Archive for May, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Houston, We Have Comminication

The space craft has come around from behind the moon and checked back in with Houston.

Lucky Star has checked in with Susan Houston and we have a communication about the flat foot walk and the fox trot. Lucky will give me both gaits sometime after my request.
Lucky’s favorite gait is the “not move immediately upon receiving the signal” and the fox trot.
Now he is giving me that signature “walk” and keep it going.

The canter to the right is there and the canter to the left is difficult.

We had many moments of shiny bright rocket fire tonight!
Hello Houston!

PostHeaderIcon Memorial Day Ride


Lucky Star and I went on a trail ride today with Hope and Jazz. We got to the park at 9:00 and there were several riding groups that had the same idea.

We had a great ride. After staying a week at For The Horse Ranch with Tony and Jenny Vaught, Lucky Star was in best gait form ever.

Lucky gave me the longest, nicest flat foot walk ever. Ah, sigh. How nice is that 4 best rhythmic beat.

He gave me some long stretches of fox trot too. I love that.

The best was a long distance canter. I asked him to canter on a portion of the trail I call “canter hill”. Lucky gave me a canter and kept his legs at the canter. While we were cantering, he stayed nice and relaxed. I love horses that stay easy going when cantering. My fear comes up when horse’s start cantering and accelerate into a gallop. I’m so glad to discover Lucky Star isn’t an “accelerated” horse.

I rubbed him and told Lucky he was great! Not long after that, I asked and got another long canter. It was a great ride!

Lucky and I have three months till the September World Celebration. We are going to start training in an arena.

Here’s a picture of Hope and Jazz. Lucky Star and I were riding in a green sea when I took this picture.


PostHeaderIcon Tilt-A-Wheel

Have you ever seen a Tilt-A-Wheel at a carnival.  You know how the platform turns and the thing that is attached to the platform turns and spins.

That’s sort of like what Lucky Star’s brain is like.  He has a very active brain that is always working, whirling, tilting and zipping around the track.  His brain is looking for fun and play.

In the arena, I’m trying to keep him on the rail and work on exciting things like straightness, gait, haunches in.  Lucky Star is not thinking those are really exciting and fun things.  He’s looking around the arena and sees interesting things.  Right around every forth step, Lucky veers off the rail.  He’s headed for excitement.  Occasionally, we argue about stepping back to the rail.  It’s sort of disruptive to our training on maintaing the gait.

Every now and then I have him turn circles. That makes him happy for a while, because he’s fooled into thinking we are headed in all directions of the arena.  When he figures out that  circling is not fun, our precise reining aka dressage circles collapse and then we do a pattern like an arrow.

On the trail, I’ve noticed that there’s not this desire to surge into the brush. We go nicely straight on the trail. But when we meet other horses, we don’t move.  We let those other horses come right up to us. We are thinking that we get to play with those other horses. Only when the other horses go on past do we move.  That’s why we didn’t move when those wedge of horses were coming right at us.  Lucky Star was intending on having a play day with them.

Active brain, always on the move.  It’s the sign of a left brain extrovert horse!

Lucky Star is spending the week at For the Horse Ranch with the entire family taking turns riding him.  It was Tuesday when we figured out he has an Ever-Ready bunny brain.  I just thought he didn’t know to follow my focus.  I was wrong.

PostHeaderIcon Sue How Do You DO?

Our first trail ride in over three years was today.  Sue was fabulous, just fabulous.  She has the nicest flat foot walk and goes anywhere.  She went everywhere, except when I told the crowd she would go anywhere. Then she refused.  It’s up to the horse to humiliate the rider whenever possible.  No matter, it was down a steep hill into a ravine.  I wouldn’t have wanted to go down that hill either, but this was a trail ride.

This was an official Fox Trotter Club ride and Hope and I were the leaders.  Hope took our leadership very seriously.  She wouldn’t let me go on the secret trails.  Hope is a stickler for rules.  We went on the mowed trails.

Sue has a nice flat foot walk and then goes into a pace.  It’s a pretty nice smooth pace, but I dislike it all the same.  It will be fun to work that out.

Two of our riders were new to the fox trotter club.  Mike and Ken are wonderful riders.  They are safe and very nice to chat with.  I love riding with safe riders, especially on my first trail ride with Sue in our second time around.

Nichole Copple has done a great job with Sue!  She is a fabulous horse to ride on the trail.  You would think that Sue would be huffing and puffing on a six mile ride after three years being a brood mare.  Occasionally, she did breath hard, but we slowed down and she did fine.  I think she has such an efficient gait and it doesn’t take a lot of effort for her.  Or she has a huge heart and lungs.

Hope had quite a time getting to the park.  Her truck wouldn’t start.  Her perfect husband jump started it and she made it early to the park.  After our perfect trail ride, Hope’s truck wouldn’t start.  Alan, the perfect husband, came with tools and battery.

While the perfect husband was on route to the park and then working on Hope’s truck, I just let Sue stand in the grass with the lead rope on the ground.  I fed her some grain.  It was quite an effort to get her to eat on the ground.  She didn’t dive down and eat the grass.  She didn’t move. She didn’t move for at least 15 minutes.  I wondered if anything was wrong with her.

Finally, I came to the conclusion that she has been trained to ground tie.  You throw the rope on the ground and she doesn’t move. This is amazing when you also stop to think that she is a hard-to-catch horse.  In fact, one of the reason that I bought Sue was when people wanting to buy her took her to this park to try her out.  They rode to the far end of the park.  Sue bolted when her rider patted her on the rear. The rider fell off and Sue raced back to the trailers, right in the same place where she was now ground tied.  They had to round up all the people at the park and form a circle to catch her.

The new Sue did not move for about 30 minutes.  I groomed her, rubbed her, fly sprayed her, sprayed healing stuff in her tail where the ticks had bit her.  I walked all around her.  She did not move her feet.  She was tied to the lead rope on the ground.


PostHeaderIcon Sue, How Do You Like Returning Home!

Sue returned home yesterday. I left Lucky Star with Tony and Jenny for a 5 day Lucky upgrade. This gives me no one to ride but Sue.

I took Sue for a walk today around the neighbors turf farm. It’s fun to take a horse for a walk if they don’t try to run over you, eat grass, balk etc. Sue is a perfect horse to walk with. She is an exercise horse! I even ran with her. She stays about 6″ behind my shoulder. I can run for about 30 steps prior to getting a heart attack. Both dogs enjoyed the walk and I enjoyed leading Sue around to help me with my exercise program.

In the afternoon, I rode at the house. It was horrid windy. Sue told me how much she didn’t want to leave the barn. Her head was pointed to the gate, but her body was trying to return to the barn. I asked Sue to ride in circles and figure 8′s. We compromised and made it to the end of our property where we did more circles and figure 8′s.

A woman fishing at our pond today asked me if she was pregnant. No, I replied, just a little rubenesque. The woman said, “Well, at least she’s getting some exercise.

Me Too!


PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star Personality

I was so happy to have a left brain introvert. Introverts don’t move their feet. Their mouth generally doesn’t grab stuff and play with it. Their lips stay right in their head which doesn’t move. Extroverts move their feet and their lips play with anything they can find. They constantly demand your attention.

Since Lucky Star proved immensely difficult to move his feet per a human request, he was diagnosed as introvert. Turns out he’s an extreme willful dominant horse who cared little what pressure was put on him to move his feet. Lucky Star willingly follows your request only if he likes you. I’m not saying that he will try his little heart out if he loves you, but it will come to that later in the year for Lucky and I.

After two months of training with Tony and Jenny, Lucky Star started to move his feet. Tony had some fun with him on the 60-90 day period. When I started riding him, his feet were stuck to the ground. He improved greatly every time I rode him. I had to bond with Lucky and prove my love and leadership to him. His feet started obeying my feel better and better as did his impulsion.

He’s moving his feet and his lips are starting to pick up anything within reach. His nose nearly always beats my hand to the gate, bridle, halter, carrot stick etc.

Jenny diagnosed him as a left brain extrovert. He was a left brain extrovert in disguise!

I left the left brain extrovert with Tony and Jenny for a week of expert attention. Five days with them is like 5 months of progress with me.

Yee Haw for Lucky Star!


PostHeaderIcon Flying NO-STOP Wedge

Once again on a trail ride at James A Reed park,  I yelled multiple times, STOP, STOP STOP.  This time Hope yelled STOP also. She also yelled “Young Horse”. We both put our hand in the air in the universal STOP language.

Here’s how it went late this afternoon.

I was riding Lucky Star and Hope was riding Chip.  Lucky Star was in the lead and we were walking over a storm pipe.  It’s dirt where the horses walk, but the pipe is visible on both sides.  There is thick forest and gunk on each side.  It’s the breeding place of monster evil lizards or something primeval. It’s a narrow place, not wide enough for two horses.  Usually something like this is scary to horses new to the trail.  Lucky Star was walking over it fine.

and then…

around the corner popping out of  trees, came a flying wedge of six or seven riders and horses going very fast in a speedy running walk.  The horses were TWH’s and they were all going the same speed, about two or three horses side by side and packed together in a herd.

They were headed right towards Lucky Star.  Horses are generally on high alert ready to bolt when something is running at them out of the woods.  Lucky Star was on high alert.  He didn’t offer to move.  He didn’t back up.  He didn’t offer to spin and fall into the ditch.  He didn’t offer anything except high head alert.

Finally the riders stopped their horses.  We can’t figure out why they didn’t stop when first asked.  Plus what were they planning on doing to Lucky Star and I on the storm pipe crossing, just run us over? Good GAD!

Of course Hope is always nice.  I pretended to be nice and we chatted with the group for a second or two.  Lucky Star wouldn’t go forward.  Then I asked him to back and he did that. We backed off the crossing and they were able to file single file past us.  Good LORD!

I am thankful to be riding such a confident horse as Lucky Star.  He saved my life today by remaining left-brained.

PostHeaderIcon Sue- how do you switch personality?


PostHeaderIcon Vote for Lynette and DJ on May 29

I’ve been riding with Lynette for years at clinics and horse camps with natural horsemanship trainers, Tony and Jenny Vaught.

Two years ago Lynette bought a Missouri Fox Trotter from Big Barn Ranch named DJ. DJ had been trained by Tony and Jenny Vaught, but he still had a journey to cover with Lynette to bring him along into being a happy “finished bridle horse”.  I was there participating in some of the clinics in which Lynette and DJ participated.  It was fun to watch Lynette learn what Missouri Fox Trotting horses can smoothly do.  It was fun to watch DJ learn to love and trust Lynette!

Lynette decided she would get out into the competition world with DJ and compete in ACTHA events. She won and kept winning. She won the Missouri State Championship Pleasure Division.
When Lynette was announced the Missouri Champion, she had to submit a video. Jenny filmed this video and edited it.

This is what we do with Tony and Jenny Vaught!  We learn to communicate with our horse, develop the partnership and have tons of  fun!

Here’s the announcement from Lynette and the video.  I “sniffled” at the end. This is true high level communication and trust between horse and human!

“DJ was accepted by ACTHA for Americas Favorite Trail Horse-pleasure division competition to air Tuesday, May 29th!!! What a great horse…and thanks to all for your support. Lynette Shoup Ralph”\

We will be voting here!  The videos aren’t up yet.

PostHeaderIcon Extreme Words of Wisdom

I’ve been formulating how to convey the learning experience I’m getting with Lucky Star. He is an extreme left brain introvert. I’ll say my piece later. This will help you understand why I have developed such a deep relationship with Lucky Star.
Words from Linda Parelli:Linda’s Blog has posted a new blog: ‘Horsenality™ Is Not An Excuse!’

The reason for this blog is that I keep hearing this comment: “People are
using Horsenality™ as an excuse!” We’ve all heard people say “I can’t ask
my horse to do this; he’s an introvert” or “She’ll always be crabby and
bitchy because she’s a Left-Brain Extrovert!’”

Let’s be clear – knowing your horse’s Horsenality is not about being able
to make excuses. It’s about bringing your full attention to this question: are
you bringing out the worst or the best in your horse? Knowing about Horsenality
means you have the inside scoop as to what it is your horse trusts and respects
in a leadership style that would bring out the most positive behaviors. And when
you know just how to approach your horse, it will help you make faster progress
and get better results.

Let’s talk about introverts:

Introverts take time to process your request, either because they can’t do it
or they don’t want to do it right away. Guess which is which!

Right-Brain Introvert – can’t do it. That’s because their emotions get in
the way so their first reaction is stress, and stress makes them clam up and
shut down until they trust you and can feel completely confident around you.
Putting it in human terms, this is the Right-Brain Introvert mother who is both
caring and effective with her children. She can think on her feet and do the
right thing in the moment. But in another setting, she is tentative and easily
intimidated. The more extroverted the situation, the more introverted the
Right-Brain Introvert becomes. These horses are often called unpredictable,
aloof, tense, and oversensitive.

Left-Brain Introvert – won’t do it. That’s because their opinion of you
gets in the way – they think you are lower than them in the pecking order!
These horses are often called stubborn, lazy, and arrogant.

When a horse is acting tense, over-reactive, stubborn, lazy, etc., that’s
because the rider is bringing out those behaviors. Rushing an introvert will do
this – not giving them time to think, and in the case of the Left-Brain
Introvert, not being provocative enough at the same time. Note that
“provocative” does not necessarily mean to do it faster!

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