owner when I was a brand new horse owner 3 years ago decided to beat up on him with the dressage whip until he got on (you know those people that think making outside the float/trailer as unpleasant as possible will make the horse want to go on)... that was before I knew better...

Ok - since then - he had loaded - albeit slowly and with me at his side all the way in. But he always rushes out backwards when we unload instead of taking his time and turning to the left and walking off (he can do that - he just forgets or panics)....

So since doing Parelli I have realised that we never played the Friendly Game with the trailer and that he was trying to tell me something - so I have been trying to listen. Last 4 times we have gone out he has paused and I have rubbed him, and he sticks his head under my arm.... or sticks his head down on the ground..... and if I take my time he then goes on after a long cuddle....

Today we went out to where there is a round pen and we filmed half of my L1 assessment. Then we had a little ride around with another horse (me in my halter and rope). Then he had some play time with this other horse as they were both loose in the round pen.

The other horse went home and we were about to load. He planted his feet and was not moving forward. We stopped for cuddles and a chat. Still nothing. Then he had a poo, I cleaned it away, more cuddles, I sat down in the float (holding on to end of rope) thinking - he won't expect me to do that!

Did some yo yo backwards, let him sniff the trailer inside - but the most he would come on was Zone one and Two. Tried squeezing him between the ramp and me - no problem..... tried loading - nope.

After 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour of the above - and others asking if I needed a hand??!! (I politely declined) - I decided a different approach was required.

We went back into the round pen and did transitions online walk trot and canter - I only had my 12ft line as we had been doing the L1 assessment video - gosh it seemed very short suddenly!. We did both directions. About 6 laps each way I guess....

Then led him back to the trailer and he went straight on!

What a day - but I was extremely pleased with it.

ps we got up to the saddling up bit before we had to call it a day for the filming - till next time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Level One Assessment

We are going to start filming my assessment video tomorrow for L1. Hope Garbo is in a good mood - I'll take lots of hay! We are going to go to Royal Oak.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Today I decided to get a good obstacle out of my boot - the tarpaulin! Garbo watched me as I lay it out - as soon as he heard that it made plastic bag like noises he was very curious indeed.

I groomed him untied (rope over arm) while the builder chopped up bits of rock - it sounded like rocks in a tumble dryer but Garbo just chilled out and didn't even jump once - he was even facing in the opposite direction - the only time he moved was to tell me to scratch higher or further back.

So while I was laying out the tarp in the arena Garbo was checking it out by sniffing and pawing it. Then I asked for a send over it - and he happily walked over it, both ways - no hesitation - all at phase one.

Then we did a yo-yo back and forth over it - the wind even blew the tarp up round his legs and he didn't panic. Then we tried driving game FQ on the tarp (tricky to actually stay on it) then circle game with transitions over the tarp... then we tried trot - everything I tried or asked for he offered immediately with a phase one. Perhaps he thought that I tripped him up yesterday!!

Transitions were great - we didn't try canter today.

Then - I stepped up onto the side of the arena (no hedge side - arena fence only knee height) and asked for sideways - to the left he did pretty damn good - and then we turned and did to the right - wow - it was the best sideways he has ever done - he crossed both feet over at the same time once or twice. I made more of a game out of it since he's Left Brain Introverted, every time he did some good sideways (one or two steps) I would pick dandelions from the side of the arena for him. How cool was that.?!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Transitions online

We went to Royal Oak today - the sun came out - yay. We worked on transitions of the circle. It was very interesting! Being Left Brain Introvert he tends to kick and buck when I ask him for canter above phase 1, so while he was doing this he slipped over in the sand arena and kind of ended up on the rope in the sand.... my complete surprise when he got up he kept circling then came into me (I had lost the rope at this stage).

He was pretty puffed by now and his head was down and he was like "you should have seen what happened Mum" puff puff, his face was so expressive he seemed like a little child crying about an accident....

We spent ages just 'talking' and me stroking his head and then I took him for a walk and trot around to see if he was ok and so he didn't stiffen up too much. Then we tried the circle game again just to be sure it now wasn't some scary thing that trips him over!

Before all this happened we tried changes of direction (which worked really well last time) and he was very confused - so I left those for another day after we got one good change.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Trail ride

I know I know - Linda says don't go out trail riding yet ... but my horse has a half sister who is always calm and the only horse I really trust to go out with - to remain calm, and therefore my boy is exceptionally calm and relaxed the whole way.

The sun came out today for the first time in ages so I decided to go.

We ride in the forest... it's also open to quad bikes, motorbikes, walkers and at this time of the year - deer hunters. Although we are all supposed to have our designated areas.

Anyway - did some pushing passenger on a loose rein.... he was jigging about quite alot, trying to bite the other horse when we were going downhill, had a few spooks - but the worst bit was...

...we were approaching a puddle on the track and my friend's horse stopped, backed up and did a 180, closely followed by Garbo. Thought they were both going to take off so I did a one rein stop and emergency dismount when he showed no sign of calming down - neither did the other horse. My friend (non PNH) tried to push her horse closer - which she didn't like and kept doing 180s and backing up - and my friend then saw what it was - some hunter/poacher had killed a deer and left the guts, head and legs on the track.

Thank goodness I got off.

I finally talked her into heading back the other way!
I got back on Garbo but he was still quite RB so I got off again and walked with him and we found some obstacles - fallen trees to jump, tracks to go up and down, round big puddles (so I didn't get muddy feet) and after about 10 minutes he was LB again so I got back on.

Well - I actually think that after typing this and thinking a bit more - I am very proud of myself. I kept myself and my horse safe and got home in one piece. The small of death would have spooked any horse no matter how well prepared I think.

So - 6 more spooks/jumps/bucks (I'll call them SJB's) so that's 7!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Right brain behaviour

Just heard a grazer where I keep Garbo was riding tonight and her horse reared up and landed on her in the arena and she broke her pelvis. Yikes.

It has really rung home to me about the safety issues I learned in Level One now and the reason Pat and Linda say so often - don't get on your horse if he or she is showing any kind of Right Brain behaviour. My friend said that this particular horse was very agitated before the ride (RB), and told the rider to be careful.

Just goes to show you can't control a 600kg horse if it's in full blown right brain panic mode. No matter what bit you have, or how good a rider you are.

It's their nature - they are prey animals and are born that way.

Anyway - just spent some undemanding time with Garbo today. I was at one side of the paddock with him doing this and then I walked to the other to tidy up his hay - and he followed me.... so I stayed longer and watch him eat hay. Between each mouthful he was smelling my hair, my hair clip, my ear, telling me secrets - oh and trying to find those predator smelling gloves of mine which I was hiding from him (possum fur) - he snorts at those.!

Monday, August 6, 2007

More rain

Guess what - it rained again today. You know - I can't remember a rain free day for a couple of months (maybe one!). We have had 300+mm of rain in the last month.

Anyway - today we went to Royal Oak again and practised our Circle Game Transitions a bit more - also did a couple of Seven Games with an obstacle. The arena was so wet that my rope sucked up all the water and sand and it got really heavy!

So then we did some pushing passenger lesson - and I went out in the arena - that's a first for me with the rope halter and one rope. As it was the PPL Garbo was allowed to go where he wanted (to a degree - he wanted to step off the side of the arena and look at himself in the mirror!) so we ended up wandering all over the property. Lots of fun and great confidence builder. He was really chilled. He got a wee fright when Reggie decided to gallop across his paddock - but it wasn't too bad.

As Stephanie says in her book "Move Closer, Stay Longer" - lets start counting the spooks - see if we can get to 100. So that's - 1.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


Waiting for the rain to stop mid ride.


Me mounting from the Indian side! With my rope halter and one rope for riding!

Level 2 progress

Linda says in the DVDs that Level 2 is all about savvy. Fine tuning, reading your horses body language, controlling your own - and that it takes a lot longer - and that you will learn alot.

I learnt alot in Level 1 - but it was basic stuff - like cues really. If you do this - your horse will do this - and most times he did! (even more amazingly).

Level 2 has been like going from 5th form to 6th form certificate!

I have had several OMG moments already and I'm only up to the 2nd task!

Loading up to go today I decided to play the friendly game with the float. As I started to load and he hesitated I realised he'd never had the time to just chill out near the we did lots of patting and smiling - and he cuddled his head into me. When he was ready we loaded - like a breeze.... (another learning moment)

Today we went to Royal Oak and I did my 2nd session in the round pen of undemanding time with Garbo. He just dozed after having a roll. I am really enjoying this time with him.

Then we practised transitions in the Circle Game. We got some nice up and down transitions on his easier side - the left - and some upwards ones to the right. I decided I was pleased with that and we stopped. Garbo came in and lowered his head to the ground (my feet) and stayed there for ages....

Then I took the 22ft line off and he just had his rope halter on. He had some hay in the round pen - he snacked on that while he watched me get the saddle and saddle pad from the car.

Then I groomed him (after his roll he was covered in sand) and he stood perfectly still and even seemed to enjoy it (no rope remember) - then I saddled him - and for the first time he didn't put his ears back when I put the saddle on - and he didn't take one step. I was so impressed.

Did quite a bit of pushing passenger lesson (L1) and Follow the Rail lesson (L1 also). This is all still amazing for me - riding with a rope halter and one rope! Tomorrow I plan to venture out of the round pen and into the arena!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The begining - L1

I had seen someone (2nd generation trainer) do 'so called Parelli' with a horse at a show two years ago - I was brand new to owning my horse and a year into riding.... I decided that Parelli was no good (the horse looked scared stiff of the whip) and I promptly ignored everything about Parelli, UNTIL a month ago.....

I was watching a video testimonial about coverall arenas - and Pat Parelli had one - it showed some demos and wow I was converted. I thought "that's what I want for me and my horse!!"

I started Level 1 home study and this weekend I started Level 2... I am still working on the riding in L1 - that takes longer for me because we have no enclosed area where I graze so I need to go out to practice Pushing Passenger etc. Also if my co-grazers and YO saw me riding with a rope halter and one rope I would get so many "What the hell are you doing" looks.!

My horse didn't have any major problems.... but things I wanted to fix were;
  • he would lean on his feet when I tried to pick up the front ones, and kick out a little when I picked up the back ones (only a little)...
  • he would not leave me on the lunge (stay close to me)
  • he was crabby while grooming and girthing up
  • when we go out he bucks if other horses get excited or canter (at shows mainly)
  • if other horses got upset he does too (out)
  • if it's feed time I can't ride him - too distracted
  • Distracted - that's a great word to describe him
  • Mostly he would load ok - hesitating on the ramp - sometimes (1 in 30 times he would run out once loaded.
  • Leans in on circles with shoulder
  • Pull me around if he wants to eat grass when leading
  • Try and move me with his nose as if to say - go get my food
  • Walks out of wash bay or pulls back if tied up
  • if he became RB he would run - sometimes towards me - or spin round on the end of the lead rope while tied up so his bum would come at me - not seeing me....
okay - after typing that he sounds really bad hey? But they were all quite little things and apart from the shows - mostly manageable.

But I realised I was doing what Linda said she was doing... I would only ride between 12 and 4pm, and avoid riding with others with excitable horses, I was extremely picky about who else I rode out with - their horse had to be bombproof, and the ground stuff I guess just slowly got worse over time so I didn't notice it.

NOW; - 4 weeks later....
  • he picks up all his feet at the lightest ask (and from both sides)
  • if he stands on the 12ft line while grazing while we are moseying - he slowly picks up his foot and moves backwards and carries on
  • he is less crabby with saddling - and not crabby with grooming anymore
  • He leads politely - occasionally we have a tug of war for grass but not a big one
  • One night we had this huge storm - 150km winds and ice cold rain - I had to lead him in from his paddock in the dark to add another cover as he was shivering cold.... and it was very scary up at the barn with all sorts of noises and howling winds.... but even when he got a fright he didn't run into me or spin into me - and kept looking at me for reassurance..... I was so pleased.
  • He doesn't move off when I mount
  • He doesn't call out to other horses when out (so far)
  • He seems more calm when we are out (only been out twice)
  • He doesn't shove me with his nose
  • We can do the circle game and he stays out on the circle!!
  • He doesn't fall in on the circle in the circle game
  • He pays more attention to me
  • Stays in wash bay now without being tied up
  • He seems really happy - still checking me out each day as if to say "you have changed!" but generally our relationship is much better.
  • He yawns daily now!

I am very very very impressed with Parelli - and also with the standard of their home study - well worth every cent... best home study course I have done.

So - after L1 DVDs saying I must move on to L2 ground work while I am completing the L1 riding - I thought - ok - why not?! The exchange rate is awesome at the moment.

So - after watching the beginning of L2 I went out with Garbo today. Wanted to go to a place that had some obstacles - we have NONE at our grazing.

He normally hesitates just before the ramp of the float and then I lead him on. He sometimes takes a look around and then comes on. For some bizarre reason (it was raining) I thought I would use the Send to send him ahead of me.... he started then turned away..... so I led him on but I had the carrot stick in my hand still (don't normally use a whip or anything when loading) and he ran out

After all the things I learned from the L2 dvds so far I put so many into use today.....

Normally I would have got angry....

I stayed really calm - smiled and patted him.... and asked him again - again he ran off (turned in the float and ran out front ways)....I had the 12ft line and started to try and stop him by yanking the rope, and remembered the dvd and just followed him off... he stopped!! Yay.

More patting and smiles.... (gee that helped me not get angry and frustrated)..... and then I led him on again (save the send for another day me thinks).... and he stayed on.... and he was good going on for the return journey too....

  • I remembered to stay calm and smile;
  • to not make it a tug of war if he runs off;
  • and to go back to friendly game each time after a RB episode.
  • AND as my OH pointed out - to last longer than my horse....

As Linda would say - OH BOY!