PostHeaderIcon Parelli Adventure-Jenny & Nova / Tony & Powder

Pat Parelli invited the Vaught family to come and ride with him for an entire month this summer in Colorado.  All the extended family are thrilled that the Vaughts have this great opportunity.  This is just thrilling.

The 2013 Spring went by and the great adventure was thought about.  Finally, real plans were in the working and finally, the making!  They left near the end of July and the first day of riding with Pat started July 24th.  I am very blessed that Jenny and Tony decided to take Powder and Nova with them along with four other horses.  They have to compete in the Missouri Fox Trotter 2013 Celebration.  They have to be ridden.  Working with Pat Parelli coaching them on cow work is my version of an a staggering opportunity for my horses.

The six horses get to stay in a small pasture that contains meadow and mountain.  It’s a long way from the Vaught RV.  The whole family is going to get a 30 day high altititude  workout in their riding and fetching horses to and fro.  Pat is a workaholic and so are the Vaughts. When they return from Colordao, they will be so physically fit and able to jog a full marathon everyday, but why would they want to?

On the morning of  their second day, the Vaughts were headed out on a conditioning trail ride in the mountains.  Pat Parelli was up and about riding.  He asked if they would also gather the cattle..all 64 of them including three bulls.  How fun can it get!

Nova and Powder were part of the group.  Nova has been a little nervous about being on the trail, and now she gets to be on A TRAIL.  Nova led and followed on the mountain trail.  And, of course Tony has to break the trail riding rule.  He and Powder leave the group.  Nova got a little ancy when Powder left, but Jenny managed to convince her that she was safe.

Then the cow gathering was implemented.  They found nearly all the herd and started gathering them back to the ranch.  Nova was placed in position and away they ambled.  All the cows decided they didn’t want to amble back to the ranch.  Instead they decided to head off in the direction that Nova was guarding.  All the cows turned and started on a direct line to Nova.  Nova is experienced with ten or so cows, maybe as many as 15.  Sixty four cows heading straight at her made her think, ” I want out of here!”  She telegraphed her desire to Jenny.  Jenny is a horse whisperer and read Nova’s thoughts loud and clear.  In her horse whisper voice, she told Nova, “Nova, you can do this!  Just put your ears back and look fierce!”  Nova trusted Jenny.  She put her ears back, way back.  Her head was ready to snake and mouth ready to eat any cow that had the audacity to even think about coming her way.  The cows thought… ooooooh.  That horse is not to be fooled with.  Let’s head the way that she wants.  The cows resumed their slow amble to the ranch for a day of cow work.

That evening started cow play with Pat coaching the Vaughts.  First Nova and Jenny worked with the electric cow…the one that runs up and down the string.  Nova has played with this kind of cow all winter.  The idea is that’s it’s the horse’s idea to follow the cow.  The rider’s job is to provide help with the speed, not help with the reins/mouth.

Pat decided Jenny was doing too much with the reins, so he had her close her eyes.  Can you imagine riding your horse with your eyes closed?  Pat has done this for a long time.  He has people ride at all speeds with their eyes closed.  He says it really helps to improve your balance.

Jenny used to have us ride with our eyes closed in our group lessons.  We never went faster than a walk.  Much time has passed and I think she forgot that training lesson.  Well, she had a great opportunity to learn it again.  This winter, Pat had her ride one of his cutting horses when cutting cows.  We have a video of that.  The one where it looks like Jenny is jerking around in the saddle…  She really did have her eyes closed, riding a top cutting horse, while cutting a cow.  my thought is “EEeeek!”  But I digress

Pat had jenny ride Nova with her eyes closed, while Nova was cutting the electronic cow.  When he was happy with that, he had Nova and Jenny go into the cow herd.  Usually the rider focuses on the cow to be cut out from the herd.  But Pat always has a better idea.  His idea is to let the horse pick the cow!  Nova went into the herd, put her ears back and snaked her herd at certain cows that interested her. Then Nova got to follow that cow and cut them out of the herd.

Oh the fun. On Thursday morning, the Vaughts were planning on heading out on their conditioning trail ride with their new job of gathering the herd.

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PostHeaderIcon Just Another Trail Ride by Hope Robinson


Our ride began on a lovely tree lined, shady trail until we encountered LIMBS DOWN. Ugh. No way to get through. We guffawed at the thought of getting OFF our horses to lead them through the branches. Get OFF? Then, remount FROM THE GROUND? Seriously? Nope.

Susan and I are loath to back track, but that was our only option. At the fork in the trail, we turned north. Low ground that had turned to ribbons of algae slop caused Cisco to LEAP across to save himself and Susan with him. It was SPECTACULAR! Cisco put much more effort into his launch than he or Susan needed. They lived.

Then, we followed a mowed trail into a sunflower field. Sunflowers weeks beyond their prime. We watched as herds of deer, hiding in the tall flowers, leapt to their feet to flee the field as we rode deep into their resting area. We retreated the way we had come.

“Run little possum!” Nope, he stared us down from the side of the trail. Did not budge. It could have been all over if he’d chosen to chase us!

Susan and I continued riding towards the road. Trees lining both sides of our trail, opening onto the road ahead. ZOOM! No sound. ZOOM! For a blink we see a bicycle/rider cross from left to right at sonic bicycle speed several strides ahead. Both horses saw the bicycle missile, thought to save themselves, and us with them! Good Susan Engle trained horses, reacted big, but mostly in place. After we assessed ourselves, we asked, “Are you OK?” Then, laughed. WE LIVED!

PostHeaderIcon A Wonderful Compliment- miraculous

Good information! Thank You Susan! And then it happened…I went down the Rabbit Hole of Susan’s Blog and have been happily reading your blog for an hour. I love you honesty. Makes me feel less alone on my horse adventures and gave me many belly laughs. I had to claw my way out of the Rabbit Hole to go pick up my truck. But I will surely retun to reading them very soon. Love to read your quirky writing! PS: Now don’t get a big head over this post. As you know I tend not to be this kind. Sarcasm is more my speed.

PostHeaderIcon Stifle Horse Problem Injury for Beginner Human Understanding

I was a beginning human in “stifle” when Cisco became lame on his right back leg this past February. Lame means limping in this instance. I had confusion about where the stifle is located in the horse. It was explained to me it was the horse’s knee. I’ve always been confused about the horse’s knee and the hock. I thought they must be the same, but from millions of conversations, I had my doubts. I always just pretended to know the different parts of the horse’s hind leg. Being in horses 20 plus years would make one assume that they understood horses’ joints. I was just too embarrassed to ask anyone about my knee and hock confusion. Normally I don’t mind showing my uneducation, but not on this subject! It sounded so easy. Oh was I dead wrong!

Here are parts of the horse-labeled

Here is a good article to start with except it doesn’t have a picture of a real horse. This article is just slightly frightening!

Here is the best article so far that I have read by immensely respected Nancy S. Loving. And it is frightening….

Here is an article with pictures and beginner understandable language. This article is followed by many many links to other informative stifle articles. Also this article has pictures which really help our beginner understanding.

Here is a detailed written explanation of how vet medicine is coming along with stifle lameness.

Here is the web site of a human and horse physical therapist who specializes in rehabilitation of the horse stifle. I bought her DVD and now understand more of what is going on. Also there is a great discussion amount different people who have tried most of the treatments that are done with the stifle. These treatments are what your vet will recommend for your horse. Horse and Hound Physical Therapy

The stifle lameness took me highs and lows from February to August. Lameness and seemingly recovery and then lameness again. Plus I was sick during this time. I was found to have an internal blood leaking problem which I self-diagnosed as a vitamin defiancy until I thought my heart would explode and went to emergency room! It has been a rough first half. There were tears about Cisco. Stifle! I hate that word and all the anguish.

Thank you good friend Mindy who guided me to The Horse and Hound DVD and now finding and reading these articles above. Thank you Tony Vaught for continue to improve Cisco’s body and leg balance with his shoes. Tony is a Healthy Stride Farrier and works with Linda Parelli’s horses when they are located in Florida.
I think we need to keep Cisco’s shoes on this coming winter!

I am still confused, but Cisco is now 85% sound in my opinion. I might be an intermediate beginning stifle learning human now.
Note: I was riding Cisco and put my feet out of the stirrups and pretended to ride bareback. Immediately, my toes went up and heels down. Then I felt it! I felt the wobble at the right leg stifle. Aha! Now I can feel it when my feet are in the stirrups. Try it.

Trail riding was going great with Cisco. His gaits were strong. I felt no wobbles for around a month. I left town for 10 days. His pasture situation is static. He and other horses walk occasionally about a football field to graze twice a day.
When we had our first trail ride his back feet were slipping like a very short slide stop. Hmmmm. Second ride we increased our distance from 5 miles to 7 miles. We were on about 4 miles when something went very wrong and a lameness napped for about 4 steps. He recovered, but I thought I felt a slight wobble. On the third ride at about a mile, he started laboring to walk. It didn’t feel lame. But it felt awful. We turned around and headed back to,trailer and he commenced to pace at a regular walk. That is an awful feeling.
I became hysterical. At home I saw him dragging his back toes. Stifle was back!
I called our local Magna wave person and after his treatment, his toes no longer dragged. He was using his hind end and picking up his feet. Yesterday I had the she replaced. Today is a massage.

I asked a Facebook horse friend group to tell me their stifle experience. Here goes:
>I had a little horse who had stifle issues and had the tendons in both hind legs cut. he was 7 or 8 when we had the surgery he did great lived to be 34 and never took a bad step after that. I used him for competitive trail rides and then my nephew rode him and then my niece rode him.

>I have a liitle mare with a stifle problem. It comes and goes. Right now I am using Magna Wave Therapy on her. It still comes and goes, but, it has really helped and so far she hasn’t been a candidate foe surgery or shots.

>my vet says cut it there will be no issues later no more then there is in any old horse they all get some arthritis he has never had any horses with issues later down the road i do believe this cause my barrel horse was clipped he did so good afterwards and my uncle bought him from me yrs later, he rode him in the mountains hunting then yrs later he was sold to a family to be a kids horse he never had any issues. yes gaited horses seem to have it more i have snip a couple it healed in a couple days and was riding in 4 days

>I know several that had the tendon cut and never had problems because of it. A couple lived to 30 and didn’t have arthritis in their stifles and several are late 20s now

>Chatted with a fox trotter show horse owner who had the tendons cut on their horse. Horse was soon recovered and doing great. The horse relapsed when shown in a small arena. Later horse was shown at World Show and won ribbons.

Talked to another that had stifle tendon cut. Horse is also a show horse and is doing great.

Chatted a couple months ago with a person who had gaited horse tendons cut. Horse went thru a lot of rehab and finally ended up with a rideable horse with a correct, but short stride.

>Dr. Frees at Wilhite and Frees veterinary is one of the few vets skilled at treating upward fixation of the patella. Instead of cutting the tendon horizontally, it is cut vertically in small inscesions: Medial patella ligament splitting .Works very well and the horse is still able to lock its leg at rest.

PostHeaderIcon What a Great Evening with Cisco and Lucky!

The weather changed to “have fun with horses” instead of “try not to die”.

I arrived at the barn determined to do everything.  Firstly, I decided it was Cisco who was to be the first ride.  I piled my backpack, 22′ rope and halter, and bridle around the saddle horn.  I decided to put on his driving bridle and drive him up to the arena – a half a football field away.  Lucky is in the pasture.  Cisco is a right brain extrovert.  He worries and gets anxious.  He has been really happy to be stabled with Lucky and gets upset when he separates from Lucky.  So, I’m trying to drive him away from Lucky.  Our driving is in the beginning stage.  He has not learned the value of a straight line, especially when he is traveling AWAY from Lucky.  So we had quite a time leaving the barn.  He kept trying to turn back and I kept turning him towards the arena.  Finally, he was convinced to go forward in a weave pattern and away we went.  That took a while.

When we got to the arena, I took off the driving bridle and his halter.  He was anxious.  I knew a liberty game would turn into something exciting and it did.  He ran about a 45 foot circle around me at a canter.  He was still anxious about Lucky not being with him.  I just enjoyed it.  Cisco was warming himself up.  He looks stunning. He is using his hind end. There is no trace of him dragging his toes which is part of the lameness issue. I examined his canter.  He is short-strided, but looks solid.  I asked him to change directions and he spun and kicked.  Whooowee.  I did worry about his stifle tendon, but he still was solid on his canter.  He came into me a couple of times and went back out anxious at a canter.  Finally, he walked a circle around me.  Success!  Then I left him.  He became anxious again.  I asked him if he was going to jump the arena fence and he screamed at me, “No way I’m jumping!  Just hurry and bring Lucky up here!”

I had Lucky working on his cantering at liberty in the round pen.  We worked on my draw too, which is coming to me when I lean over a bit and look at his hindquarters.  I was ignored for a while, but after cantering a good deal, he suddenly understood the signal to come to me.  I looked at the sun.  Good Golly, I didn’t have a whole lot of sun left!  I only had time to ride Cisco!

Oh what a great time i had.  Better and better he gets.  The driving helps his “rooting and chewing the bit”. Soon we had a quiet mouth. We worked on flexing the head while going straight. We were working on transitions and gaiting around the short ends of the arena.

We were at the potentially scary end of the arena when we saw something moving far away. It was a human. Cisco immediately went on head straight up alert. I tried moving us backwards and forwards and doing some sidepassing. The human kept moving. We went to the other side of the arena where he leaped up about 2″ and came down bracing his front legs. What the Heck? We weren’t even facing the scary human thing. Turns out, Cisco is leary of a strange shape in the sand. It is the shape of the bottom of a barrel. What! “You are afraid of a barrel impression in the sand”? Cisco replies, “I’m nervous about that human thing and anything strange just sets me off! I think an alien ship landed here and the aliens want to eat a horse!” I replied, “Oh Good Lordy”, as I had him walk over the alien space ship impression. He erased it and his worry went away.

We turned back to see if the scary human had disappeared yet, but it appeared the human was headed our way. A little doggie was on a leash. Awwww. The human came close enough that she could hear me yelling “Hi”! She said “Hi” back. I explained that my horse was afraid of her. She said her doggie was afraid of us. She held up a beagle puppy. Oh how cute. I yelled at the puppy in puppy language while I was rubbing Cisco’s neck. Cisco was still on alert, but the bolting tension had gone away. Human beagle owner and I chatted a while and she left. Soon she had disappeared and Cisco was back to calm

I thought I might try for a canter. On the second ask for a canter, it happened. I asked and he cantered. We cantered a very short distance to the short scary end of the arena and broke gait. I praised and praised him. The sun was ready to set and it was time to head back to the barn. Lucky was on the scary far side of the arena. I decided to get the stick and string to help Cisco drive Lucky to the barn side of the arena. Dang! It worked great! I had the string swirling thru the air with a calm Cisco and we got to drive the dominate horse. Cisco herded Lucky! What a night!

PostHeaderIcon The Bird Horse

Where would we be without another Lucky Star story. It has been too hot to ride or too hot to ride two horses, so Lucky has been coasting. What does that mean multiple choice test:
A. Lucky becomes more willing since he’s had a vacation
B. Lucky didn’t want to move. Remember, he wants to be a statue.
C. I wanted him to circle around me at a walk and instead he took off and did his imitation bucking routine.
D. He gave me a squeal and his middle finger.

There for a while tonight Lucky Star could been bought for a dollar!

The answer is surprising. It was C and D.

I had to take the saddle off as it was moving forward to resting on his neck. It was then that he could have been purchased for a dollar. It was still hot out there. The saddle is heavy and I was looking forward to riding Cisco after Lucky. Daylight was on a timer.

Cisco was in the round pen with Lucky. He managed to stay in the middle with me during much of the ensuing Lucky Star explosion. When Cisco got upset and went out running on the rail, I made Lucky change direction and ignored Cisco. When Lucky changed direction, he exploded up and gave me some mighty back end kicks. Those back end kicks are just like an upset human giving you the bird. That is what we used to call the middle finger gesture!

Lucky Star lost his Horse of No title tonight. He has become The Bird Horse. Lord help me. Lucky and I did have a fairly nice ride after his temper tantrum explosion.

I did get to ride Cisco and it was wonderful.

PostHeaderIcon Home Exciting Home!

A week of extreme temperatures coming up has defeated me. I decided to bring the handsome geldings home from the boarding stable. Everyone will be pleased…the handsome geldings and the fulsome mares.

I pulled up and Cisco saw me immediately. I got out of the truck and Cisco whinnied loudly. Ahhhhh, I thought, “he really loves me”. I walked up to his pasture and he whinnied again. But he wasn’t looking at me. He was looking at the trailer. I walked past him and Cisco whinnied at the trailer. Did he think his mares were in there? Was he telling the trailer to open the gate so he could load up? Cisco loves the trailer more than me. Sigh

I got both geldings in hand and we loaded into the trailer and went home. I decided to rinse them off before letting them into the pasture. I decided to lead both of them into the barn and stall. Of course Lucky went first and Cisco was just barely able to avoid crushing me in his desire to be home. Lucky tried to take off before I got the halter off. He pulled the rope out of my hand. I stepped on the rope. He was stronger and pulled the rope away. Lucky went directly to the round bale, got on one knee and rubbed his neck. I had a time controlling Cisco to get his halter off. He took off. I followed intending to get the halter off Lucky. But the impulsive geldings decided to gallop off. Zoom they went with Lucky’s rope floating in his jet stream.

The mares? They stayed in the barn. No way did they have the energy in the 90+ weather to gallop anywhere. Soon the speed machine geldings came racing back to the barn and I was able to get Lucky’s halter off.

I’m drying off my sweat in the house now and saw the herd run across the dam. Evidentially Lucky and Cisco gently motived the mares to move out! Don’t believe the gentle word.

PostHeaderIcon Ick- Covered in Crumbles

Many horse people buy bags of treats. These treat bags are picked up, carried in trailers, tossed, crushed by saddles etc.. When the treats get low in the bag, the bottom of the bag has crumbled grit of mangled treats.

My treat bag has about 5 treats left. There is about a half inch of treat crumble grit in the bottom of the bag. I take the treat bag out to the outdoor horse shower area and try to hide it from Lucky eyes. It’s in the upper 80′s and horrid humid hot. My hose leaks, so when Lucky’s outdoor bath is finished, my shirt, face, neck, glasses, and sun glasses hanging from my shirt are wet from both sweat and real water from the hose.

Oh No! Lucky has spotted the hidden treat bag. He swoops up the plastic bag in his mouth. I grab the plastic bag by the bottom. Lucky has about half of the bag in his mouth. A mighty battle starts. A plastic bag tugging war is ongoing with neither of horse nor human giving up one inch of the bag.

I managed to hold on with one hand while the other hand tries to tickle Lucky’s mouth open. He ignores the tickle hand and tries to get his tongue into the bag and get the treat. Oh Ha! I win!

He lets go of the bag. The force of my hold whips the bag back to me and propels all the gritty crumbs out of the bag onto my hair, face, both sunglasses and real glasses, neck and wet shirt. I am covered in peppermint crumbles. I am blind. I try to shake the grit off my body and glasses, but grit loves sticky wet things.

I managed to wipe the grit off my real glasses so I can see again. I put Lucky back in his stall and give Cisco his bath. Now I’m even wetter and still covered with peppermint grit.

I go home to my house in the country. Luckily it is dark and there are no visitors. I shed my shirt and shook the grit off. I discovered my sun glasses only had one ear piece…the one that kept it hanging on my shirt. The other one had flown away when the treat bag exploded. When I took my shower, peppermint body grit washed down the drain.

Lucky Star didn’t get the treats in the bag, but he won the grit war!

PostHeaderIcon Sand, Grit and Domination

FYI- Lucky Star strives to be dominate over me. I tried to explain to him yesterday that he made his life so much harder as he tried to nibble me….

7/11/17

Misery in Missouri July.
Still in upper 80 or low 90 at 7:00 pm.
I manage to get Cisco and Lucky haltered, fly sprayed, fly masks off, eyes and face rubbed and off we go a half football field to the arena. I had decided that I didn’t have enough strength to saddle a horse in the heat. Ha! I suffered much worse than that.

At the arena, I decided it would be so easy to play with both horses at liberty. (see Ha above.). We practiced both horses backing and coming to me. Coming to me is called “the draw”.

I then asked both horses to go out and circle around me.

Lucky Star, the dominate one (over both me and Cisco), decided to show his total disregard of his human and took off running for the other end of the arena. He did not set a very good example for Cisco. I had to walk a goodly distance in the heat to persuade him to join-up with me again. We did this twice so i decided we all needed to go into the round pen. We got our halters on.

We all got inside the round pen and chatted a bit. I took off both halters and asked both horses to leave at a fast gait and they did. Both horses kicked up speed which invoked a sand and grit storm. The hot weather has dried out the arena. Sand and grit flew into all our eyes. We left the round pen after our eyes cleared up. I rubbed my eyes and their eyes.

I decided to play with Lucky on the 22′ rope and Cisco at liberty. Cisco ran through the rope, making it essential that I drop the rope or die of rope burn.

I ended up playing with Lucky on the 22′ rope. He gave me horse signs of disrespect (head down and some nasty salutesmwith amback leg). This disrespect was a reason he got to canter several times at both directions and gave him a good workout in the horrid heat..

I did get to play with Cisco a short time before I felt the heat death approach.

We all headed back to their pasture and stall home. I managed to get fly masks adjusted, their faces rubbed and treats fed. I managed to get back to the car into air conditioner before death got me.

On the way home, one eye erupted into sand pain hell. Sand had coated the inside of my eye. By the time I was halfway home, I prayed that a policeman would not stop me. One look into that eye and suspicion of being drugged would happen. My eye burned! Three hours later, I think my eye will not burn out of my head.

What a night! The 22′ rope is my best friend.

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star Saves Mom’s Life!

How the Horse of No Saved My Life

I took Lucky and Cisco to one of our our outdoor arena summer home. It is perfect for Cisco’s rehab. I was going to ride the “horse of no” and lead Cisco over the log obstacle, the low jump and the small wooden bridge. That was my intent and if Lucky would have let that happen, I might be in the hospital or funeral home now.

Lucky decided he wanted to play at liberty before I rode. He double dared me to make him a happy horse while trotting circles around me. I took out my top of the line horsemanship leader role and proceeded to fail at making him a happy horse.

Firstly, I failed at circles. Instead Lucky ran straight and did his best performance of a bucking horse. It takes a lot of energy to get that high flying air suspension bucking horse. Lucky just braces his front legs and puts his head down as he trots off.

This bracing the front legs with his head down always makes the saddle move forward. This saddle is much better that my former saddle. It managed to stay on his back, not on his neck. However, it still goes too far forward. I loosen the girth and move the saddle back in place and tighten it up again.

The knowledgeable horse trainer returns and fails again as Lucky performed his exciting version of a slow, low flying bronc.
Repeat with the saddle adjustment.

We are now completed the fourth bucking episode. I’m thinking of getting him in the round pen, remove the saddle and make him fly around. I’m getting irritated at my horsemanship failure.

Once again, I loosen the saddle and move it back. I tighten it again and BOOM! The girth strap pulls apart. It looked like a piece of beef jerky as it pulled apart.

Good Lordy! I could have been riding Lucky Star or even Cisco when the break occurred. I could have been cantering around the corner of the arena when the break occurred. I would have flown off with the saddle. That is a physics thing. The rider’s body follows the saddle where ever it goes.

Lucky Star, “The Horse of No”, saved my life! Thank goodness he was in his arguing mode.

The saddle is my new used saddle. I didn’t like the leather strap. I had a feeling about it. However, it looked perfectly good to me. I was eventually going to replace it with my favorite nylon cinch strap. Whoops, instincts should always be followed!

When you buy a new used saddle, put on a new girth strap. You might not have a “Horse of No” to save your life!

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