Monday, February 8, 2010

Hooves, Dressage and a New Life

Hello Friends,

I returned home from Pat's barn, Sunday night around 7:00 PM. But this time, a pony returned with us. Reina, the rescue horse we adopted at the Lakeland Parelli Celebration, is home and very well. Reina is a very smart horse, with a lot of try! She looses confidence easily, but once reassured she gets back on task and tries her heart out. She is settling well here in her new home! She looked like a very centered Right Brained Extrovert at the Parelli Center, but now at home... she is not as centered. It's a new environment, with new friends, and new fears... but she is slowly becoming more centered and getting used to our schedule here at a Patch of Heaven. She was quite the topic this morning, because it snowed a beautiful fluffy 6 inches here in North Carolina. Mind, that Reina is a native Floridian and always has been... this was her first snow! This poor baby had no idea what the cold fluffy wet white creatures were on her feet! Regardless of her circumstances, I believe she handled it well. She walked slow overconfident circles, just staring and nimbling around at the ground. Then little Aamira, her Extreme Left Brained Extrovert pasture mate, showed her how it was done... and resided the rest of the afternoon at peace in her winter wonderland.

I had a blast in Florida with Jim Crew, I do believe he knows more about the mechanics of a horse and the horse itself than he knows HIMSELF! This man is jam-packed with information about the biomechanics of a horse, I was blessed to get just a sprinkle of his knowledge this past week. I met my newest and sweetest friend, Dr. Karen, at this course... I was blessed to have met her and share the course with her. She herself had such a great thing to offer to the course, besides her sweet spirit and enthusiasm, she discreetly added knowledgeable points to the course along with Jim. I feel like my eyes have been uncovered, and I am seeing things that I have wanted to see for the longest time... I now can listen to the horses body speak to me, not just the horses mind and heart.

I was also greatly blessed to have come the same time Walter Zettl chose to spend time with the Parelli's, I spent my days beside the dressage arena and sitting with Mr. Zettl, watching the mastery student and the Parelli's take a lesson from the master. What a privilege! Mr. Zettl knows how to make any woman's' heart melt to the floor. He has the softest hands, voice and heart... the countless kisses I received on my hand will never be forgotten. This time I got to also know Heidi Zettl, his wife... and Eddo Hoekstra, a man that Walter calls, his "adopted son". Take a peek at his mission at It was a marvelous experience to spend time and grow with such wonderful people!

As for personal progress here at home, I have a TON going on! I think this is the busiest season of my life, and the best. Now that we received some good pointers at the way Pat's barn is managed, things have changed here. We are doing a LOT of little changes around here, on how I manage the barn and the layout of the property. It has made things much simpler. I do have to say, that taking care of 9 horses... with all specific needs, is a challenge! A true challenge! I now know why a mother says her job never ends, it's a twenty four hour job... but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. These horses are teaching me so much, and I know I am a better person for it.

I met Ryan Rose, a mastery student of Pat Parelli, and 3 star Parelli Professional, down at Pat's barn. I got talking to him, it was quite inspirational, he is around the same age as me and has and had the same similar goals as I have... and he is getting there, on step at a time through hard work and determination. We have coordinated a time for him to come here to Patch of Heaven to do a Level 2/3 Clinic and a day for private lessons, it is not official yet... but the potential is there, so we are very excited! MORE DETAILS TO COME.

As for my partners, we are having a blast! I have our days scheduled, with all the horses we have to play with and we are having the time of our lives. I am playing with Aamira, Bebe and Sundance daily, playing with all three of them really fires me up, I see progression in all of them and I see where they are heading... It is fabulous.

Sundance is quite the challenging horse, and always has been. Since we've graduated Level 3, it's been hard to progress as fast as I prefer. But I've stopped worrying about where I "should be" and on to where Sundance "is" at the moment, and where he needs ME to be. One of the hardest tasks for me to get him mentally engaged in is the figure eight... he knows how to do it, walk, trot, canter, forwards... even inside out and backwards! But he hates it, but I've somehow figured out how to get him engaged... and I am so happy! Today he really did a good job, and I promised him to never over do it ever again. Sundance and I really have a good thing going, wonderful, inspirational, but it has to be his idea first... that is the challenge, that is my puzzle to solve! Our long line driving has gotten much better since the last video, he really surprised me today! Cantering sideways from a walk, in both directions... just fabulous. Now we are finally to the point where we are playing with bareback, bridless and carrotstick-less riding! Nothing, nada, zero, zilch and what a feeling!
Little Aamira, I am convinced, is the smartest horse I have ever worked with. She gets things at the snap of a finger! She is charted as an extreme Left Brained Extrovert, she is an absolute blast! What a ball of fun.
Bebe is doing well too, we are playing with getting his confidence up at Liberty, and some bareback and bridless riding. Poor Bebe has the roughest canter I think I have ridden, but it is progressively getting better. He has really proven himself with the long line driving at all gaits, he is doing a fabulous job... all of them are!
Hope you have enjoyed my update, I apologise for them being so few and far between... but that is how life is rolling at the moment. I will try my best to update as needed. Shoot me an email if you want, with your thoughts on my current posts... previous posts, or any topic you'd like to discuss at
Mariah Helms