Thursday, February 28, 2008

7 games with Deva

I was going to play a bit with Garbo today as I didn't have enough time to ride and because the DQ yard people are away I let him out of his paddock without a halter and after a nibble he followed me to the float and then we went down to see Deva. Deva's owner was there and she suggested a play (she likes her horse to be a horse too). Sadly I missed capturing most of the action and acrobatics - but got a little driving and sideways on video

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday - we rode today

Wow - nice to see that Viv from USA is reading my posts - I sometimes forget people find my blog (apart from the ones who I tell)! I kind of write it like I am writing for a large audience (lol) but I don't actually think anyone reads it! Thanks for your comments Viv and Cilla :-).

So - today we had a big groom - lots of itchy spots - I had left his cover off last night so he could have a good roll. Then we saddled up - all untied - rope hanging on the ground.

We started in the arena and I did follow the rail at walk a few times. He had a couple of little piddly shies but nothing too serious. I found that once I lifted my focus higher he went forward much better. (Learn something new every day don't you). I started with my carrot stick to try and stop the opposition reflex on some turns (if he doesn't want to turn that way) but because he was shying I needed both hands so dropped it. Why did i need both hands - well to do an effective one rein stop of course.

Then we tried going down the drive (away from stables, horses, barn) by ourselves but we got part way down the drive (that we got all the way down alone with me driving from Zone 3 the other day) and he just turned for the barn. Tried retreating and then going back - but he turned at the same spot each time.

Hmmmm - how interesting.

So - I was a tad annoyed so I said - ok fine we'll go into the arena again - but quickly got over it and decided to go into an empty paddock instead. Did a few point to points to the corners- but Garbo was getting crabby if I didn't give him a treat at every corner - and at one point tried to bite my foot - either that or get a fly - lol.

So - I decided to take charge and do a trot circle - he wasn't having it - so instead of getting more annoyed I decided to start with a walk circle first - what a good idea Vicki!!

After a couple of those without complaint we had a brief trot - and went out and turned left to go down the race. We started walking and the walking got fast so I asked for trot and then the trot got fast and next thing you know we are cantering down the race - it was great fun. Horses either side looking up going "what are those guys doing"?

We stopped at the end and I gave him a treat. We practised that a few more times and I rewarded him when he stopped with a light lift of the rein.

Then we went down the other race down to the babies paddock and then back - Garbo didn't head for the tie up area like he normally does so I left him have a graze beside the float park. All round this area both ways (it's all gravel) he squeezed through the gap between my car and float and the tractor and fence - as if to say - see my squeeze is getting better.

The ride was a disaster to start with but slowly improved as the ride went on.

Got back to the stable, left him untied, washed him and gave him some apples, took him back to the paddock - coverless again - backing him up through the gateway a few times.

When I arrived back with his dinner he came trotting over with his ears forward - very cute.

So - all in all - good day.

Didn't get to see Maraschino - sooo busy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

First day of play since Thursday

We had a storm over the weekend and then I got really busy yesterday with the land/barn/build plans so poor Garbo had 4 days in the paddock without any play or grooming.

So I got him out and gave him a big groom. It was really cool there was no one at the farm so we could just chill out and take our time.

After that we did some stuff on the ground, and I was trying to establish a nice trot in the circle - and I actually got it. He didn't stop too often and was good at going back into trot with just a point in the end.

Then we tried change of direction the difficult way and he did the most beautiful change so I disengaged him and asked him in for a rest.

We did a bit more going the other way and another couple of changes and then some backing up again.

He is still finding it very hard with zone 2-4 in a narrow space - so as I took him into the paddock I backed him up about 4 times back through the gate (half shut) with apples in my hand.

He did that really well.

Could have played for ages more but had to be up at the block at 4.30pm to meet the digger man and the power man.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yukky day

The wind and rain have arrived in full force after a drought all year.... this photo was taken this afternoon before I went to the farm. No play today - Garbo was shivering even though he was dry under his cover so I brought him in and added another cover - dried his face and ears off and gave him his dinner and two more slabs of hay.

It's still raining - hopefully it will ease off tonight. It's not cold - just wind and driving rain so the rain kinda feels sharp.

Also added the rain radar piccy for you - YUK

It's finally stoppped now - we have had 67mm in 24 hours.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Backwards through a narrow space

Well we tried yo yo backwards through a stall gate again today and he was going left, going right, anything but straight through the gap (like it was going to bite him). So I sent him into the stall (and he found some hay!!) - he snuk a few bites lol..... then I asked for forwards part of the yo yo out - and he got stuck at Zone 1. Asking with more pressure caused him to pull back - I didn't release but kept the pressure on but walked forward a little - then I tapped him in zone 3 with the carrot stick and he came out. (I have been reading the old L2 booklets!!)

We tried it in the wash bay (wider and higher roof) - and he was fine.... so I sent him in again and tried coming forward just one step - then back - he rushed Zone 2-5 out and turned and faced before I could stop him.

After a while he didn't want to come forward because he knew I was going to stop him before he got all the way out.

Phew - tired just re-thinking about it. There was lots of licking and chewing - no snorting today.

Ok - so we left that for a bit and did some hill therapy..... Day 3.

Then we walked down the driveway with me in Zone 3 all the way - for the very first time.... he found lots of green grass and I allowed him to eat a few mouthfuls every now and again. By the end a kiss (smooch) noise was all it took to stop him grazing and walk on. He didn't even hit any thresholds.

So maybe I have really hit a confidence issue here..... yay.

So - leading back to the paddock (oh we did some sideways with more life up and down the hill along a fence - at about 12 feet I guess - I tagged him with the string on his butt when he didn't move. After reading the L2 booklet (Stage 1) and the Intro book - I have learned so much more....

1. Lack of positive reflex is from not starting at Phase 1 and or never getting to Phase 4
2. When you get to Phase 4 be assertive but not mean - life down again afterwards
3. You are aiming for no more than 4 ounces of pressure in all 7 games
4. New phase 1 is life up
5. Most people wiggle the rope for phase 1 yo yo - and not just their finger so not a true phase 1
6. Stand with your shoulder next to the fence/obstacle for Squeeze (facing your horse).
7. In the allow (circle) relax and smile. If horse breaks gait do something about it - but not before
8. In the send (circle) tag the zone that has not left the quadrant

And there is like 12 other booklets - !!

It tells you what level you should be with your 7 games before moving on to the next stage.
There is certainly alot more detail in these L2 booklets (like the L1 booklets that I missed so much after L1).

I would recommend anyone struggling with L2 to buy these booklets on EBay. You get them new. Just search Old L2 Parelli. Here's a link actually

So after all that - Garbo had resorted to his hugging of my knees and cuddling me routine which I find so hard to resist..... (he gets lots of kisses)....

I took him back to his paddock and tried backing him through the partly open gate (it was open about 4ft wide) - he went all crooked and tried to turn around again - so I sent him through then went into his paddock and backed him out the gate - twice. He didn't rush too much - it was a snappy back up - lots of chewing so I brought him in and gave him his carrots.

Monday, February 18, 2008

First Parelli jump

It wasn't on our list of things to do but Garbo has been getting a bit bored with point to point so today we went into the jumping paddock at Royal Oak and there were a whole lot of low jumps and trot poles set up. It's quite a large paddock so he went quickly into trot and trotted up on top of the sand hill. I asked him down again and he trotted back the other way - then we cantered back to the sand hill, he got a treat at each point. He had his ears forward and was full of enthusiasm about the new game. We went through some trot poles that led to a jump and Garbo picked up canter on his own and jumped it - then he stopped nicely with a lift of the reins. I gave him a treat. Ahh - he says - new game -lets go and jump another one - and he was off. It was hilarious - we had such a cool time.

Even when I tried to walk him back to the float he was trying to go the other way.

He and Maraschino met today - Maraschino was in a paddock nearby so perhaps Garbo was showing off!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Yo Yo threshold

I found a bit of a sticky point today. Garbo couldn't back up through a yard doorway (Quite narrow) with the Yo Yo game (22 ft line) - firstly he just went crooked so he missed it all together. So I sent him into the stall and slowly asked him out but he rushed Zone 2 and 3 through - so with Zone 5 in the doorway I asked him to back up and he hesitated, I asked again, hesitated again, one more time (bigger phase) and he ran backwards as fast as I have ever seen and then snorted!

How interesting!

We played with this some more - first in the wash bay which is a bit wider and not closed in on top so much... then back to the yard...but he did it again - I tried one step at a time both ways, then two.... he did lots of smelling of either side of the entrance.

We went and did some hill therapy for a bit and then I asked him to back through the partly closed gate - he rushed backwards after Zone 5 was through - so we played a bit more (other stuff).

So - we have some stuff to work on there!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Well I feel a bit down - have no clue why!

I decided to fix the 'don't change gait, don't change direction' online with Garbo today and I had to get assertive (but not mean) - but I felt mean afterwards! He did lots of licking and head lowering like he used to do when we first started so I am not sure if I went too far (licking good but head lowering - to my knees - may be a little unconfidence). I had to tag in the quadrant (three times rhythmically) to get him to have any energy what so ever. He still did not manage to do a whole canter circle without my bull horn facing him.....yadda yadda yadda!

Finished up with some sideways - which he does beautifully to the left and a little stiltingly to the right - nearly on the end of 22ft line.

Then I went to see Maraschino. The two paddock mates tried to shoo him away from me when I walked in so they could say hi - finally managed to distract them for long enough to get to him - and give him a groom - just loose in the paddock. Then we did a couple of head lowering, pick up feets and he looked pretty knackered again! No serious bites though - just a little lump. No skin broken.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Phew what a day!

Well my new guy arrived about 10am and all my worries about him getting hurt or scared during loading and travelling were unfounded. He wandered slowly off the truck like a little kid arriving at a birthday party (a fairly shy kid).

Got the lady to put him in the square pen and she was really nice and waited for him to come down the ramp in his own time, and lead him round the round pen, got the travel buddy horse out also so he didn't panic. But he was so not panicking! I got him some hay and water and he was like 'cool - hay - thanks - munch'. She left the halter on and un-clipped the lead rope and walked out. I said - 'oh you forgot to take the halter'. She replied 'he doesn't know you - so you won't be able to catch him unless I leave it on'....

(deep breath Vicki)... "I'll be fine" I replied with a smile. Then I zig zagged over to him and calmly took his halter off and handed it back to her. That was such a cool feeling!

After I spent a little undemanding time with him in the pen, we added another youngster for him to play with and they weaved in and out of the barrels, trot poles, jumps and the play ball. Not a worry in the world.

Went away to get a coffee and leave him be for a while then when I came back I approached him again (this wee thing that is so hard to catch) - and put Blue's Parelli halter on him and he acted like he'd done it a thousand times. I did a little back up and lead forwards with very quick releases, a head down and release, some pick up your feet and released as soon as he tried...then a couple of turns where you out the rope over their head and along the outside of their body, round their butt and then apply steady pressure and they yield the other way and turn completely. He didn't panic and did it a step at a time - such a cool dude.

Then I led him to his new paddock - and he was so good - you know all the different surfaces, the gravel, the limerock, the grass... he didn't hesitate once. Good ole Stationbred hey!!

There he met his two new friends for a bit - Bob and D. A two and three year old. They followed him around for a bit - checking out the 'new guy' and then he looked exhausted and had a little sleep. I left him to it and went home for a bit.

Later in the day I rode Garbo - I really should have done some stuff on the ground first as he was very confused today - we would trot along the race and he would suddenly just turn sideways (facing the fence). He was a little hoppy - so I didn't push it - mainly stuck to walk. Garbo knew my direct line thinking for the day was to trot for 7 minutes all round the farm you see!

So I called it a day (mind you it was 5pm by this stage and we never normally ride at that time!) says Garbo

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Different day

I was reading a blog this morning of a lady called Cathy who is currently at the ISC Florida doing a course. It was great - I couldn't stop reading it - she must make so many notes!! I love people that make good notes - I have only ever done it once in my life because the speaker was so interesting and didn't treat us like twits! Anyway her blog is in case you are interested.

So bearing alot of that in mind -mainly using life up and life down as phase 1 - I tried it out for yo yo - wow! Garbo picked up on my having my life up and mother in law face and took a step back, the blog also said to wait after one step and then do another - this really made Garbo lick and chew. I think this will help alot with his eagerness to be drawn back.

Before that we did friendly game with the plastic rustly bag and got up his neck (top and bottom) and between ears - not face yet. Took his mind off the truck backing up next to us anyway.

The other thing in the notes that struck a chord with me was at liberty leaving a door open during send.... often in circle at liberty (long range) Garbo will swap directions and look out of the arena. So I stepped back as I sent and also moved towards zone 5 - that kinda helped.

We then tried short range circle game at liberty and that actually worked really well.

So today - Garbo walk trotted and cantered round me very very closely at liberty - like he did not feel confident to move away, - sometimes when I asked for canter he would stick his ears back..... but - he didn't take off and leave!

We didn't stay on it too long. Other times he would go to the fence and do sideways instead of long range circle (very cute).

Did a bit of driving - man he hates driving FQ. Must do some work on that.

Then - after about an hour - I saddled him up - he must have thought - oh no - it was so hot and muggy but it was overcast so no hot sun beaming down - and the farm was unusually quiet so I just had to ride.

We started in the arena briefly and then went all over the farm and into all the open paddocks - trotted and cantered a bit - walked a big long walk to cool down, and did sideways - wow that's getting good.

Tomorrow I am going to trot everywhere for 7 minutes like in the book of Stephanie's.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Plastic bag

After watching Linda doing yo yo along side a fence, back and forwards, using a plastic bag on the end of the CS instead of the string - I thought - that looks cool - I wanna try that.

Guess what? Didn't play enough friendly with the plastic bag on end of CS!. Garbo loves plastic bags normally - they usually have food in them!! But on the end of the CS and moving - well that was a little hairy for him. A few snorts and jumps.... so more friendly needed! I'll do it every day for a while now.

Anyway - couldn't help myself - and my direct line thinking took over - tried the yo yo anyway. It worked but he was keeping a very close eye on that bag!

Then we tried change of direction!

Well what can I say - he is showing a new appreciation of the carrot stick.

I am slowly getting my head round the carrot stick being an extension of me, and it being like a horse would be - sometimes friendly, but with the upped energy and mother-in-law face it's a dominant horse being grumpy, snappy....

Before that I could not figure out how we would play friendly with the carrot stick and string and then use it to drive (the horse away) zones. But the penny is slowly dropping.

We did some sideways at trot!

Rode after that, didn't do much canter today - I think I had made myself a bit nervous after all the plastic bag stuff!! Went into the paddock anyway - Garbo was an angel though.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Cantering in paddock

I know alot of Level 2'ers did this in L1 but riding in a halter/hackamore was really a big scary deal for me - having only just started to ride 4 years ago....

Pre-Parelli Garbo had (once) spooked at a pine cone falling out of a tree in paddock and promptly did a 180 degree turn, when I fell off....hard ground - ouch - so since then I have been 'reluctant' to canter outside the arena. Funny how one thing like that gives you the heebie jeebies.

We have been doing so well cantering in the arena and riding out and about on the property. We went into the paddock briefly the other day - so I decided to go back in today - not really even planning on doing anything in particular (apart from walk round the paddock and trot over a small jump)....that was a big enough challenge I thought - but I was not nervous...those days have long gone (thank you Parelli)...

So we were doing some point to point and ride round things and back to jump (for a treat).....then he just offered canter. I could not believe how smooth and slow and relaxed his canter was - and he even offered it more than once. This is my LBI Swedish Warmblood....!! On the way back to the stable - (finishing on a good note) he started trotting down the race...had to pinch myself....but he stopped with one rein lifted (yay - I love my horse).

I love this programme!! The results just leave me speechless.

Best thing is I don't have to put my outside leg back to go sideways or canter, which always used to get me off balance.... this is a much better way....

*grinning from ear to ear* - which is really nice after all the crying last week after I had to put Blue to sleep