I drank the Kool Aid. And it tasted bad.

I watch all the training shows on RFD-TV, and my favorite is Parelli Natural Horsemanship. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Parelli method is gentle and non-domineering. It focuses on building trust between you and your horse.  The Parelli system has 4 Levels and you can audition to pass each level. You send in a video of you working with your horse and they officially give you a pass or fail grade. I like the clear cut goals of they system and having an easy way to measure your progress. I am very goal oriented and the method really appeals to me.

So I decided to join the Savvy club, which is $20 a month and gives you access to the top secret Parelli website. I was stoked to join, thinking that I would be able to get started immediately training my horse with the Parelli method. I thought the website would give me the tools I need. Not so much. Once I started looking through the material about progressing through the Levels, I realized I would have to buy $500 worth of DVD’s just to begin!!! And that’s just the first 2 levels! The further you progress, the more you have to buy.

I realize everyone has to make a living, and that Parelli’s system has done a lot of good for a lot of horses. But I flat out can’t spend that kind of money. At this point I would rather spend that money on lessons and improving my riding. I feel that I have a great relationship with my horse and I plan to continue with the ground work using the things I’ve seen on Parelli’s show.  We definitely have room for improvement, but I can’t spend $500 on DVD’s!

I will be cancelling my membership. Maybe at some point in the future I’ll rejoin, but not right now.

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First Free Jump!

I haven’t been able to take a lesson in almost 2 months because of being out of town, personal drama, and having to borrow a truck and trailer to go to the lesson. At my last lesson we worked Baron over ground poles, and he did fairly well. He didn’t see the need to go OVER them when he could just as easily go AROUND them. So I set up some ground poles at my barn and every time I ride he has to go over them at a walk and a trot. He’s become comfortable with this, so I decided to take him to the next level and actually jump him over something!

I’ve been doing some reading about how to start a horse over fences. Everything I’ve read says to do ground poles first, then crossrails, then real jumps. My barn has crap facilities- no arena to ride in, just a little pasture and a round pen, and certainly nothing as fancy as jumps or crossrails. I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I took two chairs into the round pen, set them opposite each other and laid a ground pole across. Voila! A makeshift jump. Not ideal, but safe enough. If he knocked the pole it would just roll off the chairs. I put him on the lunge line, let him warm up and then brought him to the jump at a trot. He jumped waaaaaaay too high and cleared it easily. He is such an athletic horse and he looked magnificent stretching out over the jump. The next time he knocked the pole off. After that he was a little hesitant, but I bringing him to the jump and encouraging him until he hopped over. He jumped it 3 or 4 times and then I let him quit. He tried hard for me and I love him for it!

I looked into buying some crossrails from Dover Saddlery, but they are quite expensive when you figure in shipping and handling. I couldn’t find anything on Craigslist either. But I did find some plans for building a jump standard at www.lorienstable.com . My neighbor is a woodworker, so I’m going to ask if I can pay him to build me a jump.

It’s Been a While…

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I had some personal drama that kept me away from the barn, and then I was on vacation in Colorado for 10 days. I did get in a three hour trail ride before I left. It was my first trail ride at Kennesaw Mountain, and I was impressed. The trails were clear and well maintained and the scenery was beautiful. I snapped a few pics.

Trail at Kennesaw Mountain
Trail at Kennesaw Mountain

The best part of the ride was the water crossing. Baron actually crossed the creek!!! He only hesitated for a moment and then splashed his way across. I was so proud, I could have gotten off and hugged him. He is such a good horse and he tries hard!

At my last lesson, we trotted over ground poles. He kept veering off to the side and trying to walk around them. Well, I found some ground poles at my barn over with the barn owner’s junk pile. It was like winning the lottery. My barn has basically no facilities, so this was a great find! I set the ground poles up in the pasture and worked Baron over them again. He still tried to go around them, but he’s getting better. Consistency is the key with him. I have to show him that ground poles don’t eat horses.

Just for kicks, here’s a picture of the trail ride in Colorado. My trail horse was basically the chubbier Quarter Horse version of Baron. She was cute!

Trail Ride in Colorado
Trail Ride in Colorado