I have been starting to get back into riding and we went back and had a go at some level 1 programs that I thinks needed revisiting again. From here I have had progress in my direct reins and have been getting comfortable in the saddle and moving so much more in trying to communicate with him better. Yesterday I found myself thinking that we were ready to try the canter again. All my ducks were lined up and away we went. He was really trying and one way we got some nice transitions and even half a circle before stopping. The other side he tried and tried for me but we kept getting the opposite lead. I stopped because I wasn't at all convinced that it was him. 90% sure it was me so we finished up with the good work that we had done and I was estatic that there was not even one moment of being emotional from him which is the first time ever. Onward and upward from here
I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my saddle as without one I have stalled a bit. I have had it about 2 weeks and today I got to take it to our playday at Cooroy. Poor Gully is a bit lacking in the muscle tone department and was feeling just a little bit fresh so we got to see the arena a bit faster than usual. By the end we managed to get some good direct reins and change of direction. I am slipping and sliding around in the saddle so much playing with all the movement I now have and am starting to get the hang of using my hips so much better. After being stuck in a saddle that was way too small for me for so long it feels good to be free. I have a lot of work to do on myself to loosen up my shoulders and be more comfortable leaning further back. My first few rides in the saddle I practiced my rein positions and rebounds which are going so much better in the new saddle. Gulliver is responding so much better and I can feel the improvement in our connection when riding already. He was a bit to emotional this morning but I was really happy with how much lighter he was in the direct rein. I will be riding again tomorrow with some homework cards to read.
Unfortunately not much to report. One exciting aspect is that I have ordered Gulliver a QS saddle on the 2nd January. In the mean time we have just been practicing on the ground. I know my saddle should be here soon I am hoping before the end of July. He just seemed to grow out of his other saddle so I have hardly ridden in the past 6 months. Look out next 6 months because I am having severe withdrawls. Poor Gully has also lost all his herd in the past couple of weeks. The only two horses that he has known since he was twelve months old had to be put down and we had to build up his family again. So now he has Buddy the Clydie and Henry the pony adjusting here indefinitely and Maya has bought herself her first horse Murphy who will live here now and will start QS with her. So you could say that Gully has had a bit of an interesting start to the year. In spite of that I was so proud of how hard he tried for me in QSports and we came away with a First in the Level 2 Challenge and a Second in our Liberty. We also gave some level 3 events a go. That was a great experience.
I started this year with Level 1 behind me and my goals were to progress in level 2 and feel confident to canter Gulliver in a circle. I am proud to report that I have finished the easier half of the assignments in level 2. I can also canter Gulliver and have learnt thanks to Mel's Impulsion Clinic how to ride up into the canter and get my direct rein lighter. I have a great connection with my big boy who always gives me his best try. Thanks to the Great support of Fiona and all the wonderful Quantum Savvy family both in our play groups and online we are achieving more than I every felt possible. I now never feel nervous when heading out to practice my homework and know that Gulliver has my back if I make a mistake. Now to plan for the future. I have a huge journey ahead of me as we head into more challenging assignments. This journey involves my own physical journey in managing my Fibromialgia and Achillies Tendonopathy. Lots of stretching and getting the weight off so that I can stay in the saddle long enough to get through the programs needed to move forward. I am not expecting fast progress but I do promise to always practice the Quantum Savvy principles when ever I am with my horses. I know I will finish level 2 some day but not in 2018 as bareback on a wide back horse may sound comfy but the reality is that sitting with legs so wide does make it far more difficult to balance. I dream of being able to one day but one step at a time. Also will need a QS saddle at some stage and I am putting things in place to be able to afford it in about 2 years. Mostly I just want to be a ROPE champion to my horse and enjoy the journey.
You can only travel smooth for so long before you have to over come another block in the road. I find these are now giving me more of a fire in my belly to succeed. Pushing through the fear and just listening. Not feeling very strong and a little short of breath with a cold I find myself with the concept of a group trot passenger lesson. At first I sit it out thinking to myself. Then I realize that the opportunity is too much to pass up. Gulliver and I really need this. He is always more connected to a group or to what others are doing and this is one of my fears as I am still not protecting him properly in these situations which is probably why he is still so sensitive in these situations. We pushed through and I feel I so much better.
I know I am still leaning forward too much so this is going to be my own physical challenge to strengthen my back to hold the right position for Gulliver. I must make things so hard for him sometimes. So great full to my big hearted forgiving lug.
Life just gets so busy towards the end of the year with kids and work that keeping goals for Gulliver become really challenging.
I thought writing them down will help me keep focused. I really want to go as far as my body will let me with this journey so it is taking a bit longer as I work on myself too.
My next goal is to get Gulliver more comfortable in a canter on both leads and maintain. I would really love to be able to do a canter passenger lesson before the end of the year. I also want to practice swinging the rope while in the walk and the trot so that I can protect his space in a group trot passenger lesson. I have been too wussy with him and he needs more no yield in motion to improve his confidence. These are my last goals for 2017
Since QSports I have had to back track to fix some issues that I have created with being on Gulliver's off side. I do think we have made some great progress on fixing this part of our relationship. I have also been working on our canter but having the same issue of not having a big enough space.
I met a lady who has been keeping her horse in the paddock next door and we decided to go for a ride into the forestry. It was my first real trail ride since finishing level 1. It felt amazing. I felt completely safe on Gulliver the whole time and we were able to get the canter going and get into a nice rhythm. It was only just over an hour of mostly walking and some trotting and a couple of canter stretches. Even old Darcy at 27yrs old came out with my daughter Maya and he just looked so happy to be out. I feel that this one ride has re energised me and I am really looking forward to our Play Day next weekend at Cooroy where I feel we are at a stage where we can move on with our homework cards again.
Well the summer lessons are over once again and I am loaded with so much information that I hope I have remembered in the right context. I have grown more in confidence and I think I have a much better understanding of what I am looking at in the way of how a horse should move his body. Gulliver has also become more confident and I feel we are now in a really good position to move forward in the program. We also picked up some extra tips from Shane and Meredith with the hand over of Harmony and Meredith doing Diesel's feet. I feel that I have been so fortunate to be able to spend so much time with Meredith and soak up as much of her knowledge as I could. As per last year the summer lessons have sparked off renewed enthusiasm and passion for the program.
Tonight I finally got on and rode Gulliver bareback. I got to try my new bareback pad too. I has followed a whole day of visualising and setting up my bareback pad so that it fit properly. Plus some swimming to limber up. I had a failed attempt on Monday night and since then it has been heavily on my mind. Even Kirra had to walk away as she was getting too nervous. Once on we did some lateral flex and then some rein positions and finally a walk around. Mostly I felt good with a few moments of wobbles. Gulliver just slowed down for me. God I love my boy. He really does put up with my floundering and incompetence.
Going to this years summer lessons has got me all inspired to get out there again and stop making excuses. After cantering with a thunder storm coming I knew I could do a passenger lesson in the rain. Previously my passenger lessons had not been complete but I knew that if we are to get it together my little green horse and I really needed to put in the full ten minutes x three. After the first ten minutes I saw a glimmer of him starting to settle in. After the second ten minutes I found that I could start getting in rythm with his back feet. FIRST TIME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE I felt that I was truly with him. I have been trotting wrong for ever. Although he did keep trying to stop and tripped over a bit I found that I felt secure and relaxed and from here things can only get better. One passenger lesson down and lots more to come hopefully some group ones too.
It has been an anxious wait for my last results. My one rein assignment has been my nemasis. Starting with a green horse was not ideal and I didn't take into account that my physical health had deteriorated as well as a draft horse is considerably different to ride than what I was use to.
All in all it has been a journey of tears and triumphs. I still have a long way to go but I feel that I am better able to read Gulliver's feedback and have the confidence to respond to him in a fair way that will take us further. None of this would be possible without the tremendous support from the QS family. Since Carola took Gully through the colt start I feel that she has been there cheering us on from half way across the world. I feel that I am very fortunate to have Shane and Meredith with me locally and they have a beatiful way of supporting and motivating just when you need it most. They give you courage to trust them and your horse which they have effectively passed on to the instructors they train so that everyone can achieve their dreams and horses have a better world to live in. Through QS I have made many new friends. Fiona has become a good friend and is also my instructor. She helped me to push through the final barrier and getting us cantering. Thanks to Sandra for filming my last assignment of level one.
I now have lots more passenger lessons to do and ride the rail to get some hours of riding under our belts before the impulsion summer lesson in February. It is going to be a great summer.
On Saturday afternoon I had my lesson with Fiona. I was ready to canter Gulliver and to give extra incentive we had a lovely thunder storm approaching. I really think that Fiona conjured it up. So with thunder and lightning and some sand blowing across the arena Fiona kept me focused and we achieved not only a canter but a really lovely canter from the hind quarters. Now I just need to put it all together and film my last assignment. Thanks Fi
The coming months are going to be flat out with Christmas concert preparations for daycare. Work commitments graduations for two of the kids so my challenge is to really escalate my work rate with Gulliver to get this level one finished by Christmas. I know I can do it and with Fiona and Di there to help I know I can do it. Here is my Public declaration that I will get it done.
Have missed so many play days now and finding it hard to get back into it. My back has played up twice keeping me from riding but today I went out and did some level two ground work. It went really well. Hoping to ride in the morning. Just one assignment from finishing level 1. It still seems so far away.
This year has brought with it so many great experiences but unfortunately still not level one. I am my biggest problem and at the moment it is my hips and balance and the fact that it is so dry and the grass has become like ice to Gulliver. Even at the trot he seems to be sliding on the bends. I suppose that's what you get when you choose to ride a horse with dinner plates for feet.
We came so close to cantering this weekend but in the end my nerves got the better of me and I piked out. Gulliver has been doing some really lovely transitions on his own and has become much less emotional about it. It looks great I just wish I would bite the bullet and do it. I am really wanting to go to the QSports this year. I am hoping to be past level one by then, (or am I). I would be the most experienced level 1 person around by now for sure. Any way I am still enjoying my journey even though it is a bit slow. I am sure that once we are past this canter thing it will be easy. I have heard that level one is the hardest.
It has really been an amazing journey over the past few months and I feel that through the enormous support from Meredith, Fiona and Shane we are finally getting somewhere.
I was lucky enough to spend some more time with the QS family over the cooroy stay of the Qld tour. I came home and rode Gulliver on sunday only to break a fundamental rule of don't let your horse change your focus.
We were riding the rail when my husband came out of the shed with a jerry can. Gulliver left the rail and started walking towards him. I just let him do this thinking that this might be a good opportunity for Gulliver to be around a man (which he is a little nervous of and vise versa). Gulliver started to sniff the jerry can and I could feel him starting to stiffen when my husband said "Hi mate" and made a kissing noise. The next thing I know Gulliver has completed a 270 degree turn and I was left behind lying on the ground with an impressive rope burn and grazes and bruises.
I have been in an all purpose saddle which I bought as it was the only one I could afford that would fit him. Although I am feeling more comfortable in it, it is still not suitable on a green horse. I saw him do the same move today from the ground when he saw me with a new witches hat on my arm and I thought no wonder I didn't stay on.
I have posted for saddles and have got some replies. I am hoping to have a more secure saddle soon as with a green horse you sometimes need that second chance to hang on to something. Fortunately I have come away ok this time.
Looking forward to our next play day under lights which will be a whole new experience for both of us.
I have just finished summer lessons with meredith. I feel we have finally made the leap from hitting my head against a brick wall to realisation of the possibilities. My confidence has sky rocketed my connection with gulliver is at a level I have never experienced before. The best part is that this is only the beginning!!! Bring on more QS. AMAZING STUFF.
Gully is going to Bell in a few weeks to be taken through the colt start. I am hoping that both his and my confidence will be much improved then we can continue our journey. Carola will be taking him through the courses and I hope they have a great time. I will miss him while he is away.
I bought Gulliver to take over from my beautiful Waler horse Darcy. I bought Darcy for my 21st birthday 21 years ago, he was my first horse. He was about 3 then and he was broken in for me. People told me he would kill me and here we are 21 years later and he is now looking after my daughter Maya. I have had a few years taken up with life and children and I have lost the confidence I once had. Yesterday a neighbor came over with their horse and Maya was not home. I had been procrastinating riding Gulliver and since Maya was not home I decided to saddle up old Darcy and go riding with him. Once I got back I did my saddling assignment practice and mounted up on Gulliver. I felt comfortable in the saddle and was a lot more relaxed than I had been the day before. All the things I was trying to accomplish like direct rein and indirect rein just came together. We were sort of having a passenger lesson until I wanted to practice bending to stop or backing up. It was a great feeling and I have my old boy Darcy to thank for giving me back my balance and confidence. Can't wait to have another go. Love you till the end of time Darcy.
Well getting to the practice day on the weekend was met with another car failure and having to return home. I was really gutted as I haven't had any contact or support for such a long time. Thankfully I have a supportive husband and he told me to go to the up coming clinic in july with Mel, which we really can't afford but happiness is worth more than money. I am thankful that the light has been turned back on at the end of the tunnel.
We have had some set backs like my back having two protruding discs and some sciatic nerve damage then Gulliver cutting his hind leg to the bone and the 4wd dying and having to buy as new one and then set it up for towing. Somewhere in all this we have managed to pass the level one floating assignment and hope to have the saddling assignment uploaded tomorrow. I can't wait to go to Maryborough with Gully tomorrow to have the support of the practice group. Fingers crossed that the weather is good. Just loving this gentle giant.
Well here I am four months in and I must admit I have been a bit lazy in the last week. Although I have completed many of my around the house jobs I have not done much with Gulliver. I blame the heat but in truth I could just get up earlier. Tomorrow I am planning to just take him out for a ride. It will be about his 4th ride out of a paddock. I have been doing a lot of a practice with loading and saddling and passenger lessons. Not ready to upload any more until I get feedback on my last assignment. A nice ride out will give me an opportunity to get my balance and feel happening again. He is green and after such a long break from riding over the past 10 years I am lacking my in the saddle confidence. I always feel better after about 10 minutes.
A Special kind of Calm takes place
each night as I leave the house
through the back gate and walk into the darkness.
I can't see where I am going
I navigate by the shadows of the trees
I see the tall dark post and slip through the fence
I always say something like "Evening family" or "Hey Babies"
I hear a shuffle or sometimes a groan
I know they hear me and were possibly lying down.
I go to the first gate where I know
my special kind of calm is waiting
my only clue is a faint white snip on his nose
that may catch the moonlight
other than that it is heavy darkness.
I open his gate and then the next stable
Just as I do this I hear him move out and stand next to me
I walk back around his gate and stroke his nose gently
He looms over me like a huge warm dark blanket
I feel so relaxed and safe
I move under his neck and wrap my arms around his strong shoulders
It is so dark and quiet and I breath in
that unmistakable horse smell that only a
true lover of horses can understand its effect
It is a Special Kind of Calm.
I dedicate this to my new equine life partner Gulliver.
Having passed my first assignment in Level one I feel like I have officially started my journey. I am confident about the progress of my next two assignments and then I am going to hit a little barrier for the float loading. I have just decided to pull my float apart after having it for nearly 20 years and giving it a make over. Or the equine version of pimp my ride. It is going to make completing my float loading assignment a little more challenging as it is now missing the roof, mud guards and very shortly the floor. I have never been more motivated to sand off paint than I am right now. Just as I am getting started all four of my horses nearly got hit by a car last night and that would have put an end to all of it. Luckily my neighbor was told about their escape and brought them home for me. Although after nearly being skittelled apparently they ran past her car and took themselves home. They have never escaped from home before but I forget how big and strong Gulliver is and he rubbed his bottom on the yard gates pushing the join out and moving the end panel enough to let everyone out. This won't be happening again! Well with these little hurdles to get through we will keep progressing. So much work to do. But very Excited!!
After uploading my first attempts at skills check and the approach I find myself being rather impatient to see how I went. I feel like I am at school again. While we are waiting we are still ticking those boxes and I have been really excited about how well we are doing with the barrels and logs and drums. He is side passing great and has gained an incredible amount of impulsion for a big lug of a horse. Yesterday I came inside very disappointed with myself and my emotional control. I found myself getting frustrated and yelling and wondering if I have made a bigger problem than I started with. I decided to go out today and try again. I started the way we finished yesterday with some desensitizing of the rope and stick and string. I was finding that he would go left and right between me and the float and over the ramp calmly until the cows came home but as soon as I asked him to go in the float he would back up frantically, which was what had frustrated me yesterday. No matter how many times I tried and ended up on the far side of the paddock the more difficult it got. I went back to square one and started doing some circles with the stick on his back to get him going forward and responding again. By the end of today he is now going three quarters in and standing relaxed. I also managed not to end up on the other side of the paddock. Only half way instead. It also felt a lot calmer on my part and I was more proud of my emotional control today. I am also glad he has not held a grudge, what a lovely personality he has.