Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

Giveaway ends May 01, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Update!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Even though the mud has been horrible, Sharlie's eye and leg have been acting up (though apparently, there is nothing wrong with Sharlie's leg) and all that, I have been having fun! My goal this vacation was to exercise Sharlie till we both drop, trying to work some of those pounds off. And unfortunately, according to Sharlie's still tight-fitted blanker, we have failed so far. But school starts on January 6th, so I still have some time to work off maybe a millimeter of that very fat waist. (No, there is no waistline, none at all. )
The only good thing about Sharlie being so fat right now, is that her back is cushioned, so bareback riding had become more comfortable then usual, and thus helping me self-assess Level 1 Freestyle. It's nice to know we are now all around Level 2/3 (except for Finesse) and also to know I don't have to ride in the saddle all the time. I dread riding in the saddle, because it pinches Sharlie and so it speeds up her already very fast walk & trot. I have managed to get her to keep her walks slow, some of the time, thanks to lots of walk-stop-backup-walk transitions.
Again, even though its been terribly muddy, we have been able to do some amazing Online play. Even though we have taken a break from working with the trailer (fearing that Sharlie will slip in the mud when she does one of her rushed, unplanned backups) we have made progress in other areas, such as jumping poles and low jumps. Its so amazing to watch Sharlie struggle over coordinating herself to get the right footing and timing with just some simple ground poles, to getting her to jump over a 1 foot jump, somewhat gracefully! Also, we have been doing alot of cantering on the 22-foot line. I am growing more confident with Sharlie cantering and she isn't taking me grass-skying every time she does canter. The other day, she finally cantered nicely with me on her blind side without bolting when I asked her to trot. I am also starting to look at the Level 3 objectives because I am hoping to be able to film my Audition when I go to Jennifer's camp, because there are pedestals and many other obstacles and toys there that would be very helpful to the audition.
One of the most surprising things this week was Sharlie's RBI attitude toward the little platform that holds the rolled up hoses by the side of the barn. Sharlie has passed by it, glanced at it and thought nothing much of it. But the other day, we approached it while playing a game of Sniff It, and she totally went RBI! It was so odd and definitely a shock to see my fun little LBE (for once, not having to use treats to motivate!) turn RBI, so unsure, with a glazed over look creeping into her eyes. The Sniff It game became the Porcupine Game as I tried to get her to put her head down a few feet away from the platform. And the Porcupine Game quickly became the Friendly Game as Sharlie saw me as a predator for asking to put her head down. Even though we weren't close to the platform at all by this point, it was still too close for Sharlie. So you can see how quickly the simple Sniff It game got out of hand! But it ended on a good note, and I am proud of myself and Sharlie!
As the New Year comes around, I set my sights on the trailer once again. Along with it, Freestyle and finding my balance point and confidence. I really want to go to Jennifer's camp, and I want to be prepared. It's annoying and depressing that my parents don't understand how much this camp means to me, and how much I think it could help Sharlie and me with our relationship and our confidence! But I am going to go. No matter what. Sharlie is going to get in that trailer and be ready to go down to camp. I'm taking the awesome groom bag that I got for Christmas as a sign that I should go. Right now, your probably thinking "Huh?" It's because it's a traveling groom bag. Meant for people who compete and need to bring all their stuff with them. I even found a compartment that would be perfect for Sharlie's meds. And...if your not superstitious, I'm sorry, but the moment I picked up the wrapped present, I immediately thought of Jennifer, Jeff and their farm. If that's not a sign, what is?!
It's getting late, and I have to go free Sharlie from her stall tomorrow morning, so I am going to have to leave you. But I will leave you on a humorous see the photo below?( Ah, I miss green....) Well, imagine it as a great big brown slop. That's what it is right now. *sigh* Let's hope it drys soon! :D
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Horse Photography

I am now intrested in horse photography. I love horses and I love to have a camera in my hands. Plus, if somehow the dream of Parelli Professional is slashed out, I will have a backup plan...Parelli's photographer! :D

Soon I will be making a new blog for myself as I learn all the tricks and secrets of equine photography!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

My goals....delayed

Well you all must remember my wonderful goals that I set for myself a few weeks ago. Well due to the rain, the Christmas (A) ones are not possible. The only one that we have actually managed to start is the Spanish walk one. So the other 2 are delayed. Lol. Stupid rain!!!!


~ Sharlie gets all the way into the trailer more frequently, for a few seconds at time
~Start to teach her Spanish walk on the ground
~Be close to passing Level 1 Freestyle (Self-assesment)

~Sharlie gets all the way into the trailer for at least a few minutes at a time, calmly.
~ Knows Spanish Walk on ground okish....
~Level 2 Freestyle
~Getting close to passing Level 3 Online
~Doing well with Liberty

~Sharlie can get into trailer confidently for severel minutes at a time, can move and (maybe) close door. (If I can not get her in calmly by April, I'm calling Jennifer!!! :o)
~Knows Spanish walk on ground, maybe transitioning it to riding....
~Auditioning Level 2/3 Freestyle
~Self-asses Level 3 Online
~Level 2 Liberty...(Maybe...:D)

Naturally, Julia & Muddy Sharlie!

Today = awsome

Today I 'taught' my first lesson. Its not really a lesson, because Jessi isnt paying. In exchange for lessons, she is helping me refine my teaching skills. But she played the 7 games with Sharlie and did really well! Then when we got home, we started to make my new website. Here is the link!

Its still in the works, but I hope it will help. Plus, once Jessi is Level 2 or so, we are going to start teaching lessons together. And maybe once we have several paying students, we can buy a second horse for them to play with. I believe Sharlie will be fine for now, but it may become stressful for her to play with alll these humans!
Naturally Julia

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Principle #2 Never Assume

Ugh. I don't like today at ALL! Yesturday was an amazing day with Sharlie. And so I made the mistake of assuming today was going to be good too. Ah well, that definitely didn't happen. It was one thing after another after another. Basically i broke down started crying, and the whole thing. I don't know why I keep doing it. Everytime we have a good day, I assume the next time will be good too, but it turns out being horrible! >:( ugh....


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bridleless and the...stall

Wow. Today the rain spoiled my fun, so we could only walk in the slop. Taught Sharlie to back up when I "march" at her. Well...she wouldn't stop!!! :D
Then I did a confidence thing of "hanging" on her. But I slipped over and landed in the mud! So I tried again. But once I got on, I realized I had no reins. So I just grabbed my stick, and rode with my stick and using focus. It was fun, even though she tried to trot with me once. :D

I am learning alot with the Natural Horse-Man-Ship book I bought at Barnes and Nobles. I love it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Uh oh....

Well, things were great yesterday. But today Sharlie is limping. And it's very pronounced at the trot. So now Hill Therapy is canceled, because I have to let Sharlie take it easy. And now the days are too short for me to start over again! :( Plus we were doing so well. She was starting to collect!! :(

I hope that it isn't an abscess. Alot of horses at the stable have been getting them, and the vet has had alot of abscess cases... :\

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Short Term Goals

I have been thinking alot about my short-term goals. I have come to a short list of things I want to accomplish before A) Christmas, B) Valentine's Day and C) My birthday, which is April 5th!

~ Sharlie gets all the way into the trailer more frequently, for a few seconds at time
~Start to teach her Spanish walk on the ground
~Be close to passing Level 1 Freestyle (Self-assesment)

~Sharlie gets all the way into the trailer for at least a few minutes at a time, calmly.
~ Knows Spanish Walk on ground okish....
~Level 2 Freestyle
~Getting close to passing Level 3 Online
~Doing well with Liberty

~Sharlie can get into trailer confidently for severel minutes at a time, can move and (maybe) close door. (If I can not get her in calmly by April, I'm calling Jennifer!!! :o)
~Knows Spanish walk on ground, maybe transitioning it to riding....
~Auditioning Level 2/3 Freestyle
~Self-asses Level 3 Online
~Level 2 Liberty...(Maybe...:D)

These are my goals. Only the trailer one is critical. It is the most important! The others...ahhh, they are just fun~

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After-Playdate Syndrome...and its spreading! :D

Hehehehe! Yes, I am suffering of After-playdate Syndrome. And it has spread to Sharlie! She obviously wants to go to Jennifer's camp at the beginning of summer!
Because today, she was amazing!
At first, she didn't want to be with me. She wasn't interested in me and what I was doing. That stung a little bit, so I decided "Fine Sharlie, we will do it your way." So I took her to the round pen, and decided to "Mirror-me" at liberty. Well, it worked! She was pacing around, calling out to the horses in the barn. But after a few minutes, she started to realize that I was pacing too, shaking my head when she did. And she started to make me do silly stuff, like she would canter one way, then stop and trot the other way, and I copied her! She threw a buck, and I copied her! Finally, when she cantered to me, ears pricked and looking at me asking me "What do we play now?" I let her come in, and rewarded her. Unfortunately I only had about 15 minutes left before I had to leave, and I still hadn't fed her!
So I quickly grab her feed, a bucket, open the trailer, and see what Sharlie would do. Well, she got in, 2 feet only, grabbed the bucket with her teeth, and pulled it to her!!!!! :D I let her grab a few bites before I asked her to get out so I could put it back up. And then.............................................SHE GOT ALL THE WAY IN, ATE SOME FEED FOR ABOUT 15-20 SECONDS, AND THEN CALMLY (somewhat) GOT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D ;D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D ;D!!

So I am quite content right now. Sharlie made a 180 today and got into the trailer calmly! Amazing!!!!! After-Playdate Syndrome is definitely spreading!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Playdate-Outstanding, Amazing and Inspiring!

Wow! Yesterday was amazing! It was inspiring to watch Hannah play and ride! Elijah looked great on Angel, Ellen and Sarge were amazing! Patches and Amber were gorgeous and I think that they are perfect for Alison and Danielle! Danielle and Amber matched in hair color, which I thought was cool!
My mom and I arrived first, so we were able to groom Misty (the horse I played with) before anyone arrived. Then it was Hannah followed by Ellen (I think) and last was Alison and Danielle. Once everyone arrived, I had my lesson with Jennifer playing online and freestyle that helped me alot and gave me some ideas to try with Sharlie. She also showed my 9-step backup, riding with a stick. Thank you Jennifer!
Then I decided to join the others in the big field where I got to watch Blaze try to be a monkey as he climbed from tire to tire. It was hilarious as he got up and down from the big tire. He has got to be sore from that! :D
Everyone left to go to the arena, and I decided to play for a few minutes on the ground before going to go with the others. When I joined the others, I rode some more. (Because 1. Everyone else was, and 2. I haven't ridden in weeks and was desperate to ride)
And then...I had the chance to ride Blaze a little bit! I was soooo lucky! Thank you Hannah!!!!! Blaze is amazing! The reins meant little to him, so I had to depend on my seat. It was such an interesting experience to be up there (well, not really up...Blaze is SHORT!!! :D ) on Blaze and feel how responsive he is! I don't ever want to forget it because for the first time ever in my life, I felt in complete harmony with a horse. I enjoyed it and didn't have to depend on reins to keep the horse under control! So thank you Blaze and Hannah, so much. That one short little ride got me to believe in Sharlie again and let myself believe that one day, I will get Sharlie to be like that.
I had a nice talk with Elijah, Hannah's brother. He is a really nice guy and he seems to love horses alot. Then lunch. Mom's brownies were a hit, and Jennifer told me about how camp works. I got really interested. I can just imagine how far Sharlie and I can go. Plus, with an arena full of sand, I may be able to actually advance in liberty, without Sharlie wanting to just keep circling, or wanting to eat the whole time! After lunch, we set up a course and Elijah was the judge. We practiced, and then did the real thing. Everybody won! I had fun on Misty and got some inspiration for Sharlie. Maybe I can find a branch to work as a jump......
And alas, all good things must come to an end. I said goodbye to everyone, and managed to catch Hannah playing with Blaze and Angel at liberty. Wow...And then I got a shock. (A good one!!) I realized that like Elijah said, Hannah had gotten no outside help when she was playing with Blaze. And now look, she is level 4/5/6! And he is right. Anyone can do it, as long as you are committed. Well, now, I am committed. I am going to be like Hannah and Blaze one day. I am going to go to Jennifer's camp. I am going to put the relationship first. I want to be able to ride Sharlie bridless!

Thank you to everyone! Thank you Jennifer, Hannah, Ellen, Alison, Danielle, everyone!!!!!!!! I had the time of my life and hope to see you all soon!

(PS- Hannah, if you do move to Franklin, we are always here for a pitstop! :D)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hill Therapy

Well, since Hill Therapy is canceled until at least spring, here is the first 2 days. :\

Hill Therapy

Week 1

Day 1- 11/6/09

Today I started Sharlie’s hill therapy. I hope that is works and Sharlie’s back is round and her gaits smooth out so we can advance with our Freestyle.

First day went pretty well I think. I chose to only ask Sharlie to trot because the hill I chose is about 30* degree angle. It’s the mildest hill I could find. I think Sharlie coped faredly well. We have played alot on those hills before, and Sharlie’s field is full of steep hills.

But I’m wouldn’t say it was easy fore her. No, not at all. Even though she kept her gait at a trot, I could tell she was having a tough time. Up the hill she would have to pull herself up with her front legs, and down the hills, she sped up but not on purpose. She had to go down at a slight angle not to fall.

All to be expected for the first day according to Linda. I’m excited to see the results! At least afterward she was rewarded by going down to the stream and then going to play with a once “very-scary-horse-eating” log. But the log and Sharlie are on better terms now.

Day 2-11/7/09

Lets just say Sharlie had a ...challenging time.She had to canter up the hill. Even on her blind side, which she never did before. She also used all 25 feet on the rope, unlike yesturday where she only used about 12-15 feet of the rope. And she was concentrating so hard on me and the hill, she didn’t seem to notice the gunshots in the distance. Usually she stops and is stalk still for a few moments, and then she continues doing whatever she was doing. This time, nada! She didn’t do a thing! So I am happy for today. We made progress with the trailer afterward and ended it on a very good note. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

Day 3-11/8/09

I have photos!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Busy Busy Busy! Every single savvy!

Omg! I have been so busy lately and haven't been able to update. So here is the wonderful update now.

Level 1 Audition Online
I sent it in on Friday, and WOW! I got my results back on Monday! So I advice to those who are planning to send in their Audition soon, SEND IT IN BY EMAIL NOW AND U WILL GET A QUICK RESPONSE!!!!! Anyway, I assesed Level 1, and I passed Level 2+. The thing I still can't believe is that I'm going to be playing with Sharlie at Level 3 now, very close to HANNAH!!!!!!!!! :o :D


Winter is approaching rapidly here in Tennessee, or at least near me. It can be beautiful and bright, but chilly. And Sharlie is becoming a real pest when it comes to riding. I have even come to the horror of having to use the bridle to keep her from taking off. I wish I hadn't left riding till now, and now I won't be able to. During the summer, we were great! Having fun, and even almost ready to canter. We self-assesed Level 1, and almost Level 2!
And now....back to zero. I even have to work very hard to keep Sharlie's walk controlled (as in not wandering off the trail, falling 20 feet when she reaches the ledge and dying, or her taking off at a full gallop) I hope they build the arena soon because we have had enough of the round pen, and the trails are 2 foot deep mud!


I was looking forward to doing more Finesse in September and October, but due to unseasonal cold spells and rain (and school), we have only been able to concentrate on Online and Liberty. And now its turning cold again, and Sharlie is a true blue B-R-A-T when I ride her. So I prefer to get our Freestyle up to date before attempting Finesse again!


Well, with winter, we are going to be concentrating mainly on ground work, so online and liberty. Right now, I have been trying to get Sharlie to understand NOT EVERYTHING I DO MEANS GO OR FOLLOW ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! But we are making slow progress. More porcupine and squeeze is getting her mentally involved which is very good. Alot of licking!

Yes Yes YES! This is mostly for LBI's, and mainly for Sharlie, but Sharlie could never really understand the point of grooming, and found it terribly boring and always tried to walk away. I have found a way to solve the problem! But, it is late now, so I will explain it tomorrow! *wiggles eyebrows* :D

Thursday, October 8, 2009

GO HANNAH!!!!!!!!!

Just wanted so scream GO HANNAH!!!!!!! WHOOHOOO!!!!! She is off to the Lakeland Celebration to spolight, and hopefully going to catch the eye of Pat and Linda! ;)

Just wanted to wish her good luck and will be waiting anxiusly for the spotlight video!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thank you so much to Mr. Bell

I haven't had such an amazing Language Arts teacher in all my life. He is just so helpful and I made an A on my progress report in 2 years in Language Arts. He is just the best. And he proved this again by agreeing to help me write an article for the Savvy Times. And he said he would give me extra credit. So now, over the weekend, I am working on the rough draft of the article, to turn into him on Monday so he can correct it, then I type it up, and then turninto him again. Then after that, I go in and make all the corrections, add photos, and Voila! I send in the article to the Savvy Times, and (cross your fingers) they will accept the article!


I have decided that I am going to do my Level 1 Audition. I will probably do it after the Fall Festival though, when we will have an arena to be able to set everything up on in 1 area. So I am practicing, teaching Sharlie Level 2 and Level 3 stuff so we have a garrenteed pass. I'm excited!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Please watch this video. It is amazing and true to the heart. I want to thank lotteblue10 for letting me post this on here!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Oh My Gosh! This is even better then Yesturday!

I don't know what it is. Why is Sharlie so willing and trying so hard? I was so happy today when I went down to the stable, and now I am on a cloud and in shock! Today, I decided to play with Sharlie with the trailer again and working on walking and trotting on the bigger figure 8. Did the figure 8 first. 2 perfect laps at a walk without any mistakes. I rewarded her by letting her graze. I asked her to trot the figure 8. I got a perfect 8 and a half. I decided to reward her by taking her back up to the barn and letting her rest. I let her rest and graze by the trailers in the trailer parking. I do that to get her to think that the trailer means rest and food. Tom got back with the truck and trailer again, just like yesturday, and I went to go play with Sharlie. Sharlie always spooks when the trailer door opens. I open the door, right in her face, and she doesn't spook one bit!!! She was nervous about the inside, but she could smell hay and feed. I did approach and retreat. Then suddenly, out of no where, she puts both front feet into the trailer and starts eating the bucket of feed in there. :o!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we stood in there for about 10 minutes while she ate the whole bucket of grain. I never imagined that Sharlie would do that! Maybe our relationship is stronger then I thougt!

New goals: (updated in Goals column) Get Sharlie in trailer by Labor day. Maybe this streak will continue and I will manage to achieve this goal!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Today blew me away!

Today was...amazing! And I thought it was just going to be a regular day.
Today, I set up a slalom and another barrel to the figure 8 barrels so it made up 2 sides of a rectangle, one figure 8 being bigger then the other. I started playing with Sharlie, just singing a funny little song that I made up as I went about how dirty and muddy she was. We did the slalom for the first time. First at a walk. She was so good. At first she was confused but she tried really hard to I rewarded her and moved on to the figure 8. Sharlie and I have had trouble with figure 8's because we only had itty bitty cones available and Sharlie couldn't see them. With the new barrels, we started at a walk on the smaller figure 8. Then we moved onto the bigger one to try the trot. It was sort of chaotic because she tried to circle me instead of changing direction, but then, after about the 4th time, she did a complete figure 8 at the trot perfectly! I just couldn't ask for more! So I decided to end on a good note. I was on a cloud. After letting Sharlie graze for about 10 minutes, the truck and trailer pulled into the stable. I decided to just get Sharlie used to walking around a truck and trailer since I knew from earlier experiences, she was absolutely terrified when the trailer was attached to the truck. She surprised me yet again by calmly walking around the trailer, grazing, sniffing and even cocking her leg! I decided to end there , not to push her by opening the trailer door, and put her in the field where she gave me a hug!
I love you Sharlie!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Slowly but surely...

Sharlie and I have slowly been working on our online and liberty. I am trying to get Sharlie to understand that not everything means go. I have had to use alot "savvy-string-draped-over-neck" but otherwise we are making slow progress. It would be interesting to see how Sharlie reacted in an arena with no grass. Online, we are working on preping for the trailer. Stepping over things, stepping on things, Squeeze game, etc...
Its coming slowly, but remember "Take the time it takes so it takes less time". That is Parelli.

I am also trying to write an article I can send to The Savvy Times team.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bareback and the...trailer.

I have found it very fun to ride bareback now. I can walk and trot! Sharlie's trot is so bouncy, I can only go a few steps at a time. But I am working on slowly trotting longer and longer.

The Trailer:
You may know that Sharlie is terrified of the trailer. Probably abused or in an accident or something. We have been making steady progress with the trailer and a few days ago, Sharlie put both front feet into the trailer for 10 seconds! She turns extremely LBI around the trailer so I had to realllly motivate her. Unfortunately the barn owners have been using the trailer recently and now it is full of junk, so I will have to wait a few days or weeks before I can continue working with Sharlie with the trailer!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Hannah and I have been talking about arranging a playdate. I really hope we can do it soon because she is such an inspiriation! It would be like meeting a hero from a fairytale or dream. Well, it would be because I am living the dream, and she is my hero. And I think it would be amazing if she managed to play with Sharlie.

So I am praying and crossing my fingers. I really hope we get to have a playdate soon!

7/31/09-Level 1 graduated

On the last day of July, Sharlie and I passed our Level 1 unofficially. I don't want to send in a Audition for a while. I want to get my money's worth!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Future of Parelli

Lea created this video, of the Savvy Club teens that want to become Parelli Professionals.

Here is a link. Watch, it is amazing!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Its been over 2 years, and I did it!

Today was...intresting to say the least. My instructor decided that it was time that I start to canter. Hahaha..ha...ha...ha........
I freaked! I am now just starting to get used to Sharlie's trot. now I am supposed to canter??!! It has been over 2 years since I cantered!
I almost fell of every time. I lost my stirrups a few times, but the last time, I managed to do almost 1 whole round of the round pen!!!! =] was interesting to say the least...

(Sorry, I wasn't expecting it so I did not bring my camera! =[ )

Monday, July 6, 2009

Level 3 here we come!

YES YES YES!!!!!!!!! Sharlie and I are only 3 or 4 tasks away from graduating Level 2 online!

I am so happy! I am currently working on our Freestyle, but I will start playing those tasks. Then I will be able to film my Audition!

Not the lonely 'natural' anymore!

I have know Marisa and Mariah for a dew months now. They leased a horse together at the stable. And now they just got their own horses! They are going to become savvy club members. And I will be able to teach them alllll about Parelli! I might be only Level 1/2, but I've been lonely WAY too long to let that stop me!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Until Now...

At the beginning of June, I set my sights on the Auditions. We were going away in about 2 weeks and I thought that I could pull it off. But a few days before we left, I decided to wait till we get back from California.
Our stay in CA was nice, but I was jumping in my seat to get back to Sharlie as soon as possible! (It didn't help that we missed our flight to Knoxville that night and had to stay in the Hilton)
So, now I am back. I am having lots of fun. I am able to ride by myself now! And enjoy it! So now I will start working on trotting in the big field, and working on my Level 1 Freestyle! :) =]

Dark and Sad Suprise- The vet's verdict and the hard weeks that followed Part 2

When she recovered and came home, I was happy to see her where she belonged. I made an extra effort to comfort her. She was severely out of shape, so I decided to do mostly Liberty work on her. Those days were hard, but I knew that the chances of her eye healing to some degree was now even more possible.

After Sharlie's catheter had been removed, it was time to start riding again. We set a date for the next week. Then, everyday of that week, I exercised Sharlie doing the circling game, driving game and squeeze game. Then the day of the riding lesson arrived. I was extremely nervous. The last time I had ridden Sharlie was in March and we were near the end of May.

But it turned out the lesson went extremely well. I had been reading up on Freestyle lately so I did try to do the Balance Point, etc...

That was the first good lesson I had with Sharlie in a very long time. The only pleasent ride before this one was when I went to go try her out. And that was when I started to enjoy riding again!
Somewhere in this mix, the vet came to visit and gave us 2 options:

1-All of Sharlie's medication wasn't working and the infection was starting to grow immune. Maybe if we just tried Bute, it will keep the swellling down and keep her out of pain.
2-If the bute didn't work, we would have to remove the eye.

*Dramatic Music* Just to let you know, I did NOT like option 2 at ALL!!!

Good news: The bute is working just fine now. Option 2 does not look like it is going to happen.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dark and Sad Suprise- The vet's verdict and the hard weeks that followed Part 1

One day, we found that Sharlie's eye was very swollen and watery. The vet was called. This was the first time this vet would meet Sharlie. His visit was for the other horses as well, but Sharlie got to go first. I was so nervous, I asked Susan to hold her as I went to stand by the bathrooms. When I came back, the vet was explaining something to my dad. Uh-oh. When I walked up, my dad and the vet started to fill me in. I don't remember much of it because I was in frozen shock. After words like "Going blind", "remove eye", "can spread to both eyes", etc... I was just scared. I played the poker face.
For next few weeks, Sharlie was in no shape to do much exercise. Imagine having a constant migraine in the back of your eye. Those weeks were just spent getting her out of the field, grooming her, letting her graze, cuddling her and making her as comfy as possible.
I thought I saw the end of the darkness at the beginning of April. I could ride her now in lessons (but they were not at all pleasent for me and avoided as much as possible) but we did a lot of work in the round pen at liberty. Sharlie's eye didn't swell up as much anymore even though she was being stuffed with medicines.
Sharlie was supposed to get a catheter in around the beginning of April so she wouldn't have to have the creams and liquids applied directly to her eye. The vet was supposed to come one Friday to do so. My mom and I get there and *Poof!* "Oh, we are taking her up to the clinic". At first, I could only feel anger! They were going to take her to the clinic without even asking the owner??!! And plus I was just able to get her to stand within a yard of the trailer, and there goes all that hard work!!!!! We had to load up her field buddy and "boyfriend" Red. On the way to pick up my brother and rush to the clinic, I was a mess. I was texting one of my best friends for consolation while I was mixed with anger, anxiety and I was crying. It had all happened in such a rush and I could see Sharlie trembling in fear as they took the highway to the clinic (half an hour away by the highway!)
So Sharlie got the catheter put in and got her cornea scratched. (With a needle!!*Shivers*) She was supposed to stay therefor only a few days. Ended up being 3 weeks in a stall!!! She hates stalls. She was tranquilized all the time.
It hurt me everytime to go see her, but I knew that she felt safe when I was around in the stall with her. Near the end of her stay, she got company. A mother and foal moved in next door.

The next few weeks

It is all a bit of a blur. I remember starting the 7 games. I didn't start the last 2 or 3 games until May. I do remember that I did have a few lessons. I remember waiting for my instructor to come back to me and Sharlie or to arrive for a lesson. And while I waited with Sharlie, I would be really nervous and so Sharlie was very skittish. I didn't want to lead her like a leader should. I didn't want to risk it. I think it was after one really great liberty session in the round pen (I did round pen work with her because she was a mess lunging. And she just wouldn't do anything for the circling game) I decided that I should just try to do the 7 games again, go as far as we could go. And we managed to do a circle or two of the circling game! Managed to do the driving game! And the squeeze game. Unfortunatly, the sideways game is still our biggest problem. Well, that's where our relationship took off. And it happened just intime for the dark times ahead...

Photos coming soon!

I know that the blog is looking a little plain. It is because I am not on the computer that has the photos on it. I can't get to the computer with all the photos on it, but I will be putting in the photos once I have access to the computer!

Thank you!

Week 2- Franklin Celebration!!!

Well, I had been looking forward to this before we even started considering buying a horse! I couldn't wait!And when I did get Sharlie, I thought it would be very cool if I could tell Pat or Linda "I just got my horse a week ago!"
My mom and I went to Nashville on a Thursday night (Got to skip school on Friday) and stayed the night at a hotel. We woke up early to eat and get down to the Arena as soon as possible. The first day was long. They had a lot of Spotlighters. It didn't help that many people were repeating with their horses in different savvy's. But it was just amazing to watch all of them! Especially the young girls and their horses. Really got me motivated. At the end, we got Beau. A very pretty pony, but unfortuanly, very troubled when he entered that ring. In 3 days, Pat Parelli changed Beau from a terrified and troubled horse, to a horse who could communicate and was more trusting!

Here is a video. It is really amazing. Link:
Linda's words of advice that got Sharlie and me to where we are now! : Don't worry about messing up the 7 games, just don't make them the 7 jobs!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Week 1-Week 2- Bonding Time

During the whole week once I got Sharlie, I was very hesitant. I was going to the Franklin Celebration that weekend and I wanted to ask Pat and Linda for any advice. Plus, Sharlie was still adapting to her surrounding. She was scared of the pigs, the geldings were always trying to impress her and threatening to kick each other's guts out. But Mom offered to take me down every day after school that week to spent about half an hour down to just hang out in her field and bond. And that probably made all the difference
I was able to clean out her field and feed her. At first, she openly showed how she didn't appreciate my company. Purposely showing me her rear everytime I tried to approach her, stepping on my foot once when I got into her "bubble". It slowly got better during the week. By the end of the week she would answer to her name when I called her.
I was nervous to leave Sharlie for the weekend, but she reassureared me with a little suprise. Just before I left that thursday, she came up to the fence, near where the car was parked and gave me a little nicker!

I was on a cloud all the way to Nashville!

Week 1- Picking up the princess-harder then one thinks!

January 24th 2009

So here we are, trying to get to the barn where my new horse, Sharlie, is waiting. The vet checked her over and said everything was good (Remember this, it becomes a problem later) So Tom and Susan, the owners of the barn that we will be boarding at, are coming with us to pick her up (Well...they sort of had to come because we were using their trailer, a little rickity, I think.) We had ended up so that we had gone down a narrow road with this huge truck and trailer.
Well, anyway, we pulled up, I had to put away my ipod, and then joined the others in the barn (why does it seem like I am the last one in all the time!!!???) I walk up to her stall and just admire her for 30 seconds. Then we get to load her up. The previous owner drags her down the aisle while grabbing all the things in the deal (Halter, leadrope and blanket. And the horse of course!) Sharlie walks up to the trailer and freezes. They start to whip and smack her until she has no choice but to go in. Once in, the sound of bumping into metal does not help at all. We had to hurry to leave before she got hurt. And so we are off! 2 hours of driving before we reach home.
We arrive. We unload her and put her in the small pen just by the big field that has all the horses in it. Ironicly, they are all boys and Sharlie is probably the first mare they have seen in months! We put her in the pen(shared by goats) and in a record time of less then 1 minute, all the boys are up by the fence sniffing as far as their necks can reach. Sharlie is being the snotty princess, trotting up and down the corral, all 5 boys trailing behind. It was amazing to watch her trot. She would lift up her tail and her ears would be forward. She looked like a princess!

Week 0- Buying Sharlie (my miracle)

January 18th 2009

I walked as casually as possible down the barn aisle to the end stall and peeked over the stable door. Inside was the chestnut mare I had seen in the photos. She had a long white balde going from her forehead to her nose. On her nose and above her left eye the hair was balding. But to me, that was not important. What was important, to me, was that when I looked over the door, she raised her head and took one nervous step to sniff me. (I know now that that nervous step was because she is terrified of stalls.)
The owner got her out and dragged, yes dragged, her to the crossties, groomed and saddled her up. I wasn't allowed to groom her. Th en the group of people escorted Firefly (a.k.a Sharlie) down to the ring, who was doing her best not to trip and run over the humans that were crowding her down the very steep and slippery hill.
The owner rode and then my riding instructor (who was quite pregnant at the time) and then it was my turn! I was exited and nervous, but amazingly, Firefly stayed as calm as she had been with her 2 previous riders.
After unsaddling her and grooming her, my dad negotiated the price (from 1500 to 1250) and then they all proceeded to the office to discuss the vet check. I stayed behind and took photos and thought up the new name Charlotte's Firefly (Sharlie for short).

And thats where my journey began

From the Beginning

It is only fair for everyone to know our journey from the beginning. I only remember certain parts and times, but that is enough to fill everyone in

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sharing the journey

I have had dreams for a week straight of a blog where I share my journey with my first horse that is an adventure and an opportunity that does not happen to everyone. So here I am, sharing my journey so that people may look and take intrest at the challenges that life have given me.

Love is blind-This is my journey

What kind of horse would you get your daughter as a first horse? Maybe a nice gentle old pony. Or maybe a spunky but friendly small horse. You might even make the mistake of buying a Registered Pinto who is actually an Arab. But I bet you wouldn't get a horse that would become blind in one eye in a matter of weeks. Would you? See. Well, that's what happened to me. My first horse bcame blind in her left eye because of moon blindness.
You might think that this might not be a good idea for a first horse. But Sharlie, in a matter of months, has changed me. I have learned not to be so self-centered. I have learned to be caring and take interest to other people's problems and knowing how they feel. I am now less selfish, more responisible and the list goes on and on.
Sharlie is still my first horse and this is my natural journey with Parelli. Follow us through it.