Archive for November, 2012

PostHeaderIcon PG 13


Here’s what happens during a Lucky Star training day at Pine Dell Farm:
We go to the round pen and practice impulsion.
We ride.
We go home.
Lucky gets out of the trailer, crosses his front legs and relieves himself! Every time!


PostHeaderIcon Life in the Lucky Star FAST Lane

Lucky Star and I are coming along great.  We’ve had some great rides in the arena after our months of exile ground work and liberty work.

We generally ride in the arena about an hour. This coming up winter, dark and cold stuff going on.  I take him over to Pine Dell Farm and we have ground work, online and liberty and then we ride.


Last weekend we had a two day Cow Clinic. The first morning during our non-cow simulation exercises, Tony was trying to get Lucky to make quick turns. Tony was helping Lucky get the idea to move out.  Lucky decided to protest.  It felt a little different in the saddle, the saddle was moving in unexplained directions.  When Tony yells the words, “Bend his nose so you won’t get bucked off!” Alarm bells go off!  Lucky’s head was down and we were sort of bobbing around.  It’s Lucky’s imitation bucking.  He puts his head down, stiffens up his body and pretends to be a bronco.  I’ve seen this bronco imitation from the ground before.  I had to puzzle it out.  He looks the picture of a bronco, but there’s no buck.  His back feet might raise off the ground 6 to 12 inches at the most.

Come to find out, Lucky Star is giving me an hour to an hour and a half and then has the nerve to think he’s done.  He’s done, but I’m on his back trying to get him to move faster than a senior snail.

Lucky and I were doing a pattern – circling on the corners of the arena, stopping and turning.  I expected him to move out smartly after we stopped and turned.  Lucky got fed up with that concept and we spiralled down into an argument.  Luckily Tony was there and coached me thru it.  My job was to do whatever it took to get Lucky’s hindquarters to move and then ask him if he would like to go in a straight line.  “No,” Lucky didn’t want to move his hindquarters or go into a straight line.  About 10 minutes of arguing went by with Tony there coaching and finally Lucky decided that going forward on a straight line was a lot less work that arguing.

We went around the arena a little wasys going straight with some impumulsion and then it was lunch time. Cows were coming in the afernoon and surely, Lucky would get engaged, forget about balking and become a cow pony.

It was not to be.

The riders followed the cow herd aroung the arena and our goal was to “go slow”.  Lucky had no problem with this at all.  Riders and horses followed the herd around the arena, getting them used to us and the arena.

Then the cutting started.  When it was our turn, Lucky went right into the herd.  He certainly was not afraid of a herd of cows.  We got a cow cut out and Tony announced, this cow was a “dud”.  This was the cow that refused to move and my horse, Powder, picked him up by the neck.  Tony said his name is Dudley. Dudley was a perfect cow for Lucky.  We guided Dudley all over the arena.  One time Dudley decided to get back in the herd.  Lucky and I were saved by my teammates.  Dudley was not allowed into the herd.  Dudley waited for Lucky and I to fox trot up to get him out to the rail again.

Lucky and I were very successful at getting Dudley to go where ever we wanted. We let him back into the herd and I beamed with pride at my cow horse “in the making”.  We helped out with the herd after that, occasionally getting up enough speed to keep the cows in or the cow out.  The argument between Lucky and I continued, we hid it well and everyone knew Lucky wasn’t going to move fast.  His slowness and non-responsiveness was expected.

The day was done and life was good.

The next day started out about the same.  Lucky moved and then he didn’t.  We argued.  he moved…slowly.  Cows came.  Lucky argued.  We took out a cow other than Dudley and failed …  and then failed again.

Note about my personality.  I’m normally a laid-back individual outside and inside.  But, when I get frustrated and I don’t get to move fast, my left-brain impatient, order-giving, wanna move personhood emerges.

Sunday afternoon, I was starting to smolder inside.  I had not to go fast on Lucky and we were fairly useless with the cows.  We had failed at driving a cow because Lucky would not move.  Immediately I erupted and forced Lucky out to the rail.  We zipped down to the end and cantered around the end.  I was pounding on him enough so that he decided the thing from hell on his back should be obeyed. Tony yelled at me to come on back and get my cow.  I yelled that I was DONE!  I’m so done with this horse that I can’t come back! DONE!  I screamed.  Tony yelled some more and suggested that I make a try at returing to herd a cow.  “OH OK!  You want me back with this horse, we’ll just come busting in there and move some cows!”Lucky and I fox trotted over to the herd, he slowed down, went into the herd and cut a cow out.  Tony said, “Now Lucky can feel good at accomplishing something, rub him.”

My riding friends were all shocked.  No one there that day has ever seen me loose my temper.  It felt like I was letting a caged tiger out of his cage.

Here’s how Tony described my behavior later.
“Susan became emotionally violent and physically effective”

PostHeaderIcon Miss America under Saddle!



Here they are: Jennifer Vaught and Miss America! I bet Jenny had no idea about meeting Miss America! Just shows you that “stuff happens”!

Day One of a week of natural horsemanship training for the horse that came knocking on my door!

PostHeaderIcon Treat Me NOW, Mom!

I took about a month vacation from riding and playing with Lucky. (Velvet and I competed in a Seasoned Rider Challenge.)  Lucky and I have been coming along like a rumbling freight train since I started concentrating on winning the ground games.  Amazing.  Tony Vaught once told me that the quality of the ground game dictated what kind of ride you would get.

Getting Lucky to move on the ground is key to getting him to move when I’m riding him.  Last time I rode Lucky is when he attracted Miss American to the place!  Miss America took a little bit of my time too.  Lucky is such a Casanova.  Now that Miss America lives in Lucky’s pasture, he’s not nearly as loving.  oh well…

The last couple of times that I rode Lucky, I rewarded him with horse treats when he gave me a good ride around the arena.  We zipped around without argument.  We rested and he got a treaFast forward to last night.  I forgot the treat.  I won the ground games.  On the scale of 1=10 with the circle game, I came in about 6 out of 10…maybe 6 out of 10.

The last couple of times that I rode Lucky, I rewarded him with horse treats when he gave me a good ride around the arena.  We zipped around without argument.  We rested and he got a treat.  Well Lucky Star really approved of getting a treat when he did good.  He LOVED the treat.

I forgot the treats last night.  I didn’t tell Lucky about forgetting the treat.  Lucky and I zipped around the arena.  We went for a nice long zip around at both a flat foot and fox trot.  We screached to a halt and backed up two slow steps.  I relaxed.  Lucky Star raised his head up, looked around and tensed his entire body.  He looked around the other way!  His neck was high and muscles tense.  He started backing.  Lucky Star was asking for his treat!  He asked with his head one direction.  Lucky swung his head around the other way, looking at me as best he could with his neck all high and tense.  WHERE IS MY TREAT?  I SO DESERVE A TREAT!  I want my treat so bad, my body has to move.  When it’s your idea, Mom, I back in protest.  But now, I need to move and for some reason, my body wants to back!  Where is my TREAT!

I petted and petted Lucky and told him how good of a horse he is.  When he wouldn’t stop backing, we had to go zipping around the arena again.  Twice, Lucky Star thought about balking.  It was just a brief thought and away we went!  This time when we stopped, I got off. That’s almost as good as a horse treat!

It’s all in building a relationship, and winning the ground games with a complex horse like Lucky Star!  And TREATS!

PostHeaderIcon Rick Lamb and The Horse Show-Fame!!

Rick Lamb. The Horse Show: Meet the Morgan Horse. The ADM segment was filmed at Pine Dell Farm. The program was aired in 2008,but Dr Judy Reynolds and Rick Lamb filmed at Pine Dell and both Pine Dell and I am in the final credits!! Wowsa!

I learned that the Morgan is “The Horse That Chooses You”. I now have a Morgan horse that came knocking on my door! Coincidence? I think not!

Pine Dell is also the location on the ADM segment called The HayThorn Land and Cattle Co, originally aired in 2008! Yahoo! There is Pine Dell, Karen and Ed Moulis and Me in the credits again too.


PostHeaderIcon She Squealed in Joy

This past Saturday, Miss America became a part of the entire Engle horse herd.  She’s been sniffing Lucky Star over the fence for more than a month now.  I thought she was ready!  Since she has been here, she’s been turned out only in the non lake part of the pasture.  She’s been turned out with all the mares who have been shifted from lake to non lake part of the pasture, except for Velvet.  Miss America has been turned out with Velvet for the entire time she’s been here. Velvet can’t be on the lake side of the pasture as there is too much green grass.  Velvet is a “diabetic” horse and green grass has too much sugar.  Velvet and Miss America have made some trips together in the trailer too.  Velvet snarls at Miss America and occasionally tries to bite her if she dares get too close to the Queen of it all.

Miss America’s adventure with the entire herd and getting to run in the lake side of the pasture was without event!  Lucky didn’t try to own her.  Grazing peacefully was the norm.  Velvet was alone in the non lake part of the pasture.

Early last week, I say Miss America take on Sage for the ownership of a stall.  I was stunned when Miss America won.  She has learned to stand up for herself.  Sage is old enough now that she gives way when another horse insists on being the dominant horse.

This past Saturday I looked across the lake and saw Miss America moving Sage around.  Miss America charged Sage and Sage moved!  Wow!  Not long after this drama started, Missy ran a few laps around Sage, kicking out and squealing in joy!  She wasn’t kicking at Sage, Missy was just feeling good and expressing her happiness!  She ran at Sage again.  Sage and Missy ran a short ways.  About the 4th run, Sage was done, turned her hind end and kicked at Missy.  Missy decided grazing was in order.  I kept watching and it wasn’t long before Missy started running again and squealing in joy.

I don’t remember ever seeing a horse squealing in joy.

Miss America is a very happy horse!

PostHeaderIcon She Came Knocking….

Tuesday dark morning
feeding time
5:45 AM…a presence is felt. I saw a big tree branch move. hmmm
5:46am..I get Lucky Star and take him to barn.
5:48 AM…an alarmed whinny
6:00 AM…Discover a strange horse in the yard. She came and met Lucky Star. I had turned Lucky Star out in the yard overnight because we had such a nice ride. This is all Lucky’s fault!
Mare Nicely fed..feet ok…in good shape
6:05 AM…Horse appears calm..put halter on and lead to barn-long beautiful neck may belong to saddlebred. In stall.
8:00AM …call county Sherrif and local police
12:00am…call spouse to get horse more hay and check water
4:00PM… call local police-no one has inquired.
4:45PM…home.. horse is doing fine
5:00pm…Turn horse out in rectangle pen. She floats around the pen. how beautiful. Hmmm, she might be an Arabian…no….
5:45PM play with horse in rectangle pen. I’m impressed. She is not frightened. She has been treated with love. She responds to pressure when I ask different parts of her body to move. She loves being petted and rubbed.
6:15pm…let her loose again in pen
6:30PM…other horses are ignoring her now and I decide to turn her out.
6:31pm…she gallops to and fro. She gallops to me and comes to a stop right at my feet. I flinch, but hide it.
7:00pm… two young man come to the barn. One of them is owner!
7:15pm…much chatting about her. Young man owner is very likable and has been doing all the right things for her. He answers test questions well
7:16pm…I discover she is to go to auction on Saturday. WHAT!
7:18pm… young man asks if she can stay here till Saturday. We just disdiscussed how he needs money to fix his truck, his only transportation to work. He needs #300. He offers me $50 to let her stay here. I agree. She has had 1 1/2 weeks of training with an Amish trainer. She has been ridden. Young man has sat on her, but sez she needs an experienced rider because she is very green.
8:00pm…I report this to a group on Facebook-asking for help to raise $300 so he can keep the horse..or someone buy the horse
8:02pm much Facebook chat
9:30pm..”This is a stolen horse” comes on Facebook. WHAT! We all ask about the circumstances of this allegation. Nothing from reporter. I feel like I’ve been hit by a sledge hammer. My instincts and talk with young man owner say to me, “something is wrong here” I’m sticking with the young man. A horse tells a lot about the owner. This horse loves her owner.
10:00pm…alleger says, “I wanted to sue them, but didn’t have the money”. hmmm, doesn’t sound like a stolen horse to me
Wednesday – All Day Anger Issues at “Stolen Alleger”. I manage to keep quiet. I delete the Facebook Postings. 6:00 am…Go out to feed horses. New horse does not appear
6:10am… check out the number of horses my neighbor has. Oh there she is. She has jumped the fence and is in with 5 geldings. oh my! She is doing fine.
8:00am – I report stolen allegation to police. Animal control officer logs in to Facebook and joins the group. This is a closed group, people can’t join. Apparently, law enforcement can join any closed group. He sees this “stolen reporter” is a friend of a friend of his daughter. He’ll check this out!
8:10am..called neighbor. She’s at work and so is husband. when she gets home, she catches the mare and leads her into her stall
7:30pm…Young man, nice wife and 18 month old baby comes to see their horse. He had to take bill of sale to police. His parents took bill of sale that afternoon. This is not a registered horse. He bought her when she was about two years old.
7:31pm…We chat about stolen horse and she is now at neighbor. Horse was boarded, boarding owner told him that she had got a great deal on 3-4 year old hay and was feeding that to his horse. Also only one round bale…other horses were not letting his horse eat. He stopped paying when nothing was done. Horse was then locked up. He and family came and stole his own horse and took to new place for boarding. Horse has been in new place for 5 months and all was well.
We drove 5 miles to get to neighbor’s pasture. There is no gate between our pastures.
Neighbor agrees to keep horse while we find a new owner.
Owner says it takes four grown men to get mare into the trailer. Oh great. And the young horse was to be for him and his child. oh great…
Neighbor also has fallen for the horse. Husband has told her No…No…No! They just found out she is pregnant and he doesn’t want her messing with new horse in this environment where there is no hay for sale. He’s worried about having enough hay for five horses.
I tell the young man that I will come up with the $300. I offer to pay him there, but he sez won’t take money unless he works for it. See why I like this young man. I wasn’t going to take his $50 for the horse to stay. That was a test to see if he would give me the money when he needs money desparately to fix his truck

Weekend…I’m at Saturday and Sunday Ranch Horse Event

Monday is a holiday.
8:00am I search for an opening in another neighbor’s fence. There is an opeing, hidden by a big tree branch. I get the saw and get rid of the tree limb. There’s enough room that a horse and human can walk thru.
10:00am… I call this neighbor and ask for permission the lead a horse thru his property. I haven’t chatted with him for about 5 years.
10:30am..I go into the pasture with 5 dominant geldings and the mare. I take my carrot stick as I know what will happen. I caught the mare and got the halter on before being attacked by the geldings. There’s one gelding that wants to charge and bite the mare. Luckily the mare wasn’t too frightened when I slung the carrot stick rope at them. Finally was able to get out of the pasture.
11:00…lead the horse to my pasture. Chat with the other neighbor for a while. Mare occasionally balked at leaving the geldings, Mostly she came along just fine. We walked by many scary things and she paid them no mind. She is a left brained extrovert, able to think things through
11:30am..Collapse into my recliner
Friday… Jenny Vaught comes and trains horse to get into trailer. It took her about 15 minutes. She did some other things that we do before trying for the trailer. I have two trailers and she loaded into both trailers. Then I got the horse and loaded her into both trailers.
Saturday 7:00am…Loaded mare into trailer and took off to Fair Play with Tony and Jenny Vaught  for Obstacle Clinic.
Saturday PM… Everyone loves this horse.
I now own Miss America. She’s half Morgan, 1/4 Arab and 1/4 QH. She is 3 1/2 years old. She’s never had any vaccination shots. oh my…

The horse came and knocked on my door begging Lucky Star and I to save her from the auction!

Before that fateful Tuesday early dark morning, I thought my life was exciting. Now I know I was leading a dull life. I found real excitement





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