Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh, Free Advice

It's been a couple weeks since my last post, but I've been having fun.  I finally ordered and got the confidence snaffle and played with the fluid rein, which Cal seemed to really enjoy and understand very quickly.  My changes of direction have finally improved, and am getting changes at the canter.  Sideways towards suddenly got easy.

And today I had a lovely session.  He started off a little on the edge, but I gave him some tasks and leadership and had a partner with me.  We played some at liberty and he was super enthused and stuck to me when I turned away from him (I've been working for a while at getting him to stick with me when I turn away, instead of continuing in a straight line).  I was just so happy with how quickly he went from nervous to trusting and confident and playful.

Then the vet came for health certificate (ah, I leave for Florida in a week!), and Cal was instantly tense.  When we were done, the vet just had to give his 2 cents on Parelli.  "You know, those rope halters aren't as kind as they're made out to be.  Those knots are right over pressure points."  And I told him that if my horse was light, the halter was light.  And he just repeated himself.  Afterwards, I was wondering why some really simple conversation was bothering me so much, and I realized because in his undertones, what he was really saying was "Using rope halters is cruel."

I wish in answer to his first comment he made about the halter, I had simply been able to say, "Thank you for your concern," and stop it there.  It's so easy to tell others what they're doing wrong.  But don't we all just do the best we can?  So here's a reminder to me to keep my judgements to myself and be more encouraging and accepting instead of restricting, and also to know that yes, I am doing the best I can for my horse, no matter what someone else sees or thinks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Parelli Weekend

Just an update on my weekend with 3* instructor Tina Giordano.

Had a private lesson on Friday.  Nothing really humungous to mention.  He was magically doing super changes of direction, though.  Got a flying change, one in each direction even!  And then we spent some time with circling game and just building RRC to the point where he stops looking to the outside of the circle so much and bends himself on the circle.  Tina told me that when you get to level 4, it becomes a lot less about technique, and much more about experimentation, reading everything at a deeper level, timing, and time (things don't change as fast as they could in the early levels).

Saturday there was nothing I was participating in, so it was all watching, hanging out, and soaking up the lovely Parelli people and environment.  A Parelli friend who was there went for a trail ride with me.  It was absolutely gorgeous, blue skies, perfect weather, and the most lovely, well-maintained trails.

Then on Sunday I had an impromptu lesson with Lori, to help her get her 10 hours teaching freestyle to become a 2* instructor.  I had some different tasks I hadn't played with much pointed out to me.  Also discovered that I could do leg yields at the walk without touching my reins; what a pleasant surprise!

And Sunday afternoon was the trail riding workshop.  At the beginning it was pouring and I was really questioning whether I wanted to do this.  But then it cleared and there was the most gorgeous light shining through, contrasting with the dark clouds.  Half the class ended up going for the trail ride with Lori (1* instructor) and Mollie (2* instructor), while the other half had some various things they worked on with Tina (and had some cool breakthroughs and discoveries).  I was on the trail ride, and had a delightful time, especially watching Lori in the lead, who was driving her mare.  It was a hoot to watch them go through a shallow pond!  And, of course, had some great reminders from Mollie about fluidity during the ride and helping the horses behind you.  All the horses really started managing their space much better by the end of the ride.

Can't wait to get my pictures from Coco, who I met for the first time this weekend!

I learned a lot less from this clinic as I have from previous ones, and I think that's to be expected.  The big thing clinics have become for me is inspiration, and reminding me about heart and desire (which was suffering for me a bit).  It's so great to be surrounded by so many positive people!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I forgot!

I got so caught up in my own head and the not so great stuff, I forgot to mention...I passed my liberty audition with a 3+.  =D  Comments: Nice job on your Figure 8 and great spins! As you progress, work on your draw to improve your change of directions.

Officially level 3!  Yippee!
"When things get challenging it really tests your principles and ability to stay passively persistent in the proper position, not get frustrated, not get mad, not get impatient, not expect things to be better than they are, just be there for the horse when he makes a new decision.  You have to be 100% present, in the moment, without judgment or the horse will feel it.  You have to put the horse first."

Haha...Doesn't it sometimes feel like things are written directly to you?  =P

Been feeling a bit better about playing lately.  I don't feel like I'm at my best for a lesson I have on friday and workshop on Sunday, though.  (Though very excited to see Tina again, and all the other Parelli friends I haven't seen for so long!)  And, just because, here's a pic I took of Cal this morning in some impromptu running together.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Melodramatic Moanings

I've had a horrible week of sessions with Cal.  He spent the time jumping at fences, snorting at logs, being connected with everything but me.  I laughed at it (while doing my best to fix it).  Then I got depressed by it (still trying to make things better).  Then I got determined to change something.

Which sounds good maybe.  Oh yes, let's go out with a different plan.  Experiment.  And all I'm looking for is a change.  (Specifically, a change that would involve less nerves about the world, some trust in me, asking questions, being a partner....anything along those lines.)

So I've been just pulling him out of the pasture to where I want to play, ignoring any small issues on the way (such as going through gates, or walking past stuff he doesn't like).  Alright, today I was going to play with it all.  I stood by the fence letting him snort at it, and finally lick and chew; sideways along it for more licking and chewing.  Finally breathing easy again, headed out.  Onto spending 2 hours of seeing if I could be light and he could be light.  We moseyed for a bit, as he didn't want to go far from the pasture.  Some blowing and a little relaxing, and he was no longer totally in the grass.

Alright, progress.  So I started asking for light yields.  Using intention first, how light could I get sideways, back up, hindquarter yields.  Okay, so he was a bit slow to catch on.  I kept having to pick up the stick for sideways.  Back-up he would get aout 10 ft with lightness, and then start eating.  Hindquarter yields worked if I was close.  Well, sure, that's all good, stuff to focus on.  What do I have two hours later?  Still ignoring me, not light, no connection.

Uh huh.  Change.  Riiiight.

I lost my temper and got totally frustrated and angry at Cal, and now I'm totally frustrated and angry at myself.  How can I be determined every day to go out, and do something different, and have it end like this?  Horses are like this addiction to me, I want to be so good, and always wish I could stop wanting it at the same time.  I don't believe I'm ever going to get where I want.  Definitely not going to unless I believe.

I've been here so many times before.  I'll believe I can change something again, and again end up completely burned out that it didn't happen.  I hate change.  Stupid, elusive thing.

Oh, and I also hate posts like this, because I feel like such a whiner.  =P

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Canter to me!

Today the plan was to go into the arena, and play with, yet again, those elusive changes of direction.  (I felt like I was on the verge of a breakthrough yesterday, and then asked for too much and everything fell apart.)  But once in the indoor, Cal didn't want to stick around to halter.  So I went to play with having him catch me better, and our session turned into a liberty one instead.

The beginning was all about warming up and waiting for him to feel good about the arena and our communication, as he was holding in some tension.  I paid particular attention to how light I was being and where his thresholds were.  It took him a little while, but he eventually licked and chewed and let some tension out, and then we could really play.

I improved our canter-stop stick-to-me transitions.  Did some figure-8 in the open arena (vs. the edge of the round corral, which is where I've been doing it).  And then I itched him some as a reward, and suddenly, he was desparate to for more.  Haha.  So I did some problem solving with my sideways towards (he would just swing his butt around and end up doing a spin, so I had to get the front end moving, too), and got the working pretty well.  Threw in some trotting sideways away from me.  Was getting some great enthusiasm with cantering, and he was stuck to me when I asked him to stick close and did a tight circle.

And theeeen, I played with some yo-yo games.  Started with about 45' back and asking for a quick bring back.  Ended up with him probably at 100' away, and cantering back to me!  Yahoo!

Getting my horse to canter to me has been on that list of things of I reeaaally wanted.  (The dream list of: being able to ride anywhere bareback and bridleless, have my horse come running over, playing at liberty in wide open spaces...all with a willing partner.)  Feeling pretty good today!  I wish I didn't take forever to figure things out, but at least they're happening eventually!  =P

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Taping Terrors!

Okay, so the title’s a bit of an exaggeration.  But, really, there’s something about video-taping that sucks the savvy out of me.  If things don’t go perfectly, I panic, thinking “Oh no, it’s not perfect!  Eek!  What do I do now?”  And all those things I might normally do are gone and I think, “Oh, I’ll just do this,” paying no attention to my horse in a futile effort to redo the pathetic first attempt.
So whenever I tape, I have to constantly be telling myself, “Pay attention to your horse!”  I did decent in my latest liberty attempt.  Not on par with our usual sessions, but for taping, I’m happy.  The main spot I notice is the end, where I go to yo-yo Cal through the gate.  He got a little nervous and rushed backwards.  If I had paid attention to him and let him stand there and lick and chew, I’m sure he would have come right back.  Instead, my taping demon came out and I thought, “He’s nervous!  What if I can’t get him back?!  Panic!  Ask him back now!  Hurry!" Not polite, and it’s only reasonable Cal didn’t come right on back.
In any case, I think it’s good enough for my audition.  I've just sent it in.  And now, I just need to repeat to myself a million times, "I will be happy whatever the results are."  =D  Haha.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Liberty Fun

I know I shouldn't let myself get all worked up about some things (see last post), because I always end up feeling all icky about it and then not playing with Cal for a few days.  When I went out today to play, I was not feeling so sure about it....and then decided, why am I thinking about this so much?

I then turned him loose, and just decided to have fun.  Ran around doing canter stick-to-me and transitions, trotting figure-8's, spins, sideways, run to stand on the pedestal, squeeze between barrels, jump the barrels, jump a single barrel....all without putting on the pressure I normally do.  And guess was nice.  Hahaha.  I get so intense about things sometimes, it just makes things awful.

We were rocking the spins today!  I used the technique for doing spins on the circle, but at a close range, because it's hard for me to do them on the circle because our changes of direction tend to fail.  Still sweet, though  After I got Cal to jump the barrel once, and gave him itches afterwards, he got really enthusiastic about it. horse!  Love it!  Oh, oh, and I even got some okay changes of direction!  Aaaaand, his draw was superb!  Trotting over without me asking, and even cantering over once.  (He tends to stay in the trot as long as he can; cantering is a big deal!)

Yup, I'm all giddy and hardly writing well, but who cares.  Yahoo!  =D

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My horse is perfect except...

...he's terrified of electric fences.  If there was one thing I could change about him right now, that would be it.  (Okay, that was a lie.  If I could magically change one thing, it would be for him to be talented at jumping.)

I just spent a two and a half hour long session trying to ride calmy by an open electric gate.  *sigh*  One of the more frustrating days I've had recently.

Ironically, I had gone out riding with the goal of finding relaxation while riding without playing first.  Because I know if I warm him up well online, then there's no issues riding.  And you may think, well then, just warm him up well the every time.  Unfortunately, I've discovered that's really lowered my riding savvy, and when I do run into unconfidence after I'm on I have a lot less arrows than I'd like.  Cal also trusts me a lot less on his back.  It's no problem for me to stay on, so why not just jump in and try and work this out riding?  And really, to have Cal confident enough to do something riding right now, I have to do it on the ground first.  Do I seriously want to walk my horse on a trail before I get to ride him?  Lol.  I need more riding savvy.

In any case, Cal never really relaxed today.  All we managed was to walk stiffly with a high-head past the fence, vs the beginning where we were 20 ft' away and snorting and shying.  Ugh.  Whatever Pat says about it not taking longer than 2 days, I know accumulative over the past 3 years I've spent a lot more than that playing with this stupid fence issue.

I'm bummed out and hoping tomorrow's better.  (And trying not to be negative and bummed out right now.  Haha.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fluidity Saddle!!!!!

My fluidity saddle came today!!!!!!  Finally got some good change of directions with Cal online!  Then had a nice ride, playing with circles and transitions.  I'm so happy to ride english again!


About to disengage while warming-up online.  And no riding pics because my photographer left.  =P