Friday, July 23, 2010

My First Parelli Lesson

Well, the title should say it all: Today was my first lesson with a licensed Parelli Professional. Her name is Meggie Allen. She has two stars, which in Parelli language means that she is qualified to teach Parelli students in the on line and freestyle (riding without contact, as opposed to finesse, which is riding with contact, as in dressage) savvies up to level 4.

I decided to scrape together money for lessons because with my job the way it is, right now, I come home so tired and I have so little time off, that with all the things I need to put time into, I can't be as constructive in the horse part of my life. I will admit that right now, I am doing an excellent job of sticking with programs and having success with both of my horses. However, I know that by taking these lessons, whatever progress I would have made all by myself will be doubled with a Parelli Professional, if I utilize her properly.

I will start with my homework to have ready for next week:
#1. When catching, try using the barn knot.
#2. Present some creative friendly games.
#3. Present some creative porcupine games (lead by the _____).
#4. Work specifically on lead by the tail.
#5. Get rhythm in the yields of the porcupine, driving, and yoyo games.
#6. When driving from zone 5, use a change in my own energy to make upward and downward transition.
#7. Work a lot in the trot when driving from zone 5.
#8. When doing the circling game and asking for a change in direction, go back to my original spot after the change is complete.
#9. Work on downward transitions, backing up, and halt to canter/canter to halt transitions on the circle
#10. Work in the round pen with the circling game to improve body shape on the circle

When she arrived, Meggie stayed in her truck getting things situated and I went out and caught Misty so she could watch that. Misty was really awesome. I crawled into the pasture and she poked her head over Connor and I smiled and stood for a moment. Connor came up to me and said hello, Misty behind him. I gently drove Connor around me so he would not take off but so I could draw Misty without her getting sucked over to him or him driving her. Then Misty began to half-heartedly move off. She came right to me when I leaned down and looked at her hindquarters. I held the halter out in the arc with my arm and she came right into it. She puts her nose a little behind the halter at first, so I waited for her nose to go in it, then I slid it on and tied it up. I stood with her for a moment and rubbed her, worked on untangling a newly forming witch's knot--that sort of thing.

Meggie asked me to show her the best of the first 3 games, which, I decided would be the friendly game if it was right off with no warm up. Misty was just slightly stiff as I whapped the ground and helicoptered the carrot stick. She was definitely having a "bearing-it" sort of stiffness and not breathing. As I continued, we looked for her to get more relaxed, which she did.
One of my homeworks is to come up with more creative friendly games. Here are some of the things I have already done with Misty:
Dragging things from the saddle
Plastic rake head on a line (those are good for doing the helicopter with if you are handy)
Green ball
Tarp (walking on it, dragging it, being rubbed with it, wearing it)
Tarp fill with water
Very complex Tarp over four pillars of stuff to make a trailer simulation
Plastic bag
Handling her teats, tongue, back legs
Bathing (this one still needs work, though, as does friendly game with another horse)

So, what I think I want to present next week is another horse. Misty is very aggressive with other horses. So, I will play the friendly game with Misty, with another horse as the thing she needs to get comfortable with.--Looking at this the morning I posted, I guess I have already done this friendly game this winter when I played with Blu and Misty at the same time. At liberty, I would have them both trot to me, and if she did not get a cookie until Blu got there. Pretty soon, she was not trying to beat the tar out of him to keep him from coming to me. Then, when I play with Blu at liberty or on line from Misty's back, I would give her treats every time Blu got close to us. Do you know how hard it is to play with two horses when one horse is bent on driving the other horse nuts (Blu) and the other horse's M.O. is to bite, kick, and otherwise mame said horse?

Therefore, I need to come up with another new friendly game. Some of the ones that come right to mind are snapping our old lounge whip and decoy birds.

Next, I showed Meggie plain old porcupine game with my hands. Misty was very dull (Note: especially in the hindquarters)! I did not panic, I knew that she would be; there were things going on, we had not warmed up, of course she was not going to be light. But Meggie wants me to work on rhythm in the yields. The same with the driving game and the yoyo game. She did back straight on the yoyo game, though, she was just distracted and choppy.

Next, we worked on driving game and lead by the tail. First, she wanted to see us back up from zone 3, 4, then 5 using the yoyo game. Then, we evolved that into backing with the tail. With lots of waiting and releasing at the proper time, she took a couple steps with just the tail and I would say it was a phase 3 for our current phases.

I did one line driving on a 22' line, for the instructor. Misty was terribly upset, though because right as we were about to start, all the other horses were let out back. So, I regained her attention by driving her to the giant tire pedestal. Misty got reconnected very nicely and we went off on our figure 8 with two cones. As we went along, her rough turns and out-of-sync modality totally changed and she began to keep her hindquarters lined up with me better. I called it good after she went around the cone that was close to the out gate without veering and being very soft. However, I forgot to bring my energy down, first, so that is on my homework list, for sure!

Next, I showed her my circling game. We moved to a different part of the pasture and things were going on next door, so Misty's adrenaline came up a bit. I had to wait before I sent her at first because she couldn't look at me. She was pretty tight in her body and there was usually not slack in the rope. I did some changes of direction and did not go back to my original spot after I completed them, which is bad because that means I am letting her invade my space. Another thing on my homework list that I just need to remember to not forget.

When we were done, Misty relaxed a lot as we talked. Then, I rode Misty out back and let her go near her buddies. On the way out, she was a little tense, but on a loose rein. As we got closer to the outback, I did some leg yields and halfhalts to make sure she was still thinking about me. When we got to the field, I asked her to all out run and I got a nice, short passenger lesson with her swerving to avoid bushes and such. When I said good bye and left, she stopped eating and followed me for a little bit before she realized "what am I doing I am where I wanted to be!" and stopped and ate again. That was really cool.

Next week, our lesson plan is for me to have Misty warmed up upon the instructor's arrival so we can get right into her good stuff. We are for sure doing the circling game in the round pen and I will show her my lead by the tail and creative friendly game. Today was all about feeling out where I am during my warm up time. She also got to see pretty much every side of Misty because of all the distractions that went on. She was never her left brain extrovert self, though. It takes a lot of playing--and usually a green ball--for Misty to really get all geeked out and play hard.

So, great day.

Official Records Information 1 hour, 30 minutes, evening, 7-23-10, Misty

PS I brought the horses up riding Blu (who had walked himself 1/2 way out of the fence when I got back there!). When I began approaching, I called out and he saw me and began to walk to me with pauses and staring. Misty began to walk the same way. Then they both relaxed and ate again. I watched as Blu began to eat himself out of the pasture and decided he was the choice horse to ride! Misty stayed relaxed and did not take off until I was on Blu driving everyone up. Blu is so silly; he still is not as job oriented about driving the horses up (the way Misty is, who loves to drive all the horses back home), so he still tends to get swept up in the heat of the moment and want to run with the other horses instead of pay attention to the job. I will note one really great moment when I was making a wide arc at the lope around to Hoosier's business end. Then, all of a sudden with my body I dipped in and basically did what I would do with my body if I were on the ground doing a fast driving game. Blu boogied right with me and Hoosier's eyes nearly popped out of his head. I said to Blu "That was cool!"

Natural Horsewoman Out.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a productive lesson. I look forward to reading more about them!


About Me

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I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving