Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Blog has moved!

What a whirlwind month this has been. Not only did I complete my trainee hours and am now a Licensed Parelli Professional 1-Star Junior Instructor, but I also set up my new website Shannon Valley Ranch! WAHOO!!!

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my web hosting service (yahoo small business) offered a blog feature too. I can now have it all in once place. Of course that means moving my blog..... which is kind of sorrowful as blogger has been such fun to use and customize and y'all have been great supporters by following me. However as we know Parelli is all about being positive, progressive and natural and about never ending self improvement ...... so drum roll please ...... here is my new blog site:

I would love it if y'all would follow my new blog! While it is fun for me to write about my adventures nothing motivates me more on this journey than your comments and support! You may subscribe to my blog from this page
or if you use google reader you will click on Add Subscription and enter my site address of

Hope to see y'all there soon! .... at Jaime & Susan's request I am posting a short video of my session yesterday where I was standing on Dovely. Check it out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Having fun with Spice Girl

We had some sudden lovely weather the other day and I took advantage of it and played with my younger mare Spice. I will bring both Dove & Spice to Reno next month for a clinic with Trevor and Tara Carter so thought I'd better check out where our freestyle was at after a long wet and cold winter.

So here is a short video..... introducing, ...drum roll please.... no we need a bigger drum roll because she is..... my Drama Queen, Miss Spice!

It started to rain so we ended before I soaked my camera. It was a very interesting session. We tested various versions of our games to check for any Ya But's, Oh no's, and Yes M'ams.

I have a few items to discuss with Miss Spice but overall I was pleased with her change in attitude and willingness to stay present with me. Only 4 weeks to go until Reno!

Next sesson I'll bring my other helmet and go offroad! LOL

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Time for a tune-up!

Recently Dove & I traveled to David Lichman's for a private lesson. My good friend Jamie asked for an update on what we learned. So I thought I would share it with y'all too. :)

We arrived a bit early so Dove & I played at Liberty in his arena. She promptly saw this hairy sheep in the neighbor’s yard across the fence and was immediately drawn to it. How interesting… she is in a confident and dominant mood. Cool. So we played with our close spins and stick to me in his round pen which is at one end of the arena… I left the gate open…. circling was going nicely and then Dove left me ….through the gate. ha ha She crossed the arena to check in with the other horses so I applied a bit of pressure (make it uncomfortable to leave me) and she came cantering back to me when I asked for her. Uber cool! This was her first canter to me at Liberty! Ah the magic of the Lichman atmosphere! Oh and our lesson had not yet begun.

David arrived and we both got super engrossed in knot tying! Dove, still at Liberty, stood with us and took a nap while we fiddled with some cool braiding and knots.

Then I gave him my sob story about my dismal porcupine game and how I would sure love his input. So we began online and Dove was so-so at this one and ok at that one but nothing to write home or blog about! David observed that I needed to give Dove something more to do and if she wanted to move away, I should gently but firmly get her back in position and go somewhere with our porcupine. Then he noticed that she was bracing – head up and tight. So we played with that for a while, I had just my index finger pressed horizontally on the halter knot to ask her to back up, and then tapped her front feet with my stick or foot to get more response. I had to also press down with my index finger if she raised her head. I needed to be a bit more insistent vs. so nice and soft. ;) Ah yes David figured me out. ha ha

Before we moved to riding we addressed one of Dove’s old ghosts…. ropes and her hind legs. This is not a new subject but the good news is that we have progressed to a point where I have enough savvy to help her even more now. It has been a very long and at times dangerous road. She can get quite explosive if she gets worried enough. This is where David commented that my softness and niceness can help balance her out after moments when I must apply pressure. The brief history is that Dove has barbed wire and/or rope scars on her hind legs – from her fetlocks to her hocks. She has this on both hind legs although they are different lengths and could therefore be from more than one incident. I do not know if this occurred as a result of an accident while she was ridden or if this happened in pasture, or if it was inflicted by a previous predator. Either way they are what they are and have left her very skeptical of anything tight around her hind legs. David is well aware of the issue and has helped me progress with her tolerance, acceptance and now even relaxation when we play with ropes back there. So for this lesson he wound the 45’ rope around her in such a way that it would come free if need be. The hondo end dangled just above the ground and the rope then wound around her chest crossed over her back over the hondo end and then behind her legs on her gaskin area. We started on her more confident left side… aka the easier side. Phew. David helped in the beginning and then handed her over to me and in the end we were getting some nice low headed trotting in a circle, some straight lines, and even some backing … she backs up and into the rope pressure. I will continue this for the next 30 days and will hold off switching to her harder side until she gets really, really confident with this. BTW we are on our 4th session with this and I have already gotten some nice soft canter strides and even jumped over a small jump. Wahoo! My little pony tries her heart out for me.

Here's a little video clip from our 4th session at home:

Next we played with leading by the hind leg which was progressing to a new point using the 22’. David helped get me into a safer position to ask her for a step sideways with her hind leg. I needed to add in some driving her Zone 1 away so she would then also step her free leg over. Oh boy lots of homework!!

Next we saddled up and played with our freestyle porcupine game. Not surprisingly we had similar results – Dove bracing with her head up when backing. So while I was in the saddle, David helped me from the ground by tapping her front legs with the carrot stick and adding in some downward pressure on her halter to lower her head. Then he handed me the carrot stick and showed me how to tap her HQ, once she started backing to ask her to put more effort into it. Whoa that was alot for me to think about all at once. ha ha I have to admit that at first I had brain overload and tended to raise my rein too soon, but with some repetition I regained my savvy composure and felt some nice tries on Dove’s part. So we ended our lesson on this soft note.

Before we packed up to leave I put my helmet cam on David while he tied the fiador knot. He said he will post it on his website. I need to practice that knot a whole lot before I will remember it! LOL We then schlepped our tack back to my trailer, Dove almost self-loaded and we made the trip home in record time.

Another great tune-up from a Master Instructor. Thank you David!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Full of learning, stretching, testing, and reaching milestones, this past month has been in a word ....... supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Which according to Wickipedia roughly translates to "Atoning for educability through delicate beauty."

After 2 life changing weeks spent at the fabulous Florida Parelli campus, I returned home on my 50th birthday, and began the next chapter in my horsemanship journey. I must admit my head was in the horse clouds and thus the freezing temperatures were quite annoying since all I wanted to do was play with my horses and talk to them about all that I had learned! Come on Mother Nature what were you thinking? I had heard that my family enjoyed pleasant 70 degree weather while my fingers grew numb in Florida and now I come home to more frost? Humph putting on my emotional fitness jacket, I made the best of it and played under the shelters. Wouldn't you know it but my two mares & I had one of THE BEST sessions with accepting the bit EVER! Not only was Dove lowering her head and taking the bit quietly into her mouth AT LIBERTY but Miss Spice was nibbling and grabbing at it, impatient for her turn. Amazing what a difference two weeks makes .... to my savvy! Thank you Parelli!

So after learning came stretching ..... my attention, time, and energy between my horsemanship and my teachermanship. OK Mother Nature I guess you had a good plan because the cold wet weather was a handy motivator to stay indoors and focus on getting my little duckies in a row preparing for my new role as a 1 Star Junior Parelli Professional Trainee. Oh yea... say that new title 5 times fast! Cool!

Then came the testing phase. My first few students have been my close girlfriends who I can count on to give me the straight scoop, honest feedback and tons of support and encouragement. Yeah for my BFF's! I had a blast giving them lessons last week. Both have injured horses at the moment so they used my horses and let me tell you that was double the fun for me!

And now to today..... reaching milestones ..... what a pleasant time I had teaching a new student today. Helping her progress one spoonful of information at a time, and then to see her big beautiful white Boulonnais, a french draft horse, with two big ears and soft dreamy eyes from across the arena .... a sign that what just transpired between them was ... well magic. Ah friends this is what we all do this for. My heart gave this big sigh and I could feel the love, language and leadership all around us. So as I returned back to my horses this afternoon everything seemed happy & easy. Dove & I had a great session again with biting the cones and playing with our perfect circling game. Then we spent another hour playing with our trailer and in the end she was loading with me sitting on the fender. I am ever so grateful for my little Rockstar Dove. We ended our session with a test drive of our new GoPro Helmet Cam that my husband and son got me for my birthday.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Fabulous Florida!

Linda presented a seminar on The Elements of Man on Saturday which ended a fabulous week of learning and growth. Every day last week was incredible ..... so much to process. Pat & Linda are amazing teachers and so inspiring and thought provoking. Our course was led by Carol Coppinger, Nita Jo Rush and Ann Kiser a power trio of knowledge, energy and encouragement. This was another dream come true for me because I had wanted to take lessons with Carol, Nita Jo & Ann. Who knew it would be all at once as an instructor course! Double cool surprise. I am proud to say that our entire class of 73 students passed with 80% or better which means look out horse world there are 73 new 1 Star Junior Parelli Professionals coming your way and yours truly is one of them! YeHaw!

I had the day off yesterday (Sunday) and today. Tomorrow I get the privilege to watch dressage master Walter Zettl give lessons. Wow I anticipate that I will fill my entire notebook in one day with all that I will see and learn! Good thing I brought extra notebooks because there will be 3 days of lessons to watch, weather permitting. Then next Saturday there will be a full day on saddle fitting which I also get to attend. Oh Boy!!! This will make two weeks of pure Parelli education. I think I need to pinch myself to make sure I am not just dreaming. ;) It will take me some time to assimilate all that I have learned, but for certain I will share it once it percolates up. For now know that Parelli has a top shelf Instructor Training Program in addition to it's phenomenal Horsemanship program.

2011 is going to be one Rockin good year for horse lovers!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Soaring with eagles

That's what it feels like when you are in a room with 150 like minded and like hearted people! We are on our fourth day of this fabulous Instructor course and I must say that this is more than an instructor course. Yes we have learned about how to progress our teaching skills but there is so much more that Pat & Linda have offered and exposed us to. The enhancements that are coming soon to Parelli Connect along with the progressive Mastery Program updates will have a huge positive impact towards changing the world to be a better place for horses and humans.

And friends that was after only 3 days! This morning weather permitting (rain hold on please) we have the privilege to watch Pat with the Mastery students and see what excellence with horses looks like up close and in the moment. Yesterday we were to watch what Kalley is doing with the young horse development program but mother nature forced us indoors. We then had the unique opportunity to have a Q & A session with Kalley. Wow folks she mesmerized us with her stories and explanations of the pieces to the program. At the end we all wished we could be Kalley's horse. She has a truly special quality of energy about her. Thank you Kalley for making yourself so available for our stream of questions!

Our main stewards of this course are Carol Coppinger, Nita J Rush, and Ann Kiser. Talk about a powerful trio! They have sprinkled in just the right amount of serious discussion and humorous interaction to keep us focused and relaxed while they stuff our heads with information. Brilliant strategy. Today and tomorrow afternoon we will take the theory and policy tests once more and Friday we will have a graduation party! On Saturday we have a little icing on the cake as Linda will present a seminar on the Elements of Man. This may be the first time in a long time that I will need to take Sunday off to recharge! :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fun inflight!

Met a new friend while traveling to Orlando. My new gal pal, Margaret & I are having fun trying to watch TV while on the plane! Of course we would. We were able to watch 3 mins of the comedy Two and A Half Men. And every once in while we holler back to Margie who is sitting behind us! You can imagine all the giggling and carrying one three gals can do on a long flight. ;) Needless to say I don't think the guy in the window seat is too pleased. I think he'll be alright though he came equipped with an iPod.

We do have a rather stern, all rules kind of flight attendant, who frankly scares us a little. We may have to wait until we land to get out of our seats. LOL. She has been heard barking at someone that they were in her way.. Oops... Better explain the friendly game to Margaret in case we need to visit the powder room. PNH to the rescue! And then there was the incident when Margie dared to ask for a spoon for her Starbucks oatmeal. Of course she is a fellow Parellli student and used her savvy. She came back with the spoon in the end.

Well friends time to try the TV show thingie again.... It's a long flight.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Off to visit the "enchanted" campus

This week has been Busy with a captial "B" getting ready to fly out to Florida tomorrow morning for 2 weeks. Uh yea baby TWO WEEKS! I am quite excited about attending the 1 Star Instructor course at the "enchanted" campus and getting to reunite with my former Fast Track mates. I still managed to find ample time to goof off with my ponies though. All work and no fun make Kimmy a dull cowgirl! In the beginning of the week we played with obstacles at my friends ranch and today my Mom came by so I promptly put her skills with a camera to good use. Thanks Mom!! xoxoxoxo

TTFN (tah tah for now) ~kim

My Sweet & Playful Gelding Chero

Miss Fancy Spice Girl

My Rockstar Dove

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Positive, Progressive and Natural

Well friends I have been enjoying the suddenly warm and sunny weather here in California. Couldn't have happened at a better time (if you read my last post). Nothing like a gloriously sunny day to help me get my nose out of a book, or put the vaccuum down and run outside to play with horses. It can also really brighten your attitude. ;)

So this past week found me doing just that... really PLAYING with my horses versus tweeking tasks or isolations or worrying about goals. Looking at my horses with POSITIVE appreciation for where they are at in this very moment in time... and where I am at too. Talking to them about the little things that make the biggest difference. Jane (aka Twinnie a fellow blogger) posted on my blog a great reminder comment from our Fast Track experience.

"The words of John Barr keep coming back to me - 'you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now'... "

Jane is also struggling with submitting her L3 Freestyle audition. That is another beautiful part of PNH, the sense of belonging to a family, that you are not alone in your frustrations nor are you alone in celebrating your successes! Pat's saying about having an Attitude that is "Positive, Progressive, and Natural" was running through my mind and caused me to search for the article that one of my Fast Track coaches Molly Sanders wrote on this very subject.

" I decided to be ok with where I was and turned the knob with conviction. It was much like taking off a pair of sunglasses and having the world take on a brighter hue. I felt free to experiment, free to acknowledge the things my horse offered, I felt natural. The only place I could be in my journey of horsemanship was where I was… and that’s when things really started clicking together for me."

I also remembered a few more good old PNH phrases such as "Personal growth is rarely convenient or comfortable." Whether it's learning how to remain positive, or struggling to be progressive enough, and above all else staying natural in the pursuit of my dream. And another good one I heard several times during Fast Track that I may not quote just right but I think you'll get the meaning- "we (coaches or your horse) may not teach you what you WANT to learn but rather what you NEED to learn." Oh boy isn't that true.

So early last week with Dove I slowed way way way .....way... way down and took 30 -40 mins to hang out, exhale, relax, rub on her, ask ever so small for her to put her head down, or "think" about taking one step backwards before doing ANYTHING else. Anyone watching may have thought we were just standing there doing nothing. ;) My little RBI needed to reconnect at this level after all we learned last year. Phew, I think I needed this too. The result? By the end of the week we were really playing even with the tough stuff like being particular about FQ yields and the quality of response when porcupining Dove's chest (her confident & dominant nature shows up in her Zone 2! LOL) We found the path to positive progression in a natural & FUN way.

And isn't it funny how that change in my attitude flowed over to my other two horses as well! ALL 3 of them offered some of the coolest stuff yesterday EVER! Just when you think you are being positive or progressive or natural, your horse teaches you how much more there still is to learn.... and if you step up to the challenge then they reward your slightest try!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Good, Better, Best, Never Let it Rest, Get your Good Better and your Better Best!

It's already two weeks into the new year and I am still planning (ok plotting really) my goals, aspirations, and dreams for 2011. What are my horses and I doing Good.... what can we do to get it Better ......on our way to doing it Best? Now mind you I gave up making "New Year's Resolutions" long ago, instead I greet the New Year with a blank slate and promptly start making lists all over it. LOL. And I am a serious list maker my friends. I am even prone to buying new stationary and cute little purse books so I can make lists wherever, whenever the opportunity arises. Oh just look at the colorful stuff I found at the supermarket! It even has bling so of course I could not resist putting it in my cart next to the eggs, ortega chiles, vegetable broth and water chestnuts. Uh yeah I had a weird little shopping list yesterday. All the more reason I had room for the diva-like stationary! It is a serious addiction I have... making lists. I think the reason I do it is that I get alot of satisfaction out of crossing the items off! So there you have it..... my confession for the year. Phew glad that is over with, now we can get on to horsemanship goals, aspirations and dreams, the stuff a brand new shiny year is made for.

As I sat down and started writing my horsemanship goals what came out surprised me..... what sat before me was a list of house and garden chores. What? ... where is all the fun horsemanship stuff? Hmmm... my list contained those naggy things...... like decluttering an overflowing clothes closet (because you bought some new riding jeans!) ordering a part for my truck, or the piles of papers that really need to be tossed or filed away. Am I to take care of those nagging responsibilities before Kimmy can go out and play? Funny how the brain works at times. Alrighty then, I created my "to-tackle" list. LOL I am in linebacker mode. This is the side effect of Sunday football playing in the background yesterday. So wouldn't you know it, while I was decluttering the office this weekend I found the latest Better Homes and Gardens magazine- what was the headline article? "Cool, Calm, and Decluttered: 25 Ways to Pare Down and Get Organized for a Fresh New Year." How did they know? ;)

While I was knee deep in office debris, I also realized that sometimes I can feel this way about my horsemanship goals too. Are there tasks, or areas that are calling out to be worked on first before we can get to our fun list and become in the words of BHG- cool, calm and decluttered? And don't misunderstand, my horses and I have no problem ditching our plan for the day and have some good old fashioned fun spontaneous play. And I don't mean that I am putting goals before principles but rather that I need to take a moment and really look at where we are at in relation to the bigger goal. Embrace where we are at instead of thinking about what we still haven't accomplished. And begin there. Perhaps it is all these books I am reading in preparation for the 1 Star Instructor course that's got me thinking about truth, transparency and trust, or my own desire to be super prepared and get the most out of that adventure, my old damned determined ambitious side was poking her head out! LOL. She really craves knowledge and organization. And she can sometimes be a real pill. :P

So I had to ask myself, what is hanging me up or holding me back? What am I secretly obsessing over? Ok here it is...... submitting our Level 3 Freestyle Audition. There I said's out there. I admit that I would liked that to have been done, passed, checked off by the end of 2010. I felt I had plenty of time..... ah but that was people time not my horse's time. And my friends, there is my second confession, treating my horsemanship like a "to do" list that I was longing to check off! Good grief! I know that my horse & I have some rather important mental, emotional and physical things to sort through in regards to riding truly in free-style... the kind of free-style that I dream about .... riding bareback and bridleless ....on the beach no less. Now I know that is not part of the audition, but it is part of the pursuit of my dream. Some of the important ingredients surfaced during our Fast Track experience last June while others have been around for awhile and thankfully my mentors help me sort through them and have really given me permission to slow down and become fascinated by them. Really it's just a little nagging feeling of falling behind the goal of the "green string", with a bit of impatience thrown in -w
hen will I get back to the recombine part and play with our freestyle audition?

So I acknowledged that with a little re-org of my time I could satisfy my desire for more knowledge, tackle some of the more glaring organizational needs which would result in more relaxation and free up my playful imaginative side..... and then I'd be in the right attitude to start to write down my horsemanship goals, aspirations and dreams for 2011. Yes that's right.... the first Key to Success...... Attitude. It's the process not the product.... it's not about the goals. LOL! The list can go on. What my friends have you learned about yourself, your attitude, your feelings, your response to writing down your goals, dreams and aspirations for the new year?