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..."

My Horses - this page is in process!!! Please be patient.

This page is in process, please be patient!


My parents wanted to buy me a horse for my 13th birthday, and being new to the country, we thought the best way to do this would be through a horse dealer. We were later told that horse dealers and car dealers are exactly the same: if an object works, and looks ok, there is a profit to be made. Our other mistake was that we bought Blaine purely from seeing a photo and a video. One phone call, and he was ours. Being naive and relatively inexperienced when it came to both the horses and the UK, we were easy game for an unscrupulous person. "The only problem with Blaine," said the dealer over the phone, "is that he doesn't really like being clipped. Other than that he is the perfect horse for an 13 year old, he's even done a bit of competing! Oh.. and the other thing is that he isn't exactly 6 yet, but he'll be 6 soon."
hahaha, famous last words.

A day or two into owning Blaine, we realized that he was quite a bit different from the dealers description. He was frightened for starters, he behaved like a youngster, and he was a lot smaller than we expected. It turned out that he was a LOT younger than advertised, he was just going 3. He had clearly been sedated for the farrier, as his shoes were fitted too perfectly, and he didn't even know how to pick up his legs. We quickly realized we were out of our depth, so we called a trainer in. Catherine has always been straight, and to the point, which is what I love about her. On meeting us, she asked, pointing to me "how old is it?" to which my mom responded: "it' is 13 years old." "Well," Catherine replied "I don't do children."
Her impressions of Blaine weren't any more positive. "He's the most frightened horse I've seen in 20 years of training horses, its the blind leading the blind, green on green, it won't work. But, let's see what we can do" after spending an hour with Blaine and me, she sat me down, and told me that the only condition on which I could keep Blaine, is that he won't ever be a riding horse. She told us that he'd been improperly backed, and that we'd have to restart the backing process, but there was a very high chance that he'd never be rideable.

I could write a book about Blaine, and I'm sure that I eventually will, but to sum it all up:

The journey of discovery and trust with Blaine has been the most rewarding thing I've ever done. It matured me, and challenged me to find the heart of horsemanship. It challenged Catherine, because suddenly she had to 'do' children, and she discovered the love that a family can give. It challenged my parents, who had always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, but were they leading me down a dead-end? It challenged Blaine, to forgive. To trust.

It isn't all fun and games, putting the relationship first has been a challenge!

We initially thought that we were helping a troubled horse, but we didn't realize that we had signed ourselves up for a life-long development course, that he would help us. Five years down the line, Blaine and I have the most amazing relationship. He is my 'go anywhere, do anything' horse. I can ride him, bareback and bridleless. We did pay a huge price, financially, emotionally, and time-wise and it was two years before I sat on his back. No one believes his history, as he is now a calm, people-loving horse. I'm now confident to put beginners on his back, and allow the children to lead him around. Not only is he a great riding horse, he is also a Parelli Level 3 online, and Level 2 at liberty. The ultimate test of his new-found confidence, was whether he would trust other people, particularly adults. When preparing to come to Tanzania, I realized that I would have to do something with Blaine, and went about looking for a loan home. He is now being loaned by an adult who is new to natural horsemanship, and Blaine is so happy and confident, that we are considering extending his loan.

A year after first seeing Blaine, I was asked by my dentist where I had put the old, frightened horse. Anyone that knows his history wouldn't believe that its the same horse!


3 months after buying Blaine, and finding Catherine to assist us, she was offered a 'cheeky pony' who had been turned up the wrong way. Catherine needed somewhere to keep him, and I didn't have anything to ride, so it made sense to keep JJ on our property. Catherine intended to keep him for a short time, and then sell him. This short time extended, and we ended up keeping him for around 8 months. In the end, Catherine sold JJ to a friend of mine, who was looking for something to go out and have fun with. A year and a half later, with exam pressure (and having got a bit too tall for J) my friend offered him back to us, this was perfect timing as my younger sister Julie was just out-growing the family pony.  Whatever JJ lacks in height, makes up for in spirit and energy. He is very much a Left Brain Extrovert, gets bored easily, and is not afraid to show it.


    "So you want to work with horses...its time you got an unbacked youngster, that'll put you off..." Thus said Catherine Edwardes, the horse trainer, who was watching my career ambitions with a degree of trepidation. Of course Catherine, who by now was more of a friend and mentor than trainer, should have known better. After all she was talking to the same person she had warned that Blaine would be a failure ("blind leading the blind, green on green, it'll never work!") and now, after two years of hard work and persistence, I was slowly gaining Blaine's trust. When Catherine told me to buy a youngster, I wasn't deterred, rather excited by this challenge! I went about searching the 'Horses for Sale' internet sites, and quickly came across Waznot.

    Interestingly, every one of my horses has been the first horse I've looked at; none of this travelling across the country to find the 'perfect partner.' This is partly due to the fact that I'm a girl, and yes, I'm prone to falling in love with the first four-legged animal that comes my way. I'm also a very decisive person, and I honestly don't think you can buy the perfect horse, rather find qualities you like, and develop them. I also have a wonderful support circle; my parents, mentors, friends and family have been great. Financially, emotionally, and spiritually - they have been there! I have also prayed for guidance in my choices.

    I liked Wosam from the start. Although young and inexperienced, he had a mostly positive view of humans, and was predominantly left brained. It was a wonderful introduction for both horse and human (I was 15 at the time, and Waz was almost three). Within an hour of being with him, I'd decided to buy him. In the car home I went about renaming him, as I discovered (to my young ears disgust!) that his name WOSAM stood for 'Waste of Space and Money.' Wanting to keep things consistent, we settled for the name 'Waznot,' (Was not a waste of pace and money) although he mostly just goes as Wazzy or Waz. After handing over the money I'd saved from training other horses, we went about the next challenge: transporting him home. It was only when we arrived to pick up Woz, that I understood why the owner was mumbling about getting a natural horsemanship trainer out to transport him for us. Woz' only experiences of trailers had been as a 6 month foal, when he had got caught under the guard, and scraped all the skin off his back. This was not exactly the news I was wanting, but, you want to buy a pony, first learn how to load it! So, eight hours later, we made the three hour drive back home, with Woz kicking and screaming all the way (had I already discovered Parelli, perhaps our trip would've been a little less detremental to the trailer...)

    Although I was glad to have a relatively unhandled horse in the sense that I didn't have to undo other people's mistakes, I was suprised to find that Woz didn't understand how to yield to pressure at all. My poor feet got trodden on many times, but everything was done so sweetly, that I couldn't exactly get cross with him. Luckily, I discovered Parelli a month or two after that, so not only was it Woz' and my first real experience of young horse/handler, but we were also discovering Parelli natural horsemanship: a wonderful combination, and a great start to life!

    I love the learning process in 'sink or swim' environments. When you have to use that particular skill set with immediate effect, learning seems to be more relevant. Its probably a good thing that I like learning in this way, as the combination of learning Parelli, and handling Woz' threw me into the deep end. I was facing and discovering things I hadn't come across before. Sure, I'd handled a couple of problem horses, Blaine, JJ, Charlie, and Dora being the main ones, but it was completely new to me to come across a horse who had issues, but without strings attached. I found myself thinking "He's very selfish. He has no reason to be scared/overconfident/inexperienced because no one has ever hurt him!" of course I now find that mindset amusing, but at the time it was a new discovery. I realized that, like humans, every horse has baggage, no matter their history. Some baggage is worse than others, but its all baggage. Also, what some might veiw as baggage, won't phase others, and vise versa. For example, being a Left-Brain Extrovert myself, I love it when a horse gets playful! But, I've also met people who feel overwhelmed and intimidated by playful horses, and automatically label them as naughty. I'm quite quick to label an introvert as stubborn and boring, but I know many people who love the safety and challenge an introvert provides. With time, I've realised that development is not only about developing your natural skill sets, but developing what doesn't come naturally as well. My aim is to be able to relate to all sorts of horses and humans, from all walks of life. 

    The Parelli program quickly became relevant to me, firstly because it sat well with my thinking (literally as if someone had switched the lights on!) but also because I HAD to use it. There wasn't time for me to gradually discover about horsanalities, as Mr. Left Brain extrovert would've got bored way before that, and would've trampled all over me! Woz had a major issue with having things behind him, whether that was another horse, human, or object, he would get frightened. I think this was partly due to the fact that he'd been undhandled in that area, but he had probably had a bad experience, and no one had dared to show him otherwise. The one thing about horses is that they have amazing memories, particularly for painful (to their minds, life-threatening) situations. Anyway, I distinctly remember trying to put a rope around Woz' leg, without him being ready, and that was him off halfway down our 15 acre field! Right... ok.. lesson learnt, when the horse says he's not ready, you'd better respect that. The other thing he was afraid of was my Carrot Stick, which was kind of difficult when (as a beginner in the Parelli programme) I tried to rub him with the Carrot Stick. He would accept having taurpalins thrown over him, but not the Carrot Stick. It was then that I started thinking about where I was putting the emphasis, and I found that I was constantly thinking about the Carrot Stick (so in a sense, I was reacting to the carrot stick) which made him respond accordingly "woahh.. mum acts weird whenever this orange stick is around, it must be a terrifying thing." Being a dominant horse, not only did he feel the need to get scared, but he thought he needed to protect himself (and me) by striking out at the stick.  Sure, he did have some genuine fear issues with the stick, but it was amazing how differently he veiwed me and the stick when I wasn't focused on the fact that 'Woz is scared of the stick.' So often we forget about communicating our tools, because we think 'the horse must get used to it' but if the horse's only association with the item is us going "here, don't be afraid of this, don't be afraid, look at this, don't be afraid, oh and while we're at it: stand still, this is not scary at all" of course they'd think we're a bit bonkers!

    My journey with Woz continued to be a constant learning curve, but a positive one. Handling Blaine was a very different experience, in the sense that I was fixing another person's mistake. But Woz was my own, humbling at times as I had to take responsibility for my mistakes. I know that someone else could've backed him quicker than me, but that wasn't the point in having him. I bought him as a learning experience, and that's exactly what he was. A year and a half after buying him, we submitted our Parelli Level 1 Online assessment, for which I was very proud to receive a Level 2+ pass, a whole level above what we submitted for! A couple of weeks later, I rode him for the first time. Bareback in his field. He looked at me as if to say "oh, you've decided to sit on me? You ARE weird" over the next six months we did everything we could riding-wise: from treks, to shows, to pub rides, Parelli courses, and low-key jumping. At the end of the summer, we submitted our Parelli Level 2 Freestyle (riding) assesment, which we did bareback and bridleless. We received a Level 2++ pass, and got a Level 3++ for Friendly game.

    It was around this time that the travelling-bug bit, and Tanzania caught my eye. I had also come to a stage where I had the go anywhere, do anything pony, and realized that someone less experienced than myself might treasure this a lot more than me. I got bored of not having much of a challenge. He practically loaded and unloaded himself in the trailer, I could teach beginners on him, he was happy to stand around tied up, could play the 7 games up until Level 2/3, he was happy in different environments, with different company: both human and horse, I was happy for children to handle him (7 year old Kate could fetch him from the field herself), and came to call, and all in all had a brilliant foundation. I went about looking for a new home for him, and two weeks after advertising, I sold him to a 15 year old girl, just starting out in Parelli. I felt so happy to send Woz to her, as not only did he go to a great home, but what better way to introduce someone to Parelli, than to sell them an experienced Parellied horse? I have since visited him a couple of times, and each time have spent a few hours showing his owner the ropes, and helping her with whatever problems they may have run into. I am now in Tanzania, which, by the way, is well worth the Wozzy funds!


    Tim is with us on loan. Initially we thought he might become a good partner for my little sister Kate, but he has become Julie Anne's special project instead. Tim is an absolute sweetheart, who goes out of his way to please. But, he is a right brained introvert with a lot of fear issues. I have learned a lot from him, especially as right brained horses have a whole different set of priorities to left brained horses. Safety is key for them, and I find that once they feel safe, they don't have much of a need to challenge your leadership. I had a great time playing with him, and eventually got to the stage where I could play my own version of Circling Game: me standing on Blaine's bum, with Tim circling around us! 


    We bought Pippin partly as a companion for Blaine, and partly because we fell in love with his great looks and personality. Now 20 years old, Pip is the type of pony that every mother dreams of. We can leave children as young as 4 in his capable hands (hooves), and not need to worry. He taught both my younger sisters to ride, but he now officially belongs to 8 year old Kate. Kate and Pippin have the most fantastic relationship, and were pleased to pass their Parelli Level 1 assessment, and are now looking at submitting their Level 2. Unfortunately Pip has had back problems and Kate is now beginning to get too heavy for him. As a result, we are looking for a new pony for Kate, and plan to semi-retire Pippin. Kate will continue to do On Line and Liberty work with him though.


    Teri is a Highland pony; a pure left brain introvert. He is the perfect partner for my mum who needs a steady-footed confidence giver. Mum and Teri are now playing in Parelli Level 2.


    He was my mum's darling in every possible way. I was privileged to ride him for our final year in South Africa. We owned Histor pre-Parelli days, but my mum had a beautiful relationship with her first horse, and he has a very special place in our hearts. Tragically, Histor died of cancer in 2006.


    Kestrel belongs to Sharon Mallinson, my arty and horsey mentor in South Africa. I had Kes on loan for a couple of months, during which time we competed in our first show together, and I enjoyed the feeling of 'owning' a horse. He is now enjoying his well earned retirement.


    This was the first horse I had on loan. I shared Bravestar with my older sister, and a friend. He was sweet and experienced, exactly what a bunch of children needed! Sadly, I don't have a photo of him.


    We only owned Candy for a year, but she boosted the passion for horses that Charlie had already planted in my heart! She also boosted my determination, as she quickly discovered that she was small enough to fit under the wooden fence poles but that I (on her back) was not. When she had had enough of my bossiness, she would swipe me off her back. I must have been very bossy, because it happened quite often! I'd scream and cry, get back on, and within 15 minutes I'd be off again. 


    My first sweet-heart! Charlie was very old, and struggled to push past a slow walk. He was the perfect ride for 3 year old me. I was already very independent and determined, and wanted to ride 'by myself.' Charlie gave me a feeling of power, but we all know who REALLY had control....