Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Fools! No break after all…

Who needs a break! Since I have been home I have been at it like cheese and grits. Riding and cleaning, training and writing! Sundance seems to have soaked in a lot of what we learned at Marc’s and so have I, I am starting to use this on my other horses and they are really starting to pick up on it. I can see a big difference with all of them.

I will start back with Sundance’s development in Level 5 online and liberty not next week but the week after that and I will be starting on my 50 free hours then too, contact me if you are interested in taking some lessons from me! My place or yours, individual lessons available and get a group so we can roll the lessons on back to back.

Comment: Hi Mariah! Thank you so much for sharing your journey! I really enjoy reading your posts - the more, the better! I would like to know what the most important "lessons" or messages where which you learned from Marc. What impressed you most? How could he improve Sundance's performance when he rode him? Did you also plan to go back to study with him again? Will you be able to put his articles online? Would be a great read! Caroline

You are welcome and thank you! Most important lesson or message would be very hard to point out to be honest as I am still soaking in, most of what he taught me are in direct correlation with what Pat teaches but at Level 5 +, asking for flexion, stepping under and being super aware of where your horses mind, flexion, weight and feet are at any given moment and any time. Also being just as aware of my mind, flexion, weight and feet. Horses communicate with you FIRST with your mind and theirs, what you think is what they will feel and respond to.

What impressed me most? How Marc was always feeling what the horse was giving him and being there for the horse at the right moment at any time for any task, being that Marc was so adamant on doing everything with love, never in anger or frustration. Be as assertive as necessary but do all of it with love and understanding to the horse.

How could he improve Sundance’s performance when he rode him? He could feel what Sundance did and what Sundance did not have for the job we wanted to give him, whether mentally or physically. He could feel what the horse was giving and feel what I was riding and working with to coach me better and know both of us better.

I plan on studying with him as much as possible and we are hoping to make something of the notes one day! Hope that answered your questions, please feel free to ask more, all of you!

Thanks again!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Long Stretch Home–Bright Days Ahead

I am typing this as I travel with my family on the way back home to sweet Little Patch of Heaven in North Carolina. The past couple of days with Marc De Champlain, Donna, and the rest of their furry clan have been wonderful. When I left you last, I was riding Marc’s horses, the next day we traveled to Donna’s daughters house to pick up two of her horses to ride. We had a great time visiting and seeing her new home, then we made our way to their local veterinary equine hospital to see the beautiful facility.It was great to see what they had there, wonderful place.

We made our way back to Marc’s and rode the horses, the next couple of days were spent reviewing and adding more on what we had learnt since we had gotten there. What a blast! I have learned so much, I have brought home a stack of magazines in which he has articles in and I will be organizing his work for him so some people might have a chance to start reading at least his words in the future in a more simple form. We will see what I can get organized, but I look forward to reading through these piles of magazines and learning everything I can.

I have lots to do when I get home, but I plan on taking 2 weeks off, both Sundance and I, to rest, relax, recoup and spend time with family. As of two weeks from now I may also be the proud owner of one of Marc’s buckskin gelding beauties… I will tell you more later if it all works out. But as of right now, I am going to go home and unpack and get accustomed to life back in North Carolina. I have a very very busy summer, and I am very thankful!

Do any of you have questions about my externship? Any questions about my experiences with Marc De Champlain? Or questions about what I have planned in the future? Please ask, looking forward to hearing from you!

Good one... Jesus Christ is Lord Not a Swear Word

On our way home... will be in North Carolina around 7:00 pm.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Enjoying the Day...

Marc riding Pepalina and Christian riding Sundog, discussing spins. Sundance after a nice thorough cleaning, munching in his Georgia stall...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reining Cow Horse Training with Marc De Champlain - Day 7 & 8 - Lots of Learning

The biggest things I have learned from yesterday and today, well I will have to try to point all of them out... - Let your horse know before hand what you want to do, go over it in your head before you do it in your body. Think about it while you do it too, and prepare your body. Set your body up for optimum success for your horse, for what he needs in that moment according to how he is reacting and what you want him to do. - Do everything in love, get assertive and dominant when you need to but you need to do it lovingly through it all. Look at it from he horses point of view, is he not doing it because he just doesn't want to? Because he doesn't know? Because he physically can't? Or is he really trying to get the answer correct but are giving the wrong right answer? Adjust your thoughts and your body according to these questions. - Be as light as possible but assertive as necessary, don't let them get away with something but don't be harsh unless necessary. - Use patterns to establish positive patterns in your horse, new patterns, get rid of old ones, and learn new maneuvers. - Be constantly alert of your mind and your body, find what you need to correct and work on correcting it. Principle # 7 is important to your mind and body for performance (Horses teach riders and riders teach horses), how do you teach a horse an advanced task without knowing it yourself first? How do you reward a response you don't even know is correct or incorrect. Lots for me and for you to soak in, the days are too short here! Please feel free to ask questions, I'd love to answer them!

Marc riding Sundance, Me riding Scooter

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reining Cow Horse Training with Marc De Champlain–DAY 4, 5 & 6–Simple Patterns with EXCELLENCE, Body Awareness, and Principle #7

Day four I do believe was Thursday, that day was spent on horses teaching humans, humans teaching horses and humans teaching humans. In the morning I had the happy opportunity to play and ride Scooter, Marc’s prized champion reiner. I played with him in the round pen to analyze him before I rode him, he is a right brained introvert that is very willing to please. I saddled him and we went out and did patterns on him, figure eights with precision and simple changes. Really learning to exaggerate in my body and get in tune with the horse.

After those we did faster and slower circles, I was able to do 2 flying changes! Wow! We did a couple of amazing slide stops and spins, wow, now I know how it feels. We went to lunch and then came back to have a very skilled farrier shoe Sundance and put sliders on the back, boy does he move much better with these shoes on and they look wonderful. I rode him for a bit with Marc and then company came where I was able to do a demonstration at Liberty and Freestyle, I feel I did a pretty good job of explaining things.

Marc’s wife, Donna, brought her sweet pony, Snickers, a left brained/right brained introvert, out to play and see if I could give her some tips and we had a wonderful time! She has done a GREAT job with Snickers! The next day we got up and mucked stalls and I rode Sundance and worked on half passes and simple changes on a serpentine, I really got a hang of my simple changes! Bad tornado weather was coming so we went to Donna’s beautiful house for the rest of the afternoon and part of this morning, I had a chance to make some calls and catch up on some reading.

We left around 9:00 am, had breakfast and got back to Marc’s farm around 12:30 pm. We fixed some sandwiches, Marc wanted us to read some articles and then I got on Sundance and had a remarkable session where I believe I really truly am getting a hang of the lead changes and am able to set him up remarkably well to do them. We also got the chance to keep on working with our spins, I do believe our session tomorrow will be even better! I will be sure to tell you how it goes. We got back to the hotel early, I have a few things to do and need to bed early. So I will talk with you soon, looking forward to telling you more.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just got done riding Scooter and having another great Liberty session with Fabio... spending some time in thought before we go out in the feild to play on the 45 foot line...

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reining Cow Horse Training with Marc De Champlain–DAY 3–Refining Patterns, Simplicity leads to Complexity

We ate some cereal at the hotel and then went to Marc’s place, fed, mucked and groomed. I had a chance this morning to go play with him at liberty and advance a bit more, working on getting more circles with lower phases, backing more circles and getting some super close circles. I rode around freestyle to loosen him up then put the B2 shank in and Marc had us play with simple lead changes with excellence on the figure 8 with contact and bending, transitions with weight at the right place and an exercise that is equivalent to the direct-indirect rein exercise which is leading to spins and roll backs! It seems I will be doing a good bit of working with other peoples horses and teaching people tomorrow which I am super excited about, can’t wait to tell you!

Playing with young horse and Marc riding Fabio...

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reining Cow Horse Training with Marc De Champlain–DAY 2–Repetition is the Mother of Learning

Today was a day of patterns for our reining training for Sundance, and starting to refine more of his body position for his leads and departures. This morning I played with Sundance at liberty before we started and was teaching him a bit on starting his super close circles, Marc got to watch the whole session… he said he was impressed, and I smiled. He pointed and smirked at a huge 17 hand palomino 4 year old, and said to take a whirl… said he was a crazy one, but I took up the same layout Pat used for the tour stop crazies and went through it and had the horse doing games at liberty, all the 7 games, long line driving and just having a ball with NO problems.

I was so proud! Of him and me, Marc was so happy he called the owner and had her come over, I did a demo and taught her… that was a blast! I rode a bit more afterwards on flexion and patterns and then went to walmart, we got groceries and I came home and did some pampering and resting. I am trying to get to bed early, so I will get some shuteye in to be bright tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be teaching and learning again, I am very excited. See you then!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Marc working on Dunner and Sundance...

Weekend at a Show with Marc De Champlain and Day 1 of Reining Cow Horse Training

We were in Perry, Georgia at a show hosted by the South Eastern Working Cow Horse Association (I do believe that is the right wording). The classes that were hosted were Halter, Horsemanship, Reining, Reining AMA, and Reining Youth, Roping, Roping AMA and Youth, Sorting, Cutting and Trail classes. The same shows happened on Sunday but they didn’t show in as many classes, we started loading up after lunch. Marc won every class he entered in, he said this was a fun show for him. A no pressure show just to enjoy himself and his horse, I could really tell he was a true master at what he was doing.

Pat was right when he compared him to Troy Henry (I do believe), he is TRULY a master and I am VERY honored to be working with him. In the early mornings and in between his classes, he rode Sundance and showed me what he was doing and then had me get on and coached me through it. Most of what we worked on was creating relaxation, creating my idea to become his, and flexion. We did bending exercises in circles, creating flexion throughout the body and bringing the inside leg in by asking him to give off of my leg. We did this at different gaits, the next day Marc rode him and he could see a big difference. Like I said, we left after lunch and went to settle at their beautiful spacious and peaceful home. Marc said I could put him out in the large pasture, there was a nice large herd of cattle and a pond. I hopped on bareback and bridless, walked around, moved through the cattle and moved a couple around. We had dinner and then settled into the hotel.

Day 1 started with my brother and I there early and mucking the stalls, feeding and grooming horses. We started out with his horse, Dunner, a STUNNING and talented buckskin. He rode and explained quite a few things, every word that comes from his mouth should be recorded and every move he makes should be caught on video… I am really lucky to be studying with him, I am writing everything down that I can. He went over things like…

Three things you transfer to your horse when with him…

  1. Complete transferal of your emotions. (Every emotion you feel, the horse feels all of the time.)
  2. Complete transferal of your mind. (This is how you want to communicate with your horse, this is what you want him to be responding to.)
  3. Complete transferal of your physical strength. (Which is used in a proper way to be assertive at the right time or can be used to enforce fear which is the second highest motivator to get the horse to do what you want.)

Marc brings across a lot of what Pat talks about, here are a few points he brought up that he said in his own words but could be translated into the things Pat says such as…

  • Mind>Flexion>Weight>Feet
  • Set the horse up to do what you want him to do, prepare him before asking.
  • Do in your body as you want him to do.
  • Make your seat like water, flow with your horse (fluid and independent seat).
  • Suggest, ask, tell and promise.
  • Use PATTERNS to communicate and train your horse and yourself… Circles, figure eights, serpentines, concepts of the precision pen.
  • Bringing your energy up and down for transitions and your weight and your eyes to turn.
  • Set it up and wait.
  • Direct and indirect rein, to create a roll back.
  • Know the exact placement of the feet, at walk and turn and above so you can know where to put them to set things up for things such as a stops, turns, departures and roll backs.
  • Simple things build up to the advanced and makes it easier.

A couple of the quotes I enjoyed of his were…

- If YOU have talent, get and work with a horse that has just as much talent or more so he can build you up and you can build him up.

- I have NEVER fed a horse in my life, they have always fed me.

He is also familiarizing me with the terminology he and other in the field uses, I will have a list that I will share when I get a longer one. Today I filled up two pages back and front with notes, I wish I could record him. I only got a half of a day with him today because I had to drive my mother to the Albany airport so she could scoot home, we will see them in two weeks when they bring the trailer to haul everyone home!

I will be meeting Marc again in the morning to start training again, Sundance was ridden by him today again and he is taking to it REALLY well… I am very proud, Parelli creates great students for any teacher in both people and horses. So we are REALLY looking forward to tomorrow! I will talk to you then!

Marc's beautiful tack room FULL of tack...

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beautiful open spaces...

Old log cabin house in open spaces at the De Champlain Residence...

Donna, Marc's fiance, has Peanut... the worlds sweetest dog since Moxie and Vinnie!

Loading up in Marc's rig, heading to Oscilla...

Starting the Morning Right!

I drove up this morning and noticed Marc was riding a beautiful horse up to the warm up arena, I looked again! That was my beautiful horse, we drove up just in time to watch him start working with him. So I got a great coaching session as soon as I arrived this morning, Sundance is really taking to what Marc is offering. This performance development is awesome, playing in Level 5 has been a dream of mine... It's here!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

About to enter the ranch roping class...

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Marc riding Sundance...

Marc lining up for placement in horsemanship...

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Marc starting in the 3 and older ama halter class with Scooter...

holding Marks horse at stables, about to watch Halter class...

warm up arena

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Arriving at Georgia National Fairgrounds Ranch Show with Marc De Champlain

At the Georgia National State Fairgrounds... one of the most beautiful and prestigious places, this is just the stables and it is gigantic. We got there around 8:30 pm and settled in, I started to learn from Marc De Champlain right away. The show starts tomorrow, I will be there in the morning around 6:30 am. I will wash Sundance and let him move out on the 45 foot line in the arena. I will be learning from Marc all day at the show, this is phenomenal. I am so blessed, this is HUGE. I can't wait to update you tomorrow! I'll send pictures as soon as I get there tomorrow so you can see what I see throughout the whole day.

Adventuring from one trailer shop to another, to get lights fixed on trailer before we leave... we got it fixed and we should be in Perry around 8:00 pm!

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Drill team finishing up... was great!

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Externship–Last Day–AM Post

Good morning! Quite a sentimental and bitter sweet morning, I am walking out the door of the trailer with the remainder of my belongings to return no more. Last  night I gutted my trailer out and my tack room except for the current necessities so I would be ready to leave around lunch time today. My transport and my horse transport may have to postpone the leaving until 1 or 2 pm but that’s okay, whatever they need to do.

This morning I dressed up a bit and am sipping on a mocha cappuccino protein shake and munching on some cinnamon toast crunch, updating my blog and am about to go out and give Sundance a shower and touch him up with the clippers so he will look like how material as Marc De Champlian will be showing at the big show and Sundance will be staying with his horses at the show grounds today and the rest of the weekend as I learn from the show. We should be there sometime this afternoon, it’s 4 hours away from here. After my results yesterday and the opportunities that I had, have and will be given, I am so excited about this summer.

I will be activating my 1 star status and teach 50 free hours, I will travel and teach around the carolina’s. I also will be spending a LOT of time with a couple of 3 star instructors. I will be filming my Freestyle and Finesse and will get my black string and I also plan on doing a lot of showing this summer too. I will be doing quite a bit of horse development with  my herd also, so I am beyond excited about this summer. Well, I have to scoot! We are meeting Berin at 8:00 am for our last meeting with the possibility of a final soccer tournament against the proteges and apprentices. I will let you know when I am on the road!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oh, and I passed Level

Oh, and I passed Level 4 on On Line and 4+ on Liberty... almost passed Level 4 on Freestyle and Finesse, I will in summer!

Got an 80% on my

Got an 80% on my Externship, I will be an Intern in October.

DAY 77 - Testing, Patience and more testing! Auditions and Part of Day 78, REVIEW TIME!

What a busy day, yesterday and today! Yesterday was spent testing on Freestyle and part of Finesse. So yesterday was spent being patient, watching the assigned DVD's and testing. This has been the most relaxing and rewarding round of testing, I have really enjoyed it and learned from it. It really has shown me just how much I have changed since I have gotten here, I am VERY proud of my Sundance. Sundance is such a great partner, and he has been very patient with me! I don't know if I could put up with me if I were him, and I am thankful for his patience and helping teach me so much. This has been a huge process for my inner self, I have changed a lot as a person and I can't wait to go out into the world and see how I do. After testing in Freestyle we went to dinner and then came back and saddled up again to test for Finesse, I was in the last of the group and it got too dark so we were to pick back up in the morning. We came back and assessed the rest of the auditions and took care of our horses... we got to bed late but that's okay, it's one of our last days! I woke up early this morning and and saddled up, we tested our Finesse. I was pleasantly surprised at how well he did, and how well I emotionally handled the testing. We picked up cones, cleaned up and met Berin at the picnic tables at 11:00 am, we decided who was going to do reviews at what time. I am fourth in line so I will be going any minute now, so we will see soon if I will be an Intern. I will post as soon as I know something, and can emotionally handle telling anyone about any results! Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I know what is supposed to happen will happen and I will be okay with it, everything happens for a reason. Even if I do not get a good score, I am okay with that too. I am SO happy with my progress, so much has happened and changed! Okay guys, hold your breath... I'll be right back!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Waiting in the dark to Finesse testing... last one! Reviews tomorrow!

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More Extern Journies to Follow...

Here is the blog of another fellow Extern student that is on the same track as I am, he is trying to blog his journey in order to inspire you! Take a look at Leave comments here and on his website, tell us what you think! Would LOVE your input... Take another look at Sarah's blog at I had the privelege to help both of them make these, and I am looking forward to see how far they go!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Externship–DAY 76- Thunderstorms, DVD’s, Testing and Auditions

This morning was very exciting! We woke up and started to get ready and the lights started to flicker in our little camper, quite scary I say! We looked at the radar and saw some scary weather coming, the thunder started to rumble and the lightning was striking it’s way so we hurredly got dressed at fed our horses. Raincoats are no use! We were soaked through to the bone. We went to the student lounge and talked with Berin and watched the Level 4 DVD’s as the rain poured. We met a little before lunch to get our testing line up and set up a liberty pen in the big 180 pen, those that weren’t testing at the moment were to watch the DVD and have lunch until called. The vet came at 2:00 pm and Sundance got a health certificate, so we can legally leave on Friday. I tested Liberty with Fabio, I was GREATLY pleased but not satisfied. Berin gave me a great tip and I plan on using it! We had dinner, graded some auditions, went to Publix, fed our horses, and now I am going to bed! Talk to you tomorrow! More excitement to come…

Monday, April 4, 2011

Externship - DAY 75 - Last Soccer Practice, Last Weeks Schedule, Testing and Hot Afternoons

This morning I woke up with an exuberant smile on my face! It is the last bittersweet week of the Externship for the current class, I am ready to give my very best for this twelfth week. I got dressed and made my way out to take care of Sundance and get some chores done, I made a couple of calls and got my grounds for the rest of the week. We played soccer in preparation for the game tomorrow at 5:30 pm, our last game as externs together. We met with Berin afterwards and went over our schedule for the week, we should be testing until Wednesday and then get our reviews that same day.

We are not sure what we are doing Thursday and Friday, I do know I will be pulling out with a couple of dear friends to Perry, Georgia to meet Marc De Champlian at a big reining cow horse competition. We will spend the weekend there and my family will join me and then we will make our way to Oscilla, Ga to Marc's stables to start my training for a couple of weeks.

We started On Line testing and I do believe I am proud of Sundance, it was not his best run and there were things we messed up on but there were things that I saw improvement on that I was very pleased with! We had lunch and then we were to view the Level 4 DVD's, I had some time to work on my website and then here to do my blog for you! We are about to grab a quick dinner and then do the rest of our testing auditions, need to get that done! I am excited about getting things done, I can't wait to get my results and see how I have done. Never ending self-improvement! Here I come!

Spurs taken off for the soccer game...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Michelle getting her 3 stars and Linda, Lyndsey and Amy teaching us more about the game of contact...

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Externship–DAY 73 & 74–Preparing for Last Week

Saturday consisted of chores, reading, studying, and cleaning in the morning. We joined Linda at 2:00 pm right after we did drill practice and lasted until about 5:30 pm, it was AMAZING. I have watched these horses for the past 3 months and have never seen them move like this. It is working wonders for Sundance, Lyndsey suggested I go home and do this with Reina… I do believe it will change her into a totally different horse so I am excited to do that when I get home. I do believe we are the luckiest externs there have ever been, we have been blessed with experience after experience and opportunity after opportunity. I am very thankful!

After Linda’s session, all of the externs met for a dinner of pizza at a local restaurant and enjoyed each others company for the last time out as a group. We got to bed at a good time and I was blessed enough to get to sleep in this morning, and I am spending the day in preparation for the last week and the trips ahead. Today has been a very nice day and I am trying my best to get mentally and physically prepared, wish me luck! Thanks so much guys!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Externship - DAY 72 - Soccer, Drill Practice, Pat's Book Review, and Haying with Nate Bowers

We all woke up a little slower today, I came outside and no one was there! I think we all were just a tad slow waking up. We then had a great soccer scrimmage! It's a great way to start a day with a fresh clean slate. We met with Berin to talk about the day ahead and catch some laughs, then had personal horsemanship time in which we walked on foot, to get our patterns well established in our head before we ask our horses to do it themselves. We had the opportunity to work on our personal horsemanship where I played with respect in freestyle with patterns and then calmness and thinking "back" in the liberty pen. We met with Berin at 11:00 am in the student lounge to go over some topics in Pat Parelli's natural horsemanship book and then came back across the road to hop on our horses and walk the drill pattern we had set out. We all moseyed our way to lunch, to fill our hungry tummies!

Group B, which I am in had our hay rotation with Nate Bowers! So we all laughed, joked, ran, cut, sneezed and hayed with Nate, Luna, Pick, Thunder and Lightning. Afterwards we unhitched the team, took the gear off and sent them back to their pastures. I am back at the lounge updating the blog for you and then getting some dinner! I am hoping to play with patterns with Sundance after dinner then getting to bed early to regenerate so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed for our last week ahead. I am very excited about all we have ahead of us, we are truly blessed. Wish us luck please! Looking forward to yet another day with you tomorrow...

Admin class and haying in the rain with Nate Bowers

Game of Contact with Linda Parelli