Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Don't you hate angsty blogs?

HI BLOGGERS!!! It's okay, I didn't recorgnize myself either.

Fiction is nice. Fiction doesn't force you to lead an interesting life to create subject matter.

I do enjoy writing, and I feel more like myself when I do it, but then I always end up feeling bad when I don't have anything interesting to write about. Right now, it was kind of the only outlet that felt like it would help.

Anyone remember how happy and progressive I was like 4 months ago? Riding Xena, had just gotten Firefly, doing hill therapy with Mesa, driving Charm, doing fancy online stuff with Ghost, making leaps and bounds with my skittish mare, and generally excited for life? Well I guess what goes up must come down. Not gonna lie, this is certainly not a happy blog post. In fact, this is probably the lowest slump I've ever been in with the horses. Or in life, ever, at all.

Then what's even more been on my mind lately is this ASDFGHJPOIUYTREWDFGH!@#$%^&**&^%$#@ situation with video cameras. I have been ready to film an audition with multiple horses for AN ENTIRE YEAR now!!!! Last Christmas, I got a video camera. Was going to audition. Oh too bad that freaking thing took an expensive converting cord and an obscene amount of nonproductive customer service calls to figure out how to load it onto the computer. Sooooo that didn't work. I have sitting on it, somewhere, wherever the stupid thing is, the entirety of the first night I got Xena. And like some of the next day. Haven't watched it back, not gonna any time soon, and will never be able to get it online. Public service announcement: sony handycams are crap. Well I've been trying to make some videos with my digital camera, but it doesn't work very well. In fact, it's embarrassingly bad. It uploads in .MOV format, which Windows rejects. We have an old 2007 Macbook, so I tried editing them on there. Oh, it edits them alright, it sure does. But it won't upload to Youtube. I have to e-mail them to myself to upload it from my PC (I can almost hear you laughing at how awful this is... almost), which compresses it to such a stupidly small resolution that you can't tell the horse's head from its tail and it cuts out most of the audio. Greaaat. Macbook, out.

And then there's my horses. Have I mentioned the evil demon spawn of the devil plants we have here called goat heads? Yeah I think I've complained about them before. It's like if burrs had rose thorns on them, yeah it's like that only plus artificial intelligence which tells them how to destroy things by clinging to them. They make playing with ropes a literal bloody mess, causes you to want to micromanage the rope so it won't touch the ground, and are just obnoxious. Well not only is it unpleasant to play online at all, it's now below freezing every day and cold hands and goat heads don't mix. /tangent. What I was getting at is that my cart tires popped AGAIN. So I haven't driven Charm since like October. Ohhh you think that's all? HAH.
I got sick in the end of September. I'm still sick. It's effing December. It sounds like pneumonia but doctors just give you allergy medicine that doesn't help. So Starting about halfway through October, I haven't ridden much because I feel like a corpse running on caffiene.
Firefly got a 4" deep puncture wound on her leg the day I turned 18, November 2nd. It took about 3 weeks of my sick self hauling it out to the barn twice a day to walk her, hose the leg, and flush it out with an unseemly looking syringe for that to heel up. The day - I kid you not - THE DAY I went out to catch her, planning on calling the vet to give her the okay, she lacerated the other back leg on a loose wire. Brilliant. It was about a millimeter from the lowest joint in the hock... which loosely translates to "pretty freakin dangerous." So the vet prescribed a few weeks of stall rest for that. The first week I cleaned and bandaged it every day. Then after that, I had to just clean it out and put medicine on it twice a day. You'd think that would be it right? <--- obvious forshadowing is obvious.
NOPE! While on stall rest, she got an abscess on her hindquarters. No, seriously. It burst through a bunch of muscle, and was open about 6 inches long in that big muscle next to her tail. I have never seen so far into the insides of the muscle structure of a horse, nor did I want to. While I was flushing it, I'd sometimes look at her and say, "Honestly, horse, how many times am I going to have to violate an orifice you created with this syringe?"
The tendon was healing nicely, of course vet had to come back out and remove some proud flesh. Actually a lot of it.
My vet now recognizes my number when I call after, you know, calling her twice a week at one point for the same horse. She joked that since every time she comes she leaves blood on my barn floor, she should write her name in it and say "...was here."

EMOTIONAL FITNESS IS A MYTH!!! I'm sure of it!!!! *banging head against wall*
If anything, I've proved Karma doesn't work. Maybe it's just trying teach me patien-- OH shut up.

The puncture wound is just a bit of scar tissue now. The abscess is only open about 3 inches now, and the tendon is... well okay the tendon doesn't look a whole lot better. She's supposed to regain full athletic use of it though, which is nice. If either of us feel up to riding any time in the distant future. Somewhere in there, she rubbed most of her mane out... so between her scabs and scars and such she just looks like a ragamuffin. THEN, and I nearly forgot, Xena broke out in hives again about a week before Firefly's tendon injury. Oh, and this was after she ran herself through probably the same fence that Firefly cut herself on. She still has the hives and slight scar on her chest. Allegedly, they are deer tick allergies. She looks gross. She looks like she's never been brushed in her life, the bumps under her long winter coat are just awful. So yeah, no riding for her either, even if I felt up to it. Things like this make me feel like we didn't really move to a dream ranch of any kind at all... we've moved to a death trap.

The only slight snippen of possible good news? I got accepted to Fast Track 2011 for sure, signed up and going. Possibly the worst news? I have to go to Fast Track. Wtf Alex you're insane! Yeah yeah I know. But think about... I have to take either already super emotional Xena, hope she's not allergic to the campus, and also take her from a sketchy level 3 online to a confident riding horse in 7 months, if I started today. Which I can't because we're both sick. Or Firefly from a calm confident level 2, to a proper Parelli horsey in however long she's physically sound between now and July. Freaking out? Just a little. To add to that (and I swear this is all quite actually happening) the mares we bred this year are due next June. We lost the first foal we tried to breed in 2006, and this is the first year we've tried since. I basically just want to escape, and trade pretty much anyone for their life right now.

Soooooo I've been sleeping mostly. Because there's not a whole lot else to do. I spend too much time on the internet, watching other people enjoy their interesting lives on youtube. In fact, because I realized how I need to get out more, or at least need to meet new people, I decided I wanted to start a real show on youtube because it's something non-horsey to do. So I went camera shopping. Again. It wasn't any better. In fact it was worse. I got a new camera for Christmas which apparently isn't any easier to edit on. Now I need to go be socially awkward an return it and admit to the people at Best Buy that I'm technologically inept and just want a darn camera that works! I hadn't left the farm in 2 weeks before we went camera shopping. And the last time I did was to go to the animal shelter. The only place I ever leave to is Wal-Mart or the shelter. Social life? Sounds nice. But I can count my friends on one hand - 3 I met at the shelter and they live too far away to do anything regularly, and the others spend more time flying back to Los Angeles than with me. I'm an animal person, but when your pets are the only source of entertainment for miles around, even I want to rip my hair out every time I see something with a tail nowadays.

I'm going to die alone making crappy youtube videos.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

We did it!

These past two weeks have been full of sooo much personal growth for me, it's unebelievable. I will have to come back and post all the awesome stuff I did last week, my profound life discovery, and dream catching... but right now this morning was good that even though I've only got 10 minutes I NEEDED to post!

I had an AWESOME freestyle session with Xena today!!! We started with a liberty warm-up, and I taught her the weave pattern. She offered to canter it! My little introvert found spunk! We played some porcupine games with a bale string around her neck. Then I put her bareback pad on... no girthiness. At all. Amazing. I've been riding the new horse (I promise she'll get at least a few posts all to herself lol!) and I can't believe how fast my confidence is riding has come back. I hopped up on Z, she stood there, I felt absolutely no fear, realized I forgot my helmit, got off , grabbed it, hopped right back on. She stood there for over a minute, and I let her decide when to take the first steps. I was stearing her primarily with the carrot stick, and we went around a couple laps of weave pattern no problem. We did some spirals around the barrels. She was listening and calm, but not quite with it... she kept wanting to go stay by the gate. So I changed the game.

To where I would work on improving my stop and go phases, and she could choose the direction. Clearly the gate was her comfort zone. So instead of saying No, being the Ambassador of Yes, I said yep I love gates too! I just didn't let her stand there long. Smile, squeeze, smooch if you please, tap the air, tap the hair... soon enough she was moving forwrd consistantly at phase two. When she'd stop, I would rub her, and then start asking for movement again. She got the game, and started stopping less and less, even though she was only doing small circles around the gate. I kept an eye on where her comfort zone was... which shadows and pieces of poo she would go past before circling back.
I kept up with asking for walking but being a passenger, and I noticed her comfort zone increasing. She'd go a foot past the poo pile. And then two. And then she'd go half way to the barrel. Then she actually turned away from the gate. Then she walked right where I was focusing and put her NOSE ON THE BARREL!

She was confident enough to leave her comfort zone with me, and trust me not to push her over it, and then take my idea.

When I stopped she had the most confident curious look I've ever seen her have.
It was like "Hey, where are we going next? This is cool!"
She was calm, confident, and willing.... after an exhuberant warm-up. We're gettin there!!!.
I am sooo proud of my girl. <3

Monday, August 30, 2010

Appreciate the small stuff

(just noticed this was unfinished in the drafts, so its a bit more hindsight perspective lol! but still important)

We got two new horses boarding here. Very traditionally trained, rather large, ridden English and used to show jumping. One is the spittin image of Remmer, built just like him, same color, pretty similar horsenality! He seems more LBE though. His buddy is a LBI Appaloosa. They are 23 and 30, but they don't look OR act it! They are so sweet and cute. But since getting my own place I've only dealt with my own Parelli horses, and my friend's gelding to whom I have full creative licence to play with lol.

We left them in the arena all night together until we could get the pasture fixed. The first morning after, I had to bring them into the barn to give them their breakfast before rotating them to the other pasture. By myself. My friend had helped me all weekend. I can't take one at a time out of the arena, because they are sooo attached to each other that they go totally right brain, and the 23 year old freaks out and screams. Whether there is a person connected to him or not. (1 month later, 23 year old still acts like this, he has separation issues haha.) The 30 year old isn't as worried, but he has next to no respect for my space and will shamelessly barge right past me to get somewhere. So that morning...

I haltered the older one first, shoved my way past him, and haltered the other one. He's prefected the art of using his head as a weapon, and it took me a few tries of blocking to not move my feet. Finally got the halters one them, now to get them both through the gate separately. They had other ideas. I opened the gate as far as the sand would allow, and tried to send one out. Riiiiight, normal horses don't get being sent. They both went the other direction. Just dandy. Take two. I walk out with one next to me, hoping the other would stay behind. Nooooope. They both were quite convinced that the world would crumble if they couldn't come out at the same exact moment in time. I I got sandwiched between two big horsey shoulders and scrambled to keep up with them. There's about 50 feet between the barn and the arena. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to take them just into the barn. They were ripping me in two directions as they each tried grass diving in opposite ways. Then one would get too far away, and the other would freak out and jump on top of me again. Finally we got in the barn. I tried to send one into his stall. Right, that doesn't work. Okay maybe I'll tie one up and come back to it.... 5 feet away and they both go right brained, brilliant. Ugh! So I decide to shut the one barn door that I can reach, let the 30 year old stand there, and escort the other into his stall. The moment he gets all the way in his stall, he feaks out, screams for his buddy, and dart right back out the door! Just as I'm wondering how many repititions of approach and retreat this will take, I turn around to see the 30 year old waltzing right out the barn!!! GAHHH!!!! The one I'm holding absolutely loses it, and it takes my whole body strength to back him up off of me to relieve my squashed self from between the door and him. Yeah, that was fun. Slam the door, leave him there dragging his rope, chasing after the other one "HORSIEEEEEE, please come baccckkkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Comedy of errors! I just need a video camera following me, I could be tv hit lol! So I cought him, dragged his reluctant butt back inside, and showed him his room. I had to remove the other one's halter while he was eating his grain so he would hold still.

I escaped with only minor bruising, a sore foot, and strained something or other lol. And a new appreciation for all that Parelli has done for the smallest things with my horses. I can lead 5 minis at the same time perfectly fine from the arena to their barn, send each one under my arm between me and the gate I'm holding, separately, and they are perfect little angels. They respect my space when I'm haltering another horse, and they each happily put their noses in the halter for me. And even though they live together, I can take any one of them out and tehy behave just fine. +3 points for the squeeze game, it really does make life easier! Oh, and the porcupine game, if they accidentally step on my foot or I've had a savvy bypass and cornered myself somewhere, the slightest reminder gets them away... as opposed to having to go all sumo wrestler jedi on them lol!

Some people will argue that there's no diffference between a "parelli horse" and a traditional one, as they all understand the same langueage. I beg to differ only because... although they will all understand savvy... Parelli horses are used to being handled naturally, and responding as such. Traditionals, in varying degress, are not. The next day, just because I could, I played with Mesa with just a bale string. Got her out of her stall, she stood perfectly in the barn aisle. I brushed her, fly sprayed her, cleaned her feet, cleaned her eyes, and she stood there while I was darting in and out of the tackroom for different thigs. Then she followed me just like that into the arena. I read in one of the Savvy Times' something Linda experienced with the Savvy Team while on tour. She was asking them if they could do anything really cool or interesting with their horse. Nobody seemed to think so. She asked... can anyone back their horse by the tail? They said of course they could do that. What about mounting from the ground bareback? They nodded. She had to remind them how COOL that is, and how many people can't do that!! Sometimes we do get too critical I think, on trying to do fancy things. But really, the small things that slowly integrate into our daily lives are so important. I love my Parelli horses. <3

Friday, August 27, 2010

Popsicles and carrots

It is HOT!!! It's fun to stay cool in the barn with the horses though!

Yesterday I got on Xena with my friend's saddle. It actually fits her rather well, so I'll borrow it till I get the shimming on mine figured out. We warmed up hard so we could ride soft. Even though it was hot. We played with a plastic bag, which I tied to the end of the savvy string. She hasn't seen one of those in a while. She was skeptical at first, but lots of approach and retreat later and I played extreme friendly game with it! She let me swing it above her head and over her back into the saddle. :D I got on and for the first time asked for some steering while playing point to point with carrots on buckets. She was.... well she was a little sticky. I wasn't surprised though. Turning before she was mine never was her strong point. But we've done loads of porcupine and following a feel on other parts of her body.... tail, legs, neck, etc. Just not from on top of zone 3. Insert proverbial to-do list!

I had two buckets out there, and a pocket of carrots. And for those of you who read how I nearly lost my finger from feeding her a carrot in April, I still don't feed her from on top of her. So I was chucking carrots on to the buckets hoping that she'd find them. She got most of them. Her back up was still incredibly light, so I stopped her by lifting my one rein after she had eaten all the carrots to be found. She enjoyed that game for a while. Then we both got a little too hot so I brought her back into the barn.

She wasn't perfectly light on the lateral flexion rein, so after this ride I decided that because sh'es so good with her driving game, I'd start riding her with the carrot stick to back up my ideas.

The rest of the day I gave her some carrots in the barn aisle while I sat on her back and ate popsicles to cool off. It was a pretty nice bonding experience.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Dad called the Parelli office yesterday. WE'RE SENDING IN MY FAST TRACK APPLICATION TOMORROW!!!!!!!

We weren't sure if the flex pay option had to be 4 months in a row, or if you could pay whenever, and they said whenever you're ready as long as it's payed in full 30 days prior to start of class. How exciting!

Pictures came in the mail of the new horse! It's so funny how these things work out ya know, these gift horses. And not knowing what she looked like before agreeing to take her. I think I lucked out and got one good trail horse here! I'll be able to go exploring with her before having to teach Xena the ropes.




Her sire is a Doc O'lena grandson. She's so pretty!! She gets here next Friday, I won't sleep for a week!!!

Oh speaking of riding Xena, I got on her the other day and after a short passenger ride, gave her my first attempt at any communcation from on top of zone 3... I asked her to back up. She responded at phase 1!!! I asked a few more times, and just by slightly lifting my pinky finger, she backed right up for me. What a sensitive horse. She really is my perfect partner! I can just tell, if I take the time at takes she'll be the perfect calm, curious, sensitive, dignified partner for me. And now with the new girl on the way, I don't need to rush it.

Bouncing off the walls!! Life is just too exciting!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Importance of details

Just got back in from another breakthrough session with Xena!

She teaches me something new every day. I love her so much!!
It was raining all day today, up until about 7. Nasty rain with thunder too, not the kind you go outside to play in. So I was stuck inside most of the day, answering every topic on the SC forum and looking at some Quarter Horse pics, trying to look up the new mare's lineage. (Wait, new horse!?! Bottom half of my last post, there's a story!) It's such an exciting feeling, you know that bounce of the walls anticipation! Hard to get anything done anyway. So I was looking through the SC vault videos for direction on what to do with Xena first. I've seen every single one of them on there, many multiple times. But there's always things I forget, so even the fifth time they are still fascinating lol!
The one that took me a few views to sink in was actually a seemingly simple tv episode called "Go Get Your Horse." It was centered on respecting thresholds, and not just taking your horse from a to b. Which, in a stalling situation, I can get pretty bad about. Side note: the next project is getting the back pasture living-safe with a shelter so the big horses can stay out there all the time; confinement sucks. I have/had a bad habit of just haltering the horse and dragging it out, there wasn't much communication/catching game to do in a stall right? Or so I thought. ;) Tonight it hit me when I went out to put Xena in the round pen - planning to leave her there and let her entertain herself while I went back inside - but her head was out her back window, her butt towards me, and she didn't come over when I called. How interesting! Outside was more interesting than me, how to fix that? Okay I'll stand here with the door open for a while. No response. *Close door, run into tackroom, return* ...Correction, I'll stand here with a cookie! So I held my cookie hand out and she did a bit of a double take and then came over. She ate the cookie quite happily, and when I went to halter her she put her nose in it. YES i did the right thing!

I took her to the round pen after some grazing detours. She still had a RBI unconfident expression, so I didn't want to leave her and abandon her with her fears. Played all the games online, trying to keep her attention and focus and get her to think down to her feet. I really love when she's more RBI because I understand her thought process so much better, and when her emotional changes happen it means a lot to me. So I took the line off when she asked a question going over the pole, rather than blindly bursting through it, and she stopped with one leg over it. I had some cookies in my pocket so I played some more with getting her used to noises she can't see outside of our solid round pen. I banged on the side with a stick, only up to the point that she froze, but not explode. Then I made myself visible, and when she came over I gave her the cookie. I did this first on either side of the gate, then made my way around it like I have been doing on this pattern. It's been helping so much, she rarely cares about noises she can't see anymore. Once I ran out of cookies, I went to go back into the barn and clean up before puttin her back. I looked back out the barn door and saw her doing something she'd never done before - she was walking around the edge, eating the tops of some branches that had grown over the side of the round pen! It wasn't that she had been particularly scared of the round pen walls, but now she knew she could reach over them and investigate and get food, she was munching away.

It shows how she's not an innately curious horse. She is usually just kind of complacent within her environment. The wallflower. But thanks to Parelli, I can inspire that confidence and curiousity in her, to where she can feel like she can explore even when I'm not around. Like the Katie Drake song goes, "With my hand in yours I can take on the world." Since she has both LBI and RBI days... and is pretty food motivated when she is comfortable enough to take food, my next plan of approach is to routinely take her into new and trying situations, and give her cookies any time she chooses staying LB, and getting curious, over having a RB moment. If I use her LBI side to my advantage and reward her being brave, I'm gonna have one confident horse!

New Quarter Horse gets here in 10 days. Oh boy oh boy! Another partnership in the making.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Insane weekend! Addition!!

Okay so if I wasn't so tired that I probably look narcoleptic right now, I would think I'm lucid dreaming and need to wake up.

Enjoying level 3 liberty with Xena. She is so smart! On friday, I played with Ghost and some zone 5 driving. I read Linda's "Ambassador of Yes" article and it was SOO inspiring. I took Ghost's ideas wherever she wanted to take them, and we ended up doing some finesse type stuff from the long lines! She loves sideways and halfpassing, this time she offered completely on her own to go sideways over a log with me in zone 5. It was really one of our greatest play sessions ever. Ghost looks SO good right now, shiney, slick, calm, confident. I'm just going to tape my audition this weekend while she looks so amazing, and if it takes me months to figure out how to upload it, then so be it!!! LOL! I'd love to get assessed before I turn 18 though, sheesh its been long enough.

Saturday, had a fun time at the shelter I volunteer at. It's right next to a fairgrounds that holds lots of horseshows. As I was walking the dogs, I was being a fly on the wall into the trailer/warm-up area, like I tend to do. I can pick out the good, the bad, and the ugly of the way people handle their show horses. This weekend, I don't know what was going on, but every single person there except 1 had a rope halter on. One girl as I walked by, I noticed had her horse outfitted in a parelli halter and rope. I watched as she played each of the seven games with him, changed direction on the circles to get his focus, stopped when he got left brain, and made sure he was calm before he got on. It made me SOOO happy to see that... as opposed to the lounging with whips and chains that usually takes place there. It gave me hope for the future, maybe we really can change the world. Wait, no. Maybe we really ARE changing it!!!! :D

Today, I don't even know where to start. I can hardly keep my eyes open. Got up at some ungodly hour to go to the shelter. Had an awesome time spying both at the horse show and a dog behavior class. I just love working with the problem dogs there. Anything for a cookie! Came home, played with Mesa and my friend's gelding. Then I get a basically life changing phone call. Not the first time I have gotten one of these, but I certainly didn't expect anything to become of it.

Well.... my family from Iowa called, dad's cousins, too tired to know what that makes them to me. They have been big into horses since before I was born I'm sure. I used to love to go riding at their ranch when I was little, before I even got Mesa (she was my first). I have pics of me in 5th grade going through a parade with them. They brought their horses out to CO this year to go riding/camping actually. Anyway, they are gettin older and started downsizing their horsey involvement. Earlier this year she fell off a horse, and had a concussion, which nobody wants to get, let alone at their age. So after some speculation, they are getting out of horses 100%. Said its time to enjoy retirement. When they came out earlier, they just loved our barn and our facilities. So in case you couldn't tell where this exposition was going, the phone call I got this morning was that they want me to have the one horse they have left. They love her and just want her to go to a good home, and boy is that ever an offer I can't refuse!! It's how I got the last 2 minis we got, my dog, and of course Xena!

She's a solid bay, 7 year old papered AQHA mare. She's one they trailered out to go riding in the mountains this year. She's perfectly trained, SOUND, young, well bred, experienced trail horse. You know it's funny, I never thought I'd own an already perfect plain brown quarter horse. But right now, with so many projects and animals with baggage (physical or mental), she's actually exactly what I need right now. I need to keep myself in riding shape, with a horse who I don't have to worry about sane or soundness with. She couldn't have come at a better time... this way I can explore trails, get my confidence back in the saddle, but not have to pressure Xena into being that perfect trail horse yet. I've been doing bareback passenger lessons with her and she's doing great, but now I can quit giving myself a headahce over "I have 8 horses in the barn and can't ride!!!!" (For those that don't know, 6 are minis cuz minis are addictive lol.) OH and best part, she'll be here a week from Friday. :D :D :D

Xena is of course still my main girl, and the one I'll be taking to Fast Track (fingers crossed it works out) next year. But the assurance of a good calm, YOUNG AND SOUND trail horse takes all the pressure out of Xena's timeline. Now I can take the time it takes to get her good and confident in riding so she'll have a perfect foundation for next year. Yahoo!!!!!!

Okay I'm sure I have more thoughts on this but I'm going to go sleep for 4 days now. Good night everyone! Hug your horses!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bursting at the seams!

Wow was yesterday ever the best day!

So I'll admit I had been feeling STUCKER than STUCK with Xena these past few weeks. Knowing that I won't be able to do much this winter when we're inevitable snowed in without an indoor arena. And even now I've been focusing on present-day limitations: our fences suck. The round pen is the only place I can play with her that she won't jump the fence just because she can. Our footing in the round pen and arena is COVERED in goat heads (terrible little stickers with sharp spines ALL around them, when picked up by hands will rip up your skin), and it makes rope savvy absolutely IMPOSSIBLE!!!! You try being athletic with a rope that has 5 goat heads per square inch. And then every other place on our property is grass grass grass. Xena loves grass. Not easy to play with her on it. Then there was the big scary subject of riding.... which I feel comfortable doing with her, but didn't really know how to go about it with her. Oh and then there's the fact that our place is occupied by some BIG DOGGIES that are suspected coyote-wolf hybrids, that live behind the round pen. So all playing must be done before they come out at sunset. That's hardly enough time to do chores let alone enjoy the horses. Anyway....

Yesterday my friend who is going to college at CSU came to visit me and talked me into going trail riding with her near Estes Park. Usually I don't like taking that much time away from our place with so much work to do. But I agreed, figuring I needed to get back in the saddle on something calm like a rental trail horse. Considering this time last year I was galloping windy nearly vertical slopes on an OTTB, and had only plodded around bareback since, I needed it!!!

The drive up there was absolutely stunning. It looked just like Pat's place in Pagosa Springs. BOY OH BOY I can't wait till next summer. The horse I was assigned was absolutely perfect for me - a short, fat, little dark buckskin that reminded me of Xena. Even a little shorter than her. Her name was Cisco, which I found absolutely perfect because it's the name of the buckskin from my favorite movie Dances With Wolves, and I've always wanted a buckskin named Cisco. I'm thinking years in the future when Xena is L4+ I'll get a BLM buckskin gelding and that's what I'll name him. My friend got a spunky little Arab. She likes spunk.

Our ride was up and down steeeep mountains, by beautiful lakes, and through the forest. The trail was just narrow enough for one horse, and 90% of it was rocky terrain. Sometimes huge bouldrs blocking most of the path, sometimes just smaller stones, and other times huge flat rocks going up/down the hill just like a staircase, where the horse had to navigate exactly where to place her feet. I had never ridden anything other than the smooth manicured trails of L.A., so I really had no idea what to do. I gave Cisco a loose rein, sat in passenger position, and let her figure it out herself. I thought... you know, this is a smart animal that knows her job, she's going to know where to place her feet better than I do. And, being able to tell she was a Left Brain Introvert, I knew that she'd pick the path of least resistance wherever possible, as opposed to the Arab behind us that was enjoying playing with trees we passed and I heard slip multiple times.

Even through the tight up and down rocky slopes, I was confident in giving Cisco literally 100% responsibilty for carrying me where we needed to go. It was such an AWESOME feeling, being carried up the rock steps by a calm, confident, willing horse that new her pattern. The entire last half of the trail I was speculating on how honestly, this ride gave me the push I needed to find with Xena. And the others, too, actually. RESPONSIBILITY!!!!! Even though that's a key of PNH I try so hard to focus on... there was this traditionally trained horse taking full responsibilty for her every move. I noticed how much I've been mocromanaging my horses while trying to teach them to act like Cisco. I think when I played with them, I knew in the back of my mind that they wouldn't maintin that gait, or keep that direction, or look where they were going, or stay on the circle. I had truly lost my neutral while trying to improve it! After that ride, I think I have a new inderstanding of the "Trust that they'll respond" part rather than just being "ready to correct."

When the ride was over, and I was probably so introverted in thought that I looked catatonic, I got off of little Cisco and thanked her for being such a good horse, and showing me what I want for Xena to be. I haven't known where to keep going with her, I was really stabbing in the dark. Now I have a clear image of the partner I know she can be, and I'm just bursting at the seams with inspiration! My new goal is for Xena to have that degree of responsibility, for her to be that solid of a partner, to where maybe next summer I can trailer her up to some trails and be confident exploring the Colorado mountains with her. While my friend was talking to the guide, I was staring at the rest of the horses in the pens. They were all so colorful, and pretty, and I loved watching them play and interact with each other, trying to see if I could guess a horsenality. I haven't been around that many big horses (owner of 6 minis here remember lol) in quite a long time. Friend came over and was pointing out conformation flaws of this and that horse, guessing at the mixed breeds' lineage, contemplating genetics. I just looked at every single one and thought... Oh what a beautiful horse! I love them all. Breeds, colors, age, sizes, horsenalities. I'll need a thousand acre ranch one day, because I just love every single horse I see, I want one of everything!!! For now I've just got a Bryer collection of every breed/color imaginable in my room. Hey we're all entitled to be 4 years old on the inside, right? :P
Overall it was a wonderful experience to keep me on track with my goals of being a Parelli Professional, and awaken that serious love of all things equine that my roadblocks had been hiding from me.

As soon as I got back home, I took Xena to the round pen for some liberty. Focusing on RESPONSIBILTY! For the first time ever, I got one full lap of calm, cool, collected canter from her, without getting all emotional. She was asking tons of questions! And a bunch of trot laps, with me totally neutral. AND an exhuberant, happy trot draw! And best of all, when it started getting dark and I disengaged her to bring her in, she threw in a few playful bucks in on her way to me, and came to me with her ears forward. This was huge for her RBI self. I couldn't be happier! I just LOVE my horse!

:) Savvy on everyone! And hug your horses for me!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

2 new successful rides!

One with Xena, one with Charm!
So yesterday, I had Charm ground drive a little, played some maintaining gait games in the round pen, then I hitched him up and ground drove him all around with the cart attached. He was doing SO well (okay, once he realized that running into the shafts didn't turn it lol). Once he mastered bending around the turn the proper way, I drove him through the barn aisle, picked up a shavings bag, and chucked it in! He did wonderful with his little passenger, he didn't mind the extra weight at all. Even when it got stuck on some long weeds, he just pivotted out of it and thought his way through it. Now THAT's my prior and proper preparation paying off! I'm so proud of him. Here's the only pic I got yesterday, of his shavings bag passenger. It's somewhat hard to steer a green horse with one hand, take a pic with the other, and make sure you get his face on camera LOL.... but you can see the important stuff.


His voice cues are really awesome! I wasn't sure how he'd take weight in the cart on the breeching with his first downward transition, but I asked him to trot... off he went, said woah, and he slammed on the brakes AND backed up a step like we practiced with me pulling on the breeching. Sure beats a horse that wasn't introduced to it jumping away from it. Been there done that!

Another awesome "first" of today was I got on Xena in the new saddle this morning! She didn't mind at all, and she let me fiddle with shims before I got everything right. We pretty much just grazed and walked around, but it was fun. Nice to know I have something that fits her.

Got lots more horseys to play with before I'm outta daylight!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Look who's driving!

This is Charm, my 31" tall mini boy. He turned 4 this year and met the harness. He has been doing amazingly well!! We've been playing with lots of prep work, standing still, zone 5 driving, voice cues, friendly game with the cart, and pushin into the traces.

Today he pulled it around the outside of the round pen, around the barn, and to the front pasture. At first he was confused that he could push into the shafts to move it, but before I hitched him, I connected him to a drag I made of 2 carrot sticks and some small wood pieces, he got the concept much quicker.

Tomorrow our next step is to start adding weight to the cart, and then me getting in!!







Friday, July 30, 2010

Hot stuff!

Been an interesting few weeks. Xena's pretty chill with mounting now. Haven't done much though... 2 weeks ago we lost a kitten to some strange disease that took exactly one day to completely wipe her out. So the rest of that week was taking care of the others, one went to the hospital with a fever, but they are all doing just fine now. Then the mama Pheonix dissapeared for a while, I was actually losing hope that she'd come back as I've also been dealing with some nasty run-ins with coyotes. The coyotes here are freakin HUGE. The pipsqueaks in LA have nothing on these guys. Anyway yesterday Pheonix came back.... very pregnant. Oh goodie, more kittens to take care of! We're locking them all in the tackroom at night now, hopefully the next batch will stay safer.

Also been busy BREEDING! We've got 3 mini mares bred to our stallion for 2011 babies. I am so excited! My friends and I had a lot of fun with that this month, what with daily teasing and marking heat cycles and fun stuff. We'll try to pasture breed them next year, he was pretty well behaved with them.

My little mini gelding Charm turned 4 this year, so I've started him to harness. He's SO smart, it's remarkably easy! Have a pocket full of cookies and that LBI will do everything. So we've done lots of squeeze games, reinforced the cart as a good place to be, zone 5 driving, etc. Also done a bunch of liberty work with the cart in the middle of the round pen, getting him to maintain gait and direction without having a line on him. He'll maintain trot or canter for about 5 laps now, and come in, and back into the shafts as his reward. He's really loving it! He's now dragged around milk jugs, logs, and pushed stuff around backwards with the breeching.... next step is just putting it all together! Hopefully sometime next week I'll actually get in the cart with him.

Did a similar thing with my little RBI that was "professionally trained" to drive that I've posted about before. She used to be driven without breeching, show style, and was incredibly tense. All winter of squeeze games later, and teaching her to push into things with her tail, she no longer freaks out when people get behind her, and she knows to push back into the breeching. The first time she ever wore it she hunched up like a holloween cat lol! So many friendly games later, she's totally comfident.

It's hard to find time to ride in the HEAT, or drive for that matter, but I try to get as much done as I can. I've discovered that since that breakthrough day, Xena's new favorite savvy is Liberty. Did some level 3 liberty patterns with her last night, and had it not been for the mosquitos we woulda kept playing. She now looks to me when she's scared, and she doesn't even pay attention to outside noises or other horses calling for her. I'm so proud. Now we just need to explore the trails!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another interesting ride...

Got on Xena a bunch of times yesterday. Took probably 15 minutes for her to let me lean against her left side, but she didn't mind at all on the right. Lots of approach and retreat..... but I really can't decide if I think its a physical problem or not. I know that last trainer she went to said that her back or ribs or something was out of alignmnet and that was his excuse for her bucking. Seems like quite the coincidence that it happens to be on the side you mount from, and she didn't have that problem last summer before she got sent off to him. So either
1. She's anticipating a bad experience during riding, which is easily fixable with friendly games.
2. She actually was in physical pain, (I thiiiink I heard they "fixed" whatever "it" was), and now she's anticipating pain. Fixable with friendly games and good experiences, not quite as easy.
3. Hope it's not this... she actually has something wrong with her, which is going to take $$$$$ I-mean-a-chiropractor, to fix.

I'm sincerely hoping that it's just a fear of mounting problem, not a back/rib issue. My glimmer of hope is that I think if she were in pain, she wouldn't buck and roll and jump for fun as often as she does, and that it would be equally bad on the other side.

Anyway, I took her to some grass, and mounted from both sides. I'm confident with getting on her now, so at least some good became of it. She had absolutely no reaction to my jumping on her while she was eating.... you'd think if her back hurt she'd at least flinch.

So.... my game plan for right now is to do loads of friendly with zone 3 and maybe for a week, mount while she's grazing after we play and just sit there for a while. After that, I'll try mounting in the arena again... if she still has a bad reaction to it, I'll hunt for a chiro. I need a job. >.<

(Random interjection - I was playing zone 5 driving with little Ghost the past few days, and I got her to trot half-pass on the sideways box pattern! I REALLY gotta figure out my video camera, I'm itching to audition.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I am so ridiculously happy right now I can't even describe it. Xena and I played our first real live LIBERTY sessions AND I RODE HER!

I'm quite certain that today is so far our most significant play day we've ever had. And I thought it was gonna be pretty bad. I went out to do something with Xena. Took her to the round pen. I could tell she woke up on the seriously right brained side of the bed. She was kind of blanking out, staring at things off in the distance, flinching at little things. She rolled and jumped around a bit, but that was it. I could tell she was an "un-exploded bomb" just ticking to go off. The boards on the round pen are still up, she can't see out. Recipe for disaster right?

I guess playing with her directly after I've finished my coffee is a good thing, because I had a wonderful idea. I KNEW she needed to run around, but I didn't want to be connected to the explosion on a rope, yet she tends to crowd to me when she's spooking while loose. So.... upon noticing she makes quite an effort not to cross the ground poles most of the time, I made a square of 4 poles and a trash bag right in the middle of the pen. I got in it, and sent her off running. Our send is gettin pretty good, although it's probably because she was full of pent up energy, but she took off at a trot on phase 1. Cantered if I picked up the stick. Then she spooked at something, snorted, up went her head, and she was galloping around me every time a cricket chirped. Literally. So I said... you know what, keep running! And she came VERY close to me... but she didn't cross the poles! I was out of harm's way (out of her hind legs' way!) inside my little safety box. Every time she'd lose focus on the circle and try to look over the corral, I started with my phases to ask her to keep going, eventually making this a quick 1-4 to get her attention. She quickly got the "I gotta keep and eye on that nut" game. Then she did a funny sort of escape attempt I believe where she'd do 1/4 of a lap, then dart past me to the gate. No changing directions Xena, I added more pressure for her to speed it up if she wanted to go to the gate. After a minute of that, she was spinning little circles at the gate, not knowing where to go... I mirrored that until I got her attention, and then calmly asked for a circle. I'd only come out of my box if she broke to a walk or looked at the invisible monsters on the other side of the fence. Eventually she was doing lap after lap of good, solid trot, without paying any attention to anything else. Which was impressive because at that moment I noticed there were 2 of the neighbor's dogs running loose right outside, but I kept her focus through it!

Once I was confident that she was good and calm, I invited her in. She came, put her head down, sighed, licked, chewed, and relaxed. I think I just officially became more important than the fear. Then I was enjoying not worrying over her stepping on the rope, so we started some liberty. She backed away for a second and rolled, AGAIN! She was REALLLY coming off the adrennaline, she has actually never done that in the middle of a play session before, so I felt great that my strategy worked. Once she got up, I gave her a carrot, and we had our first real all 7 games liberty session. 7 games in 7 minutes! Even sideways with no fence!!!! I figured out our sideways problem - when she's against a fence and I yield zone 1 first, she just thinks I'm turning her that direction. But without the fence, z1 then z4, she went sideways beatifully! I even got 2 steps from zone 1!!! Couldn't be happier. I squeezed her between the fence and the trash bag, and she yielded perfectly both directions. She was a little skeptical of standing on it, but after a bit of friendly, I could put it on her back and she'd stand on it just fine.

I felt amazing about that session, like she's never so much surrendered to the idea that she doesn't have to take care of herself when I'm the leader, that following my suggestions is the way to save yourself rather than acting like a looney. Sooo.... I grabbed a bareback pad!!

I put it on her at liberty. I didn't want to make her hold still, I wanted to test myself to see if she really would accept it. She was less than willing in the beginning, but lots of retreat and reapproach, and I could throw it on her from any angle. Cinching was another story. She threatened to bite each time I messed with it, so it took a while to finish that politely. But I knew it was the threshhold that she NEEDED to be pushed over, the "look I'm doing this politely, and biting me won't make it stop." I checked out lateral flexion, good from both sides. I walked her up to a bucket, leaned over her for a while. If I went too far too fast, she let me know and was out of there. But I could tell this was the perfect opportunity to just push myself to get on her for real. More than just standing while she's eating, a real ride. I kept putting her back by the bucket, leaning, then getting off when she relaxed. Soon I could jump on the bucket, swing my leg, and put my whole weight on her. All I had to do was that final step of actually sitting on her. First time I think I forgot to breathe, jumped up there, 3 seconds later bent her and got off. *Whew* I'm alive. And she still hasn't moved. Okay... I can do this. If I back away from the edge of my comfort zone now, I'll just make it smaller, I know how to keep myself safe here, I can do it. Threw my leg over and got on.

I went right into the pushing passenger position, and just sat there, half expecting her to put me in the dirt straight away. Breathe. Her ears were locked back in the RBI frozen stance. I think I looked the same! The longer she stood without moving, the more my fear level dropped, dropped, then eventually left. Life is timeless with her, but I'm sure we stood there for a matter of minutes. Her ears started moving around the longer I sat there not asking her to do a thing. The beauty of our partnership is we have similar thoughts on threshholds... once we're there, it gets boring really fast. "You bored yet?" "Yep." "K lets do something." So she walked off, and I sat there letting her march me around. I haven't actually sat on her while she moved since California, and I believe that was August, so nearly a year. I forgot how SMOOTH she was! It's like riding a sail boat.

She stopped at the gate and we stood there for another matter of minutes, both keeping one eye open towards the other's actions lol. She slowly left the gate, lots lots lots of licking and chewing and sighing, and started meanderring around the pen. She put her nose on the ground like she was looking for another place to roll, and then decided against it. We went back to the gate to watch the kittens play for a bit, then I bent her and got off.

BEST.DAY.EVER! We both crossed about a million of our most important threshholds today... together. I'm proud of us.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

This is from last week, but I finally got around to finishing it. It was such an amazing experience I figured I'd post it!

Just got in from playing with Xena. I'll be licking and chewing over today for quiiiite a while!

I know Parelli says horses are our mirrors, I never quite understood the multitude of how much that meant until now. Exposition: I guess I've been a touch "difficult" to be around the past few days, stressing over random things, and taking it out on my friends, trying to not care and just keep moving forward with the horses. There was somewhat of an issue with one of my friends... it probably can be described as a B**** fight, but at least on my end, more a LBE fight where I was participating for the sport of winning (LOL! Only teenage girls capable of that?)and not really caring about the outcome. Ended up friend was still pretty mad at me by the end of it. What I'd usually do with that is forget it and go jump on Mesa to gallop around bridleless for a bit. That isn't happening, so I try to use the cool part of the morning to accomplish another saddle lesson with Xena. You know, calm and therapuetic like. HAH!

So I take her to the round pen, she seems calm enough that I don't need to let her jump around before playing. So I try to move her around before thinking about the saddle, probably the only savvy idea I had all day!!!!! I have my head in the clouds, a headstrong attitude, and am still humming Pink's I wanna get in trouble, I wanna start a fight. Funny how horses pick up on things. I go left, Xena goes right. I say stand still, she moved. I say cross the pole, she says karate kick the pole. Although I constantly conciously know that everything this horse does is an affect of something I do, I am wondering why she's trying so hard to be bad. She was "spooking" at invisible objects. I could literally see her jumping around pretending to freak out, but staying surprisingly left brain, almost LBE on adrennaline. Not normal for her at all. I try to focus her random bursts of energy, but she runs to the end of the line and blows herself up, then stands there calmly with a funny cheeky look on her face. I said outloud to her "It's almost like you're trying to start a figh---OHHH!!!!"

I stood there for a minute, shocked at my new revelation, staring at my horse who was staring right through me. She was mirroring me! She had the same dominant moody playfulness that I was experiencing, and it was equally abnormal for both of us RBIs. Everything started suddenly making sense.... like why sometimes this one very playful Arabian I used to ride would constantly engage in bucking fits with me, no matter the tack I used, and she didn't do it for anyone else. She'd pin her ears and crowhop each time I asked her to do something, but her expression was otherwise playful, not right brain or angry. And why when my friend first discovered that her dad got a new girlfriend and was steaming, the normally calm school horse she rode reared, spun, and tried to dump her. And why some days little arthritic Mesa would leap in the air at her own shadow, and leave me flying that kite all over the trails. Awesome!!!!

So I unhaltered Xena, and went in to the barn to go chill with the kitties and figure things out. It was funny because I wasn't angry at myself or the friend, but I had to get rid of the "bring it on" energy I was toting. It was getting hot, so I probably shoulda cooled off in the house, but I stayed in the barn and pondered the situation. Heat makes everyone lazy. Once I had come to a place of being much more calm about everything, wanting only to have a nice quiet session with my introvert, not a big dusty fight, I went back over to the round corral.

I must have been quite obviously thinking about how I didn't want to do much moving around in the heat... because I couldn't get her to move!!! AT ALL!!! She was solid as a rock and I felt like I had to keep waking her up to talk to her. Mind you, this is maybe 15 minutes after she was running around like a mad woman. I laughed at this and grabbed some carrots and did a little walking stick-to-me. Perfectly in tune with me, whaddyaknow.
Even if we don't always get the horse we expect, we always get the horse we need, huh! I'm sure once Xena's taught me the proper path to emotional control, my friends will thank her.

Till then, I probably oughtta meditate every day before playing with her LOL!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer fun :)

Xena has a bunch of really large spider bites right now, so I've just been hosing those off a few times a day and taking her grazing. The hose is under a shade tree with a bunch of grass - she doesn't object at all!!

I think there is tremendous hope for Mesa and I.... SHE GALLOPED to me in the pasture the past 2 days!!!!!! She eagerly leaves her gelding buddy to come play with me now, and... well... she's galloping! She is still underweight and a bit stiff, but she is improving tons with being able to be on pasture for about 3 hours a day (working up to all day), and my new super old horse feeding program. Mom says I've turned the feed room into a hippie pharmacy with all the stuff I'm feeding her, but OMG it's working! She isn't stocking up as much when I take her out in the mornings, she's gaining some weight, her coat looks better, and best of all she's actually digesting her food!

Sugar finally let me touch her back right leg. That one's been a long time coming. I am SO excited.

Everything's going quite well! Gotta go finish hosing off horses in this crazy heat!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Guess who's wearin the saddle!!

All dressed up and nowhere to go! See see, doesn't she look cuuuute in it!

(Oh, and those are bug bites on her shoulder, no longer hives, yay! I need to buy her a fly sheet though. In other news I ordered an air pad today, but we used this old fleece thing to play with.)

Today was all about 7 games with the saddle. She was awesome! I let her investigate the saddle and pad for a while, and paw at it. We practiced some circling, letting her stop at the saddle. Since we did the work with the rope around her enough, she had very little reaction to actually getting cinched up. Course when I went to stand next to the stirrups I practically had to promise her that I wasn't getting on, and she was very clear she didn't want me to. But it wasn't about the saddle. She's good at being RBI and freezing, and I see how it was easy for her early trainers to sneak stuff on her while she's pretending to be calm. It's equally easy for anyone to blow her up, so I had to be careful to not approach any more until she un-froze. She has a good poker face (lol!) but it's her all-revealing tail that I tend to watch. There was one point I was standing in zone 3 and it was sticking straight out!!!! I got rid of most of her tension with a little "saddle? what saddle?" attitude, and kept her moving her feet. It took some convincing to teach her that she could wear the saddle and walk at the same time, but soon she got it. She makes me laugh. Then I put the savvy string around a stirrup and waved the stirrup and fender all around, making noise, throwing it up, letting it flop on her, until I got all the reactivity out of her. At first she'd freeze for a second, jump into a quick step or two, freeze again. By the end I could rattle it around all I wanted and she was calm. She definitely didn't think she could trot with it on, but I got 2 whole laps of trot within a few minutes! Guess that's how I could tell she was mainly RBI today... she doesn't do trotting when she's LBI!

To finish off, I put my foot in the stirrup and jumped up and down a few times both sides. She was a little resistant at first, then she realized that's all I was going to do and she quit caring. Can't wait until I see it blow her mind during our first pushing passenger lesson, when she learns that riders don't need to be micromanagers!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Deworming is FUN

Yes that's right, I said deworming day is fun around here.
Yesterday mostly the only real play I did with anyone was with syringes. I grabbed some maple syrup from the kitchen and some applesauce and headed to the barn. My little mini Charm has always been perfect with medical things, I never even halter him to do it. Most of the others I can do with a rope around the neck. Princess wasn't too happy about it, but 4 syringes full of good tasting stuff and she was less skeptical. Ghost loooooved the maple syrup mix!!! So after playing with that for maybe 5 minutes, I can walk in, give some from the good syringe, then the wormer, then some more of the good, and she's totally happy, relationship intact, and healthy horse. That was fun! Mesa was skeptical of the syringe, but she's good and usually tolerates it without any fuss. I got the wormer in her no halter as well. But i think to get her to actually like it, I'll keep playing with good tasting stuff. Our little stallion Freedom is notoriously awful, but I do like playing with him on it. We got to where I could get the syringe in his mouth without him striking, so I decided to play some more of these friendly with the mouth games before actually worming him.

Xena is a bit touchy about her mouth anyway. I tried a rice bran alfalfa mix, but she was just not having anything shoved down her throat. I decided I certainly wasn't going to push this, so I made it a game like everything else we do. I call it "What can you do to make the syringe dissapear." I had a small empty 20 cc one to work with. First I offered it to her to snif it, and she went the other way. Someone has clearly fouled her into it, so it's my current goal to get it done with her permission. I followed her around until she looked at it, and then I'd back off. If she either put her head down or toward me, the syringe and I walked backwards. This got pretty good until she was offering lateral flexion to keep the syringe away LOL smart horse! Then I upped the anti a bit and started to touch her wherever she would let me with it. I scratched her neck with it, rubbed the sides of her face. Then if she actually put her nose on it, it would go away totally and I'd put it behind my back. Pretty soon she was touching it every time I offered it to her. Then I started rubbing her forhead with it, working down towards her mouth, and releasing if she put her head down. She did amazingly well with that, because she realized that she could control its actions. Pretty soon, I was sitting on a bucket with her head down next to me rubbing her face with it. I rolled it all around her mouth, under her chin, inside her nose, and then I'd stop whenever she let me put either a finger or a piece of it in her mouth. After just a few minutes of this, her head was close to the ground and I could put the syringe in her mouth and she'd just half close her eyes as I rubbed her face.

I decided that was more than I expected so I just quit there, quite proud of my smart girl! I think we'll do a week long program of this, maybe one more day of it being empty and then I'll try to see if she likes honey. Hardest part will be getting something she likes in there, the picky little eater! Eh, there's no wormer in the wild, she'll live a week without it lol. I'll do the same for Freedom and Mesa until everyone is confident with taking it at liberty.

I've seen people with a bunch of horses to worm end the day with broken cross ties, upset humans, and hard to catch horses. Thanks to Parelli, I left the barn smiling and laughing about our fun new game, can't wait to try it again today! Then I'll continue our other programs of friendly games with tack and scary noises outside the pen. Thanks PNH, for making every day a good horse day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Xena, meet tack.

Yes, indeed, that means Xena and I got to play with real tack today! Progress is fun!

After a bit of a warm up, I layed a bareback pad and cinch on a bucket in the round corral, and hung the bridle on the fence. We played driving game/touch it on the end of the 22' with them. She spent a lottttt of time investigating the pad. I carried it around a bit, then put it back down, and it was like she had to check it out again every time it moved because it might just be different now lol. We played the same with the hanging bridle. I put some molasses on the bit. She wasn't to sure about the taste but she took the bit just fine. I guess I'll find out what she thinks of molasses when I try again tomorrow!

We did a ton of approach and retreat with the pad and cinch. We've been doing some with a rope around her and she's done pretty well. At first she was RBI and zoned out most of the time, did the tongue sucking thing for several minutes before licking her lips. Then with more retreating and reapproaching she was blinking and chewing and blowing constantly. We tried a few circles after I took it off, and she felt like being LBI. I got one step my first send. 3 my next. She cocked a leg like.... I don't feel like moving. Bipolar horse! I laughed and did a little of lead by the legs to take advantage of her calmness.

So I was going to end the session there, huge success. BUT THEN (there's always something isn't there!) she went RBE x 1000000!!!!! Ugghhh I hate when that happens. My dad had come to mow the lawn, and although she could care less about the lawn mower, she lost it when he walked around the back of the round corral to check something out. Remember our round corral is 6' solid wood so she can't see out unless she tries really hard. She heard those twigs snapping under his feet that she couldn't see and I was afraid she was going to crash through the walls! Rear-buck-gallop-snort, lather rinse repeat. I had him stop walking and come pet her, that helped for a second but when I turned around she took off again. He walked away so she stood still for long enough that I could make an escape. I hope one day I'll have enough savvy to do something about it, but our tiny round pen just puts me too close for comfort to those flailing feet.

I went out and started walking around snapping twigs until it appeared she had calmed down a bit. I was going to take her out when I heard the noise again... this time coming from a deer 15 feet from us. She flipped out again at that and snorted for several minutes. Mmm.... tripolar horse!!!

The obvious solution is take out some boards so she can see out, which I plan to do. But the discovery of her fear of the unseen is just to big to pass up. The boards shall stay until scary sounds outside aren't an issue. Oh boy!

When I put her back, I walked over to the giant branch/twig pile and stomped on it. No reaction. I walked off and she followed me across it herself!!!!! The snap crackle pop didn't bother her when she knew what it was coming from. FASCINATING!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good horse day!

Yesterday was SO much fun!
I got past many milestones that I had been putting off with Xena. In the round corral, I played a bit more with lifting her feet, and got her fronts at liberty. Her back feet we are playing the "kicking the carrot stick doesn't mean you get out of lifting your foot" game. We played on the 22' line, and she felt so good that I was confident in taking her to the big arena.

The big arena's fence is barely 3' high, so I've been worried she'll jump out just because she can. And last time I attempted this she got realy right brain and snorty. This time, she was totally confident! I know last time she was probably feeding off of my nervous energy of trying to let her graze but frantically avoiding the kick zone. With the 22' line, it didn't really matter which grass pile she followed lol! There is pasture all around the fence line, so of course she was sweet on the rail. Once we had done a couple walking laps, I tried put your nose on something, and she missed the targets multiple times by trying to pull me towards the grass. Passive persistance... pretty soon she understood that after she finds the target, we can go graze. Once she found every bucket, two cones, and a trash bag, I sent her over the fence, and she nudged the little plastic holders that used to be connected to electric fencing... like "Hey, I found something! That means I get to eat now." And then put her head down to eat. :D I laughed out loud at that one.

After that, she stayed totally left brain! In fact, was a downright LBI! Luckily I had carrots in my pocket. We did a few circles, and turned those into weaves, until I got one perfect pattern with her focused on me. She is getting SO light on the halter! There were a few times where a loud car would go by, or she'd spot some monster off in the woods invisible to the human eye (lol!), or a plane would pass, and she temporarily tunes out. This used to be a precursor for the snort--buck--sustain-an-injury pattern. Yesterday it only took the lightest of bumps on the halter to get her back to earth and back on her job. Responsibilty has done this horse well! At the end of the session, she gave up on fighting with the fence to get a few grass blades, and actually left the rail to get a forhead scratch. I love my horsey!!!!!!!

So it got me thinking... I have such a strong mental connection with her, communication is nearly effortless, she's so much like me... It's impossible to have a bad horse day with her. Yes, Parelli people are supposed to be like this with ALL horses, and I'm working on it, but Xena just can do know wrong. There's still some dust with the others. Haha, Xena's the only one to give me a debilitating injury, and I still think she's perfect! She is teaching me to love everyone as an individual though, rather than letting the left brain antics drive me nuts! I dont wanna jinx it, but I got a feeling that level 4 with her is more than a distant dream.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Movin on up!!!!!

I've decided that Xena and I are well into level 2, because she's smart like that and remembers everything we played with before her hives came. After watching the new Level 2 DVDs, I have some level of confidence that we can get through this pretty quickly. Funny, after watching the online levels 1 and 2 the past few days, when the clip stopped, it left me a feeling of "...that's it?" It was like there certainly wasn't any new info in level 1, and level 2 was the same thing only with a longer rope and obstacles. Because they are my friend's, I brought my notebook with me to take notes so I can return the DVDs to her quickly. I think I wrote exactly one thing down, and that was "remember your body blocks." So out I went with my 22' rope to the round pen with Xena. I tried to think of everything Pat did with the grey demo horse on the DVD. Low and behold, there were some things that weren't as easy as they looked. We had fun playing with those. You know, maybe that's all level 2 has to be... longer ropes and better sensitivity. I'm feeling so much less restricted now!!!

I fly sprayed her, brushed her, and cleaned out her front feet at LIBERTY for the first time!!! I'll admit that since she kicked me, I've been hyper aware of when I'm in the kick zone. She picks her back feet up WAY high, as if she's going to kick, exactly like she did before she actually kicked, so the rest of the feet cleaning session was teaching to lift them by tapping with the carrot stick. I'm quite grateful that the carrot stick is the length of her leg. I hope someone thanks Pat for that lol!

Anyway, the majority of today was spent hanging out with her and thinking about when I'll ride her, how I'll do it, and that (knocking on wood with fingers crossed!) we might possibly be somewhere like level 3 before winter. In my mass confusion of how the whole levels thingie worked last night, I went on a youtube rampage. I looked at what I could find of old school Assessments, people resubmitting failed tasks, and then compared it to the new one. WOW am I glad of the new standards!!!! I was also looking through 4 and 5 year old Parelli Forum posts, and saw how the whole tasking thing got some people stuck in level 2 for an embarrassing amount of time. The good thing, though, was that I got to see some of the things that were once Parelli signatures, that are now excluded from current material... i.e flank ropes and Cherokee bridles. The tasks were difficult, I could see, for some people to accomplish, depending on the horsenality and personality match. But I like seeing what they were, just to play with them for fun. The youtube videos of how LIGHT some of those old level 3 horses with just 45' lines around their flanks were responding, made my jaw drop. In any case, the new formatting seems SO much easier to get through. My friend who is just beginning said she hasn't even watched the whole new level 1 DVD, because there was so much information being presented at one time it was overwhelming. Well, I guess then this new shorter version would certainly fit her best! No telling how slow she'd go with the old level 1 lol! (although I do wish that somewhere they would include the bottle simulation from the old level 1 on communication - that was priceless!!!!)

In other news - I'm having issues with playing with Mesa again. NOT, by any means, because we aren't getting along. In fact just the opposite - we are enjoying level 3 liberty and she's THE horse I can't wait to finish breakfast to play with... but lately she's dropped some weight, her joints crack, her back is atrophied and hollow... and I kind of feel bad about asking her to move around that old, decrepid body. Is that like ridiculous? I know I just had that awesome ride with her the other day. And if you close your eyes, she feels great to ride. Plenty spunky. She's just having old horse problems, not digesting her food, even though I'm pumping her full of double what the others get, it just comes out mush and she stays thin. :( Perhaps I would feel a bit better if she could have 24/7 pasture, guess that means I gotta fix the fence. She's so arthritic that I feel bad playing with her, yet I'm paranoid she'll jump a 3 foot fence. How hypocritic is that! LOL.

Life would be perfect if fences fixed themselves, there was a Miracle Feed for old horses, and back legs didn't kick. Hmmm, I spose emotional fitness is learning how improvise those things hahaha.

Savvy On everyone!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Problem gelding chapter 2

Yesterday I played with my friend's gelding again, this time in our big arena that is surrounded by food. He was a bit skeptical of me at first, so I took it slow playing 7 games with him in the middle of the arena to create a bit of rapport with him. Because Xena keeps teaching me how important that is. Once we had the games going well, emphasis on friendly, I decided to ignore the food and put him on a pattern. I need more obstacles in the arena, but for now we have 2 small cones. So I sent him on a figure 8 around those.

At first he wasn't paying any attention. He had focused all of his attention on the grass on the other side of the fence. Our direction changes were like fighting the tide. But it actually surprised me as to how quickly he noticed we were on a pattern. Within just a few repetitions, I didn't even pick up the stick and he looked at the cone and did a tight circle around it! Then I sent him over to the grass to eat... because he's allowed to eat if it's my idea lol!

I let him eat while I did a simulation of this with my friend. I was her naughty horse, and she had to make sure I stayed focused on the pattern, and teach her when to stop. Takes a bit of rope savvy, that pattern. We grabbed her horse and I first did some put your nose on it with him... I think he must have some emotional attatchment to food because he's always nervous when I take him away. I asked him to snif the first cone, he did. I asked him to snif the second cone, and he sniffed it, licked it, picked it up, and tossed it! RBI victory!! Then I felt he was confident enough for his unconfident owner to play with. As she was learning the mechanics of it, dropping the stick, accidentally missing the cone, circling, forgetting to disengage... he began to think of the grass less and less, and I had her quit when she got one successful figure 8, with him totally focused on her. Then I had her send him back to the grass.

By the third time, as soon as she started walking back to the cones he picked his head right up and offered to follow! I let them end on that note (and because it started raining) to go grazing.

It's moments like those that remind me that no matter how frustrated or stuck I feel with my own horse, this is what I want to do with my life.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reading the situation

I've been making as much progress as I can lately, weather permitting. A tornado warning every other day is less than helpful. Anyway, I had another epic realization the other day that I felt like writing about.

So my friend recently got her first horse - a ranch broke, calm, RBI gelding. He's the type that had no relationship with people, but is just a little angel. He does it all without objecting, and if he's scared his eyes just get bigger and bigger, but he won't move. He's quite literaly the perfect horse. Welllll....... he was.

He has a foot injury from someone improperly shoeing him before she bought him. He's such a little love though, when we went to try him out, I rode him up and down hills and trotting in circles, and he just trudged along with a slight limp. Anyway, she basically gave him 2 months off. She did a little bit of Parelli online level 1 with him, but she took multiple trips back to LA, his foot was still sore, so it was prettty much minimal. He basically got brushed and spoiled with cookies. The other day she got a saddle, and his foot is fine now, so we decided to see how he would do. He was a BRAT!!!!!!! And you know, those ranch broke RBIs are usually the type that you can let sit for a while and then pull em outta the pasture, and they are still perfect. On the ground when I went to back him up, he bit me! Every time! he's totally nippy now. When I got on him, since there is food outside the arena I didn't exist. He tossed his head any time I picked up the reins, and started spinning around to avoid my legs. He pulled the reins out of my hands multiple times, and he was just all around awful. He did the same bareback, so I'm sure its a relationship issue rather than saddle fit. She got the widest saddle she could find, and it fits him beautifully. I'm jealous! Anyway...

It took me 10 minutes of phase 1 cues to back him into the stall and keep my limbs attatched. His even more of a RBI owner pretty much threw the rope in my hands and backed off. It felt like playing with a problem horse. It kind of reminded me that when your horse spazzes out, all bets are off, all previous reputations no longer apply, and you just adjust to fit the situation. The next day I treated him like I had no clue who he was, brand new horse, and did ground work in the round pen before saddling him. I guess it was just that little bit of moving him around to re-establish the missing leadership. And the fact that there's no food in the round pen. But he was perfect! He was listening to me every subtle cue. He didn't test me once. So I felt confident to put my friend back up on him... and she said now there's the horse we bought! Funny how that works.

I see this lesson seeping into my own life as I adjust to fit situations with people, without regard to any preset expectations. I think that's why my circle of friends keeps coming to me for help. I mean lord knows I don't know more than any of them about life, some are even older, it's just the Parelli pschology + being present with people that gives me the right perspective. Horsenality/personality info and everything... when you can be 100% present and truly analyze what's going on, you can react appropriately. Hah, adults are people who practice making simple things difficult. Perhaps Parelli studies keep you forever young? :)

Xena's hives have been totally gone for 2 weeks now. I'm thinking it was the shavings, because they cleared right up when we changed her to paper. She's been running herself around in the round pen every day. I'm pretty much going over old material with her... I haven't quite decided why. Maybe because I'm afraid to get hurt if I expect her to be calm with something that she's not, and partially because level 2 is the one level that I've only ever blindly groped at, never had any specific study. It seemed easy enough, as it was with my other 7 and the thoroughbred I took to level 3. It seemed like just the empty space between levels 1 and 3. I can't even tell you when I really "did" level 2 with Ghost, or Mesa. It just came softly without fumbling and getting stuck and nervous. With Xena it just seems so confusing because there's a higher bar for her. WIth my others, I just wanna have fun with them. But she's got to be "my" horse that is attatched to my name when I become a Parelli Professional. I have to take her to the ISC to study with. She needs to have a perfect foundation. I can't be expecting to ride with Walter Zettle and then pull a a dragon out of the stall one day. How RBI am I, staying still rather than moving forward to risk failure. My friend with the above horse is bringing over her level 2 today, so I have a map. I have the new level 3 and 4 that I've been using on Mesa and Ghost. Hopefully I can fill that gap quickly, because when your horse turns around to push the round corral gate open with her butt, you know she's done the same patterns way too many times. LOL!

Between tornado warnings today, I took her to the front pasture to get rid of some of the grass that very picky Mesa left. It was so peaceful I lost track of time, out there in the field leaning up against her, like time no longer matters. I always feel that way around her. When it's just the two of us, we are the only two creatures in the world. She's kinda magical. I love my horsey!!!!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Long overdue update! NEWS!

So I guess I lost track of time and haven't said anything in a month. Don't worry followers, you haven't missed a thing, I haven't done anything significant in the way of playing with horses. In the past few weeks we just moved out of the boarding barn with Barn Nazi in it to our own 17 acre ranch. Xena's hives are touch and go. Here one day, gone tomorrow. We spent the last month experimenting and experimenting with hay/shavings/food/stalls/... etc. Still no definitive answer.

Mesa on the other hand is doing awesome!!! She's galloping around and enjoying life. Her leg has healed from the injury, her ankles haven't been as swolen as usual and I WILL get her in shape enough to film those darn auditions this summer if it's the last thing I do! Most people sincerely under appreciate the blessing of a young, sane, sound partner!!!

Those of you who have been following for a while may remember that when I got Xena I made sure she didn't get to have contact with other horses in the beginning so that she'd pair bond with me, instead of another horse? Well I sure proved that theory! The day we moved them in, I put all 8 in their stalls and was so exhausted that I just went inside and fell asleep on my matress on the floor. All I did with the horses that day was feed them. The next morning when I went to take them out, Mesa's threshhold was opening her stall door, and Xena's was 3 feet out of the barn. Both flew around like kites on the end of the rope. It was a smidge of a downer, knowing I must have looked pre-level 1 simply trying to save myself from flying hooves of wide-eyed monsters. Emotional fitness? I'll admit that at first I took it as a personal insult that my horses were so herd-sweet that even my play time + the endless supply of grass was less important than being in a stall with the others. I thought, Xena's never gotten attatched this bad before, they don't even like each other, why doesn't she see ME as her herd already??

Eventually I figured it out, and the problem was that I was being more of a caretaker than a partner. See, I had 1 safe area to play in, it wasn't really fenced so they all had to be on leads, in was 3 feet tall so the biggies could jump out, so I had 8 horses plus 2 dogs to play with on ropes every day. All I did was try to give each one a turn for exercise, and move on. Well when you drag an introvert into a new place, tell her she doesn't have time for grass, then start pushing her around in circles, she's gonna explode!!! Why on earth I didn't think about the rapport that I needed to build first to be able to properly get her moving I don't know. Chores make people direct line that's for sure! In Mesa's case I hauled the extrovert kicking and screaming away from her herd, stuck her in a scary pen, and told her to listen to me, when I was the least of her priorities. Of course she blew up and went RBE and couldn't wait for me to put her back. After that I took small grazing trips with each of them. I took Mesa out to eat the grass just out of the barn, and around to Xena's window, then back inside. Outside by her stall. Little farther away. Back inside. Eventually she didn't even want to waste her time going back in. I repeated the process with Xena. No, not going - where are we going - grass - grass doesn't matter - where's Mesa - I don't like this - we're gonna get lost - grass - stall - why back inside? - going out - I dont wanna - Mesa!!!! - grass, grass, grass is good - back inside - but the grass is outside - let's go outside - let's go that way - let's find Mesa - there she is! - don't bug me I'm eating - hey slow down - why are we trotting - we're trotting to grass, good idea - I like this grass - no not going back in, good grass over here - trotting again? - hey even better stuff over here - alright where ya wanna go - shade and tall grass, sweet - wait wait don't put me away - hey where are you going? - *whinny* - what about our grazing adventure? .........aaaaand so Xena was now finding me a herd leader and more important than noisy clingy Mesa. :D

Yesterday was an awesome day. I played some seven games with a bucket with her. She was calm and it was a hot afternoon, and her hives were down, so I sat on her while she grazed. She's gotten used to me doing this now, she's so comfortable. Can't wait till we actually move. Just gonna take a bit more mutual trust. Probably more from me than her at this point.

Macy has been awesome. I rode her bareback for the first time seriously doing anything since before winter. OHHHH that canter! Smoooooth as butter. She was listening to every subtle cue I could give her, even some things I didn't remember I taught her!

And the kitties!! We ended up bringing home all 6 kitties, and they are quite comfy ruling the barn! I just love the Mama. We named her Pheonix. I get so distracted doing barn chores when the 5 little puffballs climb in my feed buckets, jump on the broom, crawl up my pant legs, do sommersaults in the barn aisle... awww never a dull moment.


This is the front arena/pasture, going to be Parelli Playground.

One of the 10 back pastures :)





If nothing else, the sunsets make it worth it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


So a little over 2 months ago, this gray and white cat starts hanging around my barn. We board, she's one of the resident cats, but she decided that she wanted to be in our little barn rather than any of the other larger 3. She'd come in every night while I was feeding the minis. I'd shoo her out, she'd run out a stall, and then come back in through the top door while my back was turned! Eventually she started following me around each time she saw I was about to close the barn up, and she'd stay in every night.

I didn't think a whole lot of it until I noticed she was getting incredibly fat. Barn Nazi thought she was getting into my grain bins. I said unless she got opposable thumbs and figured out how to open tupperware I think not!!! Then she got pretty big and round, we all decided she was probably pregnant. (No duh, I say now... there are 8 adult cats that I know of, 3 are females, NONE are fixed!!! ) Mama cat dissapeared for a few days, I wondered where she went. Nobody saw her for over a week until...

I went to go get a bridle from my tackroom, my friend and I looked at each other and almost simultaneously said "Why are the walls meowing!!??!?!"

She'd had the kittens in my tackroom!!!

She left them in this hole in the wall of my tackroom until Barn Nazi found them, so she had to relocate. She then put them in the hay barn behind my pens, and I didn't see them until a few days ago when...

I went looking for them because the barn owner offered me pick of hte litter (and if they stay here they will breed their father and produce more inbred little kitties!) so I tried to find them. I shine a flash light on Mama once I find her behind some pallets, she comes out, leads the kittens out one by one, waits until they are all to me, one is in my lap, then leaves!!!! Like "Whoo my babysitter showed up, now I can go!" They were almost 5 weeks old then. Mama cat is so cool, I think we've really bonded. I'll be sad to leave her when we move in to our place. This has turned in to a daily experience - I go over to the hay shed, she comes out, soon as all the babies come she's off to go eat.


These are the two females I'm taking home: The gray is Piper, and calico Pumpkin.





This little dude, we are also taking home. My friend fell in love with him and she's paying to get him fixed, so she gets to keep him on our new place too. This is Pipsqueak - otherwise known as "Squeaker" cuz when you cuddle him he squeaks. He's always the first one out to crawl on our laps.


This one we call Tater Tot because she's so fat she gets stuck in the boards of the pallet.

Another adorable female


Oh and for those interested, Xena's hives are dissapearing!!!!! I just might get to actually play with her soon!
Mesa's leg isn't swollen anymore so once it's clean enough to give her a bath so I'm not riding a muddy mess, I'll try her cradle bridle.

I'm a kitty owner! I'm now a real ranch person, lol!!! Guess I need a blue heeler next?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Confidence in the driving horse

With Mesa lame and Xena's hives not quite gone, I've been using the time to play with the minis. I got Ghost back in the cart for the first time since before winter - so much fun! The indoor arena was footed soooo deep though I didn't make her pull me, she was struggling enough to drag the cart lol!! Also been playing with some liberty with her and teaching her more patterns, she's so smart! I want soooo desperately to submit a video to this month's Savvytube contest, but my video camera and I just have a personality clash! But if we can settle our differences before the end of the month to the point where I can edit some things, I will definitely send one in!

Fancy is the RBI mini that was trained to drive by a professional predator who really messed her up, and it's taken me all winter to get her confidence. This 32" tall mini just about took me sand skiing the first time I played friendly with the stick and string. She was really nervous about things touching her hind end, so before, she had been driven without breeching - the piece of harness that is the cart's brakes. So she was really anxious in the cart, and I had no clue how to teach her that things touching her butt were okay... especially since if she's ever going to be a safe driving horse, she needs to be able to push into the breeching and stop the cart. And then....... it came to me!!!

Upon watching David Litchman's video on how he helped a student to develope his horse's confidence in zone 3 by making a touch-it game from zone 3... I transfered the idea to Fancy's zone 5.

First I got her yo-yo working realllly well. Then I got her to back up this little dirt hill. For a RBI she's pretty food motivated, so I added treats when she did in confidently, and that really sped up the progress.

Then I got her to back up into something until her tail touched it; I started with this mounting block. First she was crooked and all over the place, thinking that I was asking her to navigate around it. Imagine her surprise when she got a cookie for accidentally bumping into it!!

Principles before purpose, purpose before goals.... I finally get what that means now!!!!!!! Principle - getting Fancy to push her hind end into something. Purpose - the horse understanding there is a reason behind doing what she's doing... in this case I gave her a purpose of pushing the round corral gate open so she could go roll and play in there. Goals - eventually getting her confident in the cart's breeching.

Then I got her confident enough to push through this people door to get into the big barn - confidently!

And then she also has issues (like introverted J in the tail every time issues) of people standing behind her withers and trying to ask her to do anything. She even clamps her tail and flinches if you brush her tail. The good thing is that she's pretty much a pattern-aholic. She's a pretty extreme RBI, and a total wallflower, so once she gets the pattern and knows that what she's doing is a right answer, it very quickly becomes a default behavior. So then what I started doing was put a voice cue "back" to it, and then asking her to back into stuff from zone 2. Then I tried it from zone three... calm tail!!! Then yesterday when I was brushing her, I turned around to clean out the brush, and she backed into her stall door, then looked at me like "cookie??" YES YES YES!!!! It's a default behavior!!

Next step, zone 4, then 5, then breeching!!

Life is good.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chalk up another roadblock

So Mesa has been absolutely wonderful with her new glucose meds. Three days ago I was playing with her on the 45' line, doing some really awesome level 3 stuff. Finally! Ground skills!! Two days ago I got one really great, awesome ride on her, playing with bridless stuff, bending with just my legs, some patterns. Boy was it good to be back. Then the next day I get my stuff out, plan to go play with her and........... she has a huge gash on her leg and it's bled all the way down to her hoof, streaming blood all over her lower leg. Wonderful! Eeeesh. So I get that cleaned up (which she didn't particularly enjoy) and spray some silver stuff on it, and tell the barn people to leave her in for a few days and not turn her out with the other horses.

The next morning what do ya know she's outside in her pen. Great. No, people, she probably hurt herself on the broken pipe out there, and I don't want her rolling in dirt - leave her in!!! Sheesh. Can't wait till we move into our own place!

So that makes Xena who got 1 ride and then broke out in hives and has been sitting since, and Mesa who got 1 good ride and hurt her leg and has been sitting since... my luck sucks right now! Oh well, it means I can focus on playing with Ghost and not feel like I should be doing anything else with the big ones. Been focusing on getting the minis back driving. Ghost has been doing wonderful. Boy I love her. And I get to spend some undemanding time with Xena. Yesterday I went in with her and sat on a bucket. She came over, and pressed her forhead against mine and just stood there the whole time I was in there. I miss playing with her! I love this girl so much. At least I have a chance to keep the realtionship up, even if she may not be learning anything new.

Another huge break-through: Sugar chose me over the herd last night!!! In her stall, she left her stall mate to come get haltered. Then when she was out with Princess - her own daughter - she let Princess run circles around her while she followed me at liberty. What a wonderful feeling!!!!

Things aren't moving fast, but they're moving. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A few more hills to climb

As if my being one-and-a-half-handed right now wasn't enough, Xena has hives! She had them for a few days a week ago, but they left by the time I rode her. They are back now, worse than before. *sigh* if only I knew what she was allergic too. I haven't been able to get on her, or do much with her at all. She isn't feeling up to much, just kind of itching and feeling sorry for herself. If I touch the ones on her belly she gets very mad, and she threatens to bite if I'm standing by her back touching them.... like she's warning me if I sit on her or put a saddle up there it'll be the last thing I do lol!

Well it throws a wrench into a few things, to say the least. I hope they go away soon so I can start her riding developement. Hope it doesn't mess up our time line too much. But it has given me plenty of time to play with the others and not feel like she's missing out. On that note, Ghost finally layed down next to me and let me pet her while she was down last night! Ahhh I love that girl. Got her a new mini-size RBI myler bit so we can try some driven/long line finesse. This'll be fun!!!

My friend got the new levels pack, and she's out of town right now so I get to DVD-nap them. I have finished the Level 3, and it cleared a lot of things up!! Checked some stuff with Ghost, and tried the Liberty things, MAN was that fun! I think we found a new favorite savvy. Can't wait till Xena reaches that point. Yes, go ahead and laugh that my farthest developed horse is 35" tall. The Level 4 Liberty bit was.... inspiring x 1000! So many wonderful things. It also gave me the reassurance that yes, it's okay to look messy when teaching something. In online, Vanna gets all tangled in the ropes, hits the end of the lines, gets confused, but he just kept going until she walked along calmly. It was one of those "shoulda seen that coming" things... of course the first time you try zone 5 driving, you aren't going to gallop between barrels with flying lead changes, when you learn... it's okay to look like you're learning. Duh!