Last Saturday I went to the Parelli Games at the ISC in Ocala, FL and had loads of fun with the challenges that had been set up for participants. It had been raining for a couple of days before the games so there was lots of standing water on the lower parts of the property. The interns/externs had moved the online and liberty games to higher ground so the footing would be safe but to get to the timed/freestyle events we had to cross lots of that water!!
We started the games with online and liberty and I found it easier than last week to get and keep Renegade's attention. Our scores reflected that and improved from the previous week so we were off to a good start. Once we completed the online and liberty challenges I mounted up and rode with a friend over to the timed events. There were only 4 riders there to do the challenge so our turn came up pretty quickly. I had forgotten to bring my cs, so I decided to try riding the patterns using focus and feel. Could have been better but we didn't do badly and I didn't have to do a million corrections with the reins. I was really trying not to use them at all but Renegade broke pattern and didn't follow my focus or feel so I had to pick up the rein. We definitely need more practice at this!!
I was trying so hard to focus on riding the weave that I didn't even see Linda coming up the drive. She stopped to chat right where I was to end the pattern and put my hands up in the air. Good thing I didn't know she was there until we stopped or I probably would have choked!! Linda was coming from her lesson with WAZ and stayed to chat for a few minutes before riding on. It was great to talk with her a few minutes in such a quiet, serene setting...so unlike being in a mob at a tour stop. Loved it!!!
After we finished the challenges my friend and I rode our horses all over the property, crossing water when ever possible. It was great for Renegade since he used to have a HUGE fear of water. It didn't take long for him to become confident about crossing even the running stream and he even waded out in a BIG puddle to graze on some choice grass, standing there for several minutes!!
We rode back up the hill to the honeycomb where another friend was trotting and cantering her horse around the outside. I asked if it was o.k. for me to ride around the inside putting the principles I learned at my private lesson with Jerry Williams to use. Of course "J" said yes, she's always up for a challenge and willing to help out a friend. Renegade did GREAT!! He got a little cranky one time and gave a snarky look towards Britches so I took him off the rail and did a couple of circles then went back on the rail. HUGE improvement from this point forward!! No more snarky looks, no pinned ears, Renegade following my focus and feel, I dropped the reins and round we went. He even trotted through a bit of mud he'd been trying all morning to avoid (at one point mashing my knee into the rail - ouch!!).
Establishing my leadership in the saddle is a WONDERFUL thing!! I can only see big changes for us from this point forward in our freestyle and finesse!!
I do want to thank Jerry Williams for all his help in giving me strategies and showing me how to apply them to help us with Renegade's zone issues under saddle. These strategies have made a big impact on my confidence in dealing with these issues and in Renegade's confidence in me as his leader when under saddle.
I also want to thank my savvy friends, my True Blue Filly Sisters, Terri, "J", and Ingrid, for being there and being patient helping me work through these problems!! You all are fantastic friends and I'm so lucky to have found you!! Thanks for helping me stay SAVVY!!!