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Nita, Achillies & Halos' Journey to Happiness

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Thursday 17th March 2016, the girls from Nudae are doing the Dolly Parton "Working 9 to 5".

Morgan and I were left in charge of our little slice of heaven, for the week while the girls were away, or as I like to call it, when they leave me in charge: "The Asylum"

As we'd managed to keep the place nicely moving along, without burning the joint down, killing ourselves, or anyone else in the process. We were both given a beautiful gift of Gratitude, and I'm especially ecstatic with mine.


I must admit, I did have an emotional moment, but hey, it's ok, I got over it.

Friday Morning arrives, I've also been given the day off to enjoy doing whatever the hell I like...and that's exactly what I did.

Dropped my Rug Rat off at school, came home and prepared for what was, is, and always will be, one of the most memorable lessons of a life time.

Lorraine, will usually ask what it is we want to work on, and she's usually more in tune with what will help, than you are yourself. Today was going to be no different.

I'd done some prep work before hand, and had "Chillies" saddled and ready for a nice morning or learning and, I thought, anything else that might happen for the morning. You think I'd have learned by now, YOU'RE NEVER READY, UNTIL YOU'RE READY!!!

I realise I must have been ready for what was about to happen, as usual, I just didn't know it.

We started off with some Lateral Flex, Direct, Indirect and back up. My power steering was non existent, up until such time as I figured out how to ask properly. I was getting some serious resistance in my flex, and lets face it, No Flex, No Stop. Oooops that could be a problem. And as Shane is famous for saying..."OOOH WE'RE GONNA LEARN SOMETHING TODAY"

and Thankfully we did. I need to say, we have a better understanding of the ask now, and it has given me the confidence to Trot even more...and I just need to say this as well. I LOVE IT!

Ok, says Lorraine, I want you to trot around the Arena three times in this direction, yield to a stop and then trot in the opposite direction and yield to a stop.

I have been becoming more and more confident with the sitting trot, but being the chicken I am. 3x ??? Each Way??? As anyone who has had a lesson with Lorraine knows, she'll only ask you to do, what she knows you're capable of doing. You don't have to know you're capable, Lorraine knows more about our capabilities than we do most times.

Soooo, what's a Mad Maori to do...Trot of course..and we did.

We threw in a couple of Canter Strides, (Unintentional of course) and that got a bit hairy for me, but I stayed on, learned to bring him back down without too much panic (I said without TOO much, not without ANY) and we continued on. Keep him on the rail, ask him forward, sit back, relax ....Holy Crap, we were doing this and it was amazing.

I still need to relax more, but I wasn't terrified, I wanted more, and he was giving me more.

I don't really know which part we were doing when the Smile that crossed my face, did just that, crossed my face from ear to ear. I don't really know when I started to laugh like a maniac, I only know I did, and I was loving it.

Now it was time to practice some of our One Reign Riding Assignment, of which I'd never attempted to do all in one go. I don't know how to explain the exhilaration, excitement, achievement, amazement, and sheer joy I got from doing my sitting trot circles, throwing the rope over, and keeping him moving while doing it. You see every time I threw my rope over "Chillies" would stop. I knew I was stopping him, but wasn't really too sure how or why.

Now I knew, and we were doing it. OMFG...who knew, I had only hoped this is what it would be like to get him really moving forward, and me not being afraid to let him.

I have always imagined myself, trotting around and smiling and laughing and Cantering??? I'd seen so many of our fellow QS'ers doing just that, and one day I wanted to be able to do that too....Today was that day.

We were moving in some, what seemed to me, nice circles, when, of course, Lorraine says, OK Nita we're gonna try for the Canter (On purpose this time)

At this stage I was High as a Kite and she could have asked me to climb Mount Everest, and I would have thought that was possible.

and we're off, walk him out, sitting trot, ask him, lift your hand. Relax, and I don't even know how many times we'd done those circles, before something just didn't seem to be going quite right. Errrrmmmmm

I felt myself slipping, WTH was going on here, we'd been at this for an hour or more and I was still smiling and yahooing my head off, when it clicked. My saddle was slipping, I had to let go, I was stunt riding like a maniac, or so I thought. What do I do here, oh, ok, let yourself go, let him go and GALLLOOMPH.

I hit the ground, had not let my rope go quick enough and felt the burn.

Kerensa and Lorraine both moving, blurry grass, blurry sky, blurry legs, mine and his... holy shyte, I'd fallen off. He hadn't bucked or done anything at all wrong. My saddle had slipped...DOH!!

Kerensa: "Are you alright"

Lorraine: "Are you ok" attempts to put stubborn Maori in recovery position...


Kerensa: (insert giggle here) YES!!

Me:"Is he ok"

Kerensa: "Yes, he's fine"

You know that beautiful boy, could have gone straight through me, but chose to step around me, in a trot, or maybe it was a canter, I'm not really sure, I was on the ground and sort of laughing I believe. (Not sure what the hell was happening really)

But I do know, I could have been seriously hurt, if he'd not have been the amazing boy he is, if it had not been for the confidence and connection Quantum Savvy has bought to our lives and for all of the support I get here at home through the Program.

I could have been really really hurt. I also have to thank Maxine Williams for me not being harmed in anyway. Maxine gave me a Helmet, as I didn't have one and didn't wear them until M'bah, clinic with Mel. Thank you Maxine, after I'd scraped myself off the ground I looked at the helmet, and there may have been a giant lump on my head had it not been for that helmet. It had a bloody big grass stain on it that would have been my head if not for the helmet. Thank You.

You might ask, "What the hell's she still laughing about". I'm laughing because I had the most fun, I have even more confidence now, if that makes sense, and I smile because I felt the way I believed riding should feel and would feel, and the way I felt FREE....

Oh, and you can be Damned Sure, we tightened that girth strap back up and got the hell back on again....


and even had a cheek to do our Mounting Assignment as well...bhahahaaaaaaa









We did it, finally, after so long, we finally did it. Achillies and I finally achieved our Level 1 Skills Check.

Skills Check was a dirty word in our house. All my innards would seize up, my butt would pucker, and my mind went south for the Winter (Summer, Spring and Autumn).

We attended the Leadership and Confidence Clinic at Crystal Creek NSW, with Mel Peacock, at Allan Mitchells', beautiful property.


I audited the Leadership Workshop, and discussed, at the Forum, how much the Skills Check sent me into a tail spin. It WAS, for a very long time the thing that, I believed, held me up with my Horsemanship.

I know what you're saying, I can hear you now, and I say it to myself, NOW that it's done.

It didn't hold me up, it was, and I know this now, something I had given so much power to, it had crippled me, in a way.

I actually attended the clinic itself, to help with my ridden work. I had 4 Assignments to go and knew my riding confidence needed some serious Jeebuz Juice.

I never intended to, or even thought about, a live assessment, but when you're offered the opportunity, i had no other course of action, but to accept that offer. I actually thought about doing my Mounting Assignment instead of Skills Check.

Somewhere deep down inside me, I knew if there was ever going to be a time to do this, it was NOW. I smoked about 20 Cigarettes just waiting for my turn, and I even had the audacity, to ask if I could go before Georgia, because I was getting that nervous, I was worried I'd chicken out at the last minute.

I asked Lorraine if she had any last minute advice. And as always she gave me the best advice. Just go out and do it Nita, you can do this, you know what you're doing, you just have to do it now.

I asked Kerensa if she had any last minute pearls of wisdom, Just Do It, she said.

Hey, who knew they were working for NIKE?!

There was Lorraine, Maxine Williams, Tracy, Kerensa, Chris Baxter, Jenn Harley, Clair Stachurski from the Nudae Naturals and our newly adopted Kid, Shanna Davey from NSWALERS, Jo and Rachael from Pottsville, Georgia and Donna Rose from Brizzy, all there supporting me, and supporting every other member out there doing a Live Assessment.

It's funny, how you hear people say, i felt like you were all with me. You know what? It's actually true. Out there on the end of that Lead Rope and that Horseman's Stick, were all of the Nudae Naturals Team. Each one of them urging me on, calming me down, telling me what was next, asking me how I was feeling, and most importantly, telling me to BREATH and all that without actually saying a word. In my head, each and every single one of them was out there with me. I never knew that that, was a real thing, until Sunday 17th January 2016.

So to you ALL, thank you for the love, support and friendship you give, so willingly, without expecting anything but the same in return. Thank You All, for being who you are, with all of your Craziness, Quirks, and Idiosyncrasies and Food.

To Lorraine Dowdeswell, with the patience of a Saint, the Heart of a Lion and the Soul of an Angel, thank you. Mel Peacock, how you do what you do, is beyond me. You know I would have flogged me with a Stick by now, Thank You for not beating me black and blue. Thank You for helping me to restore my confidence, love and courage to continue with my Horsemanship Journey. Thanks for the opportunity of a live assignment, and the patience you have to sit through them all. And last but not least, my beautiful, spotty, scratchy, baby boy, Achillies, for learning to trust that I will only do the best for him, keep him safe, and love him until one of us crosses the Rainbow Bridge.








It's been a while since my last entry and there's a good reason for that.

I've just recently realised that I had become too focused on the tasks and assignments, and had forgotten why we do what we do. And when I wasn't achieveing them I fell into a Black Hole and couldn't find my way out.

It was terrifying, lonely,disheartening and crippling! I didn't know my left foot from my right, which way was up and which way was down. Was I Arthur or Martha, coming or going??? Who the bloody hell knows, cos I sure didn't. Not something I deal well with at all.

I started on this journey with QS to try and make a difference, a difference with my horse, unknowingly, that also made a difference in me. One I wasn't truly ready for, and one I still struggle with on a daily basis.

I've never been comfortable with the light fluffy lovey dovey shyte. I think that may have come up at the GO's Conference in Bell this year.

I'm more of a grunter, (Arff Arff) or a comedian in times where emotions are unleashed on me, or people become overly eager with the need to share, or over share, whichever the case may be.

Emotions are not something I deal well with, openly. I deal with them, but probably not like most would. I say that, because I'm one of a very few people (my family are genius at avoidance) who, when asked how someone died, I can honestly, and with a straight face, look you in the eye and tell you "Their heart stopped". Most people will go into a litany of reasons for someones demise. I won't, or don't. I will find a reason to smile and laugh through the loss of someone close to me, again, it's just how I deal. So this might give you a bit of an understanding or insight into how my mind works, or should I say, use to work, and why I found it so hard to pull myself, out of that Big Black Hole!

I think, I've been honest, in saying that, I'm shit scared sometimes when I'm out there with my beautiful boy. He's never done anything to make me feel this way, it is my own lack of knowledge and trust, in myself, and him that makes me feel this way. I am glad to say this doesn't happen very often anymore, but when it does, I drag my feet. I know that when this happens, I need to be more on board with him, to connect with him, to be able to help him, and I both through this, but, as rough and ready as I am, I still get scared. Pheeeew, glad I got that out of the way.

Now to put that fear into perspective for you;

I came from a gang related back ground in NZ, drugs, violence, alcohol, physical, mental and emotional abuse. I was surrounded by and lived through it all. I lived "Once Were Warriors" (the movie) and I was never ever scared of those Big, Black, Ugly, Tattooed from head to toe, Leathered up, Patched Up, Hairy tough guys, ever.

But, put me out there without full control of a situation, where I may get hurt...and yes there is fear. Yes, I have been hurt in the past, I have always been able to keep myself alive though, but I have not ever been hurt by my horse, so I am not saying my fear is rational, but it is real none the less.

I don't even believe I was afraid of him hurting me. I believe I AM afraid of screwing him up though.

I AM afraid of the way he makes me feel, the way he makes me see the world and the way he makes me look at myself. I AM confused, and in turmoil when I have to take responsibility for myself, my actions and the way he makes me, responsible for my emotions. I can't get away with a joke or a giggle with him, I have to try to be true to him and honest with him, and to do that, I have to take a good hard, long look at myself. (A work in progress)

I spent, what seemed like forever, avoiding having to do anything with Achillies, except feed him and give him a rub, smell his mane, snuggle him and scratch him. I'd sit and hang out with him, and I'd bring him out for Focus Group and PG's, but I dreaded it, and then I'd walk away

The sad thing is, I missed him. He's right in my back yard and I missed him.

I dreaded how I felt, trying to put him through the same thing over and over again. I dreaded, that I was and still am unable to get it right. I dreaded the way his eyes faded and he clocked out. I dreaded the way I felt after we'd been going through the motions, over and over and over again.

I dreaded that I wasn't smiling the way I should after I'd spent time with him. I was feeling defeated, and helpless, hopeless and lost.

Don't get me wrong here, I have the best support network there is, in Team Nudae, The Nudae Naturals our LOFG and Lorraine. But to get help, you have to ask for it first....... that would mean I might have to show some uncharacteristic emotions. I'd have to grow some HUUUGE Kahonas and bite the bullet. Not one of my strong points!

I don't believe I actually voiced what was happening to me, but it was apparently evident in my behaviour. Cue Lorraine and Kerensa. (I don't know how they know, they just know)

I spent a few minutes one morning talking to Lorraine while she brushed her horse. She had just finished doing some Impulsion Homework with Miss Chief and I just happened to stumble along at the right time.

You Gotta Love how the Universe says, here's your chance, take it.

So we talked, and it was eye opening, enlightening and full of encouragement. That's actually not even how I'd explain it, but it's the best I've got right now.

I had seen a glimmer of light, at the end of the tunnel and been given a life line. All I had to do now, was grab hold of the life line, and haul my way out.

I walked into the stable, sat down, had a cuppa and a ciggy and started to process what Lorraine and I had talked about.

Not 5 minutes later, Kerensa asked me, If I'd like to go get my horse, and she'd come sit with me while I played. She's so intuitive sometimes it's scary. I guess she knows me alot better than I know myself at times.

I hesitated for a split second, "no I have to ..., " Ahhh Bugger it. Yes thank you, I'd love to do that.

and so I did.

I bought Achillies up to the Arena, and we played. That's right, played. I'd forgotten what it was like to just play, to have him engage and connect with me, and for me to do the same with him.

I laughed alot that day, and yes we practiced our homework cards. But not before the play. You see, my problem was, I'd forgotten the play, I'd gone straight into task mode so often now that we were losing each other in the "Chore".

I had forgotten what it was I had set out to do, and was too busy chasing achievement, and had lost my way to Horsemanship. The Light at the end of the tunnel was so glaringly obvious, I was nearly blinded by it.

I had clawed my way out of the dark, and have since spent the days with my beautiful Achillies, playing. We found each other again and I see the sparkle in his mischief eyes again.

I watch his ears prick up as he asks, what now, what are we going to do now. Let me show you I can do what you're asking. Let me show you, that you can do it too.

I spent Sunday at our PG, exploring liberty with Achillies, and he in turn showed me, just how much he was connected, just how much he was enjoying himself, and just how much I had missed.

I uploaded my first Mounting Assignment, not because it was perfect, but because it was perfect for feedback. Yes I could have filmed again, but instead We decided we'd sit and chat, just he and I.

WE decided he had given me his all, and was willing to give more, and that, was a lesson that can't be seen in any video. One that I will keep with me forever. A film that I can replay in my head over and over and never ever get enough of.

I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel ....
















Level One Focus Group@Nudae today and what an amazing day it was.

There we were, 6 of us in the Arena, having an impromptu passenger lesson.

I was suppose to be trying to perfect my "Sitting Plop." It's still plopping, but today I had a better day at the "Plop", so much so that, I got comfortable, I felt like I was able to actually sit, I was listening to Achillies and feeling him move so I relaxed. Not too much but just a little and THEN...BAM!! opened up...and next minute we were in a Canter Stride...WOW, mind sufficiently blown. It gave me a bit of a fright, but I was amazed, and exhilarated, and scared S@#$less, and then, without even realising I was doing it, I lifted my rope, slid my hand down and we were flexing down to a "Plop" again...OMFG ,

"what Nita, no Sitting Trot, just going straight to the canter"...(insert nervous giggle and lumps in my pants here)

OMG it was an awesome.

And one of the most memorable and treasured moments came, when I sat and looked around at the people that were with me in that Arena. Kerensa, Tracy, Maxine Williams, Chris Baxter and. my amazing husband Ian.

This is the first time I've ridden with Ian, since we started QS, and it has been my dream to ride with my family one day. Today was my "One Day".

Without even realising it, there we were, 4 of us from the Nudae family, and we were in there, together, riding, as a family, along with some beautiful friends.

Seriously...does it get better than this. Yes, it will, I know it will, because one day, in the not too distant future our number 5 from the family will be riding with us. Our beautiful Shiloh and her boy Donkey. WOW...there were teary moments, I'm not ashamed to say.

Today, I rode with my husband for the first time in years. I'm so proud of Ian, he hasn't done a lot with Rocky, for a while and had some stuff to sort through, but there he was, just like he'd gotten off Rocky yesterday. And there I was, complete with my "Sitting Plop" with a grin from ear to ear.

and HIGH as a kite ...AGAAAIIINNN!!!





Sunday 26th July was our PG Day, 40 Assignments in 40 Days, for the Nudae Naturals. We decided we'd play dress up, like one of your favourite Characters from a movie, and me, being me, decided on a Character, many of you may never have heard of. Her name is Foxy Brown. blogentry-2685-0-62953200-1438071546_thumb.jpg

She was a late 70's under cover police woman. What made her different for me, was that she was the first African American Woman, I'd ever seen on TV who was a positive role model. OK she was sassy, angry and fierce, but I loved watching her as a kid. She could really kick ass, and she did. Needless to say, I have a penchant for everything from the 60s and 70s as well. Music, Clothes, Television and even some of the Corny old movies...Love them. Any huuu that was me. We also had special guests in, The Nudae Ninja, The Men In Black, The Karate Kid and Pippy Long Stockings (another of my favourites, from times gone by).

So, it's time to film some Assignments, and Achillies and I are in the Arena, "praciticing".

I was having so much trouble feeling, seeing or understanding if we're moving how we should be. I don't want to keep looking as his feet, as that was a bad habit of mine. He tries so hard, and I love him for that.

I was so confused about what I was doing, my position, my phases, to be honest, I WAS JUST BLOODY CONFUSED. It got to the stage where I didn't know if I was coming or going, and then the frustration set in....ARRRGGGGGHHHHH

I threw my stick and string on the ground, followed by my halter and lead...Talk about "Emotional Fitness", or in my case, lack thereof...

NO, I didn't get angry or frustrated with Achillies, I knew he wasn't doing anything wrong. I get so frustrated with myself. I lost it, I would have kicked my butt if I could of, but instead, I did what every adult in my position does...

I HAD A TANTRUM... blogentry-2685-0-40237900-1438078702_thumb.jpg

lmao, ok I can laugh about it now, but at the time, had it not been for Kerensa and Shiloh, I think I would have packed up my bat and ball and gone home.

And all because I thought we weren't getting anywhere, I wasn't getting anywhere. We, well He, was actually doing what I was asking, and yet again, I couldn't recognise it. WTH! When am I going to get the hang of this?

After a ciggy and a D&M and some advice from Kerensa, it was time to try again. |And of course, it bloody worked didn't it...GRRRRRR it was like a light went on, then off, and then on again...and it stayed on.

We filmed our Skills Check again, and everything seemed to be going ok, until, low and behold, our Lead By The Nose, was a work out and a half. With me trying to hang onto his face for dear life, it wasn't working. I submitted that Assignment, because let's face it, I get coaching from one of the Best In The WORLD!

My Lead By The Nose needed, Jesus, and once again, being Sunday, he was a wee bit busy doing other things. It was time for some of the Old, Approach and Retreat. So, placing my hands on and under his nose, no pressure, just sitting them there on his face, he threw his head up in the air. Try again, no pressure at all (that I could feel) and at one stage, I had to jump to keep my hands in place. He wasn't in anyway scared, but being a clever little sausage, had figured out, if he raised his head, I couldn't reach. Cheeky little bugger. This was where my jump came in, I had to make sure I still had contact and it was the only way to do it. And blow me down, after my acrobatics, he was fine. We did a beautiful little tip toe through the tulips without any throwing of his head, or any leaping in the air by me. TADAAAAA

I've always said Lorraine is the best instructor in the world, and I stand by that, but I always know too, that while I have Kerensa, I always have that voice of sanity, (even if she's crazier then I am half the time) when Lorraine is unavailable. Shiloh is the best support anyone could ask for and I appreciate that in her.

We will film again this week, all going well, and maybe, just maybe, this time we'll have it down to a fine art or at least without me doing a Cirque Du Soleil.....






Total confusion reigns some days, and other days everything becomes so clear, it's unbelievable.

I've had a few days like that lately, but, touch wood, nothing too dramatic.

I am trying to tackle the "Sitting Trot" or, as I've aptly named it, the "Sitting Plop". The best way to describe what happens when I attempt this, is:

A sack of Rabid Potatoes... on crack.

Well at least that's how it feels to me. I've never filmed it, and I suppose I really should, so I can get a better look at what's going on.

Every ounce of me, bounces, wobbles, clenches, braces, and, has been, truly terrified.

My first attempt was during a lesson with our Amazing Instructor Extraordinaire, Lorraine, so I felt a bit safer knowing she was there, if anything truly horrific happened.

What truly horrific things do you mean, I hear you ask? I have no idea, like most things, I'm scared of my lack of knowledge, finesse and style. I will just say though, the thought of bouncing OFF Achillies and onto the ground, brings me visions of an old song from my childhood.

On top of Spaghetti all covered in cheese, I lost my poor meat ball when somebody sneezed...blogentry-2685-0-93289800-1437385557_thumb.jpg

and, with a few lyrical changes the following version happens in my head:

On top of Achiiiiiillies, and oozing with feeeear, I lost it completely, ending up on my eeeeaarrrr.....

urrrggg, why oh why do I do this to myself?

I don't know if it's all in my head, apparently I went a lighter shade of pale and my teeth, such as they are, clenched up, I felt my whole body stiffen and even though I knew I had to let go, I couldn't do it...again with the cartoon characters, envisioning Elsa from "Frozen" in my head singing "Let it Go"

So it wasn't the most successful start to my "Sitting Plop" extravaganza, but you know what I did? I did exactly what my Instructor told me to do...I went out there and gave it another go...

No! It's not even close to what it should be! No! I will not be entering the Olympics anytime soon! No! I have not gotten over my fear! NO!!!! I AM NOT GIVING UP!!

I have the most amazing Instructor, the most amazing support at home with the Nudae Team and the MOST AMAZING ACHILLIES, in the world, what the hell else am I going to do...I know now, that I will not make the deadline of 30th of July I gave myself. but, I also know now, that I am braver than I thought I could be or would be, because I'm going to go out there on the most amazing pony in the world...and try again....








I was just thinking to myself, "I have nothing to write about, nothing amazing has happened in the last few days". and then I remembered what a very talented and knowledgeable young woman told me once (Mel Peacock) .


Don't forget the blogentry-2685-0-77723100-1435837796_thumb.jpg

blogentry-2685-0-16351600-1435837907_thumb.jpg I'd forgotten the WOW!

I made the mistake of not remembering it, or should I say not appreciating it.

I walk into the top of the lane way where Achillies now resides,surrounded by paddocks with other family members in them, it's like a nursery of sorts. There are the Matriarchs, being Vogue and Miss Chief, and the big Sister, Miss Paula and then all the young rat bags, Jimmy, Eddie and Achillies, with the older gentleman in the bottom corner, Albert. Thrown in the middle of them all is Freddy, who should act his age, but is an overgrown teenager as well.

Amidst all of the happiness that can be found in this small but busy little area, I am able to stand at the top gate and call Achillies, who, 9 out of 10 times will look up and toward me, and slowly start to stroll up the lane way toward me. No he doesn't run...it's a family thing I believe, running is just not how we roll. But with, what I believe is, a smile on his beautiful little face he starts up the hill toward me. I'm not big on exercise,(I think it's something to do with the way I'm built and I believe I have an allergy to exercise. Every time I try it, I break out in a sweat, become clammy and find it hard to breath. I'd say it's definitely an allergy.)

I stand there with halter in hand, and wait, sometimes I even get overly excited and waddle down to meet him half way. He doesn't try to leave any more, and that is a HUUUUGE accomplishment for me personally. He makes me feel like I know stuff, ok, not a copious amount of stuff, but SOME stuff.

He greets me and I him, and the world disappears for just a few minutes while we say hello, good morning, good afternoon or a simple, how are you buddy.

You see, we don't have to be in the round yard, or arena, or riding. Sometimes we just have to BE.

So you see, something amazing happens every time I get near, close to, in the vicinity of, YARNHAS ACHILLIES...



I've been at this and at this and at this. I have had the best advice from the best in the world, and still, I can't seem to get it right. My poor Achillies, I don't know why he puts up with me but he does. You've heard the old saying "If I were a horse, they'd shoot me", I've changed that to, "If he had a gun he'd shoot me". He tries so hard, and my direction sux. I keep looking at his feet to see if they're moving in the direction, and if he's doing the cross over the way he's suppose to. No wonder he's confused. I've tried the, get him to step backwards, but find myself rubbing and rewarding the wrong thing. He keeps stepping forward at the last second and I've already gone onto rubbing him to reward, therefore, I'm teaching him, without meaning to, that a step forward is the right thing to do...SOMEONE, ANYONE, SHOOT ME NOW!!

Today we tried again, actually Achillies tried again. Me, I'm Just Bloody Trying! Urgggg

So when he did give me the beautiful fore1/4 yield I'd been asking for, without asking him correctly mind you, it was time to download. I'm trying to remember exactly what I did right, and he's wondering who the crazy wench is at his head. Ahhh we are sooo lucky they are soooo forgiving. I think if I were a horse, I would have kicked me or bitten me or something by now...anything but let the crazy lady near my face and shoulder again. I AM eternally grateful to this little boy for not doing any of those things, instead, he tries and tries and tries again.

His face goes all soft and blurry eyed,with lots of blinking and a dazed look on his face, all the while his bottom lip trembles and he does these amazing Bubba, from Forrest Gump, impersonations, when he's downloading. His bottom lip drops, and sticks out, it's the funniest thing, I love it. Meanwhile I stand and wait, and do some amazing Bubba impersonations myself. We'll get there, hopefully without the amazing gun battle scene in Vietnam, with me getting shot in the butt while trying to save Bubba...


Today after I finished work, and my scrumptious steak of course, Kerensa asked if I wanted to go for a ride...ahhhh duuuhhh , I don't have to be asked twice.

So I put my boots on (as opposed to my joggers or steel caps) and toodled off to get my little fluff ball out of the paddock. (Only use a light cotton rug, and that's for his itch, not for the cold)

Up we went to the Round Yard, where Kerensa and Vogue were saddling up, and strolled on in to join them. Mounting procedure went well, after a little hiccup with trying to get him to the mounting block, all was well.

Kerensa was on Vogue, and I was on Achillies. WOW, one of my other goals, is to ride here, at home, with the Nudae Team, all of us together, at the same time, it's just another little something I'd like to do.

So there we are, and Vogue seemed to have a need to go to sleep, right there, with Kerensa on her back. Bit funny I know, but we didn't know that's what was happening, so Kerensa got off to check her out, and make sure everything with her was ok...The old girl was just tired...she's no spring chicken you know, 23 and feisty and fit. I was just happy to know she was ok.

While Kerensa and Tracy are checking Vogue over, I do my flex left and right, direct, indirect, back up and then start a passenger lesson, which was the intention Kerensa and I had in the first place.

I'm in the Round Yard, just me and Achillies, and I start to feel a little uneasy.

Shhhhhhh Nita, stop being a chicken! What are you afraid of? He's just having a scratch. Relax, he'll know you're uneasy if you don't relax. His ears are NOT pinned, he is NOT going to roll, he was just having a scratch. Relax, relax REEEELLLLLAAAAAXXXXXX!!!!

It's ok, just relax...and....hind1/4 into direct...there you go he's moving...OMFG he stopped, OK, now, relax, a little phase should do it..

SMACK around myself went the lead rope..OUCH...RELAX! Lucky it didn't connect, that was more than a phase 4. You are not a member of Opus Dei, you should not be flogging yourself...

RELAX dopey RELAX, he'll know, and you know what they say, He knows if you know, and He knows if you DON'T.

Sit back, direct and open up....and he was moving, just enough, but he was moving.....I don't know why, but I've come to the conclusion I would prefer, just for now, to ride with someone else, until I gain a little (or ALOT) more confidence..None of the things I was scared of actually happened, and they very rarely do, but I have some insecurities, most of which are in my head, (or so the voices keep telling me) maybe all of them are in my head. But until I feel a little better about us, I think I'll stick to riding with someone else....and try not to join OPUS DEI, again in a hurry, my back and thighs will look like I've spent an evening with Christian Gray...FIFTY SHADES ...






Level 1 Focus Group is held every 2nd Sunday at Nudae, and thank Gawd it is..

Spending time with all of these amazing people and their beautiful horses has been one of the best things I could ask for when it comes to support in achieving my goals.

Achillies and I had a fantastic day today. My skills check needs resubmitting, but you know what, that's ok. We're working on the dreaded fore 1/4 yields that seem to elude me some how. I've been trying to get myself into the right position, but sometimes, I feel like my position should be, LEFT RIGHT OUT!

Poor Achillies he tries so hard, me on the other hand, sometimes I think I'm just trying, and not in a good way..

So today we went out and practiced our fore1/4 yields, and I'm happy to say they're getting better, or should I say I'm getting better with my direction. Not perfect, but hey, who is...Practice, practice, practice.

Give each other time to download, and then onto the mounting procedure...BOM BOMMMMMM

Personally I think it all went pretty well, as in, NO ONE DIED! and that to me is a great day...

But that little boy just keeps on giving, and is sooo forgiving.

I proceeded to do my mounting procedure in the round yard, that I was sharing with Chris Baxter. Chris has done her mounting procedure quite a few times, so we thought we'd team up and do it together. That's what team work is all about. Everything went well, I wasn't afraid this time of putting the saddle on, I had Chris AND Ian to guide me.

I plucked up the courage to stand on the little mounting block to do my bouncy up and downs in the stirrup before mounting, and for your viewing pleasure, threw in some Saturday Night Fever, Grease, YMCA and Crumping instead of just the 10secs of jumping up and down...it's just how I roll...Can't wait to film that bit...

And up up up up the stairs we goes, precious and, once again, I found myself sitting in one of the best places in the world with the best view in the world...

Flex, Flex, Hind Quarter Yield, Hind Quarter Yield, get the hell out of Ians' shirt Achillies, and Flex, stop following Ian, Achillies, and Flex, Direct, Direct, Stop sniffing Ians' head Achillies, Back Up, Back Up, stop following Ian, Achillies, we're not going that way...Ian, GET OUT of the round yard, he's looking to you for comfort...blogentry-2685-0-50691500-1431257742_thumb.jpg blogentry-2685-0-96730800-1431257867_thumb.jpg

OH EMM GEE these bloody kids of ours...

And as is our want to do, we started to take our wee walk...and wouldn't you know it, it was lunch time.

Now anyone who knows anything about how things work at Nudae, knows, the world can blow up around us, as long as it doesn't interfere with our tucker time..

So in for lunch we go, all the girls and Ian of course. Chris Baxters' beautiful boys and her hubby had come to spend Mothers Day with her, and bought a beautiful lunch along. Awesome family. So we sit, we chat, we laugh and we eat, discussing passenger lessons, and the possibilities of doing one after lunch.

I'm IN LIKE FLYNN, we're going to have a go at this stuff...ummm Lorrrraaaiiiineee, is this something I should be doing at this stage? Of course she says, it'll be good for you both. YAYYYY Me.

After lunch we, ROOOLLLLL out and start our saddling and mounting procedures.

Ok no major dramas there...lets "Ride" from the round yard to the arena, with Ian being my guide of course. There were a few stops for an attempted snack for Achillies but we got there in one piece, and had a chat with Lorraine before Chris Baxter, Lyn Bain, Maxine Williams and I started on my first "Passenger Lesson" in a group. I was terrified.

The "What If Monster" was playing havoc with my psyche..lets face it I have enough voices in my head without adding another.

What if he, bucks, what if I fall off, what if the other horses try to eat Achillies, what if what if what if.?

And then it dawned on me...WHAT IF, we actually go in there, learn something and enjoy it?

And I'll be buggered if that's not what happened, we started off slowly, and it took some time to get him to move on, and stay moving without stopping for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner while we were doing it, but we were moving, and we were moving forward. Yes there were a couple of, what we will call, Dodgy moments, but a flex was all it took to bring him down, and I didn't feel any need to jump off him and run like the clappers...MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

So if you're in the area and you feel like hanging out and doing some "Passenger Lessons",at a walk of course...give me a HOY, I'll be only too glad to jump aboard..TOOOWOOOTTTTT











Along the Dusty Trail

This old horse, the Rancher said,

she’s seen some better days,

she’s eating up my profits,

and costs a lot for hay.


Another horse would suit me,

a stronger one at that,

shes seen a lot of miles

just like my cowboy hat.

This old horse, the Rancher said,

she helped me herd my steer,

I’m pretty sure shes magic,

I know I hold her dear.

Another horse would suit me,

one that can run fast,

maybe one that’s younger,

or maybe one that lasts.

This old horse, the Rancher said,

she’s long and far in tooth,

my children do remember,

her fondly from their youth.

Another horse would suit me,

a gelding in his prime,

one that needs less fixin’,

that helps me save a dime.

Why, they asked, then keep her?

why not trade her now?

bring her to an auction?

replace her with a cow?

The Rancher's brow grew heavy,

he took a staggered step,

his eyes did show his hardships,

in wrinkles, as they crept.

His breath, he took in deeply,

as he poised to say his words,

it’s as if the earth grew silent,

that his message should be heard.

This old horse, the Rancher said,

has given me her life,

I wouldn’t trade for anything,

nor either, would my wife.

Another horse would suit me,

and perhaps someday will come,

but this old gal, I love her,

she is the chosen one.

This old horse, the Rancher said,

her service she did lend,

her and I, have seen the years,

this old horse, she is my friend.

Another horse would suit me well,

but her home is here to keep,

I owe her sanctuary,

my love for her is deep.

Another horse would suit me well,

and younger days for me,

and I will keep my promise,

until our last breaths, set us free."



The first day I've been in the saddle to ride since 2010 I think, it's been that long I've forgotten how long ago it really was. 03/05/2015

Today was my first time saddling and mounting Achillies. I was so doubtful of myself, and worried that I was doing everything wrong. Is the saddle blanket in the right place, Ian? Does this saddle fit right, Tracy? Am I in the right position, ANYONE?

And very slowly but surely, I finally got him saddled. All thanks to QS, Achillies didn't move an inch, even when I asked him over the barrels and the saddle and saddle blanket slipped. What a trooper he is.

Very gingerly, I stepped up onto our "mounting block", these little short legs just weren't getting anywhere near that stirrup without serious help, and it being Sunday, Jesus wasn't available.

I tried to remember everything I'd watched last night, I'd watched the video of Shane until my eyeballs were hanging out of my head. I'd watched the rein positions video as well. I didn't think I'd need the rein positions straight away, I was just going to do my mounting procedure, not go for a ride. That's all I had to do, that's all I wanted to do, that's all I had the courage to do.

I was up in the saddle, just sitting. We weren't going anywhere, I was just enjoying the view, and it was a view I hadn't seen for far too long...the beauty of the world from between a horses ears ^---^

I'd forgotten what that was like, or maybe I was just afraid it was something I'd never see again.

Enter TEAM NUDAE, and I am so glad they did. I had Ian by my side the whole time, but Tracy and Kerensa were in the Arena so I thought I could do a sneaky and get on and off again before I was spotted. DOH!!

I wasn't worried about falling off my horse so much, I was worried about coming off the mounting block more than anything else, and the laughter that would ensue...how do I know there'd be laughter? Because I would have laughed hysterically if I'd have seen it, and that's what friends are for, to laugh at you, takes pics or video, post it on Facebook, and then ask if you're ok and help you pick the mud out of your teeth, if you have any left...and that's how we are with each other at Nudae.

But there was no fall, slip, buck, shy or anything else to worry about except my body position and whether or not I was hurting Achillies, which, thankfully, didn't happen either.

So there I was, perched atop Achillies feeling like I had conquered the world. I heard the girls calling congratulations, you did it, I heard Ian saying, well done baby you did it..and I heard my heart pounding in my chest like it was about to explode.

I felt like I was about to explode, do you know how hard it is to jump up and down cheering and doing cartwheels while you're sitting in the saddle. Let me tell you ...it's bloody hard, I tried...

I did my flexes, and thought ok, that was great, I'll get down now...

UMMMM NO, that wasn't about to happen.

See there are things that Kerensa can have you doing, that you actually had no intention of doing. I believe it's something she picked up from Lorraine, because Lorraine, has that same ability.

Next I knew, we were doing direct rein, indirect, back up, hind quarter yields, holy crappers it was amazing, and then I decided while I was up there, we might have a wee walk over there .

Yeah Right, who was I kidding?

Achillies and I embarked on our first ever passenger lesson. Just a walk, but like I always say, "You gotta walk before you can run", so that's what we did. Went for a walk, and I swear to all the gods, I think I got high.

High on the fact that I was up on this beautiful boy who, even after I accidentally hit him on the flanks with my rope, did not bat an eye, did not put a foot wrong, and let me sit up there like I was the Queen of Sheba, and, proceeded to take me for one of the best walks I've ever been on in my life.

I'm so looking forward to many more of these wee walks, and I hope I never forget the feeling I had today....It's the best High in the Universe, I don't care if it's not legal, I'm planning on getting High a whole lot more with Achillies and loving it...the Best Addiction in the World...Thankyou Quantum Savvy for giving me the Tools, Knowledge, Skill and Balls to do this...blogentry-2685-0-99518500-1430649281_thumb.jpg




blogentry-2685-0-49966100-1430210479_thumb.jpg <<<<WARNING BARN DOOR, BARN DOOR, BARN DOOR

Well, it's happened. I've had to bite the bullet and make some real commitments to Achillies and I both. We had the first meeting of our Level 1 Focus Group, what an awesome idea, after our Assignment Filming Day. We decided we were going to dedicate ourselves to our horses and each other in support. We talked about how we could best help each other, what role each of us was to play in this Group and commit to a study plan and a date we'd like to achieve our pass in Level 1. Mine is the 30th July 2015.

Initially I thought I could do it in 6 weeks, and I know that you can, if you put your mind, body and soul into it. I obviously have not done that. But I will say, I did film 3 Assignments on filming day and was pretty chuffed with the outcome. Will I get a Blue Tick? I hope so. But more importantly, Achillies and I, are finding that connection. I thoroughly enjoyed my assignments, and for the first time ever, wasn't worried about the camera. (You always look 10 pounds heavier on film) what ever, I don't care.

We had a ball, I enjoyed it, and was given a really fabulous compliment from Chris Baxter. Apparently, I looked elegant...yep I know, when I picked my jaw up off the floor and stopped laughing, I felt amazing. I've never been called that before, so that was lovely. Apparently it was the way I help my lead rope. Talk about proud Mummy moment.

So, here we are at Nudae, with a Level 1 Focus Group, an amazing bunch of people to help us, support us and guide us, and we can do the same for them. Oh and then there's cake...WE LUUUURRRVVVEEE CAKE!

Here's to all of us, trying to be better horsemen :clap::clap::clap:



Well it's been the wildest month I've ever had, and all of it while I was sober. That in itself was a true miracle. There was the Level 2 Clinic at Tamborine where Achillies and I participated, Auditing Level 3 at Tamborine, and, thanks to the Beautiful Ladies of Quantum Savvy, Auditing the R.F.T Clinic as well. Talk about Brain Explosion. Then to top that off Mel came to Bellbrook to Halter Train, what we call the Bellbrook Babies. 5 of them in total. (There are more babies, so we can hopefully get Mel to come and do the others as well) My job was to go and cook for the family out there, including Mel. I tried my hardest to fatten her up so she wouldn't be able to move, therefore, wouldn't be able to leave...FAIL!

Being able to just sit and chat to Mel, and watch her work with the Babies and the training of Nikki and Nancy's horses, along with Tracy and Lorraine's' horses was unbelievable.

How one young woman can have all that knowledge in her head, and share it openly, without any pretentious crap, and without making me feel like a complete DUNCE, was just the medicine I needed.

I've seen some stuff and tried to participate in "Helping"! Talk about eye-opening. Let's just say, there were lumps in my shorts...and in the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that".

I watched my beautiful niece Shiloh, handling the babies, for the first time, with their halter on. There were tears, and laughter and sheer joy. We might look like a bunch of tough old birds, but do something amazing with your horse, and it will bring us all to tears. Emotional roller coaster, here we come. vrooom vrooom vrooom.

Sometimes life just hands you these things on a platter, take the opportunities given to you, enjoy them, learn from them, immerse yourself in them, and most importantly THANK THE UNIVERSE for them!




We will always remember who introduced us to The QS Family, for us at Nudae, it was Lorraine Dowdeswell. I try to ensure that we thank her at every opportunity. Tonight, this message was sent through the FB World. :):):)

I wanted to share this because I don't believe our Instructor and, more importantly, Friend realizes what she means to us. Absolutely Love Your Work Lorraine Dowdeswell You Amazing Lady.

As written by Claire Stachurski: and echoed by us all....

Hey everyone I just wanted to take a moment to express my appreciation for all the efforts that have gone into providing our SEQ region with these various amazing opportunities. I'm sure Mel has made significant commitments to be here for us, but I also know first hand that Lorraine has pushed her timetable to the max to create the awesome few weeks we've just had, not to mention what's coming up. Fitting all that around a day job is extraordinary - I say this with a background of being an event manager where I was paid to do this stuff - I wasn't holding down other paid employment as well! Congratulations Lorraine on achieving amazing things for us all :))) Thank you Lorraine Dowdeswell. YOU ROCK!!


and we're off....


Kerensa had spoken previously, about the Level 2 Clinic coming up. WOW I thought I'd like to see that. No, Nita, do you want to participate?..Are You Bat Shit Lady, was the answer I gave her. Obviously, I had answered my own question.

Yes I wanted to participate, No, I don't want to participate, can't I just watch, I can't, I've never done anything with Achillies, I don't know enough about Level 1 let alone Level 2, what do I have to do, how, when, why? Again "Are You Bat Shit Lady?

YES, we are all a little bit off kilter at Nudae, they don't call us The Nudae Nutters for nothing.

I am unsure how and why, but I looked at Kerensa, and decided, Hell Yes, why not, what's the worst that could happen? I may look like an idiot, done. I don't have enough confidence, done. I don't have the experience, done. What if I'm the laughing stock of Quantum Savvy? All the reasons why I couldn't possibly participate in a Level 2 Clinic ran...at top speed, through my head. And then the answer I needed, just one good answer as to why I COULD participate, finally made it to sit on top of all the doubts and reasons why I couldn't...You might just learn something, you Mad Maori.

The day I decided we would participate in the clinic was Tuesday 24th Feb. Well I'd better get my waddle on and go and introduce myself to Achillies, as his potential leader, herd mate, or cannon fodder, as to which I would be, I was not yet sure.

He was my daughters horse, I'd fed him, patted him, cuddled him, and loved him, almost as a Grandmother would. I may have even lead him into the round yard once or twice...but that was it.

It was play time. Time to put my big girl pants on...(OK...bigger girl pants then)

That same evening I received a call from Lorraine, there are a couple of things Mel, would like to see before you and Achillies attend the clinic as participants. OH EMM GEE, what had I gotten us into.

Here I was thinking, cool, we'll go, we'll learn some stuff. I hadn't seriously, thought, about taking Achillies through the Program, not seriously...at all.. I was having confidence issues, or lack of confidence issues, with Halo, so what I was going to do, hadn't quite made it through the mush in my head yet.

I thought maybe our daughter would come around finally or Ian would take him through. We'd considered selling him to a QS family. Wrong Wrong and Wrong again.

Isn't it funny how the world slaps you upside your head, and says, WAKE UP LADY~ you have work to do.

My tasks before the clinic were to submit all of my Level 1 ground work assignments including Float Loading before the 13th of March. I didn't have to pass, but I had to submit. I was starting to think I was actually crazy, no,really truly, certifiably, needing a straight jacket and a pretty room to match C.R.A.Z.Y Challenge Accepted.

Friday the 13th?? Seriously? Friday the 13th??

It was on..like Donkey Kong, or Crazy Kong?

Wednesday 25th Feb I submitted my first Assignment, The Approach. Then Friday 27th I submitted my Short Range and Skills Check. It was time to start on the Float Loading. I can tell you now..this one was heart wrenching. He would take 2 days to get two feet on the tail gate, and when he finally got on the float, he turned around to look at me and strolled back out again. It was a win, he had gotten on the Float, which is what I'd asked.

Friday 13th came around and it came around fast. I still hadn't been able to get him on the float. Rebounds were coming along nicely, walking the fence line, but that plurry float wasn't co-operating with us at all.

Cue the Instructor Extraordinaire, who just happened to be giving lessons that morning here at Nudae. Lorraine the voice of reason, the sanity in my crazy, the focus in the haze.

Lorraine gave me a few pointers that morning, we were able to get Achillies on the float, for the first time without him turning or leaping out for unknown reasons.

Then, as only Lorraine can do, she gave me instructions to practice the whole lot together, walk the fence line, rebounds, back him through the gate, focus and straight on the Float, all while walking away to prepare for her next student.

Well, I'll be buggered, if it didn't work. Just like that. As if we'd been doing it for days, weeks even.

We did that 3 more times (4 in all by ourselves) and then it was time for a rest. Time to process and download for us both.

I loaded Achillies one more time that day, to take him to Tamborine to Participate in my first clinic ever.

And you know what the darndest thing of them all is?

I never bloody filmed it for my assignment.

We were still able to participate, Thank Gawd!!

I still haven't filmed it a week after the clinic, but there is always tomorrow...and we're going all the way.


I know the Quantum Savvy Program is not about finishing first, and I know that's not what Mel wanted from me. I think she maybe needed to see where we were with each other and the program.


I'm glad I did what I did, and how I did it, it's the best focus I've ever had, so now I've set myself a task, one that only we can complete, one that depends solely on us. I will take Achillies through Level 1 and beyond. I will build my confidence, skill set and knowledge base, with Achillies and then, Halo and I will take that ride out at Bellbrook, because I'll have more skill, more tools and more confidence to continue my journey with her.






The Kill Pen

This poem was written by a man who found his heart horse in a kill pen.

"One Chance in a Million"


It happened so sudden, 12 years in my past,

For the rest of my life the injury would last.

The cars hit head-on, not a chance to slow down,

The next I remember, I lay on the ground.

My hip joint was crushed beyond all repair.

"You're too young to replace it," Doc said with a stare,

"You will walk again, but never will run."

These words hit me hard like a shot from a gun.

Ten years came and went, the pain more severe.

I said to my wife, "Time to replace it is here."

When the surgery was over, Doc said to my wife,

"He can't ride a horse for the rest of his life."

We own our own farm with a full riding stable,

So horses and riding put food on our table.

I could sell horses and tack, and some money I'd make,

But to ride one myself was a risk I can't take.

And then it did happen, one night at the sale,

As I stood selling halters inside of the rail.

My wife came up to me with that look in her eye.

She said, "There's a horse out back ready to die."

As I walked to the killer pen and looked over the fence,

There stood a starved gelding whose frame was immense.

His eyes were three inches sunk back in his head;

If he were lying down, you would have sworn he was dead.

He stood sixteen-one, weighed about four and a quarter,

His hair was three inches and not one-half shorter.

A skeleton with hide stood before my own eyes.

If he walked through the ring, it would be a surprise.

As the barn door slid open and they led him on in,

The auctioneer said, "Two hundred is where we'll begin."

The kill buyer said, "Two-oh-five's all I'll give."

I said, "I'll give two-ten just to see if he'll live."

The bids then quit coming, not a sound from the crowd,

The next word was "Sold" he said very loud.

As the trailer backed up to the wood loading gate,

I said, "Let's get him home before it's too late."

He had to have help to step up to the floor,

But we got him in and then closed the door.

As I drove home that night, I looked back at a glance

And said, "If he lives, we'll call him Last Chance."

Well, we made the trip home, and he lived through the night.

When the vet came next morning, he said, “What a sight.”

We floated his teeth and trimmed all his feet,

Gave him wormer and thiamine and a little to eat.

My vet said his heart was as strong as a drum,

If we brought him along slowly the rest may just come.

Well, his weight starting coming and his health soon returned.

He showed us his love he must have thought that we earned.

He would whinny and nicker as I walked to the shed,

As if to say, "Thanks, 'cause of you, I'm not dead."

He would stroll the whole place without being penned,

He'd come when I call, just like man's best friend.

Three months had gone by since the night of the sale,

My wife had him tied on our old hitchin' rail.

I asked her, 'What's up?" as I just came outside.

She said, "It's time to see if he'll ride."

She threw on the blanket, saddle, bridle and said,

"The worst that could happen, I'll get tossed on my head."

As her seat hit the leather, he stood like a rock.

With a tap of her heels, he started to walk.

He reined to the left and he reined to the right,

The bit in his mouth he sure didn't fight.

He did what she asked without second thought.

She cantered him on and not once he fought.

When she returned from the ride with a tear in her eye,

She said, "He's the one, would you like to try?"

I thought to myself as I stood at his side,

If this giant's that gentle, why not take a ride?

It had been a long time, but the look on his face,

Said, "Hop on, my good friend, let's ride 'round this place."

We rode round the yard, then out through the gate,

This giant and me, it must have been fate.

He gave me back part of my life that I lost,

Knew then I'd keep him, no matter what cost.

I've been offered two-thousand, and once even three,

But no money on earth would buy him from me.

You see, we share something special, this gelding and me,

A chance to start over, a chance to be free.

And when the day comes that his heart beats no more,

I'll bury my friend just beyond my back door.

And over his grave I'll post a big sign,

"Here lies Last Chance, a true friend of mine." Dave Saunders



It's been so long since my last entry, I feel like this is all new again. I, not Halo, have had a major upheaval when it comes to Halo and I. I got to the stage with her, where I could go feed her, sit with her and just hang out, but she wouldn't let me near her. So we restarted, but, to be honest, I don't blame her for telling me to bugger off, she needs to know that I can be trusted, and I don't think she feels that way about me. I have no one to blame but myself for this, so I'm not in anyway shape or form trying to lay this crap on anyone but myself.

I lost all confidence in myself when it came to learning with her, and that's something I have to work on, and only I can fix it.

I've been doing some stuff with Archilles, 5yr old Gelding, Australian Stock Horse. He belongs to our daughter, who seems to have lost interest in him. Well actually in anything to do with horses at the moment. I put this down to the competitive side of horse riding, which is the world she learned to ride in. Not alot of fun was had, but we're hoping she'll come around and see the benefits of Q.S. Archilles was "broken in" by gawd knows who, but he so keen and eager to learn and so giving, it's easy to relax with him, and I find my confidence building with every step we take. NO, I have not given up with Halo, but I feel I definitely need to define my skill set before upsetting her again, if that's what it is.

I think I'm just scared of her sometimes, and I'm not sure yet how to get around that. I am afraid, that's what it is...I'M THE SCARED, WEIRD, LITTLE GUY...


The Carrot Stick and I had become great friends. Halo was becoming more and more desensitised to it,so we were moving along quite well. Or so I thought.

I had been learning some feeding techniques, or shall we say, etiquette to ensure my safety at feed times.

She was so polite at feed times, and the day she finally did what I'd be asking, (step away from the gate, let me in, walk to wherever it was I was going to feed her, face me and sniff my hand) without any trouble in the world, I had to feed her, what I believed, was the crappiest grass in existence. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with it, she just wasn't quite approving of it.(and neither was I).. Cue.. Horsey Sulks. I fed her, stroked her and walked out of the paddock to continue feeding the rest of the horses on the property.

OHH EMM GEEE, I didn't know a horse could make you feel guilty but she managed to do it to me. I nearly got teary just from her behaviours.There was no head tossing, pig rooting or bucking, none of that behaviour at all...What she did was beyond that, WORSE than that, she nearly bought me to tears. She gave me 'THE LOOK'.

I thought only my mother could do that to me...but I was wrong, once again.

I wasn't quite prepared for the emotions she had been able to bring out in me.

I had been sad for her, and for myself. Happy for us both. Angry with myself. Forgiving of myself, as Halo was forgiving of me. I had become more tolerant, patient and understanding of most everything in my life, as had Halo. But for anyone that knows me, and knows me well, teary and gooey emotional I AM NOT!

Well, wasn't that a kick in the pants. I came back to the house to re-tell my story to the girls, and got all teary just talking about it.

I had to go away for a couple of days and she was being fed by someone else. No problem? She had her feet done, while I wasn't home. No problem? Tell her she's dreamin'!

I went to catch her after my trip away, and for the first time ever, and I mean in all the time we'd been working together, she tried to bite me. W.T.H was going on here.

It threw me for a six, and I had no idea what had happened to bring about this behaviour.

I hadn't, up until that day, ever considered, taking the carrot stick with me just to catch her.

I spoke to my husband hoping for some ideas on maybe what was going on with her, and how I could get around this, overcome it and move on. I tried a couple of things, he tried a couple of things but to no avail. She nearly took out his chest as well. Aww my poor Halo, what had happened? What had made her so defensive, so agitated and afraid, that she thought she had to fight for her own well being and survival?

The Voice of reason whispered in my ear. (Lorraine). I went to the only person I knew who might be able to give me answers. Lorraine felt, Halo may just be stepping up her game, and if I wanted to continue doing what we were trying to do, I too, had to step up my game.

Become a true leader for Halo.

What did I do?

I went back to square one with her, approach and retreat, this time with Carrot Stick in hand. If she was going to bite something, it would be the Carrot Stick, not me. A few rubs and I was able to get in close to her again.

We would start from the very beginning if that's what it took, and go from there.We'd done it before, we could do it again.

That's the joy of Quantum Savvy, if something is amiss, or not quite going how you feel it should be, retrace your steps, start again if you have to, rebuild the foundations. Strengthen those foundations, and move on.

I have just passed my Level 1 Approach Assignment, and I may not be as quick as others to finish all of my assignments, but damn it, we will get there. If we have to go back over them a thousand times, we will get there. I have more knowledge now, then when I started, I had the tools this time to restart, I implemented the tools I was given, and we succeeded and over came that barrier. I am in awe of anyone out there leveling up and passing assignments, but mostly, I'm proud to be able to say, Halo and I are becoming the team, I had no idea, we had set out, to become...


N.B I love my Carrot Stick





blog-0884184001403095976.jpgWe had ventured out of the paddock, and into the round yard. We had started lessons with Lorraine, and I felt like an utter failure.

Approach and retreat, get her to sniff your hand, hind quarter yield, forequarter yield, back up, go forward. Head Up, head down, OH EMM GEE, what was I doing here?

Ok, we were doing ok, now introduce the "Carrot Stick"..EEEEKKKK Holy. Snapping. Duck. Crackers.!!

The thought of a stick terrified me, more than it terrified Halo. If I was afraid of it, how was she going to be?

I'd only ever seen a horse being lunged with a whippy thing. Some of them being smacked on the butt, or across their backs, while being made to run around in mundane circles. Whacked and walloped with them, the thought horrified me,there was no way, on this green earth,that I was going to be able to do any of those things with this contraption, let alone do them to Halo. I felt like all our hard work was going straight out the paddock with the horse poo.

And thankfully, from both Halo and I, we weren't expected to.....cue the "SIGH OF RELIEF".

The whole philosophy of using the "Carrot Stick" as an extension of your arm, was foreign to me. What does that mean, Halo will know it's not my arm, she'd done the big H.S.D.C the first time I tried to approach her with it. (And so had I).

The little voice in my head (Lorraine) told me to let her sniff it first, just like I would my hand. Then slowly rub her with it just like I would with my hand. Rub it all over her, just like I did with my hand.

It was working, we were working, and as the words of Dr Frankenstein came screaming into my head."IT LIVES, IT IS ALIVE", the echoing fears and guilt I was feeling, were slowly subsiding.

I was starting to understand just what this extension of my arm meant. I could no more hit her with this thing, than I could my hand, it wasn't the "Carrot Stick", I was afraid of, it was what I had seen others do, with something that looked similar to, a "Carrot Stick".

I can honestly say now, the "Carrot Stick" and I, have become very good friends. I don't enter the paddock with out it now, just as I wouldn't enter the paddock with out my heart and soul.

Hallelujah, I had seen the light!







blog-0827102001402301186.jpgHalo was out, she was eating on the other side of her fence, she was free.

By this time, unbeknownst to Lorraine Dowdeswell, one of MY dreams had come true too. Lorraine had passed her exams and she was able to start giving Lessons.

I wanted to work with Lorraine, because she had helped me from the beginning. She knew I had zero knowledge and she wasn't afraid to share hers.

She never made me feel stupid, or ignorant or inferior because of my lack of knowledge. She had supported me thus far and I wanted her by our sides to help us the rest of the way.

The stumper for me came, when Lorraine asked what my goals were. I hadn't thought past getting Halo out of the paddock to eat that grass, to trust me enough to lead her out there to do just that.

What now? Which was is up? Where were we going?

I hadn't any idea, which way was I suppose to go with her. I thought that was enough, but the same thing that got me started with Halo, was, and still is the same thing that got me motivated to want to do more with her.

I thought and thought, about what my goals were. We have been asked to do, and be a part of, a lot of different things concerning riding. I was excited to think that one day Halo and I might be able to be a part of these things. Riding for the Militia in the 2015 A.N.Z.A.C parade being one. Play Days, Trail Rides, and a plethora of other opportunities.

I had, and still have one place I want to ride. I need to ride. To be able to float Halo to, what I believe is, one of the most beautiful places on this planet. I want to ride the other property out at Bellbrook, with my husband, Ian and my daughter, Kyra-Jo.

I know there are so many other places that are amazing to ride, and I believe we'll get there,but to ride with my husband and daughter again, especially on that property, with Halo is THE GOAL.


blog-0522738001402221127.jpgWith the advice and guidance of Lorraine, there was hope for us both. Approach and Retreat was my saving grace.

With trepidation, is an understatement. I was scared sh&^%less. (excuse the &^%uage) but there is just no other way to describe just how terrified I was. Not of Halo hurting me, but of the possibility I might scare her beyond help.

I learned to Approach and Retreat, slowly but surely, I was able to get closer to her, without her bolting. WOW... never thought I'd see the day she'd actually let me touch her. I think I was so shocked that she actually let me touch her, that I forgot what I was suppose to be doing, and where I was. I must have had a grin from ear to ear, and once again, the dopiest look on my face. The Pork Chop had found some apple sauce...

We worked together, just using our approach and retreat, and rubbing, rubbing, rubbing. After a couple of days we introduced the string from, what I know now, is, a carrot stick. Letting her sniff the string and then rubbing her all over with the string, getting her more accustomed to me touching her, rubbing her, being close to her. It was an amazing feeling to be able to walk up to her without her running at 100 miles an hour in the opposite direction.

Slowly laying the string across the back of her neck, so that it dropped down both sides of her neck, giving me enough to just hold onto. No pulling, tightening, or pressure. Just letting it lie in my hand while draped around her neck. Taking the string off her neck and repeating the process. 3 x 3 x 3 was going to be the secret recipe for teaching her, but most importantly for teaching me.

We worked up to me, being able to lead her around a little using the string, and then we were ready to play like the big kids.. It was time to introduce the halter..P.A.N.I.C time ....again, I don't know if she was more afraid of this or if I was.

We would do the same with the halter as we had with the string. Letting her sniff the halter, rubbing her with it and then very slowly and carefully, letting her drop her nose into the halter.

TA DA moments are hard to judge, for me, I have had so many since the first day I started with Halo, getting her halter on was Another TA DA moment for us.

That day was the day I took her out of her paddock to eat the lush green grass on the other side of her fence, with tears in my eyes, and the happiest heart in the world, we ventured out...



blog-0388471001402127670.jpgSooo...Here we both were, me with the knowledge of a pork chop, and Halo, who wasn't about to let man nor beast near her. How was I suppose to get near her let alone put a halter on her? I'd get within 10 feet of her and she'd bolt.

The days I'd spent in the paddock with her, were by no means, hours of wasted time. During these hours I would read. Mark Rashid, Buck Brannaman, Pat Parelli, Tom Dorrance, anything and anything concerning Natural Horsemanship. Reading was easy, but how did they do what they did. I didn't want to be a "Horse Whisperer", I'd be happy to be a "Stutterer". You can imagine how that went...

Then one day while I was in the paddock, trying to approach Halo, the neighbour in the paddock next door, who just happened to be Lorraine Dowdeswell, offered some advice.

Now I'd seen what Lorraine could do with her horse, and was amazed. How'd she do that, she doesn't even have a lead on her, why isn't her horse running away, WHY does her horse let her do the things she does?

It was right then and there, that the first of many lessons to come, was taught." Approach and retreat".

And there was Me, the pork chop, with what I believe, was probably the dopiest look on my face, asking "What does that mean"?



In the beginning


blog-0140868001402048244.jpgI first met Halo a couple of years ago, I never thought I'd have a pony of my own, never thought I wanted one or needed one until a couple of years ago. She was scared, wary, and un-trusting of me and nearly anyone else who went near her when I first met her.

I thought I would get a foal, bring it up and learn to be a horsewoman as I went. hmmmmm...Genius I'm not!

In October 2013 Kerensa of Nudae Natural Horsemanship asked if I'd like to start working with Halo...Great I thought, but what am I suppose to do with her.

I could saddle a horse, get on a horse, make a horse go forward, (kicking furiously as I went) and that was about the extent of my knowledge.

I sat in the paddock with her for days, just breathing the same air, not asking anything of her, but the privilege of breathing her air. This, she learned to cope with. I, on the other hand had no idea what I was suppose to do after her accepting that much of my presence.

I had one goal and riding wasn't it. I wanted her to learn to trust again. I wanted her to learn to trust ME.

I wanted her to feel safe again. I wanted to one day take her out of the paddock to do nothing more than eat the luscious green grass on the other side of her paddock fence. That was all I wanted, and all I thought I'd ever want. I wanted her to be happy. Our Journey together started right there.....