Archive for the ‘Country Frank’s Lucky Star’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star Saves Mom’s Life!

How the Horse of No Saved My Life

I took Lucky and Cisco to one of our our outdoor arena summer home. It is perfect for Cisco’s rehab. I was going to ride the “horse of no” and lead Cisco over the log obstacle, the low jump and the small wooden bridge. That was my intent and if Lucky would have let that happen, I might be in the hospital or funeral home now.

Lucky decided he wanted to play at liberty before I rode. He double dared me to make him a happy horse while trotting circles around me. I took out my top of the line horsemanship leader role and proceeded to fail at making him a happy horse.

Firstly, I failed at circles. Instead Lucky ran straight and did his best performance of a bucking horse. It takes a lot of energy to get that high flying air suspension bucking horse. Lucky just braces his front legs and puts his head down as he trots off.

This bracing the front legs with his head down always makes the saddle move forward. This saddle is much better that my former saddle. It managed to stay on his back, not on his neck. However, it still goes too far forward. I loosen the girth and move the saddle back in place and tighten it up again.

The knowledgeable horse trainer returns and fails again as Lucky performed his exciting version of a slow, low flying bronc.
Repeat with the saddle adjustment.

We are now completed the fourth bucking episode. I’m thinking of getting him in the round pen, remove the saddle and make him fly around. I’m getting irritated at my horsemanship failure.

Once again, I loosen the saddle and move it back. I tighten it again and BOOM! The girth strap pulls apart. It looked like a piece of beef jerky as it pulled apart.

Good Lordy! I could have been riding Lucky Star or even Cisco when the break occurred. I could have been cantering around the corner of the arena when the break occurred. I would have flown off with the saddle. That is a physics thing. The rider’s body follows the saddle where ever it goes.

Lucky Star, “The Horse of No”, saved my life! Thank goodness he was in his arguing mode.

The saddle is my new used saddle. I didn’t like the leather strap. I had a feeling about it. However, it looked perfectly good to me. I was eventually going to replace it with my favorite nylon cinch strap. Whoops, instincts should always be followed!

When you buy a new used saddle, put on a new girth strap. You might not have a “Horse of No” to save your life!

PostHeaderIcon Skid Marks in My Heart by Lucky Star

Lucky Star became a country music song today.

“I met the black mare today. Something about her made my inner stallion come alive. I danced on the trail beside her. I whispered love to her. I turned into a hunk of liver chestnut stallion with my arched neck and prancing feet. I watched her gorgeous body swing to the heavenly trail rhythm. I forgot about the bay mare, the bay mare waiting on me at home. I could think nothing about my duties, only about the black mare beside me.
The black mare left me behind. Left me at the trailer. I freed myself and ran after her. I left skid marks in that black mare’s heart. I left skid marks of love on the pavement where the black mare left me.”

Looking for country songwriter and lyricist to make “Skidmarks in my Heart” into a Blake Shelton song.

The skid marks are the white markings on the pavement. He has front shoes on, so only his front feet made the marks.

PostHeaderIcon New Saddle has Passed the Test

I bought a used 16 1/2″ super wide Parelli Natural Performer via eBay. Last Sunday it passed the Cisco test. Today it passed the Lucky Star test.

I tried to cinch it up tight enough so the saddle would stay on Lucky. When I mounted, it tipped a little,letting me know it might not be fully secure. But when I got balanced in the saddle and shifted my weight to each side, it felt secure. Off we went at a nice “trail walk” speed. I could feel those back legs reaching far underneath. Hmmm, have I ever felt that back leg reach before? I don’t think so.

As we were walking around the arena, the seat felt really “roomy” to me. I am used to being squished in the saddle and this was a new feel for me. My body worried a bit. There was nothing that braced against my legs to hold me in the saddle. I do feel like the saddle is deep and holds me almost inside Lucky. I don’t remember that roomy feeling while riding Cisco.

Lucky and I spent more time in the arena. We did all the gaits both directions. I decided it was time to get off. The saddle tipped a bit when I dismounted, but it stayed on top of Lucky.

I ran my hand underneath the saddle blanket and could not find any tight spots. Lucky’s shoulders have impressive freedom to move. I checked the tightness of the girth. There was no tightness. The girth was touching Lucky’s body, but not really enough to have kept me secure. Well! The saddle fit Lucky extremely well. It might have stayed on top of him even if we had been barrel racing (or not).

I now will happily make my PayPal payments to pay off this saddle. Yay!

Parelli Natural Performance saddle with bucking rolls removed and fenders with enough holes to let my legs fit. Picture coming next time!

PostHeaderIcon Cisco and Lucky Own a New (Used) Saddle

Sunday Clinic Day with Jennifer Vaught

It was a most amazing time riding Cisco. Firstly, I asked for a bit of speed and he hollowed out his back and paced. We worked on that. Then he would go nicely until the corners where he paced. The first exercise Jenny had us do in the clinic today, involved a lot of walking and leg yielding. We were walking the long way down the middle of the arena when Cisco suddenly began walking faster with a huge long stride. Then he got excited and we jigged around. He wanted to dart and go fast. We got that under control. The last exercise of the day was everyone went to the rail, one at a time. We were to do transitions, all the gaits and canter. We did an awesome flat foot walk. We did an amazing soft fox trot! Cisco and I have not cantered all winter because he couldn’t. So today, I asked him to canter. We went on wrong lead. But, it wasn’t a “lameness” canter attempt. We stopped and tried for the correct lead again. Zowie! We cantered one beautiful lap around the arena. Cisco has recovered!

Here is Cisco’s translation. “It is going to hurt when I go faster. I dread it so much that I’m going to hollow out my back to help stop the pain. Hmmm. Nothing hurts. My shoulder can move underneath this saddle! My goodness! I’m going to walk fast and see what that feels like! Wow! That felt good. OMG. My body feels great under this saddle! I want to run! I want to dash around! Yee Haw! Wait! You want me to fox trot? OK. Doesn’t that feel good! Now canter? I can’t wait! Isn’t this fun! Thanks for getting off. I’m a little tired with all this exercise. We haven’t done this in a long time!
Now get those ticks out of my mane! Let me eat some grass! Take me home!”

Lucky has a new saddle and suddenly he is one of two riding horses. Half the pressure is off! Next is to give Lucky the chance at the new saddle. I told him tonight when Cisco returned to his pasture. Lucky said, “A different saddle? I’ll really like how it feels? Well, that is s p e c i a l. I volunteer to let Cisco use it all the time. I’ll just stay here and run things at home. Sweetie and Delta need me full time to run the pasture process.” The Lucky SNORT was directed to my face.

Cisco and Lucky own a Parelli Natural Performer saddle. The gullet is extra wide. It is 16.5 inch and was made in Germany in 2010. It is a good thing we got the extra wide. The standard would have been too narrow.
Parelli saddle
The bucking rolls are gone. Thanks Yellow Boot Saddelry for making the fenders short enough for me and removing the bucking rolls. The bucking rolls made the seat too small for me.

Cisco’s lameness was stifle and something else. I guessed the saddle was causing problems. My beloved Circle Y Flex Lote saddle was discovered to have a broken tree last year. I’d been using my original
Circle Y Flex lite saddle. It occasionally caused me to get sore. It was probably too narrow for Cisco. I no longer endorse the Circle Y Flex tree saddle.

The stifle and mystery lameness got better and got worse. Stifle injection made Cisco worse. Cisco got better with each shoeing by Healthy Stride Farrier, Tony Vaught. But we couldn’t keep the plus progression of zero lameness strides. Cisco got a month of freedom to heal.

Saddle search was on and I made a big commitment to the Parelli brand. I know if I ever sell this saddle, there will be buyers out there in the world looking.

PostHeaderIcon Lucky- “A Four Mile Trailride Is NOT A Walk in the Park”


Me – “But Lucky, it was a very short trail ride.”

Lucky – “How often have you walked 4 miles mom? Four miles carrying you is not a short trail ride. Take me home! Feed me!”

Me – “Yes Lucky”. (I wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow for riding. Heh. Heh)

Lucky Star – “A four mile trail ride is NOT a short ride! And why those other horses cantered around in the field at the end of the trail ride is just ridiculous. I could see the trailer when you asked me to exhort senseless energy to canter in circles when I was exhausted! Snort! Take me home! Feed me!” “Ride Cisco!”

PostHeaderIcon Just Kidding Mom! I wanna be the Boss!

Next time I rave on and on about how Lucky Star has changed into the horse of yes, just smile and shake your head. Susan never learns.

I played with Cisco first. We are learning driving skills. Yes, I bought light weight long ropes. I attached them to my Parelli Bridle. At the end, Cisco was trotting around me in the pasture. His back legs look good. I took off the bridle and he walked with me back to the barn. I said, “Cisco, I love you the most. You are my favorite horse.”. I might have repeated that three times. I can’t believe that Lucky Star might have heard me.

Lucky became the horse of no again when I started riding. We were riding very near the herd who were all locked in their stalls. We were about 1/4 of a football field away from the other horses at the furthest. We tried zipping in a large dressage 20 meter circle, passing by the stalls.

Oh we had maybe two circles out of all I tried where we maintained a gait faster than a stall. I used all my strategies to stomp out the “no”. Lucky started nickering to his friends. This meant his attention was not focused on me. I increased my domination. We backed, we turned on the hindquarters many different times. Then something different happened. Lucky squealed. He stalled. I noted that my temper had escaped from deep within.

When the horse makes you mad, he wins. You cannot loose your temper when riding. Luckily, I was able to have a discussion with myself. “Get off! Continue this with Lucky on the ground. You have a lot more power over his impulsion on the ground”.

Lucky was astounded. He probably thought he was the top dog. We went to the trailer and took off the saddle. Lucky was chortling. We put the halter on and went to the round pen. Oh what a shame. Lucky had to canter and gallop around the pen. He used his body language a lot to express his displeasure. When that was over, I decided to have him canter in circles around me very close to his friends in the stalls. Shoot, I need a longer rope. I cleverly tied one of the thin driving ropes to my regular rope.

Your horsemanship is determined by the tools you use. I learned why a skinny rope is not a good idea. Lucky was engaged in another war with me. He was stopping when he was behind me. I tagged him good with the string on the end of my stick. He pulled away. O U C H! He got away and I got a rope burn. Oh, the thin rope doesn’t work well! I caught Lucky and we continued our discussion. He thought it was really cool how he escaped me. He tried it three more times. Cleverly, I had taken off that rope burning little rope. I was somewhat handicapped as the regular rope was only twelve feet long, but I managed. Now let me mention that my twenty two foot rope was a short distance away. I should have made the effort to use the suitable rope. This was a lapse of intelligence on my part. Lucky and I managed to end our discussion soon after that. I took off the halter and my 49% partner walked right beside me back to the barn. I truly was shocked. Lucky was telling me that I was the leader. He wanted to be with me.

I staggered into the house and got food in me. I had run out of energy during the monumental battle. I’m anxious to see what happens the next time I ride Lucky Star at home. Will he be the horse of no or the horse of yes!

Stay tuned!

PostHeaderIcon Round Bale Spring Scratching Post

The round bale had been consumed leaving only a cushion of hay on the ground. The horses deserted the round bale to the green grass. It appears that the green grass has been eaten down to the dirt.
Lucky Star has been telling me that he is starving. I retort and tell him both of us need to lose our roundness. He snorts on me and is actively looking for a smart phone that is nicker activated.
Lucky Star hates Siri. She never responds to his nicker activating attempts to contact the Too-much-Horse-Exercise Hot line.
Today I put out a brand new round bale to stop the horse starvation. All the horses ignored the round bale. They all went into their stalls and waited for the horse feed.
I kept telling them that the hay was their special treat today. After they gave up waiting for their horse feed, I saw Cisco use the round bale as a scratching post. Delta laid down and used it as a scratching post.
The starving horses have been eating the starvation dirt grass all the rest of the day.

Did Lucky Star lie to me about starving!

I go now to feed them their sweet horse feed.

Ignored Round Bale

PostHeaderIcon The Lucky Star Love Story

Once upon a time the favored horse became replaced by the new guy.

Lucky Star, the “Horse of No” was a difficult horse for the human. He was dominate over the world, had little to no work ethic and didn’t react to pain stimulus. Horses that are reluctant to move won’t win many fans in the human and horse world. It takes a ton of horsemanship knowledge to work with these kind of horses. Lucky wasn’t the most difficult ever horse. There exist “horses of no” that lie down when their human rider requests movement. Thank goodness Lucky didn’t figure out that trick!

One day the raffle horse came into the human’s world. Cisco was eager, willing, friendly and strived to do more than asked. The human’s long years with Lucky made her very appreciative of a willing horse. Lucky Star became a pasture ornament. The fun of dealing with Cisco took the human’s insane desire for forward movement away from the “horse of no”.

At first Lucky Star was grateful to Cisco. Being a pasture ornament allowed Lucky a lot of time spent pretending to be a wild mustang running free with his herd of two mares and Cisco. Gradually, Lucky became a little bored in his 15 acre wild horse experience. One fall day when his grass was starting to die. Lucky decided to to expand his mustang roaming area. He jumped the fence, trying to get into the hay pasture. He made it, but in doing so, got a back foot caught in the fence. He tried to become a three-legged horse.

Lucky laid down for 12 hours at a time. He would not get up. The pain killer drugs produced colic. Colic kills horses. The vet started coming every day and giving a pain injection and avoided the colic causing medication. This allowed Lucky enough pain reduction that he started standing up at least part of the day. The colic went away. Along with the pain of recovery, his human spent a lot of time hanging out with him. Horse and human spent a lot of time together. Human worried and horse suffered. The treats he missed when the human started to spend all her time with Cisco resumed. Lucky Star will do almost anything for treats. Trying to cut off his foot was an accident. But the treats were wonderful.

There were some sticky recovery times when vet and human wondered if Lucky would live. This experience was the third time in his life when death was knocking on the door. Each time Lucky had a dedicated human taking care of him.

Lucky survived and his foot started the healing process. Again, Lucky became a pasture ornament while Cisco got all the treats, rubs and human time. A small resentment started building while his leg healed. Lucky wondered how he could get his human back again. How could he become the favored horse, not work and get all the treats?

Lucky made certain he was first in line with anything his human did. However, his argumentative brain would not give up his love for domination and his hatred of anything that resembled work on his part. He wanted his human back again, but just couldn’t change the “No” that lurked in his personality. The human tried last summer to get through the domineering Lucky Star. There was no fun in the trying and again, Cisco won through.

Lucky Star got older and less extravagant in his need to be the ruler of the free world. Three people came forward with the need and desire to have a horse named Lucky Star. The human owner was thrilled! Lucky Had to be ridden so that he would be ridable success. Hmmmm, thought the owner, Lucky Star might work out. Oh wait, the human owner had just the slightest bit of fun riding Lucky.

Then the unthinkable happened. Cisco came up lame and the healing process is not an overnight process. Lucky’s human started giving him treats and spending time riding and playing with him. The human took Lucky back into her heart.

Lucky Star did suffer through this process. The human employed “thunks” using a riding crop. The thunking was done on his shoulder, not the rear end which might buck. The thunking was done rhythmicaly every one, two and thunk. One day, he decided that arguing was not working. The “thunks” were very irritating.

Lucky decided to become a partner with his human. He decided it was easier to do what the human wanted, Immense rewards were experienced. Lucky Star got those beloved treats and he got rest time where he was rubbed and stoked. His mane and tail were combed and the itchy dandruff went away. Oh what a wonderful world enjoyed by a partnered groomed horse,

Lucky decided to fully participate in life with the human. Gradually, he got rid of almost all argumentative actions. On this past weekend during a two day clinic with Tony and Jennifer Vaught , he changed. Lucky Star got impulsion! He moved at the human requested speed, for as long as the human wanted! Miracle!

His new nickname is…..ROCKET MAN!

His human is having fun. Rocket Man is having fun and treats!

This romantic drama of the horse wanting his human in this story is called anthropomorphic. Horses do not think like this. Horses live in the moment. What really happened is the human used love, language and leadership. The human finally became physically effective. It took years!

Here are many articles to help all humans deal with the overwhelming number of horse and human problems. Go wild! Go Crazy! Read all these articles! learn Horsemanship!

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star’s AKA Name is Always Adventure

I let a beginning rider have a beginning rider lesson on Lucky Star.  We went through the required seven games and some required rules before mounting.  That went well.  Our rider mounted.  I did neglect to give the rider the mandatory mounting rule, but it went well.  Now the signal to walk forward was given and Lucky’s response was ears back in protest.  We tried the turning on the hindquarters and then walking forward.  That is when Lucky decided to move and place his front feet in front of the barrel and his back feet in back of the barrel.  He did not jump, he just sidled his feet to both sides of the barrel.  Can you imagine being a beginning rider and your horse straddles a barrel?  No, I can’t either.

I took over Lucky Star.  I put a halter on his neck and led him around.  We did some slow circles at a very slow walk while our rider was learning about reins, where his shoulders and belly button go.  I turned Lucky lose and he managed to move somewhat.  About this time, Cisco volunteered to come into the arena.  Cisco became the lead horse and Lucky was supposed to follow.  Whoops.  Lucky doesn’t like being the following horse.  So we had a duo horse team walking around the arena.  The big achievement was that Lucky moved as his rider was getting used to being on a such a horse.  I had given our rider a crop with the instructions to tap Lucky’s forequarter three times when he fails to move.  Lucky laughed and ignored taps that were more like the strength of a fly.  I coached on the art of tapping Lucky until the tapping actually irritated him enough to have him move.

Cisco ended his voluteer duty and Lucky Star went off on his own.  He tried to rub his beginning rider against the corral panel.  I pulled him off the fence and he and his beginning rider wandered around just a bit more, working on the tapping technique and steering.

I called the lesson to an end.  I got on Lucky Star and demonstrated how Lucky can move.  I demonstrated the tapping.  Lucky and I did a flat foot walk around the small arena with some dropping out of gait.  We ended the session.  Whew!  Next is what will happen when I ride Cisco while our beginning rider is on Lucky.  I think Lucky will do this well outside the arena.

PostHeaderIcon Trust Replaces Fear

It was quite a long time ago.  This might have been five or six years ago.  There was this horse, a fruit loop horse.  She is a sensitive horse and the wrong people bought her.  After six months, she was scared of anything human.  If anything human moved, she was scared of it. She is what Pat Parelli calls a “Hey Bob! Horse.  You are riding this horse.  You wave your arm to say hi to Bob and the horse bolts. Human arms to this horse are things that beat you.  Arms beat you.

I bought this horse after she was ruined.

The Hey Bob horse teaches you not to pick your nose, point at anything or wave at anyone.  Your horse bolts when people near you pick up their arm.  You learn to yell at your friends.  ”Do not pick up your arm when you are near me! Do not flick your reins at your horse! Do not wave at flies on your horse!  Good God, do you want me to die?”  The horse was also claustrophobic around other horses.  We can not get too near other horses.  Soon she taught me to be scared of other horses.  They might kick me.

I rode the Claustrophobic-Hey-Bob-Horse for quite a while until the fear of arms finally got to me.  The bolting was not bad.  The horse bolted and was easily stopped with the reins.  Only once did she bolt out on a gravel road with me.  Hey, it was just once.  When you ride with loose reins and the horse bolts, it takes about a year to pick up the reins and pull back.

Finally when I was good and trained to be afraid of arms, I paid Nichole Hack for her to be trained to not be afraid of arms.  i got her back and the world was good, except any movement on her part caused me to tighten up as a reflective action.  It was OK when I thought about it.  Self, you are not going to haul back on the reins when the horse flinches.  Just let her flinch.  Self, you can now raise your arm.  The horse will not bolt.  Self, if your horse does take a couple forward steps, just know that the stop is just milliseconds away, don’t grab the reins.The horse will stop on her own.  You do not have to haul back on the reins to stop.

Looking at the stories of this horse, her journey back to being a relaxed horse took about three years.  She was totally ruined in six months.  I couldn’t 100% fix her.  I fixed a lot of things, but not the bolting and in the end, I was just as scared of people’s arms as she was!

So when you have this bolting fear, the human body does something that is called cradle reflex.  Your upper body tries to fold into a ball.  Your body leans forward and your legs go back.  In the horse world, this is called “the fall off position”.  One sideways step from the horse and you are in the falling off position..on the way to the nasty ground.

The next horse to come into my life was the Horse of No, Lucky Star.  The Horse of No did not have very many bolting episodes.  But there were some short episodes and I went into my cradle position.  I got to ride a lot without the cradle position happening to me and that was a good thing.

Next in my life is Cisco.  I don’t remember that he did any bolting actions that caused me to go into the cradle position.  But for the first couple of years I had him, I was ready to fold into the cradle position when i saw something that I thought he might spook at.  And he never spooked.

I am quite upset with myself about tensing up and preparing to go into the cradle position.  Stop it!  Why can’t I get over being afraid?  Cisco is not going to spook.  I can trust him.

I came up with the idea that I am not trusting Cisco.  I am not trusting Cisco to take care of me.  Cisco is taking care of me quite wonderfully.  I believe it is time to let this fear go.  I am going to trust Cisco.  I’m not going to gather up my reins when I see something scary. I’m not going to tense my body.  I’m going to keep the reins slack and keep relaxed.  I am going to trust Cisco.

And that was the answer!  You need to realize that you can trust your horse.  You need to ride a horse that you can trust.  I believe that I am over the cradle-fear now.  Thank God.  It took a long long time and two horses to get me over it.

Here is an amazing article talking about the human instinct and the cradle position.  It is a great article and should help you further understand why your body betrays you when riding a horse.  From balanced rider.net

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