About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New skills

Oh summer pony...love this picture from the summer where he's happy, calm and stretchy.
Anyway, lately I've been wanting to meet our new challenges of growth head on.  I don't want to ignore or let the 'scary' parts of where we lack, intimidate me.  Last week, we had some great rides and some that he showed lack of confidence and spooked and feared things.  That in turn of course, rocks my confidence and then I feel I'm failing my boy.
So, on Tuesday, I was talking to my BO and was  telling her my frustration in where we are.  I feel and know there is a disconnect in our training sometimes where we are stuck and Laz is showing me his concern and frustration because I've reached certain limits with him.   So, she offered to help us.  It was nice to have her watch us ride and give us pointers and things for me to fix (support, proper leg, rein, etc) and wouldn't you know it...Laz started calming down and working better.  Good boy!  It was a HUGE relief for me, knowing it's me and not him.  Still lots to work on, which we'll continue but we love constantly learning and it will build our trust together, and skill!
Today, we had our first Parelli lesson which went great.  The instructor was around my age, very sweet and had a strong yet calming demeanor about her.  Laz was mouthing her and she said she too loves mouthy geldings...shows confidence and play, yea! :)
She walked us through the beginning games, which like many other natural horsemanship training is all about small askings, and rewarding, your safety and communication with your horse as a partner.
It was cool.  I wanted help with Laz was he's being defiant, or scared in which he RUNS/bolts, space respect, etc.  She helped me tweak some body language and how to ask for certain things properly.  There were issues with me (see a trend) acting too much like a predator and/or in his face too much.  Ha, and I'm the one always coddling him...or so I thought.
She also told me that I can ask for his crazy behavior (referred to when he's being a right brain extrovert) to be much more controlled and over time he will be less aggressive and big with that behavior, and the time frame he may need to be frantic will lessen as well.  We worked on that, and when I asked for him (on the ground) to lead in figure 8's, he immediately went to this panicky, scared state and started bucking and throwing out his front legs, and started racing racing racing racing.  So I said to her..."Ok, here's where i get scared of him." and she gently encouraged me with literally telling me what to do instead of just taking over.  She had me match his energy which was a "right..DUH" moment for me. Why I never thought of that is beyond me...but it makes sense. When he got big, fast and crazy it caused me to shrink back.  Now, when I matched his energy and stood up and moved my feet faster and asked stronger, Laz was like "OH you are still here...ok, THANK YOU..where were you when I needed you!!?" and it took about 10 turns for him to calm down.  During that exercise, he was sweaty and it was a surge of anxiety in him.  After, he was licking and calm.  She said those figure 8's are our homework and will eventually be what I can ask him to do, the next time he panics...ie the day that foal walked by, or any certain issue that may arise.  It will help him focus when he's scared and be his cue to calm down.  Hopefully ;)
Overall, it was a great two hours...I learned a lot and look forward to the next time, in a couple of months.  In the meantime, I'll practice what I learned and see how it hopefully helps us....and me, because it's not him.  His acting up is his way of saying "what the hell are you asking me?"  Laz is awesome.  Even the Parelli trainer said, he'll be so fun to learn with because he's a fast learner and eager.  

And...a HAPPY 27th Bday to my beautiful, talented, soul connected SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She was born on 11/11/83 (which you add up 8+3 to get what...yes, 11)
Next year will be 11/11/11...COOL right!!!!
She's the best..I love you!
Kisses and Hugs from Detroit to Cape town......xo


  1. Wow, big posts with all kinds going on! Sounds like you guys are doing great!!! Happy B-day to your sis! If you ever get super stuck and need a tiny help? Let me know and I can come out again. I hope to see you this Saturday also!! XXOOX

  2. Sounds like you guys had some great breakthroughs. And happy birthday to your sister. I think it is great how close you two are.

  3. How cool is that...when breakthroughs and those "a-ha" moments happen, it's the best:) I think you and Laz are going to have an awesome journey with this.

    Have fun at the expo this weekend!

  4. Yup, body language is SUCH an important thing! I think a lot of times we don't even realize what we are saying to our horses with our bodies.
    I know I am constantly learning -- for example, with Salem I was working on getting him to halt while on the longe. I didn't notice that, every time I asked him to halt, I squared my shoulders up to him; when I wanted him to walk on, I would turn my shoulders on an angle to him. And, wouldn't you know it, that genius pony figured it out! I once squared up to him before saying "whoa" and he halted immediately -- that was a MAJOR "a-ha!" moment on my part! Of course, I clicked and treated and praised him profusely for being such a Smarty Jones, and then started working on refining his halts and sharpening my body language.
    Isn't it great when we figure out that WE are the problem, not the horse? It's a lesson in humility, but a great lesson nonetheless.

  5. Sometimes getting a little help from the ground can make a real difference - we can't always tell what we're doing. And body language/intonation is so important to horses, as well as giving them direction and support - I think it's when they're not sure that we're there for them that things often go sideways.

  6. Kristen - Everything your instructor helped you with makes great sense to me. Laz is a kind hearted boy, too, so he will try to do the right things when you ask. I like the idea of having the figure 8 exercise in your back pocket anytime you need it!
    I forgot to say last time that I really like the picture of Laz in your header. It shows the innocence and kindness in him.
    Happy birthday to your sister. Great photo of you two and the big boy!

  7. Wow, it sounds like your trainer really helped you and Laz to connect a bit more. I'm interested to hear how things progress using Parelli methods.

    Your sister's lucky number doesn't happen to be 11 does it? Lol....happy birthday to her!

  8. That is so awesome! Normally I hate to be the one who is doing something wrong, but when it comes to horses I am because I can fix me a lot easier than them. Well most of the time lol. I'm glad you learned a lot and had fun.

    Happy birthday to your sister!