Archive for October, 2001
The day was sunny and bright. It was warmer outside in the sun than in the
indoor arena, so we were outside all day long.
But it was cold in the morning, so we started out in the heated lounge.
We had a knot tying class…we learned 4 knots.
We got our circulation started with balancing games. Jenny had purchased a
round board with a bump in the middle. The object is to stand on it without
the edges of the board touching the floor. Then we had to stand on a
skateboard looking board with a rollar underneath it. For this task, we got
to have a partner stand in front of us and give us their arms to hang on to.
Then we played human games where one of us was a horse and the other was the human. Jenny led the “humans” out of hearing range and gave them their
“tasks”. My human felt sorry for me and told me what to do. ha ha I figure
she was a little upset when I became the human and didn’t tell her what to
do. My challenge was to play the falling rock game and the reverse at a trot
Next, we progressed to online with the 22′ rope. We had to stand on the rope
with two feet until the horse’s head was as far down as the horse felt
comfortable. I did get Velvet’s head down to where I stepped on the lead
snap. When the horse’s head was down, we were to play the friendly game with the carrot stick and string…plus hit the ground with the string.
While everyone else trotted and then walked on the 22′ line, my challenge was for Velvet not to break gait at a canter for 5 circles.
Our next challenge was reversing at a trot, but Velvet and I got to reverse
at a canter, hence doing flying lead changes. Wonderfully, Velvet is
improving her flying lead changes at her “problem” direction. She doesn’t
get the lead change in back, but she now can change leads in back at the
canter. This has taken a YEAR!
Our next challenge was to ride with the Cherokee Bridle. I think Velvet was
the only horse that has ever experienced this before. But, it didn’t take
long before we were all trotting around with the string being carried in the
mouth by all the horses…it took 10 minutes! Velvet and I haven’t done this
for almost a year, so it was cool to see her calm down and hold the string in
her mouth in a short amount of time.
After lunch we rode with bridles. We had have our halters on our horse.
Then we were required to bridle our horse from our knees and then take off
the halter…still on our knees. Thank goodness I know how to do this now.
That ground was hard and I didn’t want to stay down there very long. I
remember when taking the halter off when underneath the bridle was a complete total mystery. I think it took me 3 years to figure it out. I think Velvet figured it out long before I did, and just took over.
We started out doing rollbacks at a walk and trot.
Then we played follow the leader. The challenge is to stay no farther or
closer than a horse length. Those that break the horse length commandment
generally get to run flying leads (without the horse!) after the lesson is
over. Luckily, Jenny forgot to “punish” the ones who broke the horse length
Then we did real flying lead changes one at a time. Velvet and I didn’t get
a single one. I now realize that I have to be really “UP” for this and ride
very aggresively. Velvet and I were just too laid back by the late
afternoon. Then two people at a time did flying lead changes. We had logs
laid out and did the lead changes in a figure eight pattern.
After we were done with this, we all dismounted, unsaddled and put on our
bareback pads. Jenny demonstrated how to help someone mount. She
demonstrated this several times. Then the auditors got to help the rest of
the class mount. The auditors got quite a workout. They had to move
barrels, logs and help with mounting.
We walked and then trotted. There were two riders who had never rode
bareback before. They were quite nervous about it, but gradually became
relaxed enough to ride at a trot. My challenge was not to use my reins. One
of the auditors asked me why I couldn’t use my reins and I explained that it
was a level 3 task to ride bareback and bridleless. So he said, why don’t
you just take off the bridle then. I surprised him and did…but I put the
savvy string around Velvet’s neck. I’m almost ready to ride with no backup
(string or carrot stick)…I’m right on the edge. However, I’m no where near
balanced enough to ride and change directions without the bareback pad.
HAY! We did a lot! There were only 5 people who rode in the morning session and we gained one for the afternoon session.
We all had a wonderful day!
A couple of years ago, I decided that I knew what I wanted in my next horse.
I wanted a naturally gaited, athletic horse. My baby’s name is JR and his
mommy and grandpa can do flying lead changes.
JR is 2 1/2 now and he went to Jenny school yesterday. I talked to Jenny
after work and she said guess who I rode today? I couldn’t guess. She said,
“I rode JR”. Well, there’s another JR in the barn, so I said which JR. She
said, “YOUR JR!”
WOW! She “wallered” all over him and he was very calm. So, she decided to
get on him. He didn’t move for a while and she just rubbed him. Finally, he
decided to move a foot and she hopped off. I think that’s pretty good for
his first day of school!
JR is a fox trotter. We are going to start him differently than the “normal”
fox trotter. We are going to ignore his natural gait. If he gaits, fine and
if he trots…even better. We want him to trot. He will learn his athletic
stuff first…like flying lead changes and then we’ll go back and teach him
how to be a great gaited horse.
It’s a grand experiment we’re going to be havin! Lot’s to think about for a
I had the arena to myself tonight, so JR got to play while Velvet and I
practiced on our level 3 tasks. What fun we had!
Velvet did her normal extraordinary job during the clinic last weekend. No one else lives in a stable that has Parelli lessons every week, so it’s not hard to figure out why Velvet is so highly trained.
We had riders from 11 different States attend this advanced clinic. There
aren’t many level 3 clinics given in the United States (or world, for that
matter). So those advancing thru the PNH system have to go long distances
for these few and far between clinics.
I got over the last vestige of my fear of galloping on Velvet (from the
broken leg two years ago).
Velvet and I were cantering very fast in the arena. I asked for a stop and
her front legs wouldn’t work. She fell at about a half fast canter. I
landed right by her side and she rolled on my leg. The fall knocked the wind
out of me, so I had to wait until I could breath and feel my body before I
could get up. Velvet had rocked back off my leg and then layed there until I
could get up. If she would have tried to get up with me laying right there,
she would have stepped all over me.
I found out that her withers were badly out of place, so her front end was
“bound up”. The chiropractor had to have about 3 sessions with her over
about 6 months to get her completely back in place. Of course, when she
fell, she really put everything REALLY out of place. My fibula was broken. It’s the non weight bearing bone in the lower leg. That’s the story!
My cowboy friend, Brent, took me out to the 40 acre field and took off ahead of me. Then Velvet and I galloped to catch up. We did the same thing heading back and she galloped as fast as she could. I had no fear and was very thrilled. We did this after the clinic was done on the first day.
I started tearing up right when the clinic was ending…high emotion/fear. I had tried to weasel out of it, but Brent knew that I shouldn’t.
So, I got that over with and I am very grateful!
When the clinic ended, I had the instructor access some of the tasks. Velvet
and I passed quite a few of them and we are elated. One of the tasks was to
transition from slow/medium/fast doing a walk/trot/canter on a concentrated rein. The instructor said that our performance was the best transitions that he has ever seen.
Then I went home to feed the rest of the gang, tripped over the salt block
right behind JR and fell into the rocky mud…among three horses with feed in
only one bucket. (Pride is only fleeting). Luckily, I was able to scare the
squabbling horses away from my mud caked body!