Sunday, April 17, 2011


WOW...what a weekend Renegade and I had!! Spent the weekend with some girlfriends and our horses and had a wonderful time.

I played online with Renegade and after some rousing play doing circles, change of direction, and falling leaf, he was ready for me to slow it down so we played with moving one foot at a time. Big breakthrough there..Renegade was on a pedestal and I asked one front foot off, rest, asked other front foot off, rest, asked one back foot off but got two...sent him back on the pedestal, repeat...good until back feet...both came off at same time, sent back to pedestal, foot, then two, then three, stop and rest...lots of licking and chewing. Asked for last foot off the pedestal, rest, lots more licking and chewing!! Hoorah!!

Split Renegade in half lengthwise over a pole, right front, then right hind over the pole...only had to repeat once and he got it. Rest and lots of licking and chewing. More Hoorah!!

On the ground, sideways to the gate, then open the gate one sideways step at a time...real the gate open then I got a bit mixed up but sorted myself out and we closed the gate again real slow one sideways step at a time. Later in the day riding freestyle we opened the gate. We had a bit of a rough start with Renegade wanting to rush but again I slowed everything down to one step at a time and stuck with it long enough for a change. By the time we finished, we had a beautiful, slow, controlled sidepass while opening and closing the gate and all with very little rein support. BIG HOORAH!! Of course, we need more practice but this was soo nice, soft, unhurried, beautiful really!!

Rode the barrel pattern at the walk several times then Renegade offered to trot so we trotted the pattern. The first time through at the trot was a bit rough and disjointed with a couple of starts and stops but the second time through was really good so we stopped...more licking and chewing!! I think I finally have the pattern now and it made everything easier for Renegade. He was turning off my seat and body position and was needing very little rein support.

As a group, we rode all 4 horses in the ring and did all kinds of little patterns, challenges, etc. Sooooo much fun...even used horses as cones to do a few things. By the time we were done I had Renegade stopping off my seat and backing up with me just wiggling my feet...look reins!! What a blast!!

I went outside my comfort zone and rode in my english saddle all weekend. I finally got the gullet width/saddle pad combination worked out and I can get on my balance point now. I started out feeling a bit out of my element (I usually ride a western saddle) but by the time the weekend was over, I was feeling confident riding in it. I did discover however, there's a reason for the different clothing for english riding. Jeans are not the most comfortable thing to ride an english saddle in!! Next time I'll remember my breeches and half chaps!!

It seems as if we've struggled along for quite a while and the last couple of weeks we've made progress by leaps and bounds. I'm not quite sure what's changed or gelled but I do know I'm lovin' the progress were making!!

NOTE on changing to english saddle: I decided to change from my western saddle to my english because as the weather got hotter, I shaved Renegade to help with cooling him out after play sessions and when I shaved him, I saw some white hairs on his right shoulder/wither area. They didn't show until I shaved him but seeing them I'm wondering if my western saddle caused them. Also, I wondered if this would affect his muscle development as we do more riding so decided to change for the moment and see what happens.


yourpalsam said...

Hi Kathy, Sounds like you and Renegade are truckin along. It must be so nice to have a group to play with and help each other along. What I most enjoyed in my clinic with Maurice was that every horse needed correction in a different way, and we got to observe all of this. Riding in a group is so much fun. Also, others get to see you goof up, or shine. When I shine at home, no one knows about it and it kind of takes the greatness out of it. My husband and kids really don't put any concern into my effort and successes although they support me in my journey. Does that make any sense?
I saw some white hairs appearing also on my mare the other day. I was kind of horrified. Does that mean I caused some pain to her. I don't have a Parelli saddle but am saving up for one. My saddle is a Circle Y trail saddle. It is so darn heavy and it doesn't fit one of my fat horses. I have to use a cheap nylon saddle for her. I do have the theraflex pad though. I need to do some more research in the saddling department.

Parelli Central said...

Sounds like you are making wonderful progress... how exciting...!!!!
White hair means excessive pressure to the hair follicles, so the saddle most likely is too narrow. Since you noticed right away, they will probably go away as long as your English saddle is wider than your western saddle. Did you have an even sweat pattern with the western saddle?

Petra Christensen
Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
Parelli Central

craigeagle23 said...

Hello Petra! Curious I didn't get a notice when comments were posted to my blog. I'll have to check in to that!

Thanks for the terrific comments. We are making wonderful progress and that's exciting especially since we we stuck on so many things for quite a while. Having so many breakthroughs in one weekend is almost overwhelming. I'm reading back through my notes to see exactly what has changed to cause such progress!!

Had I not shaved Renegade I most likely wouldn't have known about the white hairs until he shedded out. Thankfully, they are not really pronounced and are scattered, not solid spots. The gullet on my western saddle is 7", and seemed to be fitting him o.k. I'm wondering if I'm somehow riding off to one side or crooked? The sweat patterns appeared to be even and normal until just recently when I started noticing a dry spot on that side at the wither. It's interesting it started happening when we began cantering and his favorite lead is his right and that's where the dry spot was. I'm suspecting the saddle is wide enough for trail riding or trotting but not for the shoulder movement in the canter.

My english saddle has an adjustable gullet. I have the medium gullet in it now and I'm watching sweat patterns. So far, so good but if anything changes I can switch to the medium wide or wide gullet. I had tried the med. wide gullet previous to this and it seemed too pitched me and the saddle forward and there wasn't enough gullet clearance. I'm still in the process of figuring out gullet size, padding or shimming, etc. Geesh...dislike having to go through this again!!

I have another western saddle, a ranch roper, but it's too heavy for Renegade (he such a little guy) when you add in my weight on top of it. I use it on my other horses with no problems.

I'm interested in trying a Parelli saddle when I go to my Flex Track in October. Maybe I can try the Cruiser!


craigeagle23 said...

Hi Sam! I love clinics where there is a mix of horsenalities. I have one of each horsenality at home so everything is useful and it makes it so interesting!!

Yes, I am blessed to have a wonderful group of friends to get together with. Support is such an important part of this program; I wouldn't be nearly as far along as I am if not for the support of my friends. The also help to keep me motivated and constantly improving and moving forward. As for the goofing up part; my friends help me keep my perspective and ability to laugh at myself...gotta love that!!

I understand what you're saying about your husband and kids; my husband is not a horse person but he indulges me in my passion and I do the same for him with his Harley Davidson. My husband has even gone to a tour stop or two with me and he even used the cs one day when he forgot to close the gate and the horses got out into the yard. He used the cs to gently persuade them back into the pasture. When I got home from the grocery store, he told me all about it saying "he'd been watching me and knew what to do"!! Is there such a thing as Parelli by osmosis lol??!!

Ahhhh...the whole white hairs, saddle, and padding thing...just when I thought I had it worked out...I see white hairs. Now, back to the drawing board. Did you read Petra's comment to this blog post and my comments to her? I'm bet if we're causing white hairs then our horses are uncomfortable but we've most likely not caused permanent harm but as responsible horse owners that care about our partners it is something we need to correct. I'm working on it by changing to my english saddle and boy is that a learning curve for this cowgirl lol!!