Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lesson with Tori

Luckily I dodged the rain today for my two lessons with Tori at Crescent.

I started out talking about my goals for 2014. Level 4!
I just talked out loud really and what came out was that I didn't think garbo was the horse to be able to bridles riding on. Tori disagreed. Sure he has his own opinion - but she said she saw no reason why he can't do it.

So - we started doing some. I used my carrot stick savvy string as a neck strap but it was a bit short which meant I had to lean forward. So I'm going to check my other savvy string which is hopefully longer. So I had to walk and trot and only use my body and the neck strap to turn, and stop.

Well - it wasn't perfect but I learnt something very important. My focus is not strong enough. Garbo actually is very responsive to what I do - and what I don't do. As soon as I had a really strong focus we got a circle on trot. And it felt amazing..

Tori had a big talk to be about how I can now trust Garbo  he's a different horse now, he's not the same horse anymore - and he won't hurt me. So my mantra for this year has just been formulated.

We then did a little Game of Contact and I was so happy that Garbo is feeling better again. Those abscesses were a real pain - it's been going on since October. Felt good to have my horse back that's for sure.

Then came Maraschino's turn. Same thing - focus and a little bit of leadership on direction but avoiding a brace. We also worked alot on mounting, on both sides, until he stood still, then until he didn't put his head up. Worked a treat.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Linda's Rider Makeover Clinic Day 1

Well - one of my goals got ticked off this month.

To ride and be taught by Linda Parelli.

I had it on my goal list since about 2010 and I had no idea how it would happen. That's the beauty of goals and writing them down. :-)

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

I arrived in Sydney on Day Two of Pat Parelli's Clinic in which my lease horse was in with his owner Christine. It was pouring with rain so I unpacked in my hotel room and waited till the worst of it went through.

Once I drove to Camden the rain had passed and I stayed dry - it was just quite cold - I needed two jackets - crazy for November in Sydney.
Pat Parelli Clinic Sydney Nov 13

I met Christine - she'd had a great time in the clinic and once it was over they took Boaz to Cobbity for me - with me following.

I got to know Boaz a little more once I gave him some dinner and tucked him in for the night. Christine was great and said "just treat him as if he's your horse for the weekend". Of course the hardest thing about coming to these clinics overseas os that you don't have you own horse and you kind of wish you could - but that's life so you make the most of learning what you can with the horse you have.

Day One arrived and i was out at Cobbity by 6.30am to give Boaz some breakfast and have a ride and play before the clinic started (and everyone arrived) - 100 auditors were due. I had a play and he seemed quite right brain but really quite good considering he was in a new arena, had been in a new stable, and now had someone new playing with him.

I played touch it mainly to get his confidence and show him all parts of the arena and I quickly got on before we had to meet for the briefing and to meet Linda. He seemed very different to ride because he was so small compared to my big warmbloods but he didn't spook or do anything nasty so my nerves settled - I wasn't nervous at all about the clinic - more about not knowing what to expect from riding a different horse.

I suddenly realised we were meeting without the horses so quickly put Boaz back and set my saddle etc up ready next to the arena, just in time for the start of the briefing. Linda decided to separate the groups into introverts and extroverts which I was happy about.

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

What I was also pleased about was that the introverts got to go first! As you can see it hadn't warmed up a whole lot!

We did some simulations first to "feel" the differences and then Linda asked us to warm up our horses and get on when we were ready.
Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

My notes (which I scribbled down at lunch time) were this on Simulations.


  • Hold hands and walk. Tighten fingers, hand, lift hand up, tighten shoulders. See what it feels like to other person. 
  • When walking turn shoulders so feet follow. Don't lead with your feet first. 
  • Resting hands - use a savvy string and a human horse. 
  • Then clench a fist and stand side by aside and rest your forearm and fist in your simulation partners forearm, they should be able to move their arm up and down without losing you. If they do you have too much tension in your fist and not enough in your thumb. Strong thumb and elbow, soft fingers and forearm. 
  • When holding reins hold with thumb on top and soft fingers, hold rein with thumb.

Warm up to get responsiveness

Then once we'd warmed up our horses Linda asked to play with one of them to show us the difference in a good warm up compared to just practising the alphabet - so many of us just do circle game and it bores the horse. 

My notes for this part were as follows;
  • Warm up to get responsiveness don't just do do the alphabet. Ie circle game is e e e e e
  • Isolate halter for lateral flexion on ground
  • Do bit simulation
  • Will you stick to me? Where are you, without looking at horse, if not at shoulder, turn the other way, and look at his end looking long way around, then lift carrot stick and tag hock till horse at shoulder again, phase one is start to look around. 
  • When Linda played with LBI she said ask a teeny ask and if he doesn't respond bite him and say good boy. Tag the better be gone from that space. 
  • Back up for LBI wiggle very little then bite him. 
  • Sideways at trot online. 
  • Will you go forward off lead? No? Tap on elbow. Coming towards you. 
  • Match your horses energy.
  • Look for expression.
  • Bring back often.
  • Wait for mind. 
  • Don't put up with a chain gain trot
Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

Then it was time to get on!

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13
I have to admit it took me a while to venture down in front of the main section of auditors lol, I stayed down in my safe end doing my own little approach and retreat. Our task was to ride freestyle and not use the reins unless our life depended on it. Secondly to warm up riding forward - none of this chain gang trot nonsense. She wanted the horses to relax my going forward. To lose tension by going forward. She pointed out one of the larger geldings was making a squeak from his sheath/belly area which Garbo can do - and someone just told me it was a gelding thing - well  - Linda said it's tension - and sure enough once relaxed, the horse stopped making the noise. 

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13
Then next Linda had us doing windmills to get our seat more solid and our lower leg more stable. Both sides and both directions. Then we also had to turn by having airplane arms and turning our arms and shoulders to turn not using reins. Must admit there were no collisions - pretty amazing that a whole clinic of horses can all be in the arena and no one is touching the reins and no one collides. 

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

These are my scribbled shorthand notes form the riding section. I feel sure there was so much more I just didn't hear because you're so focussed. 

Riding notes from Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic

Warm up forward till horse stretched neck and head down. Freestyle.
Stand up in stirrups hold saddle till you are more balanced.
Windmills both ways.
Weight stirrups to turn - no reins. Test at freestyle before you pick up contact.
Turn shoulders and head together like you have side reins on your head to your shoulder. Test.
Match your horses energy.
Don't go faster until you get responsiveness.
Get horse to go off energy not legs.
Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

Try leaning forward, try leaning back.
Both arms out at walk while riding and turn shoulders and weight stirrup to turn, get this before you pick up reins. Then with arms down try in trot.

For a bigger trot, move forward on the rise more.
To get better movement in the trot Tap introvert on the should every three seconds without being harder. Don't put up with a chain gang trot.

Energy for transitions. Walk in body. Trot in body without riding. Use calves not heels. Tap on shoulder every three seconds.
Rising trot - think about coming forward. Keep your bra dot and belt dot equidistant while coming forward, don't poke bust out. Make the angle in your hips when sitting, straight when you come forward. Belly button back to remove hollow in my back. Move whole upper body forward as one unit.

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

Using a casual rein, ride forward into hands, then soft energy to downwards transitions. Don't sit before you walk from trot. Match energy, get in harmony with your horse.

  • Spiral in when getting impulsive, then when calm spiral out again and go back to pattern.
  • In trot use weight in stirrups and shoulders to turn.
  • When standing in stirrups in warm up think about knees behind you.
  • Stand up in stirrups. Think about weight in knees then sit down. Most people when they rise their knee comes up then so do their heels.
  • Trot the neck down in freestyle.
  • Squeaking belly (sheath) is tension.
  • Warm up on loose rein so they learn to relax and use their bodies properly. Teach them to use those body properly themselves. Don't correct.
  • Do transitions without reins to get connection.
  • Use calves not heels.

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic Sydney Nov 13

Downward transition. Chin up. Chest up. Get stretch and transitions in freestyle before you start finesse.

If you tend to lean forward, use backwards windmills.
Dominant horses that boss others when riding are not thinking of you as a leader. Bother him on neck with reins or stick to say HEY.

If horse falls in on shoulder, weight outside stirrup. Weighting outside stirrup on a turn pushed outside shoulder.

  • When horse audibly breathing with each stride it's on the forehand, more forward. Then that will stop.
  • If one ear is lower, take more contact on that side. Or less on high ear.
  • Too low - too little contact.
  • Horse chomping on but you are going too slow.
  • Squeaky belly , more forward, you may be holding him back. (Oh yeah that's me and Garbo)

That was it for the Introverts - we got to go have lunch and then watch the Extroverts in the afternoon. 

Linda Parelli's Rider Makeover Clinic Day 2

Day Two of Linda Parelli's Clinic started a bit later - we had a wee sleep in. 

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

I arrived after getting a soy latte on the way and cleaned the gear, fed Boaz, groomed him and took him for a graze outside - today was warm!

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

Then we warmed up using the techniques we'd learned the day before and hopped on once we had a responsive horse - that's all you are looking for with and Introvert most of the time.

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

Once on board we also warmed up by riding forward. I felt I had more trust in Boaz today and could trust him to ride forward and that he wasn't going to do anything silly. He spooked a little at the umbrellas along the side of the arena but nothing too bad - then at a little girl. Linda's advice was just to keep your focus - don't let the horse distant you from your line or what you are doing (maintain gait, maintain your line).

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

About half way through the session I asked Tori to help find me a stick - the carrot stick seemed to big for Boaz. And I'd left Christine's lighter one in the float. Once I had that it was a big improvement because Boaz had a tendency to stop or to slow down so this meant I could ride him forward more to get him to use his body more. Today was Finesse. So we started with casual rein then moved to light contact. 

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

Riding lines...rhythm and tempo.

Visualise a line, look between your horses ears and stay on that line, don't look round the corner. Look at your line. Do circles, changes of direction and figure 8s without losing tempo or rthythm...same speed. Soft touch, me don't worry about the body just the nose on the line. Keep the reins connected, no floppiness.
Hold reins with thumbs, move with shoulders and elbows. Soft fingers, releasing fingers when allowing a stretch. Turn with your shoulders. Melt down to a walk, keep the feel with your elbows. Look through ears to see if you are on your line.
If they lean on your hands don't pull, more hind leg action. If a horse looks like it has shorter front legs than back legs it's lost the angle in its hind legs, it can come back.
In a crisis...(example was the crowd clapping) stay focused and stay on your task or line. Stay the leaders your horse gets scared.

Riding hind legs up to front.

Hold front feet still, walk hind end up to front feet, feel what you are doing in your body, energy in seat, engage seat but sit tall.

Laterals in finesse.

Weight in stirrup of direction you are heading in rhythm with the horse, weight, weight, weight.
Haunches in / inside stirrup
Shoulder in / outside stirrup


Sit up straight. Shorter reins. Don't lean. Look in the direction you are going. If you find yourself leaning reach out with the hand in the direction you are going to grab a glass of water.

Only use your calf, and tap what isn't moving with your stick. Only use heel as phase 4. Keep the neck straight, put weight in other stirrup. (Direction of sideways)

Not like this photo but it shows the grabbing of glass of water to correct the lean (it didn't "feel" like this lol.

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

All in all a fabulous two days - I of course could have had more but that's me - love learning and practising. Time to head home and soak. 

On the flight home I got an upgrade which was great because I could spread out and write notes while I ate lunch!

Linda Parelli Rider Makeover Clinic - Vicki

Thanks to Boaz and Christine - couldn't have done it without a horse! And he was so calm and cool. And thanks Tori for encouraging me to do the clinic.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ride at home

Since Maraschino has been home I have been playing with him every day and when I do that he's such a fast learner. He was much more relaxed today despite the rain this morning and he offered to get but on the pedestal. Now this is no s mall pedestal. It's a filled tractor tire!!!

This was just as he was getting off.

Soon after this Michelle arrived as she had offered to ride him for me. She was happy with what she saw I'd done after seeing him canter and trot, and she hopped on. It started raining!

She did some lateral flexions and disengaged the hq. Then we got him hooked on to me to get him to go straight instead of what he seemed to like to which was going round in circles. He had a couple of frights but she's super cool and calm and one rein stopped him. We observed that he almost gets so fixated on something he's concentrating on that he momentarily forgets he has a rider, then gets a fright. She just walked today but he went really well. It was bucketing down at the end so it was challenging for him and he did really well.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Maraschino's weekend workout

I spent the weekend and Friday getting Maraschinos confidence and curiosity back to where it should be plus advancing all the games and pre-ride checks. He's very good at staying focused in me now rather than getting distracted. I did two sessions a day. In the AM we did sending to obstacles and walk trot and canter with the saddle on and stirrups down. He didn't blink an eyelid.


I also put the bridle on for the first time, starting his bridling training off well by getting him to have his head low and seek the bit. He spent the whole time chewing the bit but I think he likes chewing on things. I did the bit simulations for contact and also lateral flexion like Linda showed with Hot Jazz. I also did some liberty in the pen with him. Little more difficult to get the HQ to move round than the FQ.

In the afternoon we did circling with me on the barrel, walk trot canter and change of direction then figure 8. By the end of tonight he was trotting and cantering quite relaxed then he did figure 8 at trot. Cool.

Then I got up on my huge tyre and did some work from up there, getting him to stand for mounting, do figure 8s back toe, and lateral flexions as well as HQ disengagement. Lots of relaxing and rubbing too and head down....I'd spent the middle of both days this weekend watching all the RBI DVDs again.

Taking the bridle off the normal way (not undoing the buckle) made him out his head up tonight so we worked on that till it was good. Lots of yawning after that.

I got Tori's Tshirt's nice.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Maraschino coming home

The crash test dummy aka Taryn has exams this week so she won't be available to ride Maraschino till later next week, and the girls are away all weekend at a clinic so I bought him home! It's so good to have him home, and Coco agrees.

I took Garbo down there and went for a ride first, then loaded Garbo and then Maraschino. He practically self loaded! Off we set home. They both travelled well and Maraschino didn't poop!

Here are the boys on camera on the drive home.

On arrival he tried to rush off before I had undone the barriers so I asked him forward and to wait. Off he came and then I unloaded Garbo as well and took them both to the wash bay. I put their covers on and then gave him a big scratch. He yawned some big yawns and then I put them in the paddock. He walked around checking all the poo piles and the new rubber in the round pen all while eating grass! Think he's enjoying the space!

This is a rainbow on the way there....down our rained quite heavily just before I loaded. We need it so its good.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Maraschino's first ride out - 2nd time round

So I'm going to call her the Crash Test Dummy - but her name is Tarryn and she is one cool cucumber and a great rider, and lovely person - great with the horses... the girls get her in for the first rides...

Before she arrived Michaela had done some ground preparation with the flags - he thinks he's pretty clever now with the flags. Any sign of lameness was gone so that was good.

Then Tarryn checked him out on the ground, bumping stirrups etc, disengaging the HQ, they call it rolling over the HQ. Then she hopped on and basically did exactly what Parelli peeps would do which was lovely to see. One rein riding with just the halter and lead rope and tossing from side to side, lateral flexion alot, disengaging the HQ, lots of rubbing.

The new kitten was watching him go round the round pen with me.


Tarryn was really good with Maraschino and I liked the way she was with him, really patient and so confident.
Michaela was there to drive or send from the ground if needed. Or to move the HQ, or move the FQ.
At one point she was trotting him round the outside and touched him on the rump with her hand and he did a huge scoot and tucked his bum under him - she just calmly asked him to a stop with one rein with no change in her voice what so ever while she talked to him.

Then she asked for canter and he managed 1/4-1/2 a lap before he got a bit worried and started bucking - not big bucks, so Tarryn asked for a one rein stop and it took a while for her to get his head (they don't use the power position like we do) - he was pretty worried with the whole canter-buck-emergency stop - she ;et him ret for ages and you could see he was busy processing.

She trotted him again both ways and stopped nicely before getting off and by then he was licking alot  - I was really happy with the whole session.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 3 & Maraschino doing well

Maraschino had a session again today and he at one point had the lead rope kind of stuck on the saddle horn therefore asking him to bend laterally - he kind of panicked a bit and then it started to rain and he over-reacted to everything because Michaela's rain coat was making funny noises. So it was a while before Michaela jumped on.
She amazes me - she gets on and off from the ground!!
Then she added the flags and he cantered around the arena with those...I think he's going to be pretty easy going at the end of all this because they certainly cover all bases.

When she was on she mainly did FQ and HQ yields and not very much just forward...
Afterwards we shooed the cows on the way back to his paddock - that was fun.