Archive for June, 2001

PostHeaderIcon Velvet – Flying Lead Changes at Equitana – IV

Pat’s new resolve this year was to teach something useful during each Savvy Demonstration. He waited until the last performance to teach flying lead changes. He and some of the students demonstrated the proper body position and drop to trot lead changes.

He asked the instructors to demonstrate flying lead changes over two barrels. Luckily, Pat set this up for Velvet to change leads from left to right. Jenny was relaxed as Velvet has been doing it flying lead changes in this direction over barrels at home. Jenny was last in line and she jumped over…and didn’t get the LEAD change!

Pat told her to do it again, he told her to ride faster and gave her a few instructions. Velvet jumped and didn’t get the lead change. 

Now, the crowd was straining for Velvet to get the lead change. Pat said, “We are going to get this Missouri Fox Trotter to do a flying lead change!” He instructed Jenny again as she galloped around. The third time she got it . . to thunderous applause.

Three times Jenny got to ride Velvet jumping over a barrel. Jenny was so happy to soak in the attention of the entire crowd. (ha…Jenny is not a ham like Velvet!)

Before the flying leads episode, Pat had all the horses run around the arena again. This time Velvet stayed with the horse crowd. She never got separated from the group. She ran as fast as they did. When she wanted to come into the center, she came to Jenny and Sasha went to Tony. It was much smoother….but not as much FUN!

My performance with Velvet went great. I was fortunate that Jenny had warmed Velvet up for me every day. Velvet and I did ” Dressage Velvet, Reining horse Velvet and Jumper Velvet. Then we did it all over again after I took off the bridle and rode bridleless…even jumping over the barrel. My performance had lots of clapping…some of which I begged for…some of which I bribed the crowd by throwing peppermints during our entry. We rode with two other Supreme Trail Horses and even had some model horses in the arena during the last two performances.

June 2001 has been the best month of my LIFE!

PostHeaderIcon Velvet at Equitana – TV STAR – III

This demonstration was held in an arena that was too small for the Savvy Team and there were not enough seats for the crowd. Lots of people had to stand and couldn’t see very well. 

The exciting thing was that Horse TV was filming this Savvy Demonstration. Hopefully you will all be able to see Velvet on DISH TV, which shows channel 9409, and Horse TV.

Even though the arena was too small to handle 9 horses doing their thing, they went in anyway. Since each horse is tightly focused on their owner, all the instructors managed to do the magic things that wowed the crowd. 

Then Pat did some talking and demonstrations with his black stallion. After that, each instructor or instructor team went into the arena with an introduction.

Pat said that he asked the “married couple” to put together something nice. He introduced Jenny and Tony as they came into the arena and their horses…Missouri Fox Trotter and Quarter horse. So, Horse TV got to focus on two horses for the length of one song. Jenny was shocked when the song was over and told me that they had done only half the stuff they had planned…but oh well…There was that Fox Trotter on HORSE TV!!!!

PostHeaderIcon Velvet at Equitana -Velvet the Slow -Herd Breaker II

The 2nd Savvy Demonstration was held in Freedom Hall. That’s the ultimate facility. It was full to watch the much talked about Parelli demonstrations!This is the facility where the evening performance, the Mane Event, is held. You can be in the arena and look up at the seats that go to the sky.

The instructors came and wowed the crowd with the things that they can do with their horses. People were abuzz about this one and that one. Velvet seemed to be much more relaxed on this day. She stuck with Jenny until..well, that’s today’s story.

Pat came in and explained some of the concepts. He introduced all the instructors and their horses. He didn’t elaborate this day about Fox Trotters. Upon introducing Jenny, he told the crowd that she was riding a Missouri Fox Trotter.

Pat told us that he was going to do something different each day. Today, he was going to demonstrate how these horses are horses…but also bonded with their human. He is going to conduct an experiment. He proposed to turn all the horses loose and send them all out on the rail. We would see how long it would take before we could tell that each horse was seeking out it’s human.

One more thing…Pat’s horse is a Stallion…a black stallion. Pat had Casper right with him when he proposed this game. I’m thinking…is Velvet

in heat?

All at once the instructors sent their horse out on a gallop on the rail. There were eight horses that went out. The game was to keep the horses going the same direction at the same gait. The instructors stood lined up in the middle to prevent the horses from cutting through any part of the middle. Eight horses went to the rail and started galloping.

The black mare was galloping easy…going a steady pace. But, all the other horses were going a much faster pace. She never really tried to speed up and stay with the other horses. For 5 laps of this arena we had the 7 horses in a group and the black mare solo. It became apparent that the group of horses were catching up with the solo horse. On the 7th lap, the horses were all on the same side of the arena…with the large group in back steadily catching up with the one in front.

The slow, but beautiful black mare was about midway along the long end of the rail. The solo horse had started to become bothered that she was alone…she had started taking glances at the group behind her.

All at once, she turned and galloped wildly toward the group just coming around the corner. (This was against the rules of going the same direction, but no human was fast enough to react and stop her). She ran pell mell into the group of seven.

The group of seven became alarmed and slammed on their collective seven sets of brakes. It looked like a black mare “bowling ball” had made a strike. Horses went in all directions. Then, as if they had spoken to each other, all horses turned around and started running the opposite way, Velvet’s way. This was Linda Parelli’s end. She and a few other instructors ran down to the end of the arena to turn all the horses back the original direction and get them going into a canter again. This took several wild moments with horses going here and there. (Maybe bedlam is too harsh a word to describe this scene.) In short order, all the horses had turned and were running the original direction. Jenny and Tony (Jenny’s husband) were relaxing on the other end of the arena…ready to fly into action if such an event occurred on their end…it didn’t!

Velvet was in the middle of the herd. But not for long. Soon she had dropped to the back and then was left by the group again.

I thought this was a good ad for people who are afraid of horses that run off…Buy fox trotters…if they run off,  it will be s l o w e r than any other horse!!!

Eventually the horses tired of running around and started looking for their humans to save them. Several horses came running into their owner. The gallop had slowed down to a canter and the group had lapped Velvet. She teamed up with Sasha, Jenny’s own quarter horse who was being used by Tony. Velvet had ridden in the trailer from KC to Louisville with Sasha, so they had become good friends.

Velvet teamed up with Sasha and Pat started talking about them as the “married couple horses”. Pat asked, “Are the married couple’s horses ready to come in?” Jenny and Tony caught the eye of Velvet and Sasha and they came galloping in. Whoops, confusion occurred. Sasha wanted to come to Jenny too, but was confused about Tony standing there. Well, Velvet said the heck to this waiting, I’ll go to Tony! Sasha went to Jenny and Velvet went to Tony! The crowd murmured “they went to different people!”…after a few moments when none of the 3000 people were watching (ha), Jenny and Tony switched horses!

This is when it became clear to me that Velvet was going to do something Every Day to draw attention to herself. The personality of Velvet and her owner is more alike than I thought…HAMS! (By the way, the stallion did not cause one iota of trouble in the galloping herd.)

Pat talked for a while after that…and the horses rested. While Pat talked and the horses caught their breath, the instructors mounted the horses. Jenny mounted Velvet by jumping on her neck….about the last 1/4 of the neck. Velvet raised her head and Jenny slid down to her withers and got her legs on both sides of her…mounting bareback…no halter, bridle… nothing but the small 6′ rope around her neck. That’s how she rode the remainder of the demonstration.

PostHeaderIcon Velvet and Equitana – Introduction

 Velvet, the black Missouri Fox Trotter, was seen by approximately 12,000 people at Equitana 2001. Perhaps the numbers will increase as one of Velvet’s Parelli performances was filmed by HORSE TV. Pat Parelli’s live demonstrations in the big arenas pulled in approximately 3000+ people each day. His demonstration was squished into a smaller arena once with 5 deep people in the standing areas.

 My performances with Velvet at the Missouri Fox Trotter Breed Demonstration pulled in 100-200 people each performance

Background: Jenny Vaught, endorsed Pat Parelli instructor, took Velvet to Equitana to ride in Pat Parelli’s Savvy Team Demonstrations. The Missouri Fox Trotter Promotion Chairman, Pete Rolfe, got me aquainted with the Missouri Fox Trotter Equitana Promotion Chairman, Richard Harrel (and wife Katherine). They were foolish enough to let me ride Velvet in the Missouri Fox Trotter Breed Demonstration. Katherine was the lucky announcer with the Velvet script! 

Pat Parelli’s demonstration times were an hour or longer. Pat wowed the crowd first with performances of his instructors and their horses.

After the 2nd day’s performance, it became apparent that Velvet was always going to do something that would draw the attention of the entire crowd and end in thunderous clapping. This something was not anything that was ever PLANNED by Jenny!


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