Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ruffian: My plan worked!!

August 30 2010

I couldn't believe it, my plan had actually worked! Ruffian didn't try once through out our whole play time to get away. His mind was engaged elsewhere... on what I was asking him to do! 
I did have a lot planned. One thing to be exact. That was all I wanted to do, but with excellence! So we set out to do it. Before we went up to the riding ring how ever we played at Liberty a little bit down in the corral. All I wanted to do was to go from the shelter to the gate (which is on the other side of the corral) and that was where I would halter Ruffian. He however was having a hard time with that. So here is what I did...

Mr. Parelli says "Nose, neck maybe the feet" right? Well that goes both good and bad ways. The first thing Ruffian has to do when he is going to leave is turn his nose away, then his neck and then his feet. So what I did was as soon as Ruffian turned his head away, even if it wasn't for him to leave, I asked him to disengage his hindquarters. That worked really well. The first couple times Ruffian left and ignored it but pretty soon my timing got better and he got more interested. 

Then we had to play some friendly game with the carrot stick because Ruffian was a little bit worried about that. Once he was okay with that again we continued on. I think I am finally beginning to realized where I went wrong with Ruffian, and when he decided to make up his own games. There were a couple play times when everything went really well but my heart wasn't really in it. I was bored and Ruffian was about to get bored (or very well could have been bored already) and then that was when it happened and he started making up his own, more interesting games. 

Once we got up to the riding ring we did some Touch it, sideways and some really small simple, yet interesting, things. Ruffian didn't try and get away so we then carried out my plan. I put Ruffian on a "spot" and asked him to stay (ground tying) while I set up two poles, one on each side of the circle, I brought the ball in and also through some tires around. Then we started! I sent Ruffian off on the circle and at first what we did was basic walk-trot transitions at each pole. So I would ask Ruffian to walk from one pole to the other, transition into the trot and then trot from that pole to the other one, walk again etc etc. The moment that I felt that Ruffian got it I switched it. I wasn't going to let him have any time to make up his own game. 

Then we started doing full circles at the trot then stopping right over the pole, halt-trot transitions, lots of things at the halt, walk and trot. At first Ruffian was kind of interested but not totally but as soon as he started getting really interested I could tell because his one ear was always turned towards me and the other was forward, the belly of the rope went on the ground and Ruffian's trot come really smooth but at the same time energetic (but not RB). It was so cool! 
We switched directions and did some the other way and then we quit. Ruffian had a long rest and finally he licked and chewed. In the mean time I came up with one more thing. I wanted Ruffian to push the ball from where it was by the fence to in between the fence and the tractor tire. It something simple but I knew it would challenge us because Ruffian would much rather flatten the ball then push it. It didn't take long before he figured out to push it and then we had to get going in the right direction but all of a sudden Ruffian seemed to have gotten it and he started putting a lot more effort into pushing it. It was really something!! 

Once we got to the tire we quit and then after a bit I let Ruffian go. He stayed with me though and even once I opened the gate he still stayed with me. So we just hung out for a bit before heading down to the corral. 

I couldn't believe how well it went. God really gave me the wisdom that I needed and I am so thankful! I hope that our next play times go just as well and for that to happen I have to be just as prepared! 


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Knightly: The importance of having a good foundation...

August 27 2010

This morning I started off playing with and riding Knightly. It was so much fun! The main thing I learned was that having a good, solid foundation is so important! My mom has done an amazing job putting an amazing foundation on Knightly and that allowed me to come in and do a lot of advanced things because Knightly knows the basics, even though he may choose not to respond ;)

I put my saddle up him and then we went up to the riding ring. We played with quite a bit but the major things were getting the sent snappy and happy, zone 5 driving with one line, leading by the tail, change of directions, rhythm, relaxation and connection on the circle (I knew that he could do it and he did well at the trot so we played with it at the faster trot and canter), jumping a single barrel, sideways, getting more lightness, speed and distance on the back up, Touch it, and Figure eights. Knightly did really well and we both had fun. 

Then we rode. While we rode we basically played with walk-trot transitions a long the rail, extreme friendly game, 9 step back up, Figure eights, Touch it (we got all four feet on the pedestal!) direct and in direct rein. At first after we did some trotting Knightly`s adrenaline came up a bit so we did like what I did with Prince, every time Knightly sped up in the walk we would turn in a circle then keep going. That really helped and he relaxed and then we did more walk to trot transitions and Knightly was much more mentally and emotionally connected.

All in all it was a great playtime, yes everything didn`t go perfectly but we were able to advance some things and I was also able to play with some things that Mom was having some trouble with :)


Friday, August 27, 2010

Prince: The power of transitions...

August 25 2010

Today Prince and I had a much more successful playtime in both the tasks we did, the results we got, and the progress we make. I planned my work and worked my plan and it make a huge difference! 
I decided to do 20 laps on the circle, each direction at a trot. We haven't that in a while so I thought it would be good to see where they were at and how we could improve them. Well they were beyond amazing, Prince blew my socks off!! He found the rhythm, relaxation and connection after one lap and from there he kept it through out the whole 20 laps. It was incredible!! To the right he cantered the first 3 laps so I asked him to come down into the trot and he then trotted the rest. I was simple blown away! It was like all of a sudden Prince was so connected to me and it was incredible!! 

Then we did a couple other things just to make sure Prince was ready to ride. We did jumping a single barrel, all I have to do now is point and Prince will either walk or trot up to the barrel (depending on what I ask for) and Prince will jump it and 9 out of 10 times he will clear it. Then we did some sideways at a a trot with out a fence, oh and can't forget Figure eights! Prince did really, really well. He softly trotted them and I was in neutral the whole time.

After that we rode!!! I decided not to canter today because I knew that it wouldn't be fair to Prince. I knew that I had done something to mess up my body and that was why I couldn't get the canter departures right. So I decided to play with our walk and trot. We did Follow the rail.  with just my body and a savvy string for back up if Prince didn't respond. Then we did circles. Prince was so light and I only had to use my reins once or twice. The rest of the time Prince responded to me body. We did some really nice circles, it helped that Prince had made a pretty nice track in the dirt when he was doing the circles Online ;) I could see where we were supposed to be going. 

We also did Figure eights, which were the best that they have every been!! We stayed at the walk and after a couple Figure eights Prince walked the whole pattern and I didn't have to use my carrot stick once!! It was amazing!! Prince was so light and I could feel him responding to my body. It felt like we were truly one and that we were working together to do the pattern. What a feeling!

Then after that I wanted to play with some transitions more. Prince would still get faster at the trot around the ends and at certain spots in the riding ring so every time he got faster we would go in a circle away from the fence and back again and keep going in the same direction. Slowly but surely Prince started to relax. It took a while though but Prince started getting the rhythm and relaxation. Plus we got some really nice small circles. It felt really good to have a plan and even though it didn't work right from the start it still worked and I was able to stay calm, cool and collected even though Prince wasn't totally calm and relaxed, and that made a big difference. 

The whole time I just rode with my carrot stick and savvy string as back up for my body but Prince did so well and was so light that even when we trotted the circles I only needed to use my carrot stick lightly. It was really cool. We then went into the center and relaxed on the pedestal and then I got off.
It is definitely a new feeling to have Prince to light and responsive, and I don't even know how it happened!! I think that watching the Level 4 Freestyle DVD really helped me gain a new expectation of where I want our riding to be, and Prince must read that in me because he is trying harder and we are making so much progress!! It is really amazing. 

Until next time!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Twosox: Online & Liberty

August 24 2010

Twosox and I had a really nice playtime this morning. We did some traveling circles, sideways, Touch it from different zones and from different distances, and we did a little bit of zone 5 driving with one rein. Then once we did all that we played at Liberty! It was fun. We did some stick to me first and then I lined the barrels up and my end goal was to have Twosox jump the barrels, turn, face and wait, and then put his right foot in a tire. First though I didn't want to make any assumptions and knowing that Twosox sometimes has a little bit of trouble jumping... he jumps okay but he gets a little bit unconfident about it, I first asked him to squeeze between me and the barrels. He did that well and the first couple times he turn and faced me so we left that and then played with getting him to put his foot in the tire. He figured that out quickly and so then I asked him to squeeze between me and the barrels once more before I asked him to jump them but this time he went through okay but then ran off. 

At first I wasn't sure if it was unconfidence or dominance but pretty soon I figured out it was dominance. So I would ask him to come back, which he would do and then we would go back to the barrels. After that happened twice I knew that it wasn't going to be fixed at Liberty so I just looped the 22ft rope around his next loosely so that I could support what I was asking, which was to turn face and wait. That helped and a couple times of jumping the barrels and asking Twosox to turn and face me I didn't have to even use the rope. He listened really well. 
So it was really interesting and fun at the same time. Hopefully it will keep getting better over the next couple session :) 


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Prince: Putting my own words into practice!

August 24 2010

So today I had the chance to put my own words into practice and not let some things that didn't quite go right in our playtime to make the whole thing seem bad. Let me explain... our riding ring is about 55ft by 100ft, give or take a little. We made it as big as we could but we live right on part of the Canadian shield and so we have.... how do I say this, A LOT OF ROCKS!!!! So when we were building our riding ring we went as far as we could. Some of the posts are about 4 inches in the ground and cribbed. Now all that so say that it was the perfect size when there was two of us playing in Level 1, on 12ft lines and not doing a whole lot of fast pace stuff. But get two humans and horses in there, cantering around Online on 22ft lines (there is not enough room for the 45ft line) and doing lots of stuff it is seeming smaller and smaller each and every day.

Then normally we are okay while we are riding. Mom and I kind of work it that when she is doing something bigger, like Follow the rail, I am doing something like sideways. That was we stay out of each others way. But even now, since I am cantering more and more we are running into each other and it is hard. So all that to say two things.... all you guys out there that have big arenas, for my sake never take them for granted. And two, today while Prince and I were playing, the RBI side of me came through and I felt very claustrophobic! 

Our playtime started off really well. Prince cantered 6 laps each way with connection for the most part. I was really happy with that. We also did some transitions, and changes of direction. We also did jumping, sideways, Touch it, a little bit of zone 5 driving, and Stick to me at the walk/trot/ and canter. One thing I noticed was that when we went into the canter Prince would canter really fast... so I started thinking, what am I doing? I realized that he was just copying me. So I started cantering slower in my body and guess what?!? Prince started cantering slower. You never would have guessed right ;) To the left was a lot easier and Prince caught on quickly but to the right Prince still sped up so we shall have to play with that. One other thing I noticed was that Prince picks up the left lead a lot easier than the right. Hmmm.... now interesting. So when Prince is going to the right, if he goes calmly into the canter he will get the right lead but if he speeds up into the trot first and then canters he will counter canter. 

What came to mind as I was playing with Prince today was one thing Mrs. Parelli said at the Ohio Celebration... "It is a change of gait, not speed". Interesting eh? So that was one thing I played with, and am going to continue playing with.

After that I got on and rode. We started off with some Follow the rail, using just a savvy string and carrot stick. I couldn't get over how light Prince was! It was like he was a totally different horse! Hardly ever did I have to use my carrot stick. We did half turns, full turns, transitions and lots more. Then we played with sideways. Prince does well once we are going sideways but the hard part for him seems to be getting going. He tries but we are still having some trouble. I think we are on the edge of getting it though. We shall just keep playing with it. 

Where things got a bit more "How interesting/ Oh boy" like was when I asked Prince to canter. The first time he offered to canter!!! Which totally shocked me but I reward that and we had a nice little rest. Prince would go into the canter pretty well and would canter nicely but there was something in my body that just wasn't right. I am pretty sure that it has something to do with the fact that my arm, back and leg are out of line and so I am hoping that once I go to the chiropractor in Thursday it will be easier. I just can't explain it so hopefully that will be the answer. Prince was trying really hard but I was getting it wrong. After we got some nicer trot to canter transitions I decided to end there. 
Then we went and did some circles. I am not sure if it was me not getting it right or Prince trying to hard but I think it was a combination of both. I was having a really hard time focusing and Prince was offering really small circles and so everything didn't go quite right. Hopefully next day it will go better. 

I think part of the issue was that Prince was just so light and I am not used to that. He was responding so well and so I really had to get lighter because he was over responding, well he was doing what I was asking but I didn't know that I was asking for it ;)

The last thing we did was we played with our trotting. Prince would trot really nice and relaxed along the rail and then on the ends he would speed up really fast. So we tried different things but nothing seemed to be working. Once it got a little bit better though I got off. I needed to get some new strategies and it was getting hot and we were both tired :) 

What added to the whole thing was the fact that we were basically going in circles because of the size of the riding ring. So both Prince and I being who we are, that got really tiring after while... not to mention boring. Plus we were trying to not run into mom and Knightly. 

I have a lot to think about but I am confident that I will learn a lot from this session and be better prepared for our next one.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Twosox: Haltering with excellence

August 23 2010

I didn't do a whole lot with Twosox today. We mainly focused on the catching game and on haltering. Twosox has gotten better but of course it could be a lot better. He will turn and face me but he still has some trouble coming to me. I am not sure if it is a "No I won't come to you" or a "I can't come to you" so I am still playing with that and testing different things. Until I know for sure I am treating it like he is more on the unconfident scale because of his horsenality (RBI/LBI) but I could very well be wrong ;) 

After Twosox came over to me we played around with haltering and such. Twosox did well and was very soft. Then we did some sideways, a little bit of backing up using the porcupine game and just some other small things. Then we just hung out before I let him go. I guess it kind of blew Twosox's mind because he stayed with me for a while before moseying off :) 


Ruffian: Online and Liberty

August 23 2010

Ruffian and I had a really good play time after I had finished playing with Prince. We did Transitions, Change of directions, jumping, sideways, yo-yo's (getting them lighter and with more speed and distance), Falling Leaf, and lots more. One thing I noticed was that ever since Ruffian got away on me that one day I have been a little bit more leery about going to phase 4. So I started nagging him more, not knowing it of course. But I realized it today as we were playing and so I was able to stop myself from nagging him and things started going even better.

It is so interesting how these little things creep up on us and we don't even realize it!! It is almost scary :) Once we had played Online for a while we played at Liberty and had a lot of fun. Ruffian can tend to go more introverted at Liberty... or when we are doing any savvy other than Online for that matter. So I didn't want to push him to far, so we did some Stick to me, Touch it, and Sideways and then we ended. He still stayed with me through after I opened the gate so we walked down the hill together. It was really a great playtime from start to finish! 


Prince: Testing our circles.

August 23 2010

Today kind of started off different. Mom and I went out to play but then it started raining. Neither of us wanted to play in the rain, especially since it has been raining since Saturday and everything is very wet and really rather muddy. So we decided to go back inside and see what it was like in an hour. It was still raining so we just waited. Around 11:00 it cleared up and so I went out. 
While it was raining though I watched some of the Level 4 Freestyle DVD. I hadn't had a chance to watch it since I got it and I really didn't feel that I was ready to watch it but now I feel that both Prince and I are ready, even though we are doing a lot of Level 4 Freestyle tasks already. I have to say, I was not disappointed! It was amazing!! Actually, amazing doesn't even come close. I haven't watched it all yet but I am taking it bit by bit and I really want to get this right. 

So I was very mush inspired to go out and ride but my mom wasn't feeling well so she couldn't come out. That was okay though. Prince and I had a blast playing Online and setting up for some really nice transitions and purity of gait the next time we can ride. 

My older brother helped me fix the riding ring rails that are broken. I was just so tired of seeing them broken ;) So we fixed that and then I played with Prince. We mainly focused on circles. I wanted to test them to really see where they are at and that way I know where to improve. I was really impressed by them to say the least. Prince was amazing! We did tones of transitions. Walk to canter, canter to halt, trot to canter to halt, halt-walk-trot-canter-trot-walk-halt-backup. You name it we probably did it ;)

Our change of directions are getting really good also. They are so light! We many different changes of directions, and at many different speeds and combination. It really got Prince engaged and connected. We both had so much fun!

Then we played at Liberty! Prince stayed with me the whole time and we did jumping, sideways down the fence while I kept my feet still, Touch it, Stick to me, and circles! We didn't get a complete circle but considering it wasn't in a round corral I was pretty impressed. So far we are at somewhere between 1/2 a circle and 3/4 of a circle. Reward the slightest try ;)

Then just to do something fun and different I opened the gate, backed Prince through it and then unhaltered him from part way down the hill. It was a fun way to end and even though Prince could have left he stayed with me even after I unhaltered him! It was so much fun!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Following the instructions... a lesson from my younger brother.

This morning I was sitting on the couch looking for something in one of the level packs and my youngest brother was sitting on the floor looking at some instructions for a Lego set he wants to build. As I was sitting there M2 asked me if I could help him figure out where to start. So I got down on the floor and showed him that you have to start at step number one and then follow the steps in order. The first couple steps he had already completed, which were finding the Lego men and getting the row boat (it was for a pirate hideout). I somehow think that he didn't quite want me to show him how to start but how to make the start easier... but that will be for another blog post ;)

He then turned the page and was looking at the steps for building the actual hideout when he said something to this effect "I am going to skip that step because it is to hard, and that one too, they are to hard. I am going to start at this step" I replied something like this "You can try but I think you will find that it will only get harder and harder if you don't start at the first step" M2 replied "Well they are only little pieces and I don't think they really matter that much" then after a couple minutes at looking at the instructions he looks at me and says... "I am just going to make my own hideout and not worry about these instructions. It is to hard" And so he proceeded to build his own pirate hideout, his own way.

Now this got me thinking. How many times in our horsemanship journey do we say the same thing... "This is to hard, I am just going to do it my own way" or "This is such a small task it won't make a difference if I skip it" We think that we can do it better ourselves and it will turn out just fine. Which it very well might turn out okay but what my younger brother failed to realize was that each block in that set has a purpose, none of them are "not important". The people who put that set together knew exactly what they were doing. Now I know that with Lego you are supposed to mix and match sets and be creative... I enjoyed doing that just as much as my little brothers when I was their age. It is fun! But I also loved following the instructions step by step and building a set. I think that might have had an impact on who I am today... but anyway back to my point :)

Mr. and Mrs. Parelli have set out a step by step program for us to follow. They have given us instructions, guides, support, information, and so much more. But we will only get the end result if we follow the program! If we skip a step here and there because we think it is to hard the next step won't work because it needs the previous step. It will only get harder and be more confusing because we didn't take the time to learn what the previous step was.

I have seen so many people blame the Parelli program for not working when in truth it is the person who skipped some important, yet seemingly small, steps. Or they just didn't want to take the time to work through it because it was to hard. It is the little things that can make the biggest difference... what does Mr. Parelli say "Do simple things with excellence" "Take the time it takes to it will take less time" "Trust the process".

Everyone is on their own journey and they have the freedom to choose their own path, but for myself I have chosen to trust the process and trust the Parelli's who have taken so much of their life to learn and teach us. They have set out and pathway for us to learn, one that I have chosen to follow. They are much wiser than I am and I respect their wisdom. I have chosen to take the time it takes, no matter how long it takes, and do each step even if I don't understand why. So far it has proven to be worthwhile. Yes it has been hard at times. Thing don't make sense but when I look back I can see why I wouldn't have wanted to miss that important step even though it was hard, mentally, emotionally and or physically.

Like my little brother, some people chose to give up and make their own creation, their own journey. That is their decision. But from what I have seen it never works the same. It may just be my personality that likes guidelines, rules, structure, order etc but I think that it is more than that. Myself, and thousands of other people have experienced the same success by following the program... by trusting the process.


Quote for August 23, 2010

"You are responsible for your horses confidence" Mr. Parelli

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Twosox: Putting it together...

August 19 2010

 Today Twosox and I had a bigger session than we have been having. It was a lot of fun! We did quite a bit but we took everything at a good pace and I think that all in all it went well. 

We started out with Falling Leaf, then we did traveling circles and Figure eights. Twosox was amazing! He did really well. I was really pleased at how well he did on the Figure eights. They weren't perfect but they were pretty nice considering we haven't done them in a while. 

We also did Jumping, Sideways (that has gotten a lot better!) and we did some porcupine games. Twosox's back up has stayed pretty good. I am doing more porcupine and driving backing up right now just to make sure that it is solid before we go to the yo-yo. So far it has worked well and today when I asked Twosox to back up faster he responded to my energy and matched it. I was really happy with that. 


Prince: Online and Freestyle Progress!

August 19 2010

Prince and I had a really cool playtime today. He was incredible! We did Figure eights, which were much better then yesterdays and Prince was way more connected. Our circles were amazing. Prince cantered 6 circles to the left and about 4 to the right. He would have kept going but I brought him in. 

My mom needed some help with transitions so I demonstrated them with Prince. Then I asked Prince to walk some circles then we played with changes of directions at the walk. It was really neat and I saw where a little problem is. So we played with that and pretty soon all I had to do was turn, make eye contact and then back up a step and Prince would change direction, and maintain gait. It was fun to do something totally different and ask Prince to walk the circles, because recently we have been focusing on cantering so it kind of blew his mind ;)

Then we did some other smaller things like some one line, zone 5 driving, jumping and some other stuff. One thing we played with that we haven't done in a while was I asked Prince to come to me, jump the barrels and then back up to them. We haven't done it in a while and so I wasn't sure how Prince was going to do but he did it perfectly!! I couldn't believe it! It was fun!!

Then I got on and we rode! We had an amazing ride. We started off with some Direct and Indirect rein, then I got the crazy idea to see if we could jump the barrels. Very much unplanned but I knew that I had prepared Prince Online enough so we headed off. The barrels were already set up anyways so that helped. The first time Prince did amazingly well and it didn't feel to bad but I lost my balance a little bit and that messed it up. So I gave Prince a rest and then I asked again. This time it felt better and but Prince tripped over the barrel a little but I still rewarded it. I figured out what I need to do (or what I thought I needed to do) and so we set out more more time. Prince trotted nicely up to the barrel and jumped right over it no problem (on a loose rein too!) and it felt a whole lot better.

Of course it will take time to be really fluid when we jump but it will get there. I am just really proud of Prince!! And I am happy that I was totally confident! I think that since I have started cantering my confidence has really skyrocketed!! 

After that we did Transitions. At first when ever I asked Prince to trot he would trot really really fast as if he was going to canter. So we did lots of downward transitions until he relaxed and realized that what I wanted was the trot. Then once we got some nice relaxed trot I asked for the canter. He did well. But I think that we both could have done a lot better. I strongly believe that a major factor was that I was still sore from my play time with Ruffian yesterday and so I couldn't ask for the canter right. I was stiff. So it wasn't Prince's fault in the least. Poor guy :( He still tried really hard and we got some really nice canter after some trot to canter transitions. 

One thing that really helped was sitting on my thumb! That was incredible! Right from the second I started Prince started blowing and I felt completely in harmony with him. It was amazing! So I made sure to do that from then on and it helped. 

The hardest part for me is still getting into the canter. I am not asking quite right and it is messing both Prince and I up. I have to concentrate really hard on it and get the pattern. It will come though and I am confident about that. I can see the progress slowing coming :) This up coming week I am going to really focus on our trot to canter transitions. I know that if I can get those right everything else will fall into place.

Cantering to the left was interesting. It just showed me that what happens Online does effect your riding. Prince would canter around the end but would turn, as if he was circling. When Prince canters on the circle Online he will canter a 15ft circle or so and so when we were cantering to the left it carried over. So we played with that until Prince cantered along the fence and then we quit. Prince gave me a really nice canter too! :)

So I know what I will need to play with for the next little while but I am happy with the progress we are making.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

What is a good play session?

So after right my last blog post about Ruffian's and my playtime I got to thinking about what is a good play time? How do we define it?

I didn't really come up with any definite answers but I think that it has a lot to do with perspective. It depends on what you are expecting to get out of a session. If what you want is to get results in the way of tasks being accomplished and things happening then if things go wrong, that most likely wouldn't be a good session right? I am not saying that you shouldn't do tasks and such, because I think that they are very important and if you don't then it will be very easy to get boring. But remember... it is all about the relationship!

If you are looking for improvement mentally, emotionally and physically, if you are looking for better communication, if you are looking for never ending self improvement, then no matter what the play session looks like you will always be able to learn something... and if you are looking at it from the right perspective, it will be a good play time.

My playtime with Ruffian the other day didn't go the best if I looked at it from the point of view that the tasks went wrong but if I look at it from the point of view of "What can a learn from what happened?" "Was it something that I was doing that caused Ruffian to want to get away?". So after I thought about it I figured out that it was a good playtime because it is going to, and has, tested me to become a better partner for my horse.

So I guess the main point for this blog post is just when ever you are thinking about your recent play session, a task that you and your horse just did, anything... think about it from the perspective of it being a learning experience. And also maybe think about how you will look back on it in a year to come... I bet you wouldn't think about it in the same way as you do today. Because you will know what you have learned from it.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and learn a lot... and it might just come in a way you least expect it :)


Ruffian: A better session...

August 19 2010

Ruffian and I had a really good playtime this morning. I am the type of person that is something didn't go well and I know how I could have done better, I just want tot go right back out and fix it. So this morning I played with Ruffian first. The first thing that I noticed was that when I asked Ruffian to disengage his hindquarters he would do it but then go internal, not for long but his head would be high and it was braced. So I just waited and when he started lowering his head and blinking we carried on. I made sure to pay more attention though to how he handled everything else I asked.

Ruffian only tried to get away once and I caught it just as his head was turning. After that though he didn't try again and we did some nice circles, Figure eights, sideways, Touch it, jumping, and Weave. So I was really happy with our play time and at the end Ruffian was asking loads of questions!! I made sure to keep our session short though that way we would end on a good note!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Prince: Taking it easy...

August 18 2010

After I played with Ruffian was sore in a couple places (back, right arm and knee) so I decided that I would just take it easy with Prince. I didn't want to miss a session with him because the weather was so nice and I only have four days a week that I can ride (those are the days when my mom is out playing with Knightly). So I didn't saddle Prince but we just rode bareback. 

We started out Online [of course ;)], and did some sideways, jumping a single barrel, falling Leaf, circles and Figure eights. Figure eights were interesting. Prince decided to make up a new figure eight, which didn't include the barrels ;) So we slowed it right down and went at the walk so that I could fix the problem. Prince was basically making assumptions and wasn't listening to me at all, he was just running around and turning when he got to each barrel... I am not exactly sure why yet but I have some ideas to what might have caused him to learn that.  After we slowed it down things went better and we ended when things were much better. 

Then we did circles! But this time I changed it up quite a bit. There was a barrel about 3ft from the fence and I asked Prince to canter around in a circle and then stop between the barrel and the fence. He caught on really quickly so after doing that a couple times I would ask him to canter through and not stop. 

Once that was going really well we did traveling circles over to the pedestal area and I asked Prince to trot around in a circle and then stop on the pedestal. At first it was just the front feet and then once he understood that I asked for all four feet (that tested my timing!!) and then the back feet. The back feet were a little harder but we took our time and slowly I could see it was starting to happen. At first Prince would stop on the other side of the pedestal but pretty soon he would stop closer and closer until one time he kept one hind foot on and then the next time around he stopped perfectly! It was fun and it really helped out connection.

Even though Prince was kind of sweaty I still got on and rode... it wasn't the nicest feeling riding a wet horse but we still had fun. We played with Sideways and pushing the ball mainly. Mom and I played a little game where we had to get the horses to push the ball to each other. It was really fun even with the added challenge of the hill in the riding ring sometimes sending the ball in totally the wrong direction ;) It was really neat to test our skills, especially because at times if you weren't in the right place at the right time you would loose the ball. So it really tested our communication and how quickly the horses responded to us when we asked.

I had to trim Knightly this morning so I didn't ride long. But it was nice for Prince and I to have shorter ride and not really focus on anything of the things we have been playing with lately :)


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ruffian: Good patterns and bad patterns.

August 18 2010

Well. This morning was definitely an interesting one. I played with Ruffian to start off the morning and it definitely had lots of "OH BOY" moments. I am not exactly sure what happened but basically I saw that there can be good patterns and then there can be bad patterns.

Ruffian learned a bad pattern this morning and then I spent the rest of our play time trying to break it. It is amazing how horses can learn patterns we don't want them to learn and it takes a long time to break them but they can take a long time learning good patterns and they fall apart quickly... Hmmm... shall have to think about that one ;) 

We Ruffian and I started off with Figure eights. He didn't seem to have a whole lot of energy so I thought it would be a good pattern to start off with. Well I guess I had a 50/50 chance and this was one of those times that I got the other 50!!! Ruffian would almost gallop through the middle almost pull me off my feet (Good thing that power position is now a second nature to me!) Then he would stop at the barrel and not want to come forward. So after a while of trying to play with that things weren't looking up. So I decided to switch to circles and then come back to figure eights once Ruffian could focus a little bit more on me.

It turns our Ruffian had A LOT of energy. He cantered and galloped I don't know how many circles. Over 10 at least. All I required Ruffian to do was not break gait. Which he had no problem doing to the left but to the right he would keep breaking gait. So I would just change direction every time he broke gait. Pretty soon Ruffian decided he had enough of that and as he was circling to the right he turned outwards on the circle and ran off. Of course the rope was then on the other side of him and so I tried hanging on but I couldn't so I let go. The gate was open so out Ruffian went and down the hill into the corral. 

To make a long story short this happened about 5 times. Did close the gate but right beside the gate is a section of fence that a board got broken a while back and we haven't fixed it yet. So he went out that. I tried to catch it before he turned to far but I kept missing it. So Ruffian had learned a bad pattern. 

After the fifth time, I brought Ruffian back up to the riding ring, fixed his halter and then we did lots of porcupine on the nose. Since he wasn't yielding to that pressure when he ran off I figured that it would be best to fix that. So after that we did circles, with only 12ft of rope. That way I could have a bit more control. That worked well and the first time I caught Ruffian when he thought of turning away, the second and third time I just missed the though but I was able to get him back facing me before I couldn't hang on. 

Then we did Figure eights at the walk/trot. Ruffian did well and so we then did some Falling leaf and sideways. Ruffian did well with those and so I sent him on the circle again, ready though to interrupt the thought if necessary. Ruffian didn't try though and we got 2 nice circles at the trot each way and then I brought him in.

After that we took a long rest and then I let Ruffy go. This time though he exited out the proper part of the corral, the gate. I definitely have to do a lot of thinking and figure out what happened but for now all I know if what happened and I think I know what I will need to do next play time :)


Prince: Wow!

August 17 2010

Today Prince and I had the most amazing playtime and ride! It was so much fun! 

When we got up to the riding ring we did some Stick to me and played with our canter transitions. We got some really amazing walk-canter, halt-canter, trot-canter, etc etc transitions and all at a phase 1/2!! It was so cool! I know that those are going to make huge difference in our riding.

As I was trying to figure out what we were going to do next I felt that everything we have been playing with is now boring... so I wanted to do something different... but what? So I decided to play with our Figure eights again, I know not exactly different but we needed to play with them anyways. Part way through I decided that theses were not working. Neither Prince or I were not very enthusiastic about doing them. So I decided to try something totally different and see if we could do them at the canter. Guess what?!?! They were way more interesting and Prince cantered THE WHOLE THING!! We did quite a few and Prince just kept cantering. The really cool thing is that Prince was so light! It was incredible. Now that was fun! 

After that I sent Prince over to a barrel and he jumped it no problem. That has progressed along way! It just proved to me again that when I take the time it takes, it does take less time and thing happen! Patience!! We also played with getting out backup's lighter and with more speed and distance. Prince caught on pretty fast and things went well. At the end Prince was putting a lot of effort into backing up! 

Then we rode! We started out with Sideways. That went well for the most part. I still don't think that I am asking right. I think I am doing something wrong so I am going to look up information on sideways and see how I can do it better!

Then we did Follow the rail to the left. We did lots of transitions plus lots of trotting. It was fun. Then I asked Prince to canter. I wasn't sure what to expect considering was only the second time that we have cantered to the left but Prince was fabulous! At first he only cantered a couple steps so I took that and then asked again. This time he cantered a little bit farther. So I gave him a rest and then ask again. This time his departure was beautiful and the canter was so nice!!

After that we went and did some Figure eights. Prince was really responsive to my body and I hardly had to use my carrot stick. Then we did a Weave and then did Follow the rail to the right. I am trying to mix things up a bit so when I asked Prince to canter it is more like "Lets canter now Prince" Instead of "We are going to trot a certain distance and then canter and then stop". So that it is more natural and that way I don't get direct line. (I am not sure if any of that made sense)

Prince did so amazing going to the right. We did a walk to canter transitions and it was at a phase 2!!! Plus Prince cantered over of the riding ring, and to make it even better it was a beautiful, soft, relaxed canter!! It felt amazing!

That was where we ended because my sister and I had to go film some more shots for our movie with Prince in it. So we rode down to the turn around. Prince did really well. We even had a real purpose for ground tying! In one shot we had to have Prince and the bike in the shot and then Krys and I come in, mount up (Krys on the bike and me on Prince) and then ride off. Prince kept wanting to look at me though. But it worked well and he stood perfect still for it. Then we rode home. Prince did really well and hopefully had fun ;)


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Twosox: We are getting somewhere!

August 17 2010

This morning I played with Twosox first. We didn't go up to the riding ring but just stayed in the corral and played. It didn't take as long for Twosox to come over to me when I asked so that was an improvement. He did really well backing up using the Porcupine, Driving and Yo-yo game. So I was really pleased with that. We just spent some time doing those and then we did some sideways. Twosox did pretty good. Next day I am hoping to play with getting him to go sideways when he was farther away from me. He is okay when he is close to me (until he gets to about 15ft away) and then it falls apart. 
Twosox was pretty calm so I sat on him for a bit. We didn't really do anything other then Lateral Flexions and backing up using one rein. But I was happy with that. 

Tomorrow I might not be able to play with Twosox because I am trimming Knightly and I think I will play with Ruffian because I didn't get to play with him today. But we shall see :)


P.S. Just a little update on my job. Things are going well. I am working four days this week. I am so blessed because I can work in the afternoons and so it doesn't interfere with me playing with the horses! Isn't God good!?! Also it looks like I will be able to ride in a Ron Pyne clinic at the end of October because I now have the money too! I am pretty happy :)

Ruffian: Playing in the rain!

August 16 2010

After I played with Prince I played with Ruffian. We had a lot of fun even though it started raining on us. At first he was just a light rain but then it started to down pour. It was fun!! We started out with Figure eights. Ruffian did really well and even though he wanted to run and move a lot he still kept his responsibilities and did the Figure eight well. Then we did the Weave at the trot, which Ruffian did really well and so we didn't do that for to long. 

After that we did Traveling circles, Falling Leaf, Change of directions, jumping single barrels and Sideways over a single barrel. Ruffy did so well in everything that we didn't really have to play long. Plus I didn't feel like getting to wet so we ended there. It was a really good playtime from start to finish!!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Prince: Lots of patterns!

August 16 2010

After I played with Twosox I played with and rode Prince. We had a lot of fun and did quite a bit. We went up to the riding ring at liberty and saddled up there. Before I saddled though I sent Prince over to a barrel that was away from the fence and he walked up to it and jumped it!! And he cleared it too, which was extra cool because so far when Prince jumps a single barrel he will hit it.

We did Circles, Figure eights, Change of directions (we even did some at the canter!!), Transitions, Sideways, Falling Leaf, and lots of other things. We had a little bit of issues with the Figure eights. We haven't done them for a couple weeks and so Prince had some trouble with it. But I remembered what helped last time and we stuck with it and after a while he figured it out. Prince cantered some nice circles and we were even able to do some transitions and change of directions!! They were really cool and a lot of fun :)

We had an amazing ride. We started out with Sideways. I really want to get that better. Prince will go sideways but he will drift forward because his hindquarters are lagging, so he really isn't going sideways. After played with that for a while we did Follow the rail, A million transitions, and Figure eights. Last time I rode my lower back was sore afterward and I figured out why. When Prince started trotting really fast I didn't go into the rising trot and so I was sitting it but I wasn't moving enough to match his trot. So that was why my back was sore. Today I noticed it was a little sore when we started trotted so I started raising the trot and that made a big difference.

We did lots of transitions and such until Prince relaxed and then I asked him to canter to the left, something we haven't done yet. Going to the left, whether it be when we are doing circles, Follow the rail, sideways, or most other things, it is our hard side. So at first Prince's canter was rough and he didn't canter long but I rewarded the slightest try and we then after a couple tries he gave me the most beautiful canter yet! It was slow, relaxed and it felt amazing! Of course Prince got a long rest for that. Then we helped my mom with a couple things and then we went to the right. Every time I asked Prince to canter he went into it pretty nicely. Each time it was a phase 2/3!!! I was kind of surprised but it was a pleasant surprise :) Prince did really well and we got some nice cantering. I felt well balanced, confident and it was comfortable.

It is amazing to see how each time I have cantered my comfort zone has gotten bigger and bigger. At first I felt nervous but I knew it wasn't to far out of my comfort zone not to try, and then for a while I felt the same, each time I felt something before and after I did it but that was okay. Then today I felt nothing before, during and after! It was really cool! Of course I know that there is a lot of growing to do but it is nice to feel confident doing something that used to scare you a great deal!!

After that Prince and I hung out in the shade and then after a while I got off. I let Prince dry off before I let him go and I brushed him. It was itchy in a couple spots so I scratched him and then I played with Ruffian!!

I was really happy with how today's play time and ride went. Especially cantering to the left! That was a big thing!! I want to try and keep them equal so that our lead changes should come easier ;) 


Twosox: Testing...1...2...3.

August 16 2010

You know sometimes you have those moments when you finally realize what you should have done and that it would have made the task you were working on... well a lot easier?? I had one of those today. To make it even worse I had thought about it but totally forgot on Saturday when I played with Twosox. So yeah. My memory is failing me ;) 

Anyways. So today I remembered what it was and it made a huge difference. This is what it was... maybe, just maybe I should test my Porcupine and Driving game backups because I go to the Yo-yo. *rolls eyes* Yeah. I don't know how I forgot that one! I had a savvy bypass there ;) 

So that is what we did today. Twosox and I tested our Porcupine and Driving game back ups and got them good before we did Yo-yo's. It went very well but one thing that I noticed was that Twosox wouldn't back up straight, he was turning his hindquarters. So as I asked him to backup I just softly asked him to move his hindquarters over. Pretty soon he learned to keep them straight and then our back ups got more light, more speed and we went farther. It was interesting. 

With the driving game it went faster because we had fixed a lot before so it went pretty smoothly. Twosox responded well and seemed to understand better. If I did have to go up my phases I would tap him on the chest and he would speed up. 

So when we got to the Yo-yo Twosox did really well and even though it wasn't perfect it was better. He backed up straight and seemed to be more willing to back up. 

We then went back down into the corral and we hung out for a bit before I let him go. One other thing that I played with was how much I could do with just my body (arms and legs not included) and how Twosox would respond. It was really interesting. It made me be even more subtle and focus on where my focus and energy was going. It was fun :)


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Prince: Haltering!

August 14 2010

 After I played with Twosox I played with Prince. But we didn't go up to the riding ring. I decided to do something different and play with haltering. So our whole play time I halter and un-haltered Prince from different positions. It was so much fun! I also was very particular about where Prince held his head when I was haltering him. 

Here are just a couple of the ways I haltered and un-haltered Prince:

- From zone 3/4
- From the opposite side
- I asked Prince to lower his head into the halter
- From my knees
and many other ways!  

I had a whole bunch of other ideas too that I want to try. Haltering is one of the things I really want to do with excellence, no matter what horse I am haltering or un haltering. 
What are some other ways you could halter or un-halter your horse? 


Quote for August 15, 2010

"If you dropped your reins but kept your focus, would your horse stay on track or would he veer off course?" Mr. Parelli

Twosox: Yo-yo's

August 14 2010

Well this morning I played with Twosox first. I went out with a plan and I think that all in all everything went well. I decided to do yo-yo's on the 12ft line. That was what I wanted to focus on this session.
First though I had to catch Twosox, something that Twosox and I have been playing with for a while. I could just walk up to him and halter him but I want him to catch me. He is really good at turning and facing me but he won't come over. So we played with that and took it slow. After a while he finally started taking steps towards me. Once he was with me I didn't halter him but just rubbed him all over and then after a while I haltered him.

Once we were up in the riding ring we did exactly what I had planned. Yo-yo's. I kept it consistent, I would ask Twosox to back up then go through my phases if he wasn't backing up or if he wasn't putting of effort into it. Once he put more effort into it I would quit and start again. It took a while but finally we started getting some where. Then Twosox decided to start rearing when I got to a phase 4 instead of backing up. To me it seemed like he just didn't want to move his hindquarters. He would start out with small rears and then get bigger and bigger and then he would stop and back up. Then I would quit and start over again. 
"Expect a lot, except a little and reward often" That was what I was trying to do. I knew what I wanted, I excepted the little steps and rewarded often. It will just take time. We ended though when I would ask him to back up and Twosox would back up, not extremely fast but I could tell he was putting effort into it. I asked him three times in a row (I would ask, he would back up, I would release, rub him and then start again) that seemed to work well. I tried giving him a longer rest but then it were pretty much back at square one again. So he seemed to better when I gave him a short rest and then started again. 
I was happy with the progress we made. I think I know what I need to do and it really helped keeping it short and simple, even though it wasn't always easy ;) We did do a little bit of sideways and Twosox was a lot better! He actually put effort into moving his whole body together. So that was encouraging!!

Hopefully our next play session can build on this one! :)


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Prince: Guess what Prince offered?

August 13 2010

This morning I had an amazing play time with Prince. I didn't ride because I was really tired. My whole family and I went to Ottawa yesterday to see a whole bunch of army bands play on Parliament Hill. We also went to a couple museums and toured Parliament. It was a lot of fun but we got home after midnight. So we were all tired. 

At first I just sat in the manger and hung out with the horses for a while and then Prince and I went over to the other side of the corral and I brushed Prince, scratched some itchy spots etc then I haltered him but instead of going up to the riding ring after that or going and doing something we went over to the gate and I climbed over and got Prince some of the vines and stuff that he really likes. He was pretty happy about that ;) 

Then we went up to the riding ring. We did zone 5 driving with two lines all the way up and then we did some transitions, sideways, and jumping the barrels all from zone 5. Prince did pretty good but I felt that he wasn't completely connected to me and so we stopped and we did some Falling Leaf, jumping a single barrel (and straddling it, Prince offered that) and then circles. The circles were the best part!!! 

Prince was totally amazing going to the left. He cantered two laps about 12 feet away from me and was totally connected. I brought him in and gave him a long rest and then I sent him back out to the right. He seemed to have a harder time cantering to the right for some reason. He would canter fine but he couldn't keep the slack in the line. So we played with that and after a little bit I decided to do a little bit of Falling leaf and then come back to it. Once again the Falling Leaf pattern worked wonders for our circles and when we went back to circles Prince cantered two laps to the right and kept the slack on the ground. 

After that we took a long rest and then I un-haltered Prince. He did so well. I am really proud of how far he has come with our circles! It is amazing!!


Twosox: Didn't we already figure this out?

August 11 2010

"Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is... a train coming the other way" Dad. That is how I felt after this mornings play time with Twosox. Just a couple weeks ago Twosox and I had an amazing play time and I thought I had figured out what kind of a partner I need to be, what I needed to do, so that Twosox and I could have fun and progress. Now I feel though that that small light at the end of the tunnel, was just the train coming the other way... and this morning it hit us. 

What was running through my head during this play time was "The better your horse goes backwards and sideways the better he will do everything else" Well I have to admit, going backwards and sideways is probably the hardest things for Twosox to do and I think it is a dominance issue. So that was what I focused on for our play time, or tried to focus on. 

It is hard at times because if I ignore the little things like Twosox backing up slow and not really putting effort into it, or going sideways but his hindquarters are lagging etc all those little I could easily ignore and we could go some really nice stuff and it would look really good but I can't do that. I want to get to the bottom of this, even if it takes me years. I want to figure out what makes Twosox tick! So I am on a mission :)

I guess this post really isn't about what we did but more so what we will be playing with over the next play session and until we get it figure out. One of the main things I want to make sure I do is keep the sessions short and to the point, not getting direct line but just focused.

I will for sure post about our next play time and tell how it goes :)


Friday, August 13, 2010

Knightly: Wow!

August 10 2010

My mom asked me to try my saddle on Knightly to see how it fit and all so I did and then I played with him! I had so much fun and I think that Knightly did too. Mom has come a long way with Knightly and so I was able to do some pretty neat stuff with him. We did Circles, Change of directions, Falling leaf, jumping (Knightly jumped a single barrel!!), Weave, Sideways and a lot of other fun stuff. When I asked Knightly to canter he trotted REALLY REALLY fast. I don't even want to think about how it would feel to ride that!! ;) 

Through the whole session I tightened up the saddle until it was as tight as I wanted it. Knightly didn't buck even once!!! I was so proud of him! We did a lot of stuff and a lot at high speeds and he was perfectly fine with it. So when I felt ready to get on I mounted up. I mounted from the pedestal so that I could still see how Knightly would handle me using the stirrups to get on but it wouldn't be as much weight as if I mounted from the ground. He was fine and stood nice and still for me. Then after I hurried up and did nothing then we headed off and did some Follow the rail.

Knightly was a little slow heading off. He would go but he wouldn't put a whole lot of effort so I just went up my phases and I didn't even have to get to a phase four, I just put a lot of energy and he figured out what to do ;) After that he went at a phase 2 most of the time. After we did a little bit of Follow the rail I asked Knightly to trot. This was the first time he has ever trotted with a saddle on since we got him (he was green broke w/t when we got him and mom has done a really great job putting a solid foundation on him at the walk) Knightly went into the trot nicely but he wouldn't trot long. That was okay though. I would just let him walk a couple steps and ask again. At first the departures were a little rough, Knightly would kind of jump into the trot but then he offered a really nice one and trotted quite a ways so we stopped and had a long rest. 

After that we played with sideways. Knightly caught on really fast and we got a couple small steps each direction and then we quit. I was really pleased with how well Knightly did and very impressed at how far he has come under my mom's care :) 


Ruffian: Spending time.

August 10 2010

After I played with Prince I played with Ruffian. We had fun. We started out with some Touch it, sideways, jumping, and some other small things and then we did Figure eights, which turned out to be high energy and really interesting. At first Ruffian just wanted to run around and not focus on anything so it took a while before he started taking up his responsibilities on the pattern. One thing that I have learned is that even though Ruffian has a lot of energy when we play I can't just let him "run it out" and get some of his energy out before we start. I have to channel that energy, even if it means taking more time on some patterns, and give him a focus. If I don't then he will be exercising yes but his mind won't be engaged.

Both of us were rather hot when we finished but it was worth it. Ruffian and I then went over to the pedestal and I sent him up there while I sat on a barrel. We didn't go straight to it though, we went sideways over to a tire, then backed up to another tire, then went sideways over that and over to the pedestal then I asked Ruffian to yield his forequarters over and climb up. It was fun and really made it more interesting then just the normal walking over to the pedestal and climb up.

Then after a little while I took the halter off and Ruffian and I just hung out together for a while. Ruffian didn't want to leave when I opened the gate so he stayed with mom and I. My two younger brothers came up to see the horses so I asked them if they wanted to brush Ruffy, who had rolled and was now really dirty ;) They both wanted too and I figured it would be a good way to get them even more comfortable being around the horses. Ruffian was a gem and stood totally still as they brushed him. I in the mean time played with and rode Knightly....


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Prince: Testing our connection...

August 10 2010

Prince was amazing today. I was so proud of him. I saddled him up at Liberty today and then played in the corral. Then my youngest brother (M2) came out and asked if he could ride Prince. So I helped him up and this time he actually rode Prince. Normally I will just lead Prince around but today I felt that both M2 and Prince were ready to try something new. So I showed M2 how to do a lateral flexion, toss the rein over Prince's head and do it on the other side. Once he got that down (which didn't take long) I then showed him how to ask Prince to go. Prince did really well and didn't let M2 get away with a whole lot. Pretty soon they were walking around (I was by his side the whole time though) and then M2 got to practice his lateral flexion, he relaxed and then bent Prince to a stop. It was so cute!! We then had to turn around and go the other way so I taught M2 how to do a direct rein. He went through all the phases and Prince turned really softly. Then they walked back over to the fence and I helped M2 dismount. It was really neat to see Prince respond and M2 learn how to ride, naturally! 
After that Prince and I went up to the riding ring and played. We did some small things first and then did the Falling Leaf at the trot. Prince was so light! I couldn't believe how light and responsive he was! It was really cool! Then we played with jumping a single barrel, which Prince did really well. At first he just jumped it halfheartedly but then he jumped it really nicely!

Then we got to test our connection on our circles. Mom was using the side of the riding ring that Prince and I normally do circles on (it doesn't have as many obstacles there) so I decided to try doing it on the other side. At first he was a bit challenging because the rope would get caught on the tires and such but then things started going better and Prince got really connected to me so I asked him to canter and after a little while he cantered 2 laps with connection!! I was amazed because less then 2 months ago Prince wouldn't have done that. So there has been some definite improvement. Then we went to the left and Prince tried so hard! This side took longer though but he tried and tried and finally he got the connection and maintained gait for a whole lap so I brought him in and gave him a long rest :) 

Prince wasn't nearly as hot today as he had been the last couple play times so that was really nice. I then got on and we did some sideways over barrels, Follow the rail, Weave and then we cantered. They were beautiful canters too! The one thing I need to get better at is I release a little bit to soon when I ask for the canter. I believe that I am confident enough to play with that now and get that right. I was so proud of Prince though! He did really well. Each time it just gets better and better!! 

One of the things on the Self Assessment list for Level 3 riding is to canter, stop and get off. I knew that Prince and I could canter and stop and I was pretty sure I could get off ;) But I am the type of person that if it says it I have to do it before I can check it off, even if I am almost completely sure I can do it. So we cantered along, I asked Prince to stop, Prince stopped and I got off. So that was one thing we could check off. And the other was doing the passenger lesson at the canter. I feel confident enough that I can check that off too. 

I unsaddled Prince and then we spent some undemanding time for a while and then I let him go and went and got Ruffian!! 

I was so happy that I could check these two things off!! I have wanted to do that for a LONG time and now I can!!! Yippee!!! :)


Twosox: Keeping it simple

August 10 2010

Today was perfect! I played with all four horses and rode two of them (Prince and Knightly) and if that wasn't enough I ended the day being an official member of the food industry! Yes, I now have a job!! Whoohoo!!! I am not sure how many shifts it will be per week but today, in about 1/2 an hour to be exact, will be my first day. I am excited. I will be working at a local Chinese restaurant. We have known the owners for some time and they were looking for kitchen help and so I got the job! Kitchen help is just in my line of work, not to many people that I have to come in contact with, I get payed to work with food, and I get to expand my comfort zone and to top it all off the owners are Christians and are very nice people! 

Anyways that was kind of of topic :) 

I played with Twosox first this morning. Mom wasn't quite ready to go out at 6:00 so I decided to play with him before Prince. We had fun. We played with Circles, Touch it and jumping. Just keeping it short and simple. Twosox did well and we played with jumping because for some reason he would get worried as he went up to the barrels. So we took it nice and slow and the first time he offered to jump the barrels so that was cool and the second time I sent him softly but with purpose and he walked up and jumped them. So I was pretty happy with that. 

Then we hung out for a little bit and then we went down into the corral where my mom had come out and was with Knightly. I felt really good being able to play with Twosox first because for some reason it took a lot of pressure of me to have to rush through Prince's playtime so that I could play with another horse before the bugs got bad. It was really nice. I might just have to do that more often :)


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Prince: Was that 8 circles at the canter!?!

August 9 2010

Prince and I had a great play time and ride this morning. It was very humid out so that did effect out play time but we still managed. We did circles which were amazing. Prince cantered 8 laps to the right and kept the belly of the rope on the ground for 90% of the time. And he cantered 4 laps tot he left. It was amazing!!! I couldn't believe it. 

We also played with jumping a single barrel in the middle of the arena. Prince will jump it but not with slack in the rope, so basically I am forcing him to jump it when ever I would ask him to jump it. So I decided that I would play with that for the next couple days and see if I can really get it to be Prince's idea. It didn't take long before Prince started jumping it. It wasn't perfect but he tried so I gave him a rest. "Expect a lot, except a little and reward often" Once Prince put some effort into jumping it we left it and went and did the Falling Leaf. It was really neat because on our way back we came to a barrel and I thought Prince would just go in between me and it but he jumped it! I guess it worked ;) 

I let Prince cool off and then I got on to ride. We did some Follow the rail, Transitions, etc and then I asked Prince to canter. He did well and I really felt in time with him. This is day 4 of me cantering but we hadn't cantered since Thursday so I messed up a little when I asked Prince to canter but he still did great. We did some trot to canter transitions and then once I was happy with the way they went we stopped. 

Then my sister came out and it turns out that she didn't have to work today so we decided to film Prince's part in the Treeslayer II. So we went on a mini trail ride down to the turn around. Of course there is the big hill that we had to ride to get there first. I gave Prince complete responsibility so maintain his four responsibilities and I made sure to uphold mine and everything went well. I absolutely love riding up and down that hill! It is so amazing to feel the power under you! And not scattered power but controlled, focus power! Prince did everything beautifully and he didn't even break into the trot on the way down the hill into the turn around! 

Filming went well. For Prince it was mainly a lot of point to point. So he liked that. It was a lot of fun but just as we were almost done everything the camera battery died :( So we shall have to go out again and finish. Just for fun Krys (my sister) rode around on the bike and Prince and I chased her. Prince really liked that! We basically went around in circles around the turn around but it was so much fun! Prince was totally fine with Krys riding beside, behind and in front of him so that is good. It means he shouldn't have a problem when Krys' character and I have to ride off together, Krys on the bike and myself on Prince. 
Here is a picture of Prince and I from yesterday's filming... 

Prince did so well the whole time and it was really neat to see how the Parelli principles apply to movie making... even if it was just in a small way. Prince was calm the whole time, even when it meant riding straight towards the camera :)


Prince: Testing our communication through Online and Freestyle challenges

August 6 2010

This morning a friend trailered Prince and Knightly out to her place for a playday. We had quite a big turn out. Something like 10 humans and their horses.
We got there early so Prince and I went into the arena and did some Falling leaf, Circles (w/t/c), jumping the big log, straddling, sideways, we played with the new bridge which was really cool! I asked Prince to walk across it and then back across it the whole way (coming on and off). He did really well and I was really pleased at how well he did with the circles. The arena is really big so I wasn't sure how Prince would do considering he is used to having a fence on the one side of his circle. We have playing in that arena a lot over the past year so it wasn't strange or anything. Prince wasn't totally connected at first but we kept it nice and slow at the trot and pretty soon he was trotting with rhythm, relaxation and connection. It was really cool! 

Here are some pictures of the circles...

Since we still had time before everyone got there I climbed on bareback we did some Follow the rail, Transitions, sideways, we walked over the bridge and did some other small things. Then people started arriving so I hopped off and let Prince graze for a while. 

Here are some pictures of me riding Prince...

Follow the Rail
The Bridge.

Then we started! The first puzzle was we had to do one complete Weave and then sit in a chair and sent our horse over the barrels. Prince did beautiful on the Weave but I messed him up on the jump but he did well and jumped it after a couple tries... 

Here are some pics of Prince and I doing that puzzle... 

I love the look on Prince's face in these two pictures!

After that it was Traveling circles. We had to circle from one marker to the other and stop at each tire a long the way and circle around it once. Every time you resent your horse you lost points. Prince was amazing and trotted the whole thing with out any corrections. 

The last Online Puzzle we did was where we had to back our horse through an L shaped lane and then send them sideways over the barrels. Prince did very well with that too.

After lunch we did the Freestyle Puzzles. There was quite a few. We had to jump a log, stand in a box made of four barrels and put a rain coat on, stand in the center of the tarp stand or kneel on our horse for 7 seconds, take two glasses of water (one at a time) from one water bucket to the next, walk over the bridge, back through the L shaped lane and then go sideways over the barrels, walk between the two standing up tires and then turn face and wait, and take two carrot sticks (one at a time) from one bucket to the other (they were about 45ft apart or so). 

It was a lot of fun and Prince got really interesting. It is was windy so that added the extra challenge. It was fun though. At one point when I went to put the rain coat on I had picked it up with my carrot stick and then a big gust of wind came and blew it, I was able to keep it on the end of the carrot stick but it was just out of my reach. Poor Prince, I am not sure what he must have thought but he stood there nice and still not problem. What a horse! 

Prince and I went out and we finished with him grazing for an hour or so. I layed down in the grass and looked up at the clear blue sky. I thanked God for the wonderful horses he gave me and for my life. I love it! 

Here are some extra pics...

Group shot #1
Group shot #2 Not everyone was there yet either! Two more people joined later!
Just a random picture my sister took ;) I like it though!
You can tell that I was just about to ask him to straddle it.
Isn't he just so handsome!?!
Now these are some relaxed horses! I loaded them by myself too!
It was a beautiful day weather wise!!