I am a videographer in Portland, Oregon with a love for all things horses. Originally from Minnesota, my childhood was spent on racetracks across the Midwest. I am currently training my dream horse with hopes of excelling at dressage and Parelli. I have a Cairn Terrier, Ellie, and an old cat named Winston. I am fortunate to have a pretty nice boyfriend who understands and supports my love of horses. My blog helps keep a record of my successes and failures and helps friends and family enjoy the journey with me.
So Ann Kiser was not able to give me the test on Friday, but after seeing Maddy in the clinic, she filled out the paperwork and passed her on all seven games. We just need to submit our riding skills by video and we get our red savvy string. Yeah!!! Maddy did so well all week. We tried some new games, like some "binding" exercises and lots of advanced driving games. I thought she would panic in the first binding exercise we tried. I could just see her mind going the whole time. Basically, I put the lead around her and moved it back in forth across her side and legs, I let go with the front hand and step back which puts pressure on her halter. Normally, they would want to turn towards you, but the rope is pulling them the other way. So if they are smart (like Maddy) the give to pressure and spin around the face you like she is about to do in the top picture. The bottom picture is Maddy giving some flexion in her neck. She likes to bend around and she just waits there until I scratch her chin. She is a spoiled girl.
So I am taking my Level 1 Parelli test on Friday. Ann Kiser is coming to Templeton this weekend for a clinic. I am pretty excited, but so nervous. I just want her to be on her best behavior because I want the dang red savvy string! She can do everything great 90% of the time...it the 10% of the time that I am worried about. I have to take Jane Savoie advice and think positive and visualize myself holding that red savvy string. I think we can do it. Wish me luck.
So today I receive a letter in the mail from my boarding facility. I start to read and it goes on and on about our great equine family. Then the last paragraph of the two page letter says "Your board is going up $50 a month." YIKES!! The facility opened in October and we pay $425 for full care which is already painful. I expected the letter to say "Construction will be starting on our new house be patient." I will say that I love the barn. It is really nice and I love the horses that Maddy is turned out with. I also love my trainer that is there....but is $475 just too dang much??? I just want to stress that the facility is nice, but not jaw-dropping gorgeous. It is a half hour drive one way. There is no round pen. The turnouts are just electric tape and there hasn't been grass in any of them since December. Some days it feels chaotic with all the kids running around. But you get used to things and it is true, they all become your "equine family." So it feels like a big decision to make. I know moving Maddy to a new facility would "rock her world," but I have to be rational. What would you guys do??
I have been doing tons of ground work with Maddy which means lots of lunging and Cavalleti drills. I have been so focused on getting her to stretch out and relax in the trot, I kind of forgot about the canter! We have a whole other gear to explore. Well, today we tried it. Once I felt she we relaxed in the trot, I made a small cirlce with my wrist as the cue. When she didn't pick up on it, I cracked the whipped and she went into it. By the third try she had the cue. I didn't push her too much today. With Maddy, she is so smart, I like to introduce her to something and then let her think on it a day. She usually remembers and gets it the next time we work. I love that about her.
Saturday we did our first trot around the arena. She stayed on the rail and seemed pretty relaxed. It felt so good to be really riding again. I am envious of the people hitting the trails, so I am stepping up my arena riding. I was working a lot on mounting and bending to a stop, along with some "pushing-passenger" lessons from Parelli. She is very good at edging right up to the mounting block. I taught her to love it by having her come one step toward it and scratching what I could reach. Then I would ask her for one more step and scratch more. She LOVES the mounting block. I don't mount her with it, because I prefer to mount from the ground in western saddles. When we move to the dressage saddle, I will use the block. For now, she sees it as her "scratching" post and where I drape all over her. Maddy is broke to ride, but I felt there were so many holes in her training, I wanted to start from square one. She going well under saddle, but gets agitated when she is not moving. When she is moving, she always heads in the direction of the door. Tomorrow I am hoping to work out strategies for these things at my lesson.
Maddy hated water and would not even enter the wash rooms when she first came. Like everything else, with patience and approach and retreat, she came around. I started with backing her a couple steps, letting her chill, and bring her forward again. Eventually we were standing in the wash room My trainer taught me a fun game with her to make it more fun. The first stage you get your hands wet and rub around the mouth and then you get your fingers wet and slide them in their mouth, working up to sticking the sprayer in the side of her mouth and turning it on to dribble in her mouth. Then you flip the sprayer head back to shower and do approach and retreat closer and closer to her legs. When she gets agitated, we do the "drinking fountain" game again and she lightens up and we go back to legs. Now she likes the hose and reaches for it with her mouth. It is nice to see her with a sense of humor about things. My trainer and I both think she takes life too seriously. I like this picture because it is after her first bath. We were out walking to dry off and she kept making these funny faces. It looked like she was saying, "I can't believe the crazy things you actually get me to do."