Visit from a Parelli trainer

Jane&Ziggy

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Apr 30, 2010
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Charlie was brought up doing Parelli style natural horsemanship, and I wanted to be sure that I wasn't confusing him with the way I asked for things, so I got in touch with our local Parelli trainer and she came today for her first visit.

She is a very nice, down to earth, no nonsense person whose full time job is being a police officer with a specialism in terrorism! So feisty youngsters are not worrying to her.

She liked Charlie a lot and was very helpful. I had a long list of things to do - getting him to lead as well as he did when I tried him, picking up feet (he's being really difficult about it), staying out of my space, walking through narrow gaps... The list goes on. On the way in to the field I showed her where I got stepped on, which is the little steep narrow section of path just heading up to the gate.

He was easy to catch as usual. She was delighted to find that he adores being scratched, and we had a fun five minutes finding out which parts of Charlie produced the funniest faces (chest, base of tail, and poll, just so you know).

We soon established that he was absolutely fine with moving his shoulders, quarters and pretty much any part of him at close range and on a fairly light cue (she said he was level 2, sort of skin contact pressure). Then I did some leading. To begin with he trailed along. She said I should move with more purpose, look at him less (not at all in fact), give him clear cues, and showed me how to flick with the string behind me (and him) if he didn't respond. Within minutes he was leading beautifully, matching my speed and staying at my shoulder. It was such a pleasure to feel that I had his full attention! She suggested that I could scratch him at his poll or on his neck if he was walking along nicely, and that was surprisingly easy to do. We also did a practice with the long end of the rope trailing, so it got under his feet and around his legs, and he was calm and careful about it. He did some nice licking and chewing at this point and seemed very happy to be working.

Then we did walking through narrow things. She got two coloured poles and moved them closer and closer together and we negotiated themL first he and I together, then me leading from the outside and him walking through, then me walking through first and bringing him through behind me. He was very good! Such a difference working with a horse who's not frightened of the equipment - Ziggy could never pass a coloured pole without a shudder. After that we put one end of the poles up on blocks to simulate a gully (she is local so knows exactly the sort of terrain I will meet) and he was good again. He led easily through the poles towards the blocks. When I led him towards the block end of the obstacle, he stopped and had a little think but after about 10 seconds walked easily through when I asked him, such a good boy.

When we finished I put his fly mask on and took off his halter, but he had no intention of leaving us. He stuck around to get more scratches. I didn't take photos during the session because I was working! But here is one of him accepting a nice bottom rub from his trainer, clearly relaxed and enjoying himself, 'scuse the dangling willy:

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We both liked her and I've asked her to come back and do another session with us. I felt so much happier about Charlie afterwards, he was lovely.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Just to add, in the picture you can see the little bulge on his neck just below his jaw. I wish I knew what it was...
 

domane

Gracie's mum
Jul 31, 2005
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Sounds like a lovely session and I hope it gives you more confidence with your handling of him. Youngsters do like to push their boundaries!

Do you mean this place? His "underneck"?

Screenshot_20190808-155615_Chrome-600x725.jpg

If that's what you are referring to, it just looks to me like he's eaten out of haynets a lot and developed muscles in the wrong place. Gracie has an underneck because I can't feed loose hay/from a Haybar or she wastes loads!
 

Pete's Mum

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Jun 4, 2014
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What great update :) So glad you are feeling more positive and have things to work on now.

Who was your trainer @Jane&Ziggy? I thought we might be close enough to use the same one, but don't think it is judging by the photo's! I can highly recommend the Savvy Club for additional help and ideas between lessons - I've found it a life saver sometimes :)
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Very glad you had the Parelli - and some help with teaching your boy. Possibly the same as people on our yard have used.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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@Pete's Mum Her name is Sarah Ryan,. She has a good reputation locally. I don't know how far she travels as she can only practice when she is not on shift!

@domane yes that's what I'm looking at. Ziggy had a bulgy under neck from working with his head in the air and his back hollow all the time, and with better work it went away. But this little pouchy thing is not like muscle, it is sort of floppy. I am puzzled by it.
 

Huggy

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What a good boy! Nice introduction to his new life with you, lucky little fella!
 

newforest

You learn as much from failure, as you do success
Mar 15, 2008
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Glad you got on well with your session.

I found this sentence interesting "She suggested that I could scratch him at his poll or on his neck if he was walking along nicely, and that was surprisingly easy to do"
Mine will bite and mean it if you touch her when leading/ bites other horses ridden alongside.
She has a big personal space at the sides when moving.
I got marked down in a horsemanship class for the space between us, that's because I don't want to be eaten!!! To me I am respecting her space - it's a two way street.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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I think it must depend on the horse @newforest . I always used to walk along beside Ziggy with my hand on his crest, and he didn't mind. Charlie positively welcomes being touched at any time, and leans slightly into my hand if I stroke his neck while leading him.

The thing I found the hardest is not looking at the horse while I'm leading. To me that's one of the pleasures of leading a horse: looking at him and thinking, "Look, there's my horse." Perhaps I am just sad.
 

newforest

You learn as much from failure, as you do success
Mar 15, 2008
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Your focus is where you are looking and the direction you are going.
Later on looking at him can move him.
 

Skib

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The not looking has to be seen in context. The video shows leading in a field. Walk, Halt and turn too. But only in walking forward is the eye of Parelli on the direction where he intends to go. It signals the horse to follow.
Leading on a road one may need to be at the shoulder Jane and to watch the horse. Both the head and the rear end - to keep the entire length of the horse to one side of the road or track.

It really worries me how NR people employ an expert (she isnt on the Parelli list) and then accept their total authority. No one (Parellii or otherwise) ever told me I mustnt look at the horse, not if I wanted to. If I am walking away in a given direction, then I dont want to.

But it is up to you what you do Jane. You have a high ranking degree and human intelligence - both of which the horse lacks.You are calling the shots.
 

Pete's Mum

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I personally find it worrying when one makes assumptions such as anyone doing NH has totally bowed to another person and will never have an independant thought when it comes to horsemanship again. It's codswallop ;)

I didn't read into her message that Jane was told she must never look at her horse again whilst leading just in this scenario, to help this particular issue, looking forward and not back at said horse, will help. Which judging from the update, it did.

Often trainers don't want to confuse their pupil, mindful of the fact they have to put into practise what they've taught in their absence - and then will expand on variations of a theme at a later date, when more relevant. Clear, practical advice is much more helpful IMHO than too many ideas to muddy the watets and leading to confusion.

Jane, you are doing great :)
 
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Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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Aw, what a lovely update. My first session with Raf was very similar and my old RI was also a police officer (not Parelli, she was BHS qualified but had a very open mind to training, having worked with trainers such as Mark Rashid). I think leading nicely is one of the most useful things you can teach a horse. In my limited experience I haven't seen a lot of actual formal training to lead - established horse people seem to be able to just command the right sort of respect form the horse, so that it leads about more or less nicely anyway, and if it plays up later it might get the leadrope round it's nose or a more severe headcollar put on etc.

Without boasting (much :p ) I have to say that Raf is the nicest horse to lead on the yard, the YO even lets her child relatives bring him in, which is pretty unheard of for ultra safety conscious YO.

A bit premature for Charlie perhaps, but we incorporated me climbing on things (eg barrel, mounting block) as part of the leading training, so that Raf understood the same conditions applied when I was trying to mount from any random object, ie I stop (be it on the ground or precariously balanced on top of a gate), and he stands still. I have to be honest and say Raf was probably taught all this before I got him, but as a new and very inexperienced young horse owner I had let his manners get a bit lax - I thought it was cute that he wanted to stand so close to me all the time :p

You and Charlie are going to have such fun, I'm jealous a little bit :D
 

Mary Poppins

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When I lead Ben I love to look at him. I am so proud of him and love interacting with him. However, he is often very stop and start to lead, which is probably because I am always looking at him and hugging him! So I admit it is mainly my fault that he leads badly. If I had a baby I would probably learn to do things properly, but Ben and I are both far too set in our ways now.
 
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newforest

You learn as much from failure, as you do success
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There is no right or wrong way, with many paths to Rome, how you get there is up to you.

Mine was familiar with Clint Anderson methods plus others etc, but it became apparent to me early on that carrying on like this didn't suit her. So I did something else, it's not rocket science. It's about what works for both of you, that both of you are happy with.

@horseandgoatmom previous lad was really good at traveling circles. But this lass has never done it.
 

horseandgoatmom

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Ohh yes thats sooo true..
I do a little of what I like and what works
FROM MANY TRAINERS

No one trainer has the magic training method or piece of training equipment.

I'm lucky to get a lot of trainers shows on
RFD TV channel.

A new show that started last year
Sure in the saddle.. Steve landvit.

The first one liked right off
He used trees etc out in a field as obstacles.

He will be at equine affair this year.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Apr 30, 2010
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Don’t worry @Skib, I make up my own mind about things. I do know though they that I am too soft with my horses and trainers always point this out to me!