Connecting With Elvis

img_2047Every day I interact with Elvis.  He is still rather odd man out, with Smokey tolerating him more than Whiskey.  He is self possessed and self sufficient.  He lines up to get  his treat pan with Smokey and Whiskey.  He follows me over to the hay flakes that I’m disbursing so everyone can find one for themselves.

img_2031He is showing curiosity with the wheelbarrow as I clean up.  He is having moments of connection with me, looking directly at me and approaching with curiosity.  He has allowed me to touch him momentarily on his face, under his chin, neck, and sides!

img_2058Today I was sitting with him as he ate breakfast, and he allowed my hand all over!  He has a good winter coat, soft as you might imagine baby hair to be!  I sat with him approximately fifteen minutes, scratching his withers, stroking his neck, shoulder, side, back, and down his left front leg.  I walked around him, touching his butt, and gave attention to his right side.

img_2053As I was sitting on the edge of the feed bin, he was very comfortable being really close, and even shifted his feet and body a little closer!  Elvis is not receiving any tactile interaction from either Smokey or Whiskey.  He is seeming to now know that he receives that from me.

img_2003This was a first today for hanging out with non-demanding time to include friendly time also!  It was exciting and gratifying!

Here is a link to a brief, about one minute, video, that shows how comfortable he has gotten.  I’m so pleased!

Terri

https://youtu.be/KBHLQzr6E4s

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Hanging Out at Home

Good morning, friends!

IMG_0564How many of you make it a point to just hang out with your horse buddy?  I love having morning coffee on the deck, sharing my morning breakfast as they have theirs.

IMG_0671It’s great for meditating on the coming day, or just enjoying the morning sunshine!

IMG_1323 I find that I can get caught up in the expectations I put on myself to always be “productive” with my horse goals, but hanging out with your horse is what your horse likes best!  It gives me inner peace and tranquility to witness theirs!

How do you hang out with your horses?  I’d love to know!

Terri

 

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Hanging out with natural horsemanship

My favorite seat in the house. . .er. . .pasture
My favorite seat in the house. . .er. . .pasture

I never get tired of just hangin’ with my buddies!  Whiskey came home late yesterday afternoon.  Looked forward to some coffee time in the morning!  Here’s the results!

mmmm. . .I'll stay here and check it out
mmmm. . .I’ll stay here and check it out

Whiskey is a very friendly guy.  Chica, with the two boys, is having fun playing hard to get.  Whiskey wants to play kissy face!  Ha ha!

Hay, there he is up close and personal!
Hay, there he is up close and personal!

I headed out with the mounting block, my favorite perch!  Whiskey greeted me at the gate, just as Shelah said he would!

Hay there, whassup?
Hay there, whassup?

I perched for twenty minutes, it took him fifteen minutes to think about it before coming over to see what I was about just sitting there!  Didn’t stay long, however, he followed me over to the gate when I left.

Good morning Friends!
Good morning Friends!

How’s your tea party going?

I’d love to know!

Terri

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Are you interesting enough with natural horsemanship?

Hay there, what's up?So, we’ve moved to the Spokane area.  We’ve all been settling in.  It’s easy to be busy, too busy to take a minute, and it seems lately, I’m always with a noisemaker, the weed wacker, the lawn mower, the noisy cart that I gather the daily offerings for compost!

Checking it out. . . .
Checking it out. . . .

I started taking ten or fifteen minutes after chores and while Handsome Guy was eating  his hay for dinner.  I did that for a week, combining it with a late night good night kiss with a carrot.  Handsome always comes for last call!

Hay there. . . I took time today at mid-morning when he was hanging out under his favorite trees.  I situated the mounting block for my perch in a spot of shade for myself.  Handsome came right up as I settled in, naturally picking a spot in the back, where I could peek over my shoulder!

Coffee or tea?He kept coming closer, until he reached over and whiffled me!  Then I could respond with a pet on the nose, as he had given me permission!

Ultimate company!He moseyed off for a bit, then returned for more hanging out!  It’s so gratifying when they choose your company!

Hasta la vista!Try it at your next opportunity for natural horsemanship!

You’ll be surprised what fifteen to twenty minutes can bring you!

Terri

P.S.  If you are uncomfortable doing this while getting to know your horse, sit on the other side of the fence, or perch on top.  Use good judgement and common sense!

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A full session with natural horsemanship

Diary entry:

June 30th:

The Parelli Porcupine game
The Parelli Porcupine game

Liz and I got together and worked Steele in hand at the barn.  Went through all Parelli 7 Games.  Therefore, Steele received two sessions.  I also went over leading, fast and slow, and backing up, the horse should mirror you.  Steele is more comfortable following an object instead of an object coming towards him, one he doesn’t know.  We rolled a barrel towards him, and Steele shyed a bit, with a What???  Then we played the Parelli Touch It Game, on it’s side and on end, then holding the lead rope with Steele following, we took turns rolling the barrel in front of us.  Big difference on Steele’s response.

comfortable in his own space
comfortable in his own space

We saw how the Seven Games help “my space, your space” and how the horse develops confidence being in his own space, he doesn’t have to be on top of you, his handler.  These all boil down to safety issues, and focusing the horse on you.  These are focusing exercises for whenever and wherever you may need them.

the Parelli Circle game
the Parelli Circle game

The Circle game starts with a send, then we ask for 2-4 rotations maintaining gait and direction.  This teaches them responsibility.  We will do this in the saddle with rail exercises later.  Then we ask them to “hide the hiney”, disengaging the hindquarters, and stopping with their nose to you.  This is a bit different from the usual lunging.  However, it works into 40 rotations each way using all gaits, changing gaits, etc.  It starts with teaching the horse to maintain gait and direction without being micromanaged.  While Steele does his circles, I pass the lead rope behind me without turning to face him.  Steele stopped behind me a couple of times, because that is where the pressure is off.  I send him again, neutrally, thanking him for checking in!  When you want to bring him in, wait until their head passes your shoulder, then you bring their nose in, squatting a little while you look at their hind end.  They need to come in, disengaging their hindquarters.  Ask until they give you the disengagement.

the Parelli Driving game
the Parelli Driving game

Steele was not very straight in the back up.  We asked him to back up with the Parelli Driving game, the Porcupine game, and the Yo-yo game.  I had to shorten the lead on these, right brain horses tend to need a shorter lead on some of these things, remember, it’s a confidence issue being in their own space.

What's next, Mom?
What’s next, Mom?

Things we will build on is backing up between two barrels, backing up through a gate, as in, when you lead them out, stop, and back them up.  This is a good one because you are asking them to back up into their safe area, their pasture.

July 7th:

Worked Steele in hand today, one session of the Parelli Seven Games.  He was straighter in the backup, overall I was able to use soft and quiet cues.  I asked for three circles both ways, and he was very good on disengaging the hindquarters.

Stop and smell the roses with non-demanding time
Stop and smell the roses with non-demanding time

I then spent some non-demanding time with him.  Parelli teaches that you need to do at least three sessions of the Seven Games, that enables you and your horse to have a conversation.  The language is being established!

Stay tuned for my next Diary entry for natural horsemanship!  How is your diary coming?

Terri

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Another ‘levels’ progress report with natural horsemanship

Here’s an excerpt from my diary of my time spent with my horses.  How does your calendar look for natural horsemanship, dressage, or. . . ?

4/17  Watched video #l of Dressage Naturally with Karen Rohlf, Results in Harmony.  Simply put, Karen is a dressage rider who spent a year or two with Parelli, and now incorporates natural horsemanship with classical dressage.  The video Riding in Connection With the Reins.  This was a 30-minute tape.  Here’s the link to her website:

http://dressagenaturally.net/

up close and personal
up close and personal

4/21  Spent some non-demanding time with Steele today at the barn.  It was so windy here, and I needed to pick up Paula on the Westside.  Paradoxically, with rain continuing over Tiger Mountain, the barn at Maple Valley nestled in a pocket of mild moment.

a haltering moment
a haltering moment

Steele came right over and caught me!  I shared my apple with him, then haltered up and groomed another ton or two of hair off!  He’s still hanging on, but looking good, nice and even!  I did some Tellington Ttouch, lots of “rubbing his face off”, and we both hammed it up for cell phone pictures!  After un-haltering, he grazed off, returning twice to see how I was doing, then ambled off, finished.

May 7  Attended talk from Dr. Stephen Duren regarding equine nutrition.  Held at Black Hall here in Ellensburg.  I really learned a lot!  I learned that the pellets, hay, and hay cubes are all fed the same amount per weight, no matter the “delivery system”.  I ended up adding a white plain salt block to the paddock, they have liked it better in this hot, humid weather.  I found that my program is good, that the individual’s body condition determines adjustments, and I enjoyed learning what part of the horse’s anatomy does what:  small stomach, small intestine for grain, large intestine for hay.  Only another feat of engineering!

How about sharing your progress calendar?

Terri

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natural horsemanship progress with the “levels” program

Smile for the camera!
Smile for the camera!

Here is another installment on my ‘levels’ program encouraged by out local dressage club.  Maybe this would be a good idea for your own club!  It’s helped me to not be lazy when I might have!

Review. . . .
Review. . . .

4/3  Watched Kathy’s western dressage lesson given by Jillian Santi here in Ellensburg.  Jillian promoted self carriage without micromanagement, correcting the horse, but then allowing her to accept responsibility, in other words, not holding the horse in her carriage, because that creates brace, hugging the horse with the lower leg, so as not to create a dull sided horse with the spurs, softening contact, as Kathy had a leverage bit.  Jillian was a very gracious instructor!

Early spring to my new place, I'm still hairy!
Early spring to my new place, I’m still hairy!

4/4 Moved Steele to his new digs in Maple Valley, giving me and my friend, and Steele’s new friend, Liz, a nice place to play, make new friends, have a wonderful indoor arena to use, and a nice cozy stall with a big pasture for turnout.  This morning Steele loaded right up, hauled quietly, waited patiently for a few minutes before unloading, unloaded one step at a time, looking behind a couple times for when he was stepping down, following my voice “step” prompt.  A very good boy with a good mind!  Was interested and calm in his new surroundings, settling into his stall.  Liz, Lisa and I had lunch on the tack box in front of his stall, treating him with carrots, it was a gathering right up there with lunch out of the saddle bags!  He has made friends with everyone, catching everyone’s eye with his sweet disposition!

This is a horse I have some time on for partnering, but not much!  It shows in the partnership building the end result of their willingness to work for you!

Muddy feet, but the shedding is on!
Muddy feet, but the shedding is on!

4/10  Visted Steele at Lakeside Equestrian in Maple Valley, where he now hangs out!  I had to take some supplies and vits over, there is always something you forget when moving a horse and settling them into a new place!  Steele was spending time in his paddock/pasture.  The West side still has some muddy conditions, although most horses have lost the hair that Steele still has, although he is shedding big time!  Steele has horses across the walkway, and on both sides of him, and a view of the facility.  He came to the fence and greeted me, I rewarded him with an apple.  After some friendly rubs, I haltered him up for some grooming and Tellington Ttouch.  I incorporate these Feldenkraus based methods into my grooming time, and also after riding to see if there is any back tenderness from saddle fit.  Tellington Ttouch helps the horse release pain and discomfort, I have been using it all along, I attribute my “good luck” with horses to my practicing Tellington Ttouch!  It is a great bonding tool!

Greeting at the gate
Greeting at the gate

Steele is so sweet and friendly!  It was raining buckets from Cle Elum to Tiger Mountain, but was nice at the barn!  So I spent an hour with him, grooming him up, and doing the “circles” of the Ttouch.  Typically, at first, the horses don’t know how to take it, it’s like, ohh, that feels different, what is that?  Like Steele, they usually move away from it, so a little here and there until they get used to you “giving back” to them with these very unique movements over their body.

Here is the website to check out:  http://www.ttouch.com/

Ttouch practitioners also practice Centered Riding, and will help with saddle fit.  I have done some reviews of Ttouch in previous blogs.

Stay tuned, have you started your own ‘encouragement program’ yet?

Terri

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Progress with our “levels” program for natural horsemanship

Me and Steele
Me and Steele

Our local dressage club instituted a “levels” program to help members with progress and mentoring.  I check in weekly with my mentor, and another member checks in with all of us monthly.  It’s been a big help to me to stay focused, to improve my focus, and to maximize my opportunities for achieving my goals!

This may be a great project for your local club!

Here is the start of my progress, and I’ll keep you posted!

Whattya got for me?
Whattya got for me?

Every day:  I give a scratch, pet, or treat to whoever shows up at the fence when feeding.  In the evening, I greet all with a pet/pat/scratch!

OK, I got that. . . .
OK, I got that. . . .

March 13, did the first three of the Parelli 7 games with Steele.  He was so ready to focus and partner up!

You might be interesting. . . . .
You might be interesting. . . . .

Feb 24th, did some non-demanding time with General.

Chris Cox exhibit after the demo
Chris Cox exhibit after the demo

March 22 and 23rd, attended the NW Horse Expo in Albany, OR where I did a Connected Riding demo on how to find your balance point, and listened to Peggy Cummings talk on What is at the core of riding effectively?  How our bodies communicate with our horses.  I came away with a Quick Self-check for the Connected Seat.

March 26, attended DVD night, Black Hall, Central Washington University.  Watched Trotting by Jane Savoi DVD, on how to lengthen the trot while maintaining rhythm.

Catching me. . . .
Catching me. . . .

March 27, played the catching game with Shyguy for feet and shoeing.  Did not feel compelled to catch up Boss and General first, as I would have in the past, just went out and waited, with approach and retreat, to have him give me permission to catch him up!  Anna, my shoer, just did her thing, confident that I was out doing my thing with confidence!  If you have been following my progress with Shyguy, we have come a long way with each other!

The Parelli Friendly Game
Notice the brace in the body, and looking away, but he has an ear tuned in!

March 27, played the first three Parelli Games with General.  His attitude was not knowing what to expect, then rather grumpy with the porcupine game for giving the front end, and he was uncoordinated in crossing over with his feet in the front.  I asked for two steps in either direction instead of a full circle because of this.  Dominant horses (left brain) like to push with their shoulder, so his dominant attitude was resistant to moving away from me.  He wanted to step back in my space, so had to regularly remind him to move back out of my space.  He released plenty! With wide open mouth!

I’m having a lot of fun with this, why don’t you check out what your group can do for your natural horsemanship goals?

Terri

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Downtime with natural horsemanship

Wow, busy couple of weeks!  Shoes and trims all around on Tuesday, with vet tune-up and maintenance last week.  Why not have some time with the horses without agenda, except to be each other’s company?

I can’t help but think that everyone feels good for having their teeth done and those sharp points no longer causing trouble or sores on the inside of the mouth!  Everyone came over to see what I was up to without a halter, enough to cause curiosity!

Everyone got groomed and detangled today!  Hair came off in heaps!  Delilah and Shyguy are holding on to theirs a little longer than Nutmeg and Boss!

Shyguy and I had a productive time of him catching me, approach and retreat with the grooming, being friendly with the feet, he thought it interesting enough to hang out without being haltered, what a guy!

Weather was moving in, eventually raining.  I’m inside now, pumpkin bread in the oven, the woodstove fired up, watching Shyguy take his second roll in the mud!  Arggggggggghh!

Never underestimate progress with non-demanding time with natural horsemanship!

Terri

 

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Delilah’s big adventure

I’ve been “playing” with my mare, Delilah, this year to prepare her for the challenges of a horsecamping adventure!  Trail riding, obstacle course, boggy meadow, and creek crossings.  Self loads, and is comfortable hauling in the trailer.

Off we go!  Down to Desolation Meadow to join up with friends, old and new!  A seven hour haul going in, detouring for a culvert needing repair in the direct route from highway 395 out of Ukiah, Oregon.

Delilah was not legged up as much as I would have wished for the rugged and steep, near 20 mile main ride.  However, just being there for the experience and some light riding I knew would be beneficial.

Delilah did many things well.  Hauling comfortably, we arrived mid afternoon.  I set up camp with a highline.  In my experience, horses get used to highlines very quickly.  In the meantime, she tied quietly to the trailer munching her haybag.

She drank from the creek, tied quietly throughout the night, even figuring how to lay down to rest completely, and settled in 5 minutes when the group left camp for the long ride on Saturday.  We had some non-demanding time grazing in the meadow, listening to the drone of the many flies and bees!

We had a shorter loop first day out, about three hours.  The gelding she liked all of a sudden turned into a monster horse with noisy pack boxes!  I could not have anticipated that, but it is all experience!

She climbed the ridge steadily to Lost Lake, a nice reaching flat walk down the rocky roadbed to the boggy meadow with creek crossings.  This is one of the main challenges of the ride, taking the better part of an hour before getting back into camp.

Delilah lost her marble momentarily, so I put her in a circle until she calmed, a few minutes, and we went back to camp in an acceptably calm manner.  A horse light in experience, she got a little overwhelmed by the monster pack boxes, mules (likely her first time), and “well, just everything, Mom!  Can’t I just peel out and leave it all behind?!”  No, you may not!

I had her hang out in camp the next day, hitching a ride on Rosie, who didn’t want her herd to leave her!  These campouts and gatherings are great opportunities to work on your “stuff”!  You’ll find that you are not the only one!

One rider was riding a mule that had only been packing, two mules were being ponied, doing that and packing a pack saddle, one mule had a first time highlining lesson.  So whatever you think are your challenges, everyone has them!  Don’t hesitate to give you and your horse these opportunities!

In the past when I’ve opportunity to stay out a week, ten days, or two weeks with my horse, I have felt that I could do anything with my horse after that!

Any horse camping adventures out there?  I’d love to hear, see your post, message me on facebook!

Here’s to happy trails in natural horsemanship!

Terri

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