Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our Second Anniversary Together

On November 21st, Guinness (my cookie-monster) and I celebrated the 2nd anniversary of our partnership by going to visit our friend Julie for the first time.

Julie, who has lots of dressage & eventing experience, and her partner, Shadowfax, are playing somewhere in L2/L3. Julie recently purchased Karen Rohlf's study materials and is busy integrating it into her studies. She encouraged me to watch some of it with her, and I admit that I'm captivated too! I'm now trying to figure out how to wrangle her Everything Pack for myself for Christmas (probably wishful thinking..).

In several of her videos, Karen plays successfully with young LBI horses (often bareback and using only a halter) as she laughs and coaxes them along. I find these both instructional and highly inspirational. (As I have found those of Linda P. and her LBI, Remmer, to be.) I had held the mistaken belief that I wasn't "worthy" to study Karen's materials yet since I'm not even close to being a L4 student, however she offers strategies for issues that I am having this moment with Guinness. I'm especially appreciative that her philosophies mesh perfectly with those of PNH.

Julie, the horses, and I played with driving game on a circle. The focus was to see if the horses were able to match our energy to make appropriate transitions. It was totally different from anything that I've played before with Guinness and I could see the wheels turning in his brain.

We played at liberty including the catching game (which I find incredibly helpful to set the tone for a playdate). When Guinness showed her his new behavior of holding each leg folded up high on cue, she commented that Karen R. uses tapping on the side of the withers as a cue for the same behavior. In a couple of tries, I was able to morph the cue from tapping the point of his shoulder to tapping his withers and he got it! He was even able to figure it out for each foreleg while mounted. :-))

It was tons of fun and I hope to do it again very soon. Thanks, Julie!


This past year has been very eventful for G. and me. (The photo is of the two of us this past January. Note that we are still on a leadline.)

To recap:
  • I began seriously riding him in April, utilizing a local indoor arena
  • We participated fully in a Carol Coppinger L2 clinic in May
  • We attended two informal trail competitions this summer, and he placed in both
  • We successfully rode in two 6-mile American Competitive Trail Horse Association rides
  • He went "swimming" in the river several times
  • I rode him in our local July 4th parade
  • We've hauled all over the place to visit friends for playdates and to ride the trails
In a mere 8 months, he has met all of my expectations for a horse partner (unlike my previous partner, Smokey - age 18 - who still couldn't handle all of this after 8 years with me & PNH). I attribute this to his outgoing, friendly, rock-solid LBI temperament and to the use of marker signals in conjunction with treats in his Parelli Natural Horsemanship education.

Guinness is now about 3 1/2 years old. He stands about 15 hands tall and weighs about 850 lbs (compared to our other Rocky who is 12, about the same height, and weighs about 1100 lbs).

This photo is of us at our second ACTHA ride on October 16, 2010. Note how much he has grown in 10 months. Wow.

I can't wait for 2011.

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