Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm Leaving You With This...


Katie and I will be gone the next 6 days at a clinic with Farrah. I'll be taking Prinny, and we'll have a blasty :D

Enjoy the video, and see ya'll on the 7th :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I am positively BOUNCING as I write this post. (Number two for the day?)

A little back story here: My parents, but particularly my mom have always been VERY skeptical of my journey towards becoming a Parelli pro, and have never really supported me financially AT ALL.

So, the week before my 18th birthday, Farrah told me she was going down to FL this winter for a 4 week masterclass, and that if I wanted, I could ride down with her, since she had room in her trailer for a horse. The catch is, um...the $6000 I'd have to earn in the mean time to pay for the course. NOT an easy feat for me, being that I didn't have much notice ahead of time. I was determined to go, and told my parents this from the get-go. There were several nasty arguments about it the past few weeks, how PNH couldn't support me, etc.

And then, tonight. My mom just called for me to come into the kitchen about 5 minutes ago. I went in, and she's holding a Florida Course Application in her hand, and says "What dates do you want to go, and what's your Savvy Club number? If you're going to this thing, I'm paying for it tomorrow so you save $1000."

OH MY GOD. I am SHOCKED. THRILLED. AMAZED. I am going to FLORIDA FOR A COURSE. And my MOTHER is ARRANGING IT so that I save MONEY! Of course, I have to pay them back, but I don't care. All I know is that I'm GOING! I'm holding back tears and screaming!

Mindless ramblings of the Tired Brain

I thought that when I graduated high school, I might have escaped the multiple nights of "not-enough-sleepness" in a row, but I guess not--blergh. I've gotten less than 9 hours of sleep 5 nights in a row now, so short blog then BED TIME!

I'm seriously starting to get drained by my insane schedule. I'm never home anymore (which is good, probably) but I'm starting to see an alarming decline in the amount of quality time MY horses are getting as a result, EEK! I'm teaching AT LEAST 8 (if not more) lessons a week, and am doing a lot of traveling to learn, too. While it's all a great time, and I LOVE what I'm doing, I'm worn out!

Farrah and I have the same tendency to get so excited about teaching that we forget that we have lives, too. Anyway, I'm not complaining, but if I seem a little out of it, that's why. I really need a long night's sleep.

Had a really amusing experience with Prin tonight. She's now inserted the spanish walk as her default "give me cookie now" trick, and it's getting rather hilarious. Any time I approach her now, she Spanish walks, and gives me this "SEE?!" expression, and of course it's so hilarious that I give her a cookie and crack up laughing. I have to be totally honest, I'm not sure which she enjoys more, the laughter or the cookie. Anyway, tonight, I decided to try to teach her to lift her leg up and hold it, kind of like "Shake" for a dog. Since she obviously gets the concept, I figured it'd be easy for her to at least try. And it was, but she'd hold it up and then paw the air. My horse is just so weird.

And on that note, I'm going to do laundry, then immerse myself in "The Fountainhead" until I fall asleep. Yet another busy day tomorrow.

Savvy out.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Arrivals

BUSY BUSY BUSY!! EEK! It's been an insane couple of days for me. Katie arrived here on Thursday (YAY!) and we've been going almost non stop ever since. So, a quick update.

Friday morning we went to Chatfield and gave a lesson to Sandy, one of my students. I was introduced to her lovely mare Jazzy, who I had never met before. She's a hoot, very LBE innately I think, but due to a poor barefoot trim (Gotta have those bars!) she's hesitant to move for pain. We had a great all-morning lesson, then drove home, and Katie met my ponies. I did a little double demo (riding Prin, playing with Crest) and then I got to be fascinated as Katie played with Crest on the ground. Crest has never really been played with in a lesson format before, so I was REALLY proud when he taught her, and she was able to communicate with him! Proud mommy :)

Next, with some coaxing, Katie rode Prinny! Oh GOODNESS you should have seen the grin on both our faces! This was HUGE for her, the confidence boost must have felt incredible. I'm so proud that Prin was able to do that for her!

And, in other HUGE NEWS, two items, firstly, my BLUE STRING arrived yesterday. YAY! It's shiney and pretty.

Next, Franny's got a new addition to her herd! There's a really LONG backstory to this, horses have been exchanging hands a bit around here. For those curious, please email me, I'm too tired to write it all out tonight, but it is my great pleasure to introduce "LadyBug" (Name is DEFINITELY PENDING, IDEAS APPRECIATED) 2007 AMHR Miniature mare. She currently stands 29" tall, and will probably mature at about 32" or 33". She sits at a dead split between LBI and LBE on the chart, and I have yet to see an unconfident step out of her. She introduced herself to me by sniffing me, pawing my leg, then lying down next to me with her head in my lap. I mean c'mon, what's NOT to love? Any before anyone asks, I have financial stuff, etc, figured out, so this is not nearly as spur of the moment as readers of this blog may feel. I just didn't tell you ;)



Oh nom nom :) She's VERY mouthy, she'll pick ANYTHING up with her mouth if you let her

Yoyo...or at least an attempt

LOVE IT...she's SO tolerant...and hilarious.

Whatcha think guys?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lessons in Emotional Fitness

ARGH...I hate being a girl sometimes. Go where you want with that, I just don't have very good self-control at some points. Ya'll get a cookie if you stick it out and read the whole thing :)

Anyway, had a FANTASTIC session with Crest today. This is the 3rd session in a row I've ended early, nearly in tears for how wonderful he is. This session was an interesting one, because it was absolutely NOTHING like what I was planning on doing. I was planning on bringing Crest down, tacking him up in saddle and bridle, and playing with some finesse with him.

Well, I got out there, and the entire herd was at the far end of the pasture. I decided I didn't want to walk him back (Lazy Franny!) so I haltered him up, gave him a cookie, and hopped on to ride back down. We didn't even quite get to the middle of the pasture, and I started just playing with some things, transitions, trotting circles, sideways, just some various little concepts. We started out doing some walk circles, trying to get him to loosen up and flex around my leg. That went really well, so I bumped it up to trot, and it was SO amazing. I remember watching Crest trot online earlier this year, (and you may find blog posts about it) and always though "Why can't he give me THAT trot undersaddle?" Well, he's been giving me that trot now! It is LOVELY, collected, and sane. After doing 6 circles in each direction with the reins on his neck, I softly asked him into the canter.

Crest has always LOVED to crow hop, buck, and play in the canter, and Linda gave me some thoughts and ideas for that, the main suggestion being to do a lot of "We're cantering...JUST KIDDING!" transitions, so he gets a taste of cantering, but not enough for him to even come up with any evil thoughts, and then gradually making the chunks of cantering bigger until he's reliable and doesn't crow hop. I've been playing with that the past few days, and today I REALLY felt the pay off. Crest cantered 12 circles for me on his bad (right) lead, with the reins loose on his neck, my hands at my sides. He then dropped from trot to walk off my energy. End of session. I got off, tears STREAMING down my cheeks, gave him a cookie and a huge hug and took his halter off. He is turning into the most WONDERFUL partner this girl could want. WONDERFUL.

Secondly, I got Prinny out, with the intent to practice a few patterns, and then do some finesse with her, since she's been out of comission for a couple weeks.

We had a really fantastic ground session, my LBI (remember that blog from a few days ago?) offered canter and stayed in it for 14 laps counter clockwise and 10 clockwise on the 22' line, which was awesome. She even did a gorgeous flying change of direction each way for me. In other words, the circles pattern, especially the traveling circling is going REALLY WELL.

So here's where the emotional fitness came in. Prin hasn't been ridden in over 2 weeks. She's out of shape and her topline looks like HELL (who knew those muscles went away so quickly?!) and she was in a completely resistant mood. We started out on the big rings of the cradle and did some fluid rein to get that longitudinal flexion going so she could round up. She picked up quickly, but was really dull about bending laterally "around" my leg, etc. We played with it a lot, and she finally got it, but she kept going slower and slower, and i didn't have my dressage whip, or even my savvy string, so she was IMPOSSIBLE to keep going. This is when my irritation started, I hate it when she sulls up, because she's SO beyond that phase, even in finesse. So I started to get a little un-savvy about it, instead of approaching the horse that showed up, I got too firm, then completely lost it when she refused to canter. Fortunately, I was savvy enough to GET OFF, and untack her, but then we had a very firm conversation on the 22' line (so much for 14 laps tomorrow). Fortunately for Prin, I reached a breaking point physically, so I had to quit, and that calmed me down quite a bit.

While she was a little taken aback, I think Prin kind of understood what I was going thru (she had a little tantrum of her own too) and she came over with this "WOW...can we start over?" look on her face. So I brought her over and we spanish walked to the gate,(She LOVES the Spanish walk, it's her new default trick when she isn't sure what I'm asking for. She goes "I'll spanish walk...see?) and I fed her cookies and then quit for the day. At least we ended on a good note and she felt smart.

So, lesson learned. I need to work on my emotional fitness and address the horse that shows up, even if we ARE into L3/L4. I'm not proud of my behavior, but I'm pleased that we were able to patch it up and end well. And I'm REALLY proud of Cresty, so my day is far from ruined.

Fresh start tomorrow.

Savvy out!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kansas City or Bust!!!


I'm tired. End of story. That's really all I can say about it. This is going to be a relatively direct recap of my adventures in Kansas City, simply because I'm EXAUSTED. I'll tell what HAPPENED...if you want details, email me or post a comment and I'll be happy to elaborate after I've gotten some sleep.

First of all, Kansas City, MO is a little over 7 hours drive from me when traffic conditions are GOOD. However, driving into rush hour on a Friday afternoon could be considered stupid, and that's definitely what I'd call it at this point.

I like to drive with some music on most of the time. It keeps my mind busy when things are dull, and keeps me calm and cool when things are stressful. For those that know me well, you know how important my music is to my ability to drive sanely. Well..getting into Kansas City, I had to TURN MY MUSIC OFF. That's how intense it was. I was lost, and as Linda so correctly pantomimed/immitated for me 20 minutes after arriving, I slammed my music off, gripped the steering wheel so hard my knuckles were white, and screamed "WHERE THE HELL AM I GOING?!" Multiple times.

Anyway, believe it or not, I made it safely and with minimal mental damage. We hung out and I chatted with Farrah, Michelle, Pat and Linda a little, then Farrah, Michelle, Carrie (another working student of Farrah's)and I went out to a yummy dinner.

Saturday was a pretty typical Parelli seminar day. Can't say I learned a whole lot new, of course I'm always reminded of little principles that get buried under other things in my brain. The savvy team did a GREAT performance, Farrah and Caesar stole the show in my opinion, with their one time tempis and rearing and leaping the air. Caesar's such a magnificent horse, and so pensive, he's just fascinating.

The most interesting session was the demo horse, a pretty classic RBI, came in literally shaking, but totally unable make himself move physically. Pat did a great job as usual, it was funny because he walked around and told stories for about an hour (stalling for the RBI's sake) It was hilarious, because there was a guy and his girlfriend sitting behind us. They were obviously new to PNH and this was probably their first seminar. Anyway, the guy kept leaning over and arrogantly telling the girlfriend what and why Pat was doing. At first I wanted to smack them (Dammit, I'm trying to LEARN HERE!) but then I realized I might actually be able to learn something from THEM. I know lots of strategies for RBI horses, lets learn what makes these newbies tick :)

So, listening to this conversation, what was hysterical was that 50% of the time, this guy was right about Pat's actions, and he'd get all cocky about it, and what was even MORE funny was then when he was wrong, he'd act genuinely shocked "I have NO IDEA why he just DID THAT!" And that's when I...miss share-a-holic, would turn around, smile, and tell him EXACTLY why Pat Parelli did what he just did. The befuddled looks that would earn were HILARIOUS. And it was helpful to me, too, to reinforce MY understanding of what Pat was trying to teach.

Saturday night ended with some horseplay (I actually played with the dogs, while the other 3 played with the horses) and then we went to bed.

SUNDAY...The day that Linda and I jokingly decided she set up and designed specifically for my learning pleasure :)

The Savvy Team opened, which was amazing, as usual. The highlight for me was definitely Emily Thompson on her little black arab Porsche, and Amy Book on Zeus the Friesian, playing carrot stick tag to "Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" by KT Tunstall. You know Linda's running the sound booth when...

Anyway, Pat opened and did some chat-chitting, then he startled Linda, and sent her out to get Allure WAY before she was expecting it.

Allure charged in all adrenalized, and Linda talked very intently about extroverts need to move their feet in order to think (Vs the introvert, who has to think in order to move his/her feet) and how she prepares Allure for a play session before the play session even starts, and the signs she looks for that show he's ready to play/focus/learn. She also talked about the subtle difference between LB adrenalized and RBE behavior--all VERY useful information for a girl such as me, who own's Allure's twin in Crest. She then proceeded to talk about how she plays on the ground to prepare him for riding, and she talked about the little tests and signs she reads in order to tell if he's truly ridable or not. And again, I say, very useful to me with Cresty. She did eventually get on (I WAS ONE PROUD LONG LOST DAUGHTER/STUDENT!!!) and did a lovely riding demo, explaining, again, how she keeps his brain occupied and prevents him from coming up with evil thoughts (One particular thing in this that I took and used with Crest IMMEDIATELY, and WOW, talk about instant difference! More on that tomorrow)and then rode to a song, explaining that the song meant A LOT to her in her journey with Allure. I feel very connected to Linda's journey, ESPECIALLY with Allure, so as the beautiful song started, the flood gates opened, and I blubbered like a baby through the entire thing. I'm going to put the song on here as background music tomorrow, when I have the patience to deal with my computer's antics. SO PERFECT.

Next, Linda did a Q & A session with the audience about what we got out of the session with Allure. She came back to me 3 times. I was flattered, because it wasn't like there was a shortage of questions to be asked. I guess she recognized that the session was doing a lot for me, and she wanted to help me more.

The next session, she coached Amy Book through a Finesse lesson on Remmer. That was another session that I really connected to, mainly because Linda kept talking about how physically inflexible Remmer is, and also how finesse can kill an LBIs motivation and energy if it turns into a drill. Poor Prin. Another session to digest. Got some tips that really put me on a good track with things I can try with the Boo-Boo next finesse session :)

Pat ended the day with a fantastic session with and about young horses. I was given the math award (this involves nothing but Pat Parelli saying "You get the Math award", by the way) for knowing that 555 days is 18 months...But anyway that was a blast to watch.

And then I drove home this morning, and right this very second, I am going to BED. PLEASE feel free to ask for more details. This is BY FAR the best Savvy Club Sunday I've been to. FANTASTIC. Just RIGHT ON. Linda and I joked that she designed the day around what I needed, and that I owed her for it. Love that lady, she knows how to make me feel good about myself and my progress :)

Savvy on and out!

Monday, September 15, 2008


*Chuckles* You KNOW you have a hard-core LBI when you take off your breeches to take a shower, and Winnies Cookie crumbs spill out of nooks and crannies where there definitely SHOULD NOT be cookie crumbs.

Anyway, now that I've got that out there, you may be able to guess that I played with Prin tonight. I have been SO BUSY since Savvy Conference, this is honest to goodness (Yes, you may shoot me if you feel it necessary) my first play session with her since. I decided to start playing with Patterns, since I did after all spend over $300 on the pack-haha. Being that I only had an hour of daylight, I figured I'd spend it on the figure-8 Pattern, and then just play with some other random stuff if that went well.

So, I set up two barrels, collected my equipment (12' line, 22' line, halter, and CS) and then headed for the cabin, because knowing Prin, she's not going to want to do a whole lot without my pockets loaded with cookies. Once I got back up to the pasture, Prin, being her usual charming self, turned her butt to me, and said, very clearly "Scratch me or buzz off..." which is a habit that is getting really annoying, so I turned the tables and said "No, you buzz off, and come to me when you want to be polite." So away she went. I went about my business, saying hi to everyone, checking feet, picking burrs, and feeding the occasional cookie. It wasn't more than 2 minutes I bet, before Prin went "WAIT! didn't mention cookies in the memo! I'm here!" So I haltered her up, fed her a cookie, and we mosied to the playground.

Our adventures with figure-8's were minimal. Prin's done that pattern a zillion times, knew what I wanted, though I did find it interesting, her face seemed to brighten a bit when it became clear to her that I had a plan in mind, so I anticipate quite a bit of improvement, especially online, as we advance and play more with them.

After playing with the patterns, I started to practice some tasks for my L3, since I am still planning on filming what I can before the assessments change. That's when our session took a FASCINATING turn.

Way back in July, I sent my "Your Life is Now" video to Linda for her to view. She emailed me back, full of encouragement, but mentioned she had seen one thing in particular that made her concerned, and that was Prin's excessive tail swishing, saying that I may want to try some flyspray, because swishing is a very typical form of negative LBI feedback. Now in July, we had a HIDEOUS deer/horse fly problem, so I attributed most of it to that, but have kept my eye out for excessive swishing, especially since it's been getting cooler and the bugs have been dying off.

So anyway, I was practising some yo-yo game, trying to get it nice and light for assessment. I was only in phase 1, when all of a sudden, I realized that Prin was swishing her tail like a helicopter blade. It was 7:10 pm, and about 50 degrees, so bugs WERE NOT the cause. Usually, tail swishing is a response to either too high a phase, or going through the phases too quickly, and not allowing the horse time to think. I was only doing a phase one (or so I thought!) so it wasn't timing. But then I thought back to, oh gosh, must have been 2 or 3 years ago, someone telling me that as they got into L4 (it must have been Linda or an instructor or something)there actually got to be phases within their phase one. And that's when it hit me: I was SHOUTING at Prin with my phase 1! I moved my finger to about my hip level right next to my body, wiggled it, and BAM! Prin yoyo'd to the end of the line, light and quick, with not a single swish. SUCCESSS!

So, this is great, so now I'm thinking, this has GOT to translate to my circling game. Prin's been getting duller and duller, and for the longest damn time, I haven't been able to figure out why. Well, with my new insight, I immediately sent Prin out with my finger way down, and out she went without a swish...but at the rate of a speeding snail.

It is often suggested that when an LBI wants to go slow, ask them to go slower, and they'll get interested, and finally start to offer more. With Prin, it's been kind of iffy with that, because generally when I ask for slower, she goes "Thanks, I've been hoping you'd say that." So tonight, I decided I needed to up the ante a bit and really make SLOW uncomfortable. So, our new game, instead of "slow down" is "If you want to go slow, you'd better LAY ON THE BREAKS...or I'm going to stop you myself, and it won't be nearly as fun." So every time she'd slow down, I'd slow her down faster. The look on her face throughout this entire thing was my inspiration for my title..."Wait...WHHHAAAA???!!?" CLASSIC!

Eventually, after 10-12 repeats of this game, Prin was like "Okay, you know what, I REALLY LIKE trotting and cantering online! Going slow SUCKS!" and me, being a proud mommy, brought her in, fed her a cookie, and called it an evening.

Now everyone scratch their chins and say with me: "Hmm....HOW INTERESTING!!!"

OH! And just for giggles, at the Savvy Conference, they gave out the daily program with a 4-chart center fold to map your horse's horsenality by savvy. I managed to lose mine, so I did a chart for each for Prin tonight, and here are the results. Gee...I dont' have an LB horse, do I?

Horsenality Online
Online she's a fairly extreme LBI, though after tonight...

Horsenality at Liberty
Liberty is, I think, her second favorite savvy...She REALLY loves Freestyle, but is LBE pretty much in both

Horsenality Freestyle
LBE in freestyle...definitely her best and favorite.

Horsenality Finesse
Finesse. A fairly even split. She's good at finesse, and we both enjoy it, so she feels pretty well rounded there.

Now according to the aptitude article, my horse definitely falls into LBI with LBE tendencies...gee, surprised? NAH!

Savvy out!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oh Goodness...Course Logistics...

So I'm very proud of myself. I've gotten myself into possibly the biggest financial cram of my life...moreso than a saddle that everyone thought I'd never get.

Farrah mentioned to me earlier this month that she has room in her trailer, and pending on some details that need ironing out (VERY managable details)that she's going down for a 4-week course in FL in January, and I'd be welcome to ride down with her to do the same course (4 week L3/L4 masterclass!!).

Okay. Stop. Time out. 4 week MASTERCLASS. Yes, the course, basically of my dreams. HOW CAN I TURN THAT OPPORTUNITY DOWN?!?! That's right. Simply put, I CANNOT!

Now, I am a good money saver. I really am. Saving for my Fluidity saddle especially taught me a lot of what I need to know, but I've been managing my finances for my horses since I was 12. Maybe not 100% effectively always, but I have a clue on how to manage money. And as such, I am beginning to realize how unlikely it is that I'll be able to afford such an opportunity. I've already given up on making the September special ($1275/week) so I'm looking at $1475/week, but getting my 4th week for free if I book before Dec. 31st. That includes horse care, food for me 5 days a week. I figure with gas down/pay to Farrah (I'd be staying with her) it'll be another $1000 or so, so I set my goal at saving $6000 or so. That's about $1500 a month I need to save. Um...EEK?!

I've got $210 in my savings account right now. I HAVE to make this work though! I WILL make this work. Anyone have any brilliant ideas?

I WILL MAKE THIS WORK! *Frantically saves money*

Saturday, September 13, 2008

FINALLY!!! check out the "New L2 Graduates" list.

It's a VERY long story, and I actually graduated L2 a LONG time ago (Lets try June 07) but thru a series of very bogus twists and turns, it never became official.

See, I was on the Savvy Team in Madison in June of 2007. I was not an L2 graduate officially, but when Pat was announcing/introducing the Savvy Team, he announced that I was one. Of course I was curious about this, so I asked him afterwards (at the end of the day) and he shrugged it off, and said "I've seen your videos, I saw you ride last're L2." and that was that. But unfortunately, that never went into the computer system, so I never got an awards pack, just Pat's word saying I was L2 (which is lovely, don't get me wrong, but kind of hard to explain)

So anyway, fast forward to Savvy Conference. Farrah has amazing powers of persuasion, and managed to talk me into approaching Linda about this whole thing, to get it official. That didn't get me anywhere really (other than a big ego boost, because Linda thinks I should go for green/black NOW) and so I left, still a bit uneasy. Interestingly enough, during lunch right after that conversation, I ran into one of my long-time instructors, Nita Jo Rush. After some discussion, Nita Jo and I came up with a plan, and what you see on her site is the product of her brilliance, and I owe her a lot. I will have a blue string in about 3-4 weeks...FINALLY :) So happy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One VERY screwy B-day


Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes, they mean A LOT to me, especially since I don't think I've had a birthday that sucked quite to this magnitude yet.

I woke up at about 9:00 this morning, to find it nasty and rainy. Perfect, no birthday trail ride for me. That's okay, methinks, I'll go online and talk to some people, and wait for this storm front to roll through, and hopefully it'll be nice enough to ride by the time Micky gets off of school, so we can ride. I kill some time before I decide that I want to bring up the idea of a Parelli course in January to my parents.

Now WHY I'm so stupid as to think I'd get anywhere with that argument today, I don't know, but I opened that can of worms, and it made for a miserable discussion, in which I was reminded of how ungreatful, lazy, and unreliable I am, and how, no, I need to earn that money on my own. Okay...I'm a good saver, but $6000 in 4 months is IMPOSSIBLE, especially since my mother has decided I have to pay rent, now that I'm 18.

So, frustrated, hurt, and annoyed, I head up to the farm. I get up there, and it's misty as can be (Couldn't see the horses thru the fog) and mushy, and just not nice riding weather. I get out there, and finally spot the horses...on the other side of the chin-high grass that they're NOT supposed to be in. I plod back, get my halter, herd everyone back into the pen (By this time, I'm soaked to the bone from wet grass) then proceed to grab the only horse I forcibly have patience for right now; Cadance.

That went okay, little Cadance is such a little spitfire, and makes me smile, even when I feel like crap. We didn't really get a whole lot accomplished, but she DID learn to do trot stick to me on the 12' line, which was cool. Very smart little bugger she is!

So I head home, and sit on the computer for another hour, until Micky gets to my house. We head out to the farm to go for my annual Birthday trail ride. We tacked up Cresty and Cricket, and head out. Crest was doing REALLY GREAT, so coming up onto the flat on the side of the road, I let him stretch out into a bigger trot, enjoying his elastic movement and cool head, since that is a rarity for both of us. We're trotting along, and all of a sudden, I hear something...not sure what, so I turn around, JUST in time to see Micky go FLYING through the air, land HARD on the ground, roll 3 times, and sit up, grasping her wrist. Cricket stops dead, and puts her head down.

Now at this point, I reached a crossroads mentally. I'm on Crest. Crest panics when I panic, so I opt for keeping it cool. I walk back to Micky, trying not to freak out. I get to her, and it's VERY clear she's in a lot of pain. It takes a lot for Mick to tear up, let alone to cry, so when I saw her trying to choke back tears, I immediatly got off. "Fran, my arm is broken. I can tell it is. It feels REALLY WEIRD!" she says. Oh SHIT. "Stay cool, Fran, stay cool." My brain says. ", can you move it at all? Can you wiggle your fingers?" I say. She flexs it a bit, wiggles her fingers, and winces in pain as she does it. "Fran, I think I need to go home. I'm sorry, it's your birthday, but I need to get this looked at. Really, I do. Can you call my mom please? I'm REALLY sorry, it's your birthday, and I just ruined it!" Oh SHIT...again. "Yeah, and don't worry about it." Hesitantly, I pull out my cell, and call. "Hi Susie, this is Fran. Hey listen, I KNOW this is the LAST thing you want to hear this afternoon, but Micky just got bucked off of Cricket, and we're thinking she's broken her arm, and should probably have it checked out. I don't want to make her get back up on a horse, can you come pick her up? We're between your house and Richard's. Not quite down the hill."

Micky's mom arrives, ushers her into the car, and drives off, promising to wait the 10 minutes or so it'll take me to get the horses back so I can go with them to the ER. This is where things get good for a while. I start to lead the horses back down, and it's just taking TOO LONG. I decide that Crest is still in a VERY good state of mind, and that I want to pony Cricket. Well, I get on, and Cricket FLAT OUT refuses to move. Now, time out for a sec. Can you imagine what this makes me want to do to her right now?

"You B****, get MOVING, NOW!" I think...And like magic, seemingly without being asked, Crest stops, backs up, and CHOMPS Cricket on the butt. Just absolutely CRUNCHES down on the dock of her tail. "GET MOVING!" he seems to say. Cricket speeds up FAST, and tries to run past us. Crest speeds up, and blocks her. For the next 10 minutes, Crest collects himself into a solid mass of responsibilty, taking complete and total control of the situation, keeping Cricket toing the line, while providing the kind of solid leadership I needed, being a mess myself. I was SO proud of him.

Anyway, we spent close to two hours in the ER, and find out that Micky's arm is fractured in one, possibly two places.

So I get home, and have a lovely dinner, and go to my presents. And I can't sell it short, I really did have fun. They're pretty good overall, but I got one that just BUGGED me. My Aunt has never been very fond of my Parelli stuff, but she REALLY snubbed me with her gift; "The Complete Guide to American Universities"...gee, why don't you just come out and SAY it..."Fran, you failure, screw your horses, go get an edcuation and quit being stupid." Ugh...

So that's my lovely day. I'm trying not to get too down, but this was really a shit birthday. Thank you to everyone, particularly my mom and dad who tried their damndest to make this day special, despite everything. Hopefully tomorrow will be better, but GOD this sucks.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Advancing Porcupine, Bareback and Bridless

Tonight was a night for the Crest-myster, and a VERY interesting evening indeed! I decided to try a little more in the round pen, since it was a rocky thing the other night, and boy, things were different.

Started out a little RB again, very reactive and flighty to every little thing, but that got better as we kept playing. Started building up to some extreme friendly game again, since that seems to be his biggest issue at liberty (which is funny, because online, when mommy's holding his hand, he's FINE). Anyway, played some friendly and did some sideways, cutting and circling. Once he got moving around, Crest was feelin' fine, because he was tossing his head around, and kicking and playing. It's always fun to watch him be exuberant.

So then,(don't ask about my motivation) I decided that we needed to do some new things to advance our porcupine game. During the spring/early summer, Crest learned how to back by the tail, which was very cool, because he used to not let me even touch his zone 5. But anyway, back to this advancing porcupine. Tonight I decided to re-approach teaching Crest to follow a feel and back up by his hocks. This was kind of a gamble, and I knew it going into it, Crest is still unconfident with ropes and things around his back legs, but I figured that at least we'd get some good friendly in. In the past, when we've played with this, he's kicked, panicked and run off, started spinning, etc. So with that in mind, tonight I friendlied him up REALLY good, then, when I felt he was confident enough,I just asked him back really lightly, and much to my suprise (and satisfaction!) he was like..."mmmokay..." and just started walking backwards. Well, you can imagine how pleased I was!

After finishing up on the ground, I took a really HUGE leap of faith in my horse. Let me give you a bit of back story here. Some of you know this story already, but for those who don't, about 18 months ago, I had a pretty intense riding accident with Crest when we were riding bridless. There were some pretty raw emotions flowing through my mind, and Crest, being sensitive and 10x more RB than he is now, got scared, vaulted a 4.5 foot fence from a standstill with me on him, didn't quite clear it, got hung up, flipped, and landed on top of me. He crushed my knees physically, and mentally damaged my confidence hugely, not only in riding him, but riding in a round corral, in jumping any horse in general, and especially the idea of riding him bridless.

Tonight, for the first time successfully since that accident, I rode Crest bareback and bridless, and for the record, it was in a round corral! It wasn't like we just took off into the sunset, I assure you it was much lower key than that, but it was bareback and bridless. We were under control, LB (LBI to be exact...grass-diver!) and we did transitions! Walk-halt-back transitions, and we also turned, both yielding HQ and FQ. All this without even a rope around his neck! Of course, through the entire ride, I was trying not to start crying(mainly because, to be totally honest, I was scared shitless), but after I got off, I let out a big sigh, a laugh, and started crying and giggling into Crest's shoulder, while repeating (Dane Cook fans, see the Crying Sketch) "I survived, Cresty!!". That was HUGE for us! HUGE! AH! So excited!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Words of Kindness Warm my Soul

Hi all,

One of my favorite things in doing what I love is being able to inspire and encourage people to pursue their dreams, and to show what is POSSIBLE. It makes me feel WONDERFUL when I see results, new-found motivation, or even a spark in a new PNHer's eyes after seeing what my horse means to me, and how we interact.

My purpose in having this blog has been to share my journey in PNH, with my horses, with the hope that I could provide useful information as well as perhaps inspire and provide motivation to continue in the journey, and I'm beginning to realize just how much it's done.

I recieved a really wonderful, touching, and flattering email from someone tonight, and I just wanted to share a little bit about it. Katie, if you happen to read this, I am talking about you, and I thank you SO MUCH for your kind words :)


I kind of sort of but not really met you in Williamston, NC this year.
I went to Linda to ask her to sign my black visor and she asked you to go get her a metallic marker. Hahaha!
Close enough to meeting though, right? I honestly thought you were her niece or something for a little bit!
Just wanted to let you know I love your blog and I'm a huge fan of your journey. I LOVE PRINNY.
I swear I think I'm her biggest fan. The change in her posture and muscles since the Fluidity arrival pictures are insane.
Is that really all because of the Fluidity?!
If you make it to Jacksonville, I'll probably see you again. If my mom and I go we're riding down in the van with Mariah & co.
She gave me permission to follow you two around like a lost puppy dog once we get there. Lol.
I'm just in Level 1 as of now but I'm constantly on the lookout for new learning experiences!
Thanks again for blogging, you're such an inspiration!

I'm a very emotional person, and so, true to Fran fashion, I've been here blubbering like a baby ever since. I am so flattered! Words can't express how much an email of this nature means to me! Positive people make it that much easier for me to keep my head and spirits up, and helps me to stay motivated in playing towards my goal. Thank you ALL SO MUCH for your support!