Posts Tagged With: sketch

A long leisurely afternoon with firsts and wows

Days like this confirm my belief that I need a camera guy to follow me around. I would really love to document Rocky’s expressions when figuring out puzzles, his questions to me, his alert walk when he meets me at the pasture gate, his cute tongue when he plays games with the hose.

I spent almost four hours out there today in no hurry at all. I had a Plan but not an Expectation. No deadline and no particular attachment to outcomes.

All the ground play felt like a solid level 2 with some flashes of brilliance that I’d qualify as early level 3. The riding felt like an early level 1 — but not a level 0.

What I practiced, with varying degrees of skill:

  • Holding the 22-foot line by the leather end rather than in the middle, while still managing it to keep Rocky from tripping.
  • Touch-It pattern from 16 to 22 feet away from Rocky, all around our ranchette.
  • Recognizing and honoring thresholds in both of us.
  • Waiting.
  • Sideways game all the way around the round pen, both directions, with the turn-out herd fanned out along the rail.
  • Yo-yo, driving game, and circle game in the round pen, with belly of the rope on the ground and a pole along the rail he had to watch for.
  • Stopping at the right time. Giving cookies at the right time.
  • Seven games from 22 feet, all around the ranchette.
  • Saddling with savvy, especially the girth.
  • Mounting from the (high, awkward, wobbly at least in my mind) pipe panel fence. Waiting for heart rate to slow before moving from fence to horse. Waiting after mounting until both Rocky and I relaxed, allowing him to continue licking the pipe fence, stroking his neck, rotating my pelvis back to my balance point in a saddle that tries to roll me onto my seat bones.
  • Point-to-point in the arena in English saddle with stirrup leathers removed, choosing points far outside the arena and way above my head, not removing my eyes from the point no matter what. Breathing. Balance point. Pedaling. Breathing again. Feeling the “eyes” on my toes, knees, hip bones, belly button, shoulders, and forehead pointing toward the chosen Point, and Rocky straightening his trajectory accordingly.
  • Acknowledging Rocky for not spooking when the lead rope of the hackamore fell to the ground without my noticing. I was urging him forward and he wouldn’t go, and then he backed up a little, and then I noticed the rope on the ground. I rested there and stroked and praised him, breathing, then had him turn his nose to me so I could reel the line in. Then we rested some more. And then we moved forward.
  • Devising a better way to keep that rope secured.
  • Bringing life into my body while riding. Grounding equally through both feet rather than just one, when not riding.
  • Bathing Rocky.

This illustration is not to scale — the horses aren’t that tiny in real life — but it gives you a sense of the audience we had while playing. You can’t see him, but there was a chocolate Lab under one of those trees, too.

Round pen

Categories: Freestyle, Language, Leadership, Love, On-Line | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Notes from Parelli Teleseminar #2

I’ve been “off” all week — as in off, not as in off work — and have not spent much time with Rocky, nor have I checked the Savvy Club forum three times a day or immersed myself in materials. I even decided at the last minute that I was not in the mood to call into the live session of the teleseminar this morning (if it even was live; I don’t think they specified!) and instead tuned in to a rerun later in the evening.

I have been working like crazy and juggling projects and deadlines and so I turned the volume down when the Parellis were answering questions about the levels program, the professional/instructor program, the new courses, and other business news. I’m interested! But that stuff is so far away from my life right now and the deadline for the client document I was editing was so very, very close. (I made it.) I paused in my editing during the horsemanship questions, tuned in, and took notes.

I am listing these first two out of order, as they were the most important to me.

Q: Elaborate on horses being one innate horsenality. What do I make of a horse showing all four quadrants?

A – Linda: A horse has one core, predominant horsenality: he is either Introvert or Extrovert and Right Brain or Left Brain. On the horsenality chart (PDF), the core horsenality is determined by the checkboxes on the end of each axis. The little dots in the quadrants represent situational behaviors. These reflect disturbances, whether mental, emotional, or physical. They also show the way the horse reacts with you, but maybe not with other people. Horses are very reactive. The situational behaviors will improve by way you handle the horse. (Laughing, she added: Or you will make them worse, depending on how well you read the horse and respond.)

My Response: When I went through the Emotional Fitness mastery manual and saw the horsenality chart without the inner details, just the LB/RB and Introvert/Extrovert, I got a better sense of how to figure out the innate; and that means how he is when he is feeling safe, though he flips exactly opposite when he feels unsafe. When I stopped focusing on each little behavior and just went with my “feel” – what I instinctively sense as his core, versus specific little actions – I felt like I knew his innate horsenality, right there on the line dividing LBI and LBE, and on the line dividing low and medium spirit.


Q: How can I tell if my horse is hitting a threshold or just trying to dominate the situation and saying I don’t want to go there and you can’t make me?

A – Linda: A horse balks either from fear or dominance, but it’s not about the threshold. It’s about trust and how he thinks of you as a leader.


If it’s fear/unconfidence, the best thing to do is to back off. Retreat and reapproach until horse is desensitized about that threshold. He might hit another one two inches later, but if you respect all thresholds, the horse starts to trust you and will have fewer thresholds.

If it’s dominance and you smack him, it’s not going to go well. Retreat and go do something else. Rub him. Do anything to help you to keep the relationship right. Then change course and reapproach. Improve your leadership in other areas and then come back to it. Get a series of small yeses before going to the big one. We do this when trailer loading horses we’ve never seen before.

My Response: I cringed, because I feel like I handled it all wrong and reinforced the threshold rather than demonstrate that he can trust me not to push him through it. Harrumph. Learning sucks.

Here are the rest of the notes… Continue reading

Categories: Events | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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