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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

Giveaway ends May 01, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Awesomeness Once Again

(Wednesday 29th)
So so so where were we?

I haven't really written alot because I haven't been doing alot.
Why?
Well I don't have any lead ropes that I can really use at my disposal. I have a 6 ft leadrope and a 8 foot lead rope that I am using. My 22ft is broken (we need to fix it) and my 10ft lead rope is also broken.

On top of that for the first time ever Sharlie has been wanting to and offering to do Level 3/4 stuff. She will offer Sideways at liberty in the field, or try and run ahead and jump the log in their field. Ironically, I only have this little short line so we can't really do much.

I rode Casper again tonight ( Thursday 30th) Amazing.

I love my Casper so much! I rode him around in the round pen with the saddle. His lateral flexion on both sides is the best its ever been, he started listening to my aids (seat, weight, focus, etc...) before I had to use the reins (though some rein was still needed) He is slowly starting to become lighter and lighter when it comes to riding in general and not having as much brace when it comes to physically, mentally and emotionally. :) So so so happy right now!

Maybe when I come back from the internship and Emily gives me a lesson with him, we can have our first trot together!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Learning Way- 'Accident Prone' Horses

Q. Do you believe in such a thing as 'accident-prone' horses or is it more 'accident-prone' humans? 


Answer:
The "accident prone" horses and humans are the horses and humans who are too nervous, too distracted, or too dead to be able to pay attention to their surroundings. Horses naturally pay attention to their surroundings, but when they are any of these three things, they tend to not be able to so well. People say that "Arabians are so accident prone" and that Thoroughbreds are as well - but this is not because they truly are accident prone. No, this is because people make these horses so nervous by taking their independence and forcing them into things that they are forced into being on edge all the time. These horses become so nervous that they don't judge the severity or the depth of their surroundings accurately. 


Thank you to Kara once again! Here is her blog: Beautiful Dreamworld


Next time: A Learning Way- Let it Be

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"We Are Parelli Because..." video

Hey everyone,
I know it must seem odd that I'm not updating everyday like I was at camp but not really that much has been going on. I have been working on the video for the "We Are Parelli Because..." competition and I finally finished it!

However because Facebook, or otherwise known as Failbook, has banned me from uploading videos to Failbook you won't find the video on there OR youtube. I'm already emailed the video to Parelli and I will have to call them on Monday to make sure that they receive it and will accept it as part of the competition.

video

So here it is. There are alot of special moments in this video. You will see Sharlie do a change of directions from 30 feet away,  my first official ride on Casper as well as some video from camp.

I hope you enjoy!

A Learning Way- Repetition with Horses

Q.  "Horses only learn through repetition." What do you think?




Answer:
 No, no, no, no, no. Horses are so intelligent! They learn through far much, far past repetition! I have come to absolutely hate teaching my horses in repetition, especially Cherish. She actually hates it when I teach her repeating, repeating, repeating things. She loves to have new things to learn, and trust me - she always learns the first time. It's not so much how many times you repeat the lesson, it's how you teach it the first time. The first impression always matters more than the next - much as the first lesson matters more than all of the next. The only reason I ever see meaning in repeating things is simply for me to improve on them - not the horse. The horse is already smart enough to be able to do all of that by herself, so I simply get better and better at it myself. It is a constant and forever self improvement. The better I get at it, though, doesn't necessarily matter - the most important thing is that I keep the connection with her as I learn more and more. No matter how hard I try, how much I learn, or even how aggravated I get... there always has to be the connection, openly, when with the horse.





Thank you to Kara Cumberton for answering my questions. Read her blog here.




Next time: A Learning Way- Accident Prone Horses

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Learning Way- Biting & Cribbing

Q. "Once a biter, always a biter." What do you believe on this subject?






Q. Other than lack of mental stimulation, do you believe there is more to cribbing?






Q. Biting, nipping, lipping, snapping the air. (Aggresive/Fear vs. Emotional release)




Answer:

Ah, hah, the "biting syndrome". This one always makes me laugh. No, of course a horse is never ALWAYS  a "biter"! In fact, horses can't be described by one bad habit or stress outtake. The biting is not caused simply by a person... Biting is usually the horse showing that they are extremely unhappy with their life, and all of the small things within it. Each time that the person does something that the horse doesn't like, or the horse doesn't like something that is done to them or that they are put somewhere, they bite! It doesn't really matter what they bite - it's all biting. The horse starts out with biting when the person is pressured, when the horse is made to physically submit to something, when they are forced to stand... And it ends up at almost every single thing that is proclaiming their lack of independence. Pretty soon, horses will start biting each other over the stall wall, biting the stall wall, biting the bars, the buckets, and I've even seen them bite their own legs and shoulders when it just gets too far. So how do you "fix" biting? It's very simple actually, and something that most people would never think of. You give the horse its independence. You let them bite you, and instead of scolding them, you treat them as a horse would, stomp the ground, throw your head, and push them back with your self presence, energy, etc.You treat the horse like a horse, and you let them have full independence. You do NOT debilitate them, distort your emotions, you do NOT force them, make them submit, or even pull on their rope. You must put the utmost importance in the careful practice of not taking any tiny bit of independence from your horse. You must allow them to be their full self. Not only will the biting then stop, but so will all of the other stressful habits that you may or may not have noticed. If you give your horse full independence, full freedom, full expression, and have full play with you. You must be willing to listen to your horse and do everything that they truly wish for - all of the things that I have listed, and more. They've never wanted to be "ridden". They've wanted to connect with a human, with their true human rider, and to forge a bond so strong that it can never be separated. And what have humans given them in return? Well, you already know.

A horse is only a biter because he feels he has to be. It is his only way to grab onto anything that allows him to have independence. He has independence of biting - and once he is completely stripped of that, in the wrong way, he will die. When he has been stripped of the ability to fight back from what he is made to fight back from: stripping of his independence... his soul will die.

There is way more to cribbing. It is similar to biting, except for it is the next step. It is after a human has stripped the horse of the ability to bite or fight back, and then they will take to something where they may simply grab on for dear life and pull - literally and metaphorically. They suck in because there is no hope for anything else. They suck in to take it away, because it blurs everything. It is extremely depressing. But the more they crib, the more dead they are, but by the time they're cribbing,  they're already dead. 







Anything in aggression is not out of hate, but out of the wish for you to realize something. If the horse is acting aggressive toward you, ask yourself what they're trying to tell you. It could be anything... But most often, I've found that it's out of wish for more independence, out of wish to not be surpressed by the human. And you know what I give them when they act aggressively towards me? Well, first, I make myself safe... Often times, if you tell them that you feel unsafe and that they are scaring you when they act like that, they will apologize and stop... Maybe not the first or second time, but definitely after that. (nothing is fixed immediately. it is a journey, and it takes time.) And then I give them all the freedom possible.

Anything in fear is the same - it is not that they are absolutely terrified of you, it is that they are afraid of something though.... And it could be almost anything. It is, most often though, when the horse is afraid of losing its freedom.

And why do we continue to go back to freedom and independence? Because the horse's largest need is freedom, and the thing that humans most often want to take away from them is... freedom.

When things are done for the purpose of your emotional release, it means that the horse feels fairly comfortable in showing you what is wrong. They are trying to tell you something, as they always are when they nip, bite, lip, or snap at the air. That is the most important thing to remember - that they're always speaking to you, unless they're not, and it's better for them to speak to you than to ignore you or to be dead, so take everything they say as something that you can learn from. Even the things that hurt.

But don't let them trample you all the time - safety does matter - but they won't see the need to if you are in understanding with them, or even if you don't quite understand them, but if you are trying to listen.

Now. What does it mean? Is that what you wanted? If not, can you explain your question more?

Do you want what it is, why it is...............





Thank you to Kara Cumberton for her genius. http://cherishingdejavu.blogspot.com is her blog link.


Next time: A Learning Way- Repetition with Horses

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 20th- The Farrier and Sharlie & Casper reunited!

Hey!

So on Monday the farrier was coming to do some horses, including Casper. (Cause let me be honest. They were in HORRIBLE condition!) Casper only needs to get his hooves about once a year. But as I begin to start playing with him and he gets more exercise he may start needing it a bit more often. Anyway, back on point!

I was slightly nervous as how Casper would act with the farrier. Last time he was very stubborn about not picking up his feet. Also the 97 degree weather hadn't put him in a good mood either. (Nor me for that matter)

However when George asked him to pick up his hooves, he did so without protest and stood lazily as George did each of his hooves.
Now on Casper's back right leg there is a crack that goes straight down the middle. It has somewhat healed but it has been there forever. I asked if it was something I should worry about or if it would ever completely heal.

George's answer fascinated me. The reason it wasn't healing is because there was a lack of blood flow where the crack was. This also extended up as a scar up his leg.

Some how in the past, he had had a severe injury there and the scar was there to prove it.

It makes me wonder whether or not this injury could have affected some part of him permanently...?
His behavior?
His gait perhaps? Maybe thats why its so bumpy! Aren't gaited horses supposed to be smoooooooth?

I'm going to research it. If you guys know anything let me know!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Final Reflections of 'Back to the Herd' Camp 2011

Hello Everyone,
Well this is the last and final post when it comes to camp. It is the Final Reflections post. 
First of all I want to talk about camp in general, as an experience. The first word that comes to mind is amazing. It was an amazing experience! Wonderful, inspiring, educational, outstanding, energizing, emotional, tiring, exciting...
Something worth doing again. 
What I learned...
What I have learned during the past two weeks is more internal than personal than external. I can't share my new knowledge with the world as it has been solely self-growth and learning about myself. If someone were to ask me to show them what I have learned at camp, I wouldn't be able to. I think that it is the same for both Brita and Kara. 
Brita Kara and I are the only humans that will be able to see the complete difference in me. As for horses, every horse I meet and interact with from now on will experience this new change in me.
I hope I will be able to become more connected with Casper and Sharlie. I hope to be able to feel more.
To start dancing more.
Looking at the view.
Where do I go from here...
I wish to continue on the pattern I've been set. A pattern of growing, learning, exploring...both with horses and with myself. 
Goals:
~Summer~
For Casper my summer goal is to pass Level 1 with him. I also have a goal to be able to make him a confident, calm, trusting and willing trail pony and can be ridden at the walk with a saddle and hackamore. However, seeing as I won't be spending much time with my horses this summer... (it suddenly got filled up. Camping, internship with Emily, England...then school!) that goal will be extended to October/November if that makes sense. 
For Sharlie I hope to be able to self-assess Level 3 Online and Liberty and start working toward Level 2 Freestyle.
 Also another goal I have that should last me a while is the "Twelve Things to be Done With Excellence."
1) Haltering/unhaltering
2) Picking up all 4 feet
3) Saddling
4) Trailer loading
5) Bridling/unbridling
6) Mounting/Dismounting
7) Nine Step Back Up
8) Soft Feel at Halt
9) Lateral Flexion
10) Direct Rein
11) Indirect Rein
12) Supporting/Fixed Rein
Now of course probably the most challenging will be number 4) Trailer Loading. So my goal is to accomplish the other 11.  
Riding more and becoming more fluid and balanced is also a very important goal of mine.  

For myself, I want to be able to read at least 2 out of the 3 books I have. (More on them later)
Sharlie & Kara play in the arena while Cherish grazes in the background.
Over the next year (12 months) I have a couple of goals for both horses. 
For Casper I would like to start building up his muscle now so hopefully by next summer he will be able to canter while supporting a rider. Also, I want  him to become a confident, calm, trusting, willing and dependable trail pony that I can take places like Chickamauga Battlefield or other places where Kara, Brita and I can go on trail rides. (Or with other people too!) Casper only has a few years left before he will probably retire from being ridden so I hope to make those next few years as enjoyable as possible  by doing what he loves...trail rides. Of course Casper is one of the toughest horses I've ever seen so I wouldn't be surprised if he could still be ridden by a petite rider until he was in his late 20s! (Touch wood!)

For Sharlie I would love to see us being able to canter fluidly, balanced and without bucking at Kara's. I would also love to see Sharlie's trailering much improved if not fixed all together. Both goals will be very challenging and Sharlie and I will have to face many thresholds in order to get there. Another goal I would like to see us accomplish by the end of next summer is to self-assess Level 4 Online and Liberty and Level 3 Freestyle. Then I will be able to actually audition for them if/when I go back to Kara's. (and actually be able to film them this time ;P )
For myself I have a very simple, yet challenging goal. I would like to become much more active in helping the horses and owners at Mercy. Not only as a learning experience for myself, but also to actually help people with their horses, or more realistically: helping the horses with their people problems. There aren't that many people at Mercy anymore but I would love for them to know I am available and more than willing to help.

Our camp T-shirts. Top left: Mine, Top right: Kara's, Bottom/middle: Brita's
Drawn by Kara herself.
BUSY SUMMER:
Now when I say I have a busy summer, I have a BUSY summer!! I've never been this busy before!!
So lets see...in the month of July if I add up all the days I will be home..a total of 9 days! (Give or take!) There is camping, then the internship then England!! Then I'm back only a day or two before school starts! That is why my goals are so simple. I only have a couple of weeks!!

"We Are Parelli Because..."
I'm sure some of you have heard of the video competition that Parelli is having. I plan on entering a video. Who knows, I may just win a day with Pat and Linda! (Not likely though :P) 
We heard a peacock. No joke.
(Yes Kara, it was in the other direction)

When it comes to the Trailer...
I've gotten a lot of criticism over how I handled loading Sharlie in the trailer coming home. Not 'taking control of my horse' or 'my emotions'. I just wanted to say: OH WELL! What done is done! I know it wasn't ideal, that I should be able to load Sharlie calmly but we aren't at that point yet!
The decisions I make with my horses, even if they seem illogical to you, are my decisions and I make them for a reason. What most 'normals' don't understand is that I may be making a decision that is better for the long run rather than in the short term and so they don't see any point in it!
If I had tried to load Sharlie while my hands were shaking because I was so emotional, we would have regressed in progress rather than made any. Just cause she loaded doesn't make it progress. When she loads because she WANTS to, then that will be progress.
A very big part of the reason I was stressed is because we didn't have time. We had to load her up THEN and THERE. 
 That's why I hope that by next summer the Cumbertons will have their own trailer. Then we can take the time it takes to load her up, so then in the long run she will load up in less time.
On the top of the mountain. 


Reading List
Here is my reading list for the next few months.
- Reading the Horse's Mind by Jackie Budd
- Dancing with Horses by Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling
- The Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training Book by Linda Tellington-Jones


Kara and I make goofy faces. Somehow Kara STILL looks adorable when she makes ugly faces!

PS- Just hit 5000 views! :D Thank you!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Learning Way- In the Saddle and Getting There...

Q. Rider Attitude. "I strongly believe that a rider's attitude is more important than his or her raw skill. The best technical rider in the world will limit a horse's potential if his or her attitude doesn't recognize and honor the horse's individuality or isn't flexible enough to work with the horse." -Linda Tellington-Jones
What is your opinion of a rider's attitude?

Q. Difficulty with bridling/won't accept the bit. What do you think causes this? Is it entirely the human's fault? What to do?

Q. Cinchy/Girthy- Why in your opinion? Does that make sense? 

Q. Won't stand still for mounting- Same old same old. What do you think? What to do?


My opinion of a rider's attitude, or any person even just being with a horse, makes a huge amount of difference. I think it does go deeper than attitude though - it's not just the emotions that you're feeling as the present, in response to something, but it also matters who you are and how all of the levels of your emotions are. (From email one.) Example: You have heard of Chuck Martin. He met a lady who had horses, and abruptly asked to meet them. He has recently found a love for them, not really riding them, just being with them, stroking with them, and walking around with them - which is just fine. The woman took him to the horses, but warned him not to count on one of them coming up, as it had been abused my men and hated all of them, and bit and struck people "randomly" when they weren't doing it. He said, "Oh that's fine, we'll see." When he approached the fence, one of the horses galloped over to him, stuck its head in his hand, and nickered at him over and over, then began to lightly touch him all over with his nose, just ever so carefully pressing it against his cheeks, the top of his head, his shoulders, his arms.... As if he were kissing him. Chuck giggled to himself, then turned to the woman and asked if this was one of her friendlier horses. She stood, dumbstruck. She responded that that was the horse who would not stand to be touched, who hated men, who bit people and struck them... Chuck is an amazingly happy man, with a giggling outlook on life, with humor all over, and who is a very sweet man. He does laugh a lot, he loves to make people happy, and he's like a big hilarious teddy bear. The horse loved him... because of who he was. In comparison, I have met "professional" trainers who horses will run away from, strike out at, and find any way to get away from or make miserable. These people were very cold and only wanted to take advantage of both the horse and the people involved.


Bridling and bits.... Hmm. Well, in something like Cherish's situation, I won't ever ride her in a bit again. Simply because of what she was brave enough to show me, what she felt comfortable enough to show me, something that she had never shared before... and then her anticipation of what I would say in response. To tell the truth, I cried afterward, but only inside... because of the physical exhaustion that came from it. I promised her that I would never let a bit in her mouth again - not just a simple promise, a true, connection promise, with the ancient words. This can never be broken. And I will make sure that it never is. And, what point would there be in riding in a bridle, if I don't need one?

When they have difficulty accepting the bit, it is all because you want it to happen to much. In wanting it to happen too much, you actually are beginning to have the hint of force in you. This ruins all of it. Have the ultimate goal of getting the horse to bite the bridle, or of getting the bridle to touch the horse's back or something. Of course, the ultimate goal would be to get it on with them comfortable and confident, but you must forget the goal the moment that you step onto the farm - in fact, you must act like the goal was never even there. If you were to have the goal, the horse would not try to trick you, but they would know that you wanted them to do that they were uncomfortable. You are only to ever put the bridle on the horse once they are comfortable and confident. How do you make them comfortable and confident with the bridle? Well, it will vary for each horse. The main thing is you. You have to figure out how you need to be for each horse. I won't be able to advise you on that, because it would depend solely on the present, but keep this in mind, for it is the most important thing. NEVER put the bridle on the horse when the horse is uncomfortable, unconfident, or against it. Then all will be ruined and you will be taking the independence of the horse away by putting it on, denying their wish, and denying their discomfort. "It doesn't matter, the bridle is safe." It's not a matter of whether or not its safe. The more you prove to the horse that you will not cross the line, that you will allow them their complete independence, the less they will doubt you, and the more comfortable they will be with you. It's not a matter of crossing the line to get what you want, it's a matter of staying on the line all the time so that the line is not even there - because if you always give the horse complete independence, how can you  ever reach a point where you take it away? The horse is already far too independent and beautiful if you make a small mistake that you would be forgiven easily, but expected to never do it again. Trust me, it will become habit to give independence freely.

Difficulty with bridling and not accepting the bit is not a "difficulty" - it's just another fight and plea for independence, for respect from you, for understanding, for understanding how they are afraid when you are putting all of these things on them and how they do not want to be restrained for them. Once you prove to the horse that you will never, ever restrain them, they will have absolutely no reason to fear the bridle. So yes, it is absolutely the human's fault.

What to do? Give your horse full independence. Until then, I can advise nothing for you.

Cinchy and girthy is the same thing as bridling. Independence, restraints, what they know can happen when they are ridden, being forced to submit and restrained from their freedom and independence. Eventually, forcing these things over and over gets absolutely worse. To the point of where it's almost impossible to do anything with your horse.

Won't stand still for mounting is the same. They know what will happen when they ride them, and if they like it, they'll stand for you, if they don't, they won't. There is the occasion where I will be getting on Cherish and she will go, ears pricked forward, stepping ahead. This is not because she does not enjoy it, it is simply because she enjoys it so much that she cannot wait. She tells me to get on while she walking, and then we break into a trot. We may canter on, or we may stop, either way. If we stop, she'll reach her face back and touch my foot, shake her head in joy, and graze.


Thank you to Kara Cumberton. Follow her blog here. 


Next Time: A Learning Way-Biting & Cribbing

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Update on Casper

I thought I would give you guys a quick update on Casper as I've played with him a couple of times since I've gotten back.

The most important fact you should know is MY PONY HAS BEEN PORKIFIED!!
He looks pregnant! Who knew 2 weeks could cause him to gain so much weight!

Anyway. His first 4 games are in great shape, Circling game could use a bit of work still. Sideways is still very much in the learning stages and Squeeze game is in good shape.
His figure 8 and touch it pattern are awesome! ( Yay!)
I'm going to look at the Level 1 Self Assesment to look at some of the stuff we need to be able to do.

Rode him this evening. Just back to the pasture after going for a walk. We are both very unbalanced and steering is HORRIBLE! So something we definitely need to work on!

Thats all for now!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 17

I know guys, this is pretty...interesting isn't it? What was supposed to last from Tuesday the 31st of May is now gone on all the way till Thursday the 16th of June.

I don't like forcing my presence upon the Cumbertons. Kara wants to be able to go help her friend Aubrey with some horses before they go to Florida (on the 20th) and I know its important to both of them. I also really want to get the whole intern thing with Emily sorted out because I've experienced too many times where you say you will, you say you will, and the next thing you know its too late.
Yes Emily, we need to talk soon! :P

Kara playing with Sharlie. Taken a few days ago.
Today I got to sleep in!!! Till 8:30!!! That is mind blowing! The reason why? It is still raining. STILL.

I spent the morning organizing the 'A Learning Way' series on Kara's account. (Now I just need to do mine). We have a 'A Learning Way' post coming out every couple of days until the 21st of July so your needs will be satisfied! :P

Once Brita got back from shopping and visiting her mom Kara and I went out to go clean out the stalls. Sharlie and Cherish had been in the stall for almost 24 hours. Luckily Brita had let Hope and Finale out in the morning while it had been only drizzling so their stalls weren't nearly as bad.

We started at 2pm and then Brita told us that Tom and Susan were coming at 5. Haha...yayyy!! Only 3 hours! And by the time we would be done with the stalls, who knows how long!

Luckily it only took us an hour. Sharlie's stall was...well...she had basically soaked half of the stall completely. It didn't take long to clean because we just scraped it up all into one pile and scooped it all up. Anyway, you guys don't need to know the gory details of what condition that stall was in. EWWW.

So at 3 o'clock we got Sharlie out and Kara sat in the trailer and asked Sharlie bit by bit in the trailer.
I had to run inside to make sure I had every thing together, print off Brita's letter (still need to write Kara's!) and get a drink of water. When I came back out and sat down to watch Sharlie and Kara, Kara said "Every time you come over she gets a bit more unconfident."
I could understand that. I asked if she wanted me to leave but she said no. So I sat there working on getting through my nervousness to try and be calmer and more confident. No success.

Kara told me something very interesting when it came to Sharlie and the trailer. Sharlie is both Left Brain and Right Brain at the SAME TIME whenever she is around the trailer. No, not interchanging but at the same time. She will be scared and nervous but also trying to dominate you. But when you lead her away from the trailer to try and address it, she reverts back to her LBI self.

Hmmmm...

When Tom and Susan came to pick Sharlie up, I was already a bundle of nerves. I asked Kara and Brita to try and load her because I was such a bundle of nerves already, my hands were shaking (more on this in the Final Reflections post coming up soon)

I think it took about 45 minutes to load Sharlie, and we ended up using a rope around her hind quarters. We did it as humanely as possible when it comes to that sort of situation...Porcupine Game.

And then we hit the road....
And Camp was finally, officially over.


There will be a "Final Reflections of Camp 2011" post coming up in the next few days, but it will be long so please be patient.

Thank you guys for reading.

Julia

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 16

This morning I woke up feeling almost hung over. I can't say for sure as I have never been hung over before. I'm just guessing...

Today the whole point was to take the time it takes with Sharlie and the trailer.

We did alot of stuff that Linda does in the Liberty and Horse Behavior DVDs.
Squeeze between the trailer and me, down the narrow hallway to the tack room, under the goose neck, in and out of the stall, etc..
Sideways along the trailer, along the barn aisle way...
Driving from Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5...
Sitting in the trailer entrance and sending her from side to side...
Can you put your Zone 1 here? How bout Zone 3? Then Zone 4?

That lasted about 2 hours before I started running out of ideas. I found Kara in the stall with Cherish. This is pretty much how it went.

Julia: "Kara?"
Kara: "Yes?"
Julia: "I'm stuck."
Kara: "Stuck?"
Julia: "I'm running out of ideas."
Kara: "Ah..." *nods*
Julia: *stares at Kara, waiting for her to say something else.*
Kara: "Do you want me to play with her?"
Julia: "Yes please." :)

I settled down in the grass as I watched Kara play with Sharlie and the trailer. Kara did Falling Leaf, Circling, Sideways, and Squeeze Game and incorporated the trailer into them with Sharlie. She then tied Sharlie outside of the trailer loosely. She went inside of the trailer and started making noise to get Sharlie used to the metal growling and roaring monster. Kara did that for about forty five minutes, and each time I couldn't help but laugh. She jumped and banged against the trailer like a little boy in the grocery store who was trying a temper tantrum but didn't put his all into it...which to some degree is much more annoying than an extroverted toddler yelling and screaming with all his might.

 Sharlie began to get more and more calm as she went on, and it especially helped that the magic (escape) door gave hay every time it was opened... Maybe the trailer wasn't so bad after all! At one point, Kara led Hope over to the trailer, who went in all the way, and then left her in there to eat hay. Sharlie peered into the trailer and watched Hope for a few moments before turning to try and eat grass... Nothing new there! Hope slowly backed out of the trailer by herself and went off to go eat grass again. My goal from that point was to get Sharlie to be able to go in the trailer all the way and eat hay like all of the other horses had done this morning. (Cherish, Finale, and Hope)

Then, Kara and I sat down in the entrance of the trailer. I had my Horsenality Report that I was planning on reading, and Kara went to go get some lunch for us, as it was already 11:00 and we were beginning to get hungry. She came back with Mac N Cheese and ice cream! We sat there for a bit before Kara got her Nook and her notebook to write in and play Sudoku on. Bit by bit, we asked Sharlie to stand closer to the trailer, offering for her to graze near it. A few times, when we moved to get flies off of our legs, or the rope hit the side of the trailer, she would spook but come right back up to where she was before. Soon, she was beginning to come up and sniff the entrance of the trailer and we gave her a flake of hay to eat in the entrance. It was amazing to see how stressed and unconfident she was first thing in the morning and unable to look into the trailer. Now, she was slowly and lazily munching on hay and peering into the trailer now and then as Kara and I would flip the page of the Horsenality Report.

When Kara had first brought out the food, we seemed to have attracted a couple of dogs in disguise. Skyh, their cat, instantly came up and started trying to eat our mac n cheese, while Sharlie seemed intent on getting a hold of our vanilla ice cream. So now I know that no matter what kind of food it is, horse or human, she will always want to eat it!

Kara and I sat in the trailer and had our picnic in there for two hours before we decided it would be a good idea to come in and help Brita clean up the house. Before we did that though, Kara asked Sharlie to step into the trailer. Kara stepped into the trailer as the confident leader, not really asking Sharlie to follow her until she turned around. She asked Sharlie if she was going to come, who pricked her ears up and showed a little bit of fear. After just a moment of waiting, Sharlie brought one foot onto the trailer and looked around, then the other. A minute or two passed before Sharlie backed off of the trailer on her own accord again. Kara asked her if she could repeat herself, getting on the trailer again since her back up had been more like a trial for escape. The second time, Kara only let Sharlie stay on the trailer long enough for her to feel her confidence grow, not decline. When Sharlie got off, she was rubbed all over by both of us.

 After settling Sharlie and Cherish down in their stalls, we came inside and watched a little bit of TV (Nate Berkus show) and ate some Chick-Fil-A  strips and nuggets.

Then after sending an email to Emily Larramore about the internship and talking to Mom on the phone (Casper misses me! <3) Kara and I began cleaning the house while Brita went out...somewhere...?

Their farrier is due to come now so we have to go out and get the horses.

While the farrier did their horses's hooves I sat with Sharlie in the trailer. I wrote in my notebook what I had forgotten to write about since last week. I noticed that there was a wind that was blowing harder and harder. I looked behind me and saw some very very very ominous clouds heading our way. GREAT! Just what I need! A thunderstorm- or worse, tornado- that will completely rob me of what little time I had with Sharlie and the trailer.

Realization suddenly hit me. She had to be able to load in just a few hours time.

Once Sharlie finished her flake of hay, I moved the chair out of the way and then suggested to her that she maybe put one foot in the trailer? She did it, but was very nervous. I backed her out and let her stand for a moment...once she relaxed a bit I asked her to do it again. She did it but again, afraid.

I decided to stop, knowing we weren't getting anywhere. Just as I started to lead her away, a huge gust of wind blew shaking the trailer. Haha, good timing Julia!

Then as the wind blew harder and harder, Brita and I rushed around, shutting stall windows and making sure the horses had some water before running for the cover of the house at the rain drops began to fall with the wind hurdling towards us with surprising force.

After a bit Brita suggested we go for a joy ride, but told us to bring shoes this time as we would be getting out of the car. As we drove off with everyone in the car, I couldn't help but feel a stab of fear. What if something happened while we were gone? What if a tornado hit? What if? What if? What if?

We stopped by the dry cleaners, then we stopped at Dairy Queen and got some ice cream. Once again I thought of the stories from the last tornadoes where people were sitting in Taco Bell and a tornado was heading their way so all the customers and employees were ushered into the freezer (Really Taco Bell? And you claim to be all fresh.) When they got out, there was nothing left.

You could tell that was what was on everyone's mind. There was a man sitting at the table next to us who kept checking the weather on his phone and the employees were on edge and kept looking out the window.

I didn't realize until now just how badly those things are imprinted into your mind until you are in that situation again. Especially when both Sharlie and I were at risk.

After visiting Target (Where we saw some people dressed up. I have a theory it was a flash mob. Because in a Target in Cleveland TN you only need 6 people for a flash mob.) we made our way home. I tried not to let fear take over but I am pretty sure that Kara felt it especially as the rain started pouring harder and harder.

Several things were running through my head.

- What if we don't have time to practice anymore with Sharlie? Its already almost 7 o'clock and she is still worried about putting 2 feet in the trailer. No no no its not supposed to happen this way! We are supposed to be able to load her by this evening!! STOP RAINING, THUNDERING AND LIGHTENING!!!

- We keep thinking of putting a rope around Sharlie's butt and the last and final solution (let's not forget the least favorite) and that she WILL load by doing that. But what if she doesn't?

What if she doesn't load even with the rope around her hind quarters? What else do we have?


- With all this rain there will most certainly be rain in the trailer which means the wooden floor boards will be very slippery. This does not help matters At. ALL.

- What if the trailer gets stuck in the mud?

- What if there is a tornado and she gets freaked out by that and then we still try and load her tomorrow? Might as well remove the eye right there on the spot she will be going through so much stress. In fact I can guarantee you she wouldn't load if that happened. There is no way.

- What if I am so emotional tomorrow like I am now that she won't load?

Of course being the paranoid person I sometimes am, I imagined that the tornado hit Mercy Stables. On the bright side they couldn't come pick up Sharlie tomorrow but what if Casper got hurt? Or even worse...killed?

Tears quickly filled up my eyes at the thought. I realized that I was quickly pushing myself down the slippery slope to a complete emotional  meltdown. It needed to stop.

Now.

Kara and I are sitting on the couch. I'm trying to coax the extremely slow internet into to working so I can send an email to Mom telling her about the situation. Its still pouring pouring pouring and its already 8pm. There is no way we will be able to play with the trailer this evening.

I'm afraid.

Julia

A Learning Way- Body Language



Q. What is body language?





Answer:
Body language is something that can be very exaggerated or very precise. It shows the emotion and energy which we carry and just further eases the connection. It shows whether we are stressed, emotionally pressured, or whether we have been beaten. It shows scars, inward and outward, and freedoms, also in and out. It connects the inner world with the outer world. Body language further encourages you to have a conversation with your horse. It ends up with extreme lightness, with everything of soft, of joy, and is the reflection of what is inside. Your body language should be just as truthful as your emotions are. If you are so joyful and excited that you feel the instant need to run, do so! If you are sad, don't be ashamed to sit on the ground and slump your shoulders and cry. Body language is not just a signal, but an expression.

A big part of showing gratitude and independence that both my horse and I share is not scratches or treats as said above, but giving them just as much freedom and leadership as I have. I never try to "dominate" my horses - dominating in the traditional way or even the natural way is damaging to both you, your horse, and the relationship and connection between you. No, instead of dominate, I wish to share. Never do my horses try to overpower me because they have no reason to. We have a mutual respect, a shared independence, and they can leave at any time. None of it is personal if they leave - it does not hurt my feelings. If they pin their ears, they are simply showing me something that I had not noticed at the subtler phase - but I can't remember the last time that happened. If you truly listen to the quiet whispers of your horse, through body language and connection, there will be no reason for it to get to that point. You will have such understanding for each other that you will only need a rope for safety or for your own confidence. Once you are confident enough to change to liberty, it will already be there. I allow myself to have complete freedom with my horse, and in turn my horses have complete freedom. I allow myself to have complete balance of emotions. But what is balance of emotions? Balance of emotions is not being happy or calm or excited all the time - it is simply allowing yourself to feel every emotion that comes up. I allow myself freedom of movement, of heart, of soul, of emotion, of thought, of feel, of connection, of space.... Everything. With my freedom, there is no question that the horse would have it or not. Just allow it to happen, allow yourself to be spontaneous at the first wish from you. Have trust in yourself. You may be better than you think.

I also have to say something about verbal commands or comments other than simply speaking with your horse to help you to do it connectively, admitting something to them and yourself, or thanking them. When you scold your horse verbally, you are often not actually aggravated at your horse - you are aggravated at yourself, nervous, frustrated at the situation or your lack of knowledge, or just done for the day. If something is bothering you, you never scold your horse - this just further makes it worse. Not because you scolded, but because in the scolding, you completely denied yourself of feeling your emotion that actually means something. The meaning behind your emotion. Also, when you tell your horse to trot.... Your horse already knows how to trot without your rambling mouth of your literal mouth or your mental mouth. The more you allow your literal mouth, the more likely you are actually to have frizzled thoughts. If you just quietly and calmly ask for it while connected, and then use slight body language, and then slowly further .... your horse will be very appreciative. Horses are quiet creatures for a reason. They are speakers only to those who listen and listeners more to those who are willing to listen rather than those who speak jibber jabber constantly.


Body language is not repeated movements. Body language is not the driving game, and it's not constant tapping or asking. It's not the porcupine game. It is the gestures and expressions you make to the horse through your physical body. There is truly only use in body language if you have the correct emotion and feeling behind it. If you're asking your horse to move over, and you are nervous and unsure about your asking, they won't do it. You always must be confident, calm, quiet, and unquestioning of your own leadership - or it will not work. And how do you do that? Sometimes, all you have to do is to let your horse be the leader first. You have to listen. The more you become confident in their leadership, the more you may borrow their confidence and then become confident in yours.




Thank you Kara Cumberton for answering my questions. Read her blog here.


Next time: Learning the Way-

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 15 of Camp

This morning was very very emotional for me. Well only a certain part was.

I didn't want to  wake up this morning. My thoughts were going along the lines of "If I don't get up, time will freeze and I can sleep longer."
Didn't last long. When I heard the TV turn on I figured that was my sign to get my butt up and out of bed. I saw everyone snuggling on the couch watching the news. I got myself some breakfast and settled down on the couch.
After breakfast I got everything together in my room, ready to be put in the car with Mom. Then after coming back down, double checking I had everything and watching a bit more TV we went out to the barn.

When I caught Sharlie from the field I noticed the sun was reflecting off of her, making her look orange instead of chestnut.
We played online in the arena and when it came to Circling Game, I stood on the pedestal and sent Sharlie around. At the walk and trot she was great! Always had slack in the rope. Haha and guess what else? Our transitions were AH-MAZING. All I had to do is pick up or lower my energy and maybe give a little click and she would transition very nicely.
When I asked her to canter however she seemed determined to pull me off the pedestal. Even though the transitions were still nice and easy, she had taken all the slack out of the rope and was pulling on me. I played with her on it till she had done half a lap of not pulling on me. (Yea, it was very impressive at the time) and then I unclipped the lead rope and asked her to canter at liberty.

It was beautiful. She took off cantering, weaving between all the obstacles, bucking, throwing her legs out every which way and with her ears pricked the whole time. The best part? When she saw that I had dropped all my energy and was looking at the ground and she came straight to me. Awesome, right?

After that I saddled her with the bareback pad. She stood perfectly still and was such a good girl!

Everything I've pretty much been working on for the whole of camp (on the ground anyways) was perfect today. Doesn't it always end up like that?

I mounted up from a mounting block instead of the fence. In doing so I pulled all the muscles in my left thigh and behind the knee. Ouchhhhhhhyyyyyy...

I rode her in the arena a little bit, squeezing through barrels and doing a bit of "Follow the Rail" before exiting and then Brita and I hit the trails!

Kara had gone off on a walk in the pine trees because yesterday she had a very frustrating ride with Cherish and felt that she shouldn't ride today. I completely understand that as Sharlie and I were off-ish yesterday as well.

Sharlie took the lead (this was becoming a routine now) and Brita and I rode out to the bulldozer. I soaked in all the trees, birds, deer and sky.

I knew it would be a while before Sharlie and I would be back here again.

After grazing a bit in the lovely marsh grass that the horses love so much we started to make our way back. From here we could see the barn yard fairly well and Brita saw Kara walking back with Cherish.

Within a minute or two suddenly Kara was trotting toward us on Cherish. (It had taken 20 minutes walking with Sharlie to get to the bulldozer in the first place)
She explained that she had galloped over here when she had seen us. She then told us about her adventure up in the woods.
I won't tell you guys about it because it is her story. She will write about it...eventually ;)

Once we got back, Mom arrived only moments later. I helped her load up my stuff in the car while Sharlie waited in the stall. Just as we were about to drive up to the house to get the rest of the stuff when Tom and Susan arrived.

They were early. I was hoping that I would be able to help Mom load the stuff into the car at the house and then play with Sharlie on the ground a bit before they arrived. Now that they were here, I wouldn't have time for any of that.

I honestly tried to keep a positive outlook but I could already feel the pressure being put on me and Sharlie as I led her out of the stall.

I led her straight up to the trailer. (Strike 1) I asked her to get in and she actually did well by putting 2 feet in. But then I asked for more too soon. (Strike 2) She backed out and I sent her in again. She went in  with all 4 feet and Kara started going towards her to hold her when Sharlie freaked out at Kara and raced out backwards. Sharlie then looked at me and told me "I'm not going in the trailer."
I looked at her for a moment before asking her to go in again. She quickly became frustrated and upset with me because I had ignored what she had said to me, even how clearly she had said it.  After a few more times of in and out with 2 feet she stopped again and looked at me and said "I'm not going in the trailer. I told you so."
Just her telling me that got me frustrated and I quickly handed her over to Kara.

I won't go into details because everything has blurred together in my state of being completely drained- mentally, emotionally and physically. Basically it switched from Kara to Brita to me again to Brita then to me again. Next thing I knew, we were an hour into it. I tried not to get frustrated but all eyes were on me. Everyone was staring at me. I could feel everybody around me (apart from Kara.) getting more and more aggravated and impatient.
My mom made a comment saying "We need to get her in now." Well what do you think we have been doing? Just joking around? If I could load her, I would!

About 15 minutes later after what felt like being ganged up on (though I will quickly be scolded for saying so) I found myself crying in the tack room. I couldn't go back out there while I was in such an emotional state so I curled up on the wooden cabinet and tried to muffle my sobs into my shirt. Within minutes Skyh the cat came and curled up into my lap. His purring sent me into a sort of meditation...something I had been trying to achieve only a few days before.

I placed myself in Kara's room, lying on her bed reading something. My tears didn't stop flowing but my muscles loosened. I was so much 'in my own little world' that what only felt like a few minutes turned out to be an hour! When Mom came in to tell me that Tom and Susan were leaving the trailer and going to come back tomorrow morning.

At first all I could think was "Why are you in Kara's room?"
Then I realized where I was. Oooohhh....

I wiped away the remaining tears before walking out of the tack room to find Kara and Sharlie standing by the hay bales. I couldn't look anyone in the face so I just hugged Sharlie.
I felt like such a little girl for running away and crying. I couldn't stand the embarrassment. "You don't have control over your horse."
Well didn't that completely shatter all the self-confidence I had gained over the last two weeks.

Later, after Tom & Susan and Mom left I felt so emotionally, mentally and physically drained that all I could really do is lay on the couch. I was supposed to be looking up trailering advice on the Parelli website but I finally surrendered to the sleep that was tugging at my eyelids. I woke up two hours later, still not feeling any better. I also noticed that there was something pressing on my chest, making it more difficult to breath.

I told Kara how I just wanted to go out and eat somewhere or go for a joyride. (Something that I never have wanted to do before.) She said that it was probably because I wanted to get away for a bit, to escape the emotional turmoil that I had had to endure this morning.

We convinced Brita to take us for a drive around where they lived. I enjoyed it immensely as I have never really seen that much around their house.

About 5 minutes into the drive I noticed that I was breathing easier and easier and quite soon I blew out like a horse. Wow, I really am starting to pick up horse behaviors. The point is Kara had been right and going for a drive had been exactly what I needed.

When we returned home, it was already 7:30 and Kara and I were supposed to play with Sharlie & the trailer so she would be ready for tomorrow. Something in my gut said that because I still felt so out of it that I wouldn't put my all into it and so niether would Sharlie. Kara felt the same way so we asked Brita whether we could extend an extra day so we would have more time to work with the trailer when we were feeling better.

She agreed. So now we have all of tomorrow to work with the trailer on the condition that we help her clean the house during the heat of the day. No problem.

When Kara and I went out to go play with Sharlie and Cherish a bit with the trailer (we were still going to try!) we instantly noticed a difference in our horses. Cherish who is usually more Extroverted these days was slow and more tired looking and closed that usual. Sharlie didn't have much energy. I also saw that her eyelid had swollen up greatly since this morning, probably because of the stress.

After playing with Squeeze Game (which was the worst it has ever been in the last year), the pedestal and some sideways, I led Sharlie over to the trailer to see how she would react after this morning. She couldn't even look at it.
It took alot of approach and retreat in order to even try and do the Squeeze Game, which had to start out with about 6 or 7 yards between the trailer and me for Sharlie to even go through.

After about 45 minutes Sharlie finally had enough confidence to put Zone 1 on the trailer. I left it at that.

I was very glad we didn't have to load her up tomorrow because there was no way she would load when she could barely even sniff it (after 45 minutes!!)

I am very tired after today. Some people must be thinking "Surely it wasn't that horrible." Think whatever you like. You didn't feel the pressure, the stress and the rest of the emotional turmoil I was going through during that first hour.

I can't wait till Kara gets her own trailer.

Goodnight. Get out your dreamcatchers. I know I will need mine tonight.

Julia

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 14- Last Full Day

Hello...
Last full day.

It took some serious effort to get out of bed this morning. Not only was I super warm and cozy, but Ruby was snuggled up against my legs....*sigh* it was really nice...

When I finally got out to the barn, Brita had almost finished tacking up Hope and Kara was getting ready to mount Cherish...am I missing something here?
I quickly gave Sharlie her medicine and started brushing her out. I quickly saddled her up in record time and got on.
Well stupid stupid stupid me. I didn't play with her on the ground first! Boy that was not fun to ride.
Also I had been riding in the bareback pad the last couple of days and so to transition to the saddle all of a sudden was definitley not helping me out.

I saw Kara lying out in the grass and so I thought that maybe we weren't going out on a trailride. So I dismounted and left Sharlie in the arena with the saddle on. I was slightly curious to see if she would do anything at liberty without a rider or lead rope and out of my sight. I went to go get the bareback pad and when I came back out to the arena I saw Sharlie still waiting for me patiently by the gate where I had left her. I got an idea as I put the bareback pad down on the railing and stepped into the arena. Sharlie tried to itch herself on me again and I had to shoo her away slightly. It can get rather annoying how she didn't have the bad habit until Mom came to visit. (Love you Mom, but seriously!)
I followed suite with my idea. Could I drive her, at liberty, with just my energy? How fast would she go? Which zone could I drive her from?

I picked up my energy and pictured Sharlie trotting toward the other end of the arena. She started to slowly walk away...despite myself, I clucked at her. Surprisingly that was all she needed to start trotting toward the pedestal. I focused on her going over towards the barrels, making sure my energy was still 'trotting' along with her.
She followed my focus and feel and when she reached the barrels I dropped my energy and allowed her to return to me.
Yay!

I unsaddled Sharlie 100% at liberty and then put the bareback pad on her. She didn't move at all, not even when I had to walk away to get the reins. I lined her up with the fence and got on fairly easily. I did a few things in the arena like the pedestal, figure 8 and stop half way over the poles before I noticed Kara and Brita seemed to be waiting for me. I went over and lined Sharlie up with the gate (she is getting better and bettter at it every time!) and opened it. However something Sharlie is still very bad at is trying to rush out the gate. It was a bit of a hassle to turn her away and wait until it was my idea to go out the gate.

And then we were off! Out on to the trails I mean. I assumed we wouldn't go very far as the sun was already starting to heat up the ground and air around us. We went out the back way, Sharlie already eager to hit the trails. We walked a short distance to the right before taking the path to the road. Then looming before us was the steep hill that we had climbed several times before but this was the first time for me without the saddle. Sharlie felt my hesitation and took advantage of it by trying to trot up the hill. For those few strides it took for me to coordinate myself to pull her back to a walk, I experienced the most uncomfortable and horrible trot. I got her back to a walk and kept her that way for the rest of the way up. When we reached the top we stopped to let the horses eat some grass. We watched as Finale paced back and forth in the field looking for us and not seeing us looking down on her. She smaller than the size of a little toy horse.

Kara suggested we go down the hill right where we were (A slightly different hill, but just as steep and scary-looking) I was very careful not to let Sharlie try and trot as we started making our way down. When we reached about the half way point I realized that the worst was yet to come. The final decent to the road was almost at a 90 degree angle and the bareback pad was already up by Sharlie's shoulders. In fact I could feel her shoulders underneath me. I tried to scootch back but every time Sharlie took it as a sign to continue on. At one point Sharlie started trying to go sideways down the hill to unbalance me. This was after several unsuccessful attempts to dislodge me after backing up and spinning around.

I could take a hint.

I dismounted and led her the rest of the way down the hill. Next thing I knew we were at the front of the house. I tried to lead Sharlie over to the wall to mount again but when she spooked I realized she was afraid of it! Hahaha...
We played some friendly game until she would stand along side it and allowed me to mount. I rode her back to where Brita was taking photos of Kara. We made our way back around to the back of the house
(including many photo posing stops) and home once again.

Once we untacked and cleaned up a bit, we put Sharlie and Cherish in the arena and put out some sprinkler toys to see what they would do. They weren't all that enthusiastic. In fact I'd say Kara and I got more wet then they did! I led Sharlie through the water a few times but she really didn't seem to enjoy it that much so I put her up in the stall so we could put Hope and Finale in the arena to see how they would react.

They were hilarious. Finale, who doesn't usually like water, was looking at it curiously before hiding behind Hope who was enjoying the water and sticking her face in it. It was funny because Finale is dominant but this time she was hiding behind Hope for protection.

Once we came back inside and I had eaten my lunch (then spending an hour delaying) I volunteered Kara to help me pack up my suitcase. Which pretty much meant she sat on the floor eating her salsa while I threw everything article of clothing I had brought into my suitcase.

That was easy. And quick. And proof that I am lazy sometimes ;)

As the afternoon continued on, I sensed the off-ishness around myself. I didn't want it to end. No nono...by this time tomorrow I will be home in my house. What a depressing thought...

As it was getting close to evening, Brita came into Kara's room where Kara and I were relaxing and we decided not to do anything with the horses but instead to reflect on the last two weeks oustide. Also (I'm guessing after camp because we won't have time tomorrow morning) we are going to write letters to each other about the progress we had made, yada, yada....

Well I'm getting tired.

Kara is already asleep. She is tossing and turning alot...hmmm...maybe another disturbing dream...

Goodnight everyone.
Tomorrow will probably be a very long post as I will be reflecting and also talking about where to go from here..

Goodnight
Julia

Day 13


Hey Everyone.
Today is Day 13.
We only have tomorrow left and then I am going home.

What a depressing thought. I don't want it to end. 
If you haven't noticed since Day 10 I have been running out of ideas and motivation for stuff to do with Sharlie. I keep thinking "What's the point? We will just be going back to Mercy and we won't be able to do it anymore." (Ex: pedestal, sundial, liberty, swimming in the pond...etc...) I know its the wrong attitude but I can't help it. I know I need to be enjoying my last few hours here. Thus me and Kara sitting on my severely deflated air mattress with little Ms. Ruby. (Their Stafford Shire Bull Terrier. A sweetheart.) We have been messing around for the most part. I have been having fun on picnik creating a banner for Kara's blog. That's it below. Also I made the one above (the "Life is Beautiful" one)

. I made myself a Nutella sandwich but when I put it down for a moment, it got soaked in some sort of juice. 
Do not mess with Julia's Nutella sandwiches. They are sacred. 

Kara: "Do I have pen on my tongue?"
Julia: "Uhh..." *considers tricking Kara for a moment and telling her there is a huge wart on her tongue then decides against it* "Nah, you are fine."

This morning Kara and I woke up at about 7 am. At the beginning of camp we were both able to wake up at 5:30. But it seems I have started coming down with a cold. Who gets a cold during summer? Well obviously I do. :(
I am a bit glad though because it gives me an excuse when I get home to be able to sleep in a little bit, till 8 or something. (Its really bad when you consider waking up at 8 sleeping in.)

This morning after I took a shower, washed my hair and ate breakfast, I went outside. Kara told me to go meditate (again) and to take Sharlie with me. So I gave Sharlie her medicine and took her over to the pond. I sat down on the damp ground and sat there...I closed my eyes..then opened them. Then Ruby came to join me, and I accepted her presence gratefully. Sharlie wandered off a bit. I threw some rocks in the pond...I quickly got bored and thats when I was Georgia go into Sharlie's stall which had pretty much been covered in PDZ because Sharlie had pretty much soaked her stall through and through. Geez it was horrible to clean up. I got  up and quickly went to go get Georgia out. At the same time I remembered that there were towels in the tack room and I could take one to lie on. 
I told Kara about Georgia and that she may want to check what to do if a dog has eaten some of the PDZ and any problems that may occur. We don't want our lovely Georgia to get poisoned on us! 

I went back to the pond and found Sharlie slightly closer than before. I sat down on the towel but it only lasted a few minutes before I lay the towel out and lay down. It was uncomfortable and rocky but I layed face down and let my now soft hair cover my face. I expected myself to either fall asleep as I had been yawning since I had gotten up, or to quite quickly run out of things to think about. However, there always seemed to be new things entering into my mind. Random things such as Ruby begging, or Pat and Linda or Kara's weird assortment of shoes. This continued the whole time, when finally I decided that the flies that were landing on me could be laying eggs. I decided to get up and help Kara and Brita get wood for our bon fire tonight. The bonfire tonight is sort of symbolizing the end of camp which is both good, because I'm looking forward to s'mores, but bad because, like I said before, I never want it to end. 

When I went out to help Kara and Brita to collect the wood, I found myself very extroverted and hyper. I didn't know if it was because I had been lying on the grass for two hours, thinking about nothing and everything, or whether it was just because of the excitement of chocolate and marshmallows and graham crackers! However, about half an hour later when we were coming back inside the barn, I found myself tired again.

Can you tell Kara is typing this for me? It's amazing! I don't have to type anymore. She types super fast you guys, she types like 93 + words a minute! (This is Kara: I usually type 95-115 wpm... and I do enjoy typing for Julia.) 

After sorting Sharlie out and coming back up to the house, Kara and I sat down on my severely deflated air mattress and started working on the computers. Between the ice cream and the Nutella sandwiches, we have pretty much accomplished nothing except for a blog post per person, a banner for Kara's blog, and a few hundred calories burned off with laughing.

This evening I handed Sharlie over to Kara to watch her play and ride her. I took a few photos.
While Kara was playing with Sharlie Cherish had been grazing on the other side of the arena. Suddenly she came galloping over to where Kara and Sharlie were. Then she started following Kara and Sharlie around for a bit.
All I could think of when I saw that was "Horsewoman". Surely some of you have watched the videos of horsemen and women like Klaus Hempfling or the Parellis with horses running after them. <3

As I sat down the cat came over to hang out with me. Note to self: Have 2 people on hand when trying to pull a tick off Skyh. My black tank top ended up white and fluffy.

As it got darker we started up the fire and we started cooking marsh mellows. Don't give me marsh mellows unless you want to help me wipe it off my face, arms, hands, neck, shoulders and even on my chest!!
Sharlie was grazing near the firepit and actually came right up to the fire before we caught her and took her away. She isn't afraid of fire, in fact she seemed to enjoy it. :)

Well I have managed to wash off most of the marshmellow now...

Goodnight,
Julia