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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Step 1 of Recovery and Redemption

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream." -Edgar Allan Poe

The day after I posted The Grave Realization series, I fell sick with what we believe was the flu. (It has been spreading like wild fire in our area)
Maybe it was the break I needed, and a good reason to stay away from the horses in order to get my thoughts together.
I had to do some serious thinking about where my journey was going and what needed to be done. Having a week off from school (even though I was sick) gave me that time I needed.
Knowing how complex the subconscious part of the brain is, I wouldn’t be surprised if my subconscious lowered my defenses for me to purposely catch the flu in order for me NOT to go to school so I could do that serious thinking. Does that make sense? My mind is an evil mastermind! >:)
This is a collection of events from Thursday till now, all mixed and jumbled up so bear with me.
Road to the Horse
First of all- The Road to the Horse. I didn’t know about it till Friday when I saw a bizzilion posts about it on Facebook. Boy was I surprised and disappointed. I had been asking and emailing Parelli and other people to PLEASE come and do an event near here, and there is one happening only an hour away from here! 
I felt like I really should have gone, and its my fault. I got the Kathy Baar Clinic and the Road to the Horse mixed up. I thought Kathy Baar was in February and RTTH was in March. Sadly, it was the other way around.  (More about Kathy Baar Clinic later)
I felt like I should have gone because events like that always refuel my enthusiasm for Parelli and Natural Horsemanship.  Next year...

One afternoon as I was feeling better - slowly recovering from the flu- Mom and I went out, haltered Sharlie and Casper and I took Sharlie to play. We started out online. I decided to try the Figure 8 again, but this time just at a walk. There is no need for me to get frustrated because Sharlie got frustrated and became uncontrollable at the trot or canter. I tried a thing that Linda suggested for LBIs is where you can ask them to walk, but ask them to walk as slow as possible without stopping. She wasn't in the right mind frame for this to be interesting to her. She just took advantage of it to stop.

Sharlie was already in a negative mind frame that day, probably assuming I would be the same since I had been that way for such a long time. So because of this it took her longer than usual to lose the negativity and start cooperating. When she finally released it (It took alot of smiling and blowing out on my part) she started to offer more when I asked her to slow down. However like I said, I asked her to stay at a walk simply because I didn't want either of us to become frustrated.
 After a few minutes, I realized Sharlie was in a very positive frame of mind (ears staying pricked forward- rare enough in itself, enthusiasm, etc...)

Casper and I 
 I decided to take things  into the round pen to play at Liberty. We have recently started playing at Liberty again after strengthing our bond again and this time I can really enjoy it. If you have seen my video about Sharlie on Facebook, you see we can do quite a few things now that we weren't able to do before. We can do a Figure 8 at the walk, Sideways, drive & draw...
In fact I want to start to teach her the Weave Pattern in the round pen and start to speed up the Figure 8 pattern to a trot. Then I would like to transition some stuff to a bigger area which is Sharlie's pasture.
What I eventually want to be able to do is to play at Liberty in one of Kara's pastures. They are large, square and NOTHING in them. So the horse can leave if he wanted to but he can stay too. That is going to be one of our "Ultimate Challenges."
We played Stick To Me, going faster bit  by bit. Sharlie has a habit of lagging when I walk faster or start trotting. Its like she is saying " go on ahead without me.." After a few minutes I tried to send her away (tried....failed :P ) That is good and bad... It means that we have to find a balance between her going out and doing some circles and sticking to me. I'm just glad she didn't revert to her old self where everything meant GO!
What struck a cord is when I asked Sharlie to put one foot on a object and she offered more by trying to step on it like it was a pedestal. She was offering things to me. She was honestly trying to put that second foot on the post even though it was impossible. 

It gave me hope.

"Prepare for the future with the present." -Unknown

Hill Therapy
I have done hill therapy with Sharlie three times since getting better and going back out to the stables. The first time was the Thursday or Friday and I was stunned at how it turned out.
I was expecting...well the wild and crazy Sharlie. The one that was going to buck and cause me to become frustrated. I expected that whole visious cycle.
Instead I was amazed. Sharlie picked up a slow trot, leaving plenty of slack in the rope. This was huge. She wasn't rushing and she wasn't pulling. Thats not all though...She  rounded her neck, tucked in her chin. Then she would change to lowering her nose close to the grass, grabbing a few bites and blowing out, streching.

It was progress.
Everytime since then I have done Hill Therapy it just gets better and better. I have found a more interesting spot. Its rises slowly then on the way down hill its a steep slope. This may be contributing to the progress with the Hill Therapy. Also I have become more and more relaxed and neutral every time we do it, so hopefully that is contributing to it as well. One thing is for sure though...Sharlie is gorgeous when she collects willingly. Maybe thats why she was a dressage horse before I got her. Sadly, she obviously wasn't happy then so she wouldn't be collecting willingly which in my personal opinion takes away the beauty of it. When Sharlie WANTS to collect it stuns me she would ever do a thing like that for me. 

I was trying to explain to people that I feel that part of my 'recovery' and 'redemption' is to be able to redeem myself and build up some credibility at Mercy. Some people understood what I was trying to say. After 2 years of being told what I was doing with Sharlie was wrong, after months of being told this way, my way didn't work, it is bound to leave an impact. Just because I am young doesn't mean I have things to say and just because I am young doesnt mean those things are wrong.

Trying to get a decent photo of Sharlie & Casper together
When you look at me when I first got Sharlie we had the following problems:
- Spooking
- Running people over
- Difficult to lead
- Mortified of trailer
- Could possibly freak out when saddled
- Raised head out of reach when bridling
- Hard to catch
- Rushed when riding
- Tense, nervous/bolty when riding
- Could not be ridden in open area at all

Those are just the main few. Now lets look at how many she has now: (An [X] besides it means the problem is solved)
- [X]  Spooking: No more, last time she spooked was about a year ago.
- [X]  Running over people: Not unless she is in a LBI mood and with people she doesn't know. Which is rarely. In any case its a game, not to assert dominance or be a pest on purpose. She is just trying to play.
- [X]  Difficult to lead: I think that problem is solved, seeing I can walk with her back to the field without having to even touch the leadrope!
- [X]  Mortified of trailer: Well she is eager to load so I think we can say that is solved as well. Though we were doing it wrong at the beginning, we do it the right way now.
- [X]  Possibility of freaking out when saddled: This only happened to me once or twice at the beginning, but it was extreme enough for me to acknoledge it as a big problem. Looking back it looks like the case of a RBI exploding. rses to catch on the entire farSharlie was all over the chart back then.

- [X]  Raised head out of reach when bridling: Problem solved with just a bit of Friendly and Porcupine game, as well as honey on the bit for several rides.

- [X] Hard to catch: I would say Sharlie is one of the easiest hom now!! If there was ever a horse thief at Mercy, Sharlie would be the one waiting for him at the gate! (Which is not nessicarily a good thing, but proves my point.)
- [X] Rushed when riding: I admit straight away that this is solved in an odd way. Sharlie only becomes rushed when something is very wrong at the stables. Examples: A horse loose, a thunderstorm overhead, etc... Which means its perfectly explainable and expected. So technically there is nothing really to solve.But all I'm saying is that she can be like that when stressed.
Tense, nervous/bolty when riding: This is not completely gone yet. At the walk she is wonderful. But at the trot and faster she can tense up. I have recently gotten a Theraflex pad*  and I am already noticing the difference. (*More on the theraflex pad later)
- [X] Could not be ridden in an open area at all: As far as just riding out there at a walk and a little bit of trot, its perfectly fine. Now I wouldn't say I could go cantering out there yet, though I have with the bareback pad back in the fall. Sharlie still bucks sometimes at the canter so I think it would be best we figure that out first before we go cantering through the fields.

So I got 9/10 problems solved.
There are so many more too though...lunging, pulling, aggresion, the list goes on and on. But the important thing is that most of them are gone now. Our challenges now have a totally different tone compared to the ones Pre-Parelli.

Leading without holding the leadrope
When I look at people at the stables, I can see that their horses have just as many problems as they did when they got here. Many have developped many more serious problems as well. I will tell you about one example, but I will rename him. Lets call him..."DJ"... :P
DJ is a short stout Quarter Horse. I feel a special connection to him because I was there when Susan and Curtis went to go look at him and try him out. So I have a first hand experience of the before & after.
When we went to go look at DJ, he was such a calm sweet horse who was waiting for his owner to come halter him patiently, already knowing they were going to go on a trailride. Because thats what DJ did in his old life. Trailrides. Well Susan and Curtis bought DJ and brought him home. I took my first riding lessons at Mercy from DJ. He was calm and steady and didn't seem to mind the fact that even though I was in a Western saddle, I was riding like an English rider. (This was ALL before Sharlie)
Then things happened...blablahblah. I could tell you the details but it would depress you.
Needless to say, DJ became too hard to handle for as a lessons horse. He began to bolt when asked to canter, he became harder and harder to catch and he acted more and more like a stallion. In fact, he spent several weeks with Sharlie. Baddd times. :)
I was terribly dissapointed anyone would let this happen to DJ. The previous owner had pulled me aside and made me promise to take care of him. Sadly, I had forgotten and failed that promise.
The point is DJ is way worse off then when he started. He has gone from a child's horse to, as Linda said, "a man's horse" and that is exactly who handles him. Men. (And even THEY dont always catch him)

Sharlie & Me
Back to credibility. How can you say my way is wrong when you ruin perfecly good horses like "DJ" with your 'right' way? I am going to lead by example and hope people will see and follow. But also I want to be able to offer advice, just little tidbits. I want to get to that point. It will take some time. Maybe once I turn 15...
15 is more mature than 14 right? :)

"If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves." -Thomas Edison

The weekend after I got better, something awesome happened. ( ;P) Crystal, Susan's daughter in law, offered me a job of saddling and leading the horses for the pony rides at parties. 10 dollars a party. Its a great oppurtuniey. I've helped out at the parties beforehand have just added it to my hours. This time I can start saving. Plus it is amazing how many parties there can be in one weekend. On Saturdays you can have 2, and on sundays you can have 1. So in total 3 parties, 30 dollars in one weekend. 30 more dollars toward something for the horses. Anyway, thats just a side note. Maybe its the key to start rebuilding my credibility....

 I recently bought a used Theraflex Pad & 2 shims from Hannah Willis. I was hoping that this would be the key to start helping us with our problems with freestyle. I didn't expect it to solve them straight away, but to give me a boost, help me out a bit as well as Sharlie.
Well after alot of reading and studying of shim patterns, I went out and began expirementing different shim patterns. Finally I figured it out. The 2 shims in the very front of the pad. After alot of preparation in the round pen I got on and had Mom lead Sharlie around. Oh. My. Gosh! It was ridiculous!! :P If it was possible, I think Sharlie would have swung my hips off. Its like she was throwing her front legs out in all directions, finally able to MOVE her shoulders. I only walked, feeling that if we trotted I would probably get swung out of the saddle completely. ;) That was day 1. 
On the second day, my friends Marisa and Mariah came out and we went out to ride. Sharlie was doing really well out on the trail. Her head was lower than her shoulders. I didn't dare trot though.
Excellent. Simply excellent.
Kathy Baar
Things are getting better, granted, but I still am keeping the possibility of having someone like Emily Larramore come up and give me a lesson. The option that we may need help is still there, and I don’t want to cross it out. For some reason, my brain is telling me NOT to because if I do, thats when we will need the serious help.
If there is an area I would like to have a lesson in it would have to be expanding what we can do at Liberty or a lesson about fluidity, Freestyle Patterns, etc...

"Where ever you go, go with all of your heart." Confucius

In March I have something to look forward to. On the weekend of the 19th Kara, Brita, Mom and I are going to watch the Kathy Baar Level 2/3 Clinic in Wartrace TN. I look forward to it. It will be 1) the first Parelli Professional  I meet, 2) first clinic I have ever gone to, 3) I'm going with Kara which makes it all the better. ;)

"May your spirit soar throughout the vast cathedral of your being. May your mind whirl joyful cartwheels of creativity. May your heart sing sweet lullabies of timelessness." Jonathan Lockwood Huie 

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Grave Realization... PART 4

So here comes one of the hardest things for me. Expressing what I'm trying to say. Bear with thoughts can be very unorganized...

I am saying that I am unhappy with my life. I am upset, aggravated and frustrated with my situation. My environment, some of the people I socialize with (not all) etc...

Looking back it did start about a month and a half ago, just as the horses's problems began. School began to go south. Work, grades and drama began to turn the school environment I once enjoyed into an unpleasant obstacle in my day. Pressure about college and the future began to build and I became confused on what my future held. I became upset with home. Not really the people. Well not with Mom. I became especially upset with my brother so I ignored him more. But just home in general...The situation with Raspberry (It Knows Who It Is) appeared and developed. I began to become frustrated with the stables for no apparent reason. It was no longer a sanctuary.  I became frustrated with the slow pace the horses were going at too. I even tried to change my hair color in order to improve my life. Even the new Savvy Times aggravated me.

What happened, in simple words is that my horses began to mirror me. They showed on the outside the destruction and abuse I had on the inside of me. The ironic thing is that I was unaware of this the entire time. I just thought my horses were reacting to something completely different. I never thought the problem was me. 
Like Kara said "It is a terrible thing, being frustrated, and creates a whole downward cycle of... pain." This explains  the pain in my jaw and throat. 

The way I see it is that what could have happened to me happened to my horses instead as they mirrored my emotions. Maybe if I didn't have horses my physical state would decline and weak. Maybe I would become explosive at the littlest things. Maybe I would physically try and run away. Maybe I would become distant and catatonic.

Now all you older and "wiser" adults must be saying this is a mood swing. Silly teenage girl. Your hormones are acting up. Don't cause such a scene. 
If you are one of the people saying that, then know you have personally offended me. Don't you think I know the difference? I know the difference between when my hormones have a tendency of being more elevated than usual and when I am sincerely unhappy with my life. 
Plus I am very good at not letting issues at home or school affecting me at the stables. This time it is so different. I didn't even know these emotions had slipped through and hidden, only to affect my horses. 

Today I must have severely decreased again because everything got worse with Sharlie and Casper. Several things happened today. I was upset because the pain returned. I was upset because I once again realized how far away June & camp with Kara is again. The situation with Raspberry has declined farther. And then the spiraling situation with Sharlie and Casper.

When someone like me has come to the grave realization that I am terribly upset with my life, my situation...I can't help but think of what life means and how I'm living it. If I were to die tomorrow, what could I say I've done? A barely started novel, 2 horses with almost as many problems now as they started out with. Not-so-great school grades. Not many real friends. Maybe even a family who could thrive without my burden. 

I'm crying now only because I feel so terribly guilty for knowing that I am lucky. I am lucky to have Sharlie and Casper and to have a friend like Kara. Yet I feel so...frustrated at this life. 

I do admire Kara. She can easily let go of any concept of time and be so close to the horse and so much like the horse. ( I swear I've seen her lick her lips as she is reading the Savvy Times) I find it fascinating how when we first met she was Level 1 with Cherish and I was starting out with Casper and Level 2/3, and now I am constantly asking her for advice.

Whenever I am there, at her house or with her, I can find that feeling when you lose track of time and just not care. It is such a peaceful state to be in and you can understand the horse's view on life so much easier.

When I am at the stables, or at home, or in school, everything is on a schedule, timed, monitored, micromanaged. Now you all will think I am throwing a temper tantrum. "Sometimes you have to do what you're told" etc..etc...
How am I supposed to live in the moment and enjoy that moment (self presence) when everything has to be planned out? Every second of every day has to be planned out. 

Sometimes I think that June is much too far away. Sometimes I really with I didn't have to go to school. To be home schooled. Be able to go out to Mercy with NO time limits. Forget time. But I can't, even if I wanted to. Its just because that's how Mercy is. Its how it will always be. 

Maybe it has to do with the difference between 'normal' and 'natural'. Lessons with 'normals' are set to 1 hour exactly. My lesson with Kara sort of just...happened. It ended up being 2 hours but we didn't plan it to be that way. At a 'normal' barn such as Mercy, time is constantly an element to be kept up with. "Julia you have one hour at Mercy." That is a time limit and prohibits me from practicing to my full ability.

I have even considered myself selfish and rude for wanting to spend more time at Kara's house. For wanting to come with my horses to her utopia. June is so far away...

See, going to her place or being with and around her is the only thing I can think of that would make me happy again. But it would only be temporary.

Some people would think this is a stupid dilemma. Just go back to what you were doing before. What I was doing before was bringing me down to where I am now. You can't just snap your fingers and be happy again once u realize that you can't really enjoy being with your horses anymore. (Don't get me wrong, I still love them with all my heart, but i just dont...enjoy being with them as much at the moment) Thats how serious this is.
I can't just change my attitude and Sharlie gets better. It doesnt work that way.

How do I break out a spinning downward spiral covered in spikes?

I find it terribly ironic how I am lying here crying and nobody comes to see whatever is the matter. Or even how I have changed in attitude these last few weeks and nobody has noticed.

I think ive said what I need to say...for now at least. I need to talk to Kara...
June...please hurry...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Grave Realization... PART 3

As it is another piece of this puzzle, it is essential to describe how I see Kara's home and Mercy Stables (as well as my house).

Kara's Home
Their barn is a beautiful shade of brown. It is light and sunlit. The air is clear and only smells of horses and beautiful mountains. One of their stalls is large, aired out very well, has lots of light and smells of the hill side. The fields may not be growing but they are rolling hills with ditches and climbs.
Their home is large, clean and feels like home. There is a touch of horse everywhere, but not too much. There is no clutter, a minimal amount of furniture. Yet nothing looks out of place and they have everything they need. Its open and there is room to breath. Room to live in peace and harmony.
The barn is right there, right behind their house. You can see the horses. Those beautiful girls...
Even their tack/feed room is pretty!!
Its open, clean, fresh...
The whole area is a pattern of beautiful browns and greens and an assortment of beiges. Earth colors. Natural. Natural. Natural. NATURAL.

The Stables & Home
The barn is metal. Tin. Metal walls, metal roof. The walls have holes and whistle with the wind, scaring both horses and me. Inside it is dark and musky. There are still unpleasant lingering scents. The stalls are enclosed, small, dark, like a cage. You need a flood light in able to clean out a stall properly. Its all wood on the inside. Old wood. Cheap wood. Dust. Splinters. Old hay. New Hay. Mold. Sad fences. Rust.
A tack room with all sorts of saddles and cruel bridles. Then one small corner with my bright possessions, pushed to the side because it is a disgrace.
My home...cluttered. Too much furniture. Red walls. My room practically glows orangey red. So much furniture and things on that furniture. "Decoration"
Grays, ugly browns and greens, bright oranges and red. Industrial colors. Unnatural. Unnatural. Unnatural.

Where do you think I'm happier?

The Grave Realization... PART 2

In my last post I talked about Sharlie and Casper and the issues they have developed over the past month, month and a half.
Over the last month, I have noticed changes in myself. My demeanor became much more serious in school and I became deeply right brain introvert at home. Then at the beginning of February I began to feel a tightness in my throat. I could try and describe it to you but as every one is different it may be hard for you to understand. It sort of felt like I was constantly on the verge of crying, like I was choked up. Then about a week and a half ago I developed a pain in my jaw. Luckily it began to subside as the weekend with Kara approached. However the aching throat did not. I didn't know what was wrong with me. What blew my mind even more was the second I stepped out of Brita's car when we got to Kara's home the pain instantly vanished.
Puzzle piece #1
The pain did not return for the rest of Friday and all of Saturday while I was there. Instead I had a sense of peace and calm about me. It felt almost foreign to me.
When Mom came to pick me up on Saturday evening, when we drove out of sight of their home the pain returned. I couldn't talk. I actually thought I was going to cry.
Puzzle Piece #2

I should have thought about it there and then what it was that was causing me to be this way. But I ignored it. What a mistake.
Part 3 is going to be long. So please bear with me.

Remember to comment. Watch the videos to keep you busy...

The Grave Realization... PART 1

This is a very serious post, and if you know me personally then you know I don't do that often. Rarely as a matter of fact. My point of this post is grave. It starts out with the problems my horses have been developing over the last few weeks. Sharlie had her explosive energy and Casper had his distance. I thought Sharlie got better the day before I went to Kara's. Then today I went down and Sharlie was worse than before. Some examples are
- I have never seen Sharlie buck more than 3 times in a row and she is always moving. Today she bucked 6 times in a row at a stand still. And she bucked higher than any horse I have seen buck before. Including most bronco horses. Most.
- I could not ask for more than a walk without her exploding and shooting forward. The difference is that I could NOT get her to stop. This became especially dangerous when we were playing in the arena. Or trying to anyways.
-We were working in the figure 8 pattern. It actually was going well at the walk. I was using phase one to drive her and she knew it well. Then I asked her to trot and it seemed to fall apart from there. She pulled and pulled against the rope. I tried to get her to slow down but she only sped up. I couldn't even bring her down to the walk again. 80% of the time she didn't even change direction, she just kept bolting on the circle. She almost broke her leg when she got a pole stuck between her legs. She didn't even seem to notice. I stopped when she managed to do a complete figure 8 at a trot. I was lucky she didn't bolt again.
- Physically both Sharlie and Casper have gained an awkward element to their composure.
-Sharlie is not exactly fat. I was examining her stomach. It seems perhaps her ribs have expanded or she is pushing them outward. Oddly, she is pushing them out to whichever side I am standing on. When Mom walks up to her and I stand in front of Sharlie, she doesn't stick her ribs out very far (she is rather unbalanced in account of her ribcage anyway) It seems almost like a defensive thing...
- Casper has lost weight in the last two weeks, gaining almost a hollow look. There is no reason for him to change so dramatically. Its almost like he is unhealthy but he is. I checked. Eyes are bright, no discharge, the gums are pink and pliable skin all indicates good health.
- Hill therapy for both horses has no effect, perhaps even causing their backs to decline even more. This is the 3rd week for both Sharlie and Casper. Casper we have simply been walking up and down different hills while with Sharlie we are doing the more traditional approach. But Sharlie's back gets into worse and worse shape after every session. Casper's hasn't exactly gotten worse...but isn't getting any better.
We are half way through the Hill Therapy (even though I will still continue it past the 6 weeks) and there has been NO improvement.
- Casper has become increasingly distant and hard to catch over the last few weeks for no apparent reason.

This is a list of problems the horses have been having. I too have been having problems which I will explain in the next post. I will write 3 or 4 posts in total on this issue because it is such a serious topic and people are anxious to read what I am trying to say.

The Lesson: Self Presence and Simulations

Oh boy. So my lesson with Kara was excellent. She became provocative almost immediately by showing me not assuming we were going to play with Cherish the whole time. After just a few minutes of Touch It she stopped me and we talked about self presence. At first I didn't even know self presence or what it was. After a game of Hang Man (which I promptly died. A?B?C?D?E?F?G? Haha) Kara tried to explain what self presence is. The only definition that clung to me was this.
Self Presence: Living in the moment and enjoying that moment. Just like horses.

 Kara will hopefully go into more definition when she writes about it on her blog. But I don't want to take the credit for it. Plus I may not have grasped the concept properly so wait till she writes about it.

We lay in the dirt building dirt piles. Cherish wandered to and fro, checking up on what we were doing, then over to watch Finale and Hope out in the field. Kara and I talked about this and that. Living in the moment and enjoying it. (Well except for when the cat attacked my shoulder) We lay there in the sun having fun.
Then we got Cherish and played with one of the new toys in the arena. We only did that for a minute or two...I don't remember how we stopped. But we changed into doing simulations.
Oh I LOVE doing the different horsenalities simulations. I would have to say I love being a LBE horse!
I think both of us were LBE horses (interchanging from horse to human) and we both tried out being a LBI horse. Then we did some simulations for RBIs such as "what would Casper do?" and "What would a typical RBI do?" We also did some "normal vs natural"simulations. Kara is an evil 'normal' :P

We played a bit more with Cherish really some simple stuff. Then we put her up and went in to eat.
The lesson was about 2 hours. We mostly talked and thats what made the impact.

Surprisingly this post is alot shorter then I thought or wanted it to be....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Gypsy shall lead to the Origin

Tada! I have finally figured out what Sharlie and Casper are, in Klaus Hempling's terms.

Sharlie is the Gypsy
When we 'dance' or play with energy and have no concept or time or any real goal in mind then it can definitely be like a 'fiery tango.' She does need lots of time and attention both physically as well as mentally/emotionally. Taking care of her eye requires lots of time and attention, but when playing with her she prefers longer sessions. Sadly I usually don't have enough time for as long as she likes them. She is definitely no beginner's horse. I had to find that out the hard way. I can't imagine a little girl riding her. :o
She needs soft but clear guidance. It its not clear then she won't do anything. She will just stop. And she really doesn't need big phases. Just needs body language.
Physically she does have a strong bone structure but at the same time a delicate appearance (apart from that fat fat belly! :P) And she is much tougher than she appears. She has lasted through this battle with the moon blindness and the harsh winters and she is still going strong.
Some other points on The Gypsy
~ Charming and gently but unrestrained.
~Loyal but unattached and free.
~Always remains intense and wild

Casper is the Origin

Freedom-loving, independent and unyielding. A stranger to civilization. Living deeply in his own world. Difficult to influence. Apparent stubbornness is in truth the expression of independent existence. Reacts to changes. Very much of the earth.
Can become very problematic for children. Noble in his nature. Wise, open and vulnerable.

Need I say more? That is Casper!!

On Friday Kara and Brita came to pick me up on Friday late afternoon. It was a ...long ride home. Kara's brother and his friend never stop. Never. Extreme LBEs!!!!
Once we got home we just hung out. Read some Parelli stuff then went out and did the chores. Then we came back in and Kara and I hung around upstairs which I haven't been able to do before. No, really, I haven't been upstairs that much. Maybe...once. I got to see the guest room where I'll be staying for 2 weeks this summer. It is a beautiful room with some lovely colors and decoration, with a balcony looking over the barn. I will be in paradise. :)
Then we watched some Fatal Attractions ( I productive!) but then I turned on some Parelli episodes to sort of half-watch while Kara read her new book Dancing with Horses by Klaus Hempfling. (Can't wait to read it! I am borrowing Tao of Equus now.) We fell asleep about 11. Or at least I did.

On Saturday morning, Kara woke up about 7:13 and I woke up about 7:30. (Sadly my phone failed at being my alarm as it was searching for signal all night and died. I'll have to remember that in the summer.
(Kara I don't think I could wake up at 5 every morning unless we are going to bed at 8! :P  Lets try waking up at 7...)
Then after lounging around for a bit we went out and fed the horses. Brr...windy.
At 10 we went out and I had my lesson with Kara & Cherish.
This lesson was so...amazing... it deserves its own post so stay posted! :) *
We went back in at about 12:30 to each some lunch. I enjoyed sitting on the balcony looking over the horses and the barn. I enjoyed sitting with Kara even more.

Then we went back out again to catch Finale and Hope (1:30ish...). I had Hope and Kara had Finale. We made our way out to the back and onto the path along the trees. We walked one way...then sorta wandered the other way. While we walked I experimented with bringing energy up and down. I would do short surges of energy suck as to jump over a hill or ditch. Hope was very responsive so it gave me a good idea of what I was doing wrong with Sharlie. (Kara also pointed that out. *) Then on our way back we stopped at their new tire and just sat down on the tire and let the horses graze. What I love about being with Kara is that we can talk about anything.

It must have been around 3 by the time we put them up. We decided to actually turn the tire into a pedestal, as it was to become. We had to find a flat spot then Kara and I had to clear ALL the weeds, dead grass, rotting wood, etc... and make a space to put it down. Then we made several trips to fill it with poop. Sadly we weren't able to finish while I was down but we did make considerable progress. I look forward to seeing a photo of Cherish, Finale or Hope on it for the first time.

Then after some burnt cookies, admiring Kara and Brita's extensive Parelli library and wishing for their life (for the 100th time) it was time to leave.
I have borrowed the book Tao of Equus as well as the Online and Liberty Patterns DVDs and booklets as well as one of their mastery manuals.
Im going to be busy!! :)
More posts coming soon!

Caroline Rider Video

I love this video...what she says...what she is talking about.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eye Getting Better = More Energy...?

So Mom and I have come up with a theory about maybe why Sharlie got all this energy so suddenly.

A) She sensed the weather's improvement
B) Her eye isn't hurting her as much anymore.

Sharlie's new found energy can also be a problem with our hill therapy. She holds her head high and kinks her tail as an Arab does, but at the same time she arched her back the wrong way. Need to bring down the energy... :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maintenance Day/Aka Undemanding time

On Monday, even though the weather was GORGEOUS (loooovvveeeee iiitttttt!!!!!!!!) I decided to do nothing with Sharlie and Casper. Casper was distant and flighty after we got him out of the fence* and Sharlie was just not in the mood. She would rather sunbathe.
But instead of sitting I decided to do something productive. Clean up the mess the 3 horses have made by the fence. Sharlie and Casper have a "designated poop stop" and I'm fine with that. Sadly in this field, the marked spot is RIGHT by the gate. So I decided to clean it up today.
5 super large wheelbarrows later I had finally cleaned up all that poop! Maybe I can use it as some fertilizer in a few weeks. The grass is starting to grow!

Sharlie and Casper watched me the whole time but never came over to see me. I had been right about them being distant.

* Yes, when I arrived Casper was stuck in the fence. Badly. It was his right hind leg and it was caught in the fence (square holes) all the way up to his hip. It gets worse. He had somehow managed to get his hoof back through another hole so it was back his side of the fence. If he tried to get out, it would surely get severely damaged.
With Mom's help and lots of slow maneuvering we finally managed to get his leg free. I hope he has learned his lesson.

o Lead by ear.
o Lead by chin.
o Hold tongue.
o Lead by mane.
o Weave Pattern
o Larger Area
o Lead by ear
o Lead by chin
o Lead by mane
o Stick to me @ trot
o Approach & Retreat with Saddle
o Friendly Game while standing still bareback
That should keep me busy! :D

The Search for Goals

*waves* HI!!
Obviosly I am in need of goals. Not for Casper, thats already sorted for the next few weeks. I know very well what to do with him.
Its Sharlie that is the problem. I...don't really know what to work on! I've gotten back into liberty...
With the beginning of March I may start focusing on Freestyle again, but Sharlie's back is getting worse so I am unsure about that too. However I recently purchased a Theraflex Pad from Hannah so maybe if I just start saddling Sharlie up with that...saddle, unsaddle,saddle, unsaddle, etc...
Also from now on everytime I go down to the stables I am doing hill therapy with Sharlie. I'm not following the guidelines from Parelli anymore because the way its set up is not long enough for Sharlie. That is how bad her back is.
Kara told me an excellent idea last night. Write them on your wrist (or around your wrist). Weekly goals. So I will go into the Levels Assessment and pull out some things I want to work on. Like Kara said: From there they will build.
I sort of had an epiphany about Freestyle the other day even though I've had this epiphany a few times. Riding is the 7 games but in the saddle. Duuuhhhh...Maybe if I focused on that when I start riding again, and not "follow the rail" Sharlie and I will start to improve.
My main concern is I won't be ready to ride Sharlie out on the trails at Kara's place. I reallllllllllly want to. That has been my dream for months now. Ever since camp really...probably before then.

Thats all for now. I'll start posting my goals on here soon.

PS- Posting the video on Youtube didn't work. I don't know why. It won't tell me. Darn iMovie. So if you are my friend on Facebook, make sure to check my videos!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hempfling - Wounded Horses Can't Cry - Aggressive Breeding Stallions Hea...

Its not just stallions, its all horses.
Another video by Klaus Hempfilng

Hempfling -

This is Klaus Hempfling. Watch this video. I ignored the words. I just watched the relationship.
I mention Klaus Hempfling in my post of 'Finding Casper'

The 26 Horse Types of Klaus Hempfling.

I suggest you read Kara's blog

and check out nature2promotion - Hempfling's youtube channel


Finding Casper

Good Morning again!

Casper and I showing off my new hair.
So yesterday- Saturday- was a Casper day.  In fact, I videoed it. I will post the video on Youtube when it is done and give you guys the link. My main objective with Casper is desensitizing him, or in other words The Friendly Game.
Another form of the Friendly Game. Rubbing hay all over.
Now I have been telling friends that we are in negative Level 1, still playing the games for the first time. Someone pointed out to me yesterday (as they had seen a small part of Casper's video on my Facebook) that I am not negative Level 1. In that video I was doing Level 1 & 2 tasks. I had him on a tarp confidently, walk over a 2 foot wide plank (our equivalent of a pedestal...I can't wait till I can go to Kara's and use a real pedestal!) Another pointed out they could almost see the bond between us, as if it was a solid object in the arena with us. That touched me deeply.
So actually, I have been insulting Casper and his intelligence -as well as myself- by saying that we are not even in Level 1. 
Maybe by the time we are through playing the Friendly Game, we will be able to do Level 2 & 3 tasks. Friendly game is the hardest for us as Casper can be so unconfident at times. I believe once we move onto the next few games, it will go by much quicker. I already know his Porcupine, Driving and Yoyo are very good.
Its just a matter of finding where he needs more work and working on it. Finding out where he likes to be scratched, and scratching him there. :) etc...

Another way I am 'finding' Casper is by discovering myself. Thanks to Kara and Emily I have been reading up on Klaus Hempfling. The article I have read so far (I am slow with this sort of 'deep' reading as I need to reread it over and over again, while annotating and taking notes.) Anyway, the article is about your body language and how you are around the horse. Klaus Hempfling is always calm around his horses, even if they are scared or rearing or whatever. 
This calm body language helped alot when we approached our new obstacle yesterday (our 2 foot plank that I mentioned earlier) and when I entered the  field when I first arrived and approached the field to find both horses- Sharlie and Casper that is- lying down in the hay. Casper was on his side off in the shade. He was so lazy! He didn't even look up to see who was coming until I had opened the gate. The he got into a sitting position and watched me. I stayed calm and just kept smiling. He stayed there watching me till I walked over to Sharlie who was lying down in the sun. She had her legs tucked under her and was resting her nose on the pillow of hay. She was asleep. So I slowly approached her making sure not to surprise her as I was on her blind side. Once she saw me she went back to sleep. I kneeled down beside her and began to stroke her neck over and over again. We sat there for about 10 minutes before Lady- the 3rd horse in the field- bullied her out of the way so Lady could eat some of the hay Sharlie was lying on...really Lady?

Anyway. My calm body language kept Sharlie and Casper from scrabbling up immediately and instead letting me share that moment with them. Sadly no photos...
According to Hempfling's "Recognize Your Horse" video series on his youtube page and book Casper could be the following types of horse:
The Dove
The Dancer
The Origin
All very possible in my opinion

Lastly: I am searching to find Casper in terms of what breed he could be. Indeed it is very possible for him to be a mix of mixes but I would like to try. I am thinking along the lines of Dartmoor pony, Welsh, etc...
If you have any ideas let me know.

Thats all for now
Stay Natural.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wild Energy

Good morning!
So, as you all know one of my goals is to start bringing up my energy instead of bringing up my phases.

Well on Tuesday I already saw a difference. She had been normal while we played in the arena, maybe a little extra spunk during the figure 8.
I was in for a surprise when I put her on the 22 foot line and took her out for some hill therapy. I asked her to trot from a stop by bringing up my energy. I barely picked up the stick and then BAM! She took off galloping and bucking. I have to admit she did drag me several feet. I got her to bend to a stop and had to take a breather. I knew not to punish her. But I didn't know how to deal with this. I asked her to go out again and walk. Then change a walk. I used this to move her feet while I thought. When I decided to try again and see how she reacted I just brought up my energy again. This time I didn't even touch the carrot stick. She shot forward bucking and twisting. The difference she didn't exactly drag me...she stayed on the circle. She did jerk me around quite a bit. Again I had to bend her to a stop because she had pulled a muscle in my arm from pulling. I let her graze and I decided to put her up. I didn't know how to react and I didn't want to get hurt or hurt Sharlie. I needed help from my friends.

I wasn't able to go down again till yesturday- Friday. I haltered Sharlie and we went for a walk around the field. As we were coming back up toward where we started, I decided to unclip the leadrope to see if she would stay with me. I had barely brought up my energy when she bolted, nicking me on my leg in the process. After making sure I wasn't bleeding (just a really bad bruise) I thought about what happened. I noticed that Sharlie was standing about 10 -15 yards away still watching me with her ears pricked forward. She was playing. So I limped over to her (it hurt!) and played a bit of driving game. Then I asked her to trot around me. She...offered way more. She shot around the ENTIRE pasture and then returned to me, asking questions.  I asked her to go around the other way and she shot off bucking and snorting again- all the while with her ears pricked. This time however she didn't cross the stream and came back around to me.

However. While Sharlie and I were playing Casper became RBE. He would follow Sharlie but then he went to hide behind a tree.

After playing in the field I got her to calm down a bit and played Friendly Game. Then I clipped the leadrope back on and we went over to the round pen. I felt I could use this energy to good. It was really muddy so she couldn't go bolting off. She could go as fast as a trot.

It went extremely well. She stuck by me the whole time, not leaving once. Walking and trotting together, sending her over the jump, figure 8 at the walk and trot! Her drive was good, but her draw was even better :) It made me so proud.

So after that I put her up and went up to halter Casper. I noticed he was a bit reserved. Probably still a little RBE from Sharlie and me playing. So I lead him down to the bottom of the field on the other side of the stream and just sat down. He stayed at the other end of the rope, keeping it taunt. After a few minutes I leaned over and curled up into a ball. All I could see was the material of my jeans. Then...I felt a snuffling nose on my back. We stayed there for a bit but then I decided to go sit on the bench by the tack room as the grass I was sitting on was wet from recently melted snow.
And so I just sat down on the picnic table and we just stood there. Then just as Mom pulled up he relaxed by lowering his head and cocking his leg. Mission achieved. 

More about Saturday and goals tomorrow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super(bowl) Sunday

Today was a super day.
However I think Sharlie over indulged on the Doritos and ranch dressing- celebrating the Superbowl- because she is SUPER bloated. She has EFD- Explosive Fart Disorder. Hahaha...

I did halter Sharlie first to groom her a bit. She was a sweetheart despite her discomfort and let me braid her mane. When I led her back to the field, all I had to do was sling the rope over her back and ask her to walk beside me with a click. :)

Then I played with Casper . We messed about a bit in the field, building up his confidence before exiting.  I would tell you what I did but I don't remember. Sorry. :)

What I did with Casper in the arena was simple enough. We walked into the arena after stopping for a threshold by the opening. We went to go touch this. Then that. Oh, can you put your nose on that if I stand here? What if I stand here?

Casper becomes very engaged and confident with the Touch It game, but he can easily get bored with objects that he has sniffed before. I have to find new stuff to bring him!

After sniffing the same stuff I decided he was confident enough to go over and sniff the tarp. He blew me away when he just sniffed it and then walked onto it with all 4 feet. I hadn't asked him to! He did seem a bit unconfident though so I just began to stroke him and give him little scratches here and there. Within a few minutes he was falling asleep! So I sat down on the edge of the tarp, right by his head and just began stroking it softly. His eyes were closed and he was breathing deeply and regularly (something he rarely does outside of the field) Then after 15 minutes he started to blow over and over and over again, then he began to bend his knees, as if he wanted to lie down on the tarp with me. I tried to stay calm...this was phenominal! He kept trying to do it for a couple minutes, hesitating. Then just as he was actually lying down onto his knees....the tractor started and it scared him into standing up again. Darn. :(

After the tractor startling him, Casper decided he wanted to explore the arena a bit. I always encourage both horses to have fun in the arena because they are both uncomfortable there. Casper seemed especially interested in the little green grass budding in one corner of the arena. So I sat down there (trying to recover the moment) and we sat there (me sitting, him standing) for about 15 minutes before he decided he had had enough and wanted to go back to the field because it was feeding time. I had to oblige. My jeans were getting wet as the arena is still muddy.
He has accepted the new haltering/unhaltering method quite well (bring your head around to me) He does lateral flexion, almost hugging me against his shoulder. Sweet boy.

After Casper was Sharlie. I was planning to ride her for a walk with Mom so I decided to set it up for sucsess and play the 7 games while ridding her of any unnessicary energy.
We played the games in this order:
1) Friendly
2) Squeeze
3) Sideways
4) Driving

Circling ended up as a Stick to Me game, where I finally managed to sucsessfully ask her to canter Stick to Me by mimicking a canter by skipping. It was only a few strides but its great that she did it.

I tried on Sharlie's saddle to see how it fit her and how she did with it. She became tense immediatly and held her breath. I tried to walk her out, let her graze but she stayed very tense and wary eyed. That is going to need some work.
I tried her saddle on to see if I needed shims. I have to think about it very carefully because if I buy the Shims, I have to buy the Theraflex pad. I am looking very hard into these purchases because it is ALOT of money. I wish Parelli had a "trail" period where I could try out the Theraflex pad and shims for 30 days and see if they make a difference worth the money.

After unsaddling her I put the bareback pad on and we went out for a walk with mom out on the trails. She did very well. I kept a casual rein throughout and after a few minutes, she released the built up tension from trying on the saddle. I am pretty sure she is Left Brain bareback. :)

I have set a few new goals for myself thanks to some help from Emily. :)

~ Stop doing more than Sharlie
~ Bring energy up when needed, instead of phases
~Begin to transition Casper from hands and brushes to sticks and strings.

Also on a side note: I LOVE it when you guys comment and give me feedback. So please don't hesitate and tell me what you think!