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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

Giveaway ends May 01, 2014.

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Monday, January 31, 2011


5 hours down at Mercy. It went by so fast. Let me start with what I did with Sharlie. 

She was waiting for me by the gate and was very happy to see me. There has been a change in both Sharlie and Casper lately... I'm not complaining but I find it rather odd. It could be the weather but I like to think its me... :) I gave her a good brushing out and she enjoyed it. For those who have heard about the hoof problem, there is some scarring and extra tissue but she didn't seem to put off by it. 

I then took her out for some hill therapy. She enjoyed it! It was odd to see her enjoying trotting up and down a hill. While she hasn't figure it out yet, she did seem to remember from last time. The dip in her neck is already looking better. I have taken advantage of the warm weather, but I was nervous about making the commitment to doing Hill Therapy for 7 straight days, especially as rain and colder weather is predicted. I will have to fight it however because we have started and I can't fail like last time and stop. 

After hill therapy I switched back to the 12 foot rope. Sharlie has been excellent with liberty and such lately. I've been able to back her up out of the pasture with a wiggle of my finger while the lead rope is flung over her back. We have been able to walk here and there and I was able to just drop the lead rope while I groomed her and she didn't go anywhere. She is definitely doing much better.

When I went out to go catch Casper he came up to me and was pleased to see me. Let me show you how that conversation rolled out:

Julia: Hi Casper
Casper: Hi Julia
*Julia strokes Casper's neck*
*Casper bends his head around to her*
Casper: Here why don't you put the halter on?
Julia: Really?
Casper: Yea! It's cool. I want to go explore.
*Julia halters Casper*

It was interesting to see him wanting to be haltered. The last time that was was back in May. All I did with him was groom his legs. It was part of the Friendly game as he can be sensitive around his legs. By the end of gently brushing his legs for an hour with a soft brush, I was able to drop the leadrope and he rested his nose on my back. (I was sitting on a bench and was bent over.)

He is coming along wonderfully. I have realized I can't do the typical "rope-over-the-back" Friendly game with him. I have to be much more creative. Time to break out the tarp. :)

About this mysterious positive air coming from my horses:

Have I ever seen my horses so happy? Probably not. Have I ever been able to walk into the field and Casper come up to me and I can halter him without a problem during the year we have been playing? No. 

Just to stand with Sharlie stroking her neck as she hugs me. Just to fling the rope over her back and back her out at liberty through the gate .... its magical. 

On a side note:

I love Sharlie because when I do the right thing she lets me know. When I mess up she will usually be good to me and be patient. And when she gives me her all, its the most magical thing in the world. I love her for the things she has taught me and the habits she has broken in me. The friends she has brought me and the people she has revealed who were out to get me. She is my first horse. She is my best friend.

I love Casper because he is special. Not just to me but to everyone. In my 6 years of riding and being around horses I have never met anyone so smart. He is the Einstein of horses. But at the same time he is that little boy in the corner of the day care playing by himself and extremely shy. He tries to please you but he is scared. I love him because like Sharlie, when he opens his heart it is the best experience ever. To know I am getting through to him after so many people tried and failed. I love him because he has put aside so many evil things to let me love him. You can't beat that. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Friday: 3 Savvys and a Close Call.

Yesterday I played with Sharlie again and I managed to play with 3 savvies. Online, Liberty and Freestyle.

I started out with the 7 games as I had the intention of riding. But then as I thought about riding, I became nervous and uptight so I decided against it. It wasn't worth risking my confidence and me blowing up at her.  So we went to go sniff the trailer...say hello to Rafik...pitter-pattered here and there...and then we ended up on the 22-foot line cantering around. Then I decided I should at least try...try and go out just for a simple trail. At a walk. No faster than that.

So I hop on bareback, no bareback pad. She was actually very good with the mounting. Lined up perfectly with the platform and stayed while I walked up the stairs. I asked permission and she looked at me like "Really? Just get on for heaven's sake!" I slipped on gently and....ouch!! Her back is in terrible condition! She needs hill therapy very badly. We went out and walked through the fields.

On our way back Sharlie shied slightly at something walking in the long dry grass behind us. Then about 30 seconds later I shifted my position and she BOLTED! It was only a few strides but it was one of those things where she tucked her hindquarters under herself. I must have looked like a circus clown with my legs and arms splayed out in all directions. It was only a few seconds but I stayed on and I wasn't scared afterwards. But it was a close call.

I did not catch Casper on Friday because he was distant and afraid.

On a separate note: It has been approximately one year since I first began my journey by sitting by the fence and spending weeks waiting for him to come up to the fence to sniff me. 1 year. Look where we are now. :) Took alot longer than most horses. But we are still here.

Naturally. Julia

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mild Winter Afternoon

I love the smell of wet grass while the sun is setting on a mild winter day. The sun just still above the hills and gives everything a soft warm light. I also love sunsets at the stables. Its my favorite time of day at the stables.

So today was the first time I've been out to the barn since last weekend. I was in for an unpleasant surprise. I was met with laid back ears and a sense of distance from both horses. I was slightly taken aback because I didn't know the source of this unkind welcome. I had never come across this before so while I went to go get the halters, my mind raced to think what I could do. I decided to just play Friendly and walk in with a big smile with some carrots and strokes and scratches.

Thank goodness my instincts were correct. After a few minutes of stroking Sharlie and Casper with my heart in my hands, their expressions softened and became positive.

Casper still had some left over negativity so I played friendly game with him. He grazed while I tossed the savvy string over his back, hindquarters and around his legs. Then I took the carrot stick and just rubbed him with it.

I played with Sharlie afterward. She keeps offering sideways and while thats not what I want, I took the offer. We managed to go sideways over a pole for the first time ever! I know I will never be able to do sideways on Sharlie's left side. She has to look at me, and when I keep asking her to turn her head away she goes RBE.  I hope that the person grading the Parelli Auditions won't mind.

I'll be back out tomorrow and hopefully for the whole afternoon on Saturday! Yay!

Naturally, Julia

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Muddy Weekend.

 (From weekend with Kara)

Despite it being very muddy and I have 10 pounds of mud stuck to my boots, it was actually a very successful weekend. On Saturday I played with Casper, and today (Sunday) I played with Sharlie.

So on Saturday I arrived and made my way to the pasture. Sharlie came to greet me and I stroked her and said hello. Casper was standing on the top of the hill so I focused on walking around the hill to go look around the back of the field. He surprised me by walking over within seconds of seeing me. I stroked him, let him sniff me and the halter and then walked off a bit. He followed me. It seemed to be a very left-brained day. I slowly stroked him, putting my heart in my hand. He relaxed by sighing and lowering his head. Slowly I rubbed him with the lead rope all over and then with the halter. Each time he looked away I turned my back to him. After a few of doing this, he stopped turning his head away and instead kept his head turned toward me!
After a few minutes of friendly game, I slipped the halter around his neck and tied it there. Then I led him to the back of the field. He stuck close but was confident with ears pricked. Then after doing a bit of turns and S's, I put the halter on properly. He didn't shy back or any signs of unconfidence. Hmmm... How interesting! Is it possible he can be confident in the field?

I played some more Friendly Game with him in the field by stroking him up his neck, down his back and  down his front legs. He seemed bored by this (Left Brain or what??) and so I decided to go out of the field to play Touch It.

It went AMAZINGLY (!!) well! After touching some objects he started to offer more and more!  With one barrel he offered by knocking it over then tried to figure out how to step over it! With a tarp he tried to pick it up (It was tied to a go-cart) then after sniffing the telephone poles he offered going sideways over them!
*shocked face* I was...astounded!! Kara's visit really did impact him! Also today must have been an excellently good day! I went to go sit down on the porch so he could relax and graze a bit.

Sadly after relaxing for a bit, someone came up and scared him by running up and hugging him, then slapping him on the rump. While I am sure it was meant to be affectionate, I have warned them not to do such abrupt things, especially NO PATTING and NO RUNNING UP TO HIM!!

It is sad because I couldn't recover his confidence with the time I had left and it showed today when I tried to catch him.

So today I played with Sharlie.  My goal was to play the 7 games and see if we had any weak points. I was surprised by how attentive she was to Phase 1.

Friendly Game: As good as ever.
Porcupine Game: Phase 1, yields easily and positively
Driving Game: Phase 1, quick, responsive.
Yoyo Game: Phase 2 but backs up quickly
Circling Game: Walk, trot, cantering, changing direction, light as a breeze! :)
Sideways Game: Bit confused at first but then started offering it to me!  Darling girl!
Squeeze Game: Quite hesitant at first. Odd. But after a few back-and-forths she walked through calmly.

Sharlie had a lovely run when I took her out on the 22 foot line. Sharlie was very responsive and was definitely being a partner. So proud of my two darlings today. :)

Its drying up so hopefully I will be able to do more. Days are getting longer so more time in the day! :)


Undemanding Time -Day 2

On Wednesday I went down to the stables to spend some more undemanding time with Casper and maybe hopefully play with Sharlie.
It was so horribly muddy I quickly decided against playing with Sharlie but instead just spending some undemanding time with Sharlie and Casper.
While I was walking to their field I found a ball that I call an "Einstein" ball. It looks kinda like one of those radiation symbols with the atom in the middle... Maybe you have no clue what I'm talking about but thats ok. You will just be really confused for the rest of the post! :)
I stuck pieces of carrots into the holes and put it into the bucket. Casper dove for it and started playing with it in the bucket then sometimes grab ahold of a carrot and shake it back and forth till it came loose and the ball would fall back into the bucket. It was AMAZING to see him so confident and left brain!! I will definitely have to keep that in mind as a toy. He loved it!
This also occupied him for some time so that I could spend some undemanding time with Sharlie. But quite quickly he realized Sharlie was getting the attention and he threw the ball outside the field (so Sharlie didn't get it, I'm assuming) and then chased Sharlie away.
He gave me a quick inspection and then stood over me. I wasn't sure why before but I researched on the Savvy Club. He was standing me as a mare stands over a foal, which is the goal.

Aww Casper do you want to be a daddy? Too bad. You lost your manhood ages ago. :) Maybe we will adopt you a son. If you are a good boy. Lol.

So that is day two of spending undemanding time with them. I spent about 45 minutes with them this time.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunday of Parelli Weekend Awesomeness

Saturday Evening

On Saturday evening Kara, Mom and I sat down to watch some Parelli DvDs Kara had brought over. They were from the Sucsess Series.
~7 Games
~ Horsenality

I am not sure if we watched another one...hmmm


On Sunday morning Kara and I got up at 8:30 (ugh) to go do the chores at the stables. We got down there, fed the horses and started turning them out. Afterward we went to go catch Sharlie and Casper to go out on a trail ride. I was going to go get Casper on Sunday. I had a very hard time going slowly, but I think I did well. I didn't come straight at him, instead I started walking around the hill to go see Lady. But then he took me by suprise and came walking up to me. I smiled at him and stroked his neck. I lifted the rope to put over his back and he glanced away. I turned away until he turned his head back and nuzzled me. This time he let me put the rope over his back. I rubbed him with the rope on his back and neck and he seemed ok. I was careful to keep my belly button to point away from him. I tripped up once and pointed my belly button to him and he shied away and took a step back. I quickly turned my back to him.
It seemed to be going well but then I must have stepped over some invisible line because he started to walk away. Hmm...maybe it was because Mom was walking up. Geez Mom! :)
However when I caught up to him and got to the point of slipping on the halter he didn't raise his head or spook so I obviosly did something right.
I was looking forward to Kara showing me some stuff while we played with the horses on the ground before going out on another trailride but oddly enough, we had completely lost track of time. I don't even remember when we mounted up, when we got back, when we ate lunch. All I know is that we woke up at 8:30am and we got back home from dropping Kara off at 5:30pm. Odd. Totally timeless.
Back to my point. We were taking too long so we had to go straight out onto the trail. I rode Casper and boy is he bony! His back was oh so very uncomfortable!! Hill therapy will be needed as soon as it dries up.
Out on the trails Casper did ok, except he was constantly diving for the grass. On our way back I sensed myself becoming very frustrated and I knew that I would eventually lash out at Casper if I stayed on him. I asked Kara to switch horses with me which she obliged, thank goodness. Thank you Kara! :P

When we got back we ate some Macaroni & Cheese (YUM!) and watched part 1 of the Celebrations DVD. Or most of Part 1 anyway.

Thats that for now. Will write about Wednesday later. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today is Sharlie's birthday!

It also marks our 2 year milestone together!!


I told Sharlie that if she was a good girl, it would be sunny today and if she was naughty it would be cloudy. Sharlie was very very very naughty because it is pouring outside. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Undemanding Time- Day 1

I am not sure whether I was doing Carolyn Resnick's Watering Hole Ritual #1 or spending undemanding time. Aren't they the same thing? If not, I just mixed them together.

I had been planning to play with Sharlie as well today but it was so muddy and horrible I decided against it. So I just settled down on a hard cold rock and pulled out my copy of Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.
I was in the middle of a sentence when two big beautiful brown eyes appeared within inches before me.

Within 5 minutes Casper came over to see what I was up to. He sniffed all over my legs and then started licking the book. Then he grabbed it with his teeth and tried to pull it out of my hands. I held on and it seemed to scare him. He walked off and tried to reach my bag on the other side of the fence for a few minutes. Then he came back. He sniffed my shirt and coat, and blew out, releasing tension. He started licking the book again but did not try and bite it. Instead he walked around to stand behind me and rested his nose on my head. And he just rested there. Every few moments he would play with his lips against my hair.

After about 15 minutes he walked off again. Then he came back within 30 seconds. This happened several times before I got up and fed the horses. Sharlie only managed to come over to see me once because Casper was being so protective.

Every time he walked off I started reading my book. When he came over and nuzzled me, wanting attention, I would look up and smile at him. He wouldn't let me touch him. I think after a few more days he will become more accepting but this is way more than I expected. Its a very good start.

A funny quicky: When Sharlie came over she sniffed me all over then took the book between her teeth and threw it over the fence!
Turns out a book is a very good toy. I will have to bring them one they are ALLOWED to rip up! :)


Parelli Weekend Awesomeness!

Hey guys!

So this weekend was indeed a very Parelli weekend. Kara came over Saturday morning. When she got there we just sat around and talked about this and that. Pit and pat. Then we ate a simple lunch (french fries!!)  and then we were off to the stables.

We spent 4 hours playing with the horses on Saturday!

I played with Sharlie on Saturday. I felt good about it. I was going to play with Sharlie on the ground and get her truly in tune with me before riding her. While riding I would stay calm and confident, not pushing my limits or hers. That was my plan. I was expecting bumps and obstacles along that path, but not where they appeared!

I began to play with the same old things. I didn't realize I was doing much of the same that I always have.  Luckily there was a new toy out in the arena, the tire. Kara made the comment "Now if only it was packed with dirt..." Well we don't have dirt but we can pack it with snow! And thats what we did! We made sure it was well packed with snow and ice so it would support the horse's weight. It was the first time I have played with a pedestal with Sharlie. She was amazing. She put her nose on it and was very curious.  She pawed at it and was very interested. She started offering things such as stepping over it and putting her toe on the ice and touching her hoof with her nose. I smiles and rubbed her and walked away for a bit and then came back to it. After the 2nd or 3rd time she stepped up onto it with one hoof. There wasn't enough room for two so that was the most she could offer and that was enough for me.

After that my imagination hit bottom. This is where I usually stop and either put Sharlie up or got on and rode. But she wasn't very motivated. She was starting to really pay attention to me and I was about to quit. I never noticed before. I asked Kara "what do I do now?" and she looked at me with that patient but slightly shocked look and asked back "Are you done? Is that it?" That is when I realized I hadn't played with her nearly enough! Just cause I felt like stopping didn't mean it was the right time to stop.

*Gasp!*Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! The light bulb came on. So that is new goals #1 & #2 (For Sharlie)
#1- Play with Sharlie longer and more exciting-ly 
#2- Accomplish something new each play session. Write down before what I want to accomplish and write down after what I did accomplish.

So after I managed to become creative and imaginative again, I played with Sharlie for another 20 minutes and when I felt she was attentive and ready, I went to mount up. Notice my first bump along the way was when I lost my imagination.

When I got on Sharlie my two big things where 1) stay confident and calm and 2) use focus/have a purpose. Oh, and to have a casual rein (if you can't ride with a casual rein, its not safe.) and only have to use one finger on the reins.

It went surprisingly well, especially for a first time. What I noticed was is that I had trouble staying focused. Something else to work on. But I was able to do Follow The Rail, a bit of Cloverleaf pattern and Indirect & Lateral Rein. I did all this at the walk because I knew that trotting would be bordering the line between calm and tense, as well as confident and unconfident. (I did make that mistake while out on the trails but that will come up later.) So we played the game of staying on the rail, sometimes stopping at the sweet spot, and also not trying to go out the gate.

Kara got on Casper and did very well with him. She had him walking on a loose rein and turning nicely, with his nose instead of his shoulder. I have asked her again for a very detailed reflection on what she did, but this time also asking her to include things I should work on, or how to approach certain situations. I don't know if I will post it on here because it was so much hassle to scan and figure it all out (it was ridiculously frustrating the first time and its not going to get better)

I rode while Kara played on the ground for about 10 minutes before Kara joined me.
After riding in the arena together for about 15 minutes we set out onto the trails. Both horses were quite hungry and definitely wanted to eat the grass that was peaking out through the snow. We were out there for a good hour, wandering around the fields, playing with focus by going from hay role to hay role.

Kara was very good with Casper, I cannot lie. He becomes a very different horse. Now I am sure that one day I will be able to achieve that with him but to a certain point. Kara has a different level of connection that very few people could achieve with that little horse, or Cherish. Maybe I could do it with Casper, but I know I could never do it with Cherish. I know I don't like playing with Cherish. Not in a bad way, not like I don't like her. Just I think I will do something wrong and she will explode or something along those lines.

Also I will now officially announce that this has been Casper's last ride till he has passed Level 1. It is time to start doing things right! This probably means I won't be able to start riding him again till April at least which is fine. He needs it done right. This will start off with 3/4 days of undemanding time. Then we will start moving on to the 7 games. He is around a negative level 1 at the moment so I have my work cut out for me. There will be a big focus on Friendly game which will take at least a few weeks. Of course there will be mixing in the other games too.

So Casper goals:
#1- Spend undemanding time for few days. Causes me to accept and tolerate doing nothing and waiting while no pressure on him. 
#2- Develop 7 games to Level 1 
#3- Friendly Game is very important. Consistency.

Now back to new goals with Sharlie. So far we have the following:

#1- Play with Sharlie longer and more exciting-ly 
#2- Accomplish something new each play session. Write down before what I want to accomplish and write down after what I did accomplish.

So because of my confidence issues with riding and moving too fast, the goals for riding is slowing it down, finding my limits and not passing them.
#3- Preserve relationship & confidence at all cost.
#4- Walking till I feel absolutely confident I can handle a trot. No "I feel like going faster but I have to hold on with my legs." No. Only when I can be fluid and calm without losing my temper.
#5- Begin patterns. Beware of corner! >:(
#6- Going SLOW!!!!!!!!

That is with the horses of course. Then there are goals I have to set for myself to become more physically, emotionally and mentally fit so I become a better partner. 
For rider fitness I am starting yoga and I will also be doing exercising at school. ("Joy joy!" says the Introvert side of me.)

To become a better partner, I will assign myself little research projects during the space of one week. An example is that this week I will be looking into the Watering Hole Rituals by Carolyn Resnick. When I am done with that (and one week is more than enough) I will probably look into the Dorrance brothers. Etc etc...

I need to start assigning myself to watching the Savvy Club DvDs too. 

That is all for now. Pictures coming soon. Still not finished writing! Still have to tell you about Sunday!


Sunday, January 16, 2011


Day 01- When and why you started riding 
I started when I first moved to France. I was almost 8 at the time. I fell in love with the little Icelandic ponies that taught me the basics. 
<3 Rufus, Unior, Biscuit and Vanille!

Day 02- The last time you rode a horse and what you did 
This afternoon. Focusing on toys in the arena and then out onto the trails. I loved the trail part!

Day 03- A video of your best riding 
I am ashamed of my riding. Why would I video it?

Day 04- A ride that impacted your life 
Moving up from the tiny ponies onto a horse that looked big back then. The horse was probably only about 15 hands but I became terrified of the bigger horses and spent most lessons riding the ponies. I was preserving my confidence and it has led me to the horses I have today. Under 15 hands. Always.
Day 05- Your first fall 
Second trailride ever. It was probably my 5th ride. We were cantering down a vineyard and the pony swerved around a sharp rock. Yes I was cantering confidently out on the trails by my 5th ride. Bruno was an amazing instructor and his horses were excellent.
Day 06- All the tack and riding clothes you have (brand/color/other details) 
All the clothes I own excpet for my nice school clothes and dresses are used for riding. Tack. 3 saddles (anyone want a black pony saddle?) 2 girths, bareback pad, bridle mismatches and I somehow ended up with a martingale. How? I dont have a clue.Day 07- Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why 
First place in a Bareback Class on my favorite pony before he was about to be sold and retire. I won first place because I was the only one participating. Shows how much courage and balance most people have. 

Day 08- A little about the barn/stable you ride at 
I care for the people that own it alot.  But sometimes the barn and area don't have what I need to build my confidence and help my horsemanship. I really wish I boarded at Kara's.
Day 09- Any injuries that occurred from riding
No physical, but many mental and emotional blows to my confidence.

Day 10- How your family/friends feel about your riding 
Dad thinks if I can't improve, then there is no need for horses. No pressure. :\
Mom used to ride and she is getting back into it and she has always loved horses. 
Matt couldn't care less.
Some friends find it cool. Others find me brave. Others couldn't care less. Horses have no place in their world of texting, shopping and video games. Eck.
Day 11- Find a horse for sale online that you would want to buy 
Hmmm....A MINIATURE HORSE!!!!!!! And a foal...and any kind really. Oh! A Donkey! (you get the idea!)

Day 12- Favorite horse color 
ALLLLL OFFF THEMMM... except white. White gets dirty and others will always criticize you for having a dirty horse.Day 13- A video of your worst riding 
No. I am ashamed of my riding. I'm not going to film it though. 
Day 14- Your dream barn/farm 
Ocala or Pagosa Springs.Or just Kara's house. :) Luv you Kara Shmara!
Day 15- If you could speak to any horse, dead or alive, what would you say? 
Casper. "What am I doing right and wrong? What do you like? What are you scared of? TELL ME YOUR LIFE STORY!"

Day 16- Your most recent fall 
Off of Sharlie back a few months ago. My first fall off of Sharlie. My most recent too.

Day 17- Your equestrian idol 
Linda Parelli!

Day 18- Your grooming routine 
I only groom them if they are very dirty or if I am going to be riding or something because I know they don't like being clean. They will just go back out and roll the second I leave. :)

Day 19- A discipline you would like to do that you’ve never done before 
Western riding as a whole is new and exotic to me. If only my horse's back was big enough for a western saddle....Or driving has always fascinated me.
Day 20- Your favorite horse show 
Saddle Club!
Day 21- Your perfect schooling outfit 
I'm sorry, what? O.o

Day 22- The importance of riding in your life 
Its way more than riding. Its about the relationship, the bond and the communication and understanding. :) 

Day 23- Critique a famous/well known equestrian’s jumping round of your choosing 
Day 24- Your best riding friend 
Kara. She keeps me calm and motivated, and even without doing anything, causes me to think "what would linda do?"

Day 25- Your dream trailer 
A trailer that Sharlie and Casper will load in. That is nice, safe, etc...
Day 26- Biggest riding pet peeve 
When people bounce all over the horses back, pull on their mouths too much, have all these gadgets to tie the horse's head down, etc, etc. (Which can sometimes be me)

Day 27- You know your an equestrian when….. (Give 5 original ones) 
Your horses want to be with you.
Your essays and papers are always about horses in one way or another.
Teachers know you are an equestrian 5 minutes after you walk in the classroom on the first day.
You wear riding clothes anywhere.
Dogs, cats, fish & horses are all treated like horses.
Day 28- Helmet or no helmet? 

Day 29- A style/trend in tack/riding appearal that you don’t like 
The fake oversold look. There are so many different types. All fake in more way than one.

Day 30- Your Future With Horses
Wherever I want it to go. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

30-day PNH Blog Challenge


Like Kara, I cannot wait to do one question a day. So I will do one today and one tomorrow! :)

Day 1-How did you find PNH 
A free DVD with a horse magazine in the UK. When I first watched, I was instantly hooked. There was only 2 problems. 1) I didn't have a horse, and 2) What on earth was I supposed to do??
Day 2-What is your favorite savvy and why ?
Even with what little positive exposure I've had to it, I have to say that Liberty is by far my favorite. When Sharlie does something better than you asked for or starts to offer, you can feel the strength of the amazing bond you share.
Day 3-What is your partners favorite game
Sharlie- Friendly. Where she can just stand and relax. 
Casper- He prefers undemanding time as he still becomes very nervous when we are playing the 7 games, or any other type of game. 
Day 4-One BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) moment you've had 
Casper: Hmmm... I've had one big one...It was probably when I found out he was going to be on the horse market (for sale) and I realized I loved him. It got me to step back for a moment to evaluate why I loved him. It was sort of like in a dating relationship when you realize you love the other person and you realize its the little things. For Casper it was when he pricked his ears, when he would follow me around the pasture even when he didn't want to be caught. And the amount of progress we made between February and May was truly outstanding. Going from a horse who would run in the opposite direction of a person to a horse that would come to meet me at the gate...that was...outstanding. It was the little things with Casper that caused me to realize he was something very good for my soul.

Sharlie:  I have had many BFO moments with Sharlie...some big, some small. The most interesting I think was if I just trusted her and gave her more responsibility, she would probably do it and offer even more than I was asking. I hadn't even realized I was micro-managing her!
Day 5-What is your favorite DVD, Celebration, Tour Stop etc..etc…moment 
I can't say I'm too impressed with the Tour stops. They are great and inspirational but they don't give me what I need. I need to have more personal contact, to be able to ask more questions and have a conversation. My favorite item would have to be the Mastery Manuals! I. LOVE. THEM!!
Day 6- What is your dream with your horse?
Sharlie: To be able to ride her bareback and bridless almost anywhere and to be able to play at liberty in the wide open without having to worry about her leaving. To go riding off in the sunset anywhere, anytime.

Casper: To have a dependable, trusting, confident pony who is best for trails but can also do finesse. No competing though!! Tsk tsk. (Except maybe some endurance or something...just for fun.)
Day 7-A time you turned a moment of frustration into a moment of "Hmm How Interesting?" 
Sharlie: I've been frustrated sooo many times with her and have never had the self control to turn it into something positive. One of the few times I did (!) when we were out trailriding and Sharlie started trotting very fast, and she was extremely tense and high strung. Usually I would be going "Slow down! GEEZ DON'T YOU EVER GET IT??" But today (probably thanks to Kara's calming presence) I just turned her in circles and she stopped. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................ How interesting! I didn't need to be all up in her mouth to stop her!
Casper: I can never get frustrated at Casper. Mwah! 

Day 8-What is your horsenality, what is your partners horsenality and how do you make them work together 
I can be very very very "all-over-the-place." I can be very introverted and calm and thoughtful, but other times I can be hysterical with laughter, shouting and using grand hand gestures. Luckily when I am around the horses, I am calm and confident. (Usually.) So they don't have to put up with this. If there is one I let my crazy emotions out onto its Sharlie. Her lovely tolerant LBI nature is perfect for that. She just looks at me with a look that says "Whatever..." and just stands there. 

Day 9-A moment you have had with your partner that would not have been possible without PNH 
When Casper comes to me. Without PNH Casper probably wouldn't be in my life anymore! Let alone trailriding, taking walks...its the little things that you can't describe. Like when you walk past the object that always seems to grow fangs when you walk by, but one day...its not scary anymore!

With Sharlie its when she relaxes...deep breaths, puts her head down....sigh..... I love the feeling of tension leaving her body.
Day 10-Post your favorite picture of you and your partner and write about it. 

Photo w/ Sharlie) It is during camp when I rode around on a Casual rein the WHOLE TIME! Walking, trotting, figure 8's, you name it, we did it on a casual rein. Except for cantering. It helps me remember that is my goal. To be able to do that all the time. Even when cantering!
Photo w/ Casper) As you know it was taken very recently. It is the first photo of Casper and me together on the ground and he is happy. Very happy. Reminds me  where he came from and how far we've come. So no matter what happens, I can look at this photo and remember I love him.

Day 11-Pat and Linda don't where a helmet….do you? Why or Why Not? 
Helmet. 1) its the rules. 2) You know when you don't think something will happen, but that one time you are SURE it won't happen, it happens? Yea. Better wear a helmet. As much as I dislike it.
Day 12-Your favorite horsenality to play with and why? 
I haven't had much exposure to a lot of playing with the different horsenalities but I know I definitely know I prefer Left Brain horses. I do better with calm!
Day 13-Post a video (could be an audition) of you playing with your horse

Day 14-What PNH tools, clothing, tack etc. do you own? 
2 Parelli T-shirts which are too big, but I love them! A halter, a carrot stick, the savvy club card, the old agenda, the new agenda, the LBI pin, 7 or 8 Savvy Club Times issues, both of Pat's books, Level 3 DvDs, and hopefully, if we can find them ever again, at least 20 Monthly Savvy Club DVDs. Thats pretty much it. I always wish I had more. 
Day 15-How is PNH perceived where you live, board or ride at? 
Needless to say I am the only one that does Parelli at my barn, and probably the only one that ever will. I have been bullied about it and made fun of. I don't know what it is. They may see the results I'm getting, they may not. They think I should ride more. I know that much. You know...I really don't know what they think! Maybe hopefully along the way when I can do more impressive stuff with Sharlie and one day see Casper doing flying lead changes and all stuff like that that they recognize (not standing on a pedestal or loading on a trailer) I can open their minds.
Day 16-What is the most challenging horsenality for you to work with? 
RBI's definitely. I can't always see what causes them to go inside themselves and I can be impatient. I like moving on to new things and not waiting.
Day 17-What is your favorite game 
Stick to Me (successfully) and Sideways. But they are all so much fun!
Day 18-A time you have seen Pat & Linda live. If you have not seem them live would you like to, what do you think it would be like? 
I don't care for Pat when he is presenting during an event live. He goes off topic and loses me. Linda on the other hand... I love her! She is so interactive and expressive. L.O.V.E her! So talented.

Day 19-A time you were able to help a "normal" horse or horseman using PNH 
I have helped horses. I never openly help a human. I will just get shunned and punished for it. I do it in secret when no one is around and just play a bit here and there and one day a person goes "Oh! He doesn't have a problem with this anymore! I wonder why?" I do it for the horse. Not for the human. The humans don't care.
Day 20-A PNH clinic or lesson that was inspirational. If you have not been to a clinic or had a lesson what educational material has been particularly inspiring 
Watching Kara play with horses is just so inspirational to watch. And educational!
Day 21-Criticism you have about the PNH program 
I love the products but I DO NOT have the money, and I never will. I would love a confidence bit, the Snaffle Bridle, the Cradle Bridle, the Fluidity Saddle, the Theraflex Pad, The Shims, I want it all! But right now...I can't afford any of it! They really need to lower their prices. It shouldn't be about the money, it should be about the horses! But doesn't work like that. 
Day 22-How do you explain PNH when people ask what you are doing with your horse 
Nobody asks me anymore. Those who have asked already have an opinion that is negative. Even if I try and explain it they are set in stone that Parelli doesn't work. Sometimes I wish I had photos or videos to show them of what Casper was before I started working with him, or Sharlie. Nobody asks. :(
Day 23-SADDLING: do you use the PNH saddle and/or theraflex pad if not what do you ride in and what does your horse think of it 
Too expensive. I wish. I ride in a Wintec All Purpose saddle and I think Sharlie hates it. Ah well. Nothing I can do about it. I don't have thousands to spend on saddles. I mainly ride bareback and with a bareback pad now to improve my balance and confidence. Day 24-A time PNH made things harder for you and your horse 
Being shunned from society. ;) In the long run though, its all worth it.

Day 25-What is the most challenging aspect of your relationship with your horse 
Sharlie while riding is the most challenging thing right now. I have to know my limits AND NOT PUSH THEM!! 
With Casper its advancing the games. Riding he can actually be ok. On the ground....GAH!
Day 26-What is your favorite obstacle to play with 
Day 27-A time you have impressed someone with your PNH skills 
I wish. Perhaps Mom. But thats it. *sigh* (If I have, I have never noticed it or no one has ever told me.)
Day 28-Love, Language, Leadership: what is the easiest for you and what is the most challenging 
Leadership is hardest because on the ground, its to a point where I don't notice it anymore. Riding, I am no leader, point blank. 
Love is easiest. I love my darling and I show it with scratches, treats, hugs and undemanding time!
Day 29-If you could ride one of Pat or Linda's horses which one would it be and why? 
If I knew the horse well, I have always thought Remmer to be a wonderful horse to ride. But that is probably because Linda is riding, right?

Day 30-What have you learned about yourself since you have started doing PNH 
Not to be so selfish and to pay closer attention to the horse, our environment, etc... those are the first few that come to mind. The one I cherish the most is the ability I have to be able to figure out within a second's notice what the horse's horsenality is. I just have trouble responding to that horsenality when it shows up.
Part 2 Tomorrow!