Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lotsa Lessons

Today was a very busy day, I'm super tired, but its that kind of tired that makes you feel SO GOOD about how busy you've been.

I was woken up about 3 hours prematurely to a phone call from a student, who couldn't make it to a lesson. Ugh, not that I was mad or anything, but for the love of Pete, call me at 8:00 and expect me to be ain't gonna happen-haha.

So, First thing I did was give a friend of mine, Lisa, a lesson. We got up there and the bugs were MISERABLE. I mean, I've NEVER hated gnats so much in my life. Sure, they're annoying little buggers, but yeesh, they were SWARMIN' today!

We pulled Amigo out to do the lesson, since Princess looked ornery. (She tends to get cranky with too many bugs and humidity) He did really well for her, and was just a wonderful guy. Pix to come as soon as my computer decides to stop telling me that my pictures can't upload due to an internal error.

Next we went to Dana's to give Cynde and Shashi a lesson. Shashi got ridden, and that was an adventure. He did SO WELL though, he's a smart little devil, and so good too. Cynde also had a big break thru with her confidence, and I really think they're going to go far. It's great to be told repeatedly "That was SO GREAT Fran!" after a lesson. I must be doin' something right.

Again, pictures to come when my computer decides they really aren't the Anti-christ.

Fun day overall, off to Mosinee tomorrow for week of lessons!

Friday, May 30, 2008


I need to stop teasing myself. But seriously...look at her. Just LOOK AT HER!! I CANNOT WAIT!

I talked to the Parelli Collection today, they said they're getting truckloads of saddles in at a time, and as soon as my size and measure comes in, they'll assign it to me, send me a tracking number, and off we go. Sounds FANTASTIC to me! YAY! Can't wait.

Had a nice play day with Cresty this evening too. He was very mellow, and we had a good time. did some transitions on the 45' and rode a bit too...YEESH he's bouncy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Talk about torture

This is going to be the longest month of my

I talked to the Parelli collection people today and they think they have my color and sizing of saddle in stock, and my it'll be shipped in 30-45 days. Talk about an awful month and a half, especially as we get well into June, I'll be checking to see if Fed Ex came EVERY SINGLE DAY...

CANNOT WAIT to get the thing! YEEEEEP! It'll be so beautiful.

I do have one critique/statement for the Parelli people though. They really should post pictures of each saddle width from the front so people can at least get an IDEA for how wide the things are. I saw a photo of a used Standard tree one on ebay tonight and had a horrible notion I ordered too wide, but then reminded myself that Linda's super wide fit Prin uber well.

Ah well...I digress. So begins the horrible "waiting" period. I think I'll sit here and twiddle my thumbs.

Here, have some photo fun whilst we wait here together. Taken with my new Canon Rebel XT:

Pretty Cricket!

Prinny being the wonderful teacher that she is for one of my students...she makes me seem better than I am...really.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Dream Come True


After 10 months of lessons, hard work, hardcore saving, and dreaming of how my horse would feel when I had it, I FINALLY ordered my fluidity saddle. Here's all you need to know about it:

Color: Dark Brown
Seat Size: 17.5
Tree/Gullet: Superwide

The picture above shows pretty much what it'll look like.

This whole crazy scheme started on June 30th, 2007, and it's all Linda Parelli's fault. We went riding after Saturday's presentation at the tour stop in Madison, and I was having some canter issues with Princess, with her not being pleased about cantering even after I adjusted my seat. Linda very discretely pulled me off to the side and asked if I would like to borrow her fluidity saddle for the evening. Without any hesitation and several expletives (I was sue me!) I accepted the offer.

That 30 minutes of riding was a life changer. Princess's gaits changed/got bigger, she became willing to collect, she maintained gait for as long as I asked, she stretched, her back rounded up and her back legs came under her, and her trot got so elevated and bouncy I had to hold my visor on. I knew I HAD to get that saddle. So...the rest is history.

I cannot wait to get it. YAY!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fat, Nervous, and squirrely

The descriptions of my three playmates it was interesting.

Starting out, and just going in order:


Ah yes...the fatty...PRINCESS. Princess and I had a nice little ride and play session this evening. We haltered up and went out to the yard outside the pasture where the trailer is parked, etc. Worked a little bit on loading into the small brown trailer, since we're hopefully going to be able to get to Holly's on Saturday morning for a playday. My poor horse is so large (Fat and Tall) that she doesn't really fit in there. She knows it, and it's got to be really uncomfortable, but it's all we've got until this summer anyway. She was a good sport and put herself in there twice, before backing out and giving me the look of "Seriously Fran...I DON'T FIT..." and I think I agreed with her for the most part, so then I just took her and went for a ride up to Mikaela's and back. She did well, we cantered all the way both ways, and dear lord my horse is out of shape-haha. But that's okay, we had a nice ride.


CRICKET! This mare is seriously the sweetest horse ever, but has some baggage that keeps her from being confident and curious like I know she is deep down. (The mischievous look she gets on her face when she's goofing around with Crest tells me all I need to know in that department-haha) I just haltered her up and took her out in the yard. Poor girl couldn't keep her eyes off the pasture from which she came, she was just REALLY worried. We played friendly for about 20 minutes and she settled down quite well eventually, then we worked on yields...and I found it...this mare DOES have a defiant streak! She DID NOT want to move her front end if she had anything to say about it. Polite and passive persistence anyone?


Oh Knighters, I do love you. It's been a long day, so I'm going to leave out most of the details of the session, but lets just say this, Knight has gone from shy and timid to being a very extroverted little twit this year. Not in a bad way at all, but I just have to adjust my position on handling it. We played with the 22' line, transitions, directional changes, and zone 3 driving. He's just got this "No, no, no, no, no, well, okay fine...BUZZ!" attitude (picture that said in a squirrely sort of voice) and its really fun to play with.

End blog, need sleep...NOW! More tomorrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Feeling Discouraged

I, in short, have everything a horse crazy girl could want. I have two gorgeous horses, a place to board them for FREE, I have an amazing circle of PNH friends, a great, close relationship with Linda and Pat Parelli, a great relationship with one particular PNH instructor, I'll be able to buy a Parelli saddle in two weeks, I have a huge student population in my area, and am going to umpteen PNH events this year. And yet...I have no emotion or appreciation for any of this at all. Not tonight anyway.

I have so much to look forward to this year. Seriously. I really do. I'm ordering this saddle (the saddle of my DREAMS) in 2 weeks. I graduate high school THIS FRIDAY, and after that, get to drive to a good friend's place and give lessons for a week. I have at least two horses coming for training this year, I have at least 17 students (haven't counted recently, but close anyway) who are taking lessons on a pretty consistant basis, and all is right with the world.

...and yet. I find myself getting jealous of what everyone else has. It's not healthy and I don't like it. Linda Parelli would tell me "It's really simple Fran, just CHANGE!" And when I'm in a decent state of mind, that's actually not at all difficult, because I'm very adaptable as a person. But right now, mentally, I'm a MESS. The root of this is actually pretty obvious in my mind. Getting turned down for savvy team has REALLY got me bummed. Yes, I should be getting over it, after all, (I say this half-heartedly) look at all the other stuff I've got going. WHY is this dragging me down so? Is it because I feel like everyone else (savvy club forum especially) is going to get on, and I"m going to be the SOUL PERSON left out? What am I afraid of? This is REALLY bothering me, because I don't WANT to be sad. I want to be happy like I was in February. I want to smile genuinely again. WHAT is holding me back? Is it my own stubborn RBI side that WANTS me to mope? Am I just lacking sleep? I really need some words of wisdom that aren't in the form of a smartass one liner in response to my crankiness. I'll be off to email Linda about that. Time for me to go to bed now though.

Hopefully I'll feel better after some sleep. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Let It All Hang Out

Had a really carefree session with my ponies today, which is nice to have when my head is as full as it is today. Too much emotion in my life, and it's been driving me absolutely insane. It was just nice to let rip and "let it all hang out".

Firstly, I got out there and Prin marched up to me, stuck her butt in my face, picked up her back leg, and turned her head as if to say "Scratch it..." What a brat. Anyway, I rubbed on her a little, then offered her the halter, and she went "Oh that...I think not." and walked away. Ah well. So...I plopped down on the bathtub, and what thoroughly surprised by what happened next.

We've got a new mare at the barn now (I'll post more about her as she warms up), but anyway, she's a 15 yr old APHA mare, sorrel and white, looks like a mini-Prin. Anyway, she's been quiet and seemingly RBI, very shy, and unwilling to come anywhere near humans, as she was mishandled before her current owner got her. Anyway, tonight, Cricket, who's hardly even pointed her nose toward me in the past, whinnied, and came trotting over, and settled right in, stuck her nose in my lap, and went "Hi...whats up?". We loved up for a while, I think she'll be a really lovely mare when she realizes I'm not all about catch and work.

Proceeded to rip around the pasture on Prin for about 30 min or so. Started with one rein and did some fancy stuff even with that...LOVE my light horse! Tied two reins then, and did some dressagy type finesse stuff, which she did pretty well for having to dodge the trot poles I had out from my session with Knight on Sunday. Then we did what my title suggests...we just RIPPED AROUND the pasture and let it all hang out for about 15 min. Other than being a little bit out of shape (YEESH PRIN!!) she did really well, and we enjoyed ourselves!

All in all a very nice evening, can't WAIT for summer to set in!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I'm Officially a HORSE NUT!---Sappy and Remeniscent-haha

In one of the first videos I ever saw of Pat Parelli, he talked about some horse statistics that I never really thought about until today, a very significant day in my life.

Before I tell you the significance of today, I want to tell you these stats. 80% of new horse owners get out of horses within the first YEAR of ownership, for whatever the reason; be it money, confidence, time constraints, whatever. 80% of the 20% that's left get out of horses within the first FIVE years of ownership. According to Pat Parelli anyway, the 5% that are left are nuts.

Well, today marks the 5 year anniversary of my owning Princess. I got her Saturday, May 10th, 2003, the day before Mother's Day. How simply AMAZING it is to me that I've had her for that long. Truth be told, I don't remember much of my life without her. If you're not thrilled with "sappy" posts, I invite you to leave now, because I'm working hard not to start to gush about my horse-haha.

Princess has been the main reason I've been such a well behaved person in my life. In my Jr High and early high school years, I've had some questionable friends, in the sense that they'd be passed off as bad influences in my house. They may have turned out to be, had I not had that big spotty horse in my life, waiting for me every day after school to come play with her and ignore the temtations of the teen years. I'm 10 days off from graduating high school, and I look back and see nothing but a clean record. I've NEVER gone drinking, done drugs, or slept around. Not bad for a 17 yr old in a small town, if I do say so myself. Princess certainly came in time for the most crucial 5 years of my life.

We've had our ups and downs, but like Katie Drake says in her song "Meet in the Middle", We've gotta meet in the middle, and take it one step at a time, meet in the middle, I'll come your way, you come mine, meet in the middle, and thats when we'll finally see just how GOOD it can be. Princess and I have this chemistry and bond now that I never would have dreamed possible for me to have with a horse, even being a Parelli student. It's wonderful to experience.

So that's my sappy blog for the day. Love you Prinners, here's to many more happy years together eh?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Life Ain't Always Beautiful

Well, I should say today is a far cry from the nice one I had yesterday. I'm going to keep this short and sweet, and to the point.

I got rejected for the Savvy Team in Madison. There were too many professionals signed up and so they don't have room in the arena for me. What total crap. Oh well...I'm still hoping for Kansas City. Who knows.

That's my story.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Horsenalities and Confidence

Had a very interesting session tonight with one of my students. She just got her first horse, a rescued 2 year old Paint stallion.

Monday night, she had some drama with him, he's a LB dominant type of stud colt, and I *think* (I wasn't there, so don't know for sure) he reared up out of playful dominance, and he knocked her to the ground where she somehow dislocated her shoulder. Anyway, being a first time horse owner, that's kind of a nasty blow to experience a month into owning, so she called me,asking what she should do.

So I got up there tonight, and walked into his stall, and fascinatingly enough, he decided to play the "you can't catch me game" (his stall is attached to a small 20x30 corral.) So I snatched the opportunity to talk a little bit about a horse's confidence vs. unconfidence as well, and how to read if he's confident and snotty vs. scared and unconfident. He came to me pretty quickly (It was LB snotty-haha), and then I led him to the round corral.

I then started to teach my student the concept of Move Closer, Stay Longer, an idea and formula developed by Dr. Stephanie Burns. I asked her to come into the pen and come as close as possible to her horse without feeling like she HAD to run, and to just hang out there for 10 seconds, then back off. Then walk a step closer, do the same, rinse and repeat. It wasn't more than 5 minutes and she was back to feeling comfortable petting him all over, being friendly, etc.

Next, my student asked me if I would work with her horse so she could watch. I was, of course, happy to. This caused the conversation and education to turn to Horsenalities. I explained that I thought her colt was a LBI with some extroverted tendencies, and I explained how LB horses were motivated, and what strategies can be used to motivate LB horse, but also how to gain respect and rapport. All in all it was interesting.

After that, we drove out to the barn, and we played with Princess and Crest, and I showed her a little bit about how a refined and finished horse should feel and act, as well as a difference in horsenalities and how they respond, and I gave a mini demo with Prin and Crest. It was all in all a very fun evening, and I think we learned a lot, I learned how to present my information better, and she learned it. I'm happy with the turn out. Updates will keep coming as we move on!

Friday, May 2, 2008

All Smiles

Ahh what a good way to start out a month of blogging but with a REALLY NICE post about my ponies.

It was quite an icky day today actually, weather wise. It poured and we had to quit our softball game 1/2 way through, but it quit by 7:00, and I was able to plod my way up the hill to see my kids for a nice evening session.

I arrived at the farm, and for some reason my two were separated from the rest of the herd, and grazing in the north paddock. I guess its for convenience sake. My horses are the only two of the 11 that we really dont' need to be concerned about founder with, and the north paddock has 8 inches of grass already, so they get to enjoy it I suppose. Anyway, they noticed me, and Crest decided it would be fun to go for a spin around the paddock with a flat gallop. Being that it's spring, they're feeling good, and I wasn't in a particularly demanding mood, I just let them tear around. It was amusing, I've never seen Prin be quite so athletic before, at one point she reared up so high I thought she might fall over, and then took off bucking and farting...yeah...LBI my BUTT...She looks SO GOOD moving like that though.

So anyway, with all that said and done, I plopped down on our multipurpose cast iron tub (pedestal, handy seat when tired, name it-lol)and hung out. Crest finally quit instigating trouble, and trotted over and hung out by me, with an almost unbearable "PLAY WITH ME!!!!!" look in his eye, so I haltered him up, snapped on the 45' line, and off we went. I really love Richard's place because there's so many obstacles, and the north paddock is best for that. We did some transitions, and just ran around, down and around poles and jumps, the ditch, etc. Crest was LOVING it, because we did it all with energy, and he could just rip around and play, while having to think.

After playing on the ground for about 10 minutes or so, Crest dropped into this lovely round, even trot, and I decided that he looked really good, and that I wanted to try riding him. Now bear in mind, this is the first time in over a week I've played with him, and Crest, in the past, has done better with a fair amount of consistancy in his routine.

I put the 12' line back on him, and hopped on his back. Crest turned his head to check me out, but was by no means "buzzed" and ready to go like sometimes can be. I was curious about this state of mine of his, so picked up my reins, and shifted my weight a little bit to "push" him over to the left, and Crest just walked right into a GORGEOUS sidepass without a fence. WHOA. Talk about a good way to start a session, take the horse who isn't totally comfortable doing a left way sideways game, and have him walk right into it, phase 1. I asked him to go for about 10 feet, and then allowed him to stop, and like clockwork, of course he started to lick his lips, hard core. I asked him to walk out after that, and he did so, willingly.

We walked around a bit, down through our ditch, over some logs and poles, and I was confident and happy, so bumped it into a trot, and we just did a nice medium trot around. His head was low, and he was confident and enjoying himself very obviously. Words CANNOT express how much of a change that is for me. All it took was for Linda to see that DVD and point out how nervous/tight I seemed. And it was so true. I just feel so loose and confident on Crest, even in the MUD, next to an ELECTRIC fence, two elements that used to scare me to DEATH, even on Princess.

I feel like Crest is getting solid enough that I can start doing more than confidence building passenger lessons, and I may actually be able to get L2/L3 productive riding wise this spring/summer with him. He seems confident and solid enough in his impulsion to possibly start some confidence snaffle exercises with him this spring. So that's kind of a loose goal for me.

Ah happiness in the equine department...stay posted for more parts to this story-haha.