Friday, September 27, 2013

a little something for the weekend


this article is an eye opener for why america is producing so many mediocre instructors.  wow!

here is an interesting article by tom moates.  i agree with some of what he says and disagree with some.  there is always something to learn from everyone, even when that someone is downtroding what you believe in ;)  i have read a few of tom's books that he wrote about harry whitney.  i really enjoyed them, though once again i felt that he had misinterpreted things that parelli teaches.  that seems to happen often in the "natural horsemanship world" and mostly i find out later that the person who is misquoting, or misunderstanding the program has never studied it.  i feel that it's difficult to make a clear judgement about something until you've put your time in and learned what you can about it first hand.

this pony is in amazing shape!!!  what an imagination these two have...

at the david lichman clinic he talked a lot about using music to get rhythm and relaxation.  this video is the ultimate example of this!  i've loved this video since they rode this test at the 2006 world equestrian games.  i sat on the edge of my seat watching it then and every single time i watch it now i'm on the edge of my seat, clapping, with tears in my eyes.  these two are simply amazing...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

friendly game


i've been thinking about the friendly game versus desensitizing a horse.  i live in a place where the old cowboy way still prevails, though i must say most have tried to tone it down some.  probably because the cowboys aren't as young as they used to be and being bucked off before every ride just isn't in the cards anymore.  but i digress....

if you've been around horses for any length of time you've probably witnessed a horse being desensitized.  sometimes people just bombard the horse with lots of different stimulants, saddle pads, tarps, plastic bags, saddles, themselves, all done in fairly quick accession not allowing the horse time to think.  sometimes they barely have time to react, though i've seen a few just simply fall to the ground in panic.  then they get their feet tied and they have to lay there and be desensitized.  or if they put up a fight they are thrown to the ground and then desensitized.

when people desensitize their horse they are simply teaching them to put up with rude behavior.  not only that but over stimulating in this way can make the horse dull.  non responsive to it's environment.  and you are part of this environment.  so are grizzly bears.

the friendly game is not desensitization and should not be confused with that.

when we play the friendly game we are looking to teach our horse to manage it's emotions and think through things rather than just react.  we are not trying to desensitize them to this commotion.  we are looking to have our horses be responsive to us and to listen to us in times of stress.  when the friendly game is done right it can show your horse what a dependable leader you are, thereby encouraging your horse to look to you for support when it is scared.  looking to you for support and jumping on you when scared are two different things.  just sayin.

do things with the horse and for the horse, but never TO the horse.

the friendly game is the #1 game in the list of the 7 games for a reason.  it's the most important one to win.  winning the friendly game is the key to teaching your horse to "do nothing" when he is scared, instead of spooking, bolting, jumping on you or fighting.

it's never too late to spiff up your friendly game.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


something i've noticed in the parelli program are students that don't progress.  people often come to the program because they have a difficult horse.  they start at one point in the process and get some tools, have some breakthroughs and then don't ask for more, of themselves or their horse.  the horse may have come into the program an extreme Right Brained Extrovert but as they gain confidence, they started to become more centered.  but the human still thinks of them as an extreme and treats them as such.  keeping both themselves and their horse in that tiny little spot on the horsenality chart.

i see people that are stuck in level 2, not progressing beyond because they are afraid to scare their horse.

the name of the game is progress.  and progress comes in the simplest of forms.

it can be a simple friendly game in which you up the anti.  progress further.  just how friendly can you get your horse with an umbrella?

be imaginative!  throw things on the ground.  stumble around like a drunk person.  note how your horse handles this and then PROGRESS.  help your horse get brave.  help him move past his fears to that space where he feels safe.  where he sees you as an effective leader.  use your imagination and the imaginations of your friends!

in one savvy club dvd (issue 74: calm, connected and responsive - extroverts - online) i heard linda parelli say that many many people have not won the friendly game.  they can play it with their stick and string and maybe they can touch the horse all over.  maybe.  but they don't progress the friendly game beyond that.  and then they wonder why their horse is always so nervous.

pay attention to how your horse feels about the situations you are putting him in and then balance your friendly game!  the friendly game can always be expanded on.  there is always one more thing you can try, test your horses confidence and then help him gain even more.

progress is the name of the game.  don't get stuck in the mud!  and don't blame the parelli program (or your instructor) when you don't progress.  it's completely up to you.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

making our better best

billyscollagesometimes i lay awake at night worrying that i am letting billy down.  lately i've had such a hard time getting any play time in because of my darned foot, then i got the flu, it's been so hot and buggy making play time miserable. and on and on and on.  all these excuses.  they keep me up at night.

i think about all that we have to do before i can ride him.  at this rate i won't be on his back until he is 10 and i'm 45!!

then that sends me back to the fact that i can not get all caught up in the "shoulds" of life.  what i should do compared to what i am doing.  nothing that i'm doing right now, allowing billy to grow up some more, eat yummy green grass, chase his goats, is hurting him.  not at all!

i'll ride him when i ride him.  i sat on him two days ago and he was totally fine with it.  we have come so far in our horsemanship and have a long way to go, but again, i remind myself that we don't have a timeline.

billyatonecollagei like to look back at pictures i've taken of billy over the years that i've had him.  it's amazing how much he has changed, grown up, started to really muscle up.  i can see by his build that he has a bit more filling out to do and i have some weight to lose.  giving each other a bit more time is a great idea.

we will work on making our better best!

Monday, September 16, 2013

i love

chaosofhomeschooli love that even when my horse is out in the 10 acres, eating, and he sees my car he will canter across it to meet me at the driveway.  playfully bucking, striking and nickering his way over to me.

i love that my horse is so confident that he will come join in while we build a goat shed.  just hanging out while we run circular saws, nail guns and screw guns.  none of that phases him as long as he gets to be part of it all.

i love that my horse has two goats to move around, gather up, sometimes chase.  and when he nickers to them, they come gallumping, in their awkward way, to his call.

i love that my horse will come stand with his head inside the feed shed while i get his dinner ready, but will NOT come INTO the feed shed.

i love that when i take him his dinner he will stand patiently outside of his house while i fill the feeder and get everything ready.  i love that he will NOT enter until i tell him to.

i love that my horse will stand patiently for me to open the gate to his pen so he can go out and eat.  he will stand there until i tell him he can go out the open gate.

i love that my horse calls to me whenever he sees me outside and will leave his food to come see what i'm doing.

i love that when he hears me reading to my boys in the backyard during homeschool he will come find us and then beg to be allowed into the yard to eat while we sit out there working.

i love that my horse is my partner.

i love parelli.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


billychaoscollage"In the midst of transformation, the chaos seems never-ending. It is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But when you get to the other side, order resumes and your higher vision shines brightly in the fresh, new light you have created."

sometimes the journey of natural horsemanship can look like chaos.  it's all ups and downs, tiny, halting steps forward then falling, rolling, leaping backward.  then tiny steps forward again.  it's a give and take that requires a lot of commitment to the actual journey and very little thought of the finished product.  if you are in this for the horse then there really is never a finished product.  there is always learning, changing, making your journey at once chaotic and joyful.

"you know you are putting the relationship first when rapport, connection, trust and confidence are more important than achieving the task or goal itself."  ~linda parelli

when you put your horse's needs first then great things will follow.  if you are taking care of your relationship before you know it you will have surpassed all your goals.  this is something that i keep telling myself, hoping that it proves true for billy and i!  our journey has been a bit uncomfortable lately... they do say that the best learning happens outside of your comfort zone!  sigh.  i am definitely doing some licking and chewing over here.

but having my horse offer to load himself in any open horse trailer, jump a single down barrel whenever he sees one, boldly walk up to any pedestal and put all four feet on it, come sideways towards me with just a wave of my hand, is the most amazing feeling.  having billy feel so willing to do what i ask and eagerly look forward to our play time is an amazing feeling.  this makes me feel like i am on the right track.

chaos and all.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

a little something for the weekend

believecollagewhat happens after level 4?  you pick your sport!  i'm thinking billy's sport will be trail riding and doing demonstrations...

what do you think?  to bit or not to bit?  that is the question...

i'm a firm believer in the KISS method of feeding.  billy gets hay/grass (depending on the time of year) and plain old triple cleaned oats with either dried chamomile flowers, OR ground flax seed OR this herbal mix.   i prefer to never feed all at the same time.  i've been feeding the herbal mix to our goats and their hair coats have gotten so healthy and shiny.  a wonderful side effect i've noticed is that they are not bothered by the flying and buzzing bugs like billy is.  the other night after i had fed the goats billy was begging to see their little feed pans, so i allowed him a look.  he immediately started to lick and lick the residual herb mixture that was in the bottom of the pan.  i went straight into the house and ordered him the very same mix.  when the herbs came he tried to open the bag all by himself and anxiously awaited his chance at them.  as i was mixing his feed he was nickering and nickering, pacing around his pen.  he never does this.  hmmmm how interesting!

i also use young living essential oils on him.  he will sometimes have the opportunity to choose his own oils.  he is very good at this!  if you haven't looked into these for your horse and yourself i high recommend them!

Thursday, September 5, 2013


handsome hubby was out practicing with his new firearm and the goats and billy were about 50 feet away.  i "shot" this video to document how well he handles the loud "BANG!"

Sunday, September 1, 2013

taking a break

billygrazingbilly and i are taking a little break.  we learned so much at the david lichman clinic.  after that we have more than enough to keep us busy for the next few YEARS...  but i hurt my foot and can barely hobble around and i think billy has earned a break, so we are hanging up the halter and concentrating on eating grass (billy blaze) and healing (me).

we'll be back soon!!!