Monday, July 30, 2012

Parelli Horse And Soul Tour Stop - St. Paul

This was the first time the Parelli's had come back to St. Paul (the State Fairgrounds) for a Tour Stop in a long time, and I was excited. It ended up being a real old-fashioned tour stop, and of course my camera decided to only work some of the time. Saturday morning started off with a huge thunderstorm, and we barely had enough time to grab coffee at the Coliseum before the show began. It started off with Pat doing a demo riding a horse named Slider and Bobby Sox (who was featured in the Game of Contact DVDs. She's matured a lot since then). He basically went over "What is Parelli?" and the basic outline of the program. The local Instructors also brought their horses out and had some fun with them.

Then it was Linda's turn, and she went over Horsenality with the Instructors and their horses. It's always amusing to see them play the circling game: the extroverts zoom off like they're in a race while the introverts mosey off. Each Horsenality has different needs and have different strategies. For the Right brain extroverts, you need to help them feel safe and use up their adrenaline as quickly as possible. For Left brain extroverts, engage their brain and their feet so they don't become bored. Right brain introverts, wait for them to ask questions and come out of their shells. Left brain introverts, mess with their heads to get the feet in motion. It was really interesting and I got a lot of new things to try with Royal.

Then it was the Horsenality-Humanality mismatch demo with Linda. The pair were a BIG LBE with a tendency to bolt when he felt like it and a more introverted human. The demo was all about keeping the horse's interest and helping the human match and mirror his energy. After she mounted up, they just trotted around until he got all his energy out and was able to focus.

Then it was time for Game of Contact. It was fairly basic, but educational. The most interesting horse was a little RBE Arabian mare who didn't stretch, she STRETCHED!!!!!!!! Basically diving down with her nose and nearly hitting the ground. The focus with her became about helping her have a softer stretch while still maintaining the contact. Royal sometimes has a tendency to stretch really emphatically and while I appreciate the effort, it can be a little disconcerting. So, that was helpful.

The last session of the day was called "Trailer Loading with a Non-Parelli Horse" and this horse had a history of being really hard to load, even to the point of having to drug her to get her to the Fairgrounds. So of course, when Pat asks the owner to try to load the horse, the horse hopped right in. But she wouldn't get out, so Pat had the owner turn her loose so they could work on her confidence. He had the owner join in a help try to load her at liberty, and she was so unconfident that they had to stay at least 30 feet away at first. So then it become about pressure and release, helping her find the sweet spot of the trailer until...

So that was interesting (the video above isn't mine. I was still on the other side of the Coliseum.) Then Pat and the horse's owner played with the horse for a little while, and the horse made some really big changes.

The next day held less rain and started with a Leads and Lead Changes demo with Pat. It was mostly stuff I'd heard before, but still useful information. Main takeaways: pay attention to the diagonals (handily demonstrated by the different colored polos) and weight distribution.

Next was Rider Biomechanics with Linda and Colleen Kelly. Colleen is really big on side-to-side balance and not letting your leg get too far in front of you. The Instructors were good demo riders and Colleen was entertaining as always.

Afterwards, the rider on the grey horse (Lillian) did an absolutely wonderful On-line, liberty and freestyle demo with her horse, ending with the horse laying down in a release of adrenaline.

Then they had another demo horse, this one a very extreme LBE who had no respect for personal space. Pat had to teach her how to back up and go sideways before anything else could be done. It took a while, but she calmed down and became ridable. Pat rode her over the tarp, jumps and around the big green ball. It was beautiful.

Overall, it was a really inspiring and educational tour stop,  I hope they come back to this area again next year (Madison maybe?). It's always a highlight of the summer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quick Update

This last week was pretty quiet, apart from the Parelli Tour Stop last weekend (Which deserves its own post. Will blog about that later). Pedicures were on Wednesday after a rain storm. Royal was all traumatized because he was wet, but got settled down well. I told the farrier about his sensitivity, and he was a bit more conservative this time. We'll see how he does.

The next day, I took him (and my sister's young dog) for what turned out to be a strange walk. I wanted to see how he was on gravel and he wasn't too bad. A little reluctant to trot, but otherwise seemed okay. We walked down the side street, and all was quiet, until we heard gunshots coming from the south. They seemed distant, but loud. It's too early for hunting, so I have no idea where it came from. Then it was quiet again, until we heard trumpet music. Yeah, trumpet music, in the middle of the day, in a tiny little street in north central Minnesota. Weird. We were most confused. I thought we had accidentally stumbled onto the set of an absurdist movie and a panda in a top hat was going to walk out of the cornfield and offer us bananas.

"Bananas sound yummy."

Friday we went for a trail ride up the road. We passed the Sheep of Death easily enough, but they have back-up: Demon Llama! Demon Llama stayed in the back of the pasture, but we exchanged glances. We will meet again, I'm sure. We got a little further up the road, but Royal decided that was far enough. I'm guessing his feet were a bit tender, as he wanted to stay in the grass on the way back. It'll probably take a while for him to get more sole back, but he's doing pretty well.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wide Open Spaces

I think from now on, I'm going to have to block off the last week of June/first week of July as the fortnight where nothing gets done. Last year it was the abscess and this year Texas came for a visit. As I wrote before, I didn't really do much with Royal last week, mostly because I started melting whenever I went outside. This week had nicer weather, but I had a bunch of job interviews that all took place during the day, and I mostly stayed on the ground with Royal. First on our list: Operation Tail. Last year, during the Heat and Bug Apocalypse, I was really good at putting detangler in his tail and making sure it couldn't get snagged on things as he swished flied. This year? Totally slipped my mind, and before I came to my senses and started doing the detangler treatment again, it looked like he'd lost about a quarter of his tail.

I'm usually not one to obsess over my horses cleanliness (he lives outside 24/7 and seems to be magnetically attracted to dirt), but I love his thick silky tail. It still is very thick compared to most horse, but not as much as it was. Very liberal use of the detangler has helped a lot, and I think it'll be back to normal soon. He grows mane like it's his job, so hopefully his tail is the same way. And I will not repeat this blunder again.

This week is supposed to be a lot nicer so we'll get back to doing more stuff. I landed a job at a coffee shop, so no more running around to interviews for me. I'll also be focusing on trying to find a barn that will let us do some cross-country schooling once I'm sure we've fixed the rushing issue. Roebke's Run Horse Trials are this weekend, and I'm just as bummed about not being there this year as I was last year. So, I'm throwing all my energy into getting us ready for Steepleview and Otter Creek in the fall and making sure we are totally prepared for thpse. Think we could convince this bird we found in the field to be our training partner?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Who Set The Themostat To "Texas"?

Well, not much has happened on the Royal front because it has been HOT. REALLY REALLY HOT. I start melting at about 90 degrees, and it's been well above that since last Wednesday. Royal, despite being a mix of two desert breeds, hasn't been enjoying it either. This has been his overall attitude for the last week.

Not a happy camper.

We've done a few things here and there. A little trail ride with my sister and Xena last Wednesday, which went really well. We had a short jumping session Friday evening, which didn't go quite as well. I just had some easy stuff set up (cross-rail, vertical, small double combination) and Royal started rushing. Quite a bit, although not as bad as he used to be. It used to have a real panicky feeling, like he thought the jumps were going to kill him. He wasn't that bad, but more like he was just really nervous about the whole thing and wanted to get it over with. I stopped when he popped over them like they were no big deal, but hopefully that was the last of the Rushing Relapse. We did another little trail-ride Saturday morning (95 at 10am. Oy.), and some On-Line sessions Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday was Jumping From A Walk in order to stop the Rushing Relapse, and it appeared to work. Or maybe that's because it was still around 100 degrees at 6:30 at night. We'll find out when (if) it cools down. Thursday was just some playing around with circling and sideways games, which also went fairly well. Everything's been a half-hour or less, since that's all we can really stand in the heat. This was the temperature as I drove to a job interview Monday night.

The heat wave was supposed to break last night, but it was still at least 100 with high humidity. Supposedly it'll cool down tomorrow. I really hope it does, since I've been itching for some galloping and road riding, and everyone will be much happier.