Archive for July, 2014

PostHeaderIcon Riding Alone

What technology do we have in our lives.  Someone on Facebook recommended that I have someone who knows I’m out there to check on me.  Have a start time and a check in when done time friend.  It’s a little lonely at James A Reed Wildlife Area during the day on weekdays.  I guess non retired people are sequestered at their job.  I remember having a job too.

So there’s this iPhone App called Find Your Friends.  You can allow people to look on a map of where you are at.  My good friend Hope is my emergency tracker.  I tell her when I’m mounting up and estimated time to be done.  I message her when I’m done.  When it comes time, she looks for me on the map.  If I’m somewhere other than near the parking lot, she will check to see if I’m moving.  If my location on the map stays static for a while, she’ll try to call me.  If no answer, she will go into full emergency mode and have the park ranger try to find me.  If it seems really bad, she knows these trails as well as the park ranger and she will come and find me…using the Find My Friends app.  Isn’t that cool.

I didn’t ride Lucky yesterday.  I’m debating on how much ground work to do so that he will recognize me as his leader and be calm when I’m riding him.  He did really well the last time.  I decide to cut the ground work time time in half.  We did go into the field to play, but we didn’t walk all the way to the corn field and back.  He was calm and gave me some effort when I asked him to circle around me.  We yielded hindquarters and backed quite a ways.  He’s good to go!

We do our riding warm up in the parking lot, riding figure eights around the row of trees.  We rode on the road and listened to the magic steps.  I decided we were ready to go on the trail to the dove field.  We get on the trail and Lucky tenses up somewhat.  I go into my calm down defensive moves.  We do hindquarter turns, 180′s, 360′s and bend his head slightly as we move forward.  When I get a brace on the rein, I know he’s not paying any attention to me, so we do our defensive moves unit he is light again and listening to me.

We make it to Dove Field.  Dove Field is like an outdoor arena.  I love outdoor arenas.  Lucky is fairly calm as we walk down the wide dirt oval.  The dove cages are in the middle.  I make it to the end and see a park employee has come in his pickup.  He is out checking each cage.  I decide that Lucky and I will leave the dirt arena at the end and head for the trail.  We walk through horse stomach tall grasses on a faint track left by a vehicle.  Not too long in the grass and Lucky got stuck.  When he gets stuck, his front legs bounce up and down and he can also paw the ground in a furious manner.  I offer him the option of turning around and returning to Dove Field, but he lets me know that he is stuck for that direction too.  I try some hindquarter turns mixed in with offers to stop.  Stopping isn’t an option for Lucky…he paws and offers to bounce up and down again.  Now my options are 1-Get off and walk back or 2-Back Lucky to Dove Field.  Option 2 works.  Lucky becomes unstuck when I ask him to back.  We back nearly all the way to the Dove Field when he calms down and offers to walk forward.

Whew!

I chat with the Park Ranger.  He tells me that they are catching the doves to band them. Oh that is a relief!  I thought they were catching them and keeping them somewhere to use when Dove rifle season starts.  He drives away and Lucky and I head back on the trail.  But I decide to take the real trail out into the park.  Lucky is calm and walking nicely.  He’s a slight bit nervous about something in the bushes so we elect to ride in the weeds beside the trail.  We make it halfway through the field when I decide to quit for the day.  We turn around and walk with great calmness back to the road.  We ride on the side of the road in the grass and hear a big clattering engine noise coming towards us.  Out of the tree line comes a huge garbage truck going at least 100mph.  Good Lord, I’m thinking.  Lucky stays calm.  I’m waiting for the garbage truck to slow down and it doesn’t.  Good double Lordy.  Lucky stays calm and I flag the driver and tell him to slow down.  I sign language that I’m a little worried about my horse reacting.  The driver slows down as he goes past us.  Lucky stays calm the entire time.

Love this horse!

Tomorrow Lucky and I are taking two friends on a trail ride.  One of them has never been on a trail ride.  What an honor this will be!  Lucky will be a great trail leader horse.

PostHeaderIcon Black Horse Fate and True Love

The Super Horse Missouri Fox Trotter Competition this past June was truly “super” for me. Nichole Copple and Velvet won the Open Championship. Caitlyn Vaught and Powder won the Youth Championship. I won something too, even though I didn’t participate in the arena. I won a horse! The horse was donated by Charles and Dawn Lindsay of Marshfield, Missouri.

It was winter 2014. The proceeds of the raffle went to a fund for special needs children. I saw the head shot picture of the horse. He was a black horse that had the Giles Hot Toddy head on his dam’s side and he did look like Velvet. I looked at the registration papers. The sire was Cast Iron Camelot H. I saw him long ago at the Celebration. By the time that class had ended the entire crowd was yelling and cheering for Camelot. I read the description and that Charles Lindsay had trained the horse and been riding him solo on the trails. I admire how Charles rides and treats his horses.

Cisco Raffle Picture

About this time, I was discouraged at my progress with Lucky Star. I immediately decided that I should have the raffle horse. I sent $50 and got fifty tickets. That was a long time before the Super Horse competition and I forgot about the raffle horse. The raffle was the last day of the competition. Powder and Velvet had won their divisions the day before and were there to get their garlands. I had gone home after Nova and Powder had their wins in the arena. On that day, I remembered about the raffle. I told Jenny about the raffle and gave her my numbers in case I won. Of course there was little chance that I would actually win. I don’t win things in drawings.

Winning Ticket

Winning Ticket

I was in a movie theatre watching a movie when Jenny texted me. I got the text when I came out of the movie. I called Jenny! What! I won the horse! I don’t need another horse! Lucky is coming along great now. I plan on showing him. I told Jenny, I just wouldn’t respond. Jenny said the fateful words, “But what if he is cute?” Fateful words. That was the deciding factor…what if he is cute….

Turns out, Jenny had told Rick just who might have the winning ticket. Rick Gates texted me soon asking if I had the winning ticket? Some days later I saw Camelot Southern Celebration’s (Cisco) full body picture. I had no idea he had a star or four white feet. I had only seen the side view of his head in the raffle announcement. There was a video, but I could never get that to work. Wowsa!

After the Fourth of July was over, I went to get an a wonderful, people loving, very gaited, well trained sweetheart. Dawn was close to tears when he loaded into my trailer. I put Cisco in training with Nichole Copple for 30 days to “customize” him for me. Then I heard from his original breeder, Rebecca Pittman, and his original owner, Brenda Rice. Becky lives on the east coast and has since come to visit Cisco. I learned that Cisco’s original trainer was a man who follows Parelli Natural Horsemanship and who studied with Tony and Jennifer Vaught. I don’t know how my raffle horse could have worked out any better.

Cisco has impressed everyone that has met him, both for his beauty and for his sweet talent. Cisco is in training with me to show in the versatility classes at the national shows and in 2015 Pony Express shows. Come over and meet Cisco the next time you see me on this gorgeous black horse with white strip and four white feet. He’ll knock your socks off!

PostHeaderIcon Balance

Lucky and I went on a trail ride today at James A Reed.  Chas and Louie went too.  Lucky needed this trail ride.  He needed to get out and see the scenery!

It’s sunflower time at James A Reed park!  It’s also corn time there too.  The ears are almost finished…not yet edible, but coming along.

We had a great time.  Lucky is a great trail horse.  He might look at strange things, but keeps right on trucking.  He’s got one spook in him and I know exactly where it’s at.  It’s not far from the trailer parking area, so we visited it today with me leading him.  He scoots now at the spook spot..no jumping, just a three-four foot scoot.  We had a little time to do our ground work before I got into the saddle.  I had a lot of exercise today and so did Lucky Star.

No arguing on the trail.  He is a forward trail horse, and fun to ride.  We “gaited’ much of the trail when we were on the return trip.  Oh that is wondrous!

Here is a picture of Louie and Chas…which is more gold, Louie or the Sunflowers?

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star, the Punk

I might have reported that Lucky Star and I had a giant argument last Friday.  We didn’t get it resolved on Saturday.  I thought it was resolved on Tuesday, but the labor strike was still ongoing as of tonight.

Our arguments involve too much work expectations.

So tonight, I was able to play with Lucky in a round pen..at liberty.  He had his saddle on as I expected to ride.  I asked him to move around the round pen and he told me how he felt about that.  He does front leg bucks.  He puts his head down and hops around.  He never kicks up his back legs in a real buck.  He just hops around with his head down.  Occasionally, he aimed a hind foot at me.  I was a long way from him and in no danger.  It is the middle finger thing.  Lucky was giving me the middle finger.  We had to stop when the saddle came up on his neck instead of on his back. I loosed it up, moved it back and tightened it up.  Soon, we were doing darn well in the round pen.  He cantered one entire circle both ways.  That is magnificent for Lucky.

Off we went into the big arena.  We were doing well online, so I decided he could walk around me at liberty.  He did great.  Then I decided he should speed up.  He sped up all righty with his half bucks again and his statement of disdain.  When his saddle slid up to his neck again, we had to stop and get some relief.  I put the saddle back in place and tightened it up again.

Off he went again with his statement of disdain and half bucks.  It didn’t take too long before the saddle came up again.

I had to take off the saddle in the middle of the sand arena and we went at it again.  No saddle…No halter…only the truth.

Finally, he was able to trot a circle around me both directions in a dignified manner….at liberty!

Then we rode.  The argument might be over.

Tomorrow is a blessed trail ride where he will be most willing to go!

PS:  Cisco, the willing, is now in training at For the Horse Ranch with Nichole Copple!  What a change it will be for me to ride a willing horse.  I might dismount and faint in astonishment of how “willing” feels.

PostHeaderIcon bike misery

Sad it is when you start anything new to your body.

My body is just starting anew with the bike.  This might have been our third or fourth real ride.  My feet are used to toes up when riding a horse.  When riding a bike, the toes point down quite a bit.  One of my feet doesn’t want to point down, so I have torn or stretched some kind of muscle on top of my foot.  ouch

I bought a camelback water carrier yesterday at the high price Walmart store.  It’s a backpack that holds a water vessel.  The “straw” starts at the bottom of the soft plastic water holder and comes up to where you can drink out of the big plastic straw while biking.  Well, it leaked.  The water dripped down my lower back to the unmentionable area.  The unmentionable part of me that sits on the bike seat got wet which made my clothing cling to me in an unmentionable painful way.  So, not only did the bike seat hurt me, it double triple hurt me.  Men have a word that they use to describe this feeling caused by pulling up someone else’s underwear in a forceful manner.

And somewhere in the few miles that I rode, I wrenched the top of my shoulder and neck muscle. How I could do that riding a bike on flat ground…oh I bet it was when I went over that curb!

Much of the time, I was speeding along at the same speed that my horse can gait.  That is very sad considering I was on flat land with perhaps the slightest slope.

Old Yeller didn’t make me too happy today, but at least I’m still alive to try it again.

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star Maturing? Good Gad

Never fear, Lucky Star still argues.  He did take a rein in his mouth just last week.  The young argumentative boy has turned into a more mature less argumentative boy.  Lucky and I spend a lot of time going slow, steering with the hindquarter and riding without me touching the reins.  After we get all this worked out, we might do a few drop to trot canter lead changes in a figure eight type pattern  He still breaks into a non rhythmic lateral bumpy gait.  We can’t keep the three beat canter going.  We also don’t pick up the canter exactly when I ask for it…he might pick it up within 10 to 100 feet.   Then we practice the flat foot walk and fox trot.  That’s what we do when I ride him.

Many have asked what Lucky thinks of having Cisco in his life.  Will he want to share me and do less work.  I tell you now that I’ll be taking him and Cisco both to lessons and clinics.  He is fine with being tied up and watching Cisco being the one…in between his eating grass.  Yep, I think he’s happy.

Today, Lucky got to be in the group lesson.  It was supposed to be a two hour lesson, but it unfolded into a three hour lesson.  Cisco got to spend about an hour for our liberty exercise and poor Lucky had to do drop to walk serpentine pattern at a canter.  Lucky did some awesome turns at a canter, better than ever before.  I was determined to follow the pattern rules with the walk and canter gaits.  Lucky did good for a while, but hey…it’s hot out there.  Lucky decided to be done with an impulsion (forward motion), a little before I was done with impulsion.  We argued, we stopped, we moved at an argumentative protest walk while I was asking for a canter.  I became grumpy, because hey, it’s hot out there.  Thankfully, I won the battle and then Jenny told me to ride on the rail.  We did really well fox trotting on the rail and the lesson was over for Lucky Star.

We will be occasionally adding the serpentine pattern in our daily riding practice!

We are attending another group lesson tomorrow morning!  I look for Lucky to do well for a while!  Cisco will be leaving with Jenny tomorrow and Lucky will have to ride home without him.  oh Lordy….

PostHeaderIcon Cisco Love

What an amazing horse is Cisco!

Cisco is doing great. I loaded him and Lucky into the trailer and we went to play some ground games. Lucky was fine tied to trailer and eating grass while Cisco and I played the seven Parelli games. Cisco is wonderful. I decided that the  last game  would be me sending him into the trailer. He’s fine with being led into the trailer, but me asking him to load is just a little different. I won the game when Cisco loaded him self into the trailer and stayed in there until I asked him to come out. Then I loaded Lucky and Cisco into the trailer and came home. Cisco and Lucky like each other. They spent a couple hours in connecting stalls. The big event was a non event when I turned them loose in the pasture. Lucky tried to bite Cisco once and then they ended up standing in the same stall together for a few moments. Now that was amazing. No blood was shed.

Today was the first group lesson with Jennifer Vaught and many of my extended horse friends.  Everyone bragged on how beautiful Cisco is and we all shivered in delight when I told everyone what great training he has had with Charles Lindsey.  Cisco has been trained with love, language and leadership.

Jenny took him into the round pen so we could see what his canter looks like.  She pronounced him to be a willing horse.  How long has it been since I’ve had a willing horse?  I think it might be going on the long end of three years.  What fun to ride a horse that won’t argue with me!  I can’t wait.

Cisco yields hindquarters, his forequarters, backs and side passes with steady pressure and with rhythm.  He has passed all the seven Parelli games with flying colors.

The big ground game we played at this group lesson was a game at liberty.  All the participants and their horses make a circle.  One person takes their horse into the middle and takes off the halter and walks away from the horse.  The horse is to follow.  Many horses don’t realize that they are to follow their human.  They think they need to go over and chat with the other horses.  However, the humans around the circle encourage the horse to find their human.  They make it uncomfortable to be anywhere but close to their human.  We had quite a time today with a few horses running around, having a great time instead of looking for the human.

I did get some practice with Cisco in the round pen at liberty for about 5 minutes before the game in the large arena started.  When it was our turn,  I took off the halter and Cisco left me.  I didn’t even get the chance to walk away from him.  I got to trot around for a while finding out how uncomfortable it is to be separated from his human.  I would guess that it took him all of five minutes to find me.  I loved on him and walked off.  He followed.  It’s quite an amazing game, both when your horse is in the middle and when he is an “outside” horse experiencing his “mother” go a little bit crazy with stick and string and a horse running around.

Since Cisco has passed all my ground tests, he is ready for his 30 day training with For the Horse Ranch!  Cisco is so well trained, that I could ride him right now, but I’ve never had a horse that wasn’t trained by the Vaught’s for at least 30 days.  We have another group lesson tomorrow and then he leaves for Fair Play.  I intend to take Lucky Star and visit him once a week!

Yee Haw!

PostHeaderIcon and the crowd roared…

It was 1999 and Velvet and I were doing the World Celebration for Missouri Fox Trotters in Ava, Missouri.  It was night and Velvet was tucked in her stall for the evening.

I wandered up to the arena to watch the horses in the historic arena perform the gaits of the Missouri Fox Trotter.

It was the Four Year Old Stallion and Geldings class that I sat down to watch.  The riders and horses blew into the arena and the crowd studied the horse and rider as they passed by.  A black horse entered into the show ring with the rider a young blond woman.  The crowd watched the black horse and rider with curiousity.  She wasn’t one of the famous trainers riding in the arena.  Her blond hair was bright and she looked great riding that black horse.

The horse made a few laps around the arena and that’s when the magic started.  He started going faster…fast enough that everyone in the arena was staring at the black horse and blond woman.  A few people started to clap as they went by.  Bang, the horse got even faster.  Tbe crowd held our breath.  Everyone stopped breathing at the same time as we watched the black horse get faster and faster.  The black started passing the other horses.  The crowd started cheering when the black flashed by.  Change directions and finally, the fox trot was called by the announcer.  The black zoomed by and lapped all the other horses as the crowd screamed and yelled.  We were hysterical.  All of us were touched by the magic of the black.

Line up was called and when each judged looked at the black, the crowd roared!

It was said afterwards that the black had gone too fast and lost some of the gait.  The black did not win the blue ribbon.  It might have won second or third.  The black won the hearts of the crowd! The crowd cheered and roared with the black horse and blond woman went to get the ribbon.

I never ever forgot that night.  It was stallion named Camelot that won the hearts of the crowd.

Tomorrow, I take possession of my horse, won in a raffle at the Super Horse Show.  My horse is a direct son of Camelot!  My horse is black with a white blaze and four matching white socks.  My horse has the same grandfather as Velvet, Nichole Copple has rode Velvet to multiple world grand championships,  and the present day owners of the stallion Camelot have the last name of Copple.

You think I was meant to win the raffle horse?  It was meant to be.

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