Monday, February 28, 2011

30 day PNH blog challenge, Days 24 through 30

Day 24-A time PNH made things harder for you and your horse.

I've thought and thought about this, but nothing comes immediately to mind. 

Day 25-What is the most challenging aspect of your relationship with your horse.

Gaining Duke's trust in me. He's very skeptical and easily offended. Very sensitive and I have to really monitor my body language and energy. 

Day 26-What is your favorite obstacle to play with.

Ground poles because there are so many different ways to play with them; forwards over, backwards over, sideways, between two parallel poles, dragging, make a turnaround box...mazes, many possibilities. 

Day 27-A time you have impressed someone with your PNH skills “I Like your horse.”

There's a young girl at the barn, a 4-H member who recently purchased her first horse. The horse, a buckskin gelding, is not well suited for her and isn't a beginners horse. He's very high spirited and she now realizes he's too much horse for her. While playing with Duke a couple of weeks ago, the young girl made that very statement to me "I like your horse." It's a great compliment to receive when someone notices.

Day 28-Love, Language, Leadership: what is the easiest for you and what is the most challenging.

Love is the easiest...although sometimes it does get tested. Language is the most challenging; learning Duke's language and expressing it effectively requires mental fitness and focus. I tend to get easily scattered and need to overcome this.

Day 29-If you could ride one of Pat or Linda's horses which one would it be and why?

Oh boy...I'd love to ride Magic...she's such an amazing horse. I've been a fan of Magic from the first time I saw Pat and Magic together. She's such a lovely mover.

Day 30-What have you learned about yourself since you have started doing PNH.
I can be a raving perfectionist (to a fault), I take things too seriously...but, I am more comfortable going outside my comfort zone than I used to be, and I'm learning how to have fun, again.

Monday, February 21, 2011

30 day PNH blog challenge, Days 19 through 23

Before I started this 30 day challenge I knew writing one entry a day would not be possible; but that wasn't my goal. My goal was to find inspiration to write again. I've lost my interest in reading and writing. I want to get it redevelop an activity I once enjoyed but quit because of burn out, depression and time contraints. So onward and upward...

Day 19-A time you were able to help a "normal" horse or horseman using PNH.

After finishing a ride a few weeks ago as I was leaving the barn another boarder riding her Arabian mare struck up a conversation with me. As our conversation began to wane, she expressed frustration with her quality of circles, in that her mare was bracey and not following her nose. Two things immediately came to my mind, the human head weighs between 10 - 14 pounds and most people (myself included) tend to look down and watch the horses head when they ride. As she rode I spoke about these two points, she stopped as if to think about and absorb the words. When she exclaimed she hadn't thought much about her head position, I smiled with the admission it's a point I have to work on every time I ride because I catch myself doing it. I explained the principle that horses can feel the riders focus and when the rider focuses on the horses head, that brings the weight of the head down and impacts the riders balance, and therefore, the horses balance as well. I suggested she keep her head up and focus her eyes on where she wanted to go. To use her eyes and swivel of her head to direct the horses direction. She tried it, immediately noticed a difference and was amazed. It's a hard thing to remember and I always find myself reverting back to looking at Dukes head when I need to focus on where I want to go. But then I remember his head is not going to fall off and I change my gaze to a point ahead of him and where I want to go, and voila! I immediately feel a diffence in my body and Duke's, especially his trot; it goes from flat and hard, to round and soft.

Day 20-A PNH clinic or lesson that was inspirational. If you have not been to a clinic or had a lesson what educational material has been particularly inspiring.

The Liberty and Horse Behavior dvd, particularly when the 'horsenality' segments where Pat and Linda demonstrate the different characteristics of four of their horses.

Day 21-Criticism you have about the PNH program.

Several times I have heard Pat advise students against following or trying other trainer or clincians methods because it will confuse the student. The problem I have with this viewpoint is that Pat himself was a student of and learned from many different teachers; he openly admits this in almost every demo or lesson I've seen. He's always talking about, and crediting Ray Hunt, Bill Dorrance, Tom Dorrance, Ronny Wills and his mentors. All these men provided him with a well-rounded education and enabled him to turn his love for horses into a lifelong career. I believe him when he says he and Linda want to make the world a better place for horses and humans. But I am skeptical of anyone who discourages their students from exposure to outside influences. That is too cult-like in my opinion. PNH is not a cult, but I have read people call it a cult and refer to the students as brainwashed.

Parelli has covered a lot of educational ground during the past 25+ years, and they have given me the tools I need to develop my horsemanship skills. But as an open minded person I like to explore several options and resources, that is what I learned in high school and college. I have found the quality of PNH educational materials, content and distribution to be among the best, that is why I have stayed.

PNH needs to trust their students and realize that it's okay for us to observe what is out there and evaluate if it's right or wrong for our journey. Through observation we are able to gain a broader understanding of this discipline. We are keen enough to know the difference between quality and quick-fixes.

Day 22-How do you explain PNH when people ask what you are doing with your horse.

Hasn't really come up a lot, yet, but I just say I'm using natural horsemanship and let Duke do the rest of the talking.

Day 23-SADDLING: do you use the PNH saddle and/or theraflex pad if not what do you ride in and what does your horse think of it.
I have two Fallis Balanced Ride saddles, and I use the theraflex pad. The theraflex pad solved a problem with my 50 year old Fallis saddle which has a really wide tree that brought the gullet down on Duke's withers. The theraflex pad and two shims solved that. I recently acquired a new custom made saddle from John Fallis designed for a high withered horse and will use the theraflex pad under a wool saddle blanket. 
Interestingly enough, I'm wondering if Pat is still using the theraflex pad. Recent Savvy Club dvd's with him riding show him using different saddle pads and blankets, but not the theraflex. Or maybe he's using it under neath.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

30 day PNH blog challenge, Days 16 through 18

Day 16-What is the most challenging horsenality for you to work with?

I've only had one horse who is a Left Brain Extrovert with Introvert tendancies, but he can go Right Brain in a flash...and it's the Right Brain Extrovert who I find challenging.

Day 17-What is your favorite game?
Driving...because there is so much that can be done with that game! 

Day 18-A time you have seen Pat & Linda live. If you have not seem them live would you like to, what do you think it would be like?

Celebration Reno, May 2009. Exceeded my expectations.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

PNH 30 day blog challenge

Day 15-How is PNH perceived where you live, board or ride at?

So far, so good. Since beginning PNH almost three years ago, I've never had anyone express harsh words about it at the barn. Actually, just the opposite is true. If people don't know we are Parelli students, they soon figure it out. Everyday my friend Debbie and I can be found playing with our boys. Sometimes people will stop and watch us play, especially when we have the Big Green Ball out and the horses are chasing it around. People ask us questions, and are always impressed with how well behaved the boys are in hand and under saddle. The barn owner affectionately calls us the Parelli twins. When someone is having a problem, they seek our advise; more Debbie than I as she has more experience. I believe our horses serve as ambassadors for natural horsemanship methods. They are not perfect, but they are great partners and amazing teachers.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

30 day PNH blog challenge, Days 11 through 14

Day 11-Pat and Linda don't where a helmet….do you? Why or Why Not?

At present I do not. It is something I think about everyday.

Day 12-Your favorite horsenality to play with and why?

Can't say, having never played with every horsenality yet.

Day 13-Post a video (could be an audition) of you playing with your horse

Here's an older clip of Duke and I playing about a year ago.

Day 14-What PNH tools, clothing, tack etc. do you own?
Oh boy...let's see. 3 rope halters (blue, green and black) 2 12' lead ropes, 2 22' lead ropes, 1 45' rope, 2 carrot sticks, 4 6' savvy strings (3 white, 1 red), 9' finesse reins, Western Theraflex pad with 2 shims, green ball, purple long sleeve shirt, several t-shirts and a sun visor. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

30 day PNH blog challenge, Day 10.

Day 10 - Post your favorite picture of you and your partner and write about it.

Me and Duke after a ride at the arena with friends. I think it was taken in February or March 2009. It's the smile on my face, and the softness of Duke's eyes that always pulls me to this photo. I'd had Duke not quite a year when this photo was taken and he were just starting to bond with each other. Our ride that day was fun and I think I may have been working toward our first canter in the arena. I remember being very relaxed and happy that day, and throughly enjoying my time with Duke.

Monday, February 7, 2011

30 day PNH blog challenge, Days 5 through 9

Day 5 - What is your favorite DVD, Celebration, Tour Stop etc..etc…moment?

Reno Celebration May 2009 Kalley Krickberg playing with the Atwood Ranch yearlings. When the livestock trailer entered the arena and the yearlings began following that trailer around with Dean Martin singing 'Return to Me' in the brought tears to my eyes.

Day 6 - What is your dream with your horse?

To experience what it means when there's nothing you can't do when your horse becomes a part of you.

And maybe someday participate and finish a 50 mile endurance ride.

Day 7- A time you turned a moment of frustration into a moment of "Hmm How Interesting?"

Last week during a session of weaving between cones. Duke kept knocking the cones over, rushing ahead of me and just wasn't into the exercise. We were playing on the 22' line and a friend helped me realize we needed to go back to the 12' line and slow down.

Day 8 - What is your horsenality, what is your partners horsenality and how do you make them work together?
 I'm a left brain introvert, Duke is a left brain extrovert and until recently he was an introvert. The more we travel on this journey, the more he reveals himself to me. With this recent change I need to study the extrovert personality more, but I'm finding that as long as I play with him everyday, he's more and more eager to get out and do something.

Day 9 - A moment you have had with your partner that would not have been possible without PNH.

Loading Duke by myself in the trailer with calm confidence. For me, that was a major turning point in my journey.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

30 day PNH blog challenge - Day 3 & Day 4

Day 3-What is your partners favorite game?

Hmm, when Duke's playing with other horses, definitely the porcupine game. On those occasions when I have a chance to observe him interacting with other horses, he uses his teeth to move the other horse, everytime. He's not afraid to back down from a more dominate horse, either.

When Duke's playing with me, it's the driving game. Lately I've noticed when we're playing this on the 22' line and I send him to an object, he's engaged and asking lots of questions; he never used to ask questions. On the 12' line he really enjoys the driving game when I'm in zone 2 or 3. For now, that's his game, but in six months or a year, it may be a different game he enjoys more. He's really starting to put more energy into the circling game than he used to and whether that has to do with a more dynamic extroverted nature, or something else I cannot say at this time.

Day 4-One BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) moment you've had?
Oh boy...there's been so many! Most recently it was during a session weaving four cones on the 22' line that wasn't going very well. Cones were falling over, Duke was rushing through the pattern, getting ahead of me, and I was getting frustrated.  It took a friend pointing out to me that maybe the foundatoin was weak and needed strengthening. Sure enough, we went back to the 12' line and slowed down; the cones stayed upright, Duke stayed calm and walked within the pattern of the cones. Lesson learned: when things don't appear to be working check for holes in the foundation.