Archive for the ‘Sage’ Category

PostHeaderIcon The Big Fear

November 29, 1997
I’m always on missions. The mission for this column is FEAR! I’m talking to new:
Women Adult Riders Inspired by the Option of Retirement or WARRIOR!
This is for the WARRIORS who have discovered the unforgiving hardness of the ground and developed fear. The WARRIOR buys a horse and it bolts, bucks or shys and the WARRIOR hits the ground. The ground whispers to you…death, broken bones, pain. Your continuing mortality becomes a great concern. Your self confidence goes underground!You are not alone. You are in the great majority. Fear can be conquered and bested! Listen WARRIOR…read my story and keep chipping away at the enemy.Year I: THE TRAIL RIDE STARTS THE YEAR OF FEAR

In our last episode, I hit the ground and my life was saved by trainers Jenny Copple and Karen Moulis of Pine Dell Farm, Pleasant Hill, Mo. Jenny trained Sage and Karen trained me. I ride nice safe “farm horses” and developed my riding skills. Sage and I met after two months of separate training. I wasn’t scared of the gentle farm horses, but my body was as stiff as a board when I climbed aboard Sage. Sage hated my frozen body and refused to move, tried to bite my legs, and cow kicked. My immediate thought “My life is over. Surely Jenny will take me off this creature! But no, Jenny was telling me to squeeze her with my legs, spank her rear with my hand, spank her rear with the lead rope. Finally, she made a step and we started all over again.”

Jenny talked me through this like the control tower guy in the movies helping the passenger land the airplane after the pilot dies. The only difference was that I wanted to be the dead pilot! About half way in the ride (we progressed about 5 yards), we started to move slowly about the arena with mad, disgruntled horse things happening. I decided that I should cry because I was a tremulous mess. I needed to cry. I teared up and thought, “I’m going to tell Jenny that I want off!” But Jenny kept talking to me…talking me through and finally the hour was over and I was alive! I was wringing wet with sweat. There were a lot of people in the arena that night…of course I couldn’t see them; I only sensed them! They all came over and told me I did really well. Jenny told me I did really well. I felt better then, especially since my feet were on the ground. It was a one wine bottle night!

I continued to work with Sage on the ground and had the weekly riding lesson. The 2nd lesson I was much more confident; but Sage was worse. I had to get off and Jenny got on, and made Sage very uncomfortable about not moving. I got back on again with more confidence and made Sage move. It was a banner day. Several more rides and I had managed to ride her by myself. About two months later, Sage, husband and I went on the week long Eminence Trailride–in the Ozarks Mountains with only 4000+ other horses. My husband is a social person, not a rider and I intended to ride only in the parking lot and campground. But NO, my good friend told me “No-you’re going on nice short daily trail rides. You can’t come to Eminence and not ride! After you ride a week at Eminence everything else will be easy!”!

Sage did great. She wasn’t scared of anything! She walked two inches beside clangorous diesel trucks. We rode around the campgrounds filled with horse eating sights. We participated in a horse show with a record number 60 horses in the arena at the same time. She was great!

I was a nervous wreck the 1st morning and cried making certain no one could see that I was crying. I had tears streaming down my face, but my face was absolutely frozen in a noncommittal nothing. I went for 15 or 20 minutes at a time holding my breath…maybe less. Sage and I did lots of ground work to get me prepared for riding!

We crossed water; we climbed hills. I survived! I didn’t have fun, but it wasn’t torture either. Every morning when I got up, I wondered if I’d be dead or disabled by the time the day’s trail ride was over.

Thursday was the start of the year of fear. My friend erred in judgment and took me up and down a mountainous steep hill where the path consisted of rock ledges littered with loose rocks. Going up was frightening but the descent was beyond agony. I was frozen with fear going down. When I expressed some verbal dismay to my friend, she told me just to relax and lean back! HA! We did make it down alive, and even though I’m not a Catholic, I did the Cross Gesture! I couldn’t get off to kiss the ground because I couldn’t easily mount my horse.

We came to a river and two year old Sage was hot after climbing that horrid mountain. We were drinking and pawing to clear the dirt from the water and my friend yelled. However, I was intently watching Sage’s front leg sinking into a hole. It just seemed to sink down farther and farther. I was patiently waiting for her to pull her leg out of the hole when my friend’s frantic voice yelled “JUMP OFF!” This was a very loud and demanding voice! My body responded just when Sage sank down on her belly. I got up and waited for her to get up. “Quicksand,” I was thinking when she didn’t get up. She’s caught in quicksand!” I was running in circles around her in the water around her trying to figure out how to get her out of the quicksand when my friend’s voice penetrated my brain again. “Slap her; Yell at her! She’s going to roll!” “Roll? I thought….not quicksand?” I yelled, jumped and flapped my wings and Sage heaved herself to her feet. I got the lecture about sweaty horses and pawing water!

At that time I couldn’t mount my horse without a big natural mounting block and none was available within sight. My friend had to get off her horse and put my muddy wet foot on her leg so that I could heave myself on. My jeans from knees down were sopping wet and 20 pounds heavier. We made it across the river and I started thinking about our water adventure when we came to the part of the trail that was deep warm sand. . . .

Without any warning, PLUNK!…down we went. It was a broken record. No slouch in the learning not-to-die-experience, I was smart enough to leap off as we were going down. I dove into the deep sand in my sopping wet jeans. Yummy! 100 more pounds packed on my body. I was saved by my friend’s husband who had come to join us. It took all his strength to get my weak,quivering, dead weight back on Sage. On the short distance home, including a wide river crossing, everyone rode very close to Sage ready to beat her if she even blinked a lay-down eye! I felt like a steer being herded by cowboy drovers!

After we got back and I had semi recovered, my friend’s husband took me aside and had a little talk with me. “I am really worried about you and your “little, slight fox trotter! If only you had purchased a blocky horse—not necessarily a quarter horse…I’m certain that there are blocky fox trotters that could handle your weight. Sage isn’t strong enough to handle you on these hills. If she would have tripped up there on those mountains and started to fall, she couldn’t have recovered. You need a blocky horse.”

Instant Bad Brain Image: I imagined that horrid ride down the loose rocky ledges, Sage and I falling; Sage with bones sticking up out of her. Sage dead of a broken neck. I love Sage. … THE BIG FEAR OF DOWNHILL HIT. I managed to contain the fear so no one else knew.

Sage, the 2 year old, wasn’t afraid of anything in that camp of 4000 horses! Susan, the 49 year old, turned into a battered shell with zero self confidence. I made up some excuse about not wanting to stay, and we left the next day.

I was able to ride Sage around my property because it is mostly flat. I was so proud of Sage that she wasn’t scared of anything in the world! This was the first of the major assumptions I have mistakenly made about Sage. This is when she started earning the nickname, “The Horse of No Assumptions”. We were zipping by some bushes and heard a “tiny lion rattle sound”. Without my permission, Sage took her saddle and leaped ahead about 5 feet. I was like those cartoon characters that run off a cliff. “HUH…there’s only daylight underneath me,” and…thud. I met the unforgiving ground again! I had to lay there for a while waiting for the intense pain to go away. After my tremulous mass of flesh calmed down, I was able to determine that I was not broken.

I was too hurt to climb back on. Riding was only pretend after that. It was too cold, too late, too hot, I felt too bad. Winter came…no riding and I was grateful.

Here’s what I was left with in my 1st Year with Horses:

DOWNHILL FEAR: If the ground were sloped enough so a golf ball would roll downhill, I was major scared.

RIDING DREAD (RD) That’s when all the excuses for not riding are made. It’s a disease called RD!

PostHeaderIcon Saddling Rules

In the Parelli world, a people training program, we learn many rules that keep us safe with horses; rules that might save our lives or from injury. There are many safety basic rules for saddling a horse and mounting a horse.. In the original Level 1 test, saddling and mounting were tasks included in the test. In my first book, Susan FoxTrotter, I told the story about my sad, unsuccessful mounting task. There I lie in the dirt looking up at a very concerned David Lichman. I said, “Did I pass?” I had followed all the rules except that Sage was not accustomed to the huge effort I made, and fell down when I tried the leap from the ground into the saddle.

I ran across a web site that tells the story and rules and give pictures of the proper way to saddle a horse. Reading the rules felt like I had come home. No wonder, the author is a former Parelli student and has become a master of horsemanship. His name is Glen Stewart. I remember that he competed against Pat Parelli in the 2012 Road to the Horse.

Here are the rules of saddling. If you saddle your horse and you are near me where you I can see you, please do it like this. I have to restrain my instructor personality if you don’t and that causes me an iota of stress.

Please read this article and learn the saddling rules. There are a more safety rules to follow before it is safe to mount and how to mount. I won’t harass you in this blog about them.

Here are some free articles, many help articles to read from the Parelli world. They address a wide range of issues. Sadly, the mounting rules are not included, only mounting problems. You do not have to be a Parelli member to access all these wonderful articles and problem solving solutions.

PostHeaderIcon Thank You For The Support

The Missouri Fox Trotter Horse Breed Association supports the members and our wonderful horse.
My article is about halfway down the page.
Thanks to all editors and those who do the hard work.–Ax-4BZ2H6Il6

PostHeaderIcon Daisy Mae AKA Sheyna

photo.JPG by susanfxtrt
Does this horse look like Sage?  I’ve been struck many times on how Sheyna looks like Sage. But, I thought it was a grey mare kind of thing.
I got a look at her registration papers today.  Her real name is Rich Daisy Mae.  Her grandfather is Sage’s sire!  She came from R.L. Lewis of Butler, Mo. That’s where Sage and Velvet came from.  I’ll have to look at Sage’s papers to see what else they have in common.  And, here’s something else.  On her dam’s mother’s side comes the blood line that Velvet has.  I’m riding Sage and Velvet in one horse!
Isn’t that fascinating!
This is Daisy Mae!

PostHeaderIcon Sage Baby Progress

Tests came back to show that Sage has a slight staph infection where the sperm and the egg would meet.  We missed the heat cycle to treat her. Today, we (the vet) gave Sage a shot to bring her into heat.  For us women, that would be like  shot to start our menstruel cycle, something no man would be brave enough to do.

Can you imagine a human man taking a syringe, plunging into his wife’s arm while saying, “Honey, I enjoy so much when you are going thru your cycle!”  Probably less than 5 minutes the man would be dead with a butcher knife stuck in his back.

Poor Sage, she had no choice.  On the other hand, she begs to have babies.  She did not get pregnant two years in a row. She is the essential mother earth of foals. Sage mothers those in the herd that need it and her own baby.

So, we wait till Thursday and start treating her with drugs to clear up the staph infection. The next heat after this will be the one that JJ is waiting for!

PostHeaderIcon Hitting the Fine Outdoor World with Sage

Sage and I -Fall 2011

I’m hitting on 7 out of 8 days riding Sage.  I’ve been riding around my neighbors turf farm.  It is beautiful.  He’s not selling any turf these days, so he’s not concerned at all about me making horse tracks thru the unfertilized sad bluegrass.

Sage really likes it when we stop and rest when we find a patch of clover or blue grass for her to eat.

On the other side of the turf farm towards town is the Skate Park.  Not skating like we used to do in the 50′s and 60′s.  It’s a skateboard park.  It’s made of metal shape things and concrete.  I’ve only seen an ambulance there once.  I still can’t believe that they don’t carry someone out of there daily with broken parts.  Kids use their skateboards and their little bikes on the metal ramps.  Tonight there were no skateboarders and Sage and I went close to the park.

The only thing that irritated Sage and I tonight was the small one passenger mosquito of an airplane buzzing overhead.  I decided not to look up and wave. Dratted thing flew right over our head.  It’s a good thing Sage has been desensitized for years to loud things in the sky!

Heidi came along for the ride to the skateboard park. Sage and I visited other places and when I got home, I had no Heidi.  As I came into the house, Terry was just finishing a phone call.  He told me, “Go get Heidi. She’s at the Skateboard Park” . The dog just wants to have fun!  Luckily, we have thwarted her fun with her name tag and our phone numbers on it.  whew

Weather is perfect.  I can’t believe we deserve this weather.  Usually, it’s way way too hot or way way too cold. Somehow, I am undeserving of such perfect weather.

PostHeaderIcon Times Change – Old Times become New Times Again

Sage was the first horse.  I learned a lot from her. We came from negative 7 to passing the Parelli original level 2 test. The original level 2 task list was so difficult and complex, I had no idea what the tasks were…after I read them.  I put the test away and just continued my lessons with Jenny Vaught.  Years later, we passed all the tasks.

During the long years it took to get my horses to do four consecutive flying lead changes, I switched over to doing the L2 tasks with Velvet.  I thought she might be better than Sage.  But after about a year of trying, we decided to switch back to Sage. Sage started doing flying lead changes.  A gaited horse doing flying lead changes is super amazing.

After Sage and I passed L2, I thought long and hard about taking Sage into L3. The riding bridleless part had me a bit nervous.  I thought Velvet was a bit more agreeable, so I switched over to Velvet. That was a long journey and Sage got left behind.  We decided Sage would make a great lesson horse at Pine Dell Farm and so she did.  I bet over a period of 5-8 years, Sage must have given thousands of lessons to beginner beginners in an arena. Can you imagine how bored she might have gotten?

Later I took her down to live with Jenny and Tony Vaught at For the Horse Ranch.  We thought perhaps Caitlyn and Sage would bond, but it didn’t work out. Sage became a lesson horse again. This time she got to ride a little bit outside as well as in the indoor arena.  She had a good time with this and continued her string of teaching people how to understand and ride horses.

By this time I had moved beyond Velvet to JR.  I rode JR for around 3-4 years and finally it was Sage’s daughter who was to become my next mount.

Nova had a year with Jenny and competed as a 4 year old at the World Show.  She became my riding horse in October and we’ve been competing at the World Celebration every since…three years.

Tony Vaught has really like Nova.  He liked her really well when I rode her last year in the reining class.  He told me I did great on Nova and had the best lead changes of anyone and my spins and rollbacks were really good.  He said he was Jealous and Wanted Nova for himself.

Tony got to ride Nova a couple times before the 2011 World Celebration.  He remembered again how much he likes how Nova moves.

The story is that I’m back to riding Sage now. Tony and Nova are going to contend for the Open Versatility and Ranch Horse events in 2012!

It’s a long way around to tell you that Sage and I have started riding the trails again!

PostHeaderIcon Sage for Sale

My idea of fun is taking a new young horse and bringing them thru to finished saddle horse. Sage was my first.  I was a 50 year old beginning adult rider when I got Sage. She was the story of my unwritten book, From SPLAT to BRIDELESS!

I thought I could ride after a 35 year gap and an old adult body.  I got two year old Sage and proved that theory wrong.  With a lot of help, Sage and I made it thru the Parelli levels and we passed the the original L 1 and L2.  It was a lot different back then. We had to ride bareback in one of the tasks for L1!  We had to do flying lead changes for one of the tasks in L2 and ride farther and faster bareback…amid a zillion other things.

Sage took on the title of Sage the Brave during the course of our times together. We went on a zillion trail rides, crossed water, deep muddy gulches, traveled to Colorado and had a million adventures.

When I graduated L2, I started and finished another horse and another etc.  Right now I’m riding Sage’s daugher and she is a finished saddle horse, with a little further to go.

During the times when I was riding other horses, I always had a job for Sage.  For many years, she became a natural horsemanship lesson horse at Pine Dell Farm. Ridden in halter and lead rope by untold number of beginning and experienced children and adults, she provided a smooth safe ride. She was partially leased occasionally by wonderful people who paid special attention to her. All these people studied the ways of natural horsemanship.

Sage was taken on trail rides and kept everyone safe as could be. She’s fun to ride. She has a smooth flat foot walk, running walk and a smooth rocking horse canter. She is to die for.

In the last two years, Sage changed her job. She moved to the Big Barn Ranch in Stockton and started giving people lessons there. She was to have had a foal, but this didn’t work out.

Sage will sail anyone anywhere.  You can ride her bridleless, with a carrot stick, with a bridle and with rope halter.  You can ride her bareback or with saddle.  You’ll stick on her because she is smooth.

She is classified as a beginner beginner’s horse up to advanced.  You can put kids as well as a husband on her and they will be safe.  There’s nothing in Sage’s body that will cause fear in an unconfident rider. Sage is the perfect horse for the phrase:  Riders Teach Horses,  Horses Teach riders (she’s the “Horses Teach Riders” part.

 I need Sage to have the best of a new home with a job.

Sage is a registered Missouri Fox Trotter. She is for sale for $1750. 

She is ready for her perfect partner to discover her.

PostHeaderIcon Sage the Brave

Sage - Trail Ride 2008

Sage the Brave ready to be saddled for a trail ride.  She’s a sturdy girl. My son will ride her on this day.

Sage and Rachel - Love Riding Bareback

Here’s Rachel’s favorite horse, Sage. Rachel leased Sage during the summers at Pine Dell.  They both had a great great time!

On the Trail - 2008 trail ride

Sage's foal

Sage takes care of all the young horses and the horses that need a friend. She is the dominant horse who takes in those in need.  She’s a great friend and protector to many many a horse. She’s a great mommy.

Nathan and Sage wait for rider to mount - Susan and JR

 Sage the Brave is what she earned as a nickname.  Sage and I passed the original Level 2 in the Parelli Levels Program.  It had many many difficult tasks in liberty, online, freestyle and refinement.  The most difficult task for us was four flying lead changes…two each direction.  Sage did it and we passed!  She was the first fox trotter to pass the original level 2 test.

We studied with Linda Parelli in the early years at Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We took a level 2 course with Linda Parelli as our instructor. Wowsa on this!

Sage -Level 2 with Linda Parelli - Colorado

This is what Sage looked like as a three year old. We went to Pagosa Springs to study with Linda Parelli. We took a level 2 course with Linda Parelli.  What times we had!  I’m thinking this is the ISC in 1996.  It’s changed a lot since then. Sparkles is in the pen next to us.  Sparkles is forever owned by our dear friend, Lanie who has now graduated to horseman’s heaven.

I have more pictures of Sage and our times on an old web page. SusanFxtrt

PostHeaderIcon Sage Fox Trots!

SAGE, the Fox Trotting Fool
Yes Virginia, there really is a Fox Trotting GOD


How did it happen? I have many theories and so do others. One day late last winter, Sage and I were out riding around the neighborhood. It was muddy and I had to go back to where I left something while I was riding her. I looked at her tracks and just stood frozen in awe. Her hoofs fell on top of each other. I could see the big word in my mind with little flags waving all over…CAPPING. She had capped her front feet tracks with her back feet tracks. I wrote all my friends and asked could this be fox trotting. Can a fox trotter cap her feet and do a running walk? The highest expert said “yes”. Another asked me how it felt…did I feel that gentle bob bob from the back that would mean a trot with the back feet. I was not certain. After 3 years of trying, one can’t just leap to immediate conclusions.

I worried my farrier to death. I was certain that her toes were too long, her toes were too sloped, instead of going straight down, and her angles were too low. I whined, I attacked, I was pitiful. I subscribed to a farrier magazine.

Sage has been rode and lounged over every piece of uneven ground and up every grassy hill that exists in my corner of Cass and Jackson County Missouri. She trots over poles in her sleep. I’d say her back muscles have been DEVELOPED!

Sage has not been rode much in a bridle. She has not been artifially “collected” or put “on the bit”. Her collection has developed very naturally. I “collect” or work on a soft feel…which is finger by finger tighten the reins so that her nose gives. It is the Parelli theory that a horse doesn’t need to have a bit jammed in their mouth with reins held hard to fox trot. Instead of being “on the bit”, a horse needs to be collected. These are two different concepts. It is Sage’s responsibility, with help from her rider, to learn how to hold herself in a “collected frame”.

Sage is ridden by Jenny Copple, certified Parelli Instructor & Trainer of all Breeds.

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