Archive for July, 2005

PostHeaderIcon Nova’s Notebook – First Clinic!

Nova and I attended a clinic called Young Horse Development. Both Jenny and Tony Vaught were the clinicians.

The clinic could be called Extreme Desensitizing & Bonding!

Before a horse is ready to ride, can you:

  • Bounce an exercise ball on horse’s back? (Tony told us that he doesn’t start riding a young horse until he can bounce a ball off the horse!)
  • Play goal as you and a friend roll a big exercise ball back and forth between the horse’s legs?
  • Have your horse carry two tied-together garbage bags filled with empty pop cans. Plus Nova was short enough that the garbage bags swirled about her front legs. I had Nova pushing a big yellow exercise ball (with her feet and head) while the garbage bags bumped around her legs.
  • Play kick ball in a circle. You kick to a human and their horse stands behind them. Whoops some of the balls fly thru the air and get past the human!
  • Spray your horse with water in a fly spray container
  • Have your horse walk across a tarp
  • Drag a tarp over your horse including over the head so that they are blinded
  • Can you pretend that you just spent some time in a bar and stagger around your horse
  • Can you skip around your horse? (We call this the gay Cabarello game)
  • Can you touch your horse everywhere…yes, Everywhere!
  • Can you stand quietly with your horse while a madman in short chaps skips around the arena bouncing an exercise ball? I think the humans were more frightened of the cowboy than the horses!
  • Can your horse stand sideways beside you while you sit on a fence? (like this is how I mount a horse!)
    I let Nova wear my hat and she decided to show it off to the crowd. She was proud of her hat!

In the afternoon, Jenny took one group and played “go under the stick”. Two people held a pole and the horse had to walk under it. This meant that the horse had to put it’s head down and walk under the pole. Many horses tried to put their head over the pole and couldn’t figure out why they couldn’t walk under it….or maybe they were frightened to walk under the pole!

Tony took another group and the horse and human walked along the wall while Tony got close and bounced the exercise ball. When we were all OK with that, Tony started throwing the ball at the wall right before we got to the point. When we all lived through that, he started throwing the ball against the wall right over our heads as we walked next to the wall. We were all just a little nervous about this, but managed fine.

At the end of the hot day (it was in the 90′s) we all stood in a circle while Jenny walked around shooting a cap gun. Ya know…no one moved. After having an exercise ball bang against the wall over your head, a cap gun was nothing. 

Tony’s finale was a fire extinguisher. In the American Saddle bred show horse world, a fire extinguisher is used to make the horses scared and more animated. Tony shot the white smoke around the arena and one horse looked at it and actually moved. The rest of us stood there until the fumes made us sick and we all moved out of the arena into the sunny day!

Then the clinic ended.

Do you think I have any worry AT ALL about Nova spooking at something when the times comes that I ride her? NOOOOOOoooooo!

In fact, Nova was the star of the clinic. She did not spook at anything! When the clinic was over, Nova and I loved each other about 50% more than we did when we arrived for the day. The next morning, I came out of the house and yelled her name. She immediately whinnied for me.

Nova is my little pride and joy!

Tony and Jenny Vaught


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