LEVEL 1 - TICK
so proud of my gorgeous boy (all of them) but suffice to say this is really exciting for me and the big fella cos we get to go on to beautiful things level2 and I hope level 3 too....what an amazing thing to be able to add to his repetoire of success' keep him happy and sound I hope FOREVER
So we've been playing around with lots of level2...cos I am so darn excited and he is so darn good! But now in earnest we are following our homework cards and hope to get some assignments in before Spetember clinic, to which he and I will be introduced to level 2 ridden. My trusty steed and I are so very ready for it I cant wait.....watch this space...........
oh dear......I think there is some sort of insecurity building up in the champ....what is this? Have him and Lil P bonded in a way perhaps he has never before with a horse? Or a distinct personality issue with the horse next door?
It goes like this.....We rested our back paddock adjacent to neighbours horse paddock for a fair while now and its time it get eaten. So, day 1 I let banjo up there on his own, all good. Charles and Lil P hang out in a paddock 200mt or so away and its all good.
Day 2 stay the same.
Day 3 I figure ok both arab boys can head on up there too.....Lil P jogs up the lane and face plants into the grass munch munch. Banjo is un disturbed from his eating too. Charles on the other hand, yields all the boys over to the fence to speak with the neighbour horse and OMG....now i know my boy can get aggressive at times but he's been very good the last few years and usually its just a bit of a ' hey dude keep away from my space, a bit of a growl and a nip and he walks away' well not this day....he was ropable!!!!
Arched neck, bit neighbour horsey over fence, screamed at him and ofcourse horise takes no notice, the other boys are right next to Charles and just all like hey man whats the fuss about. Charles rears up strikes out over the fence, bucks and kick poor banjo in his path - no harm done. ANGRY!!!!
So I enter the herd and yield them all away from the fence, manage to put my arm around very cross horsey and walk him away back to his other paddock. Once there ofcourse he is equally angry and fence paces bucking and yelling for about 30minutes....because I have left the boys up there in yummy paddock with said neighbour horse. Because I err on the side of no injury EVER for the big champ....I decide I will leave Banjo in the adjoining laneway to be closer to charles and we will try this all again in a few days.
seriously these boys I try very hard to to allow herd bound behaviour over ride things, they are often seperate in paddock and during rides etc.....the old man however just found this day so overwhelming I was quite taken a back.
All I can do is keep them safe and perhaps some more confidence building challenges required for the old timer!!!
FLOAT LOADING - its been the bane of my life at times, more times than should be. When I decided to buy this gorgesou arab, I walked him up on a float parked at the adjistment place, up he got no drama - 'check' I thought, got that one sorted - oh how wrong I was. Not long after we travelled to a ride on a large truck - this went well for charlie not so for me, as in practicing the night before, I tripped on the tail gate fell flat on my face and he crushed my calf muscle - ofcourse not his fault. So hence in built the fear in me of floating. Thereafter his next trip was from Mildura to.....well...you tell me? Horse was eant to arrive the same day and at midnight or so that night I still had no horsie and some rater inappropriate swear words from the copmany driver to boot. Finally he arrived, tucked up and exhausted the next day. And so began our long long long 12yr journey of badness relating to travelling anywhere. It didnt stop us ofcourse - it just added to alot of unessecary sadness, frustration and swearing! It brought us undone at the 2009 Tom Quilty - a night that still the thought of brings me to tears. It caused Kev and my first raging arguement - on our wedding day none the less. Its had be avoid travel. Its basicly been pretty bloody crap!.......and yet NOW 12yrs later......Well , I know its not 100% - in that at times it still I'll say may take us some 'time' to get on there,but golly this is like a weight of fmy shoulder that I finally feel I have the skills and he the trust and confidence to go truly anywhere any time.
Simple - yes simple really - I followed to the T the QS float loading programme - level 1, did my homework and removed all food from the float too - so as I hope to truly consolidate comfort in there. Ofcourse I do then replace the food for actual travel as I think it important they munch away.
I spent the time it took, I recognised the tries, I recognised me asking too much and horsies response to this, I recognised that my stick is to be like a hot rod not touching just creating energy unless touch is required. I recognised feel and timing and the need for direction. And what have I now got.....a horse I thought will never pass level 2 float loading and in 2 sessions I think we are ready to film!!!!! I can hardly believe it - but I see it in his eyes, a trust a look of whats next mum, a feel of 'thank god you are the leader here'. And whence it may not go perfectly and I and he are perhaps to tired to play the game - I know now he trusts me so much that at worst I just get up there with him and he will be ok. But......
From here the goal is to consolidate this fabulousness out and about, after a tough ride, when he simply decides its not time to go yet - I atleast now see it as its just his opinion, not his arrogance
oh golly - why do I do it....how silly I am....I could have just kept quiet and tick along doing my own thing but oh no I volunteer to help out and on probably THE coldest weekend of winter.......well Charles and I did our last training run yesterday in the 80kph winds. up and down and up and down lots and lots of hills - yes you got it I am trying to tire him out.....and yet ofcourse all I do is get him fitter!!!! Lost one back boot along the way galloping up hill and again on a downhill (not galloping!!!) but he didnt freak out so thats good! Dont think I will put them on though as he told me clearly the left one was making his heel sore, and in doing so hit me fair in the boob with his hock OUCH!!!!! (see there is not much soft tissue to protect my ribs there is a problem!!!)
anyways - all bathed and clean ha ha ha NOT!! tail plaited and float packed and hubby on strict warning not to sook out on me as my strapper!!!!!!!!! and all fingers and toes crossed that horise is as kind to me as he can be and especially kind to the horses he is caring for along the way on sunday.
will let you all know how it goes when I warm up!!!!!
Ahhhh my beautiful friend, my life line, my partner over thousands of km's and I, are taking our whole relationship to a brand new level. So far, all I can conclude is that he is actually finding this all very comforting, rewarding and is responding exactly as I ask - mostly thats the wrong ask, but he does what I ask none the less LOL
Float loading has become of no concern (this is HUGE HUGE HUGE!!!!!!), there in the past it is a long gone memory, the hours we spent pulling, pushing and yelling in frustration.....thank god sais Charlie!!!!!
His agility has gone to new heights too, a horse that naturally developed a huge big trot and certainly this still his most efficient stride, has shown some beautiful canterwork and softened through his lateral movements already. He is willing and an easy joy to ride. His attitude with other horses has matured. He is in his 16yo self a dignified and elegant horse with so much potential to unfold, we are only justat the begining of another chapter of our wonderful life together. From that jog joggy arab with his hed held high in the air, spooking sideways at the slightest change in colour of grass, giving my hubby the impression that basicly horses are man eating fools, I have always loved this boy, his heart and mine entwined from day 1.....and forever.
so level 1 we are working through with gumption......submitting more submitting and more......I am glad to have the opportunity to do level 1 again, to improve, and perfect my skills for the benefit of all my horses - and what better way to do it with my bestfriend....and show him off to all of you to boot.
I look forward to Mel's next clinic in Vic where you can meet him.......and anyone out there needing a babysitter for trail rides, be sure to call us, as this is the one thing he has absolutely perfected!!
Charles first play day with Karen in Newbury was an absolute success, he was focussed, humourous, fabulous and helped me learn with her guidance more and more skills yet. Cant be happier
Ofcourse this is barely a warm up for the big fella really but as always wrapped up in cotton wool......we are off to do a 40k this weekend....this is all in prep not to compete again but to train for our 400k solo ride planned for Oct/Nov this year....just a thing I gotta do, you see...............wish us luck!!! update on sunday if I survive LOL......
so my best friend in the world and I finally got out after far too long and rode 25k last sunday with our endurance boys....Charles and the newbie Mr Fox. And by golly the addiction is strong...and unbroken......so I got straight onto the website www.aera.asn.au/vera and checked out the calender and in a reasonable fashion have mapped out some 40k rides locally to do for fun and as part of my prep for my 400km goal! Crikey I just know its gonna have me hooked at wanting to pay up membership and do the bigger rides......oh golly.....but must remain focussed that I want to also get my level 2 up and going......and 2 other horses to improve......focus focus focus......mmmmmm
I have to say though I hope everyone at some stage in their life is lucky enough to have a horse that they are so so addicted to riding.......and as I have said before, since he is nearing 17yrs old I best ride him as much as I can, leave no stone unturned and no regrets or I should have's ....although I refuse to accept this I am aware he wont be here forever......
so here it is.....publc announcement so you can hold me to it...tomorrow I am going to video atleast 3 if not 5 of level 1 assignments for the big champ....am very nervous as ofcourse I am hyper critical about this guy and seek perfection.....so if its anything less than that sorry Charles...its my fault entirely.....fingers crossed!!!!
So years ago I had played about a bit with Parelli with charles, and thought I was pretty good and he was really good cos we could rub him all over with a stick and string and have him go fwd and backward off pressure and run around a round pen LMAO!!!!! I mock myself for my absolute ignorance to what I was doing, I had NO IDEA!!!
So when I started to play with level 1 with Charles I found out some very interesting things - sooky la la lip comes into play lots here and very similar issues as I had with Lil P - suddenly this made such thnigs way less scarey as I realised its just their way of saying - you are doing it all wrong and I dont get it!!!
eg. pawing wit the front leg....tossing head around...smacking lips together....opposition reflex!!!!
Yield to pressure...what's that.....I felt like I needed a hot poker to get him to move and as I enter further into a better understanding of what a FQ and HQ yield is I am so not letting this one go until I perfect it......imagine me at the recent RFT, 50kg poking my finger nails into those huge power muscles and pointing all my energy with it and my darn horse doesnt even flinch - how embaressing....no contact yield somewhat better but still stuff to be desired. And I ride this horse all over the countryside safely!!!! tee hee!!! What I do appreciate now though is that we need these things to be better and perfected as his old straight body wont hold up to the km's if I dont maintain some flexibility and agility in it and what better a way than to really learn how to move your horse softly.
So what I am recognising already is even though this horse is safe and experienced and very kind, I must maintain the principles of softness, phases, rewarding the try and building rapport at all times. So whilst he can perform pretty nicely at the level 1 tasks I wish for and expect us to achieve at level 2 quickly and build up a new relationship where he is ofcourse and always will be the safety net really but that he does see me as a worthy leader.
What we have achieved thus far, is better feel, recognition of horse behaviours and what they mean I must do and a horse that has at most opportunities given us all sorts of reason to get very mad and sad regarding floating - now a horse I can with EVERY confidence say I will take him anywhere anytime and in the time it takes we will be able to get home on the float instead of riding home!!! The small number of new skills we have together make us feel we could actually be invinsible at anything we set our minds to......even travelling all the way to the Shazada!!!
Interestingly too having such a trusted horse with a relationship I feel can never be dammed, it means I can take new thnigs that I am having trouble with the other 2 with and go to him and say help me out with this one and we work it out for the better of all of us. Plus knowing that I can have what I have with him, even though we hadnt done desensitising much or close contact groundwork, safety checks etc etc it helps me realise that although I know we should and I see the benefit to such, if one given thing isnt going right it doesnt mean everything is gonna be a disaster....eg. just cos horsie didnt go over barrels doesnt me he hates me and is going to buck me off and trample me into the dirt!!! And also just cos we do achieve those things still I need to be aware, a good leader and maintain focus and confidence. The big guy can shy just like the best of them still - but I believe our connection and moulding of our balance now keeps me safe - this is something that has taken 10yrs+ to develop, I cant expect it overnight with the others just cos I have given them a 'better' start.
So - there is much work to do but I know he can and I know he will show me how!
Crikey - I just realised that I have given the boys their own Blog, Paterson his own very special self entry area and not one for my life line Big Charles....how bloody rude of me!!!
And besides which it is very important to note that this trusted stead is 1. the best 2. will always be my champion and 3. is the one whom will help me along the way into whatever it is I do......thus as I gain more insight into NH and QS I see what lies ahead for 'us' as truly marvelous and even feel inspired again to get him back out on track and do some more endurance too.
Its not that things have always been perfect or easy for us....Charles and I met when he was 4yo green broke and had been abandoned at the breaker by his new people who changed their mind on wanting him. He was hard to catch, he pulled back when tied, he didnt float, yet something very quickly connected us, perhaps dumb niavity that I just rode and rode and rode! I wish I could just do this with Lil P but I am older now, wiser but wish in some ways I wasnt and had that niavity as sometimes perhaps thats what a horse needs too.
Anyways.....he gave me jig jogging, lots of pure pain in the arse behaviours, would chase me in paddock for food, spin, rear, kick other horses, wouldnt stand to be washed, shied, yet none of it phased me somehow I just loved him so dearly. I did I know spend many nervous rides on him, relying on his good will to keep me safe and he did. Hanging off those bit rings, knees gripped and looking forward to when he'd get tired after 10km, no 20km, no 40km, no maybe 80km.......mmmmm But the years have been fabulous and I only once had a 'I will give up day' with him and after crying for near on 24hrs realised that was never gonna happen and have never looked back.
He has been my sole mate, carried my tired arse home and soaked up my tears...he makes me smile and giggle and when he licks and chews and then nuzzles you and whinnies softly in your ear to say 'hey look mum we did it' - you know god couldnt have made a better friend!
I can ofcourse write/talk all day and night and beyond about this fabulous horse but I will try to maintain myself so long as you all are clear - he is AMAZING!!!! LOL
Started in 2004 with 7x 40k rides, each of them in good time with good HR's and several offers of large sums of money for this boy....we started into the 80ks and quickly 100k and 120k distances, winning our 1st 120k in 8hrs!
We were told in 2007 he'd never run again with a suspensory strain.....ha as if that was gonna stop me....have baby take 12mth off and off we go again....
Our low point of 2009 vetting out our only ever ride at the Quilty after a floating accident and 40k of cantering in the dark with a horse whom tried do hard not to show his pain...only made me more determined to prove we could do it....100miler horse by heart....So with a healed horse (equine touch therapy, bowen and pentosan injections + physio and exercises fro the SI joint ) and many homeopathic stress remedies on board (for me) we ventured into 2010
And having reached our high point in 2010 winning the 1st 100miler and then the 2nd 100miler at state champs, it was time for some respite - slow lazy rides, confidence building, social etiquette and fun for 2011, after all I will never succumb to having burnt out this horse I want to be riding him for many many years to come. And now.....2012....QS....level1 and 2 I hope, a few endurance rides perhaps....and my dream the Shazada.....maybe!
So keep an eye on us, watch his blog and his video uploads and enjoy