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!!