Archive for the ‘JR’ Category

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – Passed the Parelli Level 1!

JR has now officially passed Level 1 in the Parelli program.  The wonderful family that came up here from Florida had a great time riding Velvet and JR…we took turns. 
The husband rode JR today and was formally assessed in the L1 test.  I am very proud of JR and pretty amazed that someone else could take him through the tasks and pass.
Congrats to Kevin and JR-Great Stuff!
NOTE: A couple years later, Kevin bought a yearling from me and is doing amazing things with him.  Here it is 2010 and Kevin is passing Level 3 tasks with a 3-4 year old Missouri Fox Trotter named Tenor!
 

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – No Hands!

LOOK MA! NO HANDS!

It’s been coming. The knowledge that JR can be controlled with my seat and legs alone has been lurking in my brain about the last half of 2003. I knew it; I shoved it back in my head.

Today, JR and I skipped over to Pine Dell with the full intention of me riding bareback. Well, funny how that saddle just put itself right on JR without asking. Ok! Don’t mess with good intentioned saddles, I say. The reason I need to ride without a saddle is to develop a better seat…but I also might fall off. sigh

JR and I did a lot of ground playing in the arena. He decided to stay in the arena while I visited the R Room. When I came out, he was right at the rail waiting for me. Well, he looked nice and inviting. I clamored up on the rail and motioned for him to come over and get me. He did that as pretty as a picture. He just slid right up sideways to me. I leaped on and and felt really fine. He had his halter on. As we were walking away, I decided to go for the whole look. I stopped him and took off the halter. As I was doing that, I dropped my carrot stick. In this instance, I call it my safety stick. If anything goes wrong, I can stop or steer JR with the carrot stick.

I sat and waited for a poor volunteer to walk by to get my carrot stick. I look pretty pitiful and the person helped me as soon as I took my first pitiful breath. “I’m riding JR bridleless for the fist time and dropped my carrot stick. Would you please get it for me?” Whew! I got my carrot stick, chatted and finally we were off on a cloud of light.

I decided to let JR go and do what he wants. I took a push-passenger ride. I sort of push back on the horn while riding. This action places your seat right where it needs to be and very securely. Watch barrel racers when they run those barrels. They push on the horn. I asked him to go in a speed faster than a walk. We cantered and then we fox trotted.

How much different from the day before! Yesteday, I rode JR with the bridle, determined to find the fox trot. I couldn’t find it. I did everything I could to find that fox trot and probably got it for 6 total steps the entire time I rode…indoor and outdoor. We paced, we hard trotted, we did the running walk..we did all the gaits every third step.

Did I mention that I was ready to sell all my fox trotters and move to Iceland and get an Icelandic horse.

Ok, back to today. I sort of relaxed and slouched over the saddle. JR instantly breaks into a fox trot and he kept it going the entire length of the arena.

What is wrong with this picture?

Is my tension, bracing and nagging at him with reins in hand causing JR to stress into anything but the fox trot?

Sigh.. I am not woooorthy!

I was a happy camper on JR. He was perfect. Hmmm. My camera is in the truck. There is sunlight outside the arena. I whined again and my good buddy Jody came to let us out. She got the camera and took our picture. I must say that we look GRAND.

I decided that standing in the gravel drive went well. JR told me he wanted to go down and meet little Isabel, the foal. He was nervous about it, and I almost told him “never mind”. But we did it. Little Isabel was pretty impressed to meet such a horse. Now she thinks that people ride horses without bridles and halters.

We managed to make it back and I decided to run up a grassy slope right beside the pasture. Well, we broke gait a bunch, but we made it to the top of the hill alive. Hmmm, I thought…There’s the 40 acre windy field. Perhaps we could walk to the mounting block besides the large outdoor arena. By golly we did it and I was still mounted.

I decided that I needed exercise, so dismounted and led JR back to the trailer with just the string around his neck. I took the saddle off at the trailer, pointed him into the trailer and as he was getting in, slid the string off his neck. He arrived home NAKED!

WHAT A HORSE! WHAT A DAY!
I LOVE THIS HORSE!

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – JR Paid for Himself!

This was the last day of the clinic and we were nearing the end. We got to play with real obstacles. We got to have a little jump.

Well, reader…you’ve been with me a while and know my behavior pattern by now. I hate to put it in writing, but you might have noticed that I grandstand. Another word for grandstand might be show off. I can’t help it. It’s an affliction. sigh

Occasionally, I get punished for showing off, er…I mean grandstanding…ham..upstaging etc. yep. I never learn, though.

All the other riders approached the jump cautiously. Not me. JR and I flew over the jump at a canter. “Cool Beans!” After all, we are professional barrel jumpers.

The jump got a little higher. By this time the riders were circling in the arena and going over the jump. Things were looking good for all of us. I could see Grand Prix visions in some of the rider’s expression. JR and I continued to be the only jumper at a canter.

At the last, Gina decided to make the jump a little more devilish. She didn’t raise the jump, she made it wider. All she did was put a pole down in front of the jump. She told us to shorten our stirrups and to stand up slightly and lean forward as we jumped.

My stirrups were as short as they could get and they are too long for me to stand up. My body refuses to bend over like those fancy jumpers that you see in the Olympics. I are a “WESTERN WOMAN”! We sit up TALL in the saddle!

All the other fox trotting horses trotted over that pole and jumped the obstacle. Simple

Then the show-off came along. JR looked at the pole and judged the distance. That pole meant he had to make his take off a lot sooner than he had before. His rider knew none of this. She was sitting up there Straight in the Saddle! Gina even yelled, “lean forward!”, but Western Susan refused. We came within shouting distance of the pole. Western Susan was surprised at the early take off. She was also surprised at the altitude. JR catapulted Susan so high in the sky, that she could inspect the carpentry work on the ceiling of the new arena. Hey, Great work there! As JR decended, so did Susan. A miracle occured and JR was almost directly underneath Susan when she landed.

Gina yelled, “STOP!” When JR and Susan were standing still, Gina made the following announcement: “JR just paid for himself.” “Huh!?” was my reply. “JR shifted his body so that he would be underneath you when you came down.” “Huh? You mean I would have plumeted to the ground had JR not got his body underneath mine?”

“YES” was the answer. WOW! How cool is that. Imagine having such a horse that would do that. JR is my Partner!

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – Dave Ellis Clinic and Compliment

Other than Pat and Linda Parelli, Dave Ellis is one of the two highest premier instructors in the Parelli organization.

We did lot’s of turning (hindquarter and forequarter) …with the human getting in time with the feet.  We did lot’s of transition of trotting to a back.  We did lot’s of transitions of casual rein to concentrated rein and back to a casual rein.  We did partnership riding which is like drill team riding with two or three people.
The instructor always checks everyone out during the exercise.  He got me once on something I was doing wrong.
It’s getting close now…

At the end of the day, I was in the barn aisle.  The instructor came into the aisle where I was and asked How Old is JR.  I replied that he is only 4.  The Premier Instructor said,

Well, he’s as smooth as silk!  He’s a very nice horse, Susan.”

This was not in reference to his gait.  It was in reference to all the transitions…how his body moved in the correct and timely manner.
Plus, he was as smooth as silk …gait-wise!

JR is the auditor favorite!

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – JR the Wal-Mart Greeter Horse

What is the picture that haunts your waking and sleeping thoughts when it comes to traveling with horses. Yep, a BREAK DOWN! I’ve never had a break down. Before I go out of town with pickup and trailer, I grill my husband. Did he look at the tires? Do I need to buy new tires for truck or trailer? Are you certain that the tread is enough.. I mention at least 6 times how dreadful it would be if I broke down somewhere in the middle of no-where with horse in trailer.

JR and I are headed to a clinic in Buffalo, Missouri. It’s about a 2-3 hour drive. I decide to take the route that goes to Sedalia and then south on highway 65.

As we are zipping along coming into the city limits of Sedalia, a pickup drives up beside me. I notice out of the corner of my eye, some agitated movement from the pickup. I look over and am told to roll down my window. “YOUR BACK TIRE ON THE TRAILER IS FLAT!” My eyes start to roll up into the back of my head into a simulated faint when they get stuck on a beautiful sight…WALMART! I happen to know this is a Super Walmart and it’s only blocks away.

There is a GOD.

I whip into the Walmart parking lot, find the tire place and park in the shade. I find a worker and whine that I have a flat on my horse trailer and my horse is IN THE TRAILER. It’s summer in Missouri and humidity and heat are present. The worker assures me that someone can take care of the situation and to go into the store and get a ticket. In the store, I whine about the horse being in the trailer. I get sympathy and then am told to give the money taker the keys. “NO!” I say. “I have a HORSE IN THE TRAILER! I’ll be with the trailer and truck with the keys!” That was my only instance of someone being in la la land at this Walmart store in Sedalia.

I go out with my horse. I look at him in the trailer. It’s hot in there. The woman that makes things happen in the Walmart tire store came out and met me. We looked at the tire. We discovered that I needed a NEW TIRE. My old tire was Shredded! She tells me to drive up to another shady place, that is right beside the Tire Store. I do that. Then we discuss the grass situation. We have a nice parking lot with a long strip of grass besides it. It’s pretty wide too. We go over and survey the grassy area. We decide that JR would be very happy here.

We come back to a very agitated JR. I open the door knowing that he’s going to LEAP out. He leaps out. Well, in my agitated state, I didn’t notice that we were parked directly by an awning with lots of flags advertising Great Tires…flapping in the wind. The sound of the air tools…ZIIIIIT! ZIIIIIIT! JR lands on the ground in the midst of the Tire and Lube Shop and I heard in my head a voice, “IS THIS WHERE I AM TO DIE?! ” His front legs are spread wide and his rear is ready to start the motor. His head is up and every white in his eye is glowing and showing. I’m thinking to myself “Relax, but Hang on. Hang on whatever happens.” We stand and nothing comes at JR to eat him. He relaxes a tiny bit. I decide the time is right to lead him across the parking lot to the grass.

We make it! After a few more moments of deciding whether or not this is the new place he is to die, he decides to snatch a mouthful of grass. “Aahhhhh,” I’m thinking. He’s going to settle down. And settle down he did. We strolled around our grassy knoll and checked everything out. The woman-who-makes-things- happen-at-the-tire-store came out with the tire catalog and we chose my new tire. Life was good.

After a while, I started getting this filled up feeling. I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn’t go away. There were bushes in the grassy knoll, but not thick enough ones. Soon, I decided that JR had to go back into the trailer that was resting next to the flapping flags, near the ZIIIIT sounds. I have fluid to donate to the Walmart. Luckily, they had not started to put on my new tire yet.

JR had a little problem getting back into the trailer. No sensible horse would get into that trap with all that commotion around. I chatted with him. He said “NO.” I chatted with him. He said “NO.” I chatted with him, he said, “MAYBE.” I chatted with him and he said “OK, BUT HURRY BACK!”

Hurry, I did! I came back out to find JR spinning in the trailer. I decided to get my lawn chair. I got JR out and we went back to our grassy knoll. I sat down and he chomped grass. whew

People started to return to their cars or drove into the tire parking lot. They all stared. If they had small children, I invited them to come over and meet JR. JR got to meet 5 little girls and a little boy.

JR became the Walmart Tire Store Greeter!

About an hour rolled around and the new tire was on! I loaded JR with only two NO’s and went in to pay. As I left the Walmart, I thanked our new friends. On our way out of the parking lot, I noticed a new sound…something dragging. I leaped out and checked the perimeter of the truck and trailer…nothing. It was probably one of the shredded pieces of tires stuck on something that made a noise.

We went to the Buffalo clinic and bragged about JR’s new Walmart job. We came home on Sunday. My husband and I checked the tires again with me whining. “I had a flat tire. Are you certain that the other tires are OK? Are you certain that I have enough tread? Why did I have a flat? Was it just that I ran over something. When I drove the truck/trailer, the dragging noise continued. I asked my husband to drive the pickup and the trailer and see what he thought about the noise.

My husband called me at work on Monday. I have 3 more new trailer tires. One tire had a knot on the inside and it would have blown soon. The tire guy didn’t like the other two tires either. The tire store people are fixing my FLAT TRUCK TIRE. I drove all that way with the inside dually tire flat! That was the noise that I had heard.

SCREAM!

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – Walk in the Park Horror

JR and I were practicing our gait last Sunday. I like to call it purity of gait practice. We rode by ourselves at James A Reed Park. The park has a lot of trails and they are flat and grassy. It’s just great for consistency.

We were zipping up the side of a paved road going to the trail head on the other side of the road.

Out in the parking lot FLASHES a 7-8 year old girl RUNNING with a KITE! The KITE is low to the ground and is dipping and flipping.

My heart commenced to dip and flip.

Just think how I felt being there alive and convinced that any second something unpleasant was going to occur…like sitting on a volcano about to erupt. Think how you would feel if the same thing happened. Yup, you would feel a certainty that you were going to die.

FORTUNATELY, we were still far enough away that the KITE wasn’t a scary object to JR. Guess how GRATEFUL I was for that!

The little girl kept running around in the parking lot with the flippin’ an dippin’kite. Instead of dying on the spot, I was now thinking that I was either going to have to stay in that spot for the rest of my life or turn around and go back the way I came when…

THE LITTLE GIRL FELL DOWN IN THE GRAVEL. She dropped the KITE! This made me VERY HAPPY. When she started screaming in pain, I tried to feel sorry for her, but couldn’t. After all, she tried to kill me.

JR and I went on up to the gravel parking lot. As we were passing by the parking lot, the brother asked the little girl what was wrong with the kite. The little girl (between screaming) told him it was broken. He started to dart after the kite and I YELLED, “PLEASE DON”T TOUCH THE KITE! The horse will be scared of it and KILL ME!”

The entire family looked at me with a stunned expression on their face… the little girl even quit crying. They must have thought I was insane, or from Mars, Or they were marveling at how JR and I looked pretty kewl, maybe they were admiring the fact that JR and my hair matches. Either way, I lived and I passed by them into SAFETY!

I felt bad about saying that about JR, but the potential for JR to face the fearful thing and run backwards from the kite over the dam dropoff or into the lake was a real possibility.

GASP, I might have had to make an emergency dismount and end up in the emergency room!

I’m thinking that all kites in WalMart should be destroyed and there should be a KITE search of every car that goes into James A Reed park!

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal- JR the Tall is a Guard Horse


May 27, 2003
 I was out in the pasture yesterday. The horses were across the lake. I walked way over there to see them and to trim some nasty saplings growing around the lake.The dogs came with me…as they always do. Cricket,our black dog, just got her 25lbs of hair removed in her yearly summer trim. She turned into a small short haired dog with a cute little bandana. JR saw me and started walking towards me to say HI. Then he started running to me. “WOW,” I thought, “He’s really happy to see me!” His focus had changed to Cricket. JR was in full pursuit of the strange black dog, and Cricket was running for her life! He chased little Cricket ALL the WAY around the lake. She barely escaped thru the gate.JR didn’t recognize Cricket as a small short haired dog! He was protecting the herd!

I didn’t realize that JR was the pasture guard!

Cricket didn’t come back into the pasture on that day.

JR THE TALL -GUARD HORSE

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – Susan’s Big Blank Duh Look

JR and I were in a combined L2 and L3 clinic today doing just lovely.

We do have a horse in the clinic that tends to get upset when another horse
comes near him or touches him. I knew that from being in an earlier clinic
with him…but I got too close.

All of sudden we heard the squeal, the back up to kick, only we were too
close. The horse whirled and then the head snaked at us. Ears pinned and
teeth barred. The horse went in for the big bite and back up.
In a few hours after the dust settled, maybe in real time it was a
millisecond, I saw that the horse had my reins in his mouth. He was pulling
on my reins.

I sat there with a dumbfounded look on my face. DUH! After a few more
hours which might have been millisecond #2, the other rider slapped her horse with her mecate and he dropped the rein.

JR and I went running to JENNY! Jenny told me that when things go bad like
that, get off the horse! You have no idea what is going to happen…and
anything could happen. My best bet would have been to quickly get off.

I made my face go DUH again with a big blank look so everyone could see what a quick thinker I had been when danger started.

A lesson learned.

Why does this horse do this? It’s not because he is dominant and hates other
horses. It’s because he’s scared of other horses and puts on this great act,
so no one will know it.

During the rest of the clinic, we worked on those fears. First, we put him
near other horses and when he snaked his head and started after a horse, he
got to canter for a long time. He got to do flying lead changes. It took
two times before he settled down in a group of horses.

Next, some of the riders with a treat in their pocket came over and fed him.
Wow…that was a great surprise for him.

Lastly, we stood next to him and petted him with a carrot stick. His whole
attitude had drastically changed when the clinic was over. Not to say that
he was cured…but Jenny gave the owner some things to do at home to further work on this.

whew..Ok, here it is again…The big Blank look with open mouth…Duh

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – Challenge Day Event

JR the Tall
I took JR to the Challenge Day event today at Pine Dell. There were
auditors that were brand new wannabe horse owners. They fell deeply
in love with JR. After the event was over, they came back to the
arena barn aisle and just raved about him. A woman boarder at Pine
Dell was also in the audience. She is selling her arab horse and
getting a fox trotter. She cried and said “I wish you would sell him to
me”.
JR is sort of youngish/adorable with a playful streak.

But, when the ground events were over and I got on him…he was
lame! Jenny said that she thought he was a little out of line when
he trotted around on the ground, but no one else noticed it. I
suspect a puncture in his hoof, but couldn’t find it. I took him
home, got two kitchen trash bags and put them together, put epsom
salts and hot water in the bag. At the barn, I mixed a little cold
water and picked up JR’s foot and put it in the double plastic trash
bag. He ate his supper and I held the trash bag for 15 minutes.

Ya gotta love a horse like this!

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – The Dentist

When JR had his first general examination and fall shots as a yearling, the vet said to me that his teeth were great. “This is a horse that will need to be floated maybe never or once every 3-5 years or so.  He has excellent teeth.”  We were both proud. The vet. peeked in his mouth the next two years for his general examination and last year, he did float his teeth.  It didn’t take long…and we were all proud of JR’s mouth.

A famous Equine Dentist moved to Kansas City and gave a demonstration speech and then worked on various horses during the Longview Horse Park Trail ride last October.  My friend is a new horse owner as well as a medical doctor.  She was fascinated by the dentist’s performance, the ugly things discovered in horses’ mouth and the pain free result.

She decided to have the dentist come to her barn.  Perhaps she could get some of her barn people to employ the dentist.  Nope.  She offered me the opportunity to engage the dentist and I jumped at it.  I’ve been to two equine dentists’ presentation before.  I need no more convincing.  Velvet has been worked on by an equine vet dentist specialist traveling from Lincoln.  Our own vet now has a power tool to help float teeth while using the speculum.  Life is good.

Who would I take?  I can afford two horses.  It’s a given that Velvet gets to go.  She never has eaten normally.  She always spills grain. And, my next oldest.  JR.  Hay!  I’m going to start riding JR with a bit pretty soon.  He needs a bit seat.  The dentist won’t find anything in JR’s mouth, but a bit seat is something that he does need.

The big day came and we arrived at the barn.  The dentist had just finished two year old Jazz.  He had an infected baby tooth in his front teeth.  His breath stank…not that anyone noticed it until the dentist propped open his mouth.  The horse before him was young too.  He had some extensive remodeling in his mouth so he could chew without biting his cheek. 

Oh hum…it’s JR’s turn.  The moment of truth came after the speculum was inserted and the dentist’s head light illuminated the inside of his mouth.  Oh dear.  I saw scar marks, chew marks and a big fat abscess on one cheek.  His teeth were razor sharp and when he ate, the razors tore up his left cheek.  The dentist vet said that he had started chewing up and down like humans do instead of side to side like horses do.  Chewing up and down doesn’t get the food ground up nearly as much as the normal sideways chewing.  Visions of colic leaped into my head. 

My perfect JR was the winner of the worst mouth in the stable!  His cost was $50 more than any other horse and we are now thrilled to be on the 6 month schedule.

The dentist said that she likes to see horses as young as 6-7 months.  She can fix things then that can’t be correct later like a mild parrot mouth.  The cost for young weanlings is only $50…well worth a lifetime of teeth problems and pain.  Remember mouth pain can result in horses dangerous to humans!

The main point of my story is to have your vet put a speculum put in your horse’s mouth.  A lot of regular vets now have them along with the power tools.  At least you’ll be able to see whether or not your horse might be in a lot of pain that could be FIXED! 

JR now makes that comforting munching noise when he eats his hay.  I didn’t realize that this sound was missing before JR MET the Equine Vet Dentist!

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