Thursday, January 22, 2009 confused

I really must do some research on the age old question of what training technique works best. My BO is a die hard Parelli fan. She's been helping me with Grace and doing the level 1 games.

So tonight we are working on the friendly game...she's doing great. Standing while the whip whirls around her...doing great no flinch...all fantastic. Look at me, pretty dang good I think. So good that now I can't get her to move out, at all. ( Doh! we had just gotten her doing REALLY well off of hand movement and sometimes a little help from the whip) and now...nothing. So again I'm not overly familiar with the techniques ect so when I asked BO what the heck do I do now. She comes out with 'the' Parelii lead rope and carrot stick...and then proceeds to show me how you smack the horses on the shoulder to get them moving...I'm like WHAT? I just spent an hour getting her to not be afraid of the whip, and stand while I whip it around her, and you're going to smack her with it? Head Spinning...

I guess I just don't get it....please someone help me out here...I'm sure it works but I'm just not understanding how.

Tonight we worked with the bit in for most of the time we were in the arena...she's doing great with that. She's also standing tied pretty well. So all in all a good evening at Da Barn.


  1. Ah had to come back a few times before your blog would let me post.

    Is your friend not explaining all of Parelli that well? She is doing it correctly it sounds like. do you have any Parelli lit? It can be confusing at first, hang in there, it sounds like your mare had a little defiance, and Taping her on the shoulder whith the string is not going to make her scared of it again. What you may not have seen are the cues your friend gave her before she demanded she do as asked, politely of course. ie hand signal, body signal, before she got her with the string.

    I have a very dominant and defiante mare and sometimes it takes being boss like this to get her to do as I ask, it is called phases in Parelli speak , phase 1, 2, 3, 4. 3 and 4 are used more when you begin, until the horse realizes what you want, example 3 might be just hitting the ground with the string, 4 hitting the shoulder, see? 1 would be eyes and body language, 2 would be a finger point, it take a long time to get that far, at first.
    I hope I helped a little, when you start you have to be boss, no namby pamby K.
    good luck on your journey.
    sorry about the long post.

  2. maybe you skerred her wif your eyebrows?

    No, kidding. You know I love NH for its brain working activities, but I am not a kool aid drinker. Sometimes you got to put the Carrot stick down and do some real work.

    Just my opinion.

  3. JP1, as you know I am a little sensitive about da brows...but you are probably right she was scared stiff while looking at me. That must be the answer to why she wouldn't move last night...wiping tears. ;-) Not sure I'm a drinker of the cool aid either. Interesting reading though.

  4. Oh Cowgirls don't cry. Ok FINE, Sorry about the eyebrow comment. It was just a theory :)

  5. I'm not a kool-aid drinker either and I think if you're going to do it, you should get lessons from someone who really knows what they are doing and can explain everything to you as they do it -- the whys, hows, whats, whens, etc. It sounds like the BO may not be a good teacher, at least not for you.

    I don't get the whip thing. If I taught my horse to just stand there when the whip is whirling around, I wouldn't be able to lunge him. On that same note, he's not afraid of it. I can carry it with us and if it touches him he doesn't notice or care.

    So, what is the point of the whip exercise? Do tell!

  6. Julie,

    I guess the point is to desensitize her to it. Which she really does need because she is ubber sensitive. I guess it also helps her to spook in place. She is really bonded to me and will try and hide behind me (not agressively or uncontrolably but just sneaks behind me to hide) when anyone else is working her or if I'm doing something that makes her uncomfortable. It's helping her to know that it's not going to eat her and it's okay to spook but just not to move. What I'm getting from it is that she will learn from my body language what I want her to do. Eventually I won't/shouldn't need the whip to make her move. My body language should be enough.

    The next step is to put a big plastic bag on the end of the stick and wave it around and get her to not move then either...very strange. I need to learn a little more..I guess it's a game of trust and respect. Mostly trust.

    If that makes any sense.

  7. Ok Obi-Wan.

    Here is the 2 cents from JP1. You can desensitize until the the gdmn cows come home, she'll spook one day and not the next like any horse. Take the opportunity to do that work as it comes, don't forgo real work with PREP WORK. Star spooked at an orange recycle bin once. So I humped it back to the barn and we spent the next 20 minutes loving the orange bin. Did I prepare her in advance for the orange bin? Nope.. If you over prepare you never get down to the real task at hand. Set a small weekly goal, towards the actual goal of actually getting her broke under saddle. Learn from your mistakes and move on, you've got years ahead of you, don't try and get her desensitized to the whole world right this minute! one day plastic sack, the next recycle bin :)

  8. JP1, I love you dearly...and yes I am your padawon...I agree wholeheartedly with your comment. At this point I'm just trying to get her to trust. I agree with setting the weekly goals and maybe I should be doing that here. It can be very overwelming when you have a horse that doesn't trust. As you well know.

    Big kiss and not forgiveness needed..

  9. I really need to read/watch more about the Parelli methods. Not because I plan to do it, but so many people do, so it makes me curious.

    It makes sense to expose your horse to things, teach them how to deal with it and instill confidence in them. Along with that, the human needs to be the leader so the horse can look to them for guidance. If you're not afraid, the horse shouldn't be afraid, etc.

    I have personally always gone a similar route to JP in that if it happens, we make sure to deal with it, and usually not more than one time. I've exposed my horses to as much as I could and we ended up having a great partnership as they trusted me and knew I would not lead them into danger. Most of this I did through riding, trails, shows, new exercises, etc. It seems like it's something that happens over time with horses and riders, so is Parelli sort-of speeding things up by actually placing scary things in front of them?

    Maybe this is good for her while you can't really do much else with her as far as exposing her to new things. It would be really cool to pick one thing each week to expose her to and work on with her. You should have JP show you how to do showmanship! It's a good way to work with a horse on the ground.

    What do you do when she hides behind you? How is she when someone else is working with her and you're not there? When are you going to back her? Inquiring minds want to know!


    I loved your post...and I think that the BO isn't really explaining the Why to me. I just don't the the desensitize and then smack her with it..very odd method. If there is some reason for it then I guess I just need to know. Just seems confusing to the horse.

    What are you sorry for..don't ever be sorry! Loved your comment and your blog!

    When she hides behind me I move out and make her stand or make her back if she's in my space.

    I don't know what she does when other people work her when I'm not there. I don't think anyone ever has. Oh wait. I think the BO did one time when the weather was super bad. And she was a spazzz...When people work her and I am there she constantly looks to me to save her. She really doesn't pay attention to anyone without some extra pulls on the lead and then it's fleeting.

    hmmm when am I going to back her...that is a very good question. I planned to back her this summer. But then my trainer disappeared and we had to move barns and my plans went out the window. I'm not as young as I used to be so when I get the nerve is when I'll back her. You wanna help Julie? ;-)

  11. Me? Help? You must be insane! But, I wish you all the luck in the world!