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 31, 2010

2010- An Overview Of The Ups and Downs

Can you imagine? In less than 24 hours it will be 2011. Then comes the time when we keep writing the date with a 10 at the end before we realize it is supposed to be an 11. Add that to the fact we have been writing two digit months for the last several months, now to go back to one digit. It could seem like I am complaining but I am saying this in a voice of wonder. If you look at it in the right light, you notice that we have a quite complicated system to record time, days, months, years, etc..

This year was my first full year of blogging. And it was eventful and looking back, I am so thankful and grateful all these things happened just in 1 year.

In January I got my Level 1 string, certificate and pin even though I had passed back in October. It made me feel important.

In February I met Kara. That was probably one of the best things that have ever happened to me. She is my best friend and I love her. She has kept me sensible and down to ground when my head was spinning. We met at a Panera Bread on a dreary February day the weekend before (after?) her birthday and its been an excellent and growing friendship ever since.

Over the winter and spring Sharlie made progress with the trailer, but unfortunately in the wrong way. I was bribing her with food. But our work was worth something when it came to loading her on the day of  going down to camp because it only took us half an hour.  At camp I learned the proper way and Sharlie will now load up easily- without food.

In June, I went to England and France, including revisiting my old stable. At the end of the month I got to go to the camp in Atlanta. I learnt alot, made friends and strengthened my relationship with Kara.

While at camp I advanced 2 levels in one week,  but unfortunately when I returned home I lost most of it. When I borrowed Kara's bareback pad I did make steps forward. I worked on my fluidity and I cantered quite a bit. It boosted my confidence amazingly.

In January I started playing Casper in the field. In March I was able to catch him for the first him. I started playing with him. Then in August we came at a crossroads. The owners would sell him or we bought him. I tortured myself over it for days. Then finally a solution came together where we are leasing him for a year while I pay off the board by working at the stables.

Those are the highlights for now...

I am thinking and thinking about my goals and new years resolution. They will come soon.

Happy 2011

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

7 Keys to Success - 6) Imagination

"6) Imagination - You have to exercise your imagination. Imagination is something children have that adults do not, or at least they lost the ability to use their imaginations effectively. Einstein said that imagination is even more valuable than knowledge." quote Natural Horsemanship by Pat Parelli
I figure people don't use their imagination because they don't want to look silly. "Oh, I won't do that... that is silly!". They might embarass themselves. bBut once you catch onto it, you find life so much more fun and an opportunity in every situation and around every corner. As they say, savvy lives over the silly bridge!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Photo Entries

Entry by Petra Christensen, 2 Star Parelli Instructor

Entry by Blind Eyed Photography,

Entry by Blind Eyed Photography,

Entry by Naturally Creative Equine Photography

Because of the very few entries, there is no winner. But here they all are. Maybe for the 200th post we will get more of a turn out!

The Tale of The Wall

Hello Everyone. I trust that your day has gone well. You may have noticed the drawing above. None of the drawings I post on here are done by me. I have no such talent. If I do decide to show some of my drawings, I'll let you guys know. I chose this drawing because it reminded me strongly of Casper. Which leads me to the point of this story.

It is not really a story if it is still going on. But I will give this a mystical appeal and call it the Tale of the Wall. From the picture above, naturally I am talking about Casper. You see while he has been challenging in more ways than one, there is nothing more challenging then the brick wall on his right side.

It came to my mind to write about it when Kara suggested I read a post on her blog about how she can 'feel' things with her horses. I have experienced this wall before, but it is because of her I have decided to write about it.

I can see it for the shortest of seconds before he moves out of the way. Sometimes I can sneak around the wall and touch his right side. Some days it is made out of twigs or even hay. Other days it can be solid cement or brick.

The part I emphasize on is that I can see it. Maybe it is my imagination. Maybe it isn't. Maybe he is so defensive there that the subconsious conjours up a picture of a wall to tell us to back off. (Yes, I have been reading Blink!)

Thats all for now. Just a quick thing. I am enjoying playing the Sims3! My new guilty pleasure. Hope your christmas was wonderful, and I know some of you may have had a white christmas!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Horsenalities- Photos, Info & more...

RBE- uses the survival side of the brain, will move his feet before thinking.

Remember to send in your photos and drawings!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Horsenalities- Photos, Info & more... RBI

The RBI horse-  
Has a tendency to freeze just before exploding. These horses frequently catch their owners off guard because no one could see the buck or explosion coming.

Remember to send in your photos/drawings!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Forgotten Story & More...

While I was concentrating on posting the notes about Casper (took 2 hours to figure it out) I completely forgot to tell you about a small play session I had with Sharlie a few days ago. It was short but really quite lovely. I was actually trying to halter Casper to play with him. However he was distant and was trying to hide behind me from me...interesting. I have noticed he seems to be missing Kara a bit too. Looks for her sometimes I think. I don't really mind. It gives Kara a reason to come play more often! ;)

 So I took Pat's advice and caught the easier horse, the horse that wants to be caught. This usually means I catch Sharlie. However I did the unexpected- assume never to assume- and did not lead her to the gate as she was expecting. Instead, we walked off in the opposite direction. We played online preparing for liberty while in the field. My friend Emily gave me the idea as it would increase rapport and respect between Sharlie and myself. I had put together 2 objects that would be interesting. One was a rough mismatch of rubber mats. It wasn't anything impressive. All together it was no bigger than 1 foot by 1 foot.
 Another item I put together was 3 'planks' put together into what could be seen as a step. It is hard to explain. It was a flat spot in the side of a hill and I took advantage of it by putting the 3 planks there. So I played with Sharlie and those 2 toys. Funny thing is is that Casper followed us around, following Sharlie across the rubber mat and the planks.

This is rather odd because Casper is dominant over Sharlie, yet he was looking to Sharlie for leadership and was interested what she was doing. But wait...oh! No! I just had an epiphany!Casper was following me and watching and looking at me for leadership! Well that just made my day! The play session that I thought was great just turned out to be wonderful!

Drawing is not mine! :)

Now you noticed of course that the title indicates "more." As the Winter holidays are here I won't be spending much time on my blog. So I have lined up several small stories to be posted in due fashion. I advice that you guys do not spend your entire holiday glued to the computer, but I do understand if it is to escape some rather unpleasant family or friends. Happy Holidays and may the Horse be with you!


PS- Kara check your email Tuesday evening.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Photo Contest!

Hey guys!!

So for my 100th post, I am going to have a photo contest! The theme has to do with horses (of course) and you have 2 options. Either a photo that is as natural as possible. Or one that is as un-natural as possible. Has anyone ever noticed how Parelli is supposed to be natural, yet we use ropes, sticks and other un-natural tools?


Send your photos to and I will post them on here and announce a winner. Be sure to include your name and your blog. :) Sorry, no prizes.

Due by Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Notes and Annotation About Casper

Hello Everyone!
For those of you who live close by, you have also received snow. Brrr its cold! In fact, on Monday we had school canceled which caused it to be a very productive day! I received the email from Kara that when printed out, it ended up to be 8 or 9 pages long! But I had so much fun annotating it! I was high lighting, underlining and commenting on it almost all afternoon, but boy was it fun! I have annotated papers and poems before, but those didn't personally affect me so I didn't enjoy it as much. This was a personal joy so it was easy. 

So my Christmas present to all of you is the notes on here, my blog. I hope that it will give you some lovely new insight, especially where RBIs are concerned. I want to thank you Kara Cumberton for her time to write this all out as well as playing with Casper. Kara and I met through the Parelli Savvy Club in Febuary of this year. We have connected splendidly since then, spending hours together with the horses. Kara and I went to camp together, and have had many educational sleepovers. Kara has a very insighful and deeper and...different look on life. I find it fascinating. I am like her in some fashions, but she is just extrordinary. People may say she is wierd, but to me she is marvelous. I love her very much and admire her talent with horses. Her blog is
Be sure to go take a look, because it is a great site. If you have any questions for Kara, be sure to comment here or on her blog. 

Thank you again Kara!!

Click on the pages to open them up to be larger. Make sure to select to open in a new tab or window, because won't.

Page 1

In case you can't read my notes along the side of the paper, here they are in order from top to bottom.

- I remember this now. I used to be aware of this all the time.
- I didn't know this. Very interesting.
-Approach and retreat.
- Thought and Mental control

Page 2
- (First on right) In hind sight, I see it too now.
- (On left) Blowing out with your lips is another good way
to tell your horse that you have released tension from your body
and so its ok for him to do the same.
- (Second on right) He is still very head shy, though less so when you start
from the withers and move your way up the neck to face.
- (Center/Circled portion) Kara lead Casper around like this for  a bit. She kept her back to him.

Page 3

-(Top left) There went a bunch of confidence and trust.
- (First on right) This takes a large amount of self-control &
a very powerful ability to read the horse.
- (Middle) Horses have no sense of time or date. They live in the moment.
- (Last on right) Linda Parelli, Celebration DVD, Horsenality Segment

Page 4

- Assume not to assume
- New valuable information
- Still scared of CS

Page 5

- The arena holds many bad memories
- *The second note is a drawing of the entrance to the arena*
- Amazing so far. Casper has never been very happy in the arena.

Page 6

-  Complete focus, however indirect
-* The second note is a drawing showing how Kara slowly
pivoted her feet till she was facing Casper
- Working with RB horses takes time so it is important you don't make too many plans,
especially those involving a time limit. Take the time it takes
so it takes less time.
- Mental control
-Turn, think
Page 7

- Cherish is Kara's horse. She can be very RB.
- (Saddling Sharlie)
- The LB side coming through always confuses me!
- Emotional control & awareness is essential
- She is your partner, not your poison.
- Kara is RBI sometimes, in terms of she can go catatonic in a way.
- RBIs need contact
- needs room to run away if needed
Page 8
- When working with scary objects, Linda suggests following after
the object as it moves away. This concept could be
applied to what Kara was doing.
- A LB horse uses his brain. If a RB horse is thinking more, he is becoming more LB
- Casper is extremely sensitive
- Phases (low)
- All those times I've gone to phase 4! O.O
-Reward the slightest try
- LBI comes in to get out of working. RBI come in for comfort and safety.
- Whenever I tried Circling Game, he went RBE!
- This has been because of disrespect in the past...
- Never EVER thought of that. How interesting!!! Hmmm....
Page 9

- The phrase "Trust is good, control is better" comes to mind
- I have never played sideways w/ him
- Important to learn to STOP
- sensitive
-lots and lots of Friendly!!
- Kara I believe you just have a special talent. I do have several questions though.

- Casper went in one end of the tunnel scared, and came out the other much more confident.


 If you have some problems seeing the papers above or would like me to email them to you, please let me know by commenting.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

100th Post!

We approaching the 100th post on my blog and I want to do something special. Comment below to suggest your ideas!

Stay Warm!
Its snowing! :)
It has been a long week. Needless to say I am swamped. Everything went by so quickly, yet it was forever. I told you about Monday and the farrier, even though I didn't give you much detail. I feel that I need to commit myself more to this blog. For the long winter I have decided to expand my current limited knowledge by reading some to all of the books on the Parelli Externship Program Reading List. Join me and we can share our thoughts on them! Here they are.

~ Blink by Malcom Gladwell
~ Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
~ Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
~ Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
~ If You Want to Be Rich and Happy, Don't Go to School by Robert Kiyosaki
~ Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
~ The E-Myth Revisited by Micheal E. Gerber
~ True Unity by Tom Dorrance
~ Think Harmony with Horses by Ray Hunt
~ Raise Your Hand if You Love Horses by Pat Parelli
~ Natural Horsemanship by Pat Parelli

We already have Blink and I will start reading that right away :) .

Today was a very good day. It was the first time I've played with Sharlie since Monday. Also, Kara was with me. 
Now it has only been told to a couple of you that I have recently felt rather lost with Casper. I couldn't connect with him anymore. He was more scared and RB and I didn't have any focus. I didn't have goals set for short or long term. I was ... lost. There are no exact words I can use to explain it. Thats just the way it is. So that is one of the reasons why I was so happy for Kara to come over. She is very good with Right Brain horses, while I am stronger with Left Brain horses. I have a harder time grasping the terms 'slowing down' or 'repetition' or even 'approach and retreat'. As I have said before, when I am around Sharlie and Casper, I am usually Left Brain Extrovert. I am always moving onto new things and moving my feet. And with Casper...sometimes you just have to sit down and go into neutral. Which is exactly what Kara did. Don't worry, I have asked Kara for an extremely detailed step-by-step account on any and everything she did with Casper. All I can say is that Kara did something right because Casper went in one end of the tunnel Right Brain and turned inward, but came out bright and beautiful. Thank you Kara. :)
With Sharlie I had a very interesting play session. Online was the usual. Really. It was the usual. Circling game, sideways, friendly, driving. Usual. It was when I hopped on that it got interesting. I used the bareback one last time before returning it to Kara. (Nooooooo! *Reaches out into the darkness after a retreating bareback pad* Don't goooo!!!) Ah well. I guess I won't be riding for a while. :(
What happened when I began to ride is that Sharlie was spunky. Not exactly in a good way, but not too bad. The important thing is that I did not lose my confidence. Needless to say, I did a lot of trotting. That is what is so great about the bareback pad. I can trot and trot and trot and trot and trot and trot....etc. One thing that I suppose we will have to work on next time is our slowing down and stopping. Its very ungraceful and usually unbalances me. It can be all of a sudden, which throws me forward and it is usually a couple of short little skids that unbalance me. We attempted the bulls eye and it can safely be said it didn't work out today. Another thing I played with Sharlie is extending her trot. Relaxing it, extending it, whatever you want to call it. It was so choppy! 
After some failed attempts I decided to take a new approach. I took the 'dressage approach'. Don't be alarmed, I stayed natural. I tightened my reins a bit, sat up a bit straighter and asked her to trot while focusing on one specific spot. We did this a while. I played 'the dressage rider' and Sharlie did well. While it did not relax her gait, it did however get her more focused and in tune. Looking back this evening I realized that I was focusing, thus giving Sharlie a job and focusing her. When I wasn't the 'dressage rider', my focus was scattered. I know what to do now!

Now you  must see the two photos above and wonder  "What on earth?" Well Kara and I went to go take off some of the horses's blankets, and it was cold and if you add it all together....well you can see it for yourself. :)

Quote of the Day
A good rider can hear his horse speak to him.
A great rider can hear his horse whisper.
But a bad rider won't hear his horse even if it screams at him!"

Bonus: "When in doubt, ask a horse."

How well do you know your Parelli-isms? Find out here!

Thats all for now guys!
Life is short! Hug your horse!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

7 Keys to Success - 5) Time

"5) Time - If you take the time it takes, it takes less time. Most people don't have the time to do it right, but they always have time to do it over and over. With respect to time, we have to understand the relevancy of time, the meaning of short-term time and the long-term time, and the word "timing"." quote Natural Horsemanship by Pat Parelli
I often have to remind myself that horses have no conception of time, they could care less what time it is. They take life as it comes! Unlike us, we live by the clock. No wonder it is so hard for humans to think like horses, we live totally different then they do. We have opposite mindsets, but once you start to think like a horse... it all starts to make sense. Slip on one of their horseshoes, look through their eyes... imagine yourself a horse. How would your timing be different?

Question: How much time do you spend doing something with your horse? What about not doing anything with your horse?

Challenge: If you don't spend much time doing nothing with your horse, slow down and spend some undemanding time together. I am LBE when Im with Sharlie and I always want to do more, but sometimes I set myself to do nothing. And I do it. Even if Im dying inside ;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Farrier Day!

Today the farrier came to Mercy. In fact, as I write this, he is still doing some of the horses. But this is beside the point. My point is that this afternoon was a very good one!

I got down early to the stables so I played with Casper a bit. He was quite RB but also slightly pushy. So I worked with him on several things...simple stuff. Some circling game, friendly and squeeze. Nothing much.
Then Sharlie got her hooves done. Such a good girl! I am very happy that Sharlie is very good with the farrier. I am so lucky! :)
I put on Sharlie's coat -a miracle really. She has lost a bit of weight, but her rear is still very much exposed.

I used the catching game to catch a loose horse. :)

Thats all for now. Its getting cold (dropping down to 19 degrees!) and we are not expecting it to change. :\

Im going back to watch Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I cry when Sirius dies! :(


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Go Take a Look!

This time, I am stealing one from the Parelli Central blog that was posted back a few weeks ago. The blog is called "Zen Habits"

Go take a look!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

7 Keys to Success - 4) Techniques

4) Techniques - The techniques that Parelli Natural Horsemanship teaches ensure that all communication with your horse is clear and understandable.
You have to understand natural techniques. For example, most people saddle a horse and get on, kick to go, and pull to stop. Instead of these normal ways to make horses go and stop, use natural techniques that produce snappy departures and graceful transitions." quote Natural Horsemanship by Pat Parelli

Question: Are you more forceful, more nanby-panby, or just the right amount of both?
Challenge: Plan out what you want to accomplish with your horse next time you go and see him. CAUTION: Don't become so goal-orriented you forget to pay attention to your horse and don't put the relationship first!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This Weekend Update

Hey guys!
Here is a run down of this weekend! Enjoy!


So on Saturday I played with Sharlie a little bit on the ground with the 12 foot line. Walk, trot and a tiny bit of canter. Its getting muddy and slippery so we will have to do more and more ground work, and go slower and slower. After a brief warm up, I took advantage of the nice (if slightly nippy) weather to go for a quick trail ride. We went out into the field and started trotting. Sharlie was being very quick and stubborn. I got quite frustrated and had to think of some distractions. So we trotted through a ditch, around a tree and over a puddle...
I did not canter with Sharlie this weekend because since she was so stubborn and I was getting so frustrated, I didn't want to lose it when she started bucking when I asked her to canter.
Sharlie is doing well with the tying post. She freaked out a couple of times, but she is starting to let me go out of sight now...:)

So with Casper I kept it simple. I felt that we were moving too fast for him so no riding. So I kept it simple. with being tied. And then bareback pad on...bareback pad off...on, off, on, off, on, off... Then with the cynch the same thing. Just as I did it up he was doing really well so I left it at that!


Today I was I kept easy and breezy (Cover girl! :D ) Emmy is gone (:D) which means I can play with Sharlie and Casper in their field. With Sharlie I started out with the halter on and did some stick to me and let her know that just because we were in her field did not mean that she can't respect me. When I thought she was ready, I took off the halter. It went great! We did stick to me. Walk, stop, back up by the tail, touch it with your nose, trot...and then the second time we trotted I gave her a piece of carrot...mistake. I asked her to walk over a branch but she kept looking for a carrot. When I wouldn't give her one she got frustrated and trotted off. But hey, 15 minutes of great liberty is better than 45 minutes of online!

I didn't do anything with Casper today because he was quite RBI and kept a fair distance from Sharlie and myself. I think he is feeling fine, but today just wasn't his day.

After Sharlie went trotting off, I walked around the field and what I found was astonishing! There were logs, planks of wood, metal pipes, rubber mats, and pieces of plastic folders littered everywhere! Some I used to make a few interesting object such as the rubber mats together, and a few of the planks put together on a hill made a step. Then I picked up a full Walmart bag full of trash. Eck.

Sharlie's eye isn't doing too good. Yesterday it was swollen so we gave her some bute. We will give her some bute for a few days to make sure her eye is better. Its the beginning of a long few months. Keep your fingers crossed!

Goodnight everyone. May the horse be with you and let it be dry!

~Sharlie's eye

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

7 Keys to Success - 3) Tools

"3) Tools - You have to have tools that work naturally. You should be able to tell a natural horseman by the tools he uses, and also by the tools he doesn't use or those he wouldn't use" quote Natural Horsemanship by Pat Parelli.
"Natural tools? rope halter or hackamore, 4 different lengths and types of ropes: 6 ft, 12 ft, 22 ft, and 45 ft. Stick or carrot stick, savvy string or bag.
Normal tools? Nylon web halter, 25 ft nylon web longe line, longe whip, longeing cavesson, stud chain, side reins, surcingle, twitches, breeding hobbles, regular hobbles and hot walkers." quote Natural Horsemanship by Pat Parelli
Why are these tools considered natural or un-natural? Pat explains the why and how in his book, "Natural Horsemanship".

Question: What do you use and why? Or rather what do you not use and why?

Challenge: Find a new use for your Carrot Stick. Not just as an extension of the arm, but maybe a toy for your LBE horse to put in his mouth, a magical wand that has treats on the end for your LBI. Find something that you usually wouldn't think of to use it for.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Well guys, thank you very much for your voting over in the column. Please vote if you haven't already.

The good news is that thanks to this progress and new confidence, I have decided to start planning to audition Level 2 Freestyle with Sharlie. Casper and I still have some work to do online but if I can get him to the point of a Level 1/2 pass GARANTEED then I am wiling to consider auditioning with him too.

But only Sharlie is a definite. Comment with ideas for the Freestyle Audition! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Amazing progress tonight! Finally starting to live the dream...


SORRY I HAVEN'T WRITTEN ABOUT THE HORSES IN A WHILE. I HAVEN'T BEEN DOWN ALL WEEK! AS YOU HAVE PROBABLY NOTICED BY NOW, I AM SHOUTING (OR WRITING IN CAPS) BECAUSE I AM SO FRICKING EXCITED AND HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUT JUST FOR YOU GUYS, I WILL GO BACK TO REGULAR TYPING! was AH-MAZING!!!!! I will do Casper first because even though I played with him second, his progress wasn't as awsome as Sharlie. He still was great...but in comparison...


I haltered Casper with savvy. He was slightly reserved at first, which I suppose was to be expected because last time I played with him, we trotted for the first time. So I decided to do something totally different!! We didn't go out the gate, we started walking down toward the back of the field where the new bridge is. We played with that a bit, and within a space of a few minutes the bridge went from being the evil horse-eating monster to "ok ill follow julia across it..." Then we were out in the fields with just the lead rope over his back and him following me around as if there was an invisible thread bonding us.
When we got back to the barn he was LBE!!! :D

Sharlie was...well.. amazing! On the ground we did some liberty prep work with trotting, stopping and backing up with me in zone 3 and it was great! She trotted slowly when I did, extended when I did, stopped when I did, and backed up when i did! We were in sync!!
Then I saddled Sharlie up (w/ the bareback pad) and we were off! Once hitting the trail again, I asked Sharlie to pick up a trot by urging her with my seat and squeezing slightly. No clicking, nothing. We trotted around the tree, then up onto the hill. THen we walked. But as we were trotting up toward the hill, I thought to myself "Look I am trotting (almost) bareback in a wide open space with a loose(r) rein!! Amazing!"
Then Sharlie and I did a lot of trotting. We also started working on the spinning thing....i dont know what its called
THen to finish our wonderful ride I decided to do the unthinkable...cantering bareback. So here I am about to ask Sharlie to go up the hill where I know I can easily get her to canter...Thing is, can I get her to stop? Will I fall off? I decided not to overthink and just do it. And what ended up happening is that Sharlie cantered a few steps before I asked her to stop.

It was a huge success. This bareback pad Im borrowing has a big part in it too. I am going to have to ask Kara if I can borrow it for a few months...

I am going to be writing an email to Parelli asking if there is some sort of volenteer work I can do, such as writing about something or another....yea...we will see where THAT goes!! :P

Stay Natural

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Introducing: Go Take a Look

How do people find inspiring horse blogs? By other people, other blogs telling them. I am sure that some of you found my blog by word of mouth, and so in a way, I am repaying the favor. Each and every one of my followers/readers is precious to me because it makes me feel like I am important. Somebody is listening! I am sure other 'natural' bloggers can feel the same way.

I may steal a suggested blog from the Parelli Central's blog when Petra does her pick of the week. Others I may have just stumbled across and found fascinating.

So for our first "Go Take a Look" pick, I introduce to you...*drumroll*... Kara and her horse Cherish.
Ok ok, its a little biased since Kara is my best friend, but I find her way of looking at the world fascinating and I want to share it with the rest of you.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

7 Keys to Success - 2) Knowledge

"2) Knowledge - It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts.
You have to have the knowledge of HOW horses think. Most people think like people, and that's a whole different type of knowledge." quote Natural Horsemanship by Pat Parelli.
Do you have the knowledge? Let's think, did you know there are 103 Ingredients? 45 P's? 10 Qualities of a Horseman? 10 Levels? 6 and 1/2 Qualities for the human? 8 Principles of Natural Horsemanship? 7 games? 7 Keys to Success? 6 zones of the horse? 6 yeilds of the horse? 6 horse talents? 4 Responibilities for the horse and human each? 4 Savvies of Study? 4 Phases? 3 and 1/2 Qualities for the horse? 3 Systems in a horse? 2 ways a horse can play?...
Well, there is only ONE way you can find out! KNOWLEDGE... Go get it! It's out there calling for you, ready to play!

Lets think about that...
Question: What Savvies are you playing in?
Challenge: When was the last time you filled out a Horsenality Chart? Knowing that your horse's Horsenality has changed is very important.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Speeding up...

Yesterday afternoon we picked up the pace a bit...

Casper had a nice grooming session before we went out on a trail ride. He was calm and confident and a bit greedy for the grass. At last we were scaling the last hill to reach the barn and I gave a little squeeze and click. He picked up a trot. It wasn't exactly slow, but it wasn't exactly fast. It was bouncy. That was my first ever trot on Casper! I will find out next time I go to catch him whether he approved or not...

Sharlie decided to be very mischievous yesterday afternoon and when I took her out by the round pen on the 22-foot line, she bucked and galloped and had a blast. My arm? Not so much. I am pretty sure I pulled a muscle. But in my mind, it is worth it. If Sharlie had fun and got exercise, then I am ok with it. (I am surprised she didn't roll down the hill like the big ball she is!)
After Sharlie's fun little escapade, I groomed her too (both horses were quite dirty) then we went out for a trail ride. I used the bareback pad. As we set off onto the trail, I asked Sharlie to trot. We trotted smoothly till the end of the path. We walked down the slight hill and onto the hill where the corn field used to be (this description is for those who are familiar with Mercy Stable's lay out) then we turned back to walk back home along the fence of the pastures. I asked Sharlie to pick up a trot again. She picked up a smooth, slow trot all the way back up to the barn (100 yards, give or take)

A lot of trotting. More confidence, more progress...

Things are looking bright....

Friday, November 12, 2010

Casper looked to me...

Tonight I went down to the stables just to say hello to Sharlie and Casper because it was already getting dark. There was a huge party going on with loads of little kids running around screaming, jumping and worrying Sharlie and especially Casper. After they followed me over the hill after I went to go fetch them, Casper gently took the hood of my jacket and held on needing contact with me. I walked slowly and he didn't let go until I stopped. Then he started licking me nonestop. At first I was scared he was going to bite me, but then I noticed he was fighting against going catatonic. So I stayed next to him and stroked him, ignoring all the kids that came rushing up and tried to bother us. Soon Casper didn't need to keep licking me, he just had to have his nose touching me. He followed me around, and finally, with my guidance and reasurement, he was able to go up to the gate and let the little girls pet him. He did lose his confidence several times, but he fought against going catatonic to stay with me.

It was so amazing I felt so warm and amazed that this little horse trusted me to protect him against the kids. However, I have learned my lesson and will be putting up a sign on the gate tomorrow saying "Please do not pet/feed the ponies! Thank you" for the party tomorrow. I don't want to put him through it again.

Feeling all warm and fuzzy

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bareback Pad & Trailer Loading 2


Casper was harder to catch than usual, which tells me that I need to slow down with getting him used to the bareback pad. So we just went out onto a trailride.


We rode with the bareback pad and did a lot of trotting while I worked on fluidity. Then we went to the trailer. She walked straight in and we stayed in there for 20 minutes...just standing there... :)

Thats all for now. I didn't get much time down there so not much to write.

Stay warm!

7 Keys to Success: 1) Attitude

"1) Attitude - Keep it Positive, Progressive and Natural
You have to have a natural attitude. An attitude is a multitude of actions and interactions at any given time; therefore, every action and/or interaction represents an attitude. Natural horsemanship is an attitude for people who are positive and progressive, and who believe in the natural point of view of the horse." quote Natural Horsemanship by Pat Parelli.

Question: How do you react when your horse is being difficult? How do you react when he does something right? Is that what you should do, based on his Horsenality?
Challenge: if your horse defies you or gets the better of you, or you just get frustrated, stay positive and smile. Whistle. Its hard to frown when you are whistling!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bareback Pad & Trailer Loading

This is for yesterday afternoon when I played with the horses.


(This photo is from the summer)

We played the 7 games and spent alot of time on the Friendly Game. Then we moved onto Porcupine, Driving, Yoyo and Circling. We didn't get to the last 2 games. But I did tasks from Level 1 and 2 out of those 5 games so I am very happy with the results. Casper is still a little afraid and wary of the carrot stick, but I think that with time he will become more confident with it around. After playing with the 5 games, we walked over to the trailer. This is the first time I have ever tried to load Casper and I had no idea how he would do.
*Dramatic music
The first try he sniffed it cautiously and then hurriedly walked away. After walking around we came back and he walked straight in! He walked all the way in, stood there for a bit, then backed out. What a good boy! After this small victory, I decided to try on the bareback pad I am borrowing from my good friend Kara. I was suprised to discover that Casper had no real problem and did not object to having it put on his back. Maybe our previous work with the saddle pad has paid off for something. He did not appear cinchy and just stood there patiently. However, it was when I got on that the trouble began. When I first swung my leg slowly over his back, he shied away from the step stool. Luckily I was on before I had time to lose my balance and fall. Then he tried to bolt into fences until finally I managed to stop him for the split second I needed to hop off.
After calming him down, I decided not to get on all the way. Just to...hang. I kept my feet resting on the step stool because whenever I would lift them off, Casper started to move. Slowly but surely, with many strokes and sighs, finally Casper did the cock of confidence. I ended it there, wanting to leave it on a good note. I found this play session quite progressive, despite the bolting part.


(This photo was taken yesterday)
Sharlie was slower to get going, if that makes sense. It took longer to get her in a playful frame of mind. We played with the weave pattern and figure 8, which she seemed to recognize from liberty. After a few minutes of that we walked over to the trailer. One of my horses can load, could the other? First time we approached it, she got in with two feet and then backed out in a panic (a loud truck out on the main road) We walked away and when we came back, she needed no encouragement. She walked in, unfazed by the sound of the rattling trailer. In fact, I had to make her back out otherwise she probably wouldn't have gotten out. I didn't want to push it with her being in there too long because every time I push my luck a little too far, we take a step back. After rewarding her with a few minutes of grazing, I tried the bareback pad on her. It fit her nicely and I quickly hopped up and was out on the trails. I didn't try any trotting till she was accustomed to the strange feeling of the pad. Then finally after alot of walked here and there and back and forth, I asked her to do a slow trot. Slow she did. I didn't touch the reins, I just let her go where she wanted while I was concentrating on being fluid and staying on! We ended on a nice long trot.

So my question/challenge today is to play with a trailer, or a trailer simulation because you never know what will happen, like I had to learn the hard way.
So thats all for today!

Staying warm!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

On The Ground- What is it?

What does on the ground mean? It means everything you do when you're not in the saddle. Your relationship with your horse is going on constantly whether you're riding him or not. Most people think they affect horses only when they are on their backs. Realistically, it's every moment of time you're with your horse, whether you have a halter and lead rope on him, or he's free and you're going to catch him or groom him, etc. Your horse is thinking of you whenever you're near him. He's trying to figure you out, trying to see where you're at, what kind of look you have on your face, what kind of mood you're in and so on. Even when you don't think you're affecting the horse, you probably are in some way or another.

In the Parelli Program Online and Liberty are done on the ground. Some are more confident on the ground (like me) while others are more confident riding.

Just thought I should write about this because it is a subject that affects me often.

Horse Behaviour

Hey Everyone!

Some of you may know that I am paying off Casper's lease by doing the chores at the barn. People laugh saying that after a year of doing the chores I won't enjoy doing them anymore. Well I have been doing them several times a month since August and I still find it fun and educational. I love doing the chores because it is a great time to watch and observe horses in their fields. I can probably name every horse's Horsenality without having to play with them. Of course some horses are different in and outside of the field. I could probably predict that too because of the way they act when I walk up to them. As a part of my quest to make my blog more interesting and to improve my writing abilities, I want to start posting about things other than just Sharlie and Casper. Maybe I can write a bit about what I think about each of the Parelli Principles, interesting people, etc...

I find watching natural horse behavious fascinating. After all, Natural Horsemanship is about being as similar to the horse as possible and learning more about their way of thinking.

So I am going to do something new, and ask you to spend some undemanding time with your horse in their natural environment- their field. Learn about how they act around other horses, where is their favorite grazing spots, how do they eat their grain, where is their itching spot...

Stay Savyy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2 horse liberty & To Do list

Yesterday I had both Sharlie and Casper in the round pen together. I had a plan: do what Pat did in the L&HB Dvd when he has his Casper and Allure in together. Allure and (my) Casper are similar, unconfident and RB. (Pat's) Casper and Sharlie are similar, more confident and advanced. I played with them together for a few minutes. I already expected Casper to lose confidence quickly, so I knew what to do. I concentrated all my focus on Sharlie and totally ignored Casper. I played with Sharlie at liberty. I had a large come in there (as bit as Casper!) 2 posts for a figure 8 and a plank to use as a pedestal. All 3 objects were new. While Sharlie and I played with the figure 8, Casper played around with the cone. Then Sharlie and I played with the pedestal. That is still a work in progress, but we are getting there. I am going to film Sharlie and me playing at liberty so a friend can look at it and see what we have to work on for an audition. Casper isn't ready for liberty yet, and he is scared of the Carrot Stick so we worked online with the cone and the figure 8.

I have decided that Sharlie and I will take a break from Freestyle and what little Finesse we were doing and then in early spring we will start over from scratch. Also Sharlie will definitely be needing hill therapy by the time spring comes, so that is already planned. If Casper is advanced enough online for hill therapy by then too, then he will do it too.

With Christmas coming soon, I am asking for money because among other things, I want to send in my liberty and online audition for Sharlie. I am undecided about Casper...

If you think (or don't think) I should film and send in my Level 1 Online Audition for Casper vote over to the right in the column.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Irony of Life

I am not the religious type. In fact living in the Bible Belt has caused me to become much more negative toward religion then I would probably be if I continued living in France. Yes, religion is everywhere but its only here where they wave the Bible in your face, saying they are right and I am wrong. Saying that I have to believe in Jesus or go to hell. Those things have happened to me. I don't mean to offend anyone, because I know so many of my friends go to church. When my friends ask me what religion I am, I tell them I am a person. Thats all.

So keeping in mind the paragraph above, I find it close to amazing what has happened over these last few days. Since I told everyone that I was taking a break from the blogging world to find my journey, many strange things have happened. Sharlie and Casper will soon be together in their own field, presenting us with many new and exciting opportunities for playing. (Despite the approaching dreadful and muddy weather...) Then Mom met some ladies that practice Natural Horsemanship (or as they call it the Dark Arts). They had been to some of Carol Coppinger's clinic and in a few weeks they are going trail riding at East Fork Stables.
This gave me the idea of perhaps going camping there with my friend Kara and the horses next summer. That is still unsure, but an idea. I thought about which horse I would bring and I decided perhaps Casper would be the better choice... Which has led to helping me decide what to focus Casper's training- cross country/trail horse. Casper is not made for the arena. From past experience he has grown to be terrified and tense in the arena so his heart and soul can never fully be there. If I can get his confidence much stronger and better, perhaps we can start some driving.

Right now with Sharlie we are going to be working on liberty and hill therapy...oh yes definitely hill therapy!!

Thank you everyone for your support.

Casper's Story

I realized looking back over my posts over the last year and a half or so that I have never mentioned Casper's story. Indeed he has been weaving in and out of posts for almost a year now. You all know Sharlie's background and history (They are the very first posts on the blog. Click here to go to the first post.) So it is only fair for me to tell you about Casper.

Casper is a 13 hand pony. His coat is seal brown. We thought he was 12 or 13 years old until this summer where by examining his teeth we discovered he is probably only 6 or 7! When he first arrived at Mercy Stables he was extremely green, unconfident and extremely right brain. (He belonged to the stable) We didn't have much chance to interact, especially after I got Sharlie. I tried to stop thinking about Casper but I always seemed to notice him. I watched him...I subconsciously discovered where his favorite tree was, where were his sensitive spots and how he kicked out at the other horses- Left hoof first, but it was the right hoof that usually made contact with the other horse. Soon I started trying to involve myself in his life because I did not agree with the way he was being trained and used.

When the cold came in December 2009 it gave me the chance to interact with Casper on a daily basis. When no one was around or watching, I would go and sit by the fence with a few treats, waiting patiently for him to walk up to the fence. I fed him through the little wires squares which began a game of him sticking his nose through holes and me tickling it. Soon he started meeting me there when he was near by. Then I started barely stepping into the field by the gate and feeding him there. By early February Casper was allowing me to start touching his face and neck.

Something I forgot to mention is that Casper hadn't been caught since July 2009 and was not planning on being caught anytime soon. So when I began to play with him in the field with ropes, I had to start out with hay strings. These are the steps I used to get him accustomed to strings & ropes.
1. string around my leg or waist.
2. he would let me hold it in my hand.
3. then touch him with the string in the other hand.
4. hay string on back, flank and legs.
5. string around neck.
6. move up to savvy string and repeat steps.

By the time I was to step 4 with the savvy string it was mid-march. When it came time to catch him (not through my choice) to move him to another field. Ever since then I have been slowing playing with him to teach him that he can trust me.
At the beginning of August we arranged to lease Casper for 1 year from Mercy Stables to prevent him being sold. I have always felt a connection with him and it broke my heart to maybe lose him to someone unknown and that didn't listen to him the way I do.

Casper is still green but with time and patience I know he will make a very good pony. I think he will be an excellent trail pony or cross country. He would be a great carriage horse if I could build up his confidence enough. Though my goal for this year is for him to become a reliable and trusting trail horse.

So that is his story. There was a bit of drama concerning him at the stables a few months ago but it has all cleared up. I am happy that the people at the stables have decided to give him a second chance. But more appropriately, all humans at the barn need to deserve a second chance from him.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taking a Break to Find My Journey

I am sorry for not blogging sooner everyone, but I haven't been doing much with Sharlie and Casper because of the weather. (ugh)

Now I have been thinking that maybe I should take a break from blogging while I decide where I want my journey to go. Sharlie and I are at a point where we need to focus on what we want to do. I was thinking of the Parelli Rendezvous and Spotlights and I realized that Sharlie and I aren't good at anything. Our Online and Liberty are ok, but just ok. Freestyle is pretty bad and forget Finesse! I look at my friends who are so far ahead in their journey. Take my best friend Kara for example. She has had her horse for 10 months and she is already riding bareback and bridless! Hannah Willis and Emily Larramore are in Florida studying under Mirka Pitts. Friends all around me are improving, advancing and moving onward and upward in their journey and I am still close to where I started almost 2 years later. I auditioned for my Level 1 almost a year ago and Sharlie and I are still not ready to audition for anything else! (Especially not freestyle!) Even with Casper...We had made bounds of progress in a short amount of time but now we are a straight line across the graph.

So I apologize, but I will be taking a few weeks off of blogging in order to find out where this relationship is going.

Keep it Natural!
Julia, Sharlie & Casper

Saturday, October 16, 2010

First Fall in 3 years

Last night I was trotting on Sharlie and she spooked at something that I didn't notice to be a problem. I could have easily stayed on by grabbing onto her mane, but so I wouldn't spook her more I sorta just let myself fall. I fell on my back, instantly rolling over and hopping up to catch Sharlie's rein. That was the first time I have EVER fallen off of Sharlie (despite many close calls) and the first time I have fallen off in 3 years (since I moved to America.) I have owned Sharlie for almost 2 years, as a fact of interest.

It also made me remember that the last time I fell off, it was voluntary as well. I was cantering in the arena and my pony made a U-turn, wanting to return to the horses standing in the middle of the arena. I could have easily stayed on because I only lost one stirrup but I thought to myself "That one stirrup can cause me to be dragged across the arena if he turns sharply again." so I unlatched my other foot and when Koala made another sharp turn within 2 seconds of me taking my foot out of the stirrups, I sorta just let myself slide and fall. I kept ahold of his reins and got up on my knees immediatly. Its amazing how those sorts of incidents repeat themselves.

(Take that Marissa! lol)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Riding in the Bridle & Horsemanship Du Coeur

Long time no blogging! I am ashamed to say I haven't been down to Mercy as much as I would like to. Yet I still have made progress with my two excellent horses. Sharlie and I have been working on staying more connected at liberty and riding bareback. Liberty is going quite well because we are starting to be able to do the figure 8 pattern consistantly. I am actually starting to wonder whether I'll have my Online and Liberty at Level 4 before even my Freestyle is Level 2! But I will think about that later.

With Casper we have a big break through - Riding with the bridle. Back a few weeks ago I tried this and Casper was about to bolt the whole time. He tried to run for the exits of the arena, his pace was choppy, etc... Well last weekend I tried Sharlie's bridle on him and we went out on a trail ride and he did quite nicely. It still needs work because sometimes I put too much pressure on him and he goes RBE.

Also I have started Horsemanship Du Coeur. The link for the website will be come soon.

Stay Savvy. And in case I dont post anytime soon, Happy Halloween
Julia, Sharlie & Casper

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quick Thank you

Just wanted to say thank you to Mr. Bell for all of his support with my writing, and for being such an amazing teacher!

Sharlie & the Arena

Hey All!

So let me get straight to the point because I want to say quite alot and I honestly don't have time to write it all. So on Sunday I lost my temper with Sharlie and she lost hers with me. Very simple very plain. I am ashamed of it, but I cannot change it. So let me tell you what happened today.

I decided to ride Sharlie bareback because we are both much happier that way then with the saddle. We are both naturally tense when it comes to the saddle. I am tense because it reminds me of my past as well as Sharlie being tense. Sharlie is tense because I am tense. So its a vicious circle.
So yes, we were bareback. I was very determined to work on my fluidity when Sharlie is trotting. So we went to the round pen and we walked around while practicing steering with the carrot stick. I need to ask some of my NH friends what they suggest when it comes to steering Sharlie's blind side. Sharlie is doing good with the carrot stick. She lets me rub her all over when I am on her back and her lateral flexion is good.

Finally I worked up my courage to ask for a trot. I made sure my legs were like wet towels hanging around her sides, my shoulders were relaxed... I sank my seat and moved my hips in a figure 8 pattern with her motions and guess what? I didn't bounce an inch out of my seat!
I was so happy that I stayed on as I opened the gate to leave the round pen and rode over to the arena. I chose to sit as a passenger and let Sharlie relax again. (Sharlie, myself and the arena are not on good terms.) It was very interesting- Sharlie does not stop in the arena unless I ask her to. She keeps walking from one exit to the other (both closed) non-stop. It is not in a RB sort of way, just "Ugh...I wonder if I can get out here..." Eventually, she did something I did not expect. She walked away from the fence and crossed to the opposite side of the arena, her head hanging so low her nose touched the ground. Then she blew out over and over and over and over again! She snorted and blew and sighed. It was a wonderful feeling to have her relax so much. I don't think she ever has done that before. It was even better when she arched out her back (the good arching, not the bad) After a bit of playing with stop-start-stop-start, I decided to end the session there. I was very happy with the results.

I managed to find a couple of minutes to go say hello to Casper and to spend a bit of undemanding time. He came and met me at the gate and enjoyed when I stroked his ears, neck and face. He almost fell asleep right beside me! His head just drooped lower and lower... :)

Stay Savvy

Still writing the novel... Julia, Sharlie and Casper

Friday, September 10, 2010

Small Circle at Liberty & Auditions

Hey All!!
Last night I took Casper and Sharlie on a walk out to the hay fields. I love the smell of freshly cut hay!

Casper has been limping a few days now so I am a little concerned, but it is very odd. When he has been standing for a few minutes, when he starts to walk he limps quite visibly and badly. But if he keps walking nonstop for several minutes, its almost unnoticable. Very strange....
Sharlie is hating her diet. It has been 2 days and she is very grumpy and very hungry. She had a bit of a overweight spell over the last week but she is back on the diet.

So after our walk I played with Sharlie in the arena, online. She was being very dominant in a playful sort of way. But she DID come intruding my space, trying to push me over. After some porcupine and driving game, she finally connected with me. We went over to the round pen so she could run her heart out. (She is in a small paddock, with very little movement. She was about to burst around the more ways then one) She cantered, bucked and had a about 2 minutes. Then she came back to me and told me she was done for today.

I've been riding Casper on trailrides these last few days. He loves it and so do I. He is running up to me in the field and is happy to see me. It has taken a while to heal his heart from the problems from other people, but we are finally having fun. I don't look forward to starting him to the saddle & bridle again though. He hasn't reacted very well to either, going extreme RBE non-stop no matter what you do. We arre going to take it very slow, change bit, maybe buy a bareback pad...well we shall see what is needed but something will have to change!

I know I need to take some photos of both ponies very soon because it has been a while. I am also considering filming an audition or two this winter (hopefully Christmas money) It would either be Online or Liberty. Sharlie and I are still struggling with Freestyle, especially with her bucking when I ask for the canter. I hope to get my blue string however before spring.

That is all for now. I will keep you posted. Stay Savvy!!

Julia, Sharlie and Casper

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Empty Arena Challenge- Part 1/4 & 2/4

First let me explain the 4 sections of this challenge, as I forgot to mention it last time. I have 2 horses, to I divide it into 2 sections already. But then I have to play on the ground and riding with both horses, thus splitting each horse's half in half again. I hope that makes sense. :)

So yesterday I played with Sharlie in the empty arena and completed her half of the challenge. I started with Sharlie because we are more advanced (playing Level 3/4) so it was much easier to get creative with an empty arena.

So we began with online, on the ground. I have started to use the "Tag" method to get Sharlie engaged. But not willing to over-use it, I have also started to do the Falling Leaf pattern with some stick to me, and a bit of Sideways game for flavor. ;) It went very well and Sharlie is doing great online. I think I'll start working towards my Level 3/4 Online, and use the money I get for Christmas to pay for it.
Then came riding. Now on Friday night I rode Sharlie with a saddle and did some walk, trot and a bit of canter, though the canter didn't work out because she bucked. We are slowly going to work through that, bit by bit. But Friday night did not count, because there were poles in the arena! So even if I wasn't using the poles, the arena was not empty. So Saturday is the freestyle I am counting.
I rode bareback, in a halter and lead rope. For those who have been following our journey for a while, you know that riding Sharlie bareback at a gait faster than a walk has been difficult. But yesterday we trotted in circles, figure 8's, ovals, turns, curves, etc... We did a million transitions and ended with a fun back up out of the arena. It went quite well, despite Sharlie's ears being back.

Another piece of information is that SHARLIE IS ON A DIET!!! :D No grain for ms. FAT-FAT-FATTY! The vet said she could easily lose 100 pounds...I think more. But she is looking good! Her fur has become a soft fuzz and her neck isn't marked with fat wrinkles anymore. :) I'll keep you updated on her diet.

Thats all for now! Stay Savvy!

Julia, Sharlie & Casper

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Empty Arena Challenge

Hey All!
Its been a while, I know. School has started but it has been excellent! Sharlie and Casper ran to me today, Sharlie wearing a wonderful mud face mask. I did a figure 8 at liberty with Sharlie, as well as stick to me, small circles, and cantering on the 12 foot line. I rode Casper around and had some fun walking around.
All this is fun and wonderful, so I am going to challenge myself and play in an empty arena for 1 play session with both of them. They are 2 opposite horsenalities so this should be interesting! I'll let you know how it goes.

Stay Savvy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Long Morning + extras

This morning Kara and I woke up at 6:30 (Kara is over for a sleepover & yes it IS amazing we woke up at all at that hour) We were down at the stables by eight. We left just after midday. Let me give you a summary of what happened in these 4 hours.

We caught Sharlie & Casper and began playing with them on the ground. I played with Sharlie, and Kara played with Casper. Sharlie was being very LBI so I tried to tag her. The first time she was RB, but then she started to play. She spinned and twisted and leaped and bounded. She got engaged so quickly that we did several patterns in a matter of half an hour! Kara played with Casper on sideways, circling, turning, porcupine, driving, friendly with the flyspray bottle and figure 8 pattern. Then we mounted up! I got on Sharlie first. She was great! Except that she chipped one of her hooves several times :/

Casper was spooky. He still needs alot of work with being mounted up on...not just riding. We tried a trail ride when he calmed down, but something spooked both horses violently so we decided to turn back. I rode Sharlie into the pond, and Kara wen into the water with Casper (on foot). Both horses had a good time in the pond and afterwards we turned them out. We decided to retire back to the air-conditioned home, and called mom to pick us up. :]

A few additional points...

I have a new tumblr account.

There are some new occurring events happening in my life at the moment, I will keep you posted but be ready in case of another companion joining this journey.

Also, it was brought to my attention that my blog gives the impression that I lead a perfect life with my horse and we have no problems. That is NOT the case. No partnership between horse & human (or in any case..human&human, dog&human...whatever) but anyway no partnership is perfect, and mine is far from it. I may post more of my positive play sessions with Sharlie because honestly I am ashamed of the bad ones. My relationship with Sharlie is a dream come true, but it is far from perfect. Luckily, every day we get a step closer. We learn, we remember, and we don't make the same mistake twice. If I do...Sharlie reminds me.
So please don't tell me my life with Sharlie is perfect. Because it isn't.

Stay Savvy
Julia & Sharlie

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Playing at Kara's

These last few days I've been at Kara's house (I'm here now) and I have been having so much fun. I really hope that bringing Sharlie here for a playdate/mega-sleepover will be possible soon.

I have learnt so much here too. It is so nice to be able to watch Parelli DVDs with people to compare and reflect on it. I have been riding Hope, Brita's horse. Hope is a mild RBE/LBE and sometimes snotty LBI. She has been very good to me though. I think that I could learn alot from here.

We have been playing with the pond alot. Hope WAS scared of the water but this morning after a long sweaty trailride she went in with Kara riding Cherish and lay down 3 times! Cherish lied down several times with Kara on his back. This evening Hope amazed us more by swimming across the pond!

I am having so much fun and I really wish I could stay. Oh well...

Stay Savvy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Camp- Day 2 Tuesday

Tuesday was the first full day of camp. Bright and early during breakfast, Hannah made my day! I saw her trailer pull up in the driveway and I had this sense of relief. My idol is here.(!) We had our horses fed and tacked up and took them to the big back field that is full of toys. I couldn't wait to take Sharlie out there. I was hoping she would like several of the obstacles such as the tires, the big rings and the logs. We ended up spending a lot of time at the tires. I wish we could have had more time back there. There is not enough time for playing with everything.
Within a few minutes we were mounted up in the arena working on Follow the Rail and cantering.

That afternoon we worked on trailer loading. Sharlie got to the point where she trotted into the trailer! I was so happy!!
Then riding in the arena, we had the sprinkler on (IT WAS SO HOT!) We did figure 8's around the whole arena. Several times I could let go of the reins...Wow.

Camp- Day 1 Monday

When everyone arrive, Jennifer took us over the rules and schedule. After that we went out to go get our horses to play the 7 games with them in the arena, so Jennifer could see where we were with our horses. I learnt a lot that morning because we got so deep into the Seven Games. Unfortunately 2 girls passed out so the morning was eventful. By the afternoon, we were riding. I was prepared for Sharlie being very Right Brain and Extroverted. What I got surprised me. She was introverted. She was flipping from LBI and RBI but at least she didn't try and run away with me.

So I was surprised about the difference already apparent in Sharlie, and excited to see if Hannah would come the next day.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

1 day

Wow! We are leaving tomorrow! It is just amazing how quickly today has passed. I hope that everything will pass easily and go without a hitch. When I return I will write a long and descriptive post about it.

But for now, I will say a small goodbye. I hope that this camp will meet and pass my expectations, and I am sure it will. It will all be a learning experience. From the traveling down to the simple relaxing time. To finally go to a place where my beliefs and dreams with Natural Horsemanship will be accepted and rewarded, and not flicked off like a bug.

I hope to return with a changed horse and myself a changed young lady.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Taking for granted

To take something for granted is something many people do often and without realizing it. I was taking Sharlie going down to camp for granted, but now with only a couple days away, I am not so sure. I have to face the fact that we may have to leave her behind. But I don't think that it will be a problem. Sharlie getting into the trailer won't be a problem. The time from closing the door till we get moving is what I am worrying about.
Cross fingers!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Undemanding Time

Today I came to a very important realization. Undemanding time is absolutely essential to a true relationship. I came to terms with this with a horse I don't spend much time with. After I turned Sharlie out, I went to say hello to the herd of horses that share the field with Sharlie. The Alpha of this herd is Doc, a 25 year old (estimated age) horse that has cushing's disease. He is much more active in the winter, but the summer is when his cushing's acts up. He moves from one spot in the shade to another spot several yards away. I feel so bad because his lack of movement causes him to receive most of the flies. So I walked over to him and started just stroking his face, to shoo away the flies. And that is basically what I did for half an hour! Just stroking his face gently and slowly. He became so relaxed that he had to rest his head on my shoulder at one point so it wouldn't touch the ground. By the time I was done, the rest of the horses were all lining up to have a turn. It was very rewarding to see Doc so relaxed. I don't think I have ever seen him that relaxed before. It is hard to be the Alpha over 6 horses! (Especially when 2 or 3 can act like children) I would have just sprayed him with flyspray but that would not have done the job. Not only would it spook him, but it wouldn't have relaxed him the way it did when I did the non-lazy thing of spending half an hour stroking him (something most people at the stables wouldn't do)

This made me realize how essential undemanding time is for a horse-human relationship.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

10 days countdown

Its 10 days till camp and I am starting to feel stressed. I was on vacation in Europe for 3 weeks and when I got back, I wasn't used to the extreme heat. It is very hot, and the 2 days that I have been down to see Sharlie have been during the middle of the day -the hottest part.
Over the next 10 days I am working on a few things with Sharlie. Online is something we will be focusing on before camp. And Freestyle. I hope to start riding her bit by bit starting tomorrow. I won't be doing any Liberty or Finesse so I don't go overboard on information. As well as Online and Freestyle, I am focusing on the trailer. So those are the main 3 points and I will be posting a camp journal when I return.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Update- Just plain having fun!

Despite the heat, I have been going down to the stables almost everyday, with the exception of the 1 week I was away in D.C. I am still trying to get back into the move of things in both at school and at the farm. When I got back on Friday, for example, Sharlie was swollen and very gassy because of not being exercised! Now I am trying to advance us as much as possible before we go to camp. But before camp, I am going to England and France for 2 weeks!! Luckily I have a friend who will be up to the job of exercising her once or twice while I'm gone.
I have been watching videos and thinking of ideas for liberty. I'm trying to ease a bit on the Online and work more on liberty in the arena since the round pen is not up.
This was just a quick update. I'm sorry if there aren't any updates for a few weeks. I'm swamped with horses and school!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Last Few Wonderful Days

Hey Peoples!!
I apologize for not writing for the last few weeks. I have been so busy. I have literally spent almost everyday down at the farm. I have been having a hard time trying to think of things to teach Sharlie. Finally I came up with this list to try and do or work on before camp:
~Lying down/(bowing)
~ Back up by tail
~ Improve Falling Leaf pattern
~ Start moving into Level 4 online
~ Level 2/3 Liberty

But overall Sharlie's general attitude toward life has improved greatly. I'm proud of her because she has been so obedient. Calm, responsive, etc...
I have already started by teaching her backing her up by the tail. If I stand behind where she can see me and gently pull, have one hand up motioning backwards, and say "back" she will take a few steps back. Its touching because she doesn't want to run me over!! :P

Anyway, I will update you again soon. I'm thinking about trying to canter with Sharlie and the new saddle soon.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bright Future ahead!

Dear Friends,
Today I tried my new saddle on Sharlie today. I have to say I did not have high expectations. I have bad experiences where I expect too much of Sharlie and I end up getting upset because things don't go as planned and Sharlie doesn't understand what she did wrong. So I decided to set my sights low. I decided that is would be fine if I never got to ride Sharlie today because she wasn't comfortable or emotionally ready. I was hesitant to get on after she seemed to have trouble adjusting to the saddle. But once I got on and we went down to the stream, I was already feeling a difference. She had her head lower down than usually and she lengthened her stride. And for the first time in a very long time, I trotted Sharlie more then I ever had. And I wasn't scared, I wasn't panicking, it was FUN! Her gait was much smoother and more fluid. Our future with this saddle is looking great!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


My Wintec 2000 saddle arrived today! Can't wait to try it out tomorrow!!
Please also check out the blog below! There isn't much right now, but hopefully there will be!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Long time no write

Hello dear Savvy friends.
I apologize for not writing for at least a whole month now. But lately I have been extremely busy. We have state tests and big field trips happening in April so there has been a lot of extra schoolwork. Plus I was sick for all of last week, and the make up work has been overwhelming. Yet I have found time to play with Sharlie. We have been playing with cantering on the 22 foot line, Spanish Walk, traveling circles, jumping and collecting on the ground. Riding has been more of I am on Sharlie's back and I let her graze while I lay back and doze. The reason why I haven't tried to ride more and do patterns and such is because I sent an email to Parelli asking for help and advice. I told them about our problems, etc... I got a reply a few days ago saying to just take it easy and don't try anything new. Wait until I go to camp where I can get the professional help I may need, and the help that Sharlie needs. So I have been focusing on the ground mostly. The last few visits have been focused on grooming Sharlie because she, like all of the horses at the stables, is shedding her winter coat. It is comical how I can give her a small stroke on her neck and what I receive in return is a hand full of hair!
I am also helping the owners of the barn by slowly ''playing'' with one of their ponies. Now I am not really playing with him. I am just showing him that being caught does not mean just going to go work. It means that he will be able to eat the grass outside of his field (Because he believes the grass is greener on the other side of course!) , that he will be groomed and massaged, helping him to relax and lose his winter coat. And that he can sniff and play with new things and not be punished for it. He can sniff my saddle pad and he can carry it around and then stamp on it for all I care. He should not be punished for being curious and smart. Because Casper is VERY smart. He is smarter than Sharlie, than any other horse I have ever met. And because he is so smart, it is a challenge to get him to trust me. I have to unpredictable every time I go to try and catch him, and if he doesn't want to be caught that day because either he doesn't want to or he can't emotionally, I have to swallow my disappointment and surprise him by saying "Ok, I understand. I wouldn't want to be pulled straight out of the shower and go straight to work." But I feel that we are making progress. He isn't spooking at everything. He can go up and meet horses that he hasn't met yet and not be scared of them. He is healing. But if you could comment and vote whether I should make him his own blog, or just incorporate him into this blog. Thank you.
So all seems to be well at the moment. I am on spring break now and I hope to help by grooming the fluffy horses that have still fur to lose. My birthday is only a few days away and I am looking forward to it. All is well at the moment.

May the horse be with you