Archive for April, 2001

PostHeaderIcon All Fox Trotter Natural Horsemanship Clinic

On Saturday, April 28, fifteen fox trotters and their owners plus a herd of auditors gathered at D & D Fox Trotters’ new arena to participate or watch a Natural Horsemanship clinic.  The clinic took place in the beautiful countryside around Ava at Diane and Dallas Hudson’s beautiful home and facility.  The clinic was organized by Anita Rolfe with just a little help from some of her friends!  Most of the auditors and participants knew each other either from the Internet Fox Trotter listserver or in person, so it was like a huge family gathering.  One of the main things about family gatherings is the great amount of food that is offered, and the lunch hour for this workshop was not disappointing.  People on the Internet fox trotter list server had been excited for weeks by Mona Dollarhide’s offer to bring her, now famous, rum cake.

Pat Harris made special embroidered T-shirts for each participant and the instructor.  The design included a fox trotter horse along with the date, place and name of the workshop.  These T-shirts will be prized forever by all the lucky owners.

Jenny Vaught, an endorsed Parelli Natural Horsemanship Instructor, taught the Level 1 Beginning Workshop.  She is also a Parelli certified young horse starter.  Jenny teaches both horses and people at her full service stable, Pine Dell Farm, southeast of Kansas City, Missouri.  A great deal of learning occurred…by both horses and people.  Susan Engle and Karen Moulis (Jenny’s mother and also an instructor at Pine Dell Farm) walked around and helped the participants during the workshop.  Pine Dell Farm phone number is 816-540-3566 for both people and horse training.

Natural Horsemanship is a system to teach people how to communicate through understanding and psychology rather than force, fear and intimidation.  It considers the horse’s point of view.  It means no need for artificial aids of restraint.  It teaches you to be a ‘natural’ with horses.  Pat has set this up on the same principle as Judo…with the belts.  There are progressive levels, a colored “rope” to signify what level each person is, and tests that are submitted in person in front of an instructor or by video tape sent to an instructor.  In this manner, a person advances from the very basics of knowledge and safety about horses up to the most complex and difficult tasks a human can ask of a horse.

Understanding horse psychology is a big key to becoming skillful.  When you understand that survival, comfort and play are important to horses (and in that order), and you learn to read their body language, understand their games and needs and play those games with them, you get to enter a very special zone.  The Horseman’s zone.  It’s a level of savvy which is so rare in the horse world, but a savvy that’s unmistakable in students of Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship.

A very special demonstration was given on Friday night by Jenny with Velvet, a Missouri Fox Trotter owned by Susan Engle.  Susan is working on attaining Level 3 with Velvet and Velvet is an “advanced horse” in this program.  Jenny played the ground games with Velvet cumulating in Velvet jumping over a barrel on her path to Jenny.  Velvet was at liberty.  Jenny rode Velvet bridleless and Velvet performed her foxtrot flawlessly with nothing on her head. Jenny also had Velvet sidepass over two barrels shoved together…again without anything on her head.  Jenny then bridled Velvet while mounted and proceeded to ride around the arena performing some intricate maneuvers generally seen in dressage arenas.  The demonstration was very impressive and enjoyed by the large crowd.  We have just learned that Jenny has been given permission by Pat Parelli to take Velvet to Equitana.  Pat and his students give two programs per day in front of 2000-3000 people per session.  Jenny will be using Velvet during some, if not all of the sessions.

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