Edu-ma-cation

IMG_0560Well hey there.  It has been an enjoyable couple of weeks.  The human has been around, and we have done some playing in the ring with fun trail rides in between. Yesterday she only played with me for fifteen minutes, then took care of all my bug bites, what a day.  Those darn bugs are bad with a capitol B.  I don’t know about you folks out there but the biting bugs really ruin my day.  No matter what my little human says, those bug sprays are just not working out.  She says she has a new one for me tomorrow, but she couldn’t test it at night because she is worried I might have a reaction.  Well, someone tell her I am having a reaction right now, to those pesky bugs! The rain today is sometimes helpful, at least it keeps all but the hardcore bugs away.  Yesterday in our short session the human seemed to have a plan.  I don’t know where she was all day, but she seemed really excited to see me, she even said she missed me AND gave me a treat.  It is nice to know you are loved 😉 She set her boundaries gave a couple scratches and then just hopped on.  She didn’t even tie the lead rope.  She had some new ways of working that rope but it all made sense to me.  We walked, trotted, cantered, and backed up all with that one rope.  I have to say it was kind of cool.  Not sure why she had to try it at 8:00pm, but it was fun none the less.  The grass is green, my friends let me boss them around, and my human makes sure I am fed.  Life is good.

Ymir

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Henry’s new sneakers

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Replacing the break shoes

Haha! Ymir, I have been learning and learning and learning.  He will be so impressed when I show him all I have learned 🙂  After our weekend clinic, I finally filmed and submitted my level 3 liberty and freestyle auditions. Fingers crossed they they will come back accepted.  The last couple of weeks I have also been working on Henry (the trailer).  He has gotten new break shoes, tires, grease seals, and I am on the search for a new latch for the screen door (harder to find than anticipated.  Whew, running all over to find parts and only having a couple hours after work has made this a slow process, but I am hopefully that Henry and the yet to be named truck will be ready in… wait for it… 24 days.  I can’t believe that in three weeks and a day we will hit the road for Pagosa Springs, and start the clinic officially 6 days later.  I now know the process behind replacing the break shoes, how to pack the bearings, and then put it all back together again.  However, I think I will let dad do the actual work; Ymir’s life depends on these wheels and now is not the time for me to practice!

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Henry is ready for Parelli

Yesterday I went to audit a 5 star parelli instructor teaching a clinic in NH.  It was phenomenal.  I came home yesterday night with 5 pages of notes and an ache to find out how Ymir would do.  There are so many little basics that you build your skills on, and it is nice to have a reminder.  It is also easy to get complacent with what you are doing and say “well that’s good enough”.  But is is really good enough?  The clinic is a level 3/4 clinic so all horses and people are confident with each other and the basics of parelli training.  Adding on the subtleties and making sure the horse is really connected and responding is so fascinating.  On the ground I learned how the 8 principals and 7 games are tied together, as well as different ways of playing and understanding those games.  In the saddle I was reminded to play with my horse with a single rein.  Does he follow my lead, or am I just pulling him in the direction I want to go?  Am I having a conversation (principal 3: Conversation is mutual) or is it one sided with me doing all the talking?  So home I went with a million things to try, and by golly don’t you know it, Ymir flies through everything I throw at him!  I was so impressed with how he responded and it was such a pleasure to know all the work that we have done is paying off!   I continue to learn, and as our journey across country grows nearer I am more eager than ever to take this course, and be immersed in the language of horses.

Amy

PS: I am still looking to raise a bit more money for fuel and places for Ymir to rest on our way.  If you haven’t already seen our gofundme page here is the link: Amy and Ymir gofundme

I also did a video of our journey 2007-present here is the youtube link: A Pony’s Tale youtube

Room to Grow

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Peak-a-boo

Oh Bother.  Another “fun filled weekend” according to the little human.  I will admit, it is kinda fun to get out and about, but don’t let her know that.  We have been cleared by the vet to continue!  With caution and proper farrier care, we should be good to go.  So, this past weekend we spent two whole days with a three star Parelli instructor playing on the ground and in the saddle.  I was nice to have company doing the same kind of thing that my human and I do most days, and there were new challenges to be conquered.  Sometimes I wonder just what that human is thinking.  During a time that was just the instructor the human and me, we jumped ONE barrel.  The silly human was just absolutely stuck on the idea we had to go OVER the barrel.  I mean REALLY! This barrel is no more than three feet across, sitting lonely out in the middle of the room with FEET of extra space on each side, and she wants ME to JUMP it!? Crazy human.  The object of the game was a bit intriguing though. If I jumped it, she sat on it.  HUH.  Well, that was mind blowing fun. We did some riding, and she tried to scare me, but I am a tough guy, nothing scares me… was that a noise in the woods?  Anyways, I am home with my girlfriends Molly and the devil pony (again)  and sadly limited on my food intake.  This barn must be just for diets, but at least I don’t have to wear that atrocious grazing muzzle.  If I look sad enough that silly human comes in just useful enough for me to maybe like her, and we go eat good grass for a while 🙂

Ymir

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A great clinic!

What a week!  Ymir and I have been learning and learning and learning.  First, the lameness.  So after yet another lameness exam it was discovered that, as far as we can tell, it is not structural damage.  However, even with paying more than double my usual for trims, my poor ponies feet are off on both heel and toe by a whole inch!  According to the vet, a balanced hoof should be equidistant from the widest part.  In other words, from the widest part of his hoof he should measure the same from that spot to the toe and wide spot to the (weight bearing) heel.  Ymir from his widest spot should measure around 2.5 inches both ways.  However,  from wide spot to toe was 3.5 and wide spot to heel only 1.5.  I guess I would be gimping around if I was wearing high heels that were three sizes too big too!  Poor Pony.  We are now on our way back to a balanced hoof, I hope with routine rasping and back to the home farrier (my wallet says thank you).

We then spent the weekend at Lazy Acre’s Equines taking in knowledge like sponges.  We were looking for reasons why horses misbehave and ways to get them back to us little pet predators.  First we did ground work.  The instructor has four steps to follow.

#1 Boundaries.  Can your horse back away from you, can they go left, and can they go right without you near them?  AKA are you safe?  If yes, move on.  If no, well work on it 😉

#2 Bond.  Your horse gives you a lot of his time, attention, and care.  Show him the same respect by scratching his itches, and being present in his space for a few minutes.

#3 Check and grow confidence.  This is where the reasons for misbehavior pop up.  Are they sensitive, dull, or oversensitive to visual, auditory, or touch stimuli?  What scares them, and why.  Then, work on what is oversensitive.  If you can’t find anything you are not trying hard enough or you have a million dollar horse.  I prefer to think mine is the second 🙂  There wasn’t much he was afraid of.

#4 Skill building.  So you can go back forward and side to side, but can you go side-ways?  Over a jump? In a figure 8?  Refining your boundaries and adding confidence to build skills in any way possible.  Can you stand on a barrel and have your horse meet you for mounting?  The sky is the limit.

I have tried to keep this in mind playing with Ymir this week.  Boy is it hard not to fall into old habits!  We have prevailed though, and tonight we finally filmed what I will submit as my last two savvy’s for level 3.  If I pass I will be officially good to go on our way to Colorado (horse and skill wise that is). IMG_0474 On that note everyone meet Henry:  My new to me used two horse slant gooseneck trailer that will be our home on the road for the three day trip across country.  I have booked horse hotels for Ymir in Ohio and Kansas, and the new tires are here for Henry.  Here’s to hoping everything goes back on well and Henry is travel ready in no time 🙂  A HUGE shout out to my Dad for getting Henry home, and fixing him up to be ready for adventure.  I will get back to why horses misbehave on another day.  Every day we get to play with horses is a day to learn and grow, I hope you get the chance to bloom with your horse this week.  🙂IMG_0468IMG_0475 (1)

Amy

Phase 1 and Responsibility

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Modeling his new boots 🙂

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 🙂  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 😉 ) 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. 🙂  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 😉 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 🙂

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 😉  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

Ponies Gone Wild

1511592_10153790361003012_3031533876195830735_nYippie! Spring is in the air, and with spring comes mud to roll in, mud to splash through, and trails to explore.  My human has kept her promise to work with both of us mudballs and sometimes we even work together.  This is a nice change most of the time.  Except the times that the devil pony tries to take chunks out of my hide, don’t ask me why she does this.  We have been going out on the road and have taken a couple new ways out, which is always fun.  The human has also decided to play more without the thing that goes on my head, a welcome change.  The new work is interesting and really gets me excited.  We even worked out on the playground the other day turning on the tire pedestal and loading into the trailer.  She said I would be riding one next weekend but I am not sure exactly what that means… Oh well, maybe it will bring me somewhere fun.

-Ymir

Hello there!  Ymir, Ruach and I have been having a great spring.  Of course the mud abounds but it isn’t neck deep so there is an end in sight.  IMG_20150415_172102_001I have been working with Ru on the ground and ponying off Ymir who is a champ even when Ru is trying to bite him :/ She has gotten much better at leading transitions and not biting me, and is very brave on the roads with Ymir.  She has learned to line up for mounting just like uncle Ymir, and is working on the same liberty techniques.  I groom her every chance I get working with her hind end but she is still super sensitive.  Anything that “bothers” her is fair game for a little cow kick, including her hay net.   Ymir and I will be going to a clinic with Heidi Potter next week on trail, versatility and centered riding.  We both love Heidi so I am really looking forward to it 🙂  Ru will be going back “home” soon and Ymir and I will prepare for the big push to Colorado.  Less than 100 days now until our 10 weeks at the Parelli Education Institute.  I am IMG_20150331_170614_046really proud of Ymir’s (and Ru’s) liberty work.  I have been watching the Jonathan Field horsemanship Liberty DVD’s and I am really liking his style and the results.  Onward and Upward!  Take a look at our work today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVEcAwpT3kY Have a great week!

-Amy

A Tale of Two

11081075_10153740747233012_6610242836538065825_nOh Bother.  The human has gone and brought another horse to the barn.  It was great just her and I, long walks down the road, eating carrots ringside…. Those were the days.  Now, the little devil pony from my past has come back to haunt me, and eat my carrots.  I know my human didn’t want me to be lonely and all when she isn’t here, but to bring THIS pony, why?  She is so cute and little that even I find her worming her way into my heart and even my food dish.  No other horse can do that!  How does she do that!?  Now whenever my human comes to play with me we always have to play with HER too.  It does have its advantages.  Like when she is working with the pony I get to wander around and scrounge up a little hay and grain that has been dropped in the indoor, but that also means that Ru is getting the carrots and I am not.  Still, my human doesn’t forget me and secretly I know she loves me best, even if I have to share 🙂

Ymir

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Ymir is thrilled to have Ru visit

Hello!

As spring approaches, well technically I guess it is here but it was below freezing with snowflakes falling from the sky yesterday I have added a horse to my daily plan.  Ruach was born on ‘our farm’ nearly 6 years ago.  We camped out in the barn for days and days waiting for her, and of course the one night we don’t sleep in the barn Molly decided to foal.  Ruach is a medium-high spirit Left Brain Extrovert with a lot of play drive, and an eye for the naughty.  She likes to move quickly and is super smart.10425173_10153740747173012_1323290077899458003_n  I have of course worked with her before but this month will hopefully be consistent work to make sure her space and respect skills are up to par.  We will also be working on liberty and double liberty with Ymir.  I am also testing Ymir’s skills as a ponying horse.  Yesterday was a good start.  Riding Ymir and leading Ruach (or Ru as we call her) is as fun as it is challenging and I look forward to doing a lot more in the coming month, getting them both ‘legged up’ for the season.  My last two rides on Ymir have been AMAZING we have been working on correct posture and bend on the ground and it is really translating to our riding, the canter is where I feel it the most, he feels like a fancy pony!  Yesterday’s task was all about the downward transitions and making them balanced without pulling out my arms as he likes to duck his head down right after the transition.  It was really hard for him to come balanced from canter to trot but as an added bonus his upward transition from trot to canter is coming along really well.  He even worked up a good sweat!  I can’t wait for what the next few rides will bring.  Happy mud season!

Amy

Tricks for Treats

10369593_10153686004828012_2599370445158534706_nAnother blustery day in the woods.  This pooh bear is a little tired of the wind.  Wild scary things can creep up on you in the wind, it is always better to run first and think latter.  Except after 3 days of high winds, my legs are a wee bit tired. Oh well, at least with the wind my human is also not inclined to do any extra exercise.  We have done some playing, but mostly slow work, and lots of tricks for treats , my personal favorite.  My human has been asking me all kinds of questions and it is kinda fun, but don’t tell her I told you so.  She has gotten a little tricky that human.  We played the sending game the other day, and boy did she get excited.  She was very firm about the space that she wanted, and didn’t much care if I was in the way.  Good thing I am a quick study and soon figured out that move meant move NOW not later.  Shocking.  We have also been working on the pedestal, front feet on, back feet on, and even all four feet on.  It isn’t as easy as it looks, trust me. However, it is one of my new favorite things because I don’t have to put too much effort in to get a treat 🙂  The human also seems to have been touched by the trail bug, and every time she comes and rides we end up going AWAY from safety.  I do have to admit, the change in scenery is nice now and then, but doesn’t she know the dangers of walking alone?  Anyway, my winter coat

leaving half the pony behind one day at a time...

leaving half the pony behind one day at a time…

is starting to come off, and there is even some bare ground in spots so I am hopeful for grass soon.  Salad anyone?

Ymir

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Happy Spring!

Or, it should be.  It is currently about 20 degrees with a cold arctic wind steady through the day.  Ymir and I have gone on a few rides and actually gotten out on the trail twice but other than that not too much riding.  We have been working on a few new concepts.  First lifting a foot on command, which will move on to spanish walk and leading by a leg.  That has been a really fun one for Ymir, and he now thinks it is cute to do more often than not.  I guess it will be harder to un-teach that one than to teach it in the first place…  The second has been turns on the haunches away and towards me and adding in the pedestal.  It is really hard for him to move his heavy and dominant front end, and we have made so much progress even in the last few weeks!  I am very proud of him.  You can see some of this in our video of the week, links at the end.  And lastly we have been working on play.  This weeks focus being playing with barrels.  When they are standing up I want him to push them over and when they are down first he was rolling them, now he is putting a foot up on them, next I would love if he had the idea to jump it.  It is hard thing to be teaching in such a big space but online I think he will grasp the concept pretty quickly.  We are also starting our online level 4 by using driving reins, in this case two 25′ ropes through a surcingle and attached to the halter.  I am pretty excited about this step in our journey to level 4.  Level three online and liberty auditions are complete but I am waiting for freestyle to be finished before sending them all in for assessment.  I hope to have my green savvy string by June.Screen shot 2015-03-22 at 3.45.12 PM  I am also branching out to help a fellow boarder get her mare ready for summer riding so come back soon to meet Pearl 🙂  Warm and spring-y thoughts to you all,

Amy

New tricks and liberty

Driving lines  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOyCFVMhpd8

Confidence and Dominance

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Looking snazzy in his new boots

So this week is February break for the school I work in and I am using my time off to watch as many hours of Parelli as I can.  I have borrowed Liberty and Horse Behavior and WOW.  I have dabbled in Parelli for a few years now, and I have learned so much from just two DVD’s (out of 9).  Each DVD covers one big topic with classroom time and demos with the Parelli horses.  For those of you at all familiar with the Parelli’s and their “stuff” Ymir is what they would classify as a Left Brain Introvert cusp extrovert.  For those of you not familiar this means that he is a dominant type of horse that is usually pretty confident and playful as well as one who asks the human “what’s in it for me?”.  Sounds like him doesn’t it?  Why do you want me to stand on the pedestal?  Oh well I guess for a carrot… Yep that’s him.  No, really, he is wonderful and as long as he has comfort, safety and play his number 1 want is food so carrots work…. most of the time.

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warm enough for a muddy ride yesterday

Watching Linda Parelli work with her left brained horses I realized that yes, some times when I ask for something he just gives me the equivalent of the horse-y finger.  Other times he is unconfident, or unsure of what I want and that sends him away searching again for the comfort and safety, the number 1 things horses are looking for.  Without meaning to I can put just the wrong amount of pressure to make him go WHOA lady, WHAT DO YOU WANT and search for a way, anyway, out.  This got me curious.  When was he being dominant and when was he just not sure?  We have always known that he is a bit of a worrier, it shows up the most at the canter or over jumps when he just throws himself forward hoping that everything goes well and going a bit ‘right-brained’ unconfident and fast.  If he is being dominant he should still look at me, maybe even coming closer saying try to get me, where as unconfident is looking/turning away and not being able to face the human that is asking for something confusing. It is a question of if he Can’t (unconfident) or Won’t (dominant) do what I am asking. Then, once you figure out which it is you can act in a way that will hopefully give a more positive experience for both you and the horse.

Another part of being a left brain horse is that Ymir gets board easily.  Also something we previously knew, but now it makes a bit more sense when he does something ‘out of the blue’ or decides to go on what dad and I call ‘auto-pilot’ both of which are frustrating.  Linda’s LBI (left brain introvert) shows this pretty clearly, and I could see how doing the same thing only shut him down when he already knew it like the back of his hoof.  On the other side when he was asked to do something completely new he went right brained and was no longer confident.  AH-HA!  I have seen this in Ymir too!  So now I now to use consistency when they are unconfident and variety when they are confident to keep them engaged and willing partners.  SO COOL!  I gave it a try riding yesterday after mounting, instead of walking off forward I asked him to back.  Mind blown.  He backed and then stood licking and chewing for a bit, thinking.  Thinking is one of his favorite things, either evil pony thoughts or something else I am not always entirely sure 😉

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BURRRRRRR

I just have one more question.  Is the weather Dominant or Unconfident?  I am sure looking forward to some consistency and warmer weather! Maybe in July?  🙂

150 days! But really who’s counting..

10378067_10153631025368012_900835622651013751_nHello there, me again.  It’s that time of year that I really dislike.  You know, when they leave the itchy scratchy blankets on for days at a time and my fur just wants to come OFF!  I know, it is really cold.  And by cold I don’t just mean chilly.  However, this darned blanket is just killing me, next time the humans get it off me, they will never get it back on I just can’t take it.  My human has been coming more regular and get this, bringing carrots every time!  She is trained!  (insert evil horse giggle)  We have been playing many of the same games over and over again in the ring, but we have also been going outside on fun walks and adventures.  I am looking forward to getting OUT more often.  My human and I haven’t done much riding but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t make me run around.  The other day she wanted me to go from a walk to a canter without trotting in between!  I know, shocker.  She had carrots though so all is well.  I think my human is also getting a little smarter. Maybe. She is finally mastering the art of subtlety.  she doesn’t have to use the big stick like a weapon anymore and she is getting better at directing me with her hands. I hope all these carrots keep coming, I might actually be enjoying myself when we play together.  Might.

Love and scratches,

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Poor Ymir.  He really is so itchy!  And his fur is really starting to shed now.  I come home so covered in “Pooh Bear” hair that it looks like I am the one that grew the coat!  Ymir has really caught on to sideways to the right and is gaining confidence to the left.  I am videoing my sideways and hopefully either freestyle or online level 3 on sunday and meeting with my mentor monday.  This upcoming week is my break from school and, because it is not most other people’s break I don’t have to ski either.  I can’t imagine what to do with a whole week!  Well, maybe I can.  I am currently house sitting at a home even closer to the barn so I guess I will just have to spend more time with Ymir 😉  I am really looking forward to having some day time to ride and play and maybe a couple of lessons here and there. As it says 150 (actually 149) days and counting until Parelli so Ymir and I should be getting our butts in gear 148 days until check-in because I was too tired to write this yesterday. Life continues and skiing calls for the weekend, but keep an eye out for those auditions and a lot of work this upcoming week!

Amy