This blog is dedicated to my friend, my mentor, and the best teacher I have ever had. Without him, I would not have embarked on this amazing journey. Split, this blog is for you!
Ponderosa Misty Icon, aka "Split," is a handsome gray Welsh pony who came to me via a phone call "out of the blue" (actually Peterborough, Ontario). Our first few months together were rocky to say the least, which made me question my ability as a horse owner, as a horsewoman, and as a rider. Forty years of horse ownership had not prepared me for this little gray pony!
But we muddled through and because of Split, I have begun a journey that is both spiritual and enlightening. I hope something here resonates with you and that you'll check back now and then.
We leave you with one of our favorite quotes: "The best whisper is a click!"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Playing With Energy!

The other day when Jelly and I were coming back from our daily constitutional, I was delighted to see Split and Jingle cavorting around the paddock! Well, Split was cavorting....Jingle was pretty much just running around and shaking her little donkey head at Split. Split, however, was running, spinning, bucking, farting, whinnying, performing airs above the ground and in general just having a heck of a good time! I thought, "Hmmm....I wonder if I could play with that energy?" I hitched Jelly up in front of the barn, grabbed my dressage whip ("whip" being a misnomer...it's actually an arm extender for me!), and stepped into the paddock. Jingle hopped into her stall and waited patiently for a flake of hay but Split stopped dead, snorted and stared at me, wondering what I was doing there. I stepped to his side, waved my arm and said, "Walk on." "Oh," says he, and off he went at a lovely, bouncy walk. We quickly transitioned up into the trot and then into the canter. What a joy to see! Split was practically floating along....so proud of himself! His trot was exquisite! He was snapping his knees up and just prancing along like he owned the world! We played with lunging at liberty in both directions, at all 3 gaits, and it was absolutely exhilarating! Of course I could also ask WHOA and Split stopped immediately - he got his C/T for that!!!
WHOA is important in my world and we practice at every opportunity! LOL
I'm glad I didn't pass up the chance to play with that energy! At first I was asking myself "can I control it" but really what I needed to ask was, "can I USE it?" The answer was "yes!" Great fun!!
Christmas is only a week away! Hope you all have your shopping done!
Karleen, Split and Jingle

Friday, December 17, 2010

We Are Honored!!!!

You can take away my dishwasher. You can even have my microwave. But DON'T MESS WITH MY COMPUTER! We all grump about how technology has taken over our lives but my computer has proven to be my window on the world. I regularly correspond with women from all over the U.S. and from Norway, Canada, Tasmania, Austraila.....My daughter is living in Spain until June yet we talk every day via Skype - we can even SEE each other!
Just the other day I was reading the posts on one of the clicker training lists and noticed that one writer's internet provider was "sovernet." Because that's also my parents' provider, I emailed and asked if she lived in southern Vermont. Turns out she's in northern Maine but not only had she lived in my home town, Brattleboro, Vermont, for several years, she also had lived outside of Windsor, Vermont (as had I) and had belonged to the Hartland Riding Club (as had I) and we know many of the same people! But the circle becomes smaller.....she also is friends with many of the clicker trainers I am also friends with here in New York! Gotta love the internet.
Well, one thing led to another and Lyndsey discovered that I have a mini donkey...which led her to ask if I'd heard of Ann Firestone's long ear rescue in New Hampshire. Yes, I have! (I purchased some donkey mittens from Ann for my daughter last Christmas!) Another friend sent Lyndsey some pictures of me doing clicker work with my pony and donkey (we'd done a little "introduction to clicker work" day here at my place) and the next thing I know, Lyndsey asked if she could use the photos on Ann's web page!! Wow!! I am truly honored! And am very proud of little Jingle - she's come a long way since landing here Christmas Eve 4 years ago, deathly afraid of "those 2-leggeds," and having no training whatsoever! Go, Jingle! Here's the link to Ann's web page:
Be sure to check us out and, if you are so moved......maybe make a contribution to Ann's most worthy cause!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS..............er, maybe I should say "HAPPY HOLIBRAYS!"
Karleen, Split and Jingle

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nun Of That!!

No, I didn't spell "nun" incorrectly! I'm substitute teaching this morning for a 5th grade class at a local Catholic school. (Don't worry, I'm not neglecting my duties - the kids are in Art class.) If any situation calls for a clicker, this is it! LOL Do any of you remember the nuns of old pulling out their clickers during mass? CLICK - kneel! CLICK - stand up! And the kids responded! Every time I see a nun wearing a habit, I have the overwhelming desire to pull out my clicker and have at it just to see what would happen! Would she immediately fall to her knees in the middle of the street? Unfortunately, those sisters were quick to follow the click with a clout upside the head (just ask my husband!) if you didn't respond quickly enough. Talk about your poisoned cue!
The farrier was at my house Tuesday morning and for some reason, Split was "antsy" while getting his feet done. This is very unlike him but I just went with it. Mr. Farrier, however, got a little impatient and at one point, he asked me to move Split's hindquarters to my left. As he gave me this request, Mr. Farrier quickly stepped up to Split's shoulder and gave him a small shove which totally confused my pony because I was turning his head (think Back In A Square) and waiting for him to move. Apparently we weren't quick enough because Mr. Farrier went to Split's butt, put his shoulder against it and leaned! I had a nanosecond of "Oh, no! Don't do that!" Naturally Split leaned back! LOL A sticky situation for a few seconds but being the laid-back type of guy that he is, Split looked down at me, glared, and then neatly stepped to my left. But he made his point! I had to stifle a laugh at the expression on Mr. Farrier's face........clearly he was was thinking, "Ugh! Stubborn ponies!" I'm so attuned to clicker training that even small blunders like that make me stop and think, "Gee, that used to be me!" It's amazing to me that more horses don't have behavioral issues...........I guess it's lucky for us that they're mostly a forgiving species and that most of them DO suffer fools gladly.
Art class is over. Back to Math and Science..........................
Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Holidays!!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE! The New Year is almost upon us so I decided I need to sit down and get back to bloggin'! I've included a picture of myself and my little rescue beagle, Jellybean, aka "Jelly" for short. Jelly came to us via the Humane Society and was formerly a mom in a puppy mill in Georgia. When she arrived here she was morbidly obese, covered in dandruff, loaded with fleas, had just had tail surgery so it looked like her tail was stumpy and "arrow shaped," and was afraid of just about everything....except human beings. For some reason, she still believed in us sorry creatures (after all, her only experience was from puppy mill owners!) and tried her very best to get us to love her. She didn't have to try very hard....one look from those beautiful amber eyes, one little white paw placed tentatively on my knee, one tiny lick on my nose and.... well, let's just say "she had me at hello." We cleaned her up, started going out for daily walks, and slowly but surely she turned from a little ugly toad of a dog into the shiny, happy, bouncy, loving girl that she is today!
I introduced clicking early on but at the first sound of the click, Jelly dropped to the floor and ran away in abject terror! Hmmm......back to the drawing board. I started using a tongue click and that was acceptable - she quickly figured out that tongue click = treat! She can now sit, wait, sit up (and beg! LOL) and give a high five!
Jelly is my poster child for dog adoption. If you're looking for a dog or cat, please consider adopting one from a rescue organization or your local humane society!
I have lots to tell about my adventures with Split and Jingle so will have to park myself in this chair more often so that I can share with you. I love feedback so leave a message!!!
Wishing you all the best.........
Karleen, Split, Jingle and Jellybeanbeagle