Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lately the Weather Has been SO BIPOLAR...

...And consequently so have I.

Good song by Relient K, by the way, I just wish I were sunny with a High of 75 at the moment, not looking out at bad weather, feeling like crap myself. I have no reason to be feeling like this other than the fact that I'm getting over the worst cold I've had in several years. But that's no matter, I'm GETTING OVER IT. I'm just feeling oddly down on myself, I think that it's probably a combination of being sick, and the fact that it's been gross out for two days straight, as well as being overly stressed, not seeing NEARLY enough of my horses, and dealing with negatively minded people. To quote Linda Parelli: "Fran, I'm still really not sure why you let other people twist your adrenal glands." and you know what Linda, you're absolutely right, I have no idea why either. Don't worry, be happy, I guess-haha Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow.

On a different note, I went up and checked in on my ponies today for the first time since the move on Wednesday, and everyone seemed happy. I can tell you right now that Crest is THRILLED to have his play buddy back, he and Biscuit were beating the CRAP out of eachother, romping in the mud as I got out of the truck. Oh my, they're silly...boys will be boys, especially when they're LBEs in need of entertainment! They're so much fun to watch, I want to take some photos sometime, they're just a hoot.

I briefly rode Prinny bareback and bridless, traversing the mud and schmuck back to the gate only though. She was so sweet, I did notice one thing behaviorally. I went to hope on her from the hay feeder with no Carrot Stick or anything, and she immediately pulled her head out of the bale, sidepassed up to me, and waited for instuction. She turned off focus, and hopped into a nice little canter over to the gate. My once "dullblood" LBI is so sensitive, and I LOVE IT!

Busy day tomorrow, got a couple of lessons, and work training, should be interesting, I'll report on the lessons tomorrow, I have a new student :)

Savvy Out!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Movin' Day

Well, finally moved my ponies to Richard's after discussing it for a couple months. The move went well, Both horses loaded pretty well (Crest came flying out once because Princess decided to be a dork and turn around, which scared him)

Everyone settled in and loved the lush beautiful pasture, I cannot wait to start to clean the place up and get it looking nice, as well as build our arena. It'll be so great once all that is done...

Finally, I gave a lesson to Knight's little girl, and he was GREAT. He and Phoebe looked 100x more together than they did last time she had a lesson, in late December. Knight's turning better, moving off her leg better, stopping and backing much lighter,and Phoebe's much more confident in the saddle and on the ground. They're great! Can't wait for another lesson!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In Your Shoes

Well, I don't have too much to report today, the most I've seen of my horses this week has been editing video in class. Kinda depressing, but there you have it. The life of a high school senior.

Anyway, I made the following video as a project for class, I'm really proud of the way it's turned out, and it's gotten me thinking about just how much Prin and I have grown this year. Before November 2007, she wouldn't back up by her tail consistantly. Now all I have to do is becon with my hand, and she'll move whatever zone I ask for in my direction. Princess started to offer sideways towards me in fall 2005, but recently has just decided that she can do it perfectly in both directions now. And finally, the close range circling game...haha...that was RANDOM. I didn't ever work on that with her, and this one is proof of progress. She just offered it one day about a month ago, and does it consistantly now. Anyway guys, please watch and enjoy, critique, comment whatever...I love my horse.

Fran and Princess: In Your Shoes

Monday, April 14, 2008

Tales of an Extrovert

Oh dear me.

Played with Crest for a short time today. My horse is SUCH an extrovert, its amusing. Played for about 5 min on the ground on the 12' line, doing some circling, and a little bit of jumping, then hopped on. LBE extrordinaire, go figure, I could just FEEL him wanting to kick up his heels and crow hop, what a dork.

Did some random patterns, etc, doing VERY well, working on energy and transitions, etc. Then I rode to a corner to work on backing without reins (usually does pretty well without the corner, but it was convenient-lol) and Crest the RBE made a very brief appearance. I don't even know what it was that spooked him, but he wheeled out of the corner in a 180 fashion, and I was *almost* left sitting in midair, quite amazed that I stayed on actually, anyway, I was basically clinging by my inside rein (one rein stop) and my leg that was barely slung over, but I crawled back up and all ended well.

I quit on a particularly lovely trot-halt transition just off of energy, snuggled a little, and quit for the evening. Oy...extroverts.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Two Times a Cadillac Is"--Oh yes...indeed

Well, I'm officially emphatuated...There was an ad on the SC forum several days ago for a free Left-Brain Introvert Mare within an hour of my town. I'm not usually a sucker for free horses (I pay for it all, so anything extra is a NO NO), but I have to admit, this mare has got me considering at least a train and sell prospect. Here's here "info":

Name: Two Times a Cadillac Is (Aka Cadi)
Gender: Mare
Breed: APHA Breeding stock
Color: Sorrel
Markings: 4 white socks and a stripe/blaze
Height: 15.1hh
Horsenality: Moderate LBI I've been told

Here are a couple photos...I'm still in the "decision making" process, but if all works accordingly, I may have her by May, I'll be SURE to keep updating.
A very cute face
Confo one side, and reaching for a cookie methinks-hehehe
Now she's REALLY reaching for that treat...silly LBI <3

Okay, done gushing, I'll keep ya'll posted.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

"If you're REALLY CONFUSED, grab your pants!"

Haha, ugh what an ugly day weather-wise. It rained all afternoon, cutting into my lesson time with one of my students, and making for a nasty drive around the area.

Had a nice late morning/early afternoon though. I went to Stillwater to Painted Sky Stables to audit a Farrah Green Level 2 clinic, which another one of my students was riding in. I've audited several clinics in the past, but nothing since I've been on the career path to be a PNH instructor, so I actually paid more attention to the teaching strategies than I did to the actual subject matter being taught. (Though I did take some of that in as well, of course)

I arrived at the clinic at about 12:00 or so, and just in time for the last 10 minutes before lunch break. Farrah was talking about the value and importance of a strong focus on where you want to go, and she was using my student's mare as a demo. Kristina is a LB dominant mare, and she uses just about anything (Lack of focus, lack of cookie beyond obstacle, lack of perfect texture footing) as an excuse to NOT do what is being asked. I missed most of the demo, but from what i saw, Kristina suddenly realized she could jump barrels when Julia focused, and it all ended well. Definitely a good refresher lesson on focus. It's one of those things, that even though it was a L2 clinic, I had little reminders and ideas that lead me on little tangents that may actually become useful for my horses.

During lunch break, I met with some really great local PNHers, and passed my name out to people. I love spreading the word and meeting other PNHers. We had some entertaining conversations (Apparently it's understandable if I feel I need tall socks?), and I think I've made some friends.

I also had a fairly nice conversation with Farrah. I'm always impressed at how approachable Parelli Professionals are, and just how down to earth they are. Farrah was no exception to this. She was friendly, and genuinely interested in what I had to say. We just chit-chatted, mainly about video assessing vs. Live assessing (we both hate video cameras), and about the few tasks I have left to pass in my level 3, and how I might go about accomplishing them. Also told her a little bit about Crest, didn't actually get to our horror story, which might have been a good thing.

Going into the afternoon session, the first thing we did was a break-down of the horse's gaits, beat for beat, and we simulated them in our bodies. I have done this exercise a million times, but have never been in charge of EXPLAINING how to do it to a group. BOY was THAT interesting. As a level 3 student, I know the beats, order of footfalls, and weight distribution of each gait, but showing people how to do it, counting the strides off, and then getting 4 people doing it in sync with ME was TOUGH! That's where my title line comes into play. We were talking about the diagonal footfalls of the canter and how they fell into place with the rest, and Farrah, in explaining, said "Seriously, if you guys are really confused just grab your opposite pants leg and think of it all as one unit!" That became the quote of the day! It was quite humorous.

That's about it for the day. OH! And I got a new student, a friend of a student's mom-YAY!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Subtle Changes

I had an interesting session with Cresty today. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening, and I was really looking forward to doing something.

Tonight's session was all about the subtle changes I saw. If I focused on the broad picture, I'd find it really easy to get put out about it, because in the actual broad spectrum of things, tonight's session wasn't that special. My tiredness and lack of savvy in some areas, combined with Crest's bi-polarness, and some downright embarassing fluidity mistakes and problems probably made our session tonight kind of iffy. But the subtle things are really key in the end for this one. Keep that in mind as you read forth.

Haltered Crest up and put the 45' line on him. I'm really beginning to like using that with him instead of the 22' line. When he's on his game, he's excellent out quite a distance out, but when I need to, I can reel him in and do what I need to. Anyway, tonight, Crest was feeling really arrogant, but was sort of walking the edge of cocky and unconfident at times. If I got dominant or assertive too much, he'd flip to RBE. There's got to be happy medium, and I guess that's what's so challenging about him. Anyway, I feel like I'm getting more savvy at reading Crest's more subtle changes, and that I'm handling things better. The first subtle sign of this came in the fact that the time it took for Crest to look ridable was considerably shorter, and his physical state was MUCH different. Usually by the time he's ready to ride, he's puffing and sweating like crazy from all the RBE flight and LBE exuberance he's been throwing around. Tonight, he wasn't breathing hard at all, and he was just a little damp in the chest area, not even enough to consider wet.

I hopped on, and the second subtle change was I noticed he lined himself up for me to be on the uphill side to get on, and stood totally still. Mr. Mischievous usually is the first one to either A) move away, or B) prance or walk away while I'm trying to mount. So yay, easy mount.

As we rode off, we had some minor impulsion issues, I think they were a little RBE. I noticed tonight that when I did my 180's on the fence, all I had to do was start the change in direction, and Crest would immediately calm down. The one time he didn't, is the one time I caught another subtle change in him. I realized that I was a little bit tight in my body as I was doing it (like, BARELY noticeable, I was bracing in my neck and shoulders a little bit), and as SOON as a released that tension, Crest's head went down, he started to blow, and his stride settled in. Oh wait. No. That's not a change in Crest. That's a change in me. Sorry.

I asked Crest to trot, and if it hadn't been for my extremely poor fluidity on him (BIG BOUNCY HORSE! AHHHH! I will NEVER let that DIE!), it might have been another lovely, near-flawless ride. However I'm a little tight in my body (Had a softball game tonight), and so that didn't add. But anyway, I really focused on keeping my energy even and relaxed as we went. And man did it do something.

Another subtle change I noticed (in me this time) is that I've gotten much more in tune with how my body and emotions affect Crest's body and emotions, because see, Princess is a LBI with some Extroverted tendencies, and she doesn't feed off of that the way he does, and for 5 years, I've gotten away with absolute MURDER, because she doesn't give obvious feedback. Now that Linda pointed it out, and I've paid attention to how I feel when I ride Crest, I'm realizing just what a nervous, emotional, slightly tight rider I am on him. Talk about humbling!!! Ah well, progress is being made, but it might not be pretty at first.

I guess the high point (and another subtle change) I noticed (and ended on) was the fact that late in the session, Crest started to blow and obviously ask questions in his body, and I could ask him physically and mentally for a sittable trot. That is not something I've been able to do with him EVER, I usually just have to take what he gives be because getting into a battle for speed is NOT WORTH IT with him. To be able to ask for a slow trot is just GREAT. He gave it to me when I asked, by the way, and then came down into a walk and to a halt without my using my reins.

Session over. Crest followed me up to the barn and hung out with me while I put things up for the night.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Short n' Sweet

Just a quick entry tonight, for a quick and easy session.

Ranger and Crest were being jerks tonight, and decided that everyone needed to do a little running around and ignore me tonight. Good thing my LBI is a sucker for a good cookie. Prin saw me rummaging in my pockets and went "Okay guys, she's got the food, SEE YA!" and headed over to to say hi.

Prin followed me into the roundpen, and we just did a quick little liberty session. She was excellent on her circles. Being LBI, one of our biggest challenges has been maintaining gait for for any extended period of time. Tonight she did very well, cantered 5 laps without stopping in each direction, with a flying change of direction from right to left. Yay level 3 liberty!

I hopped on and rode her bridless up to the barn, put her bridle on, and we did some basic finesse stuff, nothing very fancy. Prin and I were both feeling kind of rough tonight (I'm overly-tired, I think she might be in heat), so I didn't ask for a whole lot. Got a little bit of vertical flexion and some minor lateral maneuvers (some half passes at the walk and trot), and a couple flying changes, and I quit on that note. I had no desire to push her buttons, and I could tell she was irritable.

So, nice short session. Time for bed now!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I believe they call it CONFIDENCE!

Haha, YES. Oh what a perfect, lovely, delightful day today!

Started out that school was cancelled, lord only knows why, it turned out to be just a GORGEOUS day. Woohoo! I spent all day at the barn, I played with Prinny first, then Crest. It was a good time.

Starting with Prin, I got her out and brushed her thoroughly, she's just one big ball of shedding fuzz, and I wanted to avoid as much fuzz-buttage as possible (like my word?). Princess thoroughly enjoyed that, of course. We then went out into the pasture with the 45' line, and after 5 minutes, I came to a slightly startling relization. When meteorologists say "Heavy snow may fall", they actually mean the weight of the snow, not how much! I could barely drag my line behind me because of the sticky, heavy snow that was on the rope. I decided that I would have to go to liberty, because simply put, my arms were getting sore. Prin was amazing, to put it bluntly. She did the L3 liberty tasks that I could remember off the top of my head FLAWLESSLY, and she offered some of the most perfect close range circling I've ever seen. Sherri commented that she had been watching out the window and got this "OMG, it's PERFECT feeling." watching, so YAY!
I hopped on and rode her bridless up to the barn, and got her bridle and a dressage whip. I haven't actually "done finesse" in weeks, so I decided, ah, what the hey.

Oh Princess, you're so wonderful. We didn't stay at it very long because she was so great, I got 4 flying changes off the half pass right away, and I just couldn't bring myself to ask for much more, that horse is getting SO DARN GOOD!

Moving on to Crest. I played with him later in the afternoon, and the snow had pretty much melted by then. I decided to experiment a little, and put the 45' line on him. Well, he was a bit right-brain, and I remembered something from some article I read that right-brain extroverts need consistancy, and lots of small circles. So, I reeled him in and circled him small until he relaxed, started to blow, and then I got a slightly more interesting horse. I got Mr. Cocky, who was a rarin' to go, and wanting to rough house. I set up some "thinksy" kind of obstacles, and set his little errant LBE mind to work. After about 20 minutes of energetic, thought-provoking play, Crest actually looked SOLIDLY ridable, so I hopped on.

Crest was as solid as he looked. He was energetic, but not out of control, playful, but not dangerous, and I felt really safe on his back. I dont' think I've ever said that, and been 100% sure of myself.

We started out doing some trot work, and I don't think I've EVER enjoyed trotting on him as much as I did today. I got kind of tense once as he jumped into this absolutely magnificent extended trot, (I say in my defense, it was REALLY BIG) and I couldnt' believe it, but I actually LAUGHED THE TENSION OUT. I was like "FRAN! He's SANE! Chill your butt OUT and let the boy trot!" We trotted around on a LOOSE REIN (That NEVER happens) and had a blast, and then, like magic, Crest offered this AMAZING, relaxed, round canter. I forgot that he even possessed the ability to move like that. I dropped the reins on his neck and let him canter a full circle, before I stopped him (I felt a crow hop coming and wanted to end on a GOOD note) got off and quit for the day. After I took his halter off, he turned and just put his head into my chest and held it there, like "Hug me mom", and I lost it. The floodgates opened and I just bawled. That is the FIRST time I've ever cried over a session with Crest, and it was SO satisfying.

Seeing the changes this horse has made SO FAST is just unbelievable to me. I owe the Parelli program, and particularly Linda more than I could ever express, and I'm eternally greatful for everything/everyone that has gotten me where I am.

I always carry on little conversations with my horses while I'm grooming, etc, and I remarked to Prin as I was getting Crest out (she was raiding my pockets) "Why can't I have the relationship with Crest that I have with you, huh? Why not? I really want it." Well, Crest must have heard me. We're on our way, and boy I'm loving the process and the changes!

Savvy out!