About Me

My photo
North Lawrence, New York, United States
I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Monday, August 25, 2008

Horsenality Chart Updates

Horsenality charts are a tool that Pat and Linda Parelli introduced to the world as the,"Key to Understanding Horses." Here is what they are saying:

  • Learn how to assess your horse’s unique character using the revolutionary Parelli HorsenalityTM Profile Chart
  • Learn the leadership strategies that streamline the training of any horse
  • Discover why horses should never have to "fail" their training
  • Learn why fear and lack of confidence can often mask a horse's true character
  • See real examples of before and after Profile Charts on Pat and Linda's top horses
  • Fill in your horse's "Positive Attributes" Chart to discover his natural talents
  • Help your horse become more centered and emotionally balanced, be less extreme, more calm, trusting, motivated and obedient

  • For more information, please check out Pat and Linda's website http://www.parelli.com/

    What are you waiting for? Just do it--you won't be sorry!

    Well, anyhow, I completely agree with their usefulness and have found them to be extremely educational and strategically beneficial in trying to understand and partner with my horses. I have been using this system since it was first introduced some time ago. I rechart the horses periodically and try to get a feel for where they are and where I can improve to help support them. I do have all of the charts I've done to date but have yet to compare them--a homework assignment!

    Here are the latest charts, I redid them today. These will give you a better idea about who my horses are and more insight to our challenges, to our successes, and to our obstacles (not failures--there are never failures, just obstacles). LOL

    Weekly Task Challenge: Mosey with Your Horse

    If you don't know what to do, have little time, or are just feeling stuck, try the weekly task challenge as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more.)

    This week's task is use savvy arrow #9 (see L2pack) and "Mosey with Your Horse."

    So what is does mosey mean? If you look it up in a dictionary, you'll find terminology like, "saunter, amble, move leisurely."

    So this week, go see your horse, after your horse catches you, mosey with him/her. Get away from direct-line thinking. For example, if you want to get from point A to point B, rather than just catching your horse and just taking him/her to point B directly, let you horse catch you (which should be happening all of the time anyway), then mosey with him/her until you get to point B, even allowing your horse to lead the way, stop, munch grass, etc., basically, take the time it takes.

    You can also do this fun task while riding. Let your horse catch you, play with him on-line first in order to properly prepare your partner, then mount (with savvy of course). Take a leisure mosey from point A, exploring things, allow him to eat grass, enjoy your ride and time together, not putting any pressure on your horse to perform, even try letting him lead the way (be a passenger), and you'll eventually get to point B.

    This exercise does wonders for the relationship and the emotional fitness of you and your horse. Before, during, and after the session, evaluate you and your horse, think about behaviors, the psychology of the horse and human relationship (prey and predator coming together as partners), the emotional connections, be observational, be critical, be objective. This task will help build confidence and independence in you and your horse.

    So, step outside your comfort zone and try this task, it is probably something new, something foreign, and you'll be amazed at how fun and beneficial it is! Consider doing this from time to time. Your horse will truly appreciate it.

    *Weekly tasks are based on many different Parelli resources I have studied as well as my own ideas on how to proceed through my journey. Some of the content was copied to make it easier to put up in a timely manner. Please consult http://www.parelli.com for any official instructions or materials.

    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    Successful Riding Today

    The photo was taken be me during the winter, 2007. It is a driftwood horse in front of the Rhinebeck Tack Shop.

    Well, this will be a quick post but I wanted to share. Today I put together a round pen like the one in Virginia. I played with Whiskey but we quickly found a bees nest. So, working on on-line transitions was out--at least in the round pen. Anyhow, I decided to tack him up and see what happened. I saddled him up with my Theraflex pad, English saddle, and put on his Parelli natural hackamore. I decided that we'd mosey ride around the property. And, we did! No antics, no biting, jsut nice forward movement, stops to graze, and lots of fun. I had the best ride on him since being in NY! I believe that our relationship is just getting stronger and stronger. I also have been careful to be certain I am using the L2 techniques (especially for his horsenality, patience and time). Anyhow, just wanted to share. I look forward to more exporation and success with him--and passing L2 this fall. LOL

    It's all in a name...

    Yes, if you've noticed, we have changed our farm name. Rick and I discussed our objectives, what we are creating here, and decided to alter our farm name a bit. Anyhow, this is our new farm name: (Farm colors still being discussed.)
    Horse Park at Hidden Meadows
    "Exclusively Practicing Natural Horsemanship"

    The image is a draft of what our logo may be, But, this is still all up in the air. (Not drawn by me but by a local artist who owns a grest tack shop and also does artwork. C&R Creations http://www.freewebs.com/crcreations/)

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Keeping it Interesting Strengthens Your Relationship

    Image from: http://www.artme.se/gallery/girl_with_horse.jpg

    I have been reviewing the level 2 materials (blue box iteration) and last night played with Whiskey and we worked on transitions on-line and also played "put your nose on it". I am using the Savvy Spot and the bell on my carrot stick (two learning techniques in L2). The transformation with Whiskey and the things I was able to learn by observing him were amazing and interesting. I love reviewing materials, I always learn something new or remember something I forgot. The Savvy Spot helped me keep my feet still and the bell really helped me realize how much the stick was being used (or not being used).

    The "put your nose on it," game revealed issues I had never considered before. Whiskey has an impulsion issue at times, where he does not want to move forward or, he tries to bite my foot. Having started using a long phase 1 as a strategy has certainly helped but, I know there is more to it. While playing this game, you stand in zone 3 (the same place you'd be while riding). This gives you as the human quite a different perspective and you can see more from your horse's point of view. I can see that he has a great responsibility of where to put his body while trying to understand what I am asking for--what an insight, I feel like perhaps with his introverted nature, the pressure on him needs to be manageable. Wow, what a concept!

    Initially he was reluctant to move his feet during the game but once he understood, he moved willingly and quickly caught on to the idea of putting his nose on something. This is driving game and certainly takes the power of focus. So, what I take away from this is that I need to continue to be more patient but persistent, that we can fix some of the impulsion issues on the ground (by using this game perhaps), and that we have made a connection. (Fosse followed us and was trying to play too by the way! I involved him the best I could.)

    The next game we played was transitions online (22 foot rope of course, this is level 2). I have never done this with any of the horses and had forgotten about this game. (This is where revisiting previously viewed or read materials is beneficial and wonderful.)

    Anyhow, I started with circling game and he did not even want to move. Once we fixed our circling game, I asked for a walk for a few laps and then asked for the upward transition to the trot, back down to the walk and after a few tries, he understood and did well. I did ask for an upward transition from trot to canter and he became right-brained and while trying to escape (the pressure was too great for him to manage) he attempted to get around a tree where he slipped and fell to his knees. I felt horrible but know that I did not intentionally cause this, I did not panic and did not make a big deal about it. My reaction was to soften, ask him to move forward to me, and then played friendly for a few minutes rubbing him all over and helping him feel confident again. We then continued to circling game and completed several walk-trot transitions, up and down and quite successfully I might add.

    After the transitions exercise, I mosied (as they tell you to do in L2) over to our tree stump pedestal. Then, rather than asking him to stand on it, I just sat down (his expectation was wrong and it blew his mind). I left his halter and the 22 foot line on him for a minute or two but did not touch him until he touched me--giving undemanding time. Once he lowered his head and initiated a new conversation, by touching me first, I started to rub him and play friendly but I did not stand up. I removed the halter and line. His head was low and he enjoyed scratches and rubs on his face, neck, chest, shoulder, girth, and legs (fronts). Fosse tried to interfere and while seated, I drove him away using my carrot stick and driving game (phase 1). At one point, Fosse chased Whiskey away and I chased Fosse away right after, I believe Whiskey realized that I caused Fosse to leave and he immediately came back to me for more scratches. This was really interesting because I knew he really wanted to be with me. I then started to massage his legs and he was actually lifting one up at a time asking for rubs and was really low-headed now, practically falling asleep! This was so cool. Fosse, by the way, figured out that if he stood on the other side of me, not bothering Whiskey, he would also get rubs and scratches and not be driven away. How interesting these horses are. The bond I felt was so strong and made me feel really gratified.

    I do believe that the progress and connection Whiskey and I had last night was due to these techniques, my awareness of his needs, and a willingness to do something new and provocative. I look forward to making more progress in the near future. (Who knows, maybe I will meet the L2 test deadline after all.)

    I wanted to take a moment to talk about Fosse and his progress. Probably a separate blog post I should have made but never had time to do. This past Tuesday night, the NCPPG had a play date scheduled that was subsequently cancelled due to no sign-ups. Well, one member did not get the notice and so, she showed up! Fortunately she did because we had a wonderful time and plan to repeat the event next week.

    Fosse was the horse who caught me when I went to the meadow to get a horse to play with. He was enthusiastic and wanting to have some fun time together. He trotted right for me and practically haltered himself. Leaving the other horses was not a problem either, no herd bound issues from any of the horses really.

    We played with our friend Monica and her horse Cooper. How we structured the event is that we decided each person should take their horse and go to an obstacle with the other person and their horse, try to play the games with it, observing and supporting the other. Each team did things differently but we all found success. For Fosse and I, we played with the car wash obstacle and we certainly need more time on that one. The cone slalom was pretty good but not great. I side-passed him around a tree (he felt like a ball, not a chair--fellow L2 pnhrs know what this means--fluid movement, not bracey), and we even played with the logs, asking for one foot, two feet, asking for small jumps, and then the tarp--what fun. With the tarp not only did he wear it (his ears look "ugly" in the photo but, he did bring them forward again btw) but, I asked him to stand on it, one foot at a time, stay on it for 7 seconds (although I think he'd have stayed for the day) and then off, one foot at a time, slow and methodical. The other big deal for us was figure 8's around the barrels. This was a first and we did great. The only thing I can say is that although using a 22 foot line, it was more like I was using a 12 foot, something to work on. Fosse and I did play with Monica's 2hbp trailer too, He was curious, we got nose, neck, two front feet, and then, it was dark, not enough daylight to continue so we stopped, on a good note.

    The play date was a surprise, a success, and I think beneficial for all of us.
    Well, this is the end of my recent post and update. Keep it savvy, study your materials, "move closer, stay longer!"

    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    Weekly Task Challenge: Yo-Yo's

    If you don't know what to do, have little time, or are just feeling stuck, try the weekly task challenge as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more.)

    Game #4 The Yo-Yo Game (from Pat's Article on the 7 Games)

    Send the horse backwards, away from you, and bring him forwards to you in a straight line using your lead rope. The object is to get backward and forward movements equal and light.

    Use four phases and the "hinges" in your finger, wrist, elbow and shoulder. Start phase 1 by just wiggling your index finger at the horse. Phase 2, wiggle your wrist so it affects the rope only slightly. Phase 3, bend at the elbow and shake the rope using your lower arm. Phase 4, straighten your elbow and shake your whole arm and watch how much more the rope moves. Only escalate the phases until you get a response. The instant your horse moves backwards, stop! This will let him know he's done the right thing.

    It is also important to keep both your horse's eyes on you. As soon as the horse turns one eye away from you by turning his head, you will lose the back up and the straightness! Pay attention to the details and make corrections before he gets off course. You can play the Yo-Yo slowly at first, on flat ground. As the response improves, get more provocative and play it on uneven ground, at a faster pace, over a pole or log, or on a longer rope. This is how you teach a horse to respect your space when leading, to develop suspension and self-carriage, improve his stop, develop a slide stop and teach him to come to you.

    Keys to Yo-Yo Game: straightness, responsiveness, imagination, four phases.

    How many ways can you play yo-yo with your horse? List them, try them, and report back using the comments section on the blog!

    *Weekly tasks are based on many different Parelli resources I have studied as well as my own ideas on how to proceed through my journey. Some of the content was copied to make it easier to put up in a timely manner. Please consult http://www.parelli.com for any official instructions or materials.

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    Saddling with Savvy

    I tacked up Fosse with the Theraflex pad, English saddle, and Parelli Natural Hackamore. He is a little worried about the saddle and cinching so I took a really long time to make it a good experience. I even put on the girth extender on, saddled him up, then removed it and recinched the girth without it as a way to make him have time to really think about it. It was a good strategy. I played with him on the ground first and he was rearing a little bit, about 1-2 feet off the ground and a little punchy and pushy, not what I expected but played with it and even got him to sidepass without a fence or other guide. I eventually mounted and he was fine, we walked a little and then I felt him tense up and I felt like he was merging into right-brained, maybe an episode? I was not sure so I dismounted, played on the ground more, then walked to the barn, he followed me at liberty, I took his tack off, very slowly, rubbing him all over and putting him at ease. He was actually a little sweaty, another surprise. Overall, I think that it was a good session, something to be repeated until he is more comfortable with the cinch and saddle (I always just ride him bareback) and something I know he will progress quickly with.

    One plan I have is to play with him on the ground and let him investigate the saddle before playing with it, play driving game to it perhaps. I am going to also put the saddle/pad on and off several times, etc., saddling with savvy like Pat and Linda have demonstrated in their videos. I am sure glad I have a cheapo saddle becuase he already likes to lick and bite it (when it is on Whiskey anyway). LOL

    Photo from: http://www.abcgallery.com/D/delacroix/delacroix26.JPG

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Pat and Linda Parelli Listen to Their Students

    Photo from http://www.granitegrok.com/pix/horse-beach.jpg

    I just had to take a moment to mention how impressed I am with the Parellis. As many of you know, they have come out with a new way to bring us knowledge and there are changes coming with assessments, the Savvy Club, ISC, etc. Anyhow, people are upset, concerned, confused, and more---going right-brained.

    I just read a lengthy e-mail letter sent by Pat and Linda, to the Savvy Club members that tells us about the past, present, and future of PNH. It explains the rational about all of the materials methodologies, etc. (starting in the 1990's) and was concise and took on an understanding, kind tone. Basically, they layed out the entire story. I am very excited about the new program and am also very happy to see that Pat and Linda saw fit to contact Savvy Club members to clarify things.

    Kudos to Pat and Linda for listening to their students who needed a bit more feedback. This is an important connection to make and I thank you.

    (Should you be intersted in their letter, contact me or another Savvy Club member.)

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Day Two--We Have Impulsion!

    Well, day two of back to riding tasks and Whiskey was great! We played the 7 games in 5 minutes and then, riding in the same gear as yesterday, when asked to first move out, he went forward as if he as back to normal! He and I were all over the place checking things out, going through obstacles, playing the 7 games. I was careful to use the power of focus and it worked, like magic, very cool indeed.

    Fosse and Mini-Me were with us, playing around. We all had a great time. I made sure to move with him and I also combed the reins, this seems to be an excellent strategy. Lots of friendly, lots of patience, and amazingly, 90% of the time he moved forward at phase 1, a few times, phase two and only twice at phase three, never phase four. I was quite pleased and impressed and I do believe he felt comfortable and had a good time. We also did a little backing and used indirect rein-pivoting to change direction.

    With Fosse, I played with him practicing saddling. He is a little nervous about it so I worked on that. Then, I just rode him for a few laps bareback (phase one only needed) before I had to feed them and clean the barn and paddock--it was getting dark too.

    Mini was acting rather friendly this evening but only played a few games with him, at liberty, nothing fancy or special really.

    Weekly Task Challenge: Bad Weather--No Worries!

    If you don't know what to do, have little time, or are just feeling stuck, try the weekly task challenge as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more.)

    When the weather is cold and wet (or disagreeable in any way) and the arenas are flooded and the trails are slippery, you can still have fun learning sessions with your horse. If you have anywhere at all undercover - a shed, a garage, a veranda, etc. - you can practice your backing up, your fingertip yields, picking up hooves, and even your haltering from your knees! So, this week's task is to be creative and despite all of the rain, play with your horse!

    *Weekly tasks are based on many different Parelli resources I have studied as well as my own ideas on how to proceed through my journey. Some of the content was copied to make it easier to put up in a timely manner. Please consult http://www.parelli.com for any official instructions or materials.

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Respect, Impulsion, Flexion -- Will your horse go?

    I am quite pleased tonight. After several weeks of doing virtually nothing (no time and wet weather the cuprits) I actually had sustained and successful horse time tonight!

    Now for those of you following the blog regularly, you know that Whiskey and I have had some set-backs since the move and I was feeling discouraged. Well, not anymore!

    The NCPPG viewed the, "My Horse Won't Go" DVD by Pat Parelli on the first of August. I have seen it before but this time, I truly digested it and even took 5 typed pages of notes! I'll list a few highlights below but if you really want the full gamet of information, go on eBay and buy a copy, it is great!

    Anyhow, I started by playing with Whiskey on the ground. I was well aware of his horsenality (right-brained introvert), aware of his feelings and his cues, and was careful to give him time to digest what we were doing. I was creative in our ground games and kept him on his toes mentally. I then saddled with savvy, taking a long time to get him prepared, playing more games, and then mounted (the Parelli way of course--asking for permission). We then stood there and hurried up to do nothing. I finally asked for forward movement and in the beginning, it took the four phases but by the end of the session, I could lift the rein and he'd move forward. It was very interesting as he was moving his comfort zone farther and farther, by the end of the session almost exploring our riding area whereas in the beginning of the session he would walk forward a few steps and stop. (We are riding/playing in the horses' turnout area as we have no "proper" arena at the moment--but it does not really matter does it--we are together!) I allowed him to rest when stopped (not nagging or micromanaging) and then after this short "break" I would ask for forward movement again. During our riding time, I was using a casual rein or the pushing passenger position (so not looking for precision at this time). I was very careful to offer a lot of scratches and friendly game too, wanting to ensure he knew he did well. We also practiced the 9 step back up and indirect-rein pivot turns. By the end of the session, Whiskey would go forward when I lifted the reins. When we started, I had to go to phase 3 or 4 and since by the end, it was no longer the case, we truly did make tons of progress (truly my studies paid off). If you were wondering, I rode him with my Theraflex pad, English saddle, and Parelli natural hackamore.

    I then played with Fosse, very briefly on the ground and then mounted, bareback using the Parelli natural hackamore. We practiced the same things Whiskey and I did but Fosse is such a different horse (left-brained extrovert). When asked, he moved forward without any hesitation and actually, I had to ask for stops as he would just go, go, go, at a great pace, not right-brained, not running off or anything, just willing to move with me until he was asked otherwise. Backing and pivots were no problem either. He is a gem.

    So my plan is to try my best to do this with them every day and actually move forward in our studies/tasks. I also want to assess my Level 2 before the first of the year (the ticker above indicates October but this may be too ambitious.) With the weather too, that may be tricky but the time, I think I can find it now as things are slowing down (a little) and I am feeling motivated! And if we assess before January, we do, and if we don't, we don't and do it later.

    Here are a few hints from my notes after watching, "My Horse Won't Go" by Pat Parelli (for the third time). These do not represent all 5 pages, just a few highlights. Once again, I recommend getting the DVD and reviewing it yourself.


    whoa=go and go=whoa
    emotional collection (opposite=emotionally scattered)

    RPMs=”Go Button”=excitement=moving more=intention in body to actually go somewhere

    5 Misconceptions (lies) About People and Horses
    Just catch ‘em
    Saddle and get on
    Kick to go
    Pull to stop
    Use reins to steer and turn

    Use if He Doesn’t
    Don’t use legs in kicking motion or to go, use legs is he doesn’t go
    Use reins if he doesn’t stop/turn not to stop/turn
    Trust he will respond but be ready to correct

    Long and Short Horses
    We can lengthen short horses
    Lengthen short horses by using straight lines
    Ask a short horse to lengthen by using straight lines and not by going around and around in an arena
    Arenas can make a horse short from boredom
    To lengthen horse, straight line, give incentive, stop, wait, principles first
    We can shorten long horses (this issue not covered in this video)
    Shorten long horses by using circles
    Teaching (slow)-Use 4 Phases
    [lift reins……….smile……....squeeze……....spank the air……....spank the hair]

    Refinement (fast)-Use 4 Phases
    [Lift reins...smile… squeeze… spank the air…spank the hair]

    ***Can use smooch in between squeeze and spank the air as a conditioned response technique.

    Phase Details
    Phase One
    Lift the reins (lets your horse know you need to communicate with him and that he needs to pay attention)
    Lean a little forward
    Smile (with all 4 cheeks)
    Phase Two
    Squeeze a little with your legs (do not kick, do not use rhythm here)
    Only squeeze the intensity of a phase two (think of things you did on the ground and that level of contact)
    Phase Three
    Spank the air (use rhythm here)
    Idea for spanker--wrap savvy string around wrist as a spanker, or tie a savvy string on your saddle/bareback pad, or use the lead line on your natural hackamore or mecate bridle
    Phase Four
    Tap your horse using rhythm in zone 4
    Start by testing the amount you’d want to spank your shoulders, only spank the horse this hard

    Ride in neutral and synchronize with the horse
    Riding is not just sitting on top of your horse
    Walk with synchronization is 4 beats, walk in your body
    Trot with synchronization is 2 beats, trot in your body
    Canter with synchronizations is 3 beats, canter in your body

    Principles before Purpose
    Go back on the ground first to get respect and understanding in place
    Get things worked out on the ground first and using safety

    Departures (on the ground)
    Phase 1
    Lead forward with lead line
    Phase 2
    Lift carrot stick
    Phase 3
    Wiggle savvy string and carrot stick
    Phase 4
    Spank horse with savvy string
    Circles shorten and straight lines lengthen; use 22 foot rope to make bigger circles which are in essence like straight lines
    Play on the ground until resistance, crow hops, bucks, etc. are all out
    Don’t keep drilling in circles, be creative, use obstacles

    The Point
    Think like a partner not a predator
    Get your horse to synchronize with you
    Have an independent Seat
    Don’t use reins for balance
    Don’t squeeze below your knees for balance
    Don’t use two reins for an “oh no” situation
    Think like a horse not like a human
    Learn the Natural Power of Focus
    Have feel, timing and balance the horse is looking for and be a partner

    You Need to Know About Your Horse
    What are his
    Innate characteristics
    Learned behavior

    Saturday, August 09, 2008

    Parelli Assessments, Patterns, and Price Increases

    Parelli Patterns Photo from http://www.parelli.com

    Well, if you follow Parelli Natural Horsemanship, you already know that things are changing (again). From Pat and Linda Parelli (many of you have probably read this in your e-mail), "The self assessment will be a part of the new official assessments commencing January 2009. How you will take the official test will be very different. Pat Parelli has been working on the concept of a levels ‘audition’ that you will take in two categories: Level 1 - 2 and Level 3 - 4. You will still be graded Level 1, 2, 3, or 4 but the test is not limited to one level. In this way it will be easy to see if, for example, you are Level 1 but already demonstrating a lot of skills worthy of Level 2... and be acknowledged for it. While the tests will be conducted in one Savvy at a time, the colored Savvy Strings will be awarded once each level is achieved in all Four Savvys. A certificate will be awarded for a level achieved in one Savvy at a time. Between now and January you have the choice to finish the levels tests you have been working on, or to wait and do it in the new format after January 1, 2009."

    Change is a good thing as long as it has purpose. I believe that the intent of the change in assessments and the new materials (Parelli Patterns: From the Parelli Website, "This is Pat Parelli's blueprint for developing horses and riders over four levels and in four areas of study both on the ground and riding. They are called The Four Savvys: On Line, Liberty, FreeStyle, Finesse. You can work on one or more Savvys at a time.Parelli Patterns offer the perfect plan for what to do, but more importantly they develop the horse's responsibility rather than making him a mindless puppet.") is meant to expand the knowledge access to the four savvys in the four levels. I thnk that the change is acceptable (although I am not sure why they decided to change, my concern is that the commonly called new level 1 and new level 2 don't seem very old but what do I know, I am sure that this is progress--the more educational materials the better I suppose--I know I want every bit of knowledge I can attain).

    Anyhow, there is a sentiment on the Parelli Savvy Club Forum and PNH listservs that progress is not the pure reason and the between the levels changes and large price increases on Parelli equipment (check out the website), people are feeling like the president of Parelli Natural Horsemanship Inc., Mark Weiler, has a hand in this and that he is simple seeing the all mighty dollar, forgetting the little guy, the backyard-horseperson (probably the largest percentage of PNHrs). The problem becomes, what is for profit, what is for education, and where do Pat and Linda stand in it all because in reality, we are all looking up them as our mentors and many of us embrace them as part of our family. And with all due respect, Mark is a great business man who has helped Pat and Linda greatly--why should anyone be angry at a person who is successful anyway--we should probably look up to him as a great marketing agent for our beloved PNH!

    My feeling is that costs are always rising and that PNH is no exception. The grief people are feeling is because many people, due to the other rising costs in their lives (groceries, fuel for their cars, fuel to heat their homes, etc.) and now the PNH rise in costs and new items to purchase at a fairly high cost, will have to make hard decisions and not buy as much from Parelli as they'd like (including but not limited to the new patterns material, equipment, and perhaps even their Savvy Club memberships--canthey afford it anymore? It is like people are mourning a death or great loss of some kind--many people are going "right-brained" at the moment.

    So, where do I stand in all of this? I am not mourning and truly don't feel overly upset. I wish that the prices of the equipment did not go up (or perhaps wish I'd been warned so that I could have made a few purchases) but, that is ok. I plan to purchase the new material, maintain my Savvy Club membership, and purchase my equipment from Parelli now and in the future. But, this is because I can afford to do so and for me, I see value in it. I also will not pass judgement on others who will try to follow the path but have to make difficult decisions as to what they can and cannot purchase to make their dreams come true. It is not up to me or anyone else to judge how people proceed on their PNH journey. I mention this because there are a vast number of judgmental people on the PNH listservs and Savvy Club Forum putting people down who have a real concern for the financial side as well as the practical/educational issues related to this change and are who are simply stating that they cannot afford the new materials or a Savvy Club membership just to be able to be officially assessed, that they feel alienated. They also expressed a desire to purchase quality, faux equipment at a lower cost because of the pricing increase. These people are being harshly criticized for having an opinion and to me, judging these people in an ill manner is not a savvy or friendly position to take.

    I believe that we are all different and have different circumstances. I know that in the big scheme of things, Pat and Linda will be supportive to us, Mark will continue to run the business, and we all will pursue our natural horsemanship dreams in the way that works for us, individually, and hopefully without undue pressure from others. Let's try to be smart, be savvy, and play the friendly game!

    Friday, August 08, 2008

    Fun Ideas ---Thought I'd Share

    This photo is from my archives. It was a play date shot of a few friends and their horses a few years ago back in Virginia.

    Well, I have a play date scheduled for Tuesday night at my place. The theme is 7 games with obstacles. The idea is to figure out a way to play all of the games with your horse (in a variety of ways) with each obstacle--be provocative for your horse!

    I plan to list out the games and then the obstacles. I'll probably even label the obstacles or draw a map or something as things will be in various locations on the property--I have not figured this part out yet.

    I want my study group to have fun, be creative, and find success. I may not use all of the items listed below but like to have a growing list of ideas. By the way, if you can think of any more, please post them in the comments! I am always looking for new ways to accomplish my goals!

    Parelli Games
    1. Friendly Game
    2. Porcupine Game
    3. Driving Game
    4. Yo-Yo Game
    5. Circling Game
    6. Sideways Game
    7. Squeeze Game

    Obstacles (in no particular order and may be set-up in a variety of ways)

    1. Tarp
    2. Horse Trailer
    3. Cones
    4. Large Barrels
    5. Small Barrels
    6. Log Jumps
    7. Sandpit
    8. Hills in the Hidden Meadow
    9. Trail
    10. Rock Pedestal
    11. Tree Pedestal
    12. Mounting Block
    13. Green Parelli Ball
    14. Ground Poles
    15. Umbrella
    16. Hula Hoops
    17. Side-by-Side Pine Trees
    18. Open Meadow
    19. Round Pen
    20. Fly Spray
    21. Bridge
    22. Mailbox
    23. Raincoat
    24. Horse Blanket
    25. Gate
    26. Water Obstacle
    27. Car Wash Obstacle
    28. Fence
    29. Flag
    30. Snake Pit Obstacle (ropes or horses in a pile)
    31. Arena
    32. Driveway
    33. Rubber Mat

    Monday, August 04, 2008

    Weekly Task Challenge: Put Your Nose On It!

    If you don't know what to do, have little time, or are just feeling stuck, try the weekly task challenge as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more.)

    This week's task challenge is to play the game we've all see Pat Parelli play, the "Put Your Nose On It" which is a variation in the driving game of course! Have fun and be creative (on line and at liberty).

    *Weekly tasks are based on many different Parelli resources I have studied as well as my own ideas on how to proceed through my journey. Some of the content was copied to make it easier to put up in a timely manner. Please consult http://www.parelli.com/ for any official instructions or materials.