Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Experience with the Fundamentals.

Hello Follow Dream Chasers!

I know that it has been a long time since I've updated this blog, and I do apologize for that. Life has been a rollercoaster the last several months and it has been hard keeping up with my writing. I had my surgery on my arm back in March.  After recovering, I got really busy training my summer project horse using the Fundamentals (more on that in a bit). In August my family made a sudden move to Maine, meaning that I've been really busy trying to start a new life in New England. Even though it's been a bit crazy, things are going great for me now. Better than I could ever dream! My arm is doing wonderful. Though I wouldn't say it's perfect, I rarely have pain in it now and it gets stronger and stronger everyday. I now have a job at a day camp in Scarborough, Maine as a riding instructor, and I have a private client who is paying me to train two of their horses (more on these things in later posts). My dream of becoming a professional horse trainer is finally becoming a reality.

Now, I have a lot to catch you up on, but for now I want to just focus on my summer training project, Matti the Morgan/Quarter Horse cross. Matti is owned by my dear DEAR friends, Bill and Gloria. They bought Matti last spring with the intent of using her as a trail horse. Matti had had very little training and had been turned out to pasture for a few years with nothing done to her. She was extremely distrusting of strangers and very jumpy. I began working with her with the intent of using only the Methods found in Clinton Anderson's Fundamental Series. Basically, I put aside all the traditional dressage training methods I had learned in 2009 to see how effective Clinton's method was for my purposes. The results have sent my confidence soaring! After only about a month and a half of working with Matti using the Fundamentals on the ground, I was riding her. I followed the Fundamentals to the letter and tried not to do any practice that was not detailed in it. The results? Matti, a once spooky and distrusting unridable mare is now a laid back and confident riding horse who now runs to the gate to meet her people each morning. Of course we had some bumps along the way, but I credit a lot of that to my own error. We got it all smoothed out in the end.

Unfortunately, I ended up moving out of state before my video project was over with. I intended to video tape myself doing all of the exercises with Matti but I was only able to get a few of the exercises taped. At the time I taped them we had not yet perfected the exercises and even since I finished working with Matti my own skills with the Method have improved. So the footage I have is quite rough. But I posted it to YouTube anyway with the hopes that it would spark the attention of those that may be interested in learning more about the Downunder Horsemanship Method.

My over all review of the Fundamental series: It works. Get it! I'm serious. It has done so much to boost my confidence. Matti reminded me so much of Vega. If I had had the Fundamentals series back when I had him, I truly believe that I would STILL have him today and that I would never have broken my arm. After my accident I had lost a lot of my confidence. Even though I still wanted to work with horses more than anything else, I paradoxically had a lot of fear when training horses. I didn't like that. The Fundamentals series has effectively removed that fear from me, because it has taken away the unknown factors of training. I know what to look for now, and I know what to do. It was the fear of the unknown that paralyzed me before. That fear is just not there anymore. I wrote a short review for the Fundamentals back when I first got the series. Downunder Horsemanship has used my review in the No Worries Club journal and the review is still on their website. I think it perfectly sums up how I feel about the Fundamentals Series:
by Miranda from Cleveland, TN
The Fundamentals Series is WELL WORTH the price! Ive never been to one of CAs clinics, but honestly it feels like he is giving me one on one lessons right in my living room. I love it! I cant say enough good things about this series. I cant wait to put it to practical use. There is no guess work involved. I feel very confident that if I follow the Method to a T that my horses training will come about smoothly and safely. Call the Fundamentals Series "confidence in a box"  
Enough said. If you have any questions at all PLEASE contact me. I would love to hear what you have to say. I am here for all of you out there that ever dared to dream that they could thrive in their life with horses.

Peace and Joy,

Miranda Joy

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Fundamentals

After what seemed like weeks of staring out the front window waiting for that special package to come, the Fundamentals Series from Downunder Horsemanship finally arrived on Tuesday (In reality, it did not take the package very long to get to me, I'm actually very pleased with the customer service). I was so excited. It took every fiber of my being to not scream and jump up and down when I saw the UPS truck stop in front of our house. The guy in brown must have seen how excited I was anyway because he kind of chuckled as he handed me my package. It was bigger than I expected it to be so I wasn't actually able to run up the stares to the kitchen table, but I sure did hurry.

I opened up the cardboard box, pulled out the pretty green case with Clinton Anderson on the cover and actually took a picture of it before I took off the plastic (I know, I'm pathetic). Once I opened the kit up and started taking everything out the first thing I said was, "Mmm, it smells good." Haha! But actually it did, that nice freshly opened packaging smell accompanied by freshly printed paper smell. It's the smell of Christmas.

There is a lot that is included in the Fundamentals Series, and I knew there would be, but it is just so much more impressive to see it all in person.
There is a 100 page Philosophy book which thoroughly explains Clinton's horse training philosophy and the elements of horse psychology that play a role in his method. It is a beautiful book with full color photos on every page. It reads more like a really nice magazine article then a book. My only compliant about the book is that the cover is REALLY thin. Thiner than a magazine's cover. I'm afraid of tearing it or bending it. I think I am going to take it to the library and get is bound or laminated in some way.

There are fourteen DVDs with over 28 hours of brand new footage that has never been seen before in any of Clinton's old DVDs or the TV show. The footage is beautiful to watch too. I am a big critic of cinematography so I can really appreciate good camera work when I see it. It also is all in HD so the clarity and detail is amazing (it's really fun to watch on my dad's 32 inch screen). I've watched the first three DVDs so far and have already benefited from them. The lessons are broken up into very easy to understand steps and Clinton addresses every conceivable problem you may have when teaching your horse the lesson. He first shows you what the end goal is by using an already trained horse, and then goes on to show you how to do the lesson on horses that have never been taught the exercises before. The DVDs are so thorough and so amazing to watch. Clinton takes advantage of every moment to teach you something new. The DVD menu is also set up really well so that you can quickly skip to a specific part if you want to re-watch it.

In the kit there are also fifteen "Arena Mates" which are small pocket sized booklets that outline every exercise in detail, along with full color photos. Theses are meant to be taken out to the barn as reference guides. These booklets are very thorough and cover every major point Clinton makes in the DVDs, including the common horse and handler mistakes and other troubleshooting tips. I am very excited about these Arena Mates. One of my biggest frustrations have been trying to remember how to do the exercises while in the heat of training or knowing what to do when something goes wrong. I predict that these booklets will be a life saver. These Arena Mates are so thorough that I feel like I could go out and do the exercises by just using them without ever watching the DVDs, yet they are very concise and to the point and are not overly wordy. They get in get out and tell you exactly what you need to know. Each step is also color coded so that you can find exactly what you need in a hurry.

So, needless to say, I am very exciting about the Fundamentals Series. I am itching to get out there and put it to practical use. That will have to wait a few weeks though because of my arm. My surgery is set for next week, Wednesday March 17th. The doctor says that my recovery time should be about three weeks so hopefully by mid April I will be out training horses again. In the meantime I have a lot of DVDs to watch to keep me busy.

I will continue to keep the world posted on my progress. I really feel like this series will be an invaluable tool to help me reach my dreams.

Peace and Joy,

Miranda Joy

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

No Worries, Mate

I have been a fan of Clinton Anderson and his Downunder Horsemanship training methods since 2006.  I've watched his TV show with near religious dedication whenever I had access to RFDTV and I did my best to follow those methods as best I could when I was training my horse, Vega.  At the time I never had the money to go to any of his Walkabout tours or to purchase any of his training DVDs and so my training attempts were mediocre at best.  I firmly believe that if I had followed CA's methods consistently with Vega that I would not have had my accident... but that's all water under the bridge at this point.
Well, recently I've gotten back into watching Clinton Anderson's show and have read through all of his first book (Clinton Anderson's Downunder Horsemanship).  This has really gotten me motivated to use his method more seriously in my training of horses.  So yesterday I decided to join Clinton Anderson's No Worries Club, which is a subscription based club membership that provides it's members with support, endless training information, and special discounts on DUH products and events. Through the No Worries Club website I have access to all of the episodes of Clinton's TV show and an online forum for all the members. I've only had the membership for a two days now and I have already learned so much. I love it!

I also decided to purchase Clinton's new Fundamentals series which was just released yesterday. It is a little on the pricey side, but I think it is going to be well worth the money.  And since I am now a No Worries Club member I saved about $200 on it! It has over 28 hours of DVD footage, 15 training booklets called Arena Mates which are meant to act as field guides for training at the barn, and a 100 page full color horse training philosophy book. It will cover Round Penning, Ground Work, and Riding exercises. I am very excited about this and can not wait to get started with it.

I plan to use the Fundamental series as a guide and outline for the training video I plan to make myself. Just as a disclaimer, the video I plan to make will not be an instructional video, it will only be a demonstration video. I highly encourage anyone who wants to get involved with Downunder Horsemanship to buy the DVDs. Use my footage only as an example. I will also blog on here about my experience using the Fundamentals series so that you can decided for yourself if it is something you too would like to purchase.

Peace and Joy, Everyone! Keep chasing those dreams.

Miranda Joy Turpin

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait

Life seems like a big yummy bowl of uncertainty right now.  A sweet and sour mixture of excitement and dread.  Right now I have some really exciting equine opportunities opening up for me, but at the same time I am facing yet another surgery on my right arm. The pain is so great that I have had to put all equine activities on hold until after my surgery. Do you know how hard that is for me? It's like telling a singer they can't sing, or a dancer they can't dance, or an artist they can't paint... or if you want to speak in sport terms, it's like telling an athlete they have to sit on the bench for the rest of the season. Here I am staring at the one thing I want to do more than anything else but I have to force myself to sit back and wait. 

This really really stinks because I was just starting to get back into horse training very seriously. Right before my arm started hurting again I had been going out to the Tri-State Therapeutic Riding Center a few times a week to school the horses there. I was really enjoying that, especially because I could see the difference it made in the horses when they were used for lessons. I still go out and help there now but I can't school the horses right now. As soon as I pick up a whip pain shoots through my arm. Sure, I could probably get on and ride one handed but if I can't school the horse than what's the point? I'm not interested in going for pony rides, I want to work horses!

Well, I'm going to stop complaining and just set my sights on getting better and getting back out there. Want to know what my plans are for when I get all better? That's right, I already have plans and they are exciting! Denise Wright, my friend who runs Tri-State Therapeutic, has a few arabian race horses that will be coming off the track in mid March. Her family breeds and races arabian horses (Bayview Farm).  As soon as I am fit enough to work horses again, I am going to be going out and working with these horses. I will be picking one to be "my" project horse and get it retrained and ready to sell. I am also going to use this horse to make a video of myself demonstrating different horse training exercises from Clinton Anderson's Downunder Horsemanship Method. I want to use this video to show to potential clients/employers.  At the same time I will be journaling my experience and will be posting on this blog.

So stay tuned because it is going to be exciting! And wish me the best for my surgery.

Miranda Joy Turpin