Archive for the ‘Missouri Fox Trotter’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Florida Fancy Tales

Monday morning at 16 degree weather was the departure of Fancy and young Bravo for their training adventure in Florida with Tony and Jenny Vaught.
Tony and Jenny arrived around 8:00am, hooked up trailer, loaded hay bales, secured hay nets and loaded horses. They had to touch metal to do all this. While Fancy was loading everyone complained about being frozen.

Tony’s fingers were frozen up to the nails. Jenny’s face froze. My thighs froze. The horses were fine. They live in this weather. Plus the hay filled nets blocked much of the air coming into the trailer.

The truck and trailer drove off, headed south to warmth.

I took my frozen thighs into my bed and buried myself in my blankie. My thighs only slightly thawed. After about an hour of thigh thaw failure, I asked the spouse if he would like to go out for breakfast. We drove about 15 miles with my heated car seat on high. I never can drive that long with the high heat setting. However on this day, I occasionally could feel flashes of heat at about mile 10. Good Lordy!

I think the horses made it to Memphis about the same time my thighs thawed.

Tuesday am, they made it to Florida. Tuesday am was a warm 22 degrees in Mid Missouri.

Fancy, you owe me big time!

PostHeaderIcon Fancy Tales – Our First Encounter

Teresa loaned Fancy to me while Cisco is recovering from EPM. I picked her up from Teresa and Junior Osborn. Fancy had nearly 60 day’s training with a fox Trotter trainer and 30 days training with a trail riding trainer. In her first two weeks with the trail trainer, she was ridden in a parade! Boy Howdy!

I announced that Junior had just won #1 Boyfriend for a year for this amazing act of friendship. My friend Hope came and observed the beautiful Fancy. I brought her home and installed her in a stall.

I was going to ride her the next day. We went to the stable. Fancy walked down the stable aisle where a beautiful stallion whispered words of rebellion to her. In the arena, the rebellion started. Fancy had no respect for my personal space. My body erupted into Italian gestures and then the swinging lead rope to get her backed off me. The war started. The rope had to get big. Fancy got big right back. She struck at me with her front hoof and just barely touched my leg. Lordy! She screamed and spurted when the rope made contact on her nose. There was a witness who saw the strike, the heat induced spurting and screaming. This will be a story forever!

Playing the ground games didn’t work that day. We went home and started our relationship. For a few days, I didn’t have a round pen and the leadership was won by Fancy. Soon I got my round pen set up and ground play colt start began. Fancy still won, but I was making some progress. After about a week, I was winning more than Fancy.

Tony Vaught was due in town to take shoes off her front feet and trim her back legs. They had a few horse trainer/young confident filly conversation before Tony was able to trim the back feet. Then I said I wanted to ride her once and assess her as to going to Florida with the Vaughts “customizing” her for me. Heck, I’ll go at it myself, the only horse in the world since Sage that I would just get on and ride.

Tony mentioned the fun phrase, “Do you want to have fun with Fancy?”

And then Teresa and I had the shocking talk. To both our surprise. I bought her. My husband pledged and paid half her price. The other half was my Christmas present to myself.

So Fancy will be going to Florida with the Vaughts and be developed into a horse with buttons that I can have fun while riding. She will be “customized” for me.

Fancy will save some tricky fun “experiences” just for me. I love to develop a horse. It is much better for my ongoing health to ride and develop a horse “customized” for me by Tony and Jenny Vaught.

I rode Cisco yesterday. He looks fine running around with no rider. His back right leg drug when I rode him. It’s going to take some time for him to recover.

So that is the story! Yee Haw!
#Fancy #Cisco

PostHeaderIcon The Middle Horse Finger

Cisco and Fancy played at liberty with me in the round pen today. They ran around while I looked at Cisco’s back feet. He is still dragging both back toes. It occurred to me that maybe he needs to self-collect. I got the barrels in place with a space to run in between. Cisco scoffed at that and jumped. Fancy went to the outside through a space I thought too small for a horse. I gave the non verbal body signal to stop running which Cisco obeyed. However, Fancy’s nose was looking outside the round pen so she got to run a lot more until she obeyed my cue sign to stop and turn to me.

I went over to set up the barrels so there was no space between and I added the mounting block as a jump obstacle. As soon as my back was turned, Fancy comes to help me. We got it set and I told both of them to go. Cisco jumped and Fancy went through the small space between the fence and the barrel. I forgot to close up that space. They went around twice and I gave the cue to stop and turn towards me. Again, Fancy missed my signal and got to go extra rounds.

I fixed the obstacles and Fancy came to help me. However, she is not quite trained to let humans have enough personal space. We did have several trainings sessions during our time in the round pen to get Fancy to back out of my personal space. We also practiced turning her hindquarters with my body signal and then the stick cue. She has improved tremendously. She moved from a low phase stick cue now.

However, there is still resistance. When a horse backs or turns the hindquarters, they give up dominance. Backing is really the worst dominance battle.

I ask Fancy to back and she does. She is far enough away that I’m in no danger from her mouth or front feet. There are a lot of pinned ears and glare when she backs, but she is now backing as soon as I ask and with some speed.

I ask her to back and she pins her ears and lifts her front leg. That is the horse version of the middle finger!
She got to back a lot after that. The really nice thing is that she backed hurriedly away from my monster forward shoulders and swinging back and forth stick. She did not run away or back crooked. That is amazing!

We got back to the barrels and jumping. She refused, turned and ran the other way. However, Cisco stopped that. He pinned his ears at her which made Fancy turn and run back to the barrels. She jumped. I gave her the sign to stop and turn to me and….and….she did in about 10 more steps. I took that. Our session was over. Hooray! Huge advance.

I believe that barrel jumping helps Cisco gather his body up. He doesn’t falter or limp during the barrel jumping. He certainly needs to be exercised. It was only last year when I fed him alfalfa nuggets to get his body better filled out. Now he is on diet food!

Good session. A lot of improvement on Fancy backing and moving her hindquarters. The middle finger is a classic tale of a dominant people friendly filly.

PostHeaderIcon Cisco Buddy Sweet

Everyone calls this Buddy sour, but that is so negative for a dependence problem. Cisco has a personality that lends him to be dependent on others…usually a horse. Cisco and Lucky were boarded together this summer. I’ve been trailering Cisco and Lucky lately to a park where my friend got to ride Lucky.
At no time was Cisco able to let Lucky out of his direct sight. If Lucky walked behind a trailer, Cisco went hysterical. I had to saddle Cisco where he could see Lucky. If not, Cisco became immediately a basket case of nerves. Saddling him was nearly impossible as I didn’t exist as he swung his body around trying to see Lucky. I would have been stepped on or squished or the unsecured saddle would have been launched into space.

I just went with it. I also made darn certain that Lucky was in clear view when I mounted Cisco. I need a horse to stand still like a statue when I get on.

One day I delivered Lucky Star to Hope. When the truck and trailer came home an anxious Cisco was waiting for Lucky. I told Cisco he now owned two mares. Delta spoke up and contradicted that. She said Lucky Star was her boyfriend and if Cisco thought he could boss her around he would feel her teeth!

Trail ride date was upon us. Cisco and I got there first. Cisco had never seen Hope’s trailer. When she came lumbering into the parking lot, Cisco screamed and screamed and screamed. Finally the trailer came toma stop and we could see Lucky Star. Cisco relaxed. Life was good.

Until the end of the trail ride

We tricked Cisco. Lucky stood by our trailer when Cisco went in. The door shut and Lucky walked away. Cisco became frantic. I had to jump into the truck and move. Horses have to brace themselves when the trailer moves. That stops the frantic movement.

Yesterday was our next meeting. Hope and Lucky got there first. Before we came into sight of the parking lot, Cisco started screaming. He knew where he was and thinks Lucky lives at the park. We screamed until I got parked, let Cisco out and we saw Lucky.

PostHeaderIcon Fancy Tales – Fancy Play Day!

I’ve been in California for over a week.  I had the most amazing time ever!  I’m back home and have a talented young horse to develop.  There is nothing better than a beautiful, talented young horse and a 60′ round pen!

The herd was in the far pasture across the lake.  I called Fancy’s name on my way to the barn.  When I stepped out of the barn with my assortment of tack, Fancy was waiting for me.  The herd was still in the far pasture, but Fancy came a good distance to see me!  I decided she needed some grain as an extra bonus reward and incentive for future join-ups!

Fancy and I played for nearly three hours!  Amazingly, the sun starts to go down now at 5:30pm.  Good Lordy.  Mother Nature is interfering with my horse play.

The plastic bag appears

Fancy and I started with the 14′ rope and halter along with the horsemanship stick with the plastic bag on it.  Fancy is just a little unsure yet about the plastic bag.  She obeys the plastic rustling bag and doesn’t quite trust it.  The plastic bag tried its best to be a friendly leader.  It even drug the ground in front of Fancy while we took a little walk around the round pen.  She didn’t step on it yet.  She has not yet tried to dominate the plastic bag.  We did quite a few things with those tools.  We always do a ton of backing as Fancy loves to install her body directly into the human body.  We are also doing a lot of hindquarter turns as she does not yet know the “hindquarter” body language code to turn and come to me.  I do not yet “own” her hindquarters.  Fancy feels that she is in charge of where her body goes, not me.  That is a topic under discussion.

Next I switched to the halter and 22′ rope. We switched to the horsemanship stick with the 6′ rope on the end.  She got to run around with me in the director chair.  We tried for a consistent gait.  We failed, but daily improvement is coming.  Again we did a lot of backing.  Backing is not on a dominate horse’s agenda.  Fancy’s agenda would be to insert her head into my body.  My body hates that.

Fancy thinks the string is an accelerator.  When I swing the 6′ string, she thinks that means run.  My body is turned away from her and in a relaxed posture.  I whack at the ground and Fancy takes off.  I keep whacking, body position neutral until she decides maybe she can stop.  When she stops running the rope stops whacking the ground and she gets rewarded with the stick rubbing her with love.  I shift with my body position facing her, tension on the 22′ rope and life up, I ask her to circle around me at the trot and canter.  The 6′ string occasionally talks to her.  We did some direction changes and hindquarter stops.  It wouldn’t yet be called a dance between her and me.  That’s the fun.  The dance is coming and it will be ballet!

Next is liberty.  I take the halter off and ask her to circle around me at trot and canter.  We have a stop when she decides to stop, but our dance goal is to stop when I give the body signal.  Another goal is to stop when I ask her with the horsemanship stick.

Heck, she has no idea what that stick means when I tap it up and down in front of her.  Se we return to the 14′ rope and the plastic bag on the stick.  We do the stick-to-me walk.  Her goal is to keep her head even with my hand (next to my shoulders).  We walk forward.  The stick is behind my body.  I move the stick in front of my body and tap it up and down while my feet stop.  That is her cue to stop.  Then my feet go backwards.  The human body posture changes into the backing posture, the stick thuds on the ground and she matches 1-2 steps backwards.  That is huge.  We do that for a while and next the human body decides to change directions.  The dance gets a little technical here while Fancy decides what her body is supposed to do.  She matches me darn good for her first time at change of direction.  We couldn’t have done this when Fancy first came to me as her goal was to put her head or shoulders inside my body.  We have achieved respect for my space now.  Running over me with her head or shoulders isn’t allowed.

I look at the sky because the sun seems to have changed and am shocked by the rude sun behavior.  The sun is setting.  What!  It’s only 5:00.  I decide that Fancy has done really well today and we should be finished.  But over on the fence, something is mocking me.  The driving bridle is mocking me.  ”You promised,” it said.  ”A young horse needs a driving lesson.”  OMG,” I replied.

Fancy was having a good time with the reward hay when I stepped beside her and asked her to raise her head.  ”You have to be kidding me,” She said.  ”I thought we were done and now you want to put a bit in my mouth?”  I persisted and Fancy had her bridle on.  I think her tongue wasn’t prepared and it was over the bit.  However, she got her tongue under the bit and was chewing hay.  Off we went.  She drives!  She turns when the reins ask.  Today, we didn’t stop when the reins asked.  The reins persisted, one tug at a time.  After we stopped, we tried the back up and it was successful after a few alternate tugs.

Finally, our development day was over.  She got to eat the remaining hay.  I haven’t trained a young horse in a round pen is about a hundred years.  The last one was Powder and she is nine years old.  Those  young horse memory techniques are hard to dredge up.

PostHeaderIcon Parelli Adventure-Jenny & Nova / Tony & Powder

Pat Parelli invited the Vaught family to come and ride with him for an entire month this summer in Colorado.  All the extended family are thrilled that the Vaughts have this great opportunity.  This is just thrilling.

The 2013 Spring went by and the great adventure was thought about.  Finally, real plans were in the working and finally, the making!  They left near the end of July and the first day of riding with Pat started July 24th.  I am very blessed that Jenny and Tony decided to take Powder and Nova with them along with four other horses.  They have to compete in the Missouri Fox Trotter 2013 Celebration.  They have to be ridden.  Working with Pat Parelli coaching them on cow work is my version of an a staggering opportunity for my horses.

The six horses get to stay in a small pasture that contains meadow and mountain.  It’s a long way from the Vaught RV.  The whole family is going to get a 30 day high altititude  workout in their riding and fetching horses to and fro.  Pat is a workaholic and so are the Vaughts. When they return from Colordao, they will be so physically fit and able to jog a full marathon everyday, but why would they want to?

On the morning of  their second day, the Vaughts were headed out on a conditioning trail ride in the mountains.  Pat Parelli was up and about riding.  He asked if they would also gather the cattle..all 64 of them including three bulls.  How fun can it get!

Nova and Powder were part of the group.  Nova has been a little nervous about being on the trail, and now she gets to be on A TRAIL.  Nova led and followed on the mountain trail.  And, of course Tony has to break the trail riding rule.  He and Powder leave the group.  Nova got a little ancy when Powder left, but Jenny managed to convince her that she was safe.

Then the cow gathering was implemented.  They found nearly all the herd and started gathering them back to the ranch.  Nova was placed in position and away they ambled.  All the cows decided they didn’t want to amble back to the ranch.  Instead they decided to head off in the direction that Nova was guarding.  All the cows turned and started on a direct line to Nova.  Nova is experienced with ten or so cows, maybe as many as 15.  Sixty four cows heading straight at her made her think, ” I want out of here!”  She telegraphed her desire to Jenny.  Jenny is a horse whisperer and read Nova’s thoughts loud and clear.  In her horse whisper voice, she told Nova, “Nova, you can do this!  Just put your ears back and look fierce!”  Nova trusted Jenny.  She put her ears back, way back.  Her head was ready to snake and mouth ready to eat any cow that had the audacity to even think about coming her way.  The cows thought… ooooooh.  That horse is not to be fooled with.  Let’s head the way that she wants.  The cows resumed their slow amble to the ranch for a day of cow work.

That evening started cow play with Pat coaching the Vaughts.  First Nova and Jenny worked with the electric cow…the one that runs up and down the string.  Nova has played with this kind of cow all winter.  The idea is that’s it’s the horse’s idea to follow the cow.  The rider’s job is to provide help with the speed, not help with the reins/mouth.

Pat decided Jenny was doing too much with the reins, so he had her close her eyes.  Can you imagine riding your horse with your eyes closed?  Pat has done this for a long time.  He has people ride at all speeds with their eyes closed.  He says it really helps to improve your balance.

Jenny used to have us ride with our eyes closed in our group lessons.  We never went faster than a walk.  Much time has passed and I think she forgot that training lesson.  Well, she had a great opportunity to learn it again.  This winter, Pat had her ride one of his cutting horses when cutting cows.  We have a video of that.  The one where it looks like Jenny is jerking around in the saddle…  She really did have her eyes closed, riding a top cutting horse, while cutting a cow.  my thought is “EEeeek!”  But I digress

Pat had jenny ride Nova with her eyes closed, while Nova was cutting the electronic cow.  When he was happy with that, he had Nova and Jenny go into the cow herd.  Usually the rider focuses on the cow to be cut out from the herd.  But Pat always has a better idea.  His idea is to let the horse pick the cow!  Nova went into the herd, put her ears back and snaked her herd at certain cows that interested her. Then Nova got to follow that cow and cut them out of the herd.

Oh the fun. On Thursday morning, the Vaughts were planning on heading out on their conditioning trail ride with their new job of gathering the herd.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

PostHeaderIcon Just Another Trail Ride by Hope Robinson


Our ride began on a lovely tree lined, shady trail until we encountered LIMBS DOWN. Ugh. No way to get through. We guffawed at the thought of getting OFF our horses to lead them through the branches. Get OFF? Then, remount FROM THE GROUND? Seriously? Nope.

Susan and I are loath to back track, but that was our only option. At the fork in the trail, we turned north. Low ground that had turned to ribbons of algae slop caused Cisco to LEAP across to save himself and Susan with him. It was SPECTACULAR! Cisco put much more effort into his launch than he or Susan needed. They lived.

Then, we followed a mowed trail into a sunflower field. Sunflowers weeks beyond their prime. We watched as herds of deer, hiding in the tall flowers, leapt to their feet to flee the field as we rode deep into their resting area. We retreated the way we had come.

“Run little possum!” Nope, he stared us down from the side of the trail. Did not budge. It could have been all over if he’d chosen to chase us!

Susan and I continued riding towards the road. Trees lining both sides of our trail, opening onto the road ahead. ZOOM! No sound. ZOOM! For a blink we see a bicycle/rider cross from left to right at sonic bicycle speed several strides ahead. Both horses saw the bicycle missile, thought to save themselves, and us with them! Good Susan Engle trained horses, reacted big, but mostly in place. After we assessed ourselves, we asked, “Are you OK?” Then, laughed. WE LIVED!

PostHeaderIcon Home Exciting Home!

A week of extreme temperatures coming up has defeated me. I decided to bring the handsome geldings home from the boarding stable. Everyone will be pleased…the handsome geldings and the fulsome mares.

I pulled up and Cisco saw me immediately. I got out of the truck and Cisco whinnied loudly. Ahhhhh, I thought, “he really loves me”. I walked up to his pasture and he whinnied again. But he wasn’t looking at me. He was looking at the trailer. I walked past him and Cisco whinnied at the trailer. Did he think his mares were in there? Was he telling the trailer to open the gate so he could load up? Cisco loves the trailer more than me. Sigh

I got both geldings in hand and we loaded into the trailer and went home. I decided to rinse them off before letting them into the pasture. I decided to lead both of them into the barn and stall. Of course Lucky went first and Cisco was just barely able to avoid crushing me in his desire to be home. Lucky tried to take off before I got the halter off. He pulled the rope out of my hand. I stepped on the rope. He was stronger and pulled the rope away. Lucky went directly to the round bale, got on one knee and rubbed his neck. I had a time controlling Cisco to get his halter off. He took off. I followed intending to get the halter off Lucky. But the impulsive geldings decided to gallop off. Zoom they went with Lucky’s rope floating in his jet stream.

The mares? They stayed in the barn. No way did they have the energy in the 90+ weather to gallop anywhere. Soon the speed machine geldings came racing back to the barn and I was able to get Lucky’s halter off.

I’m drying off my sweat in the house now and saw the herd run across the dam. Evidentially Lucky and Cisco gently motived the mares to move out! Don’t believe the gentle word.

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 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.

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