Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Today's ride

I took Garbo to Jool's again today for a ride. By ourself which was very nice.

The grass was very bright green there after the rain - Garbo just wanted to eat and boy did he have a runny poo in the float on the way home.

Jool's horses were around the track one race away from the arena but Garbo was keen to see everyone.

We started with follow the rail again and with my goal of getting Garbo to canter when I ask not just a little bit after we start trotting. And to keep trotting.

I think I did a few laps but not enough and not consistently (as you can see we added a circle or two and a figure 8).

I was really trying to work on focus and looking out to the far distance (actually up at those huge trees). I felt a bit bumpy today - and Garbo was stumbling a bit - he needs his feet done. I tried to give Jool's a few hints while I was there lol. Garbo looks after me - if I got out of sync (esp in canter) he just goes down a gait.

Then I tied the reins to my saddle with the savvy string and started some bridleless practise - just to test. I noticed that Garbo does not see my turn aids as having any phases and the rein is the first phase...ooops... we also worked on bring our life down to stop (can you hear Pat t.a.l.k.i.n.g v.e.r.y s.l.o.w.l.y when he says that on L3.) and it actually worked quite well.

After the ride I took Garbos saddle and hackamore off and we had a wee play at Liberty since I think we will film our L3 Liberty here... it went ok - he was fine close but further out he would wander off. But he would canter back again. Jools commented on it looking good.

Might go back tomorrow. It was really windy today (again) as you can tell by the trees but the arena was sheltered by those same trees.

I went to the indoor arena to say goodbye and thanks to Jools and we got talking (I had Garbo with me since he's not too good at being left by the float alone), and she showed me how he needed to unlock his poll...(he was shaking his head and yawing after she had done some ground stuff with him (she can't resist) - she pulled the flag out!! But in the end he as fine with it - and then came the shaking and yawning. She showed me how to just move the halter and his head slowly from side to side and then he would naturally lower his head as his poll unlocks...meanwhile yawning and shaking his head.... and - he did! He looked half asleep by the time she had finished. It was cool.


I spent alot of yesterday digging through old videos and new ones and editing them all together for the ParelliTube competition. I was really happy to wake up this morning to find they had chosen it to feature on ParelliTube. If you want to see it - here's the link.

It was really hard looking at some of the worst of the old stuff (I chose the worst for effect - but in effect it was 'the worst' that made me lose my confidence slowly).

I didn't think we would be fancy enough to feature but to me the Before's and Afters were so important - and judging by all the comments - it is to alot of people too. There are over 40 comments already on the Facebook Link on Parelli's Facebook page.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mini Massager progress

Well today I got all the boys in (well Coco just parked himself behind me while I was tying Maraschino up (with his nose touching me)...

so they all had a groom - yes even Coco - everywhere - I didn't comb his mane though but gave it a good itch). I sprayed them all with flyspray - yes, even Coco, then I got the massager out.

It seems it was good to just treat it like the 'next' brush for Garbo as he stood with his leg cocked (a little unsure) but not too bad at all - no flinching or jumping today.

Maraschino tried to eat it.

Coco was happy for it to just rest on him (it was going)..... he loves it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Level 3 Float loading - we got it!

I used to watch all these amazing trailer loading videos that Pat and Linda do and think - gosh that's an energetic horse, or 'they are really good at that' - never really realising that at Level 3 - that's what the Parelli's are looking for. Or - more to the point - that Garbo would ever trot into the trailer. I guess in mind my I had some fairytale idea one day in the far off distance future it might happen - but guess what - we have it! Not quite cantering in on top and grabbing the roof of the float as Garbo jumps in - but you know - we are getting there LOL.

Jane came over this afternoon for a play day and we ended a great afternoon with this (three tries in all I think and all three were pretty good) - this wasn't even the best one - he went in from me further away as well (me further out to the left).

During the afternoon we worked on transitions downwards - you know what - Garbo sends now at canter - he can't do a walk send. I am definitely not complaining! Like Jane said I think my short horse is becoming more of a medium horse.

He jumped quite a high jump at liberty which I was really pleased with (once with me asking him to).

So for Level 3 online here is my to do list;
  • Green ball on horse - friendly game
  • flag (plastic bag on end of CS) friendly game
  • downwards transitions
  • refining change of direction
  • Jumping on circle

Level 3 Liberty to do list;
  • Back up (without going off into a circle)
  • change of direction
  • transitions down
You can see the pattern here, hey!

Sending out cyber good thoughts to Cilla and Lizzie this week.
And Hana - get well soon.

Here's a nice piccy of Jane and Maraschino doing some friendly game. Yes, Russell told me last week that standing in neutral is also friendly game.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today went really well

Garbo and I had a great session today - first I gave him a nice brush (finally all his winter coat has gone) then we had some wash bag float practise - all good there.. yay, then I took him into the middle paddock which I had just mowed.

Started with my new improved back up - you know that alone makes soooo much difference to everything else. Yes, I know - how many times have you heard Pat say - the better they back up they better they do everything else..... (kah-ching!)...

Then we had some lovely sends in the right direction (the one I asked for) and we practised downwards transitions with the CS. Garbo still thinks it means go faster if I am far away so I need to watch the L3 online DVD again for that... and then some change of directions - both ways - yeeha! We got it!

Oh - at one point Garbo did such a big send after COD that the rope popper slipped out of my hand and he took off to the gate then realised the 22ft rope was chasing him - lol - he stopped and stared at it...I went up and did de-sensitising with the 22 on the ground - I must try the drag something task one day. Was wondering at the time how different the reaction would have been had it been young Mr Maraschino!

Garbo was still a little bit unconfident about friendly today (swinging rope over his back (22) rhythmically) but I took a break and let him graze the new grass I have uncovered earlier by moving the tape... then we did some more closer range transitions and I left it at that. Pretty pleased - transitions up are fabulous - I just take a deep breath, need to soften the phase for the downwards now.

Got a bit confused about how to hold the CS (if it was under the rope) for downwards - so off to watch the DVD again - that chapter anyway.

Did day three of mini massager - now when it's on Maraschino queues up for a massage - then falls asleep. Garbo still very "WTF!" Scuse my french! But I found a retreat spot (retreat within a retreat) - under his belly - his muzzle quivered a little there and he looked more relaxed. His left hind muscles above his leg were really tight so I used a bit of pressure with the massager there and I think he finally looked at it differently. NOt sure if I have mentioned the scar by his tail (in line with his tail) so I think he may have been injured with clippers in the past.

If it's not too rainy tomorrow I'll go out to Jool's for a ride. Watched the Level 3 Freestyle today too! So much to do!

When things appear when you need them...

After my session yesterday I came inside and blogged, had some cereal for dinner (lol) and read some more of the Rapport Mastery Manual. You know most of Level 3 online DVD (especially near the end) and just about all of the end of the Rapport manual is about thinking like a horse. Linda describes her horse Regalo would do things when asked - but on his own term and time. One day she watched him with her other horse Siren (the boss) in the pasture and saw Siren lunge at Regalo and bite him on the shoulder when he didn't move quick enough.

The next time she played with him and he just gave her a half hearted response she lunged at him with the carrot stick without moving her feet. She said he was kind of shocked and surprised and had a little bit of a RB reaction - so she friendlied him and then the next time she asked he had a completely different look on his face - his eyes were bright and ears forward, interested in what she was going to do next. Up until then she had been afraid to use a 'real phase 4' for what he might do as he was so sensitive. Then - he wanted to come to her - which blew her mind because she thought it would make him afraid.

I dreamt all night last night about this huge shift I have made mentally in the last couple of days. The images of the manual and the scenes of Pat on the DVD saying it too - were flashed before me over and over in my dreams - all night - and the letters or words BFO - Blinding Flash of the Obvious - kept coming to me. Everywhere I look now, on the DVDs, in the manual is the same message but I am hearing it finally.

I know now I was a carrot person - and now I am on my way to becoming an extreme middle of the roadist. I need to be consistent, particular but not critical, fair, have an attitude of justice, get firm without being mean or mad, and think like a horse! Wish me luck.

This is my savvy cat!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Look what was waiting for me today

A lovely keen horse with ears forward and a very very sweet look on his face, and he was oh so polite today. Not pushing the boundaries you know. So - there you go - I was proved wrong - well by little doubts were! Just goes to show horses don't think like humans and we need to think like a horse.

So - I couldn't be bothered hooking my car up again today and it was a bit drizzly - so I found the perfect simulator!!! The corner of the washbay - with the ball in the right corner (tack box) and the gate backwards it's a bit skinnier than my float but about the same length - and the gate goes back enough to be a great divider!

First though we did some grooming - found two nasty tiny tics. Then I got the mini massager and practised by retreating within the find a spot he was 'ok' with and go back there (with massager still going) if approaching other areas got him uncomfortable. He snorted when I turned it on so we did off/on/off/on etc for ages.... I also got some treats out and gave him one if he turned his head towards the mini sabre tooth massager.

Maraschino leaned over the yard fence and asked for a massage - I massaged his face and he was moving his head up and down to get the right sot - brave horse.

I managed to massage Garbo all over on both sides and under his belly which oddly enough he seemed the most ok with. The rest (especially his shoulders) he was not totally impressed but we are making slow progress.

Then I decided to try the 'new and improved' back up - ie correcting the crookedness with the nose not the HQ. I had been having consistent troubles with getting Garbo to back into his stall - if Zone 5 was not already parked in the gateway. I asked him into the yard, turn face and wait - then yo yo'd him out, nearly all the way - then back in - he started to go crooked as it to say - I can't - but I corrected with Zone 1 and voila - he could!

I asked him forward and came all the way out (about 6 ft from gateway) and then I asked him back from there - and he did it - I cheered!!! Cn't believe I had got off the track so much on that. Never mind - back on track now.

So - then the trailer loading simulation. I asked him in and he went in and turned left towards me - I corrected with the carrot stick (my arm) and he straightened up - then I moved his HQ over and he sidled up to the ball very nicely. I added the gate 'divider' and he didn't touch it or lean on it. I practised moving him sideways and backwards and forwards - all perfect. Then I asked him out (seperate signal - the tail as Pat calls it - the lead rope at the back) plus the rope high.

We did it two more times, one for the camera - and then he got an apple. I was very pleased.

I finished watching Online Level 3 today - so much to take in. But timeley as ever there was Pat saying - you want your horse to seek out the trailer (like he does obstacles) and willingly be thinking forward and going in (not trying to dodge it or not go in).

It's funny how you keep thinking you have nailed float loading - until Pat steps it up a level. His 6/10 for float loading is put the rope over the horses back and he gets on. Also of course your own standards get higher and you notice more little unconfidences, defiances, whatever. Like Pat says - if you're green you're growing. Positively progressive and all that!

Friday, December 11, 2009


I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.

We (Garbo and I) had a three hour lesson with Russell Higgins this afternoon. And half of it was spent on trailer loading.

First; I'll tell you why it was emotional... I had to take my human feelings and put them aside; when Garbo got scared, worried, Right Brain - but most of all - when he ended up with a teeny blood nose after a bonk on the nose with the CS. And a wee nick of skin off his foot where he slipped. I know - horses would do much worse - but he's not used to being 'beaten up by other horses' he is always, and has always been the top dog.

Second; mentally - alot to think about, tear to pieces, go over in my mind, reason it all out, think about what I will do tomorrow, go over everything a million times....

Phew - like I said.

OK - so the start of the lesson I told Russell I had some things I wanted to work on;
  • energy - differentiating my energy from on to off for say things like rope tossing from Zone 1
  • Making my phases more subtle
  • trailer loading (doing up the divider and getting more consistency)
  • Body Language - for change of direction etc
Well - of course - being a true Parelli instructor we never really got to those specific things as a whole but we worked on bits that I can only assume will lead to making the others better. Apart from the Trailer loading. Like I said - 1.5 hours.

He noticed Garbo was backing up crooked and said to straighten him by bumping his nose in the right direction rather than disengaging his HQ. OH!!! BFO!!!

He said until they are looking at you with two eyes they are not 100% with you. Yes, I know that - but these things start slipping and before you know it - you are doing it another way and haven't even realised.

He asked me to show him some friendly and I tossed the CS and string over him and he said to up the intensity slowly after finding his compfy place in the rope swinging intensity - then retreat to the compfy intensity again rather than stopping all together. He said he's been shooting a gun over the back of his young horse!

Then we did some falling leaf - well Russell did - I realised I was not putting my CS handle under my rope (swapping hands) like Pat does in the L3 change of direction, so was trying to block Garbo with my CS rather than disengaging him. I'll have to try that without the hose me thinks. I had a little play doing it with my back next to the fence.

Garbo was doing his usual - can I sit in your lap trick but after the 'new and improved' back up he stayed at a nice distance. It was so funny though - at one point Russell was showing me something and I had my back to Garbo and he snuck up behind me and I could just feel his breath on my neck, then my hands. Very cute.

Now - on the circle - Garbo starts sending himself after the back up - and Russell rightly pointed out that the back up becomes phase one of the circle game - oh YEAH!

So he said I have to pause for quite a while after each back up - before the send.

He also said stopping and relaxing (neutral) is friendly game... that's sometimes all they need.
Interestingly - Garbo tried to sit on Russells lap too so it's not a bond thing as I thought it may have been - I think it's like 'you stay on the outside so the lion will get you'. lol.

Ok - so the trailer loading - well I showed Russell how far we had come - Garbo basically got on straight away - all the way in - but then came off again nonchalantly.

Russell said I need 4 phases of phase 4...#1 was Maitre D ask - this way please... #2 touch with the savvy string, #3 bigger touch, #4 big tag.

My Maitre D ask only achieved Zone 2 and 3 in. I asked again and touched him with the Carrot stick and string and he went all the way in but then I showed Russell how he leans on the divider (massively pushing into pressure) when I try and close it.

Basically - my float is a front facing angle load and he needs to concertina himself lengthwise to be straight to move his hind end over to the right. But - he tends to stick his head and neck over the tack-box and look out the window (bending to the right) which makes it hard for him to sideways to the right with Zone 4. This also gives him extra head room. Not 100% sure that a wider float would make a difference but who knows.

So - Russell took over at this point. He had said that Garbo needs to willingly be thinking about going on to the float versus thinking about not going on. So when he was on nicely we were backing him off and walking around slowly outside (calmly) and then asking on again. He also said that he would ask him on from a further distance away but if Garbo tried to duck out past Russell he would make it uncomfortable (hard work) for him to do that.. I had also seen Pat doing that too. On the Trailer loading Savvy club DVD in fact.

So - at one point Garbo got unconfident with the forwards, sideways movements (or his lack of moving cued more pressure which made him a little RB) and he ducked out backwards fast and nearly took Russell with him a couple of times. When he did this Russell used the action of 'thinking about going in brings you comfort' - Garbo would circle Russell instead and of course this got Garbo tagged. He didn't like that and tried to circle faster. It got to a point where he nearly slipped over on the post peelings, knocked the wheel barrow over, reared, he tried every 'answer' except go in the float. Then Garbo got introverted - he got stuck - not knowing if to go forward or what... Russell did a good job of staying calm and being consistent with what he was asking.

During all the drama Garbo took a little nick out of his foot with his hoof with all his antics, and then at one point he was doing the nose, neck (maybe the feet) exit plan out to the side and Russell bonked him on the nose to get his nose straight and it sounded like a big thunk and next thing Garbo has some blood coming out of his nose. Not much - all in all I would say about 20 drops, but still - it looks bad to a human Mum. And nothing compared to a stand off with another horse as dominant as he is.

It was at this point I was just beginning to get emotional myself and about to say stop - I have had enough - when Garbo went on very nicely - promptly, and then stayed on and basically from then on shifted over at the slightest touch. We got the dividers open and closed, open, closed, now Russell worked on - only come off if you are asked to. Then I had a go - great!! I was calmer now. Garbo was covered from head to toe in sweat and puffing like crazy - we backed him off nicely and slowly and he got to have a rest and eat some grass. Then I loaded him three more times and we left it at that. He said to do it 4 more days in a row. Hopefully all it will take is Maitre D asks.

I can see now how these L4 people just point to the float and the horse runs in - the horse is thinking about going in! Not thinking about not going in!

Phew - I feel a bit better after getting all that down on paper so to speak.

I only have one photo - Garbo after a warm hose down.

When all the high energy stuff was happening Maraschino went from standing on the sidelines watching - as he does - to - I am OUTTA here and galloped away into the paddock, it was quite funny. I had the tarp out (pinned down) and as we finished he ran over it and gave himself a little fright as he did - but kind of looked at me like "see what I did? I am so brave"...funny thing.

So - fingers crossed Garbo is still speaking to me tomorrow. After his dinner I went out and sat in the paddock next to him while he ate. He nudged me gently a few times. Sweet.

Boy oh Boy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ride at Jools

Well we didn't get to Jool's yesterday - after al the rain the arena was a bit slippery - we did some float loading instead - it went quite well.

So today - I started to load about 2.30 I think, maybe 2.15pm. It took an hour and I have to say I got a wee bit frustrated near the end. He just would not go that extra bit and I knew he wasn't scared. So I made it very hard for him to be outside the float (no eating of grass or standing around allowed) and boy did we have some snappy sends and some good changes of direction - I still felt mean though - but not too bad.

I had to tap his bum and his legs with the stick to get him on completely - he didn't like it very much (he's very sensitive)....gawd do I sound like an over protective mother?

So between tapping (the way I looked at it was driving game but he wasn't moving so we were making contact - horses would do that right!). Finally - he was on. I think as soon as the divider start being moved he was freaking out a bit so Jools helped me with that when loading on the way back and it was much improved. Sometimes you just need a fresh pair of eyes.

So - when we arrived (oh we left at 3.15pm) -he was a bit on edge as there was no one else riding with us (no other horse in the parking paddock). When we got in the arena I still had the 22ft on but also had the saddle and my helmet attached to the saddle, on, and the stirrups down).. he was a bit spooky initially - spooking at dead areas on the grass - it was freshly mown so had yellow dead patches where the tires had been. For a bit there I was thinking - don't think I'll be riding today.

Jools asked if she could ride Intrigue in the arena at the same time - I said sure - good practice for Garbo. Jools was great she let me have the outside rail as she saw what we were doing.

I did quite a bit more of partial disengagement today - even a bit at canter (hell yes I can now think and canter!!). And we did nearly canter all the way round the arena!

He tends to gravitate in to the middle...wonder if that is something I am doing (during canter)...

Then I thought we'd try some Figure 8 - he offered canter - oh my goodness. Jools was pretty impressed with that and his trot - he has a lovely trot when he gets going.

I think I rode for about 1.5 hours and not all at walk like other times, lots of trot -about 60%, lots of canter (about 15% ) and about 25% walk and back up and stop. Hopefully that all adds too 100!

He tries so hard for me - he really is such an awesome horse.

We have a lesson with Russell on Friday - might do some trailer loading. I want to work on making my phases lighter- especially at change of direction.

Back to watching Level 3 - I am only 56 minutes into the online dvd. It's great.

Sorry - forgot to take my camera!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Trailer Day 2

I watched the ret of Level 2 last night and then started watching Level 3 today. It seems I am further along in Level 3 than I thought - Pat says it's excellence on a 22ft rope (and then later starting with the 45ft!)... so that's good! He says
  • "Expect alot, Accept a little and Reward Often" - so that was my mantra today.
  • Added to that "be particular but not critical" and
  • "apply appropriate pressure, and apply pressure appropriately".

Food for thought there!

So - I started with just a little disengaging the HQ and also the unravel your horse with the rope thing but to begin with keeping the rope behind Zone 5 with some pressure (thought that would help with doing up the divider in the float).

Then we went to the float and I asked him on - he went on to mid zone 3 and stopped. O pointed, then lifted the rope (didn't have the CS stick today) and then began to swing the rope, the twirled the rope, hitting the grass as an added phase if required. I had some apples up the front and he loaded in three asks, zone 1, then 2 and 3, then 4 and 5. I didn't close the divider.

I relaxed and he wandered out. This in itself is good so that he can calmly come off too not thinking he has to dart off in case I stop him getting off.

We did it a couple more times and then with me further away from the ramp. I got one of those goes on camera (we have since moved the post peelings so he now has more room to line up properly.

I let him have some grass while George and I ate a bagel for lunch on the float ramp, and then we did one more and quit for the day.

Coco and Maraschino ate some weeds while they were watching.

Isn't Coco adorable.?

Then I played a bit with Maraschino - we did some very light phases for yo you and he backed up nicely. We did some driving from zone three with the CS on the break of his withers like Pat did in the L2 DVD with Midas. He didn't love it, but no where near the reaction that Midas had. He relaxed, we quit. Then tried again after a wait. The goal was to get him in sync with me.

Then we did some lovely circles over the pole (12ft) at walk... and then I took him up to the wash bay and tried out the mini massager on him again - he let me massage him all over - even his head and face and ears!! Well done Maraschino!

Sorry - a bit slack - no photos of Maraschino - need all my hands at the ready!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Play day

After 64mm of rain this last few days the sun came out this morning and dried up all the rain - and voila - green grass!

Later in the afternoon there was a line of convergence cloud which was pretty impressive, to the East but still blue to the west. I got the barrels and tarp out and starting setting them up while the boys looked on wondering.
Maraschino was the first to investigate the tap but Garbo was the first to stand on it while I was getting the barrels. Then paw it! Maraschino then came over and tried to bite it!
I got Garbo's halter and he walked away after smelling it - so I decided after watching Pat and Level 2 of the new DVDs today I was going to be the Ambassador of yes today and be the best me I could be for him! And I was also going to trailer load practise but ask really softly and wait for him to gain confidence inside the float.
I copied Pat with the barrels alongside each other like he did with Midas - but with a gap. Garbo did exactly what Midas did! He must have been watching the DVD through the window I think. He chewed on them, pushed them around with his nose, rubbed on them, rolled them.

I made the gap smaller and asked him through them again... he tried to stick hi foot on one and then tried really hard to step through.
He looked so pleased with himself when he did it - I gave him a treat. We did a few circles at walk and trot over the tarp and through he barrels.

The we went out for trailer loading. In the DVD Pat says - don't do these 4 things;
  1. Wait until you are late for the show or trail ride
  2. Open the door and see if your horse won't load
  3. If he tries cluck him on further
  4. As soon as he is on shut the gate.
So since I wasn't rushed we must have spent an hour doing this. First I asked him to squeeze between the trailer and me before I opened the door - a few times - like Pat said, ensuring the space between me and the trailer was the width of the trailer opening or less. That was ok - Maraschino stood watching.

I asked him on from beside the ramp - he put two front feet on straight away and then stopped - so (number 3 in mind) I waited. He also said that when they are in the relax your stance. Take the pressure off.

I then asked again by upping my energy and straitening my pose, and pointing to the inside of the float - he took one more step and kind of back one sideways.
He had a good smell of everything and looked out the windows, every now and again looking back at me to ask if I still wanted to keep going.

This dance went on (two steps forward, one step sideways, one step forward, one step sideways and back - in a square.

He spend alot of his resting time yawning which I have taken as a good thing. I concentrated on seeing how small I could make the ask - after phase one point, I would start jiggling the end of the 22ft then swing it, then twirl it but it never made contact - phase 4 was I made contact with the grass with the twirling rope - he would have felt the air.

This is basically the position I need him to be in to close the divider but he couldn't stay here very long. I just relaxed and tried again. He got to this point about 4 times and then took a step back and to the right.

We had a break at one point - Pat also said never stop them getting off - they are practising getting off.
After a short break we did a few more and then we ended after this one.

It was 6pm by then and I had run out of time to play with Maraschino.

Hoping to go ride at Jools tomorrow by myself - just waiting to hear if Arena too wet or not after all that rain (they are in a low lying area).

Cancelled the beach ride yesterday due to the torrential rain!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The dreaded clipper simulation

Finally I found a mini massager (thanks Fly Buys) and today I played some approach and retreat with Garbo.

The reason I know he is scared of clippers is because he pulled back one day where I used to graze, and left us to it (disappearing off down the race to see Blue) when the lady clipping some other horses turned the clippers on.

So it's something I have been meaning to try for ages.

Well - when I first turned it on he tried to back up, snorted and tried to leave but after a bit of approach and retreat (started massaging the lead rope attached to his halter) he managed to sniff it briefly. He was really not happy at all.

After about 10 minutes he was following it ok and I managed to touch his shoulder and withers and bum with it - but he was holding his breath!

Once he licked I stopped and it took him quite some time to relax.

More tomorrow.

It was very amusing tonight at dinner time - they were all at the farthest Eastern point of the track like they were 'stuck'..I called and called but they just looked at me like they wanted to come through the taped off bit - the newly sown grass.

In the end I had to go get Garbo and he was very unconfident on the western side - not sure if there were pheasants hiding along the fence or what (it was an Easterly - we have not had one of those for quite a while).

Once I had Garbo half way round the track Maraschino made a run for it - full gallop.

Here is Maraschino and Coco playing just before then.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

They arrived

Guess what arrived today!!!

Watched Level One today and hope to watch L2 tomorrow....

Picked up a few extra things on body position during the send, and an interesting quote from Pat.

"Respect is appropriate response to pressure" - interesting....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reply from Linda

The other day after my amazing canter I emailed Linda to thank her for her article on partial disengagement - well I emailed the Head Office and said Dear Linda on the email - not really thinking she would see it - but hoping she would.

Well - today I got a reply from Linda herself!!

Dear Vicky,

Don't you just love this stuff?!! Thank you for taking the time to write to me about this, I'm thrilled to hear of your results.

I'm sure you'll get a lot out of the new levels program too - first time we've ever been able to do all four savvys, at four levels all at once. Huge :)

Stay savvy!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another ride at Jools

I had arranged to meet up with a colleague who lives locally, for a ride at Jools. It was quite a windy day but so sheltered down in the arena with all the trees surrounding it.

Garbo took 25 minutes to load, and it wasn't pretty - well not as bad as it has been in the past, no running off or anything but basically would get everything except Zone 5 in - he had a good sniff around the inside though during this time.

Since my friend didn't know where to go I knew she would be waiting on the road for me, so even though I kept saying to Garbo there was no rush - he knew better of course. In the end I led him on and ducked under the divider so I could exit via the personal access door and George did the back divider up for me. Coming home he actually loaded fine and it was Tracey's horse that wouldn't load. Funny.

Well - the ride itself was a little more tense than the other day with Bronwyn. my friend has quite a straight horse and she rode it round the arena like a show jumper does, quite alot of canter, kind of forward seat, so I didn't feel ready to canter immediately. I got on and Garbo started trotting around the rail then at the corner he offered canter - how funny.

After a while I relaxed enough to ask for canter and we did 3/4 of the arena! So that was an improvement (without changing back to trot). All on a loose rein. My friend wanted to try it too (what I was doing but her horse went right brain when she loosened off the contact and started speeding up.)

How interesting.

Afterwards we went for a small ride round the property - this is Garbo and I attempting to close the gate - we can open them ok - this one kept swinging open before I cold grab the latch.

We are planning a beach ride on Friday - I have some visiting Germans who sell my Kiwi Cowboy Courses coming over and I am taking them and Garbo to Muriwai to meetJulie with her course participant this week plus two extra horses for the Germans so that will be 5 horses all together so I think Garbo will be fine. I have not been to the beach for over 4 years, and not since starting Parelli - so it will be interesting.

I was really nervous at the beginning of the week but probably more nervous about loading so will try tonight again. Then I keep visualising a calm ride at walk and I feel better too. Fingers crossed for us.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Partial disengagement - I am in love with it

Oh this programme just gets better and better. I had great success with this today with Garbo - it worked just like Linda said it would and it was easier than I thought too!!

Went to a very cool grass arena today (and on that note yay that finally I have found an arena I can use anytime I like - no need to book and basically no one else ever uses it in the day. It's surrounded by trees but not on the edges of the arena - around the property boundary fences so the whole place is really sheltered from this annoying wind.

I was supposed to meet Bronwyn at the top of the driveway at 10am. I played with maraschino and loaded the float with my saddle etc, and then at 9.45am went to load Garbo. He must have picked up I was a bit nervous (new place etc), and he decided he wasn't going to load. It shouldn't have mattered but of course I knew Bronwyn was waiting on the road so was in more of a rush.... and he knew it! Then the neighbour teenager came down to the fence-line to go through the gate and into the paddock where he has a smoke I think - in his camo gear and hoodie. I said Hi since he was like right there but then he decides to chat and then after the chat was finalised by moi - he decides to just stand there and stare. He was kind of between bushes so it was a bit annoying - shouldn't matter I know - but it did. Today anyway. I finally asked him to move. "Do you mind NOT standing there?" I said. He goes "oh' and wanders off. Felt a bit bad but heyhoo.

So - Garbo not wanting to put Zone 5 in the float for some one point he turned on the ramp so I was real quick and backed him in there heehee. I tried to relax - I texted Bronwyn to take the pressure off - that was at 10.03am.

We were on our way by 10.07. Garbo still wasn't 100% but I decided to work on that when I have more time - I know - I can hear you saying "take the time"...but you all know what it's like when someone is waiting for you.

So - we arrived at Jools place and it has a very peaceful feel to it. Garbo had lots of long grass and carrot weed to eat while we were saddling up. I untied him to out the hackamore on and he wandered off after that while I was talking to Bronwyn - leaving Critey and us and going off to visit the other horses no less. I got him back and then he did it I had to pry him away. Garbo seems very relaxed there - as do all the horses actually.

So - we had proper rails - post and rail all the way round and a line of tires on the ground down the middle of this lovely flat spongy arena (weedy kykuia grass).

We started at walk following the rail - I tried the partial disengagement at walk and we did loads of follow the rail both ways with a few corners thrown in for good measure. At trot though he was a bit more emotional - he was a bit tense (head down grabbing reins, looking like he would buck and he did buck twice so I did the partial disengagement - OMG - I AM IN LOVE WITH THAT!!!!!!!! It was really easy and here we were feeling like we were doing fancy dressage around the arena with him facing out 45 degrees. At trot!

It turned him into this amazing lovely calm horse - and any time he got a bit tense again or rushed I just popped him back onto 45 degrees - instant results. I we made a few patterns of follow the rail at trot and he was really getting into the pattern - I was really pleased. In fact he was so calm and going so well I felt confident to ask for canter - and you know what - we cantered round the rail for about half a straight at a time - on both leads and on all sides!!!!!!!!!!!!

But BEST of all - for the first time ever I had a TRULY loose rein. I could sit back and feel relaxed, didn't grip with my legs and I didn't come out of the saddle. Relaxed - hah - it's actually a lovely gait when you relax!

Bronwyn got some of it on video for me....that's her doing the commentary lol.

Well I still have a grin on my face - I had just been saying to Bronwyn that I have not had the chance to really practise my position in canter feeling relaxed - and voila! Now I have this arena to use I know we will advance in leaps and bounds. I am going again on Sunday and then on Wednesday too.

Garbo was pretty hot afterwards so I hosed him down (I have water in my float) and we came home again - loading wasn't fabulous but an improvement (only about 5 asks).... Bronwyn kindly said she wouldn't leave till we had loaded.

Got home and the boys were waiting patiently - I had made up some food to give them as I left but in the rush I didn't - I sneaked it to Maraschino when the other two were back in the paddock. He was happy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Green Ball Day

Jane was talking about having some holes in her Levels self assessment sheets and I have to admit - I have never addressed Garbo not liking the green ball (unless it's still and on the ground) but it can't touch him anywhere - not even the foot, and you definitely can't lift it up, let alone above my head height!!
So today - starting with Maraschino I worked with the ball with both of them. I actually took Garbo for a walk first because while I was playing with Maraschino - Garbo took off at a great pace from his yard where he had been watching, when I put the ball on top of Maraschino!

So I had some treats and this made Maraschino very confident very quickly - first I rolled the ball on the ground around him and then touched his legs with the ball - slowly at first, then kind of bumping the ball into his legs, then rolled it under him. The biggest reaction he had was when Garbo took off!
So funny - scared of the carrot stick but not the green ball (not much anyway).

Then I bounced it while walking forward and asked him to follow....

Then I lifted the ball up and touched his sides, then rolled it up (cue Garbo taking off), - he was soooo good.

Here's the video to prove it!

I played with Maraschino first for a reason - I wanted to take Garbo away for a bit - since we are going out to ride tomorrow.

So - Garbo and I went up the road with no dramas

and we only had one threshold along the way - Garbo spotted the neighbours kid walking up the driveway (a long distance away) with a silver back pack on - the back pack of course nearly bigger the the kid). It only lasted a few seconds and off we went again - today on the 22ft.

He's quite confident walking out ahead of me so I leave him to it when he can and catch up and overtake if he stops.

We went a little bit further today but not round the blind corner.

When we returned Maraschino was calm - just looking out for us and wondering what goodies like carrot weed I had brought back for him. Garbo stood waiting while I closed back up the tape I had to move to get out the gate.

So - then we started with the ball with Garbo - he was not sure at all and when just following the ball being rolled around he had this big worried look - wrinkles above his eyes...

He would move to avoid the ball rolling into his foot (maybe I need a ball on the end of my carrot stick for the 45ft circle lol), and when I picked it up he tried to leave the building.

So - for you lucky ladies who have a horse that doesn't worry about the green ball - check this out...

I persevered playing approach and retreat and tried backing up to him with me holding the ball - that worked but it was not allowed to touch one single hair on his body! Maraschino was watching from the outside of the wash bay.

Then I lifted it up and put it on top of my head. I had read the article in the Savvy Times about the guy that spent ages and ages with the friendly game over the horses head or back - sitting on a fence. Garbo had a complete RB moment and tried to leave but stopped when he felt the rope - good Garbo.

I kept it on my head and Garbo just stared - wide eyed, wondering what on earth was in front of him. It sounded like me - BUT - didn't look like me.

Well guess who just could not contain his curiosity - Maraschino came bowling up and sniffed the ball on my head! I set the camera up and did it again so you could see. The wind blew it over!

Coco was never far away...