This is the place where I record my current learning experiences with horses. I’m personally aiming to become an excellent horsewoman, but the nature of horses is that they are truly catalysts for personal development. So, while half of my musings will be from a point of observation and communication with horses, this only reflects the way that I am personally developing. Because of this, it is my hope that you can relate to my blog on whatever level you wish. If you are a fellow horseman-in-training: good to meet you, it's wonderful to be on the same journey! But at the same time, if you are a complete stranger to me or to horses, you are just as welcome. Hopefully this blog will bring you some amusement; even if it is just laughing at how mad we horse people can be!

In this blog, you can find pages about my life so far, mentors, and of course, horses and my adventures with them.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory..."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Heading home... already!

My apologies for not writing a blog post recently, things have been busy, and a lot has happened since I last wrote! The most notable thing is that our Fast Track ended on Friday... and I'll be heading home tomorrow, Monday!

There's a lot to recap, and I'll go about doing that next week. I'll also share some photos with you all. In the meantime, you can read this blog post about my third week of fast track!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Everyone thinks England is the place for rain... but believe me, Colorado (USA) gets a fair share of rain too! We've had 2 beautiful weeks of blue skies and sun, but the past few days have been rainy and stormy! On one morning, playing with horses in the storms was far less attractive than sitting indoors with hot chocolate and Parelli coaches at hand! One of our coaches, Carmen Zuluaf, gave us a mind-boggling presentation, where she spoke about Horsenality and the misconceptions that go with it.

A couple of years ago, the Parelli's came up with something called Horsenality. Horsenality is basically a tool that helps humans to explode the code, and understand their horse's individual personality/traits. This helps when trying to communicate with the horse. First seek to understand (horsenality) and then seek to be understood (communicate). I'm talking about horses, but its funny how relevant this all is too humans!

Carmen said that any horsenality can be a nightmare or a dream. And, like humans, horsenalities change. Our overall goal as horsemen, is to produce confident horses (and humans!) that are not limited by excuses such as 'Its in my nature to be scared/controlling/unmotivated/unfocused...' Horsenality is not meant to categorize, limit, or box the horse. Carmen spoke about how our belief in our horses determines what they'll be. We need to believe that our horses are capable of being who they're meant to be.

She also spoke about focusing on the goal or end result in your horse. A right brained horse needs to become more calm and confident, whereas a left brained horse may need to become more willing and motivated. She said that instead of focusing on what horsenality the horse is, we should focus on which one of these four aspects is missing. If we're asking ourselves "Does my horse need to be more willing? More confident? Motivated?" we can adjust to fit each moment, and won't be limited by their innate horsenality.

Me and Fast Track friends

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Playing with a horse online

There are four different ways that you can play with a horse - Online (groundwork with a leadrope/halter) Freestyle (relaxed riding) Liberty (groundwork without a leadrope/halter) Finesse (collected riding)

John Baar gave us a demo about playing with our horses online. There are 3 reasons that we play with our horses online:

1. To prepare the horse or rider
2. To establish communication
3. To teach something new

Its amazing how knowing why we do something enables us to find a new quality. All too often I find myself purposelessly doing things with my horse, and then I wonder why I haven't got anywhere in that session?! Establishing leadership with a horse is very important, and one of the things that defines a leader is that they have a PLAN! Now if I'm aware that I'm playing with my horse online for one of the above reasons, it will help me to have a plan... hmmm.... how interesting!

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 Qualities of a horseman

There are 10 qualities of a horseman, the first 4 are shared by the horse and human, and the last 6 are mostly for the human.

1.Heart & Desire

One could extend on any one of these qualities, but I'm going to focus on the first 4. Pat Parelli regularly talks about having your horse fit in 3 different ways, and in the following order:

1. Mentally
2. Emotionally
3. Physically

Mental fitness is respect. Emotional fitness is also impulsion. Physical fitness is flexion. Can you see any correlations to the qualities of a horseman? Its important to keep these qualities in order, as they'll have an effect on each other. So...there is no point in asking a disrespectful horse to flex, or an emotional (impulsive) horse to be flexible.

I've realized that I've been muddling these qualities up! Without realizing it, I sometimes ask Boltar for impulsion, when I haven't got his respect. So, we've been focusing on establishing respect in the small things. One of the biggest dominance issues I've noticed is that he is not great at yielding his forequarters. So, I've been more particular about him yielding to and from pressure, instead of putting up with it. Once I became aware of this, I felt as if I was making all my corrections personal, and that I'd do hardly anything I'd set out to do in our sessions, so I had a chat to one of our coaches. My coach helped me to see that instead of focusing on the task or desired response, I was allowing Boltar to change my original focus. I would end up going all over the play ground... without gaining the desired response! Hum....

So my new focus isn't going to only be on what his emotional state is, or how he's responding to me. Rather, I'll focus on establishing leadership by moving his feet. I'm also going to play with being more particular and specific, especially about my personal space, and how I want him to respond to pressure.

I'm learning a ton about focus! I'll be honest. Becoming aware of what I DON'T know isn't comfortable, but learning happens outside of the comfort zone, right?! I'm finding a new phase 1, which will strengthen my phase 4, and will help me to find my neutral (forgive the Parelli terms...)

I've written another blog post for Parelli Central, which you might enjoy to read!