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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

Giveaway ends May 01, 2014.

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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. 
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.
Now when I say I have a busy summer, I have a BUSY summer!! I've never been this busy before!!
So lets 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!

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