Thursday, March 31, 2011

The canter!

Brego is gaining a lot more confidence and control on his Circling game, there's almost no bucking anymore and he takes the canter transition much better.

He really enjoyed cantering some laps this afternoon, about a week ago he'd swish his tail and face me if I asked for the transition. So happy with him.

I'm able to let out all the 45' line and let him circle around. He's really happy and is offering a lot! :D


Reaction vs. Lightness

Think of the difference between 'light' and 'reactive'. Brego used to be reactive, now he is light. Aha! Reactive doesn't necessarily mean explosive. A horse can have the right reaction, but it is still a reaction none the less.

You don't want a reaction, you want a light response.

Lightness: A calm and smart response to pressure.

Reaction: A horse moving out using it's prey animal instincts.

On the Fence..

When I fed the horses this morning, I sat on the fence next to Brego. This was huge for him to let me do because he didn't trust people to do this before. He used to swing around and face them without thinking. I sat there for about 10 minutes just stroking and massaging his back. He moved a little away after the 10 minutes but he was still broadside.

How often do you just sit with your horse? Do you know what a powerful affect it can have on your relationship and how he thinks of you?

As People, we tend to get very direct lined in our thinking about our goals. We want to "get there and do it". Horses don't feel that way. They want their safety, comfort, food and play. Notice in that list it doesn't really have any of our goals. How can we make the Horse-Human relationship work, not only work, but the dream come true? We have to meet them where they are. We have to use their priorities to motivate and encourage them to become our partners. We want them to be Horseman, just like we want to. Not prisoners or prey animals.

Today I was able to use his motivations to my goals. My end goal for what I did was to be able to mount from the fence, I can mount from the fence on Cricket but with him I need it more. I sat on the fence, in his comfort and safety zone, in his turnout, and accomplished something that had used to make him frightened.

Win-win! Another way that Parelli has made my dreams with horses come true.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011



The Punk

Westu hal!

Abby and I went on a trail ride yesterday, she rode Jehu and I took Brego. Notice I didn't say "rode". Brego has been playing a lot Online (on the ground with a rope) with me and he's gaining a lot of confidence. Until yesterday's ride, I didn't quite realize just how much confidence he has. He's a former Right Brain Extrovert who was VERY reactive.

We walked with our horses for the first 1.5 miles, it was good and Brego was doing well and was doing some 'S' patterns. We got to the wash and that's where most of the "Ima Punk" kicked in. It was a scream. He was pulling upper level dressage moves such as Levade and Capriole! It was SO funny... He even went so far as to nip me a few times but I backed him off and he was okay after that.

When I actually contemplated getting on he switched to "Punk x10". I got on and got right back off. Left Brain Extrovert, Brego? Yeahhhh..

So the trail ride turned into a trail walk, I like that...

Being a Left Brain Extrovert myself, I think I've met my match in Brego! :D


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What am I?

When I fed the horses tonight I also played with Brego. We were both in the exact same state of mind. A little confused and slightly curious. It wasn't really good. I sent him out on a circle to help us both clear our minds, I stood there. He circled for about 15 laps, he was trotting. This is an easy feat for him, he likes circles, it helps him think. He slowly trotted around, he was connected to me. We're a lot alike, both Extroverts. Both physically active. We both think with our feet. We both need recess before school. 

I stood there and thought about where I was going to be in 3 years and 9 months, when I'm 18. When I'm getting ready to go the the Fast Track and enter the Mastery Program to become a Parelli Instructor. Where will I be? Will I have changed? Will I fail? My energy rose more and more, my thoughts raced. I got tense. Brego disengaged very quickly, approached me and gave me a look saying, "Hey you, snap out of it! It's going to be okay, calm down." He was so perceptive and thinking, it make me realize how much he was thinking and observing me. I settled down and stood by him, stroking him the whole time. We were both calm now. He's more mature than me sometimes. I moved on and played with the Green Ball a little bit then put him away. 

I was so much more calm with the future as I biked home. Everything will be okay because God is in complete control. I'm at peace.


It's been Announced!

YEAH! It's official, "Inheritance", the fourth and last book in the Inheritance cycle will be released on November 8th 2011! It was announced on

I've been waiting FOREVER for it to at least have release date! 



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Circling game - The most over played and misunderstood of all the games

Had a great time with Brego today. Tina told me that the circling game isn't about laps, it's about waiting for the *good* laps. Rhythm, relaxation and contact. Rhythm, a slow and steady pace. Relaxation, the head lowered and blowing his nose frequently. Contact, body rounded toward you with an ear/eye in your direction. He can find his Rhythm right off now, it used to be the hardest. His Relaxation comes about a lap after his Rhythm and his Contact comes in about a lap  and a half after Relaxation. I'm so happy his *brain* is getting the Circling game! His body looks so much better now that his Mind is relaxed! :D


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I had another lesson with my Parelli Instructor, Tina Giordano, yesterday. This time, I had Brego instead of Cricket.

I didn't have anything in particular that was trouble for us but we still had a very enlightening lesson! :D

Here's what she sad. "Brego is very young, he is Extroverted but sometimes he's more Left Brained than you think. Did you see him sniff that poo? Yeah, that's dominant. Did you see his tail when you sent him? .... Thats independence. He wasn't really looking for leadership when you sent him out on the circle. Play with some Squeeze game and LOTS of Friendly. He really likes you and you're doing a fabulous job with him. Cricket and him are great matches for you."

We talked a lot about his talents and my goals. It was Fabulous and she is a GREAT teacher.

When I helped her with her Clinic on the 12th this month, I asked her why there was the Attitude quality in both the 7 Keys the Success and the 10 Qualities of a Horseman. She said, "...because it's that important. You can have all the right things about horses and have the wrong Attitude. You can have the right Tools and turn them into torture weapons. You can have a good relationship with your horse and then when you start teaching it, you can have the WRONG Attitude."

WOW!! *palm to forehead* That's ME!



Monday, March 7, 2011

A sixth sense

I have'nt ridden Brego since he's been my horse! Crazy? I've played with him on the ground a lot. Pat Parelli said in his Level 3 (VHS version) that when he's starting a younger horse, he takes it though Level 3 Online before mounting up. That's what I'm doing. So far, it's good.

A lot of people loose self control and hop on after the horse can be haltered and played with enough so it doesn't kill you. Not good. A lot of accidents happen over that, it's dangerous and horses and humans alike get hurt all to easily. What about the Calm, Smart, Brave and Athletic horse? What about it's Mental, Emotional and Physical fitness?

Since Parelli, I've developed a lot more self control. In fact, to me it's not even self control anymore, it's safety. I have no issues with getting on and off a horse in any situation, it's a sixth sense. It's there.



We get so caught up in things. In life. In our goals. We love checklists, structure, a "game plan". It's all about our preference. Our exaltation.  
What about the larger structure, a solid rock? Our salvation, the big picture? If we look at life without God, it has no long term happiness. It's purpose is in this moment and this task that has to be done. There is no bigger picture. No salvation, no peace, rest and eternity. 
In God, we can get a glimpse of our future in Glory with him. We can't see it in it's whole while we are here, but we can trust and be at peace with his plan for us. 

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I've just published some posts that are experts from Pat Parelli's book, "Natural Horsemanship". They're about his 8 Principles. I recommend reading them, I know it's a job but I can guarantee that your Horse-man-ship with be the better for it. It has just about everything to do with my success with Horses. I'm Memorizing them right now so I can know them off the top of my head if I have a problem. :D

Toodles and Happy reading!!!


PS. Lemme' see if I can say them... (probably not in order)

-Horsemanship is Natural
-Don't Make or Teach Assumptions
-Horses and Humans have Responsibilities
-Communication is Mutual
-Body Language is Universal
-The Attitude of Justice is Affective
-Humans teach Horses, Horses teach Humans
-Principles, Purpose and Time are the Tools of Teaching

Parelli Principle Number 8: Principles, Purpose and Time are the tools of teaching

Think about principles as being the horse, and that must come first. Purpose is the cart, and time is the driver. Now, we've come back full circle. We're talking about principles again, and now we have to go through each one of these principles and add in purpose so the horse knows the meaning.
First, we teach the horse principles; we build a foundation of things we want the horse to know. Then, we add purpose or a reason for doing what we want the horse to do. For example, we teach the horse to side-pass because someday we might want to open a gate while on the horse's back.

Parelli Principle Number 7: Horses teach Humans, Humans teach Horses

This is such an important principle. Many good horsemen say that horses are their best teachers. There's a reason for this. For example, if you want to learn how to cut cattle, buy a trained cutting horse to learn from. He'll teach you about the sport and what it feels like to cut a cow so you can understand it better. Then, once you've got the feel, you can offer it to other horses you ride. If you already know how to cut, then buy a 2-year-old horse and help him along.
One of the more common fallacies is buying a young horse for a young or green rider. An example is when parents buy their children young horses. So many times you hear about the parent who buys a 2- or 3-year-old horse for his youngster, thinking the two will grow up and learn together. That combination is usually a disaster. The horse needs to learn what he's expected to do from an experienced rider. The child needs to learn what it takes to cause a horse to move properly and also gain confidence from a steady mount. Green riders on green horses does not make sense. It can be a deadly combination.
On the other hand, it's important to learn from the horse who knows his job well. There are many things he can teach you, and then you can become a teacher of horses.

Parelli Principle Number 6: Body Language is Universal

Body language is universal. I've got it. You've got it. Horses have got it.
There are things a horse does to let us know what he's thinking. For example, when he puts his ears back, he's irritated. Watch out! If he's blinking he's thinking. If he licks his lips, he is probably digesting a thought; he understands and accepts the situation. If he's cocked a hind leg, he's relaxed; but if his ears are back and he lifts a hind foot, he's ready to kick. There are many postures that key us in to the horse's state of mind.
The body language of humans is just as important or more so. Most people don't key in to their own body language. The way they look at horses, their body posture, their actions, tells horses what they are thinking. You can easily misrepresent yourself to the horse through inappropriate body language. When some people approach their horses, their body language or posture makes them look aggressive or sneaky like they have the look of the lion. On the other hand, there are those people who have the look of the lamb. They're sheepish or submissive.
Other examples of misrepresentation are walking into the pasture just to say hello, but with a grain can in one hand and a halter behind your back. You look like you're intent on catching the horse, and the look on your face is strong and scary to the horse. This is where the predator needs to be aware of how he represents himself to the prey animal, the horse.

Parelli Principle Number 5: The Attitude of Justice is Affective

Your attitude toward your horse should be a just one. In other words, you should cause your ideas to be your horse's ideas, but understand what his ideas are first.
Then it's up to you to cause the undesirable things to be difficult and allow the desirable things to be easy. If the horse is doing something you don't want him to do, create a situation in which it's hard or uncomfortable for him to do those things and also one in which it's easy for him to do what you want him to do. It'll soon become his idea to do whatever is easiest.
I use the words "cause" and "allow" when it comes to creating situations for your horse. I don't use "make" or "let." The word "cause" is less commanding than "make" and "allow" is more respectful than "let." Some people "let" their horses do incorrect things, and then they get angry with them when they do. To correct the problem, they then try to "make" their horses do things. Some people by nature are makers. They're always mean when they ask their horses to do things.
Other people are beggars, always gentle when they ask. They just let the horses do anything they want.
You need to be assertive. Do something about the situation when it needs to be done. Assertive is somewhere between being aggressive and being a wimp. Be as firm as necessary without getting mean or mad; be as gentle as you can without being a sissy.
Trust that your horse will respond to what you ask but be ready to correct, no more one than the other.
Try to become a natural leader for that natural follower, the horse. You've got to be mentally, emotionally, and physically fit so you can be just at all times. You've got to have your act together. You have to become collected in the human sense.
The horse has three systems respect, impulsion and flexion. Everything I'm talking about so far has to do with getting the horse's respect so he will give you his impulsion, which is controlled forward energy. Then you learn how to keep him flexible in the mind and body.
The attitude is justice, and to be just, you have to be assertive, be a causer, and not a maker. You have to allow, and not let.

Parelli Principle Number 4: Horses and Humans have Responsibilities

If horsemanship is going to be a partnership, both the horse and the human have got to have some responsibilities. There are eight responsibilities: four for the horse and four for the human. (A detailed description of each responsibility is in Knowledge - An Overview.)
Four responsibilities of the horse:
1. Learn to act like a partner, not like a prey anlmal.
2. Don't change gaits.
3. Don't change directions.
4. Watch where he is going.
Four responsibilities of the human:
I. Learn to act like a partner, not like a predator.
2. Develop an independent seat.
3. Think like a horse.
4. Use the natural power of focus.

Parelli Principle Number 3: Communication is mutual

"Communication is two or more individuals sharing and understanding an idea. If I pat my leg and the dog comes, we've communicated. But I can talk to a post until I'm blue in the face, and I'm just talking. Communication is a mutual affair between two or more individuals.
A good example of a horse trying to communicate with the human is when a rider kicks his horse to go, then pulls him to stop, and the horse opens his mouth. Instead of listening to the horse who is trying to say, "Your hands are too heavy and you're not communicating down to my feet," the rider ties the horse's mouth shut with a cavesson and says, "Shut up and do what you're told."

Parelli Principle Number 2: Don't Make or Teach Assumptions

 It is easy to assume and to teach the horse to assume. Don't assume today that your horse is going to wake up on the same side of the corral as he did yesterday, whether he was good, bad, or indifferent. A horse lives moment to moment. He wakes up on a different side of the corral each day. This is why it is important to have and to understand the ritual of pre-flight checks (a series of steps that are detailed later in this book).
On the other hand, teaching the horse not to assume is also significant. For example, if you were to ride your horse 3 days in a row in an arena and stopped everyday at the gate just before you got off, you would teach your horse to assume that when you got to the gate, it's time to stop. By the fourth day, the horse would take over and when you got to the gate, wou]d probably stop and wait for you to get off. Instead of teaching him to assume when you are going to quit, teach him not to assume by varying the time and area in which you stop. Mixing it up will keep the horse guessing and not assuming.
Here's another example of teaching your horse to assume If you went on a trail ride for 3 days in a row, rode out a mile or two, then turned around and trotted back home, on the fourth day your horse will start jigging home. You will have taught your horse to assume that when you got to a predetermined distance, he is supposed to turn around and trot home. I his is how he would make an Ass out of U and Me.
In order to obtain horsemanship through communication, we must learn not to assume."

Parelli Principle Number 1: Horse-Man-Ship is Natural

"Horse-Man-Ship is three words linked together. It's a horse and a human going willingly together. Horse-Man-Ship is for horses as well as humans, and the horse comes first.
In this regard, it is important to understand that the horse is a prey animal, and that he is driven by three major instincts a) to be perceptive to danger, b) to fly from fear, and c) to be gregarious. He is a born coward, a born claustrophobic, and a born "full-throttle-aholic" by varying degrees.
By varying degrees means that some horses are more sensitive than others. For example, some are more cowardly than others, although they are all cowards to some degree. In the same sense, some are more claustrophobic than others. In other words, some can stand confinement or restraint better than others. "Full-throttle" means all out forward. "Aholic" is usually referred to as a person who can't help himself or who has an addiction to something. With regard to horses full-throttle-aholic means the horse reacts first and thinks second. He runs from fear at full speed, and only looks behind when he thinks he's safe.


In applying this to horses, let's use a typical scenario as an example. When a horse gets his foot caught in a fence, because he is a born coward and a born claustrophobic, he doesn't calmly think, "Oh, darn, my foot is caught" Instead, the horse panics. He doesn't think logically, and he automatically goes into full-throttle. He tries to escape his entrapment any way he can, even if he hurts himself in the process. This is usually the case unless the horse has been taught to stand still when his foot is caught. I'm not saying that all horses have these sensitivities to an extreme degree. Some are quieter and less panicky than others. They are all born with their own degree of sensitivity.When someone buys a horse, he mistakenly thinks he owns the horse - heart, body, and soul - and that the animal should succumb to his wishes. A horse is an individual, not simply a possession. He has wants and needs, too. He wants to become comfortable, and as long as you can prove to him that you're not a predator, he'll be comfortable.
It is important to understand that the human is the horse's biological enemy; in other words, a predator. Most people get upset when their horses act like prey animals instead of partners. And most horses get upset when their humans act like predators instead of partners.
People who think like people (and not like horses) think that when a horse is following his instincts, he is being naughty. We need to understand that a horse is programmed by nature to act like a prey animal.

Horses are easily recognized as prey animals because of three distinct characteristics:
1. They smell like what they eat, which is grass.
2. Their eyes are set on the sides of their heads, which means they have bilateral vision. This gives them great peripheral vision and the ability to see predators sneaking up behind them. But it also gives them the disadvantage of not having great depth perception.
3. As a prey animal, the horse is perceptive to danger, people, places, changes, and things; particularly dangerous people, places, changes, and things.
When Horse-Man-Ship happens, the human becomes half horse and the horse becomes half human. Our job as the horse's leader is to get him to be braver, less claustrophobic, and less of a full-throttle-aholic. In other words, for Natural Horse-Man-Ship to truly happen, the horse must want to become a Horse-Man first. He has to become braver, less fearful of tight places, and more willing to stand his ground rather than panic at what he perceives to be danger. And the human needs to become assertive enough to be viewed as the "alpha" member of the horse's society, rather than being viewed as a predator or a wimp."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Struck by lightning... (a little dramatic)

I had some pretty huge realizations playing with Brego today.

Earlier this afternoon, Emily called and we talked for a bit, then she asked for me to send her an email with some tips for playing with a Right Brain Extrovert (also the Horsenality of Brego). I did it and as I wrote it I was thinking about Brego most of the time a realized that sometimes I fall short in the areas I need to be strong.

One of the basic "rules" of playing with a Right Brain Extrovert (very active, sensitive, and sometimes explosive) is a phrase known as, "Don't upset the Calm!" It means that the horse is already pretty calm with his food, buddies, water and shelter. You, if you're not careful, can become the "wind and gales". You have to keep the calm and make you a "safe spot". Hmmm... Catching on?

Linda, in a recent Savvy Club DVD, was talking about how Pat would walk around the Arena, "Yacking" to the crowd for a while before he started playing with the horse. At first, Linda didn't know why he did this and would be looking at her watch thinking, "Uh, Pat? You don't have much time left." All the while, Pat was allowing the horse the find his rhythm, energy and step. He told Linda,"I'll Yack for as long as the horse needs me to." That day, Linda had a blinding flash of the obvious and so have I.

Usually, I go out to the arena and get all set up before I go halter a horse. Today was a bit different and I was leading Brego around and measuring up everything while he followed me patiently. I realized that this was my own version of "Yacking", allowing the horse to relax, connect and find my stride. I'll be doing this every time now.

I also saw changes in his physical appearance, he used his body and I saw the calmest, slowest trot I've ever seen with my own eyes and brought out with my hands in a horse that big of strides. It was beautiful, the rhythm, relaxation and contact. The rope was on the ground the whole time and he was so calm and soft, he wasn't Introverted (kinda like curling up like a possum only it's in their head) either!

I had so many other awesome things happen in this session, but the punch line is, "Don't upset the Calm." For a horse to be "Light" or "Soft", he also has to be Calm, Smart, Brave and Athletic. Brego wasn't truly all or any of those before this session.

Brego Before: 

Brego After: 

Lovely, right? Yes.

Fair Winds!!


Love, Language and Leadership.

Love, Language, Leadership: what is the easiest for you and what is the most challenging?

Love and Language are the easiest for me when I'm with Cricket. Leadership becomes more challenging because she has so many subtle ways she takes the lead.

Leadership is really easy when with Brego 'cause he's not always trying to take it! ;) Our Love and Language are there but sometimes they're not all equal.

Those are something to work on.


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