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Gulliver's Journey

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jane_gully

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.

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jane_gully

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

jane_gully

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.

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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.

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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.

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Passenger Lessons

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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.

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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.

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A step closer

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

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Declaration

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.

jane_gully

Getting Nowhere

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.

jane_gully

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.

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Qld Tour

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.

 

 

jane_gully

summer lessons

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.

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Getting Support

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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Progress

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.

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A Special Calm

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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.

jane_gully

Feeling Official

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!!

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Ups and Downs

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.

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Disappointing

Just when I thought we were doing really well it all changes. Gulliver has gone from being a big lump to being over sensitive. I don't know if it is just the current cool temperature and wind or if it was bringing the float into the equation. We had been going along really well even jumping barrels from each direction. We have worked through the homework cards and I finally had someone there to video and he was fine through the rhythmic movement of hands, stick and string, then when I got to contact yields he just would not stop moving as if there was an electric charge between us. Then tonight when I went to feed him it was the same. He just wouldn't stand still or let me touch him. Once he was eating in his stable. I went in and he was back to normal and I could touch him all over and hug him and everything. I was never expecting my draft horse to change into a hypo horse. I hope next weekend he is over what ever it was as I would really like to video some assignments.

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Drum rearranging

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Time is getting away from me. I still have not done any videos yet but we are progressing. I managed to get my hands on some drums so we can begin some work with them, but with Gulliver being so lazy he spends more time bumbling through them than going over them. I will have to get some impulsion into him, either that or a firecracker. I am also very excited that my new gates are on the stables. Hoping next week brings some videos.

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Time to Video

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I have had limited time to work with Gulliver. I am managing only weekends and Thursdays. I am really happy with his progress we are making though. I have been wanting to video for a while but getting time is difficult. We went walking to a friends house and on the way practiced our new skills. It was good to be able to use what we have learnt to manage situations as they arose. Like two horses galloping up and past us at a fence. A few figure eights and we were back to leading at the shoulder as they galloped passed. Great feeling. When we are doing the no contact yields I feel like he is like a negative magnet. He is just so responsive and I never thought such a big horse could be so responsive and maneuverable. First Assignment here I come!!

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After having my first horse for 21 years I decided to give him to my 11 year old daughter and follow my dream of owning a draft horse and starting him myself. I have very little time and over the past two and a half years I have taken Gulliver from a 12 month old colt who had never been touched to handled and confident with a rider. I left my friends in Maryborough when I left my daughters father and with that I left my horse friends and support group. I continued on with my horses and got this far on my own with limited knowledge and some common sense. I have known my friends were with Quantum Savvy for some time but with up to eight children at home and working full time I just couldn't find time or finances to join them. With Gulliver coming up to 4 and over 16hands and growing I needed to bite the bullet and GET SERIOUS. Thanks to Di and Vicki's generosity I have my first pack and today I started trying to fix some of my mistakes and to make some advances. Thanks to Shane and Meredith whom I have been lucky enough to have met on both of my first outings I have had an awesome start and fantastic advice. I owe Shane a debt of thanks for helping me to understand Gulliver better and for taking the time to ensure I got him home. I have never worked with a horse as big as Gully and with this comes some extra challenges. I won't let Shane's great work go to waste and I am excited about what is to come.

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