Tuesday, July 30, 2013



i've been struggling with my ego lately.  i don't know why.  when billy was at the barn i cared very little about what the other horse owners thought of me and my training techniques.  now that he is at home i worry constantly about what the neighbors are thinking, what are they saying?  deep down i KNOW that it doesn't matter.  all that matters is how billy feels about everything.

i've been reading jane goodall's book "Reason for Hope" and it's given me some ideas.

she wrote, "'love they neighbor as thy self.'  how could i love my self when i so often failed to live up to the standards i set?  then i realized that the "self" that we have to love is not our ego, not the everyday person who goes around behaving thoughtlessly, selfishly, sometimes unkindly, but the flame of pure spirit that is in each and everyone of us, that is part of the creator; what the buddhist call "kernal".  we have to learn to understand and love this spirit within in order to find peace within."

the idea that we start loving ourselves by loving that inner peaceful, kind self really felt right to me.  i could hear that and understand it more than the far flung, "love thyself".  loving myself is one of the hardest parts of this journey i'm on.

i've felt overwhelmed lately.  overwhelmed by my ego.  i've allowed it to step in and take over.  so to turn that around i am going to focus on loving my inner guru with the thought that loving that part of myself will cause it to grow...

"that which is loved can grow."  ~jane goodall

hopefully by loving my inner peaceful, kind self it will over take the ego part of myself.

"there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally."  ~don miguel ruiz

letting go of ego goes hand in hand with taking nothing personally because it's the ego that worries about what other people are thinking about me, saying about me, if they are laughing at me.  if my ego side is shrunk down to a manageable size then it would be easier to not take things personally.  it wouldn't matter what others are thinking or saying!

my goal this summer/fall: to nurture my peaceful, kind self by loving myself - causing that side of myself to bloom and grow.

Friday, July 26, 2013

a little something for the weekend

alittlesomethingfortheweekendcollagei won this DVD set when i made a video for the horse and soul tour in iowa...  kalley is a wonderful teacher.  i could sit and watch her for hours.  she is so confident and calm.  her descriptions and directions are easy to understand and learn from.  i highly recommend the Pre Saddle Training DVD set!!  it goes over all the level 1 stuff, but with a high degree of excellence.  i found it very helpful when she would show one of the entry level games and then talk about how to improve it before riding the young horse.

i really admire Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling.  his books are easy to read and beautiful to look at.

i am really interested in this book.  stephanie also writes a wonderful blog with lots of really helpful information.

i listened to this book on my ipod while playing with billy last winter.  it was a wonderful book!!! i highly recommend it.

billy REALLY needs one of these....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

susannah conway

billyupcloseandpersonal"... every day is a new beginning. Platitude, cliche, TRUTH. When you really sink into what that means it's remarkable really. We get to start over every 24 hours. We get to choose again: another breath. Another meal. Another decision. Another chance."          ~Susannah Conway

when i read the above in a love letter that showed up in my inbox the other day i was blown away by the truth of it.  every day is a new day.  that is true for us and is most certainly true for our horses.  i have put an end to a session that is not going well, returned billy to his pen, or turned him loose for a little graze, while i walked away for a little while.  i took that time to really think things over, get re-inspired and head back out a few hours later.  for billy that is exactly like a new day.  a new session, a new day, a new beginning.

lucky us that horses are so forgiving and willing to live in the moment...

Susannah Conway went on to say,  "When I'm having a crap day and nothing seems to be going right, I sink so gratefully into my bed, knowing that sleep will reboot my brain, ready to start again tomorrow."

i like to think of sleep as a reboot time.  that is so true.  when i don't get a good nights sleep i feel so weighed down by yesterday and yesterday's problems.  when i get a good nights sleep i feel so refreshed and yesterday stays in yesterday and doesn't leak over into today.

because really, i have enough to think about without yesterdays sessions leaking into today's!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

being neighborly

SONY DSCthe other night i took billy for a little walk up the road.  the destination was our neighbor's house about a 1/4 of a mile away.  angus and handsome hubby were with me.  angus was struttin' his stuff, peeing on everything along the way, making his mark.

billy was eyeing the grass along the road trying to be sneaky enough to snatch a bite here and there.  the walk was merely to get out and get moving, i didn't have an agenda so i didn't mind the naughtiness on billy's part.

as we got closer to the neighbor's house the horses on the other side of the road spotted us and came galloping over to see what was up.  billy took it all in stride.  we've been playing with relaxation as we walk, keeping him connected to me so he doesn't want to leave me and be silly with them.

the neighbor has 3 mules and a horse and 2 big dogs.  the dogs had made their way out to the road to investigate angus.  handsome hubby was calling angus back to us, as we were nervous that the big dogs would mistake him for a gopher.  i'm not sure what happened as they were in the tall grass but the next thing we heard was angus screaming and the neighbor dogs snarling.  the grass was shaking and we were both certain that they were killing angus.  it turns out that they were attempting to as he was well and truly mauled when we got him out of the grass, handsome hubby walked right into the fray kicking as he went.  angus was alright, shaken and in shock, but alive.  billy was totally unfazed by all the commotion.

the neighbor walked out of the horse shelter he was cleaning and made the comment that if i was going to walk my horse up through all the horses, horses on both sides of the fence, i was just simply asking for trouble.  this confused me because not one of the horses was acting up in any way.  the ones on the left hand side of the fence were all just standing around watching the commotion, his horse and mules were leaning over the fence also watching the dogs and billy was standing beside me, head down, watching handsome hubby haul angus out of the mauling.

i tried repeatedly to tell the neighbor that his dogs were attacking my dog and he kept saying "i know i know" and then talking on and on about how his dogs were going to lose their teeth one day because they go after his mules (which the black one was doing as he was talking).  i'm not worried about billy.  he does not tolerate dogs creeping up on him and will kick them if warranted, but i would have appreciated the neighbor man listening to me that his dogs were in fact going after my dog and this had nothing what so ever to do with my horse being there.

i realized today as i was thinking about it and getting madder and madder, that i didn't feel heard in that situation.  the neighbor thought i was a sissy girl, screaming because his dogs were walking along the road with my horse. (when in fact the screaming he heard was angus... not me...)

one of my triggers is being ignored.  not heard.  i hate it when i feel like people (and animals) aren't listening to me.  i'm trying and trying to make my point and they are just doing their own thing, not listening, talking over me, walking over me, ignoring me.

as i walk along this path one of the things i want to get a handle on is how i respond to being ignored.  i want to be present to the fact that it really bothers me and makes me feel like an idiot and then move past it.  allow it to happen, i can't control what others do, but can set things up so that i am more interesting than what is happening around me.

i am capable of doing this with billy, but in the moment of him going LBI and just standing, leg cocked, head down, ignoring my plea to "please walk forward!" i tend to get frustrated and then angry.  that's when billy goes all the way over to LBI and stands there, laughing at me.  it's in that moment that i need to stop what i'm doing and re-think my tactics.

in both cases, me getting angry and talking louder to be heard doesn't work.  it just makes me seem like a crazy person.  just ask my kids...  and getting angry and louder with billy definitely does not work.  he just either ignores me more or gets scared and loses confidence in me as a leader.

this is most certainly a journey of never ending self improvement.  that self improvement will spill over into all aspects of my life.  thereby improving my relationships with my hubby and my kids as well.  (and maybe even my neighbors... sigh.)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

a little something for the weekend

SONY DSCthis is all i need to share this weekend.  i could watch and re-watch this level 4 liberty audition... and the BEST part is that it's my friend samantha and her lovely mare aspen from dillon montana!  they are in pagosa springs colorado right now doing a 3 month externship.  sigh.  such a lovely audition.  thank you samantha for letting me share this!!!

and just a little FYI... kittens are crazy.  wild.  naughty.  and they break things.  enough said!

[caption id="attachment_323" align="aligncenter" width="448"]SONY DSC this is what a kitty looks like just before he leaps up and tries to eat your face...[/caption]


Thursday, July 18, 2013


SONY DSCstop trying so hard.  when you are trying too hard, it's a sign that you are forcing something which does not fit.

effort is fine in moderation.  in excess though it might be trying to tell you to relax, stop trying to control the outcome and allow the truth to unfold.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

billy blaze

selfportraitself portrait

i went out to clean billy's pen, fix his grain and just put around a bit. billy was out in the front yard and didn't know i was back there. when i went to dump the wheel barrow i spotted him grazing. so i called, "billy billy billy!" his head flew up and he came trotting then cantering right to me :) sliding to a stop just in front of me. gosh. i love this horse.

he followed me back to his pen where his grain was waiting. i went and got a couple of his favorite brushes and sat down to wait for him to finish eating and drinking.

when he was ready he came over to me and i started to brush all his itchy spots. i started with the hard rubber curry and just concentrated on all the spots HE wanted me to. not worrying if i got every single square inch of his body. i just brushed and brushed.  starting at his wither area, down his shoulders, just behind his withers on his back, his chest. he moved so that i was brushing his butt, between his cheeks :) he LOVES that. i brushed and brushed and brushed. my arms started to get tired so i switched to his hedgehog brush and went to work on all his itchy spots again.

the spots were different with the different brush. he wanted me to brush around his ears and INSIDE his ears ( i used my fingers for that!) then he had me concentrate on his chest for quite a while. i brushed and brushed. he moved so that i was brushing his withers again, his shoulders, his back. then he walked away, did a little spin and put me right back at his chest and ears :) LOL so funny!

he ended that side with me at his butt, brushing between the cheeks again. this got a lot of releases and sighs and yawns and other things... i brushed and brushed and brushed.

at the end he moved so that i was brushing his chest again and i just stood there and brushed and brushed it until he started to chew on me. his signal that he was done!

he indicated that his jaw needed a little rubbing, so i rubbed and rubbed, digging into the creases and pushing along his jaw line. he was rolling his eyes into his head and yawning and yawning for this.

i just wanted to spend some quality time acknowledging the fact that he was so happy to come to me. cantering straight to me, ears up. tonight was all about his needs and wants.

time unhurried is never wasted.

Friday, July 12, 2013

a little something for the weekend

billynosebeach beauties

horses of the night

do you love your horse... too much?

this blog post pretty much sums up my recent struggles and breakthroughs!

i've been reminding myself to do this lately...

and remember to take time to be still.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

my life

SONY DSC"you might think the life you have is not at all the life you had in mind and so it doesn't constitute your real life at all.  your real life is the life you pine for, the life you're planning or the life you've already lost.  this is the life we are most devoted to: the life we don't have."                          ~ "Hand Wash Cold" by Karen Maezen Miller

how interesting!  i can totally relate to this passage.  when i am goal oriented (as i tend to be) i look toward the future.  often.  peering into the distance, visualizing what it is that want and desire.  all that peering means that i don't see what's right in front of me.  what is happening in this moment.  right now.  when i don't see the now, i'm missing out on my real life.  the life i'm living day to day.

my desire is to be a parelli professional so i can make the world a better place for horses and humans.  having that as a future goal must not stomp all over the life i have right now.

my days are filled with laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, playing with billy, cleaning his pen, grooming him, two days a week i work (so i can continue to afford to play with billy) and in between times i read, write and dream.  during all this doing i must not forget to live in the moment.

the blog post i read the other day about living without goals was a light bulb moment for me.  goals = expectations = direct line thinking.  learning to be in the moment, appreciating everything billy is teaching me, is key to my horsemanship evolving to the next level.  level 4 will come, once i learn to live in the moment.

the life i'm most devoted to must be the life i'm living now.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

zen horsemanship

SONY DSCi've been reading some books and blogs about being in the moment, simplifying our lives and learning to appreciate the little things.  this morning the whole family woke up feeling energized and ready to clean up and clean out.  we now have quite a few bags to donate and a few full of garbage as well.  it feels so good to de-clutter.

it got me thinking last night about de-cluttering my mind.  it's so full of goals and expectations that i'm getting bogged down in my horsemanship.  i have forgotten how to live in the moment.  this is a fairly recent problem as i really do feel that i have been living in the moment with billy up until level 4.  i didn't let the goals pull me under, instead i floated along on the euphoria of our achievements, no matter how small.

level 4 is about refinement and the games seem to have gotten harder.  there are certain tasks that i feel would be easier if i were riding billy as he would have a better understanding of what i'm asking and how he is supposed to respond.  i also wonder...if i teach him to do some of these things on the ground first how is that going to translate when i'm on his back?  but again, i find myself all bogged down with the how.

when we simplify and live in the moment the how of it all doesn't seem to matter so much.  not only does it not matter, but both billy and i have a lot more fun and are more relaxed with each other.  the games come easier.  the communication opens up.

it all boils down to me and how i am handling it all.  i believe that if i let go of some of my goals and expectations, level 4 will just come to us.  a timeline doesn't matter at this point.  i will ride billy when he is ready regardless if we've passed our level 4 online and liberty, or not.

Friday, July 5, 2013

a little something for the weekend


billy blaze being funny!

just a little fun with the teeter totter...

this is one of my favorite billy and the ball videos.

and another great one.

BLOOPERS are always fun...

billy learning about guns!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

before and after

beforeandafter2013left: may 2011                                                             right: june 2013

billy was a weedy looking yearling that has blossomed into a hunk of a three year old.  he has become super athletic and has learned to use his body correctly.  it's been a joy to watch this unfold.

SONY DSCbilly june 2011
SONY DSCbilly september 2011
SONY DSCbilly december 2011

watching a young horse learn to use his hind end efficiently, tucking his legs up under his body and lifting off with them.  thereby lifting his withers and actually changing the lay of the shoulder!  when things are in alignment magic can happen.

SONY DSCbilly spring of 2012

luckily i have been snapping pictures of billy all along this journey so i could SEE the changes.  i knew that they would happen slowly and i might miss a few things along the way.  of course when i put the top two pictures side by side it's pretty amazing the dramatic changes that have occurred, but watching them happen over the last 3 years has been enlightening!

SONY DSChe has taught me so much about conformation and how the muscles and ligaments are put together to form the outline that we see.  it's been so interesting to really understand that the conformation is really just the bone structure but the "ewe" neck, straight shoulder and weak back are all things that are changeable.

SONY DSCit's clear that one should not judge a book by it's cover... or a horse by it's yearling picture...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


SONY DSCthe other night our play time was peppered with some frustration on my part, but ultimately left me feeling a burning desire to head right back out (in the dark!) to try again.  i'm really beginning to understand that learning, for the both of us, happens outside of our comfort zone.  right now we are both stepping out of our comfort zone into some fairly advanced stuff.  so it's only natural that we will struggle and fail and struggle and fail, before we succeed.  there is a reason that so many people only make it to level 3!!!  level 4 is TOUGH.

up until now i've felt like i pretty much sailed through the levels... now many times when we play i feel like we are getting farther and farther from our online audition.

something that i really must work on is my rope handling skills.  it's about more than just being able to stay out of my own way when i have 45' of rope on the ground.  it's about NOT over using my tools, wiggling, swinging, shaking my rope and/or my stick and string.  when i do this i ultimately confuse and micromanage billy, which will ultimately hold us both back from our level 4.  and will hold me back from becoming the best horse-man that i can be.

very simply i have to get control of myself first, then i can communicate with my horse.  use my body language and not my tools to get my needs across to my horse, then we can focus on the task.  a sure sign that i'm using my tools as a crutch is when i find myself all tangled up and feeling frustrated because my feather lines won't lay nice on billy's back.  level 4 is about having NO LINES.

it's about refinement, refinement, refinement.