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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

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Monday, January 17, 2011

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!


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