Phase 1 and Responsibility

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Modeling his new boots ūüôā

Oh Bother. ¬†The human seems to be a bit emotional. ¬†Last week we were playing longer and longer in different ways and then boom. ¬†Something felt funny on the right again and the human went right brain big time. ¬†She seems to have come back down off the cliff but we are now only playing at the walk and bits of trot, she says it will continue like this until the vet comes. ¬†WAIT! Did she say VET? ¬†Oh boy, I am in trouble now. ¬†Meanwhile we had a lesson with Sarah Grimm what my human calls a “Parelli Instructor” (a what?) and now the human is also being a little nicer to me. ¬†It seems that she is learning how to be more in tune. ¬†But boy oh boy, now she has two sticks when we ride freestyle and isn’t afraid to use them! ¬†Thankfully she is also quick to take them away, which gives me a chance to think. ¬†It is kind of fun when she lets me think for myself. ¬†No more micromanaging! ¬†We are both learning how to make the sticks go away, but for now it looks like they are here to stay for a while. ¬†Hopefully when the person who shall not be named comes to look at me, we can get a clean bill of health and start our adventures again. ¬†I was so enjoying our trots through the woods. ¬†Wish me luck,

Ymir

IMG_20150518_171907_319Hello! ¬†Ymir is right. ¬†I did say vet, and it has been a bit of an emotional ride. ¬†For those who didn’t know, last summer we worked with the vet on a very slight lameness to the right. ¬†He would travel fine on a circle to the left, and then when on the right would go off. ¬†Three months off and some light work and I thought we were done. ¬†Injections, chiropractic and some Previcox seemed to do the trick and get him back to his old self. ¬†Until last Wednesday. ¬†I noticed on a circle to the right he was again “off”. ¬†Not head bobbing limp “off”, but just “off”. ¬†His trot rhythm is not the same to the right. ¬†So, a call to the Vet is in, and an appointment made for next friday. ¬†Hopefully all goes well and we can finally resolve this issue in time. ¬†Hopefully in time for Colorado, but that may not be the case. ¬†Responsibility is something we talked about in my lesson with Sarah to give to Ymir, but it is also something that I am facing. ¬†The responsibility to do the right thing for the animals that trust us to be their voice. ¬†Ymir can’t tell me what is wrong, but he has to trust that I will do what is best for him, and the little selfish human in me can’t see taking any other horse to Pagosa Springs. ¬†However, the responsibility is mine, to take his well being to the highest priority when considering this trip. ¬†We don’t know yet what this little sticky trot is all about, but I know we are all going to get to the bottom of it, and use best judgment when it comes time to make a decision.

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Must…eat…more….grass…

In the meantime we are taking it slow. Probably for the best as we have some gaps to fill in in order to complete our freestyle level 3 audition. ¬†It has been super frustrating when going along and I ask for a stop and Ymir seems to conveniently forget I am aboard ūüôā ¬†So, I am learning about phase 1. ¬†With Parelli there are generally four phases. ¬†It starts as an energy, or a picture in your mind of what it will look/feel like when the horse is doing what you think about. ¬†So, if you are stopped and want to walk, first you picture the open space in front of you, and bring your energy to that space, phase 1. ¬†Phases 2,3,4 are in quicker succession and include the use of your body and even sticks. ¬†It was a tough transition to remember to do, and hold, phase 1 long enough to give Ymir a chance at doing the right thing. ¬†It was another challenge to do 2,3,4 quickly and then reset and again ask with phase 1. ¬†The idea being that Ymir learns to listen to my soft phase 1 and I learn to feel for his response without being rude and skipping my phases. ¬†A lot of times when people ride, they ride to get the results. ¬†They ride to walk on, not caring about how they get there and the relationship they build or burn every day. ¬†IMG_20150518_174139_231This is why I like the Parelli teachings. ¬†Every day, it is not about the task (besides it will never take longer than 2 days anyways ūüėČ ) It is about how you and your horse communicate, and the relationship you have. ¬†Sometimes you have to be firm, and that is ok, but you always go back to a polite ask for the task, or you end up yelling all the time. ¬† The persistent phase 4 could ruin your relationship as the horse gets more confused, frustrated and upset. ¬†Not to mention those same feelings would probably be coming from you as well. ¬†So, the next time you are asking a task get done, by human or horse alike remember; ask first, remain politely persistent and release when there is a try (even tiny).
Your relationship is always more important than cleaning a room, or putting a foot on a horse eating tarp. ūüôā ¬†Happy trails,

Amy

The Power of One

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Just…a…little…closer…

Hello! The world has turned into my salad bowl… and it is wonderful. ¬†Everywhere I go, there is FOOD! ¬†Sometimes my human even takes me to new places to eat. ¬†Then sometimes I take her to new places and eat ūüėČ We have recently been exploring lots of new places, sometimes with friends, sometimes with the little pony, and even sometimes all by our selves. ¬†It has been a lot of fun, although scary at times. ¬†My herd and I have moved out to a new pasture with all kinds of new grass, and it is even further away from the place that the human makes me work. ¬†Maybe if she doesn’t see me she will forget and not ride? ¬†It has been HOT around these parts, and let me tell you, sometimes I wouldn’t mind loosing all my fur like the humans do. ¬†Yesterday on our ride, I had sweat around my eyes (think raccoon)! ¬†I did get my first bath of the season out of it though, and it felt so good. ¬†Happy trails!

-Ymir

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Trail rides are fun with friends

Greetings! ¬†As Ymir and I were walking back from a fantastic ride I was thinking. I know, dangerous. ¬†Here are some contemplations from fjord-back. ¬†It takes one look for someone to love horses, one ride to make it a passion. ¬†It takes one accident to crush the confidence and one horse to build it as strong as it can be. ¬†For me, Ymir has been everything, both the accident and the builder. ¬†He is the first horse I have owned outright, and he has taught me so much. ¬†From the day we brought him home, almost exactly 8 years ago, I knew he was my project. ¬†It was only a year and a half later that while out on trail I fell off and broke my leg. ¬†I was thankfully not alone at the time, but I did not trail ride alone for 4 years after. ¬†Last year was our break through. ¬†Once officially “mine” Ymir and I began this journey towards an even greater bond. ¬†He was finally “my horse” and we could do ANYTHING together. ¬†If I wanted to go somewhere, I no longer needed permission, and I could work with him everyday with no guilt of taking away from someone else. ¬†So, we started walking. ¬†First I was on foot, and nervous the whole time. ¬†‘What if…’ is a very powerful question. ¬†We would go on the trails, on the road, across bridges and streams, by cars and dogs, and with every experience I grew braver and Ymir more confident. ¬†Suddenly we were going out alone all the time, and I was comfortable on his back. ¬†I did do quite a lot of singing those first 20 rides, both to sooth and keep wild animals at bay (trust me, no animal was coming close to me singing).

Then Ymir had a three month break with some slight lameness and I switched horses completely. ¬†From my generally calm, quiet, and sturdy pony to a light, wandering, and sometimes fearful quarter horse by the name of Cracker Jack. ¬†Now, Cracker is a lovely horse, but he just didn’t have the experience Ymir did, and a new bond had to be made. ¬†It was Cracker that really built up my confidence last fall and it was with Cracker that I got my Level 2 in Online and Freestyle with Parelli. ¬†Again the power of one single horse. ¬†I took him from a wandering, shuffling, unsure horse, to a forward moving, path following sometimes trail riding horse. ¬†Riding back home from the trail is still something we are working on. ¬†The transformation I saw in my monthly videos sent to my instructor was just what I needed to see. The time between the two rides in this video is just two weeks. ¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M6UTfUJweU

The videos let me see what I had only heard from people before.  They would say that I had done a really nice job with my horse, or that he looked great, or that we looked beautiful together, but words are easy to shrug off.  The proof was in these videos, and it could not be just shrugged off.  Getting back on Ymir this winter with a renewed sense of accomplishment and confidence I have not looked back.  This week alone, we have gone out with two other horses, ponied Ruach on new trails, and explored totally new places, both on and off trails.  Yesterday, we did a small trail loop twice trotting and cantering up, down, and around with no hesitation from either of us, just the joy of being out and running through the woods.  I hope that everyone can find that power of one, that thing that brings them confidence, peace, and joy.

Amy

PS: For those keeping track… a grand total of 16.65 miles so far in the month of May ūüôā

A May Worth Riding In

Oh bother. ¬†My little human is at it again. ¬†Over the past two weeks, I have been filmed, cleaned, put in a moving cave, gone back to my home for the last 7 years, back into the cave, shoved in a stall, met 16 new horse friends and then one last big ride back to my current abode. ¬†It really has been crazy. ¬†I have also been punished. ¬†I don’t know what I did wrong or when, but this lady came up to me and stabbed me three times in the neck! ¬†Why me!? ¬†Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling quite my wild and crazy self (you would ether after being stabbed) so we took the little evil pony and went for a walk down a new path. ¬†That was actually quite enjoyable except for the rocks on the path I had to step on (the human calls it a ‘road’). ¬†I perked up a bit and enjoyed the fresh air and getting out of the ring. ¬†It feels like a nice, sunny, warm day today so maybe my human will come again? ¬†I just hope she remembers the carrots. _DSC6510

Ymir

Good morning! ¬†It IS a sunny, warm, wonderful morning! ¬†Don’t worry Ymir, I have the carrots ūüėČ ¬†Ymir and I have been very busy. ¬†He got his spring shots thursday, I filmed my level 3 online, and am practicing up for my freestyle. ¬†We have been riding almost every day, and we went to our first clinic of the season. ¬†The clinic was at Green Mountain Horse Association, a place very much like ‘home’ to me. ¬†I love going to GMHA and reliving my childhood 4-h clinic days. ¬†It was chilly and damp but we had very little actual rain. ¬†Heidi Potter was our clinic instructor, she is a natural horsemanship and centered riding clinician, who Ymir and I worked with throughout the summer last year. ¬†It was really great to see her, and her teaching technique is one I admire a lot. ¬†Ymir and I have done enough work with her the we didn’t do anything ‘new’ but it was a great refresher and start to the season, and being at GMHA was frosting on the cake. ¬†It is going to be a wonderful weather weekend and I am house sitting close to the barn so I look forward to a weekend full of ‘horsie stuff’, I brought my Jonathan Field LIberty DVD’s and I plan on getting through a few more and trying them out. ¬†In case you haven’t heard or seen on social media, I am doing a fundraising challenge to raise the last $4,000 to cover my tuition to the Parelli Education Institute. ¬†So, for every mile I ride, and if you choose, you can donate a set amount per mile. ¬†Yesterday was my first gps tracked ride at 2.6 miles (mostly walking). ¬†I will keep updating our total as we go along. ¬†If you want to donate my gofundme page is still up and running¬†http://www.gofundme.com/j6iee8 ¬† We also have our own Liberty promo (complete with imovie cheesy music) which is also on our gofundme page and I will link it on the bottom of this blog. ¬†Please SHARE and pass on our page, ¬†I feel so privileged to be able to follow my dream and I am almost there! ¬†Thank you for your love and support!

Amy