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A Program for Riding with Contact and Achieving Balance – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

There are so many things to learn about horses and it is an endless pit of knowledge and practice. So where do you start? Once you have learned one thing, what do you look at next? …without getting entirely overwhelmed if at all possible. Something I love about the Parelli Program is the structure of the Levels when you are first learning them. It gives you a precise pathway that when completed gives you a set of very handy and useful skills and a way to communicate with your horse. Once you are playing in Level 4 and higher, you go through this stage of being a bit lost. All these years you had a plan, ready made for you and your horse, and all of the sudden you are required to think on your own, HA! It’s nice because you can now learn whatever you want to, but at the same time confusing, because there are a million things to choose from.

So what do you do? I decided I want to focus on riding Finesse because it is more complex than On Line, Liberty or Free Style. Ok so now you have narrowed it down to riding with contact (which does not mean you abandon the other savvys!), but do you do dressage, jumping, cross country, or something else? When you have picked something there you are again faced with the question: “Where do I start?”.

When Mikey was teaching the clinic this year, I was very conscious of my incompetence. I constantly had to ask myself “What do I do next?” and often found myself not knowing the answer. At the same time I could tell that he knew, because he would look at a horse and rider and know exactly what they needed to do. Yet he would tell people to do different things. Not everyone was doing the same thing first and second and third. That’s what it’s like when you are a good way through the levels. It’s a program to teach the human, not the horse. So when you get a horse to play with, you don’t start off with the Level 1 checklist. The mixing and matching and doing what the horse really needs can start once the human knows what they are doing.

So that was my question to Mikey in a theory session: “Is there a system to all this Finesse we are learning in the clinic that the human could cling on to for support when learning it the first time?” This was his answer…

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Where does Mikey’s Project fit into the Parelli Program? – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

When Chris Brady** first asked this question in the morning theory session, I was expecting the answer to be something along the lines of: You can start introducing the Project once the human and horse know the 7 Games and start on Patterns. In the end, that is what Mikey said, but this post describes how he got to that answer and just what exactly is behind why this is the answer. Just goes to show, it can be smart to ask a question you already know the answer to. Sometimes people can add things or a simple change in phrasing can lead to a lot more knowledge. Fascinating!

Continue reading Where does Mikey’s Project fit into the Parelli Program? – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

Leadership and Rider Experience – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

Last day of the clinic! On one hand I’m very sad that today was the last day! On the other hand I am so exhausted and have so much new input in my head I can’t even think straight anymore! Six days of such an intense clinic is a boot camp in itself! A boot camp I would sign up for any day! I am very excited to put all this into practice and have the time to see where it takes us. It will be interesting to see where Dazzle and I get to in time, but also what Sarah and Chris make of this new input and where it takes them! 😀 Just a few notes on the last day here… Continue reading Leadership and Rider Experience – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

The Project, Finesse, Rider Experience – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

Day 2 of clinic 2. As you can probably tell from the length of the last post, that was the day were all the pieces fell into place. With all that knowledge about leadership, today and the next day were very well set up for success! Mikey taught me lateral flexion in a higher frame in finesse today and why that is important for every rider and horse to learn. He also taught us one step of the project each day in theory, let us practice it in the sessions and the next day he would teach us the next step. Allow me to take the chance here to write about the project as a whole in this post. Off we go…

Continue reading The Project, Finesse, Rider Experience – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

Leadership, Horse Psychology, Rider Experience – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

Yeehaw! Day 1 of the second clinic. A step by step manual for good leadership with your horse! Thanks to Chris and Sarah Brady I was able to audit the first clinic and hearing most of the input that Mikey had for us twice, definitely increased my learning pace. It also gave me enough opportunities to ask all the questions that have come up for me. Nonetheless, no clinic is ever the same. Hence, more posts about this clinic. Ready, set, go… Continue reading Leadership, Horse Psychology, Rider Experience – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

A System for Finesse, Bits, Connection and The Project – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

The clinic is now over, but I will still write a post for each day. This is day 3 of the first clinic and the next post will be day 1 of the second clinic – half way point already! This was a day where all the pieces started falling into place. There were so many great topics today and fantastic questions that got us thinking about all sorts of aspects of natural horsemanship. So let’s get started…

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Riding with Contact and Rein Aids – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

Day 2 of the first Mikey Clinic completely restructured everything I knew and didn’t know about riding with contact! I got a brain wash that I desperately needed! Mikey studied with Philippe Karl rather intensively, so you will read a lot that is part of his school of Légèreté. I am very thankful to Sarah, who prepared me extremely well for this clinic with the Finesse she has taught me and the DVDs she had set as homework. Having heard most of this before, I am able to learn much more in the clinic than I  would have otherwise. So let’s get started… Continue reading Riding with Contact and Rein Aids – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

Connection, Myths, Balance – Michael Wanzenried 5* Clinic

Thanks to Sarah and Chris, Michael Wanzenried 5* is here in Kildare, Ireland, to teach two 3 day clinics back to back. Being a working student with Chris and Sarah, I am lucky enough to go to the clinic every day and spectate all day. Since a last minute rider spot opened up, I will even be riding in the second clinic – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I want to use this opportunity to share the experience and knowledge I gain from Mikey. Here are my impressions from the first day: Connection, Myths Corrected, Level Tasks and the Importance of Balance. Enjoy 🙂

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The Power of Neutral, Your Belly Button and On Line Transitions

Whenever Sarah plays On Line with horses, I hear her talk about her belly button. I watched her play with a colt that was here to be started two weeks ago and it was a very natural sight. She was getting the colt to be more confident walking beside Continue reading The Power of Neutral, Your Belly Button and On Line Transitions

Relax Rein, RIDING Transitions and Diagonals

Today I had a great lesson with Sarah Brady ** on her horse Angel, which she is kindly allowing me to achieve the rest of my Level 4 with! How cool is that?! Angel is a fantastic teacher. I can tell she is really going to teach me what it means to ride – not just to stay on the horse.

Continue reading Relax Rein, RIDING Transitions and Diagonals