Archive for the ‘Sage’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Sage Brings Happiness

 In a soap opera story, Sage is now leased to a very nice woman at Pine Dell.  Sage’s new mom has two twin 16 year old daughters with horses at Pine Dell.  They work very hard for their horse’s cost.  They clean stalls, feed, water and now they have been promoted to riding instructors under supervision.  They take Monday night group lessons from Jenny and I ride in that lesson too. They are the best!  Mom has faithfully come to all their lessons.  She works at Pine Dell in the summer to help pay for her daughter’s horses.  She is a school teacher.  She talks about her dream for her to have a horse someday, but the money isn’t there for her.

I was at Pine Dell one day and there was mom watching her daughters’ ride.  I said to her…Sage, zero dollar lease, pay to have her boarded here…your horse.  Her mouth gaped open.  I said, “Think about it, and went on my way.”
Her daughters talked to me about this at the Monday night group lesson.  I said essentially that Sage could be their mom’s horse if she paid for her pasture boarding cost at Pine Dell.
Sage needs a job.  If I keep her at home, I’ll breed her and add another expenditure to the herd!
Daughters talked to Mom.  She was thrilled.  I took Sage to Pine Dell last Sunday and rode her.  Mom came.  I rode Sage for her.  We went to the round pen and Mom rode.  Mom is a true beginner.  She’s been watching the lessons, but her body hasn’t been trained.  Sage and her matched!  Sage would hardly go faster than a walk and Mom was really happy with that.
She rode up to the barn where her daughters were feeding and they were stunned!  Their mom was on Sage wearing a huge grin on her face.
When she got off, she was estatic.  She cried with happiness.  I cried with happiness.  She told me that she has wanted a horse since she was old enough to think.  It just never worked out.  Thank you Thank You  Thank You!  Sage will be loved and ridden by mom.  Sage will be loved and ridden by the girls.  Sage will be the center of attention in her new family, but I will always own her.
The daughters are going to give their mom lessons.  The daughters have been charged with getting Sage into shape emotionally and physically for their mom.  They are stunned that they are being forced to ride another horse.  They will be able to use Sage when they give lessons.  Mom and daughters will get to ride together.


PostHeaderIcon Sage and the Saddle

Sage is sequestered at Pine Dell again on her diet.

Tonight I am dedicated to cantering and galloping on Sage.  I will not tense up.  I will allow my hands to be quiet.  I will not pick up the reins and hold them up to my nose.  I will not tense up my shoulders. 

Sage is a well trained horse.  I decided to skip all my normal pre flight check out.  We walked up to the upper 40 acres.  I tightened the girth several times and got on.  The girth was tight.

We went out to the place in the 40 acres where there are acres to run.  I asked Sage to canter and away we went.  I was doing great.  I was rocking in the saddle in time with her body.  I was relaxed.  My hands were quiet and my shoulders relaxed.

All of sudden, Sage was bucking with me!  I pulled on her head, trying to keep it up.  Of course, I was full of tension.  I thought evil thoughts about Sage.   I got her stopped and but she kept bucking every few moments. I pulled up her head again.  We stood stock still.  I leaned forward and Sage bucked.

How is Sage bucking when she is standing stone still?

No, it wasn’t Sage.  The saddle had slipped.  I was riding her neck! When I leaned forward, the back of the saddle tipped up!  HAY!  This is a precarious situation!

I decided that I needed to get off RIGHT AWAY!  I leaned forward, preparing to swing my leg over and the back of the saddle bucked.  I did that again..just to make certain.  Yep.  It bucked again. 

OK, I’ll ride very slowly and quietly to a mounting block.  Walk walk….oh WoW!  The saddle is just balanced on her neck.  There’s no round body to hold it in place.  I have to get off before I fall off!  Maybe I’ll have to fall off to get off!

You know the alarm that starts in your toes and goes clear through your body till it gets to your brain?  Finally, your brain says, “SCREAM!”

I looked around for a miracle.  There was no miracle to help me.  I tried to get my leg over the back of the saddle without bending forward.  Do you know how hard that is?  Finally, I got my leg on the back of the saddle which held it down enough so that I could get off.

I apologized to Sage for treating her so badly.  She never did buck.

We walked back to the outside arena.  I told Tony about the saddle.  He wanted to know “WHAT HAPPENED?”  He was looking for dirt marks and blood.  I told him the saddle tipped forward!  He asked me if I was able to land on two feet.  He seemed impressed when I told him that I did land on two feet.  He quit looking for the blood.

After a good preflight checkout, I rode Sage again.  We did canter again for a short distance.  I imagined that my body motion was forcing the saddle to creep forward.  Concern/fear won and I stopped cantering.  From now on, we are going to canter and jump something on the ground…and tighten the girth at least 3 times before I get on. 

Saddles really should have a back girth! 

Sage got a lot of extra treats!  poor abused horse.

PostHeaderIcon Sage the Pony Horse and the wretched Bumblebee

I was ponying Velvet yesterday while riding Sage. Velvet started to rear and
buck and run back and forth on the “pony side”. I knew we had trouble in
River City!

I had to concentrate on keeping my leg from getting tangled up in the lead.
Velvet also rubbed and pushed against Sage, pretty close to where my leg is
fastened on. Sage held firm. I lost all control of the rope and Velvet
got behind Sage and up on the other side where she became snubbed. Her head
was right above my knee and she couldn’t move. At least that helped me be
able to find the lead rope which was under the fender…and went around
Sage’s rear end. I managed to get the lead rope loose and threw it Velvet’s
way. Velvet took off galloping. She went right into the barn.

Sage and I trotted down to the barn. I got off and spied Velvet in the back
portion of her stall. I tied Sage up and came back to the stall where I had
to do battle with a huge bumblebee. It was waiting in attack mode. Thank
goodnes, I was carrying the Sage’s fly mask. Me and the bumblebee did
several dances in the aisle and he finally gave up and flew away. Sage got
extra treats for staying calm and thus saving my life!

Velvet got extra treats to make up for the stings.

Today, Velvet has about a 2″ high/4″ round circle on her rear end. That’s
probably where the bee first stung her. She’s got some other smaller welts
on her underbelly.


PostHeaderIcon Sage Over a Barrel


   March 30,  2001
As her reward for being the first Missouri Fox Trotter to pass the Parelli level 2 test, I gave Sage almost a two year break.  She got to be the step mommy to JR and raise him.  I rode Velvet in the meantime.Unfortunately, Sage chose to fill her stomach about three times as large as it should be.  She got terribly fat on the lush Missouri grass.  It’s time for me to reclaim Sage back as a great pal and riding horse.  Accordingly, in the spring of 2001, Sage went to Pine Dell and has become a pasture horse.  It’s my goal to ride her almost daily for fun and to substitute that triple
stomach with hard lean muscle.I rode her in a group lesson one night.  One of our goals was to jump over two orange traffic barrels laid end to end.  Well, Sage has never really enjoyed jumping.  She will jump barrels and poles while I’m on the ground directing her.  Now that she is fat and out of shape, she really doesn’t want to jump barrels.  However, the goal during the lesson was to jump.

Sage and I ran over to the barrels and screeched to a halt.  She daintily tried to pick her way through the barrels.  I sat and urged her on.  I urged her on.  Again, I urged her on.  I looked down at the barrel…one of them had disappeared.  I could see small orange patches sticking out from under her legs.  I looked around at the rest of the group.  They all were staring at me with expressions of great concern.  It was then that I realized that I must have a problem.   I didn’t know what it was.  Jenny was starting to ask me how to get out of my predicament.  I said, go forward!  Jenny quickly said, “Don’t ask her to go forward!”  I took a quick look at the group’s collective low level alarmed expression.

At the other end of the arena taking a lesson were green riders. Before Jenny could say, “Don’t touch the BARREL” three times, one of the helpful green riders RAN over to SAGE and PULLED the barrel out from underneath her!  I frowned, the group expression became one of horror.  After the green rider got the barrel out, she finally “heard” Jenny say, “don’t touch the barrel”!  She was alarmed and quickly PUSHED the BARREL back under SAGE!  At this moment, everyone in my lesson, Jenny and myself had an open mouth, astonished look of horror.

However, Sage the Brave just stood there, not twitching a muscle.  If this would have happened to most of the other horses in the group lesson, the horse and rider would have gone straight to the ceiling!

Jenny then told me that Sage had moved the barrel until it lay lengthwise between her front and back legs.  When she tried to walk forward,  her back legs kept walking into the open end of the barrel!!!       SCREAM!!!! 

I’m happy to report several days later that Sage and I are jumping over the barrels. 

PostHeaderIcon 1999 World Celebration with Sage and Velvet

1999 World Celebration with Sage and Velvet

There’s Someone Sleeping in my Bed and It’s Not Goldilocks!

I missed the first Saturday trial ride. By the time I got through dismantling my house and barn, packing for two horses  and sticking all that stuff into my horse trailer, I arrived at the grounds on Saturday afternoon. I had preregistered for two temporary stalls.  I drove up to barn 2, stall 15 and tried to back my trailer smartly; and then raggedly; and then not at all– into the space in front of my 1st Ava stall. I gave up as I couldn’t back the trailer closer than 2 stalls away. I took Velvet and Sage out and tied them to the trailer. With pitchfork in hand, I went to look at their home away from home. Opened the door and, “EGAD! There was a horse napping in my rented stall!” There wasn’t one human being around. The office was closed.  Later, I learned that a mistake had been made when I was given the stall location. It was really stall 16!  This was the year of temporary stalls and they were great.  They were stall pens with canvas side, roof and back.  There were back to back pens so the horses had a neighbor horse on all three sides that they couldn’t see or touch.

Hoover and Me

I walked Sage and Velvet to the temporary stalls and we picked out two empty, unreserved stalls side by side. I drove the pickup over and parked, and we were home. Not long after that while I was making the stalls homey, a man drove up and stared at me. He seemed to want something, so I said, “YES?” He beckoned to me and tried to talk and just a whisper came out. I walked over to the car and found out this was Hoover Case, MFTHBA Manager, on the job. He was worried about parking and  how the temporary stalls were going to work. I was put in charge of telling people where to park along side the temporary stalls. Hoover and I managed the show grounds quite well, I thought.

All I Want for Xmas is a Generator

It was hot (90-100 degrees) and humid and I sweated a bundle. When I got the girls all settled in, I drove into Ava to eat lunch at the Sonic. I sat in the pickup air conditioning and rested. On the way back to the show grounds, I impulsively stopped at the True Value Harware store with a rental business. Their sign said…”Just ask if we have it.” I asked if they had generators. I drove away from the store with my shiny new rental generator perched in the truck bed. It was to go everywhere I went, from then on. I went back to my trailer, turned it on, hooked it up the horse trailer and turned on my new roof air conditioner. I’d never used it, and it worked great. I settled down for a wonderful nap. Thank goodness for electricity and air conditioning made possible through generators (and thank GOD for porta potties. When I sit down to eat and bless my food, I always include porta potties).

Standing in Line Till the 12th of Never

On Monday, I went into sign up for my showing events. The line was minimal. I got up to the woman taking the information and sat down. She looked at my papers and then said, “excuse me for a minute” and left. I waited. I took a brief nap. I waited. I smelled under my arms thinking I had an odor problem. The other people made fun of me waiting for the 12th of Never. Finally, I shoved my way into the other line. I explained I had been waiting a long time for my woman to get back and this woman said, oh, she’s in the office counting money. You must have misunderstood her. (Now we all preregister weeks before the show starts. No lines! Plus get a $5 discount. Every penny saved at Ava is money spent elsewhere at Ava!)

My first classes were on Tuesday afternoon; Amateur Ladies M and Western Pleasure. I slept in late. I decided that there was no time for breakfast.

The Amateur Ladies M class is a performance class.  Ribbons are needed for performance horses.  Western Pleasure Classes are not performance. Ribbons are banned.  Bridles for performance and Western Pleasure are also different.

There were about 3 classes in-between and I had to change bridles and get the ribbons out of Velvet’s mane. I thought I could do that. Tuesday morning came and Velvet had her bath and got jazzed up. Putting the ribbons in the mane drives me crazy, but I got them in. I got jazzed up. We rode triumphantly to the main arena.

There was not another woman in show clothes dressed up to ride. Instead there were a bunch of women leading mares. Hmmmmm. I looked at the show bill and thought, I bet that”M” stands for MODEL. “GOSH DARN”.

Fortunately, I have invested in a Model Halter and lead which are still waiting their first outing. Since Velvet is the most beautiful mare on the grounds, we’ll just enter in Model. It’s meant to be.

Velvet ran back to the trailer and I pulled off her saddle. Then I realized that I couldn’t get to the model class in time. I couldn’t put the tack back on in time for Western Pleasure, including changing a bit. Being a mature woman, I gave up. I took the ribbons out. I put the saddle back on. I changed bits and put the western bridle on and away we went just in time to go through the DQP station. Then I discovered that I had to get off. Since getting on isn’t easy for me, I was upset. Someone said that there was a stool that I could use. Whew…more stress.

I was also about dead from no fuel for the engine (my poor foodless body). Nice and wonderful Ken Ragsdale carried a large paper cup of milk from the cook shack to near the DQP stand for me. Thank you Ken for saving my life!  I think Ken intended on drinking the milk himself, but he selfishly gave it to me when I explained that I was dying.

We made it through the DQP. I used the metal fence to get back on. Soon our class was called and away we went into the show ring for the very first time at AVA. It wasn’t very fun for us. We were lapped. We were dead slow.

What 360?

The announcer said “STOP”. We did and I had Velvet back a step or two. I heard the announcer say “Turn Around”. We turned and went the other way. After the class was over, a woman asked me excitedly why I didn’t do the 360. “The 360?”, I said. I didn’t hear the announcer say that; nor did I see anyone else turn a 360. Aliens must have stolen my vision and my hearing or I was in a waking coma. I still don’t believe it. I want to see a tape of that class!!!

Flashes of Brilliance

Wednesday afternoon was the Ladies Novice. Velvet and I loved that class. Somehow, in-between Tues and Wednesday, Velvet learned a faster fox trot. She got some “shake” in her get-a-long. During the class we got in a multiple horse clump going down the straightaway. We were jammed between about 4 other horses. It turned into a speed fox trotter race. We were all fox trotting as fast as we could, and Velvet was right in the middle of the pack. They all got spread out when we went around the turn. I challenged them all to another straight a-way race, but was ignored. We had flashes of brilliance during that class. Velvet couldn’t maintain the smooth fox trot going around the corners so finally figured out just let her do her “extended fox trot’ (trot) around the corners. When we got to the straight-away, off we went in a speedy beautiful fox trot. I wanted to do that class again! We didn’t place, but we had lots of fun!

Flawless and Fractured Trail Class

Thursday was the trail classes. At the last minute, I thought…Sage! Why don’t I enter Sage in the 2nd trail class. There are two classes and I have two horses that are trail experts! I had previously entered Velvet in the amateur trail class. We were last and in we went for a flawless performance. We got a mighty ovation as we ended. There were three of us that gave flawless performance and I came in third.

Sage got to go into the more difficult open trail. The back-through poles were set almost as wide as the horse. We had to be really really careful not to knock any poles over. Instead of fox trotting between the obstacles, we hard trotted in the trotting parts. The sidepass through the poles was Sage’s undoing. She was to keep either her front or back feet inside a 10″ space bordered by poles. We did good going left and keeping her front feet between the two poles When it was time go the other way with her feet inside the poles, she was reluctant to sidepass. I thought I would have to quit trying when finally she sidepassed back. I thought she did good, but my friends told me that she never put a foot inside the two poles. Hmmm, Ray Hunt, I’m going to have to “feel the feet” a lot better! There were just enough horses entered for me to have eighth place.

The poles were in the practice arena all week. However they were set up in an “L-shape”. I naturally thought the “L-shape” would be included in the trail class. Next year…get the pattern early in the week so there will be no surprises!

There were lots more entries in the amateur class and therefore more competition. It will be a good idea to think about entering the Open Trail class next year.

Versatility Crowd Favorite AKA Versatility Entertainer

In all the speed events, Sage elected to do Half Gallop Halts as we went away from the crowd of horses at the head of the arena. It felt like riding a horse with 3 legs dipped in glue. However, when we turned around and headed “Home”, we did run at a fast gallop. In the Stake and Pole Bending classes, we actually beat other horses’ times. The stake race was unremarkable except the crowd was surprised to see that Sage could gallop fast after we “half-halt” galloped away from the head of the arena.

The poles were next. We sauntered down to the last pole and then by heavens, we cantered back through the poles, doing flying lead changes! Sage has been in training with me and finally with my professional trainer a total of 3 years to be able to do consistent flying lead changes. When I realized what Sage was doing, I screamed at every lead change. Loud screams…piercing screams. We trotted back through the poles (away from the other horses); rounded the last pole and galloped home. Fast. I screamed all the way! It was exhilerating. It was the same scream that comes out of me on roller coasters.

When I appeared for the barrels, the crowd perked up. What would I do this time? Well, right when the barrel racing started, one of my Internet friends found me and we were chatting excitedly. There was no competitive focus on my strategy for running the barrels. My number was called. I was deep in thought as to what lead we needed to start out on…and away we went. We rounded that barrel and headed for the next barrel that I saw…at a gallop. Crowd Noise…lots of crowd noise. Finally the deaf ears heard the words…WRONG BARREL! Whoops! I forgot the 2nd barrel! I yelled at the crowd, “I knew that!” and turned to swoop around the 2nd barrel. We then made up a lot of that lost time by going into our half gallop halt on the way to the third barrel. After about an hour, we rounded the third barrel and then galloped home. Really galloped! It was fast and I screamed again. Thank goodness there were only 10 horses so I got 10th place!

The barrels were not in the arena all during the week, so we didn’t get to practice on the barrels. Next year..make waves if it occurs again. I need to practice before running!

People told me the rest of the Celebration that they didn’t realize that old people could ride fast and have that much fun. They were motivated to try the versatility events next year.

Costume Class- Hippy Chick on 60′s Peace Fox Trotter

Thanks to the suggestion from a list server Internet person from Germany, I got the idea to paint peace signs and flowers on Velvet with washable kids’ paint. I partially burned a bra and mounted it to the top of my peace flag. I played Aquarius via my battery operated CD player and LOUD speakers mounted in a saddle horn bag, and it was lovely music. Velvet had Salvation Army plastic flowers everywhere, but I lost a lot of them that were tied to her mane. She also wore the bib part of size 50 coveralls decorated with fabric paint with the words Peace and Love prominately displayed. Unfortunately, I put the speakers on the saddle face down and the on/off button kept hitting the saddle and turning the speakers off. But all in all, I made a complete circle (in parts) so everyone got to hear Aquarius (except for people sitting near the organ).My outfit was a tie-dyed shirt, sparkly bell-bottom pants, a pair of crazy salvation army shoes, a tie-dyed hat and a CHER wig. I looked sort of flower-girl like, but the word I used to describe myself is creatively hideous.  I carried a flag with a big peace sign.  Years later, I realized that the peace sign was upside down.  Oh well, not too many people in southern Missouri in 1999 must have marched under the peace sign in the 60′s like I did.

The Costume Class was moved to Saturday night, and we rode in front of stands full of people. Wowee. We placed 5th and the competition was rough. We had to ride against Elvis in his solid gold Cadillac,Tweety Bird and Sylvester, Knights in Shining Armor, Zorro, a Holstein Cow and some beautiful women…one on side saddle..another looking like a princess, a Hawaiian horse complete with grass skirts and leis. I heard a report that the Hawaiian rider tried to influence the judges…she had a lei for every judge. She was lucky not to be thrown out of the class for judge bribery.

The crowd got their money’s worth on Saturday!!!


PostHeaderIcon Sage – Cow Pony Part III

11/16/98Sunday morning was “COW EVENT” time. We formed into groups of three. There was a three-sided pen set up in the middle of the 30 acres. Our goal was to get our cow into the pen. My team was made up of a high level PNH certified instructor, who was experienced with cows, and a 13 year old girl. We managed to work together well. The teenager was too much in a hurry. I was too laid back, and the PNH instructor was perfect. We were able to talk together and resolve our differences during cow herding.Our 1st outing was relatively easy. Our 2nd outing was “outrageously hard” and I started thinking about “hamburger”. Our formation during this exercise was head to tail. There was really only one rider getting the cow into the pen. The remaining two riders “backed up” the 1st rider in a strung out nose to tail line. Where ever the 1st rider went.-right or wrong… the team had to follow.Our cow started out by making several sweeps trying to get back to the herd. We got to try galloping right away. Sage cantered really fast…finally. We managed to get the cow away from the herd and took it right to the pen where it… squirted back to the herd!Part of the team thundered and I pattered after the cow and got it turned back. Sage and I were at the end and we got there just in time to stop the cow’s 2nd attempt to get back into the herd.

Team members switched places, and I was in the middle slot. We got our cow to the pen again very carefully and… it squirted back. Two members of the team thundered after it and got it turned back. I arrived at the fast patter just in time to be switched to lead horse and rider.

The cow was successfully turned back from the herd. (Spotted Cow was smarter than our instructor had ever been during his faux cow impersonation.) This cow decided it was tired of that stupid herding game going to the pen. HA! It’s little tail switched and immediately took off galloping down the fencerow. (We had learned that the rider has to gallop after the cow when it runs next to the fence line until the cow turns into the pasture.)

The cow was making tracks and I revved up Sage. She bucked. I used major force and away we went at a gallop. Suddenly, Sage woke up, discovered we were chasing Spotted Cow –her cow now, and WE GALLOPED! (HARD GALLOP- Cowboy Movie Gallop!).

I was thinking about how fast Spotted Cow could run, the rough pasture ground and my impending death, but managed not to rein Sage back. I heard cheers from my team mates who were galloping far behind me, “GO SUSAN!”

I heard some raggedy cheers flying in the wind from the onlookers far behind us. Sage managed to almost catch up and we followed Spotted Cow thundering down the entire length of the huge pasture. I told Sage to slow down at the corner, expecting Spotted Cow to give up on this fencerow hardship and squirt away from the fence.

BUT NO! Spotted Cow turned at the corner and kept pelting down the new fence line. I gave Sage a slight body signal to run. This time she knew her responsibility and flew back into our death-defying gallop. Finally about half way down the fence line, the cow turned in and we all stopped to rest. I slowly pushed the cow to the pen. We were at the pen looking in. Spotted Cow had his head in the pen. I knew he was going in this time. Poor little Spotted Cow was tired! I pushed slightly by moving forward one step.

 SQUIRT! Away went Spotted Cow! Sage and I, just like all the movie cowboys, took off instantly in our now familiar death-defying gallop in a narrow outrun pattern. The cow ran for the herd. The riders were waiting excitedly in the line to keep Spotted Cow out. Spotted Cow ran straight at a horse and rider. Moments before, Sage and I, having completed our narrow outrun , was running full speed with the intention to place our body in front of the cow’s nose and become the GATE. We galloped full speed two inches in front of the riders’ line and oh so narrowly missed cutting off Spotted Cow. Spotted Cow almost ran smack into a rider in the quest to get into the circle, but the horse held.

Spotted Cow bounced back, not two feet from thundering Sage. The thought, “Death Comes Quickly” ran through my brain. I was certain Spotted Cow was going to bounce right in front of the thundering hooves of Sage, The Impulsive Cow Pony. I expected to be astride both the Spotted Cow and Sage and be dead.

Sage slid to a stop managing to avoid hitting Spotted Cow and the brave horse that turned the cow. Instead, Spotted Cow bounced sideways away from Sage, and cleverly slipped through a hole where its friends were waiting to celebrate Spotted Cow’s endurance and cleverness. (Cow Hands- zero – Spotted Cow- three..

Everyone gave Sage and I a cheer as someone went in to get our cow. We were given one more chance. Only this time the team was allowed to form a “U”. We herded “Spotted Hamburger” right to the pen again…and “Spotted Hamburger” squirted back to the herd and got to stay. “Spotted Hamburger” won by four points…but I ended up with a RIP SNORTIN’ COW PONY!

The cow clinic ended. Asked what I learned, I yelled “We learned to be a Cow Pony!”

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PostHeaderIcon Sage becomes a Cow Pony – Part II


Working with real cows was much better. The real cow didn’t yell at us about forgetting our back and hindquarter turn when we got excited about keeping up with the cow.

Our first task was to follow the same cow around for about 15 minutes to give the horse an idea that we were focused on that cow. “What fun! Sage thought, Let’s play with cows every day.” (Although she enjoyed her time in following one cow, she didn’t catch on to the idea that it was her cow).

We spent Saturday and Sunday herding and driving cows in many ways:

Driving with many riders in the “U” shape.

Driving with few riders in the “U” shape

Driving with horses nose to tail. This meant that one horse did the driving and the other horses following in somewhat of a straight line pretending to do the driving.

Driving cows using the “U” shape with the riders split into two teams with each team having their own cow.

We had to drive through each other’s “U” shape.

We had to drive our cow around two barrels in a figure eight pattern while the other team had the same goal but went around the barrels in the opposite direction. We had to keep our cow in and their cow out.

The barrels were placed farther apart and we drove our cow till his nose touched our barrel.

The groups switched barrels. It was a race. We had to drive our cow through the other group and be the 1st to have the cow touch his nose to the barrel.

Riders formed into two touching circles and one rider had to pick a cow out of the herd and drive it into the other herd. Two horses acted as the gate. The gate didn’t open until only one cow was separated from the herd. The gate also had to watch to see that the 2nd circle of cows didn’t manage to sneak back into the 1st circle.

We practiced cutting any cow out and then a specific cow.

Sage did really well during the circle and herding exercises. Her cows didn’t challenge her much, and we managed to get our turns completed in time to stop most of our cows from returning to the herd in the cutting game. The cows didn’t run very far, so we didn’t display our lack of impulsion. We did well in cutting out a cow. One secret is to sidepass into the herd, wait until the cows break apart and then go for the hole to keep them separated. This is repeated until you are left with one cow. Our sidepass is spectacular, so we did really well. We got several compliments from other people Saturday night. Also, several people commented on how interested Sage was in the cows. She always had her ears pricked forward and never took her eyes off the cows. I knew that there was a cow pony in there screaming to get out! One extremely smart friend told me that Sage did the best of all the horses. (The man is now listed in my will)

PostHeaderIcon Sage Becomes a Cow Pony! (Part I)

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Sage the Cow Pony


Cow Clinic was out on 60 acres of landed divided into three pastures.  A herd of unlucky cows were minding their own business when 22 riders showed up.

It was the best clinic that I’ve ever seen or participated. It was 3 days of constant challenge. The 1st two days, we played games and were given tasks to increase those skills needed for working with cows. We played ground games with our horses to get them to get better at backing up and loading the hindquarters so we could begin to get that “cutting horse” spin!. It was a Parelli Cow Clinic with David Ellis the clinician in charge of our lives for 3 days from (9:00 am till dark at 6:00pm)

Our “Ten-Commandment” unbreakable cow rule was handed down from the instructor: “When the cow stops and turns, the horse and rider must back, make a small turn with the hindquarters followed by that cutting horse forequarter turn.” If the cow beat us before we were able to get through with the back and hindquarter turn, we have to continue our maneuver, then run like hell to catch up with the cow.

On the horse, we were given an imaginary cow on our left or right to follow. Our cow turned, stopped, turned the other way and we had to focus on our imaginary cow.

The horses and riders played follow the leader –nose to tail. We walked trotted and galloped to keep up with that tail in front of us.

Our instructor became the cow. He was in the middle of our Calvary charge line and held up a stick so we all could see. Our task was to keep even with the “cow”. He went forward,  circled, went one way and then went another way. The RULE was hard to follow and the cow faked us out a lot. The cow turned and the horses and riders did our backup, hindquarter and forequarter turn. By the time we were done with that, the cow had turned back the original direction and was way ahead of us…and this was at both the walk and then the trot. The cow turned and said, “GOTCHA!!!” We learned to back when the cow did a 180 until we were certain that the little begger was going to stay in that direction. Then we did our quick back, turn and turn.

Synchronized Riding didn’t happen that day. We did get better. We got better every day.

The riders circled the “cow”and stood pointed into the circle looking at the cow. The “cow” tried to get out between the horses. The “cow” would stare at the hole, point at the hole and try to go through it. The riders were to back, turn the hindquarters, then the fore quarters and then run to meet the neighbor horse nose to nose before the cow could get to the hole. The horses were to form a GATE to block the cow from getting to the outside of the circle. Sage let the “cow” get through her gate plenty of times. Her problem was not the turns, it was the rushing to meet the nose of the other horse. Sage had no thought of rushing anywhere when my “cheeks” smiled and my legs squeezed. My “former” friend made disparaging remarks about detecting a “slowness trend”.


We learned the “outrun.” The “cow” took off straight towards the opposite corner of the large pasture, and two riders on each side galloped off at a 45-degree angle away from the cow. This maneuver fooled the “cow” into thinking we weren’t chasing it. It is forbidden to run all the valuable meat off the cow’s body. Sage, the impulseless, bucked when I gave her my body signs to gallop. She finally managed a slow canter, at first nearly running into the line of horses waiting their turn to be the outrider. She was telling everyone that she didn’t want to leave the herd! We cantered slowly on her 1st outrun while our opposite rider knitted a sweater, waiting for us. After more outruns, Sage managed a slow gallop as her very fastest speed.

sigh again…

PostHeaderIcon Sage – Ponderosa Trail Ride at Pineville, Missouri

My friends and I are the only tent people in the whole campground and it’s 90+ and humid in the afternoon. All the people with air conditioned rigs head for air conditioned naps after our noon meal. My two traveling companions with their bumper pull trailer head for this tiny little tree and drag their chairs and hover underneath the “wide” canopy of shade provided by a short 2 year old tree.

Not me. I drag my extra special Wal Mart air mattress…with the flocked top…out of my tent and put it under the pickup and the gooseneck. I hate to disconnect the trailer from the truck, besides there’s millions of hay bales in there that I would have to move. This works pretty good, except that the truck has a regular trailer hitch sticking out and there’s not too much room for my body between the bumper trailer hitch and the thing that the gooseneck rests on when it’s off the pickup…and the sun is shining straight down…no shade peeking on the side of anything. I am able to wedge myself in there and take a nice little nap with only a few scrapes from banging into a hitch. I feel pretty special and rested with my wondrous flocked air mattress.

Three o’clock comes and the heat abated enough to make me want to get one of the horses out of the stall and do something. I kick the air mattress securely under the trailer and go get Sage. I tie her to the side of the trailer where I can’t see her and proceed to clean out her stall. After a while, I knew I should check to see whether or not she had tangled in her rope, so I walked around to the other side of the trailer.

There was Sage…in no trouble with the lead rope, but her two front feet were standing right in the middle of my air mattress! Scream! She had dug the air mattress out from underneath the trailer and stood on it .. on the flocked part!

I ran over and cleverly moved her feet so no more feet stepped on it. I took it over to a nice grassy place and flopped down on it and it was just fine…inflated…comfy. Horse life went on in the campground and we had our evening trailride. After dark, we sat outside and chatted when finally it was time to hit the air mattresses.

I crawled into my tent, getting all my stuff organized for tomorrow…where’s the flashlight…where’s the book…reading when I noticed that I was no longer supported by air. It was around 11:00 and I was laying on the hard ground. G R O A N. I tried to sleep on my pillows, but that’s a poor excuse for a mattress and I gave that up about 2:00am. Finally, I slithered out of my tent and went to the pickup. I was being exceptionally quiet and thowing everything from the front seat to the back, when I was yelled at by my husband…a non rider who was sleeping in the goose-neck part of the trailer. He had woke up and felt the trailer shaking and thought someone was stealing the pickup. We have these little slit like windows in the trailer, so he was unable to peek out and see just what was happening, so he YELLED, “Just what do you think you’re doing there!!!”

I was shocked that he would talk to me in such a loud voice at that hour of the morning, so I just went shhhhhhh! Of course, he’s hard of hearing and didn’t recognize the shhhh to be my voice! ha! So he yelled the same thing out AGAIN! I ran back to the trailer and looked at him square in the flashlight and told him once again to shhhhh! He was then able to tell it was me. The next morning at breakfast he was telling everyone that he thought the pickup was getting ready to be stolen and there he was minus any clothing (naked) socked away in the trailer!

What a great night’s sleep we all had that night and it was all Sage’s fault!

The dear sweet husband did go to Wal-Mart the next day and get me another air mattress

PostHeaderIcon Sage and the Costume Class


Fox hunters wear funny looking coats and those weird pants with long black boots. They ride with the hounds and chase a wee fox.

This is my version of a fox hunter from the Ozarks. I’ve got my rifle, wearing my coon skin cap. I’ve got my hounds tied to me …like a field trial and Sage is hidden under a fox pelt, so we can sneak up on brother fox.

Oh yes, they are hard to see, but my knee high boots are John Deere bright green and I’m wearing antique black and red checkered wool hunting pants.

The fox head kept coming unattached from the fox pelt, so I had to carry it. When I was in my two-handed cocking and shooting the rifle phase, I carried it in the saddle hole. That’s what I’m holding in my other hand…yee haw!

Cool…I shot my gun and yelled yee haw!


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