Sante was such a character! I visited him on Thurdsay to take his rug off - Due to the rain & cold temps last weekend, i had put his winter rug on him, in an attempt to help his lameness, On Thursday, the sun was shining, and it was a very warm 30ºC. So, I made the 45 minute trek down to see him.
He was quite happy to see me, which was nice~ quite happily came out of hte paddock! We just mosied around, and I eventually put him back in the paddock in the early afternoon, and managed to take some happy snaps. It was just lovely, because he was in no hurry to leave, and just wanted to be with me. His paddock mates were well and truly within eye sight, and still, he stayed.
The top two photo's show him moseying up to an embankment, and rather than climb down the embankment, Sante, does his usual trick of
expending the least amount of exercise possible, by moving the front feet only, and not bothering with the backs. Bare in mind, while this is happening, all that can be heard is blissful groaning. Whatever he did, must have stretched a tight muscle in that great big body of his, he was in his element.
I also managed to get updated photo's of his feet! Yes, I know, it's been far to long. It's been four months now, since i pulled the shoes off. He's got a few minor infections, but other than that, everything has gone swimmingly! his RHS still looks a lot worse than the LHS, but eventually they will be perfect! So you can gauge our improvement, I posted updated photo's on his feet in November - Click Here! to check them out. Major difference hey!!
Anyway - On to the fantastic weekend we had. I arrived on Saturday, and when Sante saw me, he nickered, and wandered straight over. I was just thrilled!! With all the riding that we've been doing, I have noticed that our catching game has been, well.. sick. So to see him so happy was just brilliant! We mosied out of hte paddock at liberty, he got a good feed, and groom, and i asked him for a few light circles, to ascertain that he was still slightly sore. It was so slight, i was considering the possiblity that he might be ok tomorrow. Anway, I spent most of the day talking ot people about the Parelli clinic. There is a lot of interest, and I think its fantastic that so many people are looking for a more natural approach to their horsemanship.
I really didn't do anything more with him on Saturday than spoil him rotten, and put him back in the paddock. We did a little bit of work on Stick to me - so that when i lift my left leg, he lifts his left leg etc etc, he is getting VERY good at it.
On Sunday - he just blew me away completely!!!!!!!!!!!! He MET ME AT THE GATE! He is in a massive paddock that accomodates 50 horses, and he was standing at the gate, waiting for me. He was so happy to see me! I of course, giggled like a school girl, fed him all the carrots I had ,and flew back to the yards on a wave of euphoria :D
We again, had breakfast, and got a very nice grooming, but this time, i decided to do some light games in the grass arena just to enourage some light movement.
We worked on the patterns - Figure of eight at the walk, and imagine my surprise when we got it at the trot! He still needs a little bit more practise at it, he tends to fly past my right shoulder without taking the turn, I just interrupt the pattern, and gently redirect him, and he kind of says "woops, my bad" and continues as if nothing happened.
After a couple of goes at the figure of eight, for giggles, i took the leadrope off and did a little stick to me. We did walk & trot transitions, stop & backup, as well as "lift the leg". He is such a champion!! I threw in a few oversized figure of eights to test the game when it comes to changing direction, and i was thrilled when he decided to stick to my shoulder, instead of running away. He even threw in a cocky head toss, when i gently flicked him for slowing down :)
After a few minutes of that, we went back to the figure of eight, and had a go at liberty.
He did it!!! Just at a walk - but it was awesome! After a few of those, silly me, was supporting the shoulder through one of the turns, and didn't release the pressure soon enough, imagine my surprise when sante veered of course and found another rubber tyre (there were tyres scattered through the arena, we were using two for the pattern), went around it and came back to me, our game ended up being a kind of weave aroun the triangle pattern, All the while, he kept his ears on me, and never once did he stop asking questions.
I was so thrilled with his efforts, that we stopped the session right there, and i put him back in his paddock, with his mates. I had my pockets stuffed with carrots, so we played a little more at liberty until all the carrots had run out - which was timely, he was offering these beautiful close circles which i was just drooling over. A friend of mine entered the paddock to catch her horse, and when i was satisfied that Sante was now happy to be with his mates, i turned to leave with her, only to feel that beautiful sensation of horse breath down my neck. He followed me back out!!!
I sat with him, at the gate, just moseying, picking grass for him, and patting him, until finally, 20 minutes later, he was happy to rejoin his friends.
I had posted the letter on the forum in reply to various negative reactions being expressed by Savvy Clubbers in response to the release of the New Patterns Program & Self Assessment / Auditions process.
I really wanted Pat, Linda & the Parelli team to know that I understood why it was they felt the need to redesign the program. I wanted them to know that I understood, and appreciated, AND thought that the new program was FANTASTIC.
There are a lot of savvy members who haven't responded well to the change, and its not for fellow students to criticize, but I appreciate that they are upset. I hope that after they calm down, take a step back, and perhaps reassess, that will realize the Parelli program has not changed, not one bit, its simply been streamlined. And its been done for the better.
I am going to be a better horseman because of the new program - and I can't wait!
The last 4 days have been really stressful - We have had a lot of bushfires ablaze in New South Wales, and Victoria.
Sadly, Victoria's death toll is well over 100 and expected to rise.
There has been a substantial fire burning about 10 kilometres away from where Sante is agisted, which has been causing me nothing but greif & worry for the last 3 days. Temperatures have been around the 40 degrees (celcius) mark, and with the road closures and smoke, I haven't been able to go down and check on him.
The news of the bushfires has been very traumatic, its been quite horrific in victoria, and all we are hearing are heatbreaking story after hearbreaking story - I decided that today i would get down and spend the day with Sante, to clear my head.
When i saw in on Friday, he was lame - I wasn't surprised - I'd just put him back into the paddock with the rest of his buddies (he's been out due to injury) so I'm not suprised that he got a bit excited..
So I went to see him today - and lo & behold, still lame.
The day started out badly - little bugger wouldn't have a bar of me - didn't acknowledge my prescence until i tagged him on the backside - even though i was call out, makign noise and generally letting him know i was there! We wandered out of the paddock at liberty, and he decided that he liked me a lot more when he saw the feed bucket :)
So, gave him a feed, and spent the whole time rubbing him, brushing his mane & tail, talking to him, and just "relaxing"
After that, I trimmed his feet, which were in need of doing. He was REALLY GOOD about it, normally he plays little games "Lets see how many times i can take my foot of the hoof stand before mum cracks the shits" and the like..
Today, he just stood there and let me do what I needed to do. I gave him lots of rests, and spoke to him the whole time so he was good.
But I discovered a really large splint on the inside of his cannon bone. I don't remember seeing it before. I'm starting to doubt myself "has it always been there, and i've never noticed... if so, you ought to be ashamed that you've never noticed it before" and "That wasn't there before, its SO BIG surely I'd have noticed it"
It didn't feel hot, i poked and prodded it, and rubbed it, and it wasn't sore. Its not the leg that he's lame on - he's lame on the other front leg, but I'm thinking that, he's actually sore on the leg with the splint, and he's over compensating on the "good leg"
One more thing for me to worry about... Thanks Sante!
Anyway, I took Sante back into the paddock, and just did friendly, and helicopter games (am working on my New assessments) after a few minutes, i sat on the ground and just let him graze.. After a while of that, he started to wander away, so i got up to go over to him. Not quite sure what happened, but he spooked and ran off.. with his 12ft lead rope trailing behind him.
He's in a paddock the size of about 10 football fields put together, complete with hills, fallen trees and lots of obstacles... I was slightly worried..
But i calmly walked after him, calling & whistleing to him in a calm manner.. He periodically stood on the leadrope, and he had to think about which foot to move to get himself unstuck, which i'm proud to say, helped him go Left Brained, and not launch into a full Right Brain Extrovert episode. I got within about 30 metres of him, and was able to disengage his hindquarters and get him to face up. He locked his ears on me, and waited for instructions.
I laughed at him and wandered over with my hand outstreched, and he was quite happy to let me approach him (normally he fears that he's "done something wrong" and loses confidence.. the approach I use never ceases to blow his mind). I rubbed on him a bit, and took a really deep breath, exhaling with a big slow "snort". Sante followed suite. Niiiice. :)
So we stayed where we were. I took his halter and leadrope off, and sat in a patch of nice green grass, and picked grass for him for the next 10 minutes. It was really awesome. After a while of that, I just lay down and decided to let him wander off... but he didn't.
Normally when i put him back in the paddock - even when i try to do undemanding time, he wanders off - its like "Thanks - see ya later" and off he goes, but today he was just happy to be around me. He even got to a point where he grazed a certain distance, realized he'd gone to far, turned around and came back! He did this for about another 20 minutes.
Eventually i got up, gave him a big rub, and left the paddock.
It was just a really beautiful session for us. And i really needed to spend some undemanding time with him, not so much for his benefit .. but mine.
To say I am passionate about horses is an understatement. I live and breath them. I've been crazy about them since before i can remember. At 26 I finally got my own horse, I started the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program with him straight away. The results speak for themselves. I beleive in relationship based communications between horse & human, a relationship based on love, language & leadership in equal doses. A relationship that Parelli has got down Pat :)
Principles, purpose, and time are the tools of teaching
Pat Parelli's 41 P's
Pat Parelli proudly presents his programs and the proclamation that prior and proper preparation prevents P-poor performance particularly if polite and passive persistence is practiced in the proper position. This perspective takes patience, from process to product, from principle to purpose. The promise that Pat plans to prove is that practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect, and it is peculiar how prey animals perceive people as predators and not partners.