Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ruffian and Twosox - Together Online

Here is a video of my second session of playing with Ruffian and Twosox:


Monday, October 31, 2011


Hello all! Some exciting things are quite possibly on there way but I shall let you all know when things become more definite!

I have been quite busy lately and just now enjoying having three weeks off from work as the restuarant if closed for hunting season! I knew there was a reason I liked hunting season ;)

Anyways, in my spare time I put together a video with some footage from this fall. It highlights some of the things we have been playing with recently...

The weather is getting colder and with it comes the expectation of snow, I am looking forward to it but at the same time I know certain things that can be so easily taken for granted shall be revealed... such as warm toes :)

Nevertheless November shall be upon us very shortly and so with all do regard, let us wish it in well and enjoy the prospect of Christmas and all that snow soon upon us.

Have a wonderful November!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Putting our principles to a purpose, and having FUN!

Firstly, I must apologize for the lack of updates. Life has been a roller-coaster of events and so much has happened of late that it would be hard to even begin to write it down. Prince and I are preparing for the clinic that is approaching at a very very quick pace and along with that, a wide range of emotions.

For the past two weeks Prince and Twosox have been staying at a friends place. I am overwhelmed by how well Twosox is doing and how far he has come in the past two weeks having had the consistency of being played with and ridden almost everyday. He truly is a special horse with a lot of potential.

I will leave you with this short video taken on Saturday of Prince and I playing with something very exciting and fun, this is day one of putting some principles to a purpose and let me say this, we both had a lot of fun doing so!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Approach and Retreat

When you hear the term "Approach and Retreat" in Parelli Land we normally think about taking a scary ball away from the horse and then bringing it toward him then retreating with it, walking away before walking toward, finding the threshold and then moving back, etc which are all correct and properly used. But recently I have learned to apply that same term in a slightly different way while playing with Prince.

It is amazing the impact it makes for Prince when we play with something, then leave it and go play with something else, then come back to it a while later and play with it again, normally on the opposite side as the first time. Doing this has made a huge difference in each of our patterns especially if Prince has a hard time getting it one way and neither him or I really want to attempt it on the other side right after. So I have adopted the strategy and what a difference!

As an example, recently Prince and I were playing with bridling. We started our session with this and at first although Prince wasn't really resisting it, he wasn't to thrilled about it either. So I would ask him to take the bit and then give him treats, thus giving him incentive to take the bit with a little more effort and enthusiasm the next time, and also giving him a good impression of it over all. The next time around he was a little bit better and slightly more willing to participate with the whole process. I decided that it was a good time to leave it and go play with something else. Then after we had finished playing with another pattern we came back to bridling and Prince was much more willing to take the bit, to the extent that he was reaching for it and asking for the bit even before I had everything in the proper place, he wasn't being rude but you could tell that he was definitely interested in having it in his mouth.

It just confirmed in my mind that this
is a great way for me to approach advancing things with Prince because it keeps things interesting and fun! Even more so when it comes to riding. Neither Prince or myself find cantering Follow the rail to the left and then having to do it to the right directly after that very interesting, although it is important build to being able to do that eventually. But this way Prince stays interested and offers way more on the second try.

So maybe give it a try the next time you go out and play! We want our horses to be equal on both sides but that doesn't mean we have to do each side directly after the other, especially for those Left brain horses that like variety ;) Keep things interesting, give yourself and your horse some time to lick and chew over it and chances are, he will have a better understanding of the pattern when you come back to it, if you have ended on a good note the first time, make sure to get that some sort of improvement before leaving it. 


Sunday, July 10, 2011

So much learning!

Okay so I guess it is time for an update! There has been so much happening here that I am kind of glad that I decided not to blog every session...

Prince is home now. It is bittersweet. I am glad that he is just outside my bedroom window but I am really going to miss having the space to advance on the larger scale. Prince and I can do little things here but we really make progress when we have the room to ride and play the patterns properly. So I am really going to miss that aspect but I have September to look forward too :)

So let see... the most important thing I learned? I would have to say that it would be this, to maintain high standards! Keep reaching, searching, digging, for more lightness, speed and distance! Don't get stuck in a rut and then go backwards.

Prince and I learned a big lesson when it came to connection on the circle at the canter. Last fall when we spent two weeks here we had the rhythm, relaxation and connection at the canter, the connection being the biggest and hardest one to get solved. Then when we returned here I found that we had lost that lightness. Prince was pulling again. I had lowered my expectation of what I was going to accept and so we had to redo that lesson, although this time I was more prepared.

So I think over all what I learned over the last 10 days was that, even though hard, don't sink back into doing what is easy. Take the time it takes to get it right and it will take way less time in the long run.

Prince and I got to play with some really amazing things also. We accomplished flying lead changes at Liberty and Online on the 45ft line, five laps, at the canter, at the end of the 45ft line, in each direction with rhythm, relaxation and connection, 180's, sideways box, circles at the canter (Freestyle), we cantered one and a half laps in each direction a long the rail with no corrections, jumping with fluidity, we went on some amazing trail ride (galloping up hills is a rush but very fun), opening and closing gates with Prince being a partner and not trying to do it himself, learned about focus, and last but not least had a lot of fun despite the bugs and heat :) Prince lost a lot of weight also!!

On Thursday as we were riding the weave at the trot I had a major BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) I felt that I was using my legs to much so I isolated different things and really made sure I was going through my phases properly and I found that I wasn't focusing enough. As soon as I started really focusing guess what? Prince instantly started following my focus and our weave got a million times better. Prince did most of it, including the ends where we circled once or twice, with just my focus. Wow! I remember when I was blown away when Prince would respond with my legs but now we are reaching yet another level of understanding and conscious incompetence.

So now Prince has gotten a couple days off and will probably get a few more off as I have to be away Tuesday. I have been thinking of ways to get more time spent with Twosox and Ruffian and hopefully advance with them also. They each have so much potential and it is just a matter of my finding enough time and mental and emotional energy to play with three horses on a regular basis.

Also on a slightly different note, I am contemplating purchasing the Horsenality/Huminality Match report. I have been working a few extra shifts at work here and there recently and so I am tossing around the idea of getting that soon. I have no doubt in my mind that it is simply amazing so that is not the issue. It is mainly whether or not I can justify the money at this point in time. It definitely would be worth it though :) So we shall see. Hopefully I can get it though.

There are some many things that I have been learning and thinking about recently. To think that it is just over a year until I can attend the Fast Track course and start my journey to becoming a Parelli Professional, that is very exciting! But until then I am going to enjoy the journey and wait and see what God has in store for me in this next year.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Doing things a little differently...

So I have decided to change the way I blog for now. This summer is set to be a busy one and I have decided that since I really don't enjoying blogging all that much I am going to change the way I do it... so I am thinking that I shall just do an over all review every week instead of typing each individual session. If there is a specific session that was challenging or I learned something really excited, or if I feel the desire to type about it, I will do so... but for now I am going to spend more time doing other things instead of getting a weeks worth of blogging piled up and then having to spend hours catching up :)

I might change back to the old way but I need to try something a little different. If I do the same thing the same way I will get the same results so somethings got to change :)

I will be posting more frequent updates on Parelli Connect on each of my horse's walls. They might end up being more of a list of what we did, it depends on how much time I have :)

So until next time,


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Prince: A weeks worth of updating...

June 26-July 3, 2011

This past week has been a big week! Prince has been out at a friends place since last Sunday and we have been playing and riding every day. To say that I am learning a lot would be an understatement! Prince is getting fit and not even the hot weather can stop us. We are playing with so many different things and trying to take advantage of the open spaces, big arena and round corral but there just isn't enough time to get everything in and not overload either of us! We have done a couple demos and Prince was fabulous!

It has been fun (and very challenging) over the last seven days. Prince has really tested my mental and emotional fitness... and there has been times he has succeeded! But I think the biggest lesson I have learned is to maintain high standards! Still reward the slightest try but don't forget the other two, expect a lot and accept a little :)

Wednesday we went for an amazing trail ride! Talk about putting your principles to a purpose!! We rode for about an hour and a half out and then back again. Cantering up hills, working our way through rocks, boulders, trees, creeks, and then had a blast galloping part way home. Poor Prince, he couldn't compete with that Arab though ;) He tried :) Although in Prince's defense, it didn't take him as long to come down to the halt ;) That is my LBI boy! He gave me a beautiful canter across the field and home and we had so much fun! The only kind of scary part was the wet rock we had to climb up, Prince kept slipping on the way up and a little on the way down. But other than that it was lots of fun! We were both very tired afterward :)

We have also been having fun playing at Liberty in the arena. We have some really cool canter stick to me!!! Also we are getting flying lead changes on the 45ft line, rhythm, relaxation and connection at the canter, follow the rail (getting more laps at the canter), some cool 180's, circles on the outside of the round corral at the canter, sideways box (I love that pattern!!), opening and closing gates, sideways at a trot at the end of the 45ft line, jumping Freestyle (my fluidity), puzzling solving with the ball (Prince is so clever! He figured out how to get the ball unstuck by nudging it with his nose and then moving it a long with his leg before it got stuck again!!) and loads of other fun stuff!

We haven't had much of a chance to play in the round corral but we did get to do some stuff and got some nice circles at the trot with canter transitions along with changes of directions. I shall have to find more time to play in there and find some imagination! I am booooooooooring when I get into a round corral and Prince lets me know pretty quickly ;)

Today I gave Prince a bath after our sweaty ride. Fortunately the purpose of the bath was to cool him off, not to get him clean, because he was instantly on the ground rolling when we got to a nice dirt patch ;-)

This horse is teaching me so much and I am really looking forward to the five day Level 3/4 clinic with Fawn Anderson is the fall! Hoping to be that much closer to filming some of my Level 4 Auditions afterward.

Until then Prince and I shall keep on keeping on and see where we are in the fall. Then the count down shall begin until September of 2012!


Prince: New things.

June 24, 2011

Prince and I had a great session today. I had to trim Ruffian but I had enough time to play with Prince Online. We played mainly with sideways towards me at the trot. We had some heavy rain recently so the riding ring was slippery, all but one side by the fence. So it worked out okay. 
We started out with testing out our sideways towards me. There were a couple little things that I needed to get a little bit better, such as Prince was lagging his hindquarters a little bit. So we played with that but Prince picked it up really quickly so we moved on. 

While going in one direction Prince was able to get it pretty quickly. It was great.In the other direction Prince had more of a hard time though. After a while of trying different things and not really making any progress I decided to make a big change and try something totally different.

Really want I needed to play with was our draw. Prince has a great draw on the yo-yo so I knew that wasn't the issue so here is what I did, I asked Prince to walk toward me along the fence and then I brought my carrot stick in and asked him to bring his hindquarters over to toward me. This worked really well and after a couple times of repeating this at the walk we went into the trot. The first time Prince did pretty good. He brought his hindquarters over slightly as he was trotting so I rewarded that try. The next time I was a little to far away to influence his hindquarters properly so we stopped and tried again and this time Prince brought his hindquarters over even more and it was smooth!

I learned about thinking outside the box and not getting direct line. After trying the same thing for a while and not much progress was happening plus Prince was just getting confused it was time to think of a different strategy and it worked very well. Prince understood what I was asking and it was so much easier!!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Prince: Amazing circles!

June 22, 2011

Prince and I focused on circles today. I was going to play with Changes of directions so we first tested our circles at the trot. Ten each way with only one send, with a change of direction in the middle. They went so well and the change of direction was so smooth that I decided to play with our circles at the canter. 
Prince went into the canter smoothly and cantered eleven circles to the right with rhythm, relaxation and connection and around nineteen circles to the left. The reason there were more to the left was because Prince wasn't on the correct lead. He was trying really hard but just couldn't get it so I helped him find the correct lead and then he cantered easily eleven to the left also. I was so proud of Prince and couldn't believe how much effort he put into cantering that many circles with out breaking gait!! 

We also did the same jumping task that we did with Twosox, standing on the pedestal with all four feet and then jumping off the pedestal, over the barrel and trotting to me. It took Prince three tries and then he got it and cleared the jump. On the first try the barrel was to far away from the pedestal so he stepped down and then jumped it. Which was still nice but not quite what I was looking for. So we tried until Prince nailed it, which was on the third try. 

It was a short but sweet session and it was so much fun to play Online and not be preparing to ride, although both are great :) 


Twosox: Figure eights and jumping with creativity!

June 22, 2011

Twosox and I had a fun little session this morning. Mom and I were heading out for a play day at a friend house (we weren't taking the horses) but I wanted to play with Twosox and Prince first so I got up early and went out and played.

When we got up to the riding ring Twosox was looking around and really rather worried about something. So I had two options, we could stand there and wait until he relaxed or I could try and continue playing and get his mind off of what ever was seeming to bother him, I decided to wait until he relaxed. Really either would have worked most likely but I thought about what I would want if I was really bothered by something, since Twosox and I are really rather a like I figured it would be a safe bet to go with what I would appreciate, and that would just to be left a lone or at least not talked too. 

So we waited.... and waited. Finally Twosox looked at me, licked and chewed, yawned and completely relaxed. Then we proceeded and Twosox was relaxed and was able to pay attention to me. We did Figure eights at the walk and trot. Once those were going smoothly and Twosox was light while going around the ends, the spot that he has the hardest time, we ended. 
The barrels were set up right beside the pedestal. Two were on end and the one in the middle was laying down, so I decided to try something different and ask Twosox to stand on the pedestal and then jump off of the pedestal, over the barrel and trot to me. The first time Twosox tried really hard but his back feet were not on the pedestal so he had to stretch really far. So the next time I asked for him to put all four feet on the pedestal and then jump the barrel and he did it! It was really fun and added just a little bit more of a challenge to the Touch it pattern :) 

Then I unhaltered and we went down to the corral and then I played with Prince!

Prince: Being patient.

June 21, 2011

"Ninety nine percent of horse development is having patience" Mrs. Parelli. That is what I learned today. Things go smoother, even if they don't physically go smoother, mentally and emotionally they will and in turn that will help things go better physically... more on that later.

Today Prince and I actually started with riding bareback and bridleless in the corral then after we tested our indirect rein, direct rein and sideways we trotted up the hill and into the riding ring and rode a long the rail. We did this at the trot and played with getting a nice slow jog then once we found that we rode around the rail jogging a long... it was very comfortable! 

Then we rode Figure eights and the Weave at the trot. I practiced staying on and being fluid while riding close, fast circles around the ends ;) In the end we got both the Figure eight and Weave really nice and Prince relaxed into a slower and more rhythmic trot and was much lighter. 

After that we rode down the hill, dismounted, saddled and went back up to the riding ring. There we did Circles at the canter, again looking for rhythm, relaxation and connection at the canter. Prince did very well and found it quickly and was able to canter quite a few laps in each direction on the correct lead. 

Next we did sideways to the end of the 45ft line. This is getting really good. I am doing less and less and Prince is doing more and more. We also played with jumping single barrels. Prince read my mind and knew exactly what I wanted and didn't try to dodge around the barrel. It really comes down to my focus and being really focused on Prince jumping the barrel. 

After I mounted up we rode along the rail a little and then rode circles on each end (going in different directions on either side) which is setting us up for the Figure eights. Prince got the right lead on the first try with hardly any issues but the left lead this time was the hard side. I made sure to stay calm and did this by singing softly or humming a tune. That really helped me stay relaxed and not get direct line. It took a while but in the end Prince cantered a full lap on the left lead and then we stopped. 

What really helped was when Prince started having a hard time cantering or picking up the correct lead  we would switch to Follow the rail, pick up the correct lead, canter a lap back to the end where we were circling and then softly switched into a circle again. This really helped Prince stay focused and if he got confused than we went back to something he knew and he was able to recollect himself. It was really worked well. 

So I learned that if I stay patient, give Prince the benefit of the of the doubt and treat it like he just doesn't understand, I am more inclined to want to treat it like dominance but time and time again it is that he just doesn't understand what I want, he is trying but just isn't getting it. So when I slow down and give him more support, he gets it really quickly.

I dismounted and Prince and I hung out for a bit before heading down to the corral. 


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Prince: Combing to patterns...

June 20, 2011

So today Prince and I played with the different patterns and tasks that we are doing as patterns, 4-7 days, the main ones being circles at a canter and sideways to the end of the 45ft line while I stand still. While circling we continued to play with Prince maintaining the correct lead for more than just 3/4 of a lap. This time what I did was place a barrel standing up on the fence to help Prince learn to turn there instead of going farther and then loosing the circle. If Prince cantered a circle, and I mean a circle, then he can stay on the correct lead but when he makes part of it bigger or small that is when he looses the lead. So there was one part of the circle where the fence ends (the only place we can do circles in our riding rind is at the end so Prince is going a long the fence for part of the circle) that he was going straight for a stride or two and getting messed up. 
Having the barrel there made a huge difference and Prince was able to canter to the left, his hard side, and maintain the correct lead much easier! It is all about doing less sooner rather then more later ;) 

Going sideways to the end of the 45ft line is going really well. Prince will usually go sideways to the end at a phase one but sometimes he still gets a little stuck so we played with that and ended when he went sideways to the end, both ways, at a phase one or two, mainly phase one. 

We also did a little bit of leading by the tail and Prince was very light! We backed about 20ft or so and Prince put not only lightness but a lot of speed into backing up. It was great! 

I decided to do something a little differently while riding today. I set up two barrels about 20ft apart and the plan was to ride a big figure eight around them, starting at the trot and then eventually going into the canter and doing a simple lead change in the middle. Now how I combined the Figure eight pattern and Follow the rail was that our riding ring is small so we would go through the middle of the riding ring, pick up the canter, canter around the round (the riding ring has rounded ends because of the limited space we had when building it), and then come down to the trot while riding between the barrels and pick up the canter again in the other direction. So basically we were riding a figure eight the size of our riding ring. 
We started at the trot and then once Prince picked up on the patten and we went into the canter. I decided pretty quickly though that to have success we would need to ride circles on each side of the riding ring and Prince be able to do that before doing the bigger pattern. So we set of doing that instead. Prince got the lead to the left easily and the circle was great but while going to the right Prince had a much harder time. I had to get off a couple times and reiterate what I wanted as Prince was starting to buck when I asked him into the canter. So we would switch it up a little and Follow a long the rail when Prince was having a hard time getting the correct lead, going back to something he knew well helped him quite a bit, and then switching into the circle. It took a while but in the end Prince was able to canter a lap and a half and then we stopped in the middle. I gave him a long rest, dismounted, unsaddled and let Prince out to graze on the side strip of grass for a little while as I picked up everything and took stuff down to the corral. 

Then I brought Prince back into the riding ring and let him out the gate so he could go down to the corral and get relief from the bugs in the shelter. 


Ruffian: Online and Freestyle

June 20, 2011

Okay so I am yet again a week behind in my updates... I have been to busy playing with the horses and enjoying life to bother with blogging :) 
So now I have to play catch up. Ruffian and I had a really wonderful session this morning. I was going to play with and ride Prince first but Ruffian came over and really looked like he wanted to be played with so I decided to saddle him up and play with him. 
Ruffian was fine being saddled. I allowed him to check everything out (but not with his teeth) and then saddled up. I moved him around a little and did some hindquarter and forequarter yields getting a full pivot each side with lightness and speed. Then we did some yo-yo's just on the 12ft line. Next we played with squeezing between myself and the fence where the electric fence box is (it is mounted on the other side of the fence) Ruffian had never liked going on that side and I think it is because of the ticking that the box makes but at the same time there is nothing that is going to happen to him so it is a matter of him trusting me as his leader because I know that everything is okay. 

So we played with this for a while and eventually Ruffian was able to walk calmly from one side to the other and back again through a 7ft gap or so. This was a huge improvement from when we started so we ended there. Ruffian had a bit lick and chew and then we headed up to the riding ring. 

We played on the 22ft line and did some traveling circles falling lead, and jumping. Ruffian bucked some going into the canter on the circle but once he was able to canter almost a full circle each way and not buck or show any signs of being bothered by the saddle I brought him in for a rest. 

We played with jumping single barrels as well as a line of barrels. Ruffian had not issues with jumping with the saddle so I mounted up after checking our lateral flexions. We were in the middle of the riding ring when I mounted and I only had my halter and lead rope on so after we checked out our lateral flexions and indirect rein we went over to the rail and rode the rail until we got to where my hackamore was and I put that on while mounted. Ruffian was great and stood still and knew exactly what I was asking of him even though it was the first time we have every done something like that, it was fun :) 

Then we did more Follow the rail at the walk and trot. We were able to get a full lap at the trot in each direction which was really amazing! I love Ruffian's trot, it is so smooth! Then we played with our 9 step back-up and getting that straight. I wasn't to particular about speed but I didn't want Ruffian to learn to back up in a zig-zag :) 

Ruffian was great the whole ride and I was really pleased with how well he responded and I think that the main thing I learned was not to be to particular at this stage, yes I am not letting Ruffian get away with things but if it doesn't get something right away or if he doesn't do it perfectly that it okay. If he is trying then reward that try. He is just learning! 

After I unsaddled we headed over to the sandy part of the riding ring and Ruffian got down and rolled. Hopefully he will learn that he can roll after we ride, and not during our ride :) So far so good ;) 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Prince: Patterns, Day 3.

June 16, 2011

Today was day three of most of the patterns Prince and I had been playing with recently.
Circles ~ These went really well. Prince was light and he was able to find each lead easily while maintaining rhythm, relaxation and connection. 

Yo-Yo's ~ Prince was light and put speed into backing to the end of the 45ft line! We are getting really close to it being all at phase one!!

Porcupine ~ We did hindquarter and forequarter yields. Four complete pivots each way with lightness and speed. We are playing with distance, hence the four pivots each way, and Prince is doing really well! 

Our Freestyle patterns were great today! 

Follow the Rail ~ Walk - Trot- Canter ~ Prince got it today on the first try each direction. We cantered three laps each way with no corrections. It was amazing!! His canter was so soft and relaxed! No matter what people say I love trotting. Even after I have been cantering almost a year I love trotting! There is something so relaxing about it. Anyway... that was kind of a bunny trail... :) 
Opening/Closing Gates ~ This went exceptionally well. Prince was right where I needed him to be when I needed it but he didn't try pushing on the gate or being to helpful. We worked as a team and we got the job done. 

Circles/Bullseye ~ This was an interesting pattern. Over all it went well but Prince had a really hard time getting the left lead. It took us a long time but in the end he was able to get it and we cantered a full lap before stopping. To the right was easy and it came quickly. We got two laps or so and then stopped. Prince was very sweaty by the time we finished so we headed into the garage to get relief from the bugs and played with bridling! 

Bridling ~ This was great. I took off my hackamore because it was wet and dirty so I just had the bridle on and Prince looked smashing wearing it! He had no problem taking the bit and hardly mouthed it at all! It was really nice to see the progress! We did some lateral flexions and such and then I scratched all his itchy spots for a long time before we headed back to the corral.

Prince is getting in shape with all this cantering we have been doing which is great because I want him in shape mentally, emotionally and physically for September when we are riding in a five day Level 3/4 clinic. Should be fun! 

Twosox: Waiting for the lick and chew makes a difference.

June 16, 2011

As I mentioned in my last post about Twosox's and my most recent session I wished I had of given Twosox more time to process what I was asking of him. So today I made sure to do that in our session. 

We had a pretty short session over all but a really good one from start to finish. We played mostly the same things as last session and Twosox did very well. His hindquarter yields were a little sticky on the one side. He seemed to be a little stiff or something because he wasn't crossing over as well or as smoothly. So we kept playing with it and I watched to see if he was sore but he didn't seem to be so maybe that is just a harder side for him. He was light though which was really nice! 

The forequarter yields were amazing. We got one complete pivot each direction and Twosox only moved his hind feet when he had too. I waited a long time for Twosox to process each task and it made a big difference. He stayed calm and could think his way through everything I asked. 

We ended with a big scratching session and Twosox followed me around everywhere afterward asking for more scratches! It was great!! So I scratched him for a little while longer before getting my saddle and everything out to play with Prince.


Prince: Sideways, yo-yo's and grooming...

June 15, 2011

Prince and I had a short but good session this morning. The horseflies and deerflies were already out by the time we started so we only did sideways up in the riding ring. Prince is getting better and better each time with going sideways to the end of the 45ft line while I stand still. There was a few times I had to come off of my spot but in the end Prince went sideways in each direction with my standing still! 
Then we went down to the front yard, back through the gate to the end of the 45ft line which went really well and Prince was definitely better than last time. He was light and put quite a bit of effort into backing out. 

Next we went into the garage and I was going to play with bridling but Myles want to do something with Ruffian also so we took both horses to the garage to groomed them, scratched itchy spots and etc so I didn't end up bridling Prince but that is okay! We had a great time handing out together anyway! 


Ruffian: Playing!

June 15, 2011

This morning I played with Ruffian first. Ruffian had lots of energy so first we played with circles with obstacles and changes of directions and then we played with jumping single barrels at different speeds, walk, trot, stand still etc. Ruffian did really well and seeks the barrels with lots of enthusiasm! 

I wanted to teach something new to Ruffian so I decided to try sideways at a trot. Ruffian did well and I had to make sure not to put to much pressure on him because he can loose confidence very easily when learning new things. So we took our time and slowly but surely Ruffian started to get the idea. After a couple tries Ruffian trotted sideways a few feet so we ended there. 

Ruffian hung around for a little while before heading down to the corral. The horseflies were already starting to get bad so I didn't have a lot of time to play with Prince but we had a little bit of time :) 

Prince: Patterns!

June 14, 2011

Prince and I continued on with our Freestyle patterns today but did a few new things Online. We did leading by the ear, which we have played with in the past but not recently, we did that all the way up to the riding ring and then did some back-up's, turns, and close range circles at the walk, all by the ear. We kept it simple and had fun playing with responding appropriately to pressure in a semi-new area.

We also played with a weave on a circle. This was fun but we had to change strategies a little because Prince was relying to much on the rope and not really listening to my body so we switched to to doing Figure eights around each cone so that Prince would start to understand what to do. We kept doing this until the belly of the rope was on the ground through out each Change of direction/Figure eight. 

This made a huge improvement on the Weave but and Prince kept the slack on the ground 90% of the time. We also played with changes of directions at the canter with flying lead changes. Prince got most of them but missed a couple. He still tried really hard and we ended on a good one. We also played with circles at the canter. I was looking for Prince to get the correct lead and be able to maintain it for more than just 3/4 of a lap. Soon Prince was able to canter in both directions for 3-4 laps so I rewarded that and brought him in for a rest.

Then I mounted and rode. We started with Follow the rail at the walk, trot and canter. Prince did well. At the canter Prince was able to pick up the correct lead much easier than last day and so we didn't stay at it as long. We got about 3-4 laps each direction on the correct lead and then stopped.

Next we made our way down to the corral, opened and closed the gate, and then rode the Bullseye pattern at the trot and canter. The trot was easy as we have done that a lot before so we went into the canter. Prince still had a hard time picking up the correct lead and so the first little while was a lot of attempting to pick up the correct lead. Once Prince got it though we were able to canter a few good laps and then stop for a rest. Prince picked up the left lead better than the right lead which was interesting because normally it is the other way around.

We ended with doing a little bit of bridling. Prince took the bit well and lateral flexions were really good so I unbridled and we headed back to the corral. I haven't been doing as much bridling and such recently because there has been so many other things we have been playing with, sometimes it is a little overwhelming when you want to play with and advance different things but just run out of time!!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Twosox: Playing with the basics

June 14, 2011

This morning Twosox and I focused the Porcupine game, Driving game and some Yo-yo's. I wanted to test then mainly but at the same time advance them some.
We started with the Porcupine game and did back-up's, hindquarter and forequarter yields. I was mainly looking for lightness with some speed. One thing for which I was looking was for Twosox to actually pivot. This has been something that we have played with a lot in the past but I couldn't help Twosox find it the answer, as I was still trying to figure out how to help him figure it out ;) So today we spent a lot of time playing with this especially while moving the forequarters. I found that if I backed Twosox up a step and then moved him over a step this taught him to shift his weight to his hindquarters and he was then able to pivot properly. It was that easy.

Twosox got it and even though one side was a little harder than the other pretty soon we were getting one complete pivot with Twosox keeping his weight back and truly pivoting!!

We then played with doing the same thing in the hula hoop. Twosox did really well on his easier side but his hard side was more challenging. He had a harder time keeping his one back foot in the hoop so we played with causing it to be a game and we also played some other games around the hoop. We did circling games over the hoop, sideways to it, yo-yo's to and from the hoop and squeeze games over the hoop. It was great fun!

One thing that I didn't to that I wish I had of done was given Twosox more of a chance to lick and chew. I didn't wait long enough and so there were times when things would have been a lot easier and smoother if I had of given Twosox just a little more time to think about what we had just done and process it. Next time!!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Prince: Getting effective.

June 10 , 2011

Prince and I had an great session. I saddled him up at Liberty and then we headed up to the riding ring. We started off with some Touch it on the 45ft line and then moved fairly quickly into circles at the canter. Prince was motivated to move so I wanted to play with that while he was offering it. What we played with mainly was getting quicker responses the moment I asked, not second afterward. Now of course Prince being a LBI has come a long way and is responding with way more effort than he has even given me but I want to raise the bar. 
So we played with this concept for a while. All it really took was a long phase one, quick two, three, four. Prince got it. At a phase one Prince gave me six laps each direction at the canter. First send and with effort!! 

We applied the same concept to our yo-yo's and got some very nice yo-yo's to the end of the 45ft line. Now you may be thinking "How does she know her horse is ready for that?" Well there was something in me that just knew it was time to raise the bar and ask for more, and hey, if you don't try how will you know? I tried and it worked, Prince and I were both ready. But I have tried many other things and they haven't worked so I have gone back to where we were and carried on from there. 

After we were finished that I mounted up. Prince and I did Follow the rail at the walk, trot and canter. Prince had a hard time picking up the correct leads so we cantered and cantered and cantered, with lots of partial disengagements and patience, and slowly but surely Prince got it and was able to canter a complete lap each way on the correct lead. The ends were the hardest because Prince couldn't canter a curve on the wrong lead so he would break gait and then we were start again. He tried and tried and got a long rest at the end that is for sure.

I wanted to ride the Bowtie pattern and we did a little of that but because Prince was having a hard with basic leads I decided to leave that for another day. 

Then we headed down the hill and out the corral gate where we rode circles! Before I played with Prince to hooked up the chain on the gate so that I could undo it while mounted so that Prince and I could continue to play with opening and closing gates. It isn't the best gate to open while mounted because it gets caught on the grass a little bit it is still lots of fun! 

We rode some circles at the trot first and then went into the canter. It took Prince a while to figure out what he was supposed to do and how it was supposed to do it but in the end we got a couple beautiful circles in each direction at the canter, and on the correct leads :) I wasn't being to particular about the shape of the circle because I want to reward the maintain gait first. Prince was really sweaty by the time we finished so I allowed him to graze in the shape for a little while (a very little while because he is supposed to be loosing weight) and then brushed him off and went and trimmed Twosox :) 


Ruffian: Playing.

June 10, 2011

Well, today promised to be a busy day. My schedule was packed full but I loved every minute! I planned on playing with all three horses this morning. Ruffian was first. The only problem was that the horses weren't in... so Mom and I went out to find them. They were in the field so we played there. Ruffian and I had lots of fun and he was very energetic. 
I started with asking him to put his back feet in a tire. He was doing it but his mind wasn't there. He looked exactly like my little Left Brain Extrovert brother when we were doing simulations the other day :) So we switched to some circles just to allow Ruffian to move his feet! Ruffian liked this very much and so we played with traveling circles, I put different natural obstacles in his way to cause him to think about where he was putting his feet. We did this mostly at the trot and then we played around with cantering. 

Even since Ruffian hurt himself he seems to have a bit harder of the time cantering. So we played with it for a while and eventually Ruffian was able to canter smoothly for about half a lap before I brought him in for a rest. 

I wanted to play with Changes of directions and advance them so we played with those next. Ruffian has a habit of coming on to close when changing direction so I mainly focused on getting zone one and two away from me on the change. This worked well and Ruffian caught on so quickly that there was no need to drill it into him. Once he got it we quit. 

Then we went over to a log and played with jumping it. Ruffian will jump it no problem so we played with jumping it, disengage, snappy send, jump the log again and repeat. At the end Ruffian really got into the pattern and put lots of energy into it! We ended with me asking Ruffian to straddle it on the last time over, which he did on the first try :) 

Next we played with spinning and going. Where you put the rope on the other side of your horse, ask him to follow the feel around (spin) and then send on the circle. Ruffian loved this and in the end we got a really fast spin and a canter send! Ruffian was light and was having fun! 

Then we hung out for a while until Mom was ready to leave and then we unhaltered the horses (Prince and Twosox had already left and went home) and then followed the horses back to the corral. It was so much fun playing with Ruffian and it was great to see him being energetic yet obedient :)


Monday, June 13, 2011

Twosox: Amazed!

June 8 2011

Wow! I am simply amazed by how well Twosox did today! A friend of ours called to say that she was able to trailer the horses out to her place for a play day so I decided to see if I could take Twosox. I haven't trailered him anywhere in the three years that I have owned him but we have done lots of simulations and once two falls ago we had the chance to play with a trailer for a couple days. So in three years Twosox and I have only played with a trailer once.
I got out extra early to play with Twosox before our friend arrived. My plan was to get him confident being in the garage with the big door closed. First we started with playing squeeze games between the fence and the gate. It is one of those normal green gates with a chain on it so it banged around and made lots of noise like the divider in the trailer would do. Twosox stood still and relaxed as I moved it around and made lots of noise. He was a little unsure what to do when I brought the gate up to touch his side but once he knew that it was a friendly game and not a porcupine game he stood still.

Twosox walked right in to the garage through the man door no problem. He was a little unsure but not right brain. There was hay on the floor from where some bales of hay had been so he started eating and was fine. I did lots of simulations with tarps, bags, doors opening and closing, different "scary" noises, you name it we probably did it. 

Twosox was so confident it was really amazing! Then I asked my mom to open and close the big door and get Twosox used to having something big (and noisy) moving behind him. This was the big test and Twosox passed it with flying colours! He was alert but not bothered by it at all!! 

We also played with me standing outside the garage door and sending Twosox in and getting him to stand straight and not turn around. Twosox did very well with that and was able to confidently, at phase one, go into the garage by himself with the big door closed. 

So then he just followed me around as I carried stuff out and then the trailer arrived! Twosox wasn't bothered by the trailer backing down the road and so we just stood by it for a little while as Mom was playing with Knightly and Twosox was calm. I scratched some itchy spots and made him feel really comfortable being around it. 

When it was our turn I decided to climb in the trailer and ask Twosox in that way. Not that I was going to end there but just to get him used to it. Twosox put zone one, two and part of three in and checked out the trailer then I backed him out and we started again. In no time at all Twosox was all the way in the trailer and standing confidently. Once we were sure it was okay I stood up front and our friend did some approach and retreat with the bar at the back. Twosox did so well and didn't have any issues with it being back there. 

Just to make sure he wasn't going to push on it we waited to see how he would respond once he felt it. He shifted his weight back, felt the bar and came off the pressure confidently and relaxed. It was great!! So then the next step was to see what he was like with the ramp coming up. Just like with the garage door he was alert but not scared. Everything progressed so smoothly that thirty minutes after the trailer pulled in the driveway both horses were loaded and Twosox was actually asleep in the trailer :) 

I walked beside the trailer for the first hundred feet or so just to make sure that Twosox was okay, he was just fine. The whole trip when smoothly and without any problems. 

Twosox slipped a little on the ramp while we were unloading the horses but other than that it was a breeze. He looked around a little and then started grazing completely calm and relaxed! I couldn't believe it! Here is my RBI in a totally new environment for the first time in three years and he is calm, cool and collected. It was really amazing! I was shocked! 
After grazing a little we went into the arena and explored it. Nothing bothered Twosox. He offered to jump the big log, check out the barrels, walk to between the standing up tires and check out the pedestal. We did falling leaf and traveling circles to the other end and back again and Twosox trotted nicely around. He was calm and curios.

We played on the 22ft line a bit and got a beautiful  three quarters of a lap at a canter!! Our changes of directions and transitions were smooth, sideways was soft and responsive, yo-yo's were light, everything was great and we were both having lot of fun! 
Next I decided to saddle up. I was prepared not to ride as I wasn't sure how Twosox would handle the new environment but he was so relaxed that I decided to take it one step at a time and just see what happened.

Since Twosox hasn't been saddled in a while I was pretty sure he would buck so we started off at the walk and trot, which were both fine until he went over the small log and he started bucking I wasn't quite prepared for it so I ended up letting go of the rope. Twosox came back to me afterward so we carried on and he didn't buck again. He just has to get used to the back cinch again and then he is fine.

We did some circles and changes of directions, jumping the small and big log and then headed into the round corral so play with cantering. I felt that the big arena was to big for us to successfully get the canter on the circle so the round corral was a great option. Twosox didn't canter a lot but enough for me to know that he wasn't going to buck.

Then we played with the green ball. I made sure to make it a game and Twosox caught on quickly and we even got up into the trot! He was asking loads of questions!

Then I took the halter off and we played at Liberty. We haven't play in a round corral at Liberty in..... well... a long time! So we had a lot of fun and Twosox was amazing! He was so connected! We started off doing Stick to me a long the fence. Twosox did really well, going when I went, stopping when I stopped etc. The trot was a little harder. I wanted to let him figure out what I was asking and not put to much pressure on him because he was trying. So we played with walk - trot transitions until Twosox knew what I wanted and was confident.

After that we played with pushing the ball a little. Twosox didn't put a whole lot of effort into pushing it so I would allow him to go past the ball but then either ask him to trot a circle around the round corral and come back to it or I would disengage his hindquarters quickly and resend him with a playful tag and then relax when he was at the ball. Both strategies worked well and Twosox figured out what to do and pushed the ball around the round corral with effort!

We got some really nice draw on the yo-yo at the trot, sideways, bouncing the ball in all five zones and on Twosox, and then we did some circles. Twosox was really connected, I was surprised! It truly is amazing how having a strong Online can really effect Liberty! Really this was our first Liberty session in a round corral. We have played at Liberty in our riding ring at home but it is to big and Twosox gets lost.

After that we took a rest and allowed Twosox to graze a little then I mounted up. We started in the round corral and checked our lateral flexions, direct and indirect rein and then followed the rail at the walk and trot. Then we opened the gate and went into the big arena, opening and closing that gate as well. We did some follow the rail at the walk and trot and then I decided to ride the Cloverleaf pattern. At first it wasn't very good at all. Twosox could trot a fairly straight line so that was encouraging but we had to play a lot with it until he was starting to get the pattern. Then we rested in the middle, at X.

After a rest we went in the other direction. This time Twosox understood the pattern better so it didn't take as long. Our turns got better and we went deeper into the corners, and our lines got straighter. I dismounted after we finished riding this pattern, unsaddled and went and got the horses some water. We (Twosox and I) had to walk up to the house to find out where to get it. Twosox saw the cows and stopped in his tracks. He stared at them for the longest time, and that was when they were on the other side of the field! On out way back one was getting a drink of water at the trough and we walked right past it... maybe Twosox has some cow in him? ;)

Then after I ate lunch (as Twosox grazed) we played with the trailer. Twosox was confident going in but after a couple minutes he would back out. So we played with that and with in a couple minutes I could stand outside the trailer and send him in and he would go in all the way and stand there for a long time. The bugs were not as bad in there so that helped also. He had a nice nap while I watched Mom ride Knightly. Twosox stayed in the trailer for at least 20 minutes completely loose, he wasn't tied or shut in and he was comfortable :)

Loading up to go home went smoothly. Twosox loaded up no problem he was giving green lights right, left and center. So it only took us about 10 minutes to max to load both horses, load the tack and be driving out.

I am so proud of Twosox and it is really nice knowing that he can be trailered and is confident about it all.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Prince: Sideways on the 45ft line and Bridling: Day Five

June 6, 2011

Prince and I had a really great session this morning. We played on the 45ft line again and mainly played with getting sideways to the end of the line while I kept my feet still. This was a lot of fun. Prince and I are playing with getting snappier responses from farther distances, so case in point, while going sideways Prince will get about 22ft and then start slowing down and at about 25ft he stops. Normally I would just go up my phases until he moved off again but today I decided to try something a little more fun and provocative and something that would really get Prince to want me to stay at phase one. 

So with Prince starting in front of me I asked him to go sideways. He started off really nicely and put great speed into it, but like usual his speed slowly faded until he stopped this time though I got a sneaky look on my face got really mentally intense and then ran towards Prince's zone three twirling my carrot stick and savvy string... Prince got out of there pretty quick. He didn't go sideways exactly but he moved over with effort so I rewarded that and then we went again. 

It took only two times and then all I had to do was get that look on my face when Prince started slowing down and he would pick up speed again and go sideways to the end of the 45ft line at phase one, while I kept my feet still the whole while. Prince is so clever ;) 

By this time the bugs where getting bad so we ended with a beautiful yo-yo to the end of the 45ft line. I used the same strategy as with the sideways and Prince knew what to do :) The look on his face while he was backing out was great! He was interested! 

We then headed down to the garage where we bridled. Like last day I didn't have to use any honey on the bit. Prince saw me holding the bridle and getting it ready and he started reaching for it and stretching to get the bit in his mouth! It was really cool! I did the bridle up and then scratched his itchy spots and did some lateral flexions which we very light. I decided to switch the reins from the small rings to the big rings and see how Prince did with those. He was fine and seemed to like them also. 

The bugs were to bad to ride so we finished shortly after that and went back to the corral. It was a fun, but short, session but definitely let us with lots of licking and chewing to be done :)


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Twosox: Finding relaxation in zone five.

June 6, 2011

Twosox and I had a really revealing session this morning. We ended up focusing our whole session on zone five driving with one rein. We started with this as we entered the riding ring and right away I noticed that (1) Twosox wasn't really relaxed and (2) because he wasn't relaxed he wasn't in tune with me and connected. So I basically did a passenger lesson from zone five. I matched Twosox's energy and walked with him because he need to move his feet (being a Right Brain Introvert he doesn't need to move fast, just move) I didn't want to shut him down because that wouldn't help, it would only cause him to get confused because he wasn't connected in the first place. 
It took a while before I felt that Twosox was gaining more relaxation so I would just put a slight amount of pressure on the rope suggesting that Twosox stop. The first couple times he didn't understand what that pressure meant so we played with it until he started thinking "slow down" and then I would release and start over again. This took quite a bit of time but in the end it was completely worth it because Twosox started gaining more and more confidence and relaxation and by the time we ended we were able to do halt - walk - halt - back up transitions with one rein and Twosox was relaxed and left brain. 

Part way through I started to guide him just a little here and there and getting him more confident about being guided and keeping me in zone five. This went really well so we ended and both had a bit lick and chew! 

One thought that crossed my mind was how similar Twosox and I are personality/horsenality wise. It is almost scary! But at the same time it is fascinating because when I think about how I feel and would like to be treated when I am unconfident or worried, that is how I should most likely treat Twosox! It is really cool!

Twosox had a huge lick and chew afterward and let go of a lot of adrenaline. Then I unhaltered and we spend some undemanding time before heading over to the gate at liberty and then I let him out. But he stayed at the gate with me for a little longer before we went down the hill together and I got ready to play with Prince. 


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Prince: Bridling: Day Three & Four

Day 3 ~ June 1, 2011

Today went very well! Prince is really starting to get this pattern, and like it! We yo-yo'ed to the end of the forty-five foot line and I only had to go to a higher phase (higher than phase one) about three times. I really made sure that I had my phases clear and always went back to phase one when Prince tried. Rewarding the slightest try! 
Then to change things up a little we circles at the trot with changes of directions. Prince found the rhythm, relaxation and connection really quickly and offered a nice, slow trot.

Than we did a traveling circle over to the drive way and did Figure eights around the basketball net (it had fallen over with the high winds) and the hockey net, yes we are a family that likes our sports :), that went well. At first I allowed Prince to check the two objects out and then we started the Figure eight. It was a little messy at first but then Prince figured out what we were doing and you could tell that it "clicked" because the Figure eight got smooth, Prince maintained gait around both ends, and he was asking loads of questions! We ended with a long trot draw across the yard and then we went and played with bridling. 

I bridled and unbridled two time and on the third time Prince reached for the bit and picked it up almost by himself! I love patterns! Horses get them so quickly! I found some big itchy spots and we had a huge scratching session :) Then we did the lateral flexions which went better than expected! Prince was light and had positive reflexes right from the start. He wasn't mouthing the bit at all!
Since those went so well I decided to mount up and check them Freestyle. I had my halter on and looped my lead rope through  my belt so that I could use that if I needed to and only use the bridle for lateral flexions. Prince was light and everything from the ground carried over to the riding. After we got a few really soft lateral flexions on both sides, and with Prince having no opposition reflex, I dismounted and allowed Prince to graze for a while. Then we headed back into the corral and got some relief from the bugs :)

Day 4 ~ June 2, 2011

Today was definitely the best day yet. Day four!! Prince backed out the gate and all the way to the end of the forty-five foot line and I only had to get to phase four once, which was a fairly light phase four, he got a little stuck at about the thirty foot mark as he still is not one hundred percent sure if he is supposed to stop or continue backing up. But then he figured it out and backed up to the end with lightness! 

Then we went and played with circles at the canter. I was just looking for a couple with rhythm, relaxation and connection. It took a while because we haven't done them in quite some time but eventually Prince found all three aspects that I was waiting for and I brought him in for a rest. What really helped in the end was making sure that I was focused and at first I was trying different things that have helped in the past, to help Prince find that connection, but in doing that I wasn't sticking to one long enough for Prince to really find it. So when I determined the length of rope that I was going to give Prince and then waited he found the connected almost immediately. It was eye opening! 

Prince had the rhythm ninety-five% of the time which was really amazing for him! He cantered at least fifteen  laps straight without breaking gait, he just didn't have that last one quarter of the circle connected. We also got some really nice flying lead changes in both directions with which I was really pleased.

After that we went and played with bridling. The really cool part is that I didn't even need to put any honey on the bit for Prince to pick it up! I was going to but right after I put the reins over Prince's head to keep them out of the way he was looking at the bit and reaching for it so I figured why not?!? If he really wants it so I offered it to him and sure enough, Prince took the bit right away and of course, got lots of treats afterward :) Sometimes we can make things so much harder and more complicated than they should be!!

I bridled Prince one more time after that and again Prince took the bit with no honey and this time it was really smooth! He lowered his head and softly took the bit into his mouth and then turned to me for his treat :) He is so clever! Then I did everything up. Prince hardly seemed bothered by the bit at all! Then we played with lateral flexions and holding them for longer. We got up to forty-five seconds on each side which was really amazing! A couple times hear the beginning Prince would go to move his head back but then feel the pressure from the bit and yield to it, which is exactly what I am looking for when he feels that pressure. I made sure to keep my hand steady and consistent to that he knew I wasn't pulling but it was him that "ran into" the pressure.

That all went well so I mounted up and we did the same thing. Prince was just as good as he was Online so after we got a couple lateral flexions I tried some indirect rein, which went really well!! Prince was fantastic and knew exactly what to do, thanks to them being really soft Freestyle and without a bit. I rewarded the first step that was soft and with no brace (it was the first step Prince gave me!!) and then after a lick and chew I decided to see if we could walk around and do a porcupine game and gently guide zone one around. This went marvelously well and Prince was soft and yielded to the bit with positive reflex verses the opposition reflex we have had so much of before. We did not do a whole lot as I just want to test it and see where it was at and I want to feed Prince with spoonfuls not shovelfuls :)

After that we checked out our lateral flexions again and did a couple more indirect rein (rewarding the slightest try) and then I dismounted. What a wonderful ride! It was simple yet so good!!

I allowed Prince to graze for a little while and then we headed back to the corral. We ended with a good scratching session and then I headed inside.

Onto day five!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Prince: Bridling: Day One & Two

Okay so for the last two days I have done basically the same pattern with Prince in each session (adding a little bit of variety each time of course) but the basic pattern looks something like this: 

- Halter, scratch itchy spots etc
- Back out the gate (first day on the 12ft line second on the 45ft line) to the end of the rope and then I allowed Prince to graze for a little bit. Then we went over to the drive way (Yesterday, day two, was in the garage because of the bugs) and we played with creating positive patterns regarding the bridle. After that we went out, I allowed Prince to eat a little bit more and then headed back to the corral. 
That is the overview, each day looked something like this :) 

Day 1, May 30, 2011

This, being day one, I decided to keep things fairly short bridling wise and not do a whole lot other than the basic. Prince came over to me and so after I haltered him and scratched him for a while we backed out the gate (like I mentioned above) and we played the game, you back out to the end of the rope and then you can graze, Prince put a lot of effort into backing up and we ended up backing up all the way across the from yard (about 80ft), after some shorter yo-yo's of course. 

Here is my new strategy for bridle, I talked to a three star Parelli instructor yesterday and got some great advice, after guide the bit into Prince's mouth give him lots of cookies or treats, one or two isn't enough for some horses, some will need ten or maybe even more until they start seeing the bit and being bridled as a good thing. Also it will help counter-balance Prince not liking me asking him to yield to the pressure of the bit, even the slightest amount the next time he will want nothing to do with the bit. Since I didn't have cookies (planning on making some soon) I cut up some carrots and used them, Prince isn't used to getting carrots for a treat so it was extra special! 

Today all I did was bridle Prince four times, each time I did the same thing, guided the bit in, put it on loosely and then gave Prince lots of treats than unbridled. On the forth time Prince knew what was going to happen (he likes those carrots!) and he reached right for the bit and took it right in his mouth right away, didn't even bother to lick the little bit of honey off of it, so I gave him extra carrots, scratched some more itchy spots and then unbridled and allowed Prince to graze for a little bit before going back to the corral. 

Once Prince is more accepting of the bit going in and all I will start just doing lateral flexions and getting those really good. Once that is going well... well I am not exactly sure what I am going to do next. I will figure that out then :) But for now I know what my goal is and I want each session to end with both Prince and I feeling like winners! 

Day 2, May 31, 2011

Day two!! Today was interesting because the horseflies where out in full force (they about 10x bigger this year also) and it was 35 C. (95 F.) at 8:00pm... so it was hot!! I was hoping to ride Prince a little and play with opening and closing the gate (my youngest brother and I fixed it yesterday evening so it now can swing) but since the horseflies where biting something fierce we were fortunate enough to even be able to play with bridling! 

We were able to back all the way out to the end of the 45ft line and Prince grazed for a couple seconds before we made a V-line for the garage where the bugs wouldn't be so bad. We only had about 4ft (if that) of space because we have hay in there right now but Prince was a champ and we got relief from the bugs! 

Bridling went fairly well. On the third bridle I decided to do the bridle up. As soon as I did the chin strap up Prince's mouth went completely quiet! Hmmm.... that is interesting! Prince was still a little bothered by the bit though so I found a really, I repeat REALLY  big itchy spot and scratched, and scratched and scratched! Prince was enjoying that so much that he completely forgot about mouthing the bit and lifted his hind leg up way  high and completely enjoyed it. 

Then what I did next was I would lift up the reins and run my hand down it (like in level one you start your lateral flexions) and I kept doing that until Prince tipped his nose (or even ear) towards me. I rewarded the slightest try and then I would drop the reins (like they were hot) and then scratch the itchy spot again. Pretty soon Prince figured out what to do and I would pick the reins up and run my hand down the rein once and Prince would bring his head around the whole way. 

We ended there are it was getting windy and it looked like it might rain plus it was getting late and I needed to get some other chores done before going inside. I decided to do the other side tomorrow.

Prince grazed for a little bit before we went back to the corral, the other horses had left so we didn't spend to long grazing. I unhaltered Prince and he stayed with me for a little while before heading off to find the other horses. 

I was really pleased with how session two went and hopefully tomorrow we can build on today. I am thinking about purchasing a snaffle bit and bridle from, another thing that the Parelli instructor I talked to suggested. But I am going to give this a little longer to see if I can save $200 and just use my Cradle Bridle. But I am willing to do what Prince needs, we shall see :) 


Monday, May 30, 2011

Prince: Having fun on the 45ft line and trail riding!

May 25, 2011

Today was such a nice day so Mom and I decided to head out for a trail ride. First we played in the riding ring though. Prince and I saddled up and then played with the Weave at the walk and trot from about 40ft away, pushing the ball at the trot from 45ft away, yo-yo's to the end of the 45ft line (these are getting better and better. Right now we are playing with just getting the lightness all the way out to the end, speed will come later), can you tell we are trying to get more and more distance? ;) 

Then we played with circles at the canter. Prince cantered six laps each direction with rhythm, relaxation and connection. It took a little while to get it to the left but in the end Prince got it and then we stopped. We also played with jumping barrels on the circle. Prince maintained gait and direction really well so we didn't stay at that long. 

When Prince was ready to ride I mounted. We rode Follow the rail bridleless. There were two barrels placed a long the fence about 30ft from each other so we would canter a long the rail and stop at the barrels, I didn't care much for jumping barrels bridleless today :) So after a rest we would pivot on the hindquarters (direct rein) and canter off the other way to the other barrel. I guess we were kind of doing 180's :) 

Prince picked up on this really quickly so once we got a few good ones in each direction we stopped that pattern. It was so much fun and Prince was so connected! We went into the canter at a phase one and Prince maintained gait and direction so well! 

We also played with pushing the ball. At first Prince would only push it when it was a long the fence and then trot past it when it left so we played with following it and tracking it. I was looking for Prince to put effort into following it no matter where it went. 

After a couple minutes it caught on and figured out that it was the same as we do Online and at Liberty and we trotted everywhere following the ball. It was a lot of fun to say the least!

When Mom was ready we headed down to the front yard. Prince and I rode down the hill and backed out the gate then I allowed Prince to graze for a few minutes and then we rode some circles!! I really wanted to canter them because our circles are getting kind of boring at the trot as they are going so well. So after testing the trot first I asked Prince into the canter. 

At first he was confused and didn't quite know what to do as we have only walk and trotted circles before. But once he figured out what to do he seemed to just "get" it and we cantered a lap and a half in each direction with only two corrections each way!! It helped that we have certain boundaries such as the house, the rose garden, the apple tree and the swing set by the corral, so we have four things on each side that we can't exactly ride through, although Prince has tried in the past riding under the apple tree while I was riding... but that was some time ago ;) 
It was such an amazing and wonderful feeling to finally be cantering circles!! It was wonderful! Needless to say, Prince got a long rest and got to each lots of grass before we headed out for our trail ride :) 

We rode through town today and I was so proud of Prince! Even when vehicles came up behind him and in front of him, he took it all in stride and trusted me as his leader. Even going between the two tall buildings that normally he doesn't like a whole lot Prince was confident. I was way more confident also, which I am sure made a huge difference for Prince. 

I was in the moment and knew that if in the next moment Prince got worried I would handle that then, but for that moment he was confident. 

We had a great trail ride. We did lots of cantering, which is always fun. Prince and I played with trotting really slow, a very slow jog. Prince was fabulous and I didn't need to use my reins at all! It was all though my body!! This horse is incredible!! We have been playing with this concept for three days now and already we can do it on the trail and for long distances! It is so much fun!! 

On the way home we cantered a long ways and cantered up the hill. I am not sure if we made it to a gallop, as I have never galloped before so I don't know what that feels like but I think we got pretty close as it was as really fast canter. Then when I asked Prince relaxed into a nice lovely canter. It was soft and slow and we cantered like that for a little ways and then when I relaxed my body we came down into that beautiful, slow jog. It was instantly also, none of that really fast trot and then a slow trot. It was the most beautiful canter - trot transitions we have ever gotten!! 

One thing that I did differently today verses other days out on the trail was if Prince broke gait or I asked him to come down to the trot, walk or halt, I made sure that he was relaxed mentally and emotionally before asking him into the canter again. I think this was what made for that beautiful transition into the jog from the canter at the end. Also through out the whole time I would go with stopping in mind, stop with backing in mind and back with the quality of respond in mind. This made a huge difference because when I stopped I was thinking back up so Prince could feel that I meant stop, not like previously when I had a really hard time completely relaxing on our canter - halt transitions. 

Oh and on that note! Bareback riding has completely changed, for the better, my fluidity! I can now ride canter - halt transitions with fluidity and not bounce, thanks to focus and riding canter - halt transitions bareback ;) 

We rode back home through town and again the horses did beautifully we allowed them to graze for a while and I brushed Prince off and once he was dry we headed back into the corral and I fed the horses. 
It was a great session and I think both Prince and I had a lot of fun!

Here are a few pictures from our ride...


Ruffian: So smooth!

May 25, 2011

This morning Ruffian and I had a wonderful session. He was playful but at the same time very obedient, not in a dull way but in a more centered Left Brain Extrovert way. It was so much fun! He was asking loads of questions and we were having a great conversation! 

We started with the Falling Leaf pattern to test and see where he was at this morning. He was energetic yet did the pattern very well. Then we did the Figure eight pattern around two barrels... wow!!! Talk about smooth as silk! Ruffian trotted the whole thing and was so soft! He was engaged and asking lots of questions! I didn't over do it though and brought him after about six or seven Figure eights. I want to slowly build up the amount we can do but at the same time not do so many that it is boring. 

Then we trotted the Weave. We haven't done this pattern in ages but Ruffian knew and didn't miss a beat the whole time. He trotted softly around each marker and we did one complete weave at a trot then stopped!! I was having hard time figuring out what to do because Ruffian was doing everything I asked so well! I had to stop and think of something new to do because I didn't want to bore Ruffian, or myself for that matter :) 

So we played with pushing the ball at a trot. Ruffian will push it at the walk so the trot was a little challenging but after a matter of seconds Ruffian figured it out. We trotted the ball from one end of the riding ring to the other and then we positioned it between two barrels and my goal was to get Ruffian to back up to it. I know that Ruffian can had confidence issues with things in zone five so we took our time and I respected his thresholds and pretty soon, even though it felt like a long time, he was able to back straight, 20ft to the ball and touch it with his back legs!! Touch down! He had a bit lick and chew after that and so we stood still and I let him process that for a while. 

Then we played with needle simulations and also getting tension out of zone one, his mouth. Even since Ruffian got all those porcupine quills in his nose/mouth last spring he has always been a little bit tense about people touching that area. This were getting a lot better but then Ruffian can have static electricity and a couple times of being shocked... well that didn't help thins much :) So I just massaged it and then when he started to release I would quit. Pretty soon he was getting more and more relaxed. So I unhaltered him and allowed him to roll, which was what I was pretty sure he wanted to do. 

It was a great session all around and I am do pleased with how well Ruffian was progressed! We have had a lot of ups and downs in our journey over the past year and a half but I think we are heading up for now :)


Twosox: Releasing Brace

May 24, 2011

After I played with Prince I played with Twosox. We had a great session and we were able to play with quite a bit actually. My main goal was to continue helping Twosox have no brace, which means me having no brace either. 
We did Figure eights, circles, jumping a single barrel towards me from a stand still, transitions, changes of directions, backing by the tail, jumping barrels that were standing on end, stick to me, and playing with the ball. 

Twosox offered to put a lot of energy into what I asked and it was great! While doing Figure eights I changed strategies a little bit because Twosox was bracing as much anymore. He was only breaking gait around the one end at which he used to brace, so I would bring him into me at the trot and give him a treat then send him back out again. Pretty soon he got it and trotted the whole Figure eight and we got a few really nice, soft, figure eights at the trot. 

I asked Twosox to jump one single barrel that was laying down on a yo-yo, from a stand still. Twosox got it right away and jumped it and cane trotting into me. This horse is such a fast learner! 

Next we played with circles. First I asked Twosox to trot 4 laps each way with out breaking gait and then we played with upward transitions into the canter and also changes of directions. Twosox is started to canter more and more and actually canter not just something that isn't a trot but isn't a gallop ;) He has a nice canter also! It looks like it shall be nice to ride once we get it solid  Online. Slow and right beats fast and wrong! 

We ended with jumping the barrels that were standing on end. Twosox jumped them but he wasn't putting a lot of effort into it so we kept playing with it until he was able to clear the barrels. My job was to cause it to be a game and not tell him the answer, his job was to discover the answer and try ;) In the end he figured out the puzzle and jumped the barrels, clearing them no problem. 

Then we hung out for a little bit at Liberty spending a few moments of undemanding time before we went down to the corral.