Got my stuff!


Novmber 20, 2009

I got my training stuff from Half Circle Ranch and it is BEAUTIFUL!  I couldn’t afford the “real” Parelli equipment, but knew I needed the right stuff if I expected this to work, so a couple of weeks ago, I scoured the internet and found a place online that makes and sells the halters and lead ropes made of the same type of rope that Parelli uses for a 1/2 the price!  I am so excited that I wrote her a big thank you!  Can’t wait to show Astar! =)

Here’s the link:

Improvements Already


November 18, 2009

Today I went out to spend time with Astar and the WANTING to be with me [the connection] took less than 10 minutes!  In fact, he was eating with his friends at the hay roll, notice me and actually decided he wanted to come hang out… he stopped eating and turned around to come get me =)  That was HUGE progress!

Jen has recommended that we try to get Astar into the round corral so that we can work with him in a smaller space than the huge field we currently have him in.

Currently, the round corral is in the back of the middle field where Irish and Munchkin reside.  So we’ve decided that it is going to be easier & better for everyone (the horses) to move the round corral than change up the dynamics of the horses.  With 5 acres, there’s only so many ways you can move them around and the 2 we currently have in the back are the only ones that are also ok for letting in the yard (which we do to allow them to get to some shade).  To be honest, I’ve been wanting to move it anyway to a better location, so this is just a really great excuse to finally get it done.

So we haven’t quite got him in the round corral as suggested by our new trainer… yet… but we will.  In the meantime, I’m going to mess with him as much as possible at dinner and breakfast…. last night, when I fed, I held the bucket while he ate and I messed with him…. he didn’t even fuss at me, which was improvement in itself.  I’ve also versed my husband on needing to work with his zone 1… with our busy schedule we both have to do the feeding.  I have 2 nights a week that I don’t get home until 9, and I want Astar to be worked with as much as we can.

I’ll keep everyone posted on our progress — I am planning on rejuvenating my blog and journalling our progress.

I got a notice yesterday that my training equipment that I had ordered had been shipped so I should have everything by Monday.

I had a lot of fun on our first training day and really feel that Jen is the right choice for him (and me).  She connected with him – she got him — she accepted him where he’s at – she was able to identify how to move forward – and recognized that he does have some stuff that forces us to go slower than we would with most horses and at the same time recognizing that he WILL get past this.    I’m so excited to have found our new trainer – Jen!

Training Astar


November 17, 2009

Today was our first training day with Jen Hall, a Parelli instructor.

Background – I came by her through the North Central Florida Parelli Playgroup – a horse group that I have recently joined.  It’s giving me a fresh start with my horses and really refreshing my desire to work with them and ride again…. something that had been fading for some reason.

At any rate, I asked around and one of the club members, Susan, had recommended I ask if Jen would like to work with him.  I met Jen at the Parelli Playday on November 7th and she officially introduced me to the Parelli system of training.  It’s not a 1-2-3 process as much as it’s a series of games that advance with the horse and from which to guide their training… if that makes sense.

So we set a date for her to come meet Astar, along with the rest of the horses and to see if she would be a right fit…. and she was!  Even though it took us 2 hours to connect with him today, I could tell that, overall, he accepted her in his space and he was curious; that he would give her a try.  We spent most of the time walking around the field and working with him.  By the end we had peaked his curiousity and he was spending some time with us.

Her leaving remarks for the day were; that she likes him; that he definitely has to go a lot slower than most; that we need to focus on zone 1 and 2 (horses have 5 zones of contact) playing what Parelli calls the “Friendly Game”, where you just touch the rope to him (esp. in the sensitive zones) and wave it around with the idea being that it means “nothing”; we needed to find a way to get him into the round corral to have a smaller space in which to work; and to spend as much time with him as possible.

… And we made an appointment for the 2nd training!

Preparing to Catch Astar


Yesterday at the clinic, before we left, Brent was gracious enough to show us some things to help us PREPARE to catch our horse in his stall.  He explained that it’s not about catching him at all – it’s about preparing to catch him.

So this morning I started using his advice.  As I approached the gate, I started talking to Astar, telling him how handsome he is and asked if I could come in and pet him.  His eyes were on me and as I moved foward to the gate, he was with me!  So I just reached in and petted his neck – even touched his face… then I walked away for about 5 minutes.  Then I came back and went into the stall with him and he was very responsive… his eyes were on me.  I actually talked to his head instead of his butt this morning! Read the rest of this entry »

Pressing Into Fear


Where is your bubble of comfort?  How often do you try to push past it?

Today was the last day of the horse clinic that Andy and I attended with our horse Irish.  Our friend and riding instructor, Kaite, also joined us.  I participated in the morning session which was the Foundation Class.  This class involved about an hour of groundwork and another 2 hours of riding.  There were various skills we practiced – the main one being how to tune into your horse, get him to respond to what you’re asking him for with me having to do as little as possible to get that to happen.

This is quite a challenge when you’re just getting to know your horse – I’ve only had Irish since January and we’ve only been able to ride him since May of this year — not long to get acquainted and comfortable.

In fact, Andy has had more time in the saddle on Irish than I have since I was pouring most of my efforts into Astar.

So today was a bit of a windy day and about half-way through the riding portion of todays class, the wind picked up and there were noises on the roof of the arena cover.  Irish got a little dancy, which in-turn got me nervous.  So I went in the middle of the ring where the trainer was and I told him what was happening.

I wanted to get off.  In fact, I was near tears – mainly out of my own fears and worries that I had created b/c of thinking about everything the could happen.  I remembered the day that Irish had his come apart in the stall, kicked the shed in and was in panic mode when we finally arrived to rescue him – all because of a windy day that ripped the tarp off of the roof.

Well, Brent would not let me off – he looked at me and told me that I was ok and that Irish was ok.  So he asked me to move him forward 5 steps and then backward, forward another and then backward.  He also showed me a couple of other techniques like moving his nose to the left and then to the right.   And after that he told me that I needed to keep him moving and to go on and do some s-curves – (it’s basically like doing a bunch of u-turns – kinda looks like an exaggerated version of riding drunk and weaving back and forth…LOL) and to ride where I am comfortable.

I kept going – I did not get off even though every bone in my body wanted to.  There was also another part of me that knew if I did get off then I was giving into my fear instead of fighting it.  So I rode where I was emotionally / mentally.  I did lots of circles and s-curves mainly in the same area of the arena.  And I have to say that I managed to make a pretty darn good circle by the end of class and Brent said I did good!

I was proud of myself for staying on and not giving into fear.  Instead, I leaned into it.

And the advice I am taking home with me from the class is something Brent said towards the end of the session this morning – these weren’t his exact words, but the best I can remember — “ride where you are at and where your horse is at.  push your bubble of comfort a little and then come back to a safe place, push a little more the next time and then come back.  Always have a safe place to come back to – something you know that you and your horse can do well  together – that he understands what you want and you understand what you’re asking and you feel safe…. and don’t get discouraged if it takes awhile to meet your goals.  if you keep pushing that comfort zone a little at a time, you will get there.”

I think that this is pretty good advice – not only for riding and training horses, also for everyday life and fears that we must push through.

Before we left today – I asked him for some additional advice on helping Astar.  We are still unable to catch him in order to put him out in the field.  Brent showed me some great techniques and said it’s not about catching the horse, it’s about preparing him to be caught… I never would have thought about it that way.

Then as we were loading Irish, Brent saw us and took the opportunity to give us a lesson on how to get a horse to put himself into the trailer — it’s all about his mind being in the trailer – it was amazing!  He had talked about it the day before and then to see it in practice was so cool!  Now we all have a visual of what that looks like.  You can really tell when horse’s mind is in the trailer and when it is not… just look at his ears!

Of course, Irish loaded with no problem.  Though he was a great example of how-to load! =)

Thank you Brent, Chris and Monette for having such a wonderful clinic.  I can’t wait to participate again!!  And Thank you Brent for allowing me to be where I was during class and helping me to push past my fears and worries… it was an amazing confidence builder and I know with continued pushing past my bubble of comfort, little by little, I will reach my goals.   This was the most awesome experience on horseback that I have had in a long time and I will take so much of what was said, with me as I go forward with training my horses!  Now I have so much more to offer them!

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