Sunday, June 27, 2010

What happens in Winnemucca stays in Winnemucca!

We got into town at about 4 pm, tucked Dove in and chatted with owner Cheryl Towne for about 2 hours after which we checked into the Model T casino/motel. Played the silly "Sex in the City" slot machines and won just shy of $500! ALMOST makes up for getting stuck in the elevator with our luggage upon checkin. LOL all the way up the STAIRS to our room!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The end of a fabulous month of learning

During this last week time flew by. Yesterday was our day of final exams. Although it was a long day I enjoyed the time spent testing whether my horse & I had progressed. I am pleased to say that we did! I now have a clear idea of the areas we will focus on when I get home. It's not a completely new list, however I have additional knowledge, insights and patterns to take home with me. The Fast Track has given me much to think about while I drive home with my friend Gala.

The most interesting part about yesterday's testing was how left brained my horse was at the end. She was done and was very clear and focused about her desire to get back to her pen. ;) I am excited to see how she is at home. Will she throw these same little tantrums at home? Or will she settle in and be more balanced? I think my leadership will make the difference as will my consistency. I know I can count on Miss Dove to give me feedback on how I am doing!

Another big take away for me from the Fast Track is how clear my horse wants me to be. At times she outright demands it. If I can setup my requests with great purpose she is much more apt to offer compliance. If I don't help her understand the purpose well..... she hesitates, or balks, or gets emotional. This will be my challenge- a clear, concise, focused plan with purpose.

Well friends we are ready to head home. First stop is Provo Utah where we hope to meet up with a friend who is taking the Fast Track in July. We will have much to compare in August!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our last Sunday in paradise

We had perfect weather today as my horse & I joined a fellow classmate in the honeycomb for some play time at liberty this morning. Dove & I played stick to me and we had even a few steps at the canter! While we were playing the mastery students were moving cattle past us from a pasture below up to the big top. Dove was keen to watch the action just beyond the honeycomb rails. I think my little mare got kind of frisky because soon she was cantering off even when I gave the tiniest of sends with barely a finger pointing. What a funny horse she can be. We ended our morning session with a nice ride around the fields of the Parelli campus before tucking our ponies in for lunch.

After lunch and some study time with friends, we joined in the Ambassador Orientation program for the afternoon. As we sat listening intently to what the program was all about we had a most pleasant surprise- Pat Parelli arrived to talk with us personally about his visions for the program! His talk was really moving as he went into detail about his passion for making the world a better place for horses and humans. He spoke about the solution to having true partners is to inspire, empower and educate and then outlined some key ingredients to success: attitude, loyalty, dedication and ability. A very powerful message. The program will launch n 2011 so stayed tuned to to hear more details as they unfold.

Well friends it is time to turn in as tomorrow starts our final week of our Fast Track and we will end the week with final exams!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Open House - Parelli Style

What a fantastic end to our third week in the Fast Track. Participating in the Open House was a blast. The Mastery students were awesome and inspiring to all as they played with their horses in Arena Grande. We got to watch from horseback, what a cool seat to view from! Between them they played in all four savvys and we were all riveted, clapping, giggling and cheering them on as they demonstrated their creativity and superb horsemanship.

Next up the Parelli Games. There were 4 areas to participate in- timed riding events (poles and barrels), liberty & online tasks, and a freestyle obstacle course. My little Dove was quite calm considering how she started out somewhat frantic this morning in reaction to the changes in the Parelli campus environment. As Pat says prey animals are sensitive to people, places, changes and things, Well suddenly porta-potties had sprung up everywhere and there were tractors, bob cats and the team pulling the wagon about all morning. Not to mention all the new people. So when it was our turn for the Parelli poles I was pleased at her smooth jog and responsiveness to me despite all those predators watching. As I was walking to the starting box for the barrels event our MC "Dancing Pete" said "Oh say Kim Pat is watching. Do do we think she'll walk the pattern now?" Ha ha gulp, thanks Pete. I decided to stick to my plan of trotting the pattern. In past few weeks John has been talking to us about moving outside our comfort zone and so here I was doing just that, trotting the barrel pattern while Pat was watching. I decided to use the amazing power of focus and be present in the moment with my horse. Results? We jogged the pattern and felt good. Wahoo! Then while watching and cheering on other friends taking a turn, along comes Linda riding Remmer saying hello and asking us if we'd had a turn yet! And the day has only begun. Big happy sigh!

During the day we also mingled with the crowd, answering questions or posing for pictures. There we some eager future students in the crowd inquiring about our travel, accommodations etc. I realized, yep I am living the dream baby!

My friend Josefin & I took a try at the Liberty games next. Josephine and her lease horse Vista were awesome. They have really formed a lovely relationship over these 3 short weeks and it showed today as Josefin put that relationship first when Vista got worried. Vista is 20 years old and Josefin has been patiently and persistently building Vista's confidence in so many areas. It has been fascinating to watch their progress.

Dove & I had fun during our turn at Liberty when suddenly the team pulling the wagon appeared. Dove is both concerned and curious about that horse drawn wagon. Although she broke our connection a few times as the team walked around the coverall, she reconnected quickly and we managed to get 3 of the 5 tasks done. I was quite proud of my pony.

Time ran out to try our hand at the online events as the spotlights were up in 15 mins in the big top. So Josefin & I unsaddled and tucked our ponies in their pens and grabbed a quick bite at the yummy hamburger and ice cream stand.

Dancing Pete was the opener and he is certainly a crowd pleaser. He has a fantastic relationship with his horse and a wonderful sense of humor. We were all clapping and cheering and oohing and ahhing at what he and his horse can do online. Jason and his horse gave a lovely liberty spotlight. Ryan Rose awed us with his freestyle riding on a 4 year old Atwood horse, and Ashley wowed with her routine where she ended up riding a figure 8 while sitting backwards on Revolution! Ann and Bandit were as amazing as ever. She has been such joy to get to see over the years. Then in came John and Kathy Barr who rode a sweet goodbye dance with their horses. They have been on faculty the past 5 years and this will be their last summer in Pagosa before heading off to start their own instructor programs at their new ranch. We will miss them but wish them all the best in their new adventures.

And now drum roll..... in comes Pat to dazzle us even more. Then he brings Linda in too and we all have fun watching them play with their horses. Linda mesmerizes us with a lovely ride on Remmer and Pat leaves us humbled by his amazing flow and creativity with Magic and 2 other horses. He and Magic ride as if they are one. It is hard not to shed a tear of joy to watch Linda and Pat with their horses.

As I walk back up to my horse, I can't help but want to pinch myself.... Yes dreams do come true. Wow! As I watch my horse nibble the green Colorado grass. I think about how fortunate I am that Pat has the desire, passion and drive to share all that he has learned. It is passion that drives he and Linda to trot the globe to spread the word, working long hours to create new material for eager students, dream up new ideas to keep us progressing and inspired, setup and maintain campuses like the one in Pagosa Springs for us to enjoy and call home for the past 4 weeks, and then, to open their ranch to the public and host a fun filled day like this.

Yes friends this is way more than riding and it IS about putting the relationship first, foundation before specialization, and never ending self

I plan to join them and help make the world a better place for horses and humans.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Back in the Bridle again ......

We had fun practicing the Parelli Games on Sat. Ok that is except when my little pony decided to have a tantrum during our gaits and times segment. LOL she had total blonde fit during our slow canter section. My LBE strikes again. So today I realized that at present I have no business riding my horse in her hackamore if she is going to brace that hard. So we are "back in the bridle again!" In addition to working out our plan for next week's focus areas I decided that i would also practice our emergency lateral bends both sides and in both directions on Sunday.

Today was really a beautiful day we had pm rain yesterday more forecasted for today so it was a nice surprise when it was cloudy and then also moments of intense sun. We made our way out to the honeycomb for some circling practice online and at liberty as well as a dose of pure silly play. We found a fellow classmate out there with his horse. What luck as he has a left brained horse too. So we'd watch each others sessions and gained more insight into our own horses. After a very successful session we broke for lunch and put our ponies back in their pens with some lunch hay. The Horse Behavior & You course students were arriving. The ranch was abuzz with activity and excitement.

After lunch we took our horses back to the honeycomb for a riding session. My classmate was cantering his big gelding around the honeycomb finding his neutral seat while Dove & I played with our emergency stops in one of the smaller round pens within the honeycomb. I figured if she still had some silly tantrum ideas she couldn't be wrong for too long in the round pen.;) I practiced at least 10 times on each side in each direction. At one point We cantered a bit longer than usual and she offered to lateral bend herself! LOL I couldn't help but laugh. She soon ran out of gas so we rode around the pasture outside the honeycomb with our fellow student friend which was a lovely end to our day.

Tomorrow starts week 3 and we were told they will be turning the pressure up. Oh Boy better get some shut eye.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 12, the end of week 2 ....... Midterm grades!

Today is the day to learn how we are progressing! Our morning was spent in focus sessions and playing in the savvy park. Just before lunch we enjoyed a demo of the 7 games at Liberty. John brought two of his horses who were of different horseanalities. Quite interesting to watch how differently he played with each of them. John wanted us to think about Principle #4 while we watched and then again while we played with our own horses in the afternoon. He also talked about the need for us to have an excellent game over button. In addition we will do whatever we need to do to build our horse's confidence and interest in us. We need to make deposits in our emotional/relationship bank account with our horses.

After lunch we split up in to groups and meet with our new mentor for next week. One by one we sat with our mentor to discuss our midterm scores and then what our focus a areas would be for next week. I ended up getting a score that was very close to my self assessment score we each completed on day 1. I was pleased that how I thought I was doing was close to what the teachers also thought.

Dove & I ended our day with a chiro visit for Dove. While we waited for our turn the thunder and lightening arrived and cooled us all off a bit. Dr. found the same spots I thought were issues, Cool. Then Dove decided to throw a bit of a temper tantrum. she was tired of waiting for her turn when all the other horses had been fed. In the end she yawned big wide yawns and a lowered her head. I managed to leave the barn at dusk and saw some beautiful cloud formations.

Ok, friends I am almost falling sleep on my iPad so I'll sign off for now,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Being present in the moment

Phew we've been busy these past few days. My feet were feeling a bit heavy last night as I dragged myself from the fun campfire sing-along. I wish I could have stayed till the end but it was getting dark and there had been bear sightings in the parking lot. Yeowza, that will motivate you to hustle eh?

So let's see if I can catch up here. On Tuesday morning our focus groups were on 45' line Savvy, Circles, HQ/FQ yields online, saddling with Savvy and Freestyle Patterns. Dove & I had some nice break throughs on the HQ/FQ yields. She is starting to yield at my suggestion. That is so uber cool!! Then John Barr gave us a demo on 7 games on a 45' line. He and his horse have a beautiful relationship. At one point John stopped and had us watch Pat working with cattle right in front of us! Oh boy!!! Pat was riding Peppy and teaching his newest dog to work the cattle. Caton came riding up bareback and with one rein to watch too! Then Pat called his older cattle dog to come round them up. Wow what an incredible demonstration of superb horsemanship. Pat gave us a great visual of where we can take our journey to. Just awesome. Thanks Pat for the inspiration!!

In the afternoon Linda came back to address our entire Fast Track group! Wow 2 days in a row. I felt so honored. What a privilege to hear her latest ideas and explanations. She answered every question put to her and little Vinnie even put on a cute show. And stop- the presses- Linda is getting Vinnie a friend! So I am certain we'll see pics of the newest addition soon. Once again Linda took the time to write on the white board to explain horseanality concepts and even some human ones- called core beliefs. A very interesting conversation indeed. My big take away from that session was this: She said we need to be totally in the present with our horse. Have no baggage from the past and no anxiety or apprehension about the future. For some of us that will be a tall order but I think we can do it with knowledge, patience (with ourselves and our horses) persistence and of course time. ;)

We ended Tuesday with riding in Arena Grande practicing our follow the rail and we added the bow tie pattern. Our goal was to get our horses "sweet" on the rail. Once again my little rockstar Dove was walking and trotting softly with rhythm. She even offered a few canter steps on the bow tie pattern. She still had some gas in the tank!

Wednesday was another fun filled fast paced day. We started our learning various knots, and some of us had fun trying to do them without looking. Ha. We of course went back and made sure to have perfect practise too. ;) Dove & I took the class on Sideways Problem solving and made some progress. We missed Liberty Basics but had fun in the Freestyle patterns in Arena Grande. By day 3 the horses almost do sigh with relaxaton as they walk in the gate. Nice! Like Tuesday we ended our day riding in Arena Grande from 4- 6pm.

Ok and now we have today..... another round of thought provoking focus stations ending with some freestyle riding. Before lunch John gave us an awesome trailer loading demo with a student horse. It was fascinating to watch the horse change in such short time and to see John's excellent level of feel, timing and balance. It was also a demonstration of putting principles before goals.

Then surprise we were going on a trail ride in the afternoon!!!! Whoa ho ho ho!!! After lunch we first simulated trail riding using noodles for carrot sticks. LOL I wish I had that on film. We must had looked quite odd but it really helped us understand how to help each other out. All for one and one for all! Then we got our ponies ready and met in Arena Grande for a bit more practise. We divided up into three groups and followed our leader around the arena often weaving in and out of other groups! Again where was the video camera? LOL High five we survived! We were ready and off to Snakey Trail we all went. Of course our group was lead by Dancing Pete so we sang "If you're happy and you know it raise your carrot sticks " as we rode. We all had many moments of "stick please" and in the end our horses decided it was better to listen to our body language of slow down than to get boinked by the rider ahead. Now that was one fun ending to our day, riding through the lovely San Juan Forest. Once back home we dismounted and spent some undemanding time with our trusty steads.

Tomorrow is midterms grades! I think some are nail biting in anticipation. For me it is what it is. I have already had great progress with my horse and am totally happy about that.

hasta la manyana,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Obedient Exuberance

Yesterday I was listening to Pat on the May Gold Savvy Club Audio titled Possibilities and he mentioned obedient exuberance amongst other things. It stood out for me as it fits right in with what Dove & I are exploring. She has been really settling into her left brained side lately, usually calm, usually trusting, often motivated and now the last piece willingness. Which is just what Linda Parelli talked to us about today. Yes I said Linda Parelli. The 11 Gold members in our Fast Track were gathered at about 10 am and told that they had a bit of a surprise for us- Linda was here and interested in talking with us! Oh this Fast Track just gets better with every day! They wanted to film another Ask Linda session from the Mastery video series they have been sending us. Oh Boy indeed! We quickly put our ponies in their pens and anxiously awaited Linda's entrance. We were all asked to think of something to ask her. Cool. And she'd pick one or more to talk about. She also answered every question we had even if not picked for the segment. Awesome! And of course little cute Vinnie was there too. At one point he chewed his leash setting himself free. Yep a true LBE Vinnie is. LOL. And friends, he is even cuter in person.

She talked about so many great things and a lot of this we will see in upcoming video, articles etc. so watch for your monthly Parelli media. Linda was with us for 3 hours and she made a point to even stop and draw on the whiteboard to explain something. Refer to the May 2009 Savvy Times (pg. 81) for all the details. When she talked about how we can determine if our horse is having a tantrum or is having a RB moment I had a huge AH HA moment. That is my little sweet Dovely.... she IS having a tantrum. This is what I have been struggling with... how to tell the difference. Because as Linda pointed out today the horse FEELS the same whether it is a tantrum or fear based tension... they are all balled up. She told us a great story about her latest break through with Allure and it all became crystal clear for me. I won't go into detail as I simply cannot do her story justice. I am certain we will all see this in a future article.

Wow what an honor to have Linda spend so much time with us and teach us so many things. She had a little segment where we got to simulate going from hollow backed to sitting on our balance point and then engaging our core. Wow. She went around to each of us to make sure we all understood. What a truly amazing woman she is. So patient and fun and easy going. Ah my morning was complete.

Then Pat showed up during lunch with some guests and said Hi! What another great surprise!

In the afternoon we had a demo from Kathy Barr on saddle fitting and shimming. I had already adjusted Dove's shims that morning in our saddling focus group so I was eager to see if it was better. Kathy asked us to experiemnt with shims to find the combo that works for right now. Then at 4 pm we had a group session of riding in Arena Grande. As I prepared Dove I thought about what Linda had talked about and tried watching for what Dove wanted to do and going with it. So of course my LB horse wanted to eat grass. She had not a care in the world that we were all alone in this eating grass moment. We were the last ones to enter Arena Grande! LOL John Barr lead us in a session of walking, and trotting with relaxation. Our eventual goal would be to maintain gait around the arena. My little Dove was cool as a cucumber! As I took plenty of time between jogs she relaxed so much that she looked like she was rolling peanuts in the sand. I don't know if it would have been possible to have her head any lower while traveling. So I took it to mean she liked the new shims adjustment, me understanding her idea to eat grass, and the relaxation exercise. This was the day I was waiting for. In the end as we cooled them down with a nice walk around the arena Dove decided to offer her "warmblood" walk... so here we were relaxed as can be but passing everyone! HIlarious. I made our last laps with her reins laying on her neck and only touching them when she bent a tad too much. Ah so cool.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pond Play

After playing with our focus areas for next week in order to rough draft some daily ingredients, I took Miss Dove down to the pond. It was quite warm today so I thought it may interest her since the water would feel cool. Dove had minimul hesitations and was soon tromping on in. At one point I thought she may lay down in the water! But she either hit a drop off or some deep goo and changed her mind. She made several squeezes back and forth and even cantered out one time rather frisky vs snorty. Ha my little LBE showed herself. She was quite motivated by the yummy grain in my pocket as well. Left-brained-ville is such fun for both of us. ;)

This made my day I tell ya as Dove has been so skeptical of murky water. She'll readily walk into a clear river, but puddles and even dark wet areas send her soaring over or balking all together.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Taking my porsche out for a drive!

Oh Boy! Today we got to practise the Parelli Games that we get to demo at the Open House on June 19th! Dove was quite the awesome partner today. Ok yes she had a few blonde moments but she wouldn't be Dove if she didn't have them (and frankly I have them too). That is what makes Dove special. My little budding performance horse was amazing in the online and liberty games. During the Freestyle game she decided that she was quite annoyed and thinking of running off and/or bucking during the barrel pattern game. Oh please must you? Your cinch wasn't that much tighter nor where your HQ in true danger of the honeycomb eating monsters. LOL And believe you me I was exhaling and relaxing my body and even using my savvy string. So we did some serpentines between barrels and even sniffed the last one before walking to the center, and then stopped, arms raised for our 7 second count. LOL I do love her enthusiasm to go go go. It will come in handy one day when she decides to relax and embrace her amazingly athletic body.

After the games a few of us gals went to lunch and then shopping. Thank you Jennifer for driving! When we got to Goodman's it didn't take long before more Parelli folks showed up and soon we were all giggling and entertaining the employees. I actually overheard them delight in the fact that we had arrived. They were talking about how fun it is when the Parelli students arrive.. how we parellians have so much fun when we are in their store.

Then since we were in search of a knife for a fellow student we went to Boot Hill and voila found one. Phew now she won't get in hot water come Monday when they expect us to all carry our Savvy Strings and a pocket knife... oh and our 45's while we are on campus.

Ok friends, I am signing off as I finish my laundry after one fabulous week of horsemanship in paradise.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Our first week

Wow, fun, amazing, stupendous comes to mind...... and this is just the first week. I warn you now you are going to hear this often so brace yourselves, "My horse is brilliant!"

Dove is really showing me her inner self this week. She has given me so many offerings that I can only hope to catch them all and thank her properly. We end the week with focus groups where we can pick and choose modules to participate in and then play with later in the day. In addition we bond with our fellow students as we ride the emotional roller coaster up and down. Holy Cow Batman this learning environment is awesome!

Today we added the element of one-on-one coaching. We met in small groups or remudas, and chatted a bit and then set the schedule for our personal mentor sessions where we map our our next week's focus... or in my case focuses. LOL ole super ambitious me strikes again. Diggin in with my new boots as we speak. ha ha ha The mentor session was great. They gave me a sheet to map out my week. Look out Miss Dove here we go!!

Ok getting some shut-eye as tomorrow is another FUN day as we get to practise the Parelli Games!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 4 .... Our first challenge

We had our first day of instruction today and in the afternoon we had a challenge to wipe the slate clean and play with our horse as if we just met and knew nothing about them. Dove was quite interesting, especially as there is loads of fresh alfalfa growing in the savvy park. She had a few emotional moments but mostly was exuberant and playful. She got her blood up a few times cantering about but otherwise was getting quite good at snatching grass greedily as we circled about or played with obstacles. We also played in the pond and at one early point she timed it just right as she stepped in to the water and pulled hard right and was free to canter back to the alfalfa! LOL my little LBE showed up. I walked up to her as she was happily munching away and giving me this two eared Hi how ya doing look. We played in the lake again until she was calm, walked out and quietly nibbled on the grass.

That sure was interesting session. Taught me heaps about myself and my horse. Looking forward to tomorrow morning as we start the focus groups. We bring our horse and choose which sessions to join in.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 3 and testing is complete!

Pat came to chat with us last night and at one point he mentioned a book he read many years ago titled "If you want to be rich and famous then don't go to school." He went on to explain that he thought way back then that if he had a school then he'd give the final exam on the first day. That way you know what is important and what you will need to know to pass. I must say that after these past 3 days I agree. Ok so yes it makes you nervous as a black cat on Halloween to get tested on your first days but it sure gives you a clear idea of where you and your horse are right now. I often joke about Dove being a rockstar but I must say that she really was during this testing phase. Yes she had her moments of "I'm done" and got a bit sassy however overall we did better than I anticipated we would do. Gotta love my little strawberry blonde pony!