Thursday, 21 June 2012

Level 1 Parelli Clinic at Nebo


Last weekend I spent a fantastic two days at a Parelli clinic at Nebo, about an hour from Mackay.  The clinic was run by Parelli instructors Carmen Smith and Rob McAuliffe.

As it has been around 12 years since I last attended a Parelli clinic, I started again with level 1.  The games have changed a bit, and the progress seemed a bit slower than I remember – we didn’t ride at all during the two days – but so thorough.  My aim for the weekend was to really connect with Tana, and after two days of games, I feel that I did.

Both Carmen and Rob are very inspirational, as well as seeming like really lovely people.  Carmen was my main instructor, as Rob worked mainly with the higher level students,  and the way she could get any horse to listen to her within  a matter of seconds was amazing.  Here she is with Tana.


I have been very motivated to work my way through the Parelli program online, and have been paying the games with Tana this week and working my way through the online tasks.  Today as well as a figure of 8 around two cones we worked on circling and touching things with her nose (zone 1) during the driving game.  They both need a little more work, but Tana is very good at backing up, and I sent her backward though a gate and between a tractor and a fence with no problems.

Tana was definitely more relaxed on the trail ride today, and much more responsive to me.  I rode out with a friend and her horse (Saxon, an ex-racehorse), who had also attended the Nebo clinic, and both horses were great. We had no issues at all, and I rode Tana on a very loose rein most of the time.  She loved going through the dam, and had a big splash.  After our ride we took the horses back to the dam for a play.

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Saxon loved it!  Tana splashed but didn’t roll, which had been my worry when I was riding her.  She did eat a bit of pond weed though!

Another fabulous day (it’s Show Day here so a day off) and more motivated than ever to progress with the Parelli Program. 

Deb xx

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Long Weekend of Riding & Puppies

It’s a long weekend here, for the Queen’s Birthday, and what a better way to celebrate than by doing something the Queen loves – horse riding!

I went on another trail ride yesterday, after a bit of work in the round pen and grooming.  I even got all of the burrs out of Tana’s mane – baby oil works wonders!

When I arrived the ponies and Tana were all happily grazing in the paddock, as a large eagle soared overhead and landed in a tree above them.  I managed to take a photo.


L_R Tana, Presence, Biggles and Spirit (eagle in top corner).

And I get to go riding again today – yeah!

I have only managed to get one of the girls to come with me, as we have a little distraction in our house.


Diva the border collie puppy arrived yesterday, and is 8 weeks old.

I have set up a puppy play pen in the lounge room, with her house, water and toilet.  We have a huge amount of Parvovirus around at the moment, so she isn’t allowed outside until after her 12 week shots. Having lost a puppy to parvo before we are a bit paranoid.


Of course with four children in the house she hasn’t spent much time in the play pen yet.  But she will when we are all off to work and school on Tuesday.  I plan to come home oat lunch time and check on her and feed her, and my eldest daughter gets home from school at 3pm, so she won’t be alone too long.

Last night she was quiet all night, and I was so impressed.  Then my ten year old told me she had slept with Diva on the couch most of the  time.  Not so impressed!

Anyway, wish us luck.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

First saddle & First trail ride


I found my perfect saddle! A swinging fender from HP Australia – on ebay for $600, and only used once.  It came with everything but the girth, including the saddle pad.  I borrowed a girth today, and had my first ride in my new saddle– and my first trail ride on Tana.


I am still getting used to girthing the western way, as there are no buckles like on English style saddles.  It is definitely very secure though.


The saddle is very comfy, and I felt very secure.  The weather was perfect and we had a lovely ride, at just a walk and very relaxed.  Tana did well, even when we met some cows, and she splashed through the edges of the dam quite happily.  

I have ordered a girth, monkey grip and saddle bag from HPs website.  I have also ordered a fly/shadecloth rug for Tana off ebay to help keep some of the burrs off her.  Even though it’s winter here it not’s very cold – the days are t-shirt friendly and the nights don’t get below 7 C.  I am not really a rug person, but these burrs are horrible.  The rug is also great for keeping off bugs, including ticks, and acts as a sunscreen.  I also aim to get her a face mask in a few months to protect her white blaze from the sun.

Anyway, hopefully the rain will stay away and I will get to ride again on Saturday.  Mind you I will be a little busy – we have a new four legged family member on the way.  Watch this space!


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Buying my first saddle


It’s a difficult choice, buying a saddle. Having been someone that has ridden horses whenever and wherever I could, I have ridden on many types of saddles common in Australia. I know there are many different types available world wide, and you can see a great collection at the Narrawin Stud Website. Do I have a favourite though?  Not really.

Traditional Western saddles are comfortable, but so heavy (anywhere from 35 to 70 lbs) , and seem to take ages to put on.  Some new lighter weight versions are available (25 to 32 lbs). The design was originally based on the Spanish saddle of the conquistadors, which in turn came from the Moors who had conquered Spain, and then modified over generations by  Spanish and Mexican Vaqueros or charros - the first America cowboys.


All purpose, English style saddles are lighter, and quite comfy, but I don’t always feel secure. they were designed specifically to allow the horse freedom of movement, whether jumping, running, or moving quickly across rugged, broken country with fences, for things such as fox hunting, hacking and military use.

Stock saddles are a bit of a mix of both, and feels a bit more secure than the all purpose saddle with knee pads, panels and fenders, larger stirrups, and deeper seat and higher cantle.  I do have a stock horse, so this may be the saddle with the best fit too.


I do love the idea of the Parelli hybrid saddle, but at nearly $4000 I might wait a bit. 

HP Australia also has a great swinging fender saddle which looks similar, and is a bit cheaper at around $1,400, and is said to have a very secure seat. 

I am keeping an eye out for a second hand saddle on ebay to start off with.  My conditions are size (17 inch for my large bum), and preferably black and under $700.  That’s about it.  I’ll post an update soon.

Happy trails, Deb

A sunny day, chooks & a new paddock


Finally a sunny day.  I spent an hour getting mud off Tana, and then an hour recovering from an asthma attack caused by all the dust.  But at last she’s clean.  We rode in the arena and up and down the little nearby hill for about an hour.  The moveable chook pen concerned  her a little, so we attacked it from different angles, and after riding had another look and a graze nearby.  I think she’s over her fear!


I spent time getting to know her, as she’s only been here a few weeks, and with her sore leg we haven’t done much riding.  We even did a little trotting, and I felt quite secure in the swinging fender saddle I was using.  Not mine, but I have bought one on ebay and it should be here soon.   Exciting!

After our ride I gave her a hose down, seeing it was such a sunny day. She didn’t mind the hose at all, and even drank from it.  Then it was into her new paddock.  It’s larger, and with less mud, and has some paddock mates – miniatures Presence and Toby.


They have been on opposites sides of the fence for a few weeks, so hopefully they will get on alright.  Tana certainly felt right at home.


It will be interesting to see if she is still easy to catch in this new paddock.  I’ll find out soon!

Happy trails,