Thursday, June 30, 2011


In the morning, we let the horses out into an arena to stretch their legs. Kristie was up and making pancakes for us. In the daylight, I could see just how lovely her place is. The views were amazing.

Kristie's hospitality did not end with the stalls, hay, water, beds, shower, meals, unpacking and packing; she gave Anna and me each a brand new bottle of Pirhana Fly Spray and she gave me a Parelli Natural Hackamore. She is a very special woman and I can't believe that we were so fortunate to meet her.

The horses loaded fine and we got on the road by 8 am and Kristie led us to the hiway. We were going to Colorado, but first we had to get through the entire state of Nebraska. We stopped for lunch and gas at a Subway. There we learned that Anna may have lost  something very important. We decided that when we got to Colorado, we'd unpack and search the truck for it.

Nebraska is quite flat. There is not really much else to say. We quizzed each other on theory, got to know each other better, and listened to music. That about sums up the Nebraska part.

Then we entered Colorado! A huge storm was just to the right of us and it was creating great buffeting winds that shook the truck. Our stuff was safely tucked under the tarp, but the rain did not hit us. The wind was a little daunting, though, and I was driving.

We were almost to 3-Star Parelli Professional Julia Ryman-Bell's house when we stopped at a gas station. I picked out a few post cards and we used the gas station's snow removal shovels to pick up the horse poop that they left.

As the rain cleared up, I was looking out over the horizon when I realized that some of those shapes were distant mountains, not clouds!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Twenty-One Hours in a Trailer

June 29th is the day I left for my fast track in Parelliland. I did not sleep on the night before June 29th. I packed my things, quadruple checked, took a shower, got dressed for June 29th, including my brand new boots, and snuggled on the couch with my cat at 1:30. At 3 am, I left for the farm to get Blu ready. I did not actually get him until 3:30 am.

It was all very surreal. Saying good bye to Misty was rough, but if I let myself cry, then, I knew the flood gates would open and I would be in for a wet couple of hours to Kalamazoo. Blu ate his breakfast while I wrapped his legs. Then he hopped right on to trailer (which Mom hooked up by herself in the dark). Little did he or I know that it was the start of 21 hours in and out of horse trailers.

We stopped at home to get Dad and for me to say good bye to Maggie and Ellie and Mocha Rose. This was a big decision I had made, one that did not come without sacrifice. The biggest sacrifice of all was saying good bye to my family for 6 months. 

The plan was to stop in Kalamazoo to switch to a friend's nicer trailer, drive to a horse park near Des Moines, IA at 2 or 3 pm, hang out there for a while, then head to our night's rest in Nebraska, arriving in time for dinner at 7 or 8 pm.

But in Kalamazoo, we had a 3 hour lay over because our trailer light hook up needed to be relocated to reach the new trailer. Dad is a genius and got the job done. I took some photos in the Wal-Mart parking lot of Blu in the trailer. Back on the road, we were only moving for a few minutes before an accident up ahead in the construction zone caused a two hour stand still. I napped a little and studied.

We stopped in Indiana at a rest stop in the truck/semi area. Blu handled that remarkably well. He has never been surrounded by such an environment. I took him for a good walk and some tourists stopped to pet him. He was not excited about getting back in the trailer, but I gave him time and he got back on.

Traveling with Mom and Dad was fun. We stopped at subway for lunch. Blu was not drinking at all really until we got to Subway where he had a sip. When we got to Colfax, he drank and drank at last. Mom and Dad held the horses while we packed. It was AWESOME to meet Anna and Louie in person. Anna is my travel buddy and Louie is a good friend. Mom got very teary and it made me so sad. Dad was full of helpful information and helped us squeeze all our stuff into Anna's truck while Mom held the two horses who were drinking water like crazy.

Loading Blu onto Anna's tiny trailer went really well considering that it was the third trailer for the day. Blu took a few minutes, but there was no big struggle and no "shut the gate!"

It was 8 by the time we left. Mom and Dad were right behind us on the highway for a while. We kept saying that we WOULD get to our destination tonight. Kristie kept in touch and helped us maneuver the closed roads. She led us to her house when we got into town. It was 11:54 when we pulled into her place.

She has a beautiful set up and was SO HELPFUL. She wanted to know if she could do something for us all evening. She made us dinner, had the bathroom ready for us to shower, our beds ready for sleeping, and stalls and a pen all with water ready for us to use for our horses.

It was 1:30 by the time I laid my head down. It had been 24 hours since I was laying on the couch with my cat, now I was in Nebraska. Things were in motion; my dream was inching closer to reality; Kristie was pushing it to reality; Mom and Dad were pushing it to reality; my sister's were pushing it to reality; John was pushing it to reality; my brother and sister in law were pushing it to reality; Blu was pushing it to reality. Blu, who spent 21 hours in and out of trailers was carrying my dreams on his shoulders, bearing them to the realms of the real world.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pseudo-Pagosa Springs

Blu is going to spend the next 7 days in the round pen, weather permitting. Today, I put the horses out back and took him out on the 12' line with Mocha Rose. I let him graze for an hour then put him back in the round pen and rode Misty to herd all the horses back up to the front pastures. I offered him water before and after grazing. On the way out, I walked in zone 5 and he had a great sideways away from the pressure of the line on zone 3. Fun stuff.

During this week, I will be the provider of water and social interaction. This is the kind of life Blu will have while he is in Pagosa Springs, so it should be a nice preparatory experience for him.

On another note, during my sessions, I think I want to teach Blu what to do to help me untangle the line.

Misty was great. I gave her a handful of grass and put the halter on. She was so together with me while we gathered up the horses.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

Special Anniversary: Lesson with Meggie Allen for May

I had a lesson with Meggie Allen, as the creative title suggests. It is the last day of May. Also today is a special anniversary. A year ago today was the deadline for the Red Hot Early Bird Savings price of $4495 for the July 4th-29th 2011 Fast Track course. A year ago today, I secured my place in that fast track, taking my first step off the beaten path; my first step into the wilderness of the creative unknown. It was scary and exhilarating doing something someone like me had no business doing. . .

Because I injured my back, I did not want to ride during my lesson, and because it was so hot, I did not want to have Blu cantering a ton. So, I settled on working on our sideways game with Meggie. I got to the farm at 2 pm, an hour before my lesson, but various things led to me only grazing with Blu for 30 minutes, no warm up. So, when Meggie arrived, I had a fresh Blu.

We put on her Natural Performer saddle and it fit Blu great, though he needed one more shim in the front. While I played with him, he acted like he didn't have a saddle on at all.

After showing Meggie the rough idea of our hindquarter yields in motion on the ground, we put on the 45' line and began playing with sideways to and from me with my feet staying still. Here are the important notes Meggie suggested or commended me for:
  • have a focus to go sideways to. If you cut the distance in half, move yourself closer to the focus.
  • if a dominant brace happens, wait wait and wait for the give then halve the distance and begin again
  • if the hq is lagging as he comes sideways to you, when he gets to you, start backing up, having him continue to come along sideways until he evens out (then rest).
  • aim for maintaining sideways without the stick so you can use two hands to gently feed out the rope
  • using the fence to help the horse come sideways toward you with horse parallel to the fence sets you up for success if there is ever a time when your horse is confused or not coming toward you
  • if your horse is dominate about not coming toward you sideways, you can drive him sideways to a fence and ask again for him to come toward me
  • Driving problem is when the hq or fq lags- fix the driving game by working on driving the fq or hq
  • YoYo problem is when the horse is going forward instead of sideways- fix by continually putting the horse back into alignment and/or isolating the yoyo
  • once your horse is confident, you can go to phase 4 if necessary when asking the horse to come toward you
I asked Meggie about the time it took me to get Blu's respect. Things are always different when I am in front of people because I don't think as quickly. The things I need to keep close to the front of my mind is that it's okay to say that I need a response now, not later. That means effective phase 4 when needed. It was a good talk.

Riding around on the NP at the end was a joy and was ended when I felt my back start hurting. I told Meggie about my tree climbing mount up while I rode.

It was a nice lesson for me. It was about respect/dominance.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

About Me

My photo
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