Friday, June 29, 2012

Feeling Some Improvement - Finally!

Gizmo has been improving slowly. I can feel more try with him and I'm really excited about it. At the Equi-Trek competition this weekend, I was complemented by a few people that didn't know us how he tries really hard for me. I needed to hear this, because he is so arguementative some times. It made me look at him with different eyes. At home, he does so well with transitiions from my body. When I go to clinics or different places this poses problems sometimes. I'm realizing that it is me causing this. I probably ride differenty due to anxiety or nerves. Big BFO! This morning we practiced transitions, of course, figure of 8, follow the rail, moving front end, moving back end, and indirect turns. We started the question box for the first time. I was always hesitant about question box because Gizmo doesn't like circles. Well, it's time. He did better than I thought he would! We stopped almost everytime we were in the box. The times we didn't, I made sure I kept my body in the "we are moving through this time" mode. He did what he was supposed to do. It made me smile! He is really starting to put the brakes on when I ask for the whoa. For some reason his indirect turns are broken. He gets stuck in the middle. We did some of those and I quit when I had a flowing turn. I feel that he knows what to do, but is arguing with me. We will keep at it! Sometimes I have more movement from front and back end turns, and today, he was very sticky. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. We should have this by now. I'll be using the crop next time I ride for a thunk, Thunk, THUNK! Wake up America!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Trail Clinic

I will need to do a better job of keeping up with Gizmo's wall! This weekend, he and I attended a local trail clinic. It wasn't a Parelli clinic, but I knew the instructor and he is very kind to his horses. We had a blast and I think the instructor did too! One of the things we worked on that was challenging for me was to lope out in a big field alone away from the others. Gizmo likes to race and it is funny how he has much less go when he is alone. I felt the others pulling us back in, but I kept him out there. Another challenge was to go swimming in a lake. The other horses had to actually swim, but Gizmo was so tall that we just walked around. I loved that challenge and have been wanting to do that for a long time. He had no problem at all with going in the water. The puddle at the beginning of the day was much more challenging. The instructor had the same thing to say about Gizmo and I as my Parelli instructor - Gizmo does not see me as leader in the saddle and argues with me a lot (and that I am not assertive enough). I do see us improving, but it is a snails pace. I'm taking it all in and working on getting my good, better, best! This weekend I will be attending a trail challenge similar to ACTHA. We will be putting our skills to the test, but just for fun. If I think of it as a competition, I will get really nervous and choke up. I will be enjoying myself riding with friends and improving my horsemanship at the same time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Improvement Needed!

Rode Gizmo after a week off because of weather and Easter holidays. He seemed exactly where we left off with no improvement like usual. Can't seem to move forward on him. I'm attending a clinic at the end of April and those always help. If it wouldn't be for those I'd probably be still riding in hackamore! Backing is slow but happening, direct turns are still going to to a soft phase four of using rein and sometimes he turns on a phase two, indirect turns are good some days and not so good on others, transitions are pretty good in arena, not as good on trail, figure 8 sucks! My next session I will do passenger lesson for a bit to remind him of how harmony feels then we will do figure 8's. I'm feeling the need for improvement right about now! Haven't done much online lately because I cannot ask for circles online and then expect him to move very much in arena. I've got to keep the edge on him or I'll tire him out. When I do online though, he is very responsive to me. We just haven't made too much progress getting to a higher level. One thing to add is that his saddling at home is sooooo good. When I take him to places, because he goes a little right brained, he seems to be a different horse. I need to really pay attention to this at new places and get him with me more before I saddle him. I need to take the time it takes so that it takes less time. He'll probably see me more as a leader also. Oh, forgot to mention that we are improving on follow the rail. He will try and come off sometimes, but I definately see progress on that pattern. Yipeeeee!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Equi-Trek Competition

Gizmo and I have been a very busy team. I competed in an Equi-Trek competition with Gizmo this weekend and we placed 9th out of 20 riders. Not bad! I hate competition, but my friends convinced me to take a go at it so I did. It was very rewarding and I'm glad we did it. We rode 7 miles on Friday and 7 miles on Saturday. We went through ravines, bogs, over logs, and through creeks. We were airborne for all of the ravines, so I know I need to get that fixed. All of the other obstacles I just need to practice. The last obstacle was backing around a tree, and accomplishing that one made my whole day. We also need to work on his impulsion on the trail. He has way too much go and not enough whoa. Very different in the arena! He wants to race every horse and also be up their butts. If a horse in front of him gets out of sight, he goes nuts. I have a lot of work ahead of me. By the way, I just recieved my scorecard from the judges and they gave me a plus score for my backing around the tree. What a surprise. I am very proud to have accomplished that obstacle. I remembered a video of Pat helping a girl on Parelli Puzzles and it all came back to me. I needed to look to the outside instead of the inside like most people do. You need to look where you need the hips to go! I used the outside leg and viola, he did it. I had to overcompensate twice because he turned a little too much, but I did it and that is all that matters. I loved the trail competition. I've always wanted to do it but would have never done it if it weren't for Lucy. Thank You Lucy. I hope to be as good as her one day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gizmo's First Beach Trip

Took Gizmo to the beach today not knowing what to expect. In the past, it has taken me a liitle while to get him off of adrenaline at new places, but then seems to settle down. It wasn't like that today. When I hand walked him over the levee to the beach he did his little snorts every time he took a breath. I was wondering what in the heck he was thinking. We stopped and let him take it all in on the way to the surf, and at the surf, took our time checking it out. It only took about 5 minutes for him to walk in. His curiosity is almost in the extreme catagory even if he is scared. When the white wave would roll in, he'd back up, then go in again. We never went deeper than his mid shin. I ended up taking off my boots, but my jeans, which were rolled up, got wet way up to my mid thigh. Everything went great with that so we saddled up. That was a different ball game. I couldn't get him in the water after that until we came across Gary Boquet, a trainer in my area, and I asked him to go in the surf before me to see if Gizmo would follow in. He did! I have never felt quickness in Giz like i did when he tried to get away from the waves coming in. But, he was right back in there waiting for the next wave to move away from that one. It was awesome. Felt like I was on a cutting horse! After the trainer left, it was back to being a chicken. I never pushed the issue. I'll just bring him back and build on what we accomplished.
As far as the rest of the ride, he was very extroverted. If I would have let him, he would have galloped off into the sunset. Never went there. I used partial disengagement to keep him at a walk or trot. Also tried steady rein, but that was ineffective today. After a while, his head came down and we were our old selves again. Every now and then, he would feel like speeding up, but it wasn't bad. He cracks me up in the way he has such a short attention span. After settling down and being the good little horse, he seemed to all of a sudden say, 'this is boring now, think i'll cut up a bit and make this ride more interesting'. He would pick on the other two horses on the ride. Then speed up, and slow down. I'd take him in circles trotting around everyone to occupy him and when things were going good for me, he'd start acting like a 3 year old child again. He is so funny! Every new thing we would come across, like a beach umbrella, a lounge chair, a beach tent, etc. he would have to go check it out. It was like the item had a magnet on his nose. I'm chalking that up as a good quality to have, especially a trail horse, which is what I do most of. I just let him smell, then we were off again. Had a really fun day, and I hope to go back soon. We probably logged in 7 or 8 miles.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back to Gizmo Already!

Back to Gizmo even if it isn't his week, Can Do was limping. I'm starting to put two and two together and figured the only reason she is mine is because she probably has some old injury that keeps popping up. Everytime I get going with her this happens. I'm not even pushing her. I'm talking a couple of laps around the arena trotting and loping. Anyway, Gizmo and I worked on sideways with me in z 2, but us doing sideways together, kind of like a stick to me. I think he caught on, but it was just the first day. We also played with straddling the pole which he had no problem with. Then I moved on to the larger pole and it took a little time. After he got it, we moved on. His cod to the left is still a bit sticky. Practiced it just a little today after I saddled him. We rode with the carrot stick to start out. Lateral flexion, stopping on the rail at a walkk, stopping on the rail at a trot. He does good with stopping from my seat so that wasn't an issue. Then I started the indirect turn to the rail without using my reins. He became a little confused but I hung in there. I also was applied pressure with my leg before I used the stick. He gave me some nice turns and some not so nice. I do find him turning with my seat more than he ever has, so we are improving. He is definately my sacrificial lamb!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Back on Can Do This Week!

Started off on Can Do's week today! She picked up where we left off. We left off with a trip to Lucy's where we had a private clinic on loping, lol! Lucy, Nancy, and Mary parked their horses in the middle of a large circle and had me lope or try to lope Can Do around the cones. At first it was like a joke. Can Do had my number and knew exactly what she could get away with. Not for long though, because I had Coach Lucy on my side. She made me Can Do's leader. It was awesome! After that, I had a new concept to work with at home. I really felt like I walked away with some leadership that day. In the end, Can Do was loping from a walk. I felt proud. The session today went pretty good although couldn't get the left lead. The longest we loped was one lap of arena. I will start from there and try and extend her cardio workout. Million transitions went pretty well. I'm not sure why, but I do a lot of this pattern. I like the fact that my horses go or whoa with my seat. It works in the arena anyway! She backed better than Gizmo, but her head was elevated somewhat. We will practice that this week. Supposed to be going to the beach on Wednesday, yeah! Can Do didn't seem to have issues with going to the other end of the arena today. Also, She straddled the pole fairly quickly online before we started. We had been having a little problem with moving the hind end over the pole the last couple of times.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Movin a Mack Truck

Like trying to move mack truck! Couldn't even get lateral flexion. I did it approximately 30 times all using phases with the carrot stick. He would even lick, but never give his head to me without going through the phases. Whats a girl to do?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Carrot Stick Riding

Played with Gizmo a little before riding and he got straddling the pole almost instantly. We did it on a small pole first because I haven't done it in a while, then we progressed to the telephone pole size log. Got it, we moved on to figure eight. Online first, then I took off the lead rope to see what I had. He have me 3 revolutions at the trot at liberty. Not bad, huh? Very proud of that. Our liberty really doesn't exist because I have no round pen. Sometimes I play with it in the pasture. His sideways with speed along a fence would have probably made Pat Parelli fuss me. We rode with carrot stick today because I don't do enough of it. I'm always doing the pattern follow the rail and million transitions. It seems to me that I do that an awful lot and we still don't have it, ha! Gizmo was introverted today. It is funny to me how he changes. We did indirect turns that led to direct turns. He did very nice but very slow. He went into the canter from the trot, but I asked for it while we were walking. More practice on that! Lately I've been asking him to lope for longer periods, like one full lap around the arena, today we went one and a half and I cut through the middle and kept him in the smaller circle. He didn't have any problems with it. He didn't turn with my body today like I thought. I had to go to the phase 4 of the carrot stick almost everytime. I'm figuring he was so introverted today because I saw him and Can Do in the pasture for about 30 min playing dominance games. They were doing a lot of cutting up and running. He was probably whooped from that. Who knows!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gizmo's Week

We played online and Gizmo was sooo introverted, however, I did get the trot on the figure eight. It was such a beautiful, cool day and the sun was so warm. I was actually feeling kind of lazy myself. His change of direction going from the right to the left needs a little improvement. I really like how he is letting me halter him and bridle him. He is seeking the bit with his lips. Guess I'd do it too if I liked molasses. This was all in preparation to ride. I cannot do too much ground work as far as circling game when I want to ride because he fizzles out. I have to save that energy for the saddle. After saddling, I took it very slow. I wanted to do a follow up from yesterdays ride.We did phases at the walk and trot seeing how little I could do to get him to turn when I wanted. At first, he was not so great, so I picked up the carrot stick. This seemed to bring him more life just knowing that I had it. Soon after, his life came back down. Not sure what that was about! It was just a small bit of life anyway. After making some turns around the cones, he started to turn with just my body. I only did a couple and got my happy butt off of him. Didn't want to drill him. I'm hoping that this will make my ride better for tomorrow, right Linda! Forgot completely to do backup, but did some indirect turns leading into a direct turn and he did it, very slowly I might add! Oh, I forgot to mention that we worked on fig. 8 at liberty. He did it! I need to incorporate more liberty into my program.

Friday, March 2, 2012


We reviewed what it means to respect me. He remembered farely quickly, ha! Rode freestyle and patterns and when he was responding I quit. He is picking up the lope from the trot very well. He has trouble maintaining gait though. Both of my Parelli horses have no stamina. Whats up with that? I will start building distance of the lope gradually with both of them starting with a half of a lap. They should be able to do that. His backing got more responsive with the mecate going back and forth on his shoulders. Wake up, I say! Gizmo is just like my youngest son. After riding Can Do lately, Gizmo's lope is very comfortable


My week riding Can Do has turned into about 3 weeks, not riding everyday though. Since I've decided to bring her to my next clinic, I've been trying to get her in shape. She really is looking nice right now and not like Ms. Piggy! I brought her to a friends barn yesterday and we worked on cantering. At first it wasn't pretty. Maintain direction and fast trotting were the result. My friend, who is an experienced rider, was in the middle of the arena coaching me the entire time. She was hard on me and I needed it. In the end, Can Do was picking up the canter from a walk. I am trilled and couldn't sleep last night because of this accomplishment. I have it in me to be really good, I just need private coaching, lol! Maintaining the canter is my next mountain. Can Do hasn't been ridden much in ten years and doesn't have much stamina. I am going to get her in shape and we are going to be great together. I am going to start cantering in my millions of transitions program and start to ask for longer distances slowly. I can also do this online! Yesterday I had a BFO about how much our horses dominate us in the minute things that they do that I never really paid much mind to. For example, moving one more step after you ask for the halt, or getting in my personnal space when on the ground. If I am ever to be the leader, I need to start paying attention to these little things, the little things that I never even noticed before yesterday. Do not get me wrong, my horses are not running me over or anything, I'm talking about the little step backs that I do on a regular basis and things like that. You don't know what you don't know, but now I'm starting to have conscience competience. Yeah me! I also learned to keep Can Do out in the circle. While we were loping (cantering) she would try and turn into the middle of the circle where all of my friends were. They were all mounted on their horses and watching the 'big show'. She would also break down into the trot. My coach, Lucy, fussed me and told me to lift my inside rein and use my inside leg to push her back out. DO NOT LET HER TROT! Yes ma'm! What I was doing, which wasn't effective, was using a direct rein, the outside one, to pull her out. Hello, doesn't Pat say not to pull your horses? He says to push them, so that is what I did. And it worked!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Today we practiced transitions as it has been my weakness. I'm trying to get the trot, walk, or lope in my body and for Can Do to pick it up. Sometimes it works, sometimes not! I believe I'm not consistant enough. We also did follow the rail which both of my Parelli horses should have by now. My focus needs improvement because I felt her all over the place as I was trying to do my transitions and then all of a sudden I put her on the weave and she did it so nicely. It reiterated how strong my focus needs to be and that I must let it slip a little at times. At one point I moved off of the rail to do transitions because I felt like I was trying to do two things at one time - stay on the rail and transitions. When doing that I'm realizing that she is unconfident on one side of the arena. It is the side away from the pasture horses. This explains alot and gives me some 'how interesting' thoughts. She kept coming off of the rail at the same point so if she came off, I'd bring her into a lope. Hope this helped as I'll know more in the near future. As I write this, I'm realizing I forgot to go to the right. This was all done going to the left which is her favorite side. Oh well! All in all, this day went pretty well. Can do is getting her girly figure back after being on a diet for a couple of months. I'm getting her in shape to bring her to a clinic in Wiggins in April. I think she's 18 years old, not a spring chicken anymore!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Didn't feel any different today. Did I make any progress with his brain, probably not, but I quit when he responded. Hoping he realized it and wants to be my partner tomorrow. He is like trying to move a bulldozer and he knows it. With him, it is completely his mind that I have to partner with not his feet. He refuses to move, and when he does, it is a baby step. I do not know what to do with this. I think I have tried to move slowly on his terms, not to much pressure, I have also tried to use pressure, like phases, I get nothing. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel he really tries, but we cannot progress in the program with "every now and then". He understands, because his groundwork is awesome. When I'm on the ground and I move the reins like I would be if I were on his back, he is very responsive. Why would anything be different if I were on his back. A porcupine game is a porcupine game right. 4 ozs of pressure is 4 ozs of pressure right? He is a punk! And I have not figured out how to make him tick! I'll keep at it though because I'm determined to get to level 4. I want to be there someday!
        I still cannot get my horses to follow the rail. I do exactly what I'm supposed to and they keep coming off. Well, today I said " you  want to come off of the rail, lets go trot in the middle of the arena". I think it may have worked. We had to come off of the rail probably about seven times, but I noticed at the end of the session, he was staying on better. Today was only day one, so I'll keep track of that for the seven days of the pattern. I also got out the carrot stick and when I asked him to move the front end around his back end and he didn't move, the bulldozer thing, he got a thunk, Thunk, THUNK! When he was moving off of the stick with ease, I quit the lesson. Man, I've got to do something different. I'm getting nowhere. So this will be my new pattern, I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


After a week off so that I could focus on Can Do, Gizmo was his complete self, very sticky. We did follow the rail, passenger lesson, and backup. He still tries to come off of the rail on a regular basis, and I can't figure him out. It has been two years in March that we have been doing freestyle. I feel like we just started. His backup was ok, but not what it should be. I do have to be possitive and say that he was turning with my body better. He didn't make the complete turn, but I think he is starting to respond to that better. Today I will be super soft and try and discover his try and reward that. I will also not ask for the complete circle back to the rail. I will ask for him to cross the arena at x and then go straight. I think this will help him out some. Something is telling me that I'm too hard on him. Online we did sideways. He did well. I sent him sideways from z1 and z3 over a pole. He was on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

LB or RB?

This week is Can Do's week. We played online with maintain gait on circle. She gets it a little quicker than when we first started and when she maintains the trot, I stop and then we move on to something else. Her sideways needs improvement. She wants to bring her rear end towards me when I try to drive it away. I think I caused this problem because this summer I taught her to stand next to me for mounting. We also did figure 8's. She is hilarious. I really have trouble with her LB/RB. She changes in a nanosecond. I love watching her trying to figure it out. She definately goes right brained when obstacles are involved and she is so clumsy. When she asks me a question I bust out laughing. When she knows she's getting a treat she snorts like a pig, which she must have been in a former life. I really must have overdone touch it with her feet, because she wants to stop at everything and touch it with her foot. Then she gives me one of those looks, "Look at me mom!". Also, she knows that when I say "good girl" she must be getting a treat I may have overdone that one also. I love her!!!! When riding, we always start with passenger lesson. She has trouble with go, which suprises me. She stops every couple of steps like she isn't sure of what I want. We will practice this. Her follow the rail stands at she won't follow the rail. She seemed to be really worried by the orange trees today. I handled this by backing and asking her to go forward again. Then we did some indirect turns. She did those pretty good then it was time to quit. I am bringing her to my next clinic with Maurice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Zero Brace

Getting back on my routine since the holidays has been rough. I rode Gizmo today and it was a very short session because he was cooperative. Yes, you heard me right, cooperative. Everything I asked, he tried. No brace, which is what he is all about. Go Gizmo! Oh, and I must not forget, Go Sam!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Going Backwards

Gizmo is something else. My journey through Parelli seems to be taking a backwards trip. I always feel like I've got to start over with him for freestyle. Why? Because after 2 solid years of riding, I feel like we are at square 1 all of the time. I know it's me. I feel so positive when I get back from Maurice's clinic, and then blah. I'm just not moving forward. Yesterday I sat on him and started to cry a little. I had been on him doing ftr, indirect and direct turns, backing, and its just not improving. Then I thought of Maurice, he got on us frequently because our horses were just going through to motions with no enthusiam. Also, Pat and Linda say it too. So I pretended to be the soldier and said we are going to that fence and turn left. I just executed my body and off he went towards the fence with pizzaz. Then we turned left. OMG! I got off of him and we called it a day. Now if I can only repeat that feeling in my body because actually, I have no idea what I did. I may not ride today, but I'll report back and let you know what happens next. It is me, it is me, it is me. By the way, his passenger lessons are going great. He really pays attention to what I'm doing in my body, especially slowing down to a WALK. Imagine that!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The New Year Brings in Understanding

Bringing in the new year with lots of enthusiam and positive thoughts made me realize something - "it's not about the ????". I always make it about the circle, or the sideways, or the whatever. So, for the new year I'm making it about the relationship. Trying anyway! I rode yesterday after a month off because of the holidays, and things weren't that great. Not bad, but not great! I had in my mind, after studing Parelli videos all week at the camp, that I would look like the video. I was disappointed of course. But I do understand the video, and I feel like I'm in it doing all of the right things then it all goes to pot when I'm out there. It's like I have the "crs" syndrome. (Can't Remember Shit). So, that is my focus for the new year. My blog is now one year old and I'm very proud of myself for keeping it up. I was never able to keep up stuff like this, so I get a prize to myself. The prize is - I'll think about it and let you know. I can't think up something right now and besides, the horses must be waiting for me at the gate right now saying, "pick me, pick me". LOL!