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!