Wednesday, 3 June 2009
I will update this properly with pictures and plenty of info but uni work and other work takes priority when I sit down at my desk. Please don't tag me for not updating, dearest readers, I'm sorry. I'll try and break it down into bitesize pieces to update but I'd quite like to wait until I receive the pictures from Arran's yard manager, Rachael. Needless to say we had a fantastic time! :)
posted by Lucy at 9:43 pm - 1 comments
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Bad blog owner...
Sorry, guys, I have been completely neglecting my blog. Since the fantastic session with Arran, Saffy and I have played and ridden just a few times and I've played with Lily twice. Uni work has had to take priority for the moment to ensure that I can take a few days off for the clinic and a day or two after to recover. Not to mention that the weather has been very British in it's hit and miss ways plus horsecare and field management being the main things done up at the yard right now. Saffy's sweet itch has improved since I got her the Pagony rug and flymask but she had still been rubbing her face raw. I bought some new lotions and potions for her which I've been putting on each day and that has helped a fair bit so we're getting it under control I hope.

I haven't seen my beloved mares since Sunday when we trailered them over to Arran's ready for tomorrow. They were so well behaved and my leadership must've been in pretty good shape 'cos they were both loaded and ready to go within 10mins. I miss them like crazy but on the other hand I don't miss the twice daily visits, sweet-itch prevention and poo-picking.

Before they went, I had a play with both to see what our strong points are and what needs work. Lily's main issue is impulsion, shocker. Saffy's is FQ driving and the allow on a circle which is pretty typical of a LB pony, nothing major and everything else is good. I'm so excited about tomorrow, I think it's been 9 months I've looked forward to it. Expect lengthy posts and hopefully pictures to come! :)
posted by Lucy at 11:56 am - 0 comments
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Fantastic session
Lately things have been a little bit hectic as I've said before so when I've had some time to spend with the ponies, I haven't had the right energies to play. Yesterday's session with Arran completely changed that!

I was quite excited waiting for Arran to get to the yard as he hadn't seen it before nor had he met Saffy yet. The weather had been rather unpredictable throughout the day but the wind was blowing the clouds over as soon as they came so it was sunny and mild - best type of weather for horsin' around. I wasn't sure what to expect from my lesson with Arran, I never do unless I have a specific issue I'd like to address which always makes me look forward to the sessions more. When he arrived, we had a bit of a catch up then I played on line with Saffy for 15/20mins and all was going great so we decided to look at my Freestyle. I had been rather lazy and only brought my bareback pad instead of my saddle which was silly of me but I wasn't really sure I'd be riding. I thought it'd be a good opportunity to better my independant seat so I popped it on and hopped on. It was the first time I'd ridden Saffy in her new home and I felt confident enough to ride her in the full acre of one of our fields rather than stick to an enclosed area which is most unlike me. Saffy is one of those ponies that you'd have to do something dumb or try really hard to fall off so off we went for a mosey around.

We then moved onto a cloverleaf pattern, walking at first and improving her lightness to my phases. Previously she has been handled with rather heavy phases and responded heavily in return so since she's come home I've been trying to refine them, so far so good. Once I could tell she really got the pattern, we upped it to a trot and maintaining gait was a lot better than I would've expected from her. I think this is because, being a LBi, she finds arenas really boring but if she's out in fields or on trails she's enthusiastic. We played with it on the left and right reins in walk and trot, it was great to help me remember my focus and to not look down, one of my bad habits from my traditional ridden life. The more we played, the more I learned not to micromanage her and to push her around turns from the outside rather than pull from the inside. Every once in a little leaf we played with purity of gait when our energies weren't matching and her trot has improved sevenfold since I got her hooves done. She can be a little bit buddy sweet and seeing as Lily was in the field with us, there was one particular corner she'd drift out from with the intention of going off to graze with her. This really helped me practise stronger focus rather than engage in a battle of wills with the reins, the more we did it the better she got, or the better I got perhaps? Hmm, how interesting!

Arran then suggested to play trot/canter transitions on the pattern and this was were things got a little tricky. My laziness meant I was relying on the bareback pad when really I needed my saddle to give me a little security whilst learning something new. I'd never cantered naturally so the aids were a little odd to get used to, when going round the cloverleaf so fast and having to remember all these things to do it was tiring! We got a few nice canters but as I draw back my outside foot to ask for canter, my outside leg and hip get tense and rigid so I lose my balance. Saffy also learned that when I ask for canter, if she trots fast enough she can unbalance me and I'll quit asking, clever pony! A few times I had hairy moments where I had to really concentrate on my butt sticking to her rather than landing on the floor which was funny. All the time Saffy wasn't bothered and just carried on doing what she wanted to do whereas Lily would've absolutely freaked if it had been her. Arran said I was doing everything right it was just the balance so I'd have no problem aceing this in the saddle and then I can progress to doing it bareback. I've hurt my leg muscles a little from the unsteady moments so that's something I really need to work on in both simulations and on Saffy.

We then moved on to Cherokee bridle riding! I couldn't believe it, the session had been fantastic any way but this was just the mother of all icings on the cake. I doubt Saffy had ever done it before so we were both new to it and after having a bit of a play with the safety net of my ropehalter and line still on, we then moved onto having just the Savvy string Cherokee bridle and carrotstick! This really put my focus to the test and also my ability to push turns rather than pull so we played on a figure 8, she did so well that we moved onto a trot. She was responsive, following the feel and maintaining gait throughout most of it. I kept forgetting to focus far into the distance of where we wanted to go but when I was doing all I should be, she was holding up her end of the partnership. What a great note to end on, I was absolutely ecstatic and felt Savvy. Arran thought Saffy was a really good partner for me and I happen to agree, our energies and person/horsenalities mesh well. I can't wait to see where our journey takes us now I know I've got such a fab levels partner! :)

oh and watch this space - Saffy will be having her own little webpage like Lily and I'll also be revamping my blog's appearance this week.
posted by Lucy at 11:10 am - 0 comments
Friday, 1 May 2009
Sorry I haven't been updating, my uni work is getting a little more intense so when I have some free time, I want to be as far away from the laptop as possible for the most part, lol.

Lily and Saffy have settled in brilliantly, in fact I've never seen Lily so at ease. The fields are beautiful, views are picturesque and a lovely little community around with the two other liveries and the family who own the property. They are both catching me well and had their feet done yesterday at long last. Tonight was the first time I've actually had the time to play with Saffy and she was a star. All 3 core games are in pretty good shape, need to be a little more responsive but I was really pleased how well she took them in her stride. She has sweet-itch and I wasn't too sure how much it would affect her in her new home, she still has it but thankfully it's mild. She seems to have confidence troubles with putting on and off the bug rug and fly mask. I did think it might be 'not that thing again!' confidence but she did get tense and need to move her feet so that's something we'll play with along with picking up and holding her hooves as that wasn't so great either. We've had no horsenality switchovers in a new herd and home and Saffy and I are meshing great, Lily and I are as good as ever. :)

I spent Wednesday at Arran's for the shared lesson as I mentioned in the previous post. It was definitely quite a test for me mentally, emotionally and physically but I came through it okay and had fun at the end. Arran lent me his sweet little rescue pony, Misty, who was quite similar to Saffy so it was good for me to be able to have a play with a LBi and practise some things on her that she knows already before I teach them to Saffy. At the end we were trotting a cloverleaf pattern driving from zone 5 which was so much fun, very tiring. The whole day taught me so much especially how I brace, when I brace and why... I sure slept on Wednesday night!
posted by Lucy at 8:06 pm - 1 comments
Monday, 27 April 2009
All change!
Wow, what a crazy few weeks! A lot of change has been going on but it's great 'cos the more change I have thrown my way, the better I'm getting at embracing it. Boy oh boy, I am absolutely spent so this'll only be a rather brief update unfortunately.

Basically my now-old landlord informed me that he was selling the fields I was renting a week or so ago, that didn't really go down too well and I was panicking about where to go. However, thankfully I didn't have to look far. I have moved literally onto greener pastures on my hay merchant's farm which is under 10mins drive from my house. We have a little under 2 and a half acres with solid, brand new fencing, natural shelter with beautiful views and off road trails which is a luxury I've never had before. The next obstacle was travelling, how would I get Lily there and how could I pick up Saffy? My wonderful friend and her husband offered their help to go pick up Saffy with me so we went up yesterday and brought her to her new home. We spent most of the day travelling to and from the yard we picked her up from and just as I unloaded her and turned her out we went off to pick up Lily!

I was so worn out by this point and a little worried that Lily would be in one of her challenging moods. However as soon as I got to the gate she was there waiting for me which was very nice. We played for a little while and then I spent a while loading and unloading her, she was a gem! Then off we went to the new yard to see her new home and new fieldmate. She backed off the trailer by the tail like a pro, bless her. I turned her straight out in with Saffy because I knew both of them would be on unfamiliar territory and bunch together as prey animals do. After a little adrenaline and a trot around, they both settled nicely. I'm going to give them a few days to settle in properly before I play with either. Plus I need to rest up as I'm going to Arran's yard on Wednesday for a one-day clinic, playing with a new horse in a positive atmosphere will be very cool.
Here are a couple of pictures of our new place and Lily and Saffy, sorry about the quality; they were taken off my phone.
posted by Lucy at 1:51 pm - 1 comments
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
My new levels partner!
Now that I have a way of picking her up and a date set, I can finally let it start sinking in that I have a new pony on the way! That means that I can at long last be less vague about her to you, my readers.

Saffron (Saffy for short) is a 13.2hand chestnut New Forest mare who will be 10 this year. She is a true blue mild-moderate LBi, low-medium spirit but mostly low unless she has the right incentive! She's got plenty of ridden experience, had a natural start and has had her owner achieve his level 1 on her a few years ago. I've known about her since the new year because her owner is a friend of mine, I've been up there and tried her twice now and I'm smitten. She is definitely what I'm looking for in a levels partner and I have played with her online, freestyle and ridden her out on the local roads with confidence. I haven't got a good, up-to-date picture of her yet so my apologies but she is very cute. I'm so excited to go get her! :]
posted by Lucy at 9:26 pm - 0 comments
Sunday, 5 April 2009

This week my Painted Ponies arrived and I thought I'd make a sub-post to talk about them! The blue one on the left was originally bought by my mum for me for a birthday present to symbolise my teenage journey from stormy weathers to light. I cherished it until Tyler accidentally knocked it off the window-ledge and it's leg was snapped. I had forgotten all about them until a friend mentioned them recently and I went on their main site hoping that I could find the same model again. Thankfully, although it is retired, I could still purchase it and whilst browsing I found the 'Tip-Toe Through The Tulips'. I loved the design especially seeing as it is a piebald so I treated myself to that also. As I said above, they arrived this week, packaged well and they are even more beautiful in real life!

I found them originally on the official site but then, to save on postage, I found a UK retailer . I thought I'd post both links for my international and UK blog readers in case they were interested in looking at the wide range of Painted Ponies available.
posted by Lucy at 12:09 pm - 1 comments
About Me
My name is Lucy Middleton, I'm 17 years old and from the United Kingdom.
I started Parelli in January 2008 and it has been an incredible journey so far.
Pre-Parelli I did the best with what I knew but now I know better; I want to do better!
This is my blog to document my progress as a natural horseman.

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    I am owned by this gorgeous piebald cob mare, Lily. She's an interesting character, fun to play with and is a great teacher.

    There's more about her on her own page.
The Philosophy
    It's not about disposable horses; it's about relationships for life.
    It's not about quick fixes and artificial aids, it's about savvy; true understanding and expertise.
    It's not about winning and others losing; It's about win-win: you and the horse need to feel good.
    It's not about me me me; It's about changing the world for horses, becoming a person of knowledge and influence, and sharing what you know.
    It's not about fear and doubt; It's about unconditional love and trust.
    Love for the empowerment of others and trust that you'll never ask the horse to do something that would hurt or diminish his dignity.

    Reveal your horse. Discover your potential. Live your dream.

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