The horse's pasture to the East...

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Sometimes things happen. Last Monday I did a number on my back. It isn't really very serious, but I had muscle spasms that kept me from being able to walk or get out of a chair. I back (pun intended!) tracked to what I probably did. I threw hay bales. BIG MISTAKE. It wasn't something I needed to do. I could have waited for help, but ohhhhhhh nooooooooo...had to do the pride thing and do it myself.

Lesson learned. I haven't been able to play very actively with Lucky at all this week, or even take care of all my chores by myself. I even had to call my husband home from work to take me in to get things checked (scared myself silly. Thought I'd done something to my back.) when I couldn't get up out of my chair.

I promise to do my best to remember to swallow my over sized pride from now on and ASK FOR HELP. Ever so often I have to hit my head on the wall hard enough to do damage, to get these little messages that life sends me through this thick, stubborn skull of mine.

Not being able to do, do, do like I usually do (love playing with words like that! You can almost hear that bosanova beat, can't you?) has forced me in to a quieter place, a more Zen kind of place. Maybe I did this on purpose, trying to slow myself down? If I did, it wasn't a conscious choice. But the inner me sometimes finds ways to slow down the outer me, the brainiac who takes over. I call her the "Evil Aries Nancy". She's hyper goal oriented, snotty, boastful, puffed up and driven. Most of the time I have her under control, but last week she got the better of me and now I'm paying for it. sigh. Lesson learned the hard way.

I've spent this last week in a legally drug induced state (don't much care for that either), drifting through my days. I get things done, but at a very slow and deliberate pace. Lucky and Apache love that, by the way. About all I can do is go out and be with them, maybe groom the upper part of their bodies and then just hang like a leaf. I've been walking with the help of one of my hiking sticks, one I bought nearly thirty years ago in the Grand Canyon. It's made from the heart of a saguaro cactus by the Havasupi (Native Americans who live in the bottom of the canyon).

It's old and worn and kind of greasy and dirty where my hands and my sons hands, as little boys, used it. It's one of my "old friends". We've shared a lot of miles, that stick and I. John calls it my "Yoda Stick". I hobble out to the pasture and just stand there on the top of the hill, watching the pond, the grass, sky...whatever strikes my fancy. I'm not there for very long by myself. Lucky, Apache and Willow end up next to me, grazing and watching too. In that amazing Zen kind of way that horses (and donkeys. Willow would be quite upset if I didn't say that.) do, we just exist in the moment. No thinking or worrying, just standing and being.

Both of them, at one time or another, have come up to "groom me" on my back too. They rub their nose and teeth gently back and forth right where it hurts. How do they know where to rub? I can't answer that, but both of them did. I just relaxed back in to it and ... didn't think. I've done that every day now for six days. And I think I've discovered something, or at least re-realized it.

Remember the section in your old Level One pack that suggests you spend a 1/2 hour doing nothing with your horse...just sit on a box or blanket and do nothing? Try it in their pasture, their space on their terms in their time. And do it with no itinerary, no time line (you don't have to be under the influence of a drug to enjoy it either.) and no reason except just to breath and be. It's magic!

Do any of us allow ourselves time to do that anymore? If I take anything away from this, it will be that one thing. Don't forget to just "be" with your stand and watch the world and breath. I found places inside myself that I'd forgotten about...places that I went to when I was a child and time had a different flow to it.

I think I'm becoming addicted to this "flow", this state of Zen. I haven't felt this good, even with a sore back, in more years than I can count (and today I'm not using the drugs either, so it's not that). And Lucky and Apache? "All of a sudden, for no reason at all" my draw is like glue! We've become a true herd. They've been following me everywhere, and softly too. I love the huge sighs and back rubs.

Does it get any better than this? Yes....and Zen some.

I am ever yours, Nancy Yoda, meditating my way through my days...and smiling.

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's nearly the end of October. I love this month. The weather changes daily along with the trees and grasses. For an artist, it's a true color fest. The skies are full of color with grey, blue and white, yellow, pink and purple clouds. The wind blows and things rustle, keeping it VERY interesting for Lucky and I when we're out together. This morning it was a huge truck driving up that made it exciting and unexpected for us.

We were out working up and down along the drive, one of the few places we have here that is level. I use it for Weaving, Figure Eight's, Falling Leaf and some of the other more complicated Patterns when we're warming up. Later we go out into the fields where it's all hills and valleys, holes, dips and rocks. Keeps us all fit.

We were up next to the dumpster playing games (it's one of his 'humpy monsters') when this huge truck comes up the drive. Now Lucky's an old veteran of trail rides, so he wasn't too concerned, but he was fascinated. We turned in behind the truck and played Approach and Retreat up the drive, following behind as the driver turned in at the house.

Last week the Foreman of the team that were going to be working on our curvy gravel road had stopped by to ask if I wanted the dirt from the grading they were going to do. Talk about synchronicity! Just the weekend before John and I had been going over our meager budget, trying to figure out how to afford to have some dirt hauled out to our place to fill in the back of the dry lot where the rains from the past two years have caused some erosion. I love it when things work out like that.

The driver of the truck was a young woman I'd met last year. She knew I had horses and wanted to ask about the dirt before she dropped it off. It had a lot of rocks in it. I showed her what I wanted to use it for and she agreed that it wouldn't be useful if it had too many rocks in it. She took it on up the road to the next place and will bring the not so lumpy loads to me. She watched in her back mirrors while I played with Lucky down the drive as she drove in. I even played some Sideways down the side of the truck, just little steps, while we talked. I arced him around us while we talked dirt and rocks, trucks and horses. It was an interesting morning with another opportunity to give out one of my little pieces of paper that had written on them. (She'd asked about what I was she could learn and would I teach her.) You never know where the seeds will sprout or the ideas will find the opportunity to grow.

But that's not what I wanted to tell you about today. It was supposed to be a story about Apache, my Left Brained Extrovert, and John (a Left Brained Introvert and my husband). John is working with Apache now. He took over when I told him I was having a hard time keeping up with both of our complicated horses. He's fully committed too, reading books, doing research and watching videos. He and Apache had their first completely on their own adventure yesterday.

He told me he was going in to the living room to sit down and read the new book that just came, a book by Dr. Miller, DVM, about Natural Horsemanship. When he looked out the kitchen window, Apache was standing there staring at him from the paddock, waiting. He set the book down and answered the call by going to get him and take him on their first Walk About...just like that!

He and Apache stopped at the door to my downstairs study to knock and show me what they were doing. Talk about surprise! I opened the door and there was my big, beautiful seal bay Curly looking at me and John standing next to him with a huge smile on his face because they were out on their own without me and Lucky! Huge step for both of them! Best thing was that it was working too. Apache had been pretty nervous without being able to see me or Lucky, at least up until yesterday. But, in that way that horses have, he was confident because John was confident. Working together for three months while they learned the Games and built the relationship helped too. John had set themselves up for success by taking the time that it takes.

I stood there and watched from the little stoop next to the door as the two of them took off across the pasture in to uncharted territories, walking and playing through the long grass, up over the terraced hills. Apache walked with John, head down, ears following John. They looked like they'd been out walking those fields for years together, like it was old home week and they were just out for a stroll. I saw so many of the Qualities, Keys, Responsibilities and Principals going on between the two of them, it would be hard to write them all down. Maybe the best one to describe them would be #5, Qualities of a Horseman... "Attitude and Focus. Positive, Progressive and Natural." The two of them together were a walking, living, breathing example of everything we've been working so hard to learn and practice.

I let them be. Lucky and I went out on our own journey, with Willow following us. When we all came back to the barn after dark, the lead between John and Apache had no tension in it at all. They are partners now and I am one proud 'Mom'!

I know I keep saying this, but it just doesn't get any better than that!

Nancy, smiling so big it makes my cheeks hurt!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


So I was wondering around in my head today, trying to decide what to write. It isn't that I'm not inspired. It's more like I'm overwhelmed. When you are working on desensitizing a horse to stimuli, you flood them with information until they realize it isn't going to kill them...until they relax. Horses think that nearly everything is going to kill them. Not so long ago, in geological terms, that would have been true too.

I don't think everything is going to kill me. But sometimes my circuits do get just a bit blown with everything that I'm learning. My head feels like it's bulging. I wish I could remember who it was that wrote "it hurts so good". It's a lyric in a rock and roll number from my oh so distant past. And it explains exactly how I feel today...sort of dreamy and blown away with everything that I'm doing.

I'm in that category of folks that is, unfortunately, growing. No job and too much education. Not so bad if you love to learn...and I do love to learn! Pinches a bit in the pocket book, but that keeps me motivated. I heard an artist once say that they do better when they're really hungry. I agree. It takes my creativity and motivation up several notches.

You're wondering what this has to do with horses? Everything, at least for me. When I am with them, just being or playing games (ala Parelli) or doing chores, my creativity, my ability to visualize, to tell a good story or to draw or paint goes up at an exponential rate. Sometimes I feel like the Mother Ship is up there doing a huge download in to my head. " Auggghh...I'm bulging here. Give me a chance to digest and assimilate."

I've started keeping pads and notebooks out in the barn with me because I loose a lot of what comes to me by the time I get in here to the keyboard. My sons have been helping me with tech possibilities, but we're living in the boonies here, so our connection to the internet is iffy at best much less writing from my dusty barn or 'off the beaten path' pastures. I counted this morning. I have six full notebooks out there, covered in cobwebs and dust. I keep them in the area where I fix grain, so there's a bit of horse slobber in the mix. (Somehow apt, don't you think?) Tech stuff, as much fun as it is to learn how to use, will have to wait. No worries. I'd rather spend my time grooming or playing or getting dirty.

Lucky and I danced again last night. We stayed out until after dark, playing in the arena, exploring the back fields. When we go on a walk-about now, it's always one that I control. He takes me but I tell him how to get there (Traveling Circles, Falling Leaf, Weaving, Figure Eight's, Point to Point...anything that I can think of to keep him guessing.). Slowly, slowly I'm figuring out how to BALANCE (that's #8, Qualities of Horseman) his needs and mine. I'm not as intimidated by the TOOLS (#3, 7 Keys to Success) as I was and rarely get tangled anymore. Lucky, Left Brain Introvert and funny horse that he is, has learned how to step on the rope so he doesn't have to go. "Oh no! I can't move. I'm stuck. Guess I should keep eating." I laugh a lot when I'm with him. No wonder I feel so good out there!

No grass diving last night. That's a first for us! He put his head down to eat when I got us to our destination, playing whatever game we were focused on. His Traveling Circles were especially soft and easy. We floated down the hillside to the backyard. He did three Circles for me, no rope tangles or sticky feet either. Best part was that he stopped to touch me before he went for his reward...the lovely, long, silky grass under the Broken Oak (the tree we named our place after).

By the time we reached his paddock, it was dark and the moon was up and Lucky was almost purring, like one of the barn cats he loves to hang out with. When we stopped in the paddock, always at the same place, he let out this long, soft siggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh. I'm cheating when I play with the word like that, but it was so soft and long and perfect, it's the only way I could write it out.

I took his halter and lead off, but he was so hooked on he didn't want to stop, didn't want me to leave without him. So I didn't. I stayed and gave him a massage, scratched him on his itchiest spots. By that time John and Apache were in and Willow was out of her shed stall, asking for her share of the attention too. It was just about as perfect as an evening can get.

Afterwards I had a hard time getting myself to slow down so I could sleep, my head was so busy. Lucky, idea generator and initiator of Love, Language and Leadership.

"Whoooo ahhh!" ( a line from movie that I can't remember the title from, but remember the phrase from. Helpful, aren't I?) Are we having fun yet? All the time people...all the time.

I am ever yours, Nancy with the bulgy head and bugs in my teeth...from smiling, of course!

Monday, October 18, 2010


What a weekend we've had here in OZ. The weather's been perfect...70's and clear. I love this time of year. I can get so much done without the heat and humidity to slow me down.

I've been experimenting again. (No surprise there!) Saturday I decided to try turning the herd OUTSIDE (my way of saying outside the fences...big deal to them, so it has to be in caps) in the evening before grain.

Talk about excitement! They knew what I was going to do when they saw me with the ropes I use to put up the temporary 'fence' that keeps them back from the road. It was a full out gallop from the back of their pasture...eyes sparkling, ears forward and "Whooo hooo hooo'ing" from Lucky, who loves to talk even more than I do.

I opened the gate and out they came, stopping long enough to touch my hand and to take off jumping, running and bucking into their long space OUTSIDE. It's hilly, like nearly all of our property is, so they look like ships in a rocky sea, disappearing in the valleys and reappearing on the hills. Every time they came to the top of the hill, Apache did a star buck straight up. Lucky was having too much fun running to worry about exuberant jumps. He just wanted to stretch out and go!

John came home part way through chores, so we finished together while we talked about the day. The days are shorter, so I was only able to leave them out for about an hour. I wouldn't worry about them, but Willow was with them and we have lots of predators out here who might find her a tasty little morsel. And it's hunting season too. I don't want some hunter, who's sneaking around on the preserve, accidentally shooting at my horses. It's happened before across the road. Never want to go there again!

We sauntered out to bring them in. In the mornings they come in on their own because they know when it's time for grain. But this was new...being OUTSIDE in the evening... so no pattern is set. I whistled as I walked out with John. I have one I use just for them that mimics one of the song birds we have here in the Summer (easy to tell me apart from the birds since whistling is not my strong suit). John was going to walk in with Apache and me with Lucky. Willow usually follows us with no prompting.

Lucky came to me, no problemo. It's my reward...that draw. He comes ears forward and face soft. Even though I've said it over and over...THANK YOU PAT PARELLI! That's such a gift from a horse.

I have to stop here and tell you that I bought a new bit of equipment, this time for me. Running alongside Lucky has gotten harder for me, especially since he's so healthy now. He stretches those long legs of his and, even in an easy foxtrot, he can out pace me. He's getting better and better at matching himself to me, but when grain is in the offing he wants to go faster. Food is serious business to Lucky (*big grin here*). So last week I drove into town and went to the shoe store that all the serious athletes go to. They don't have riding boots, mores the pity. But they do have cross country running shoes made especially for running on rough ground. Around here that's mostly what we have...all pasture and gravel roads.

They also have this computerized platform that you can stand on to have your feet analyzed. Way cool! It shows whether you have a tendency to pronate (roll your feet to the outside) or not, what your arch is like, how your feet strike the ground and where the pressure points are. Shizaam! It shows you everything on a big monitor and then tells you whether or not you need to add anything to the inside of your running shoe to make your stride more efficient.

Was it expensive? Yupe. But it was not as expensive as going to a Podiatrist and buying those $800 pads for the inside of your shoes. In fact it was 10 times less expensive and more effective, in my humble layman's opinion. I used to run, when we lived in town, for exercise. Got really hooked on that runners high, but the injuries to my legs were the downside. Driving into town to run takes up too much time and fuel, so I haven't used that as my exercise for years.

Running out here was worse. And running in riding boots? Shin splints, cramps, hip injuries have become an issue. Everything is solvable though, so I spent the money and it's working! When we're doing Online or Liberty, it's cross country shoes and insoles every time from now on. Injuries are a thing of the past. I'd like to meet the person who designed the program that analyzes your stride and foot and shake his or her hand, maybe even give them a hug! The shoes are practically doing the running for me!

Back to the story...the long and short of it is that Lucky and I ran in to the barn together! I used my Savvy String around his neck, but didn't really need it. We had a blast! In fact, we had so much fun we did it again on Sunday morning and this time HE OFFERED! When it was time for grain, I whistled and he turned and came to me and asked the question. "Wanna run? Great day for it, don't you think?" Of course my answer was " I'm on board Big Kahuna! Let's rock!"

We started with a nice walk with him matching me! (This is so HUGE for us! It was at Liberty and he suggested it!) And, with just one little "cluck" I was able to take us up to his gait (he usually foxtrots or does a lateral pace) and then we came back down. We were doing transitions at Liberty with him matching me. It was a first for us at Liberty. Good thing is wasn't too buggy yet because I had a huge grin on my face as we came down the trail the whole length of the field. I would have had bugs in my teeth!

He even cantered into his paddock the last several paces. HUGE! (my favorite word for our breakthroughs, if you can't tell by now.) Part of the reason it worked for us was due to my new shoes . I was doing wind sprints with Lucky and not even breathing hard. The shoes were doing enough of the work for me that we were able to match our paces to each other. And no sore joints either.

I love this program! #3. TOOLS in the 7 Keys to Success was so important for us. YEEHAW! I've even gone back to jogging in the mornings again, in my own pastures. It just doesn't get any better than that!

I am, always yours, Nancy ... smiling!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I'm back...somewhat. We've had a bit of a glitch here in our computers. John's laptop had the LCD go out in the same week the desktop fell apart. We've jury rigged the laptop to the moniter and the tower is in the shop being analyzed. You should see the mess of wires! Things are snaking everywhere. The things we do to keep things going here.

We're in the use it once, use it twice and use it once again category...then take it apart and use it all over again. It's not a bad place to be actually, and keeps us stretching in creative ways we might not otherwise. It's a pretty tiny bump in the road. I put it in the "small stuff" category.

Speaking of bumps... Lucky and I have been playing every evening. The weather has been gorgeous here. It's been in the sixties or seventies everyday, so we're using it up and then some. He's been frisky too. I love it when the temperature's drop. It's so much easier on the horses, and us too for that matter.

I decided to take the idea of colored strings and levels out of my thinking and it's working! I go out with ideas about what we can do and think, at the same time, "Oh boy!" . He loves that! I swaney. I think horses must be psychic!

Since his Circle has been kind of crunched and dented, I decided not to do any circles at all...unless he offered. He's a Left Brained Introvert, so he loves a reason to do something and straight lines. Add in cool, Autumn grasses to munch while we listen to the "silence between the notes" and we've got something much closer to being a winner for motivation.

I think I'm beginning to get the idea of how to get into his head. He only tried to grass dive twice this evening and that was more like a habit than something he was serious about, maybe because he knew we were heading for an even nicer clump of grass?

We did all kinds of walk/stop transitions, walk/gait transitions (note to self: do research on how to begin to ask for each gait separately. He has three I've counted, so far.) and even some canter. Canter does not come easily to Lucky, so I was pretty excited when he offered it! I think that was a nice little breakthrough for us.

He's still not real keen on jumping barrels, but the cavaletti is acceptable. Guess the barrels look too imposing yet. No worries. I'll just keep making the space he goes through smaller and smaller. He has found out that they move, oh my. He pushed one of the barrels clear across the arena with these loud "BONK...BONK...BONK's". I wasn't about to stop him. I think both of us were laughing the whole time. I love it when his eyes get a twinkle in them.

We did do some Figure Eight's, Falling Leaf and Weaving on the way back to the barn. We're practicing all kinds of partial Circles when we do that, so I don't think his Circle is completely broken. It's just badly bruised. It needs to go through all of it's color changes (Black and blue to green and yellow, then a nice healthy pink) before we do more OFFICIAL CIRCLES. You'll have to imagine a kind of deep echoing voice saying that.

I've also gone back to the Round Corral with him twice because he wanted to. He took me there on his walk abouts. We didn't do anything inside. I sat on a box in the middle and let him be each time until he came to me with a soft face and asked a question. The first time it took nearly 40 minutes, lots of tension and pacing, nervous sweat and standing there looking like a board. The second time it took less than 25 minutes with some tension that he relieved with rolling in the sand.

Even if we don't use it as anything else, maybe the Round Corral will end up being a kind of therapy for him, to help him deal with whatever horror he relives when he's in there.

I was very careful not to go in with him unless his face was soft and he was willing. It really surprised me when he took me there. I need to think about that. Maybe he knows he needs to face it? I think I'm putting people thoughts into it, but I'm willing to go there when he wants to and to stay away otherwise. It's going to be fascinating to see what happens. Watching him work this out will be something we'll have to do for many years, I think. We'll take as many teeny, tiny steps as we need to.

I learned about the THREE LAWS this week. 1. Put the relationship first. 2. Foundation before specialization. 3. Never ending self improvement. It goes up on my board as soon as I have a way to print it out. In the meantime we'll keep working on that together, Lucky and I.

I remain yours, Nancy...smiling at you from Oz in the Autumn

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I've been reading several other BLOG's having to do with horses lately. I love the "new" forms of media and the way they keep me connected. Helps me a lot when I start to feel isolated with the issues that come up when I'm playing with Lucky. I used to say that he's a complicated horse. Now I say he's complicated like ALL horses , being the amazing sentient, emotional creatures that they are.

I love that "complicated" part too. Keeps me on my toes, forces me to focus and stay in the moment. Even better, when something doesn't go the way I thought it was going to, I'm beginning to learn the fine art of patience. Patience is the core of "being in the moment". You're beginning to see the circles in all of this, aren't you?

Several of the BLOG's I've read this week have to do with frustration and the methods those writers use to understand what's happening and why. I've read a few BLOG's having to do with horses that are not "Parelli". They're interesting, but not going in the same direction, so I probably won't go back to visit and read again. I'm looking for the SUPPORT, #7 in the Keys to Success. And, frankly, I just don't want to spend the energy and time on philosophies that don't help me along my path in a positive way.

The other "Parelli" folks (including the BLOG that is from Parelli Central where students and professionals from all over the world are writing about their that!) have been talking about the way "Parelli" is bleeding over into other parts of their lives. I'm sure of that. I was "Parelli" before I was "Parelli". I recognized Pat Parelli's statement that he's an "extreme middle of the roader" because I've been telling people that for years, especially if they asked me about my religious or political views.

Being an "extreme middle of the roader" means keeping yourself in BALANCE, #8 in the list of Qualities of a Horseman. (and a bit more of the circle is showing now...Circle being one of the Seven Games. See where I'm going?) If you are a middle of the roader, you are more open on all sides because you have to be aware of what other's are thinking and doing, which means you have to be in the moment and on your toes. (kind of like a carousel, isn't it? Circles can be fun if you see it as a Game.)

And this takes me back to Lucky and Circles. I've been having a bit of a struggle with him because his Circle is broken, or at least that's the way I've been thinking of it. In his previous home (I've back tracked to two of the barns he was at because I have a tendency to be curious about the "why's" of the things that happen. Maybe it's my way of convincing myself it isn't all my fault?) the methods used to "train" were ... ummm, don't want to put negative energy into this, but I'm at a loss for words here. They were abusive.

He was tied down and lunged to the point of exhaustion, and not just physical exhaustion either. It was done intentionally to break him mentally and emotionally. I asked and they told me, proudly too! I was told "that's the way it's always been done" and "it's the best thing you can do for him". So, I had my answers and went home. But I have to admit it was hard to keep myself in my "middle of the road" state. I had to pull off at a rest stop and get myself under control before I drove home. I couldn't see well and certainly wasn't focused on driving.

I decided to do NO circles at all until I was sure he wanted to. If we do anything, it will be partial circles in the form of Figure Eights, or Weaving or just to move from point A to point B (Point to Point) in curves. We aren't going into the Round Corral at all either. That's where his so called "training" went on.

I'm in the "middles" now with our games. Neither of us is a Beginner anymore, and we aren't anywhere near Finished. If someone else were watching us it would have been about as exciting as watching paint dry (which I like, by the way. I'm an artist. I've put in my 10,000 hours and then some of intentional practice, so learning how to use all of the different stages of drying paint in my work is just plain flat out FUN!). The last several evenings I've been focused on learning how to read all of the delicate changes that Lucky goes through. He's quite adept at hiding inside.

We're practicing lots of "silence between the notes" while we work our way through this together. I've been watching Liberty And Horse Behavior again. I think it's the central key to the whole teaching system that Pat and Linda Parelli are developing for us. If you can't learn to put yourself into the hoof prints of your horse, the rest of it is meaningless. It's just things to do. And that hooks into every list that Pat Parelli has come up with...the 8 Principals, the 8 Responsibilities, the 10 Qualities, the 7 Games and the 7 Keys.

IT'S ALL A CIRCLE! And that circle includes nearly everything I'm doing these days.

I could keep going round and round with this, connecting all the dots (remember learning the definition of a circle in math? It's an infinite number of points interconnecting. How interesting!) to make my point. But reading that would be like watching paint dry...again. (see above!)

My job now? It isn't to earn my strings anymore, at least not for now. It's to become a better partner for Lucky; to be more sensitive to his needs, emotions and the relationship. It's to work on every single one of those lists and to put OUR circle back together.

I remain ,always Nancy, yours with a lighter step...smiling.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I think I found my MOJO. I won't go in to lots of detail with this posting. I'll add more tomorrow.

I knew Lucky was going to test me today. He did. After our last couple of sessions where he "won" the games (he realized that he could pull the rope out of my hands. UH OH. ), I decided to keep our games in the "small" category. All we did were little, easy things in his beloved pasture...his safe zone. He knows every bump, rock, tree and blade of grass out there. I was trying to set us up for success by keeping it super low key, low pressure. All we did were walk-abouts, grooming and hang time.

Today I spent the day, in between chores and work, obsessing about our game time tonight. I tried to visualize every place we would go, everything that might happen...all the good, the bad and the ugly. I was playing the game of Inner Horse-Man_Ship with myself. I saw him pulling back, pulling away, running over me, rearing and me dealing with it with all the arrows I had to pull out of my quiver. Good thing that "quiver" is set up to be a never ending place to tuck my lessons in to! I saw me tripping, falling, rolling, bouncing. You name it, I played it in my head backwards and forwards.

I also saw myself being light and graceful, dancing with him. You'll love this part. I even saw an orchestra along the drive and me on point, the way I was all those years ago. I was graceful and strong and he was my partner, gliding with me to the music. If you're going to visualize, then make it worth your while and VISUALIZE! We danced. I wanted a positive image in my head too. It's the ultimate goal, that dance.

Sure enough, he challenged me. It was a typical Lucky kind of challenge. He can be very subtle. He waited until I was standing on the mounting block and, when I turned to see where John and Apache were in the arena, he nudged me right off the block! Then he tried to pull out of my hands again. It wasn't really very serious, at least not yet. I didn't fall or get hurt and he didn't really put much energy in to his pulling either.

I ran to his side at 45 degrees, pulled on the lead enough to turn his head towards me and disengaged him, then ran backwards. It was an emergency dismount before I got in to the saddle. When I was sure he wasn't right brained I brought him to me and we played Friendly game for a while before we went on.

It was just the right kind of "crisis" to deal with. It wasn't huge or dangerous. But it was enough for him to understand that I had control, I was still "Boss". His head came down, he sighed and that was it! I had my 51 percent back. It's probably me seeing things that aren't really there, but it sure looked like relief on his face when he turned the reins back over to me. Sort of like " Whew! Glad you're back Boss! It was kind of scary out here."

I didn't push things. We did about 15 minutes of games in the arena, then we did our Point to Point back to the barn and paddock. There wasn't any orchestra except the one in my head playing sweet music. My Mojo was back. We weren't slidin' and glidin', turnin' and burnin' yet...but we sure were having fun!

I'm going to focus on keeping my "Inner Game" muscles intact and making them bigger and stronger too. Thanks Parelli! I love what we're doing together here.

More later. I am ever yours, Nancy, smiling at the way things go.