Horsin' Around

Today was an amazing day for me and my girls. So I am not sure if I have officially told everyone that I love mares. I feel like even though they have good days and bad days (just like me) and that their love is hard to earn (like me), and it takes them a while to build trust (like me), once you have patience, love and trust they will be very true to you. By the way, I feel the same way about male dalmatians. :)

When I was looking for horse to buy, I knew I wanted a mare, but I would take the *right* horse even if it was a gelding. Luckily Phaedre fit all of my requirements (including no white feet) along with her amazing can-do attitude.

Today we went to the Horsin' Around compeition at Fisher 4F Ranch. So anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows I adore Julie and Craig Fisher and Julie's partner in crime and horses: Darlene.

Today I headed to the Fishers for the Annual Trail Competition. This is the 3rd year I have participated, my 2nd year as a judge. There are 36 (or 37) obstacles on the course ranging from simple to terribly difficult. There is backing through poles, downhill, jumps, trenches with water, bridges (3), squeezes, tarps, more water, roping, trailer loading (send into the trailer only), ditches, step ups (and downs) and a whole lot more. Today I took both of my girls through, here are the results.

Miss Phaedre: I took Phaedre in hand. She was able to do 33 of the 36 tasks missing the large trench with water, another large water obstacle and ground tying. (oh by the way you have 1 minute and 30 seconds to compelete each). I have done almost none of this kind of work with her. Her willingness to try is WHY I bought her and you could not get the smile off of my face. Julie is training her and says that I will really like her under saddle, I just could not be happier!

Precious: I rode Precious and we did 29 of the 36. I passed on two obstacles (step down-it is about 1 1/2 - 2 feet, Uriah fell off Precious last year doing this because she is a leaper) and the tree jump (I'm not comfortable). We ran out of time on the front feet on the tractor tire filled with sand and 360 around it with back feet on ground, but she did it.

The Canteen dip (pick up a canteen off hook, dip it in water, dump it in barrel, hand up canteen) was one I was only going to do part of. And we did, so I was pleased.

She refused the large trench filled with water (I mean LARGE). Below is a video from last year. And it is even steeper than it looks.

She refused another ditch and I wasn't able to rope, so 3 were me, 2 were her and we will share the other 2 (ok, I'll take responsibility for all the ones she didn't do).

It was a grand time and tomorrow I will be back to judge all day!


Liberty Begins

So in my lesson with Ann Kiser this week I wanted to work on 2 things. Beginning my liberty work and the canter. I need both to pass my level 2 and I just didn't know where to start with liberty.

Ann suggested that I start playing all 7 games with my rope on the ground rather than just taking off her halter and leadrope, just to 'test' how my work is. I found some holes (hind end disengagement) and today I took the halter off for the first time.

I played Friendly, driving and porcupine, the first 3 games AT LIBERTY!!!!! My horse didn't leave me once. I was able to send her back with the yo-yo game (#4), but couldn't get her back to me. I was also able to lead her as well as drive her from the saddle position (don't know what that is called, but basically I stand next to her side with my carrot stick on her back and we move together). I was really proud of us.

So, we didn't have as much luck if she has to move forward (I was not in the round pen). So I'll work on those games a little bit more solid and start them in the round pen.

I'm sure the fact that it was 95 degrees probably helped, but I'm so happy with our result!

My Parelli Plan

So, I have decided I will do one post in defense of Parelli, then I the subject for me is no longer up for debate or defense.

First, I think it is important to know my plan. My goal is to be a Parelli professional by the end of 2010. I will need a level 3 horse and to attend training at their center in Colorado (and who knows, rules may change by then), but no matter for me, that is the goal. I will leave Yahoo!, technology and "corporate" America to get paid to help people learn about horses.

And why Parelli? Well, first, it is such an EASY way to have instant credibility, marketing and students. I currently pay $65 for a lesson from a Parelli professional, it is hard to charge that and fill up a day's worth of lessons without something like "Parelli" at the front of your name.

Most importantly, I can wake up and look at myself in the mirror and KNOW that I am doing the best things possible for people and their horses. In my six months of studying Parelli I have not only learned a lot about his methodology, but I have learned PATIENCE, PROBLEM SOLVING, and OBSERVATION skills. It is BY FAR the farthest I have come in the shortest period of time and when I watch Pat working with his stallion at liberty I say to myself "I want to do that, I want THAT relationship with my horse". And so, I have invested (it is an education in my future) in lessons, clinics, videos, equipment and I have not looked back. My only wish is that I could take weekly lessons.

My horse is happier, I am happier and we have made progress in ways I couldn't imagine both me as a rider and a horse person and my horse as a partner.

I'm a pretty good debater, I have the trophies to prove it, but I don't feel the need to debate with anyone about Parelli (although if it was a judged debate, I'm dang sure I would win). It is my choice and when someone decides to make the same choice I do, I am happy to help them with their journey. If not, that's ok, I respect our differences. But when you want to know how I do it, don't get mad at me when I tell you the truth.