Posts Tagged ‘Missouri Fox Trotter’

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star in the Wind

Who is that little horse galloping at liberty with his tail in the wind? The galloping horse looked exactly like Lucky Star, the horse of no impulsion.

Teresa played with Belle tonight. I thought I had Lucky Star. Teresa wanted Belle to be free to run at liberty. Belle had been in a stall all day. Belle was running around letting all that stored energy out.

I took off Lucky Star’s bridle and told him to run off. By golly, Lucky Star took off! His tail tight, streaming in the wind, he took off after Belle!

I could barely believe his surging forward at top speed. Then, gasp, he passed Belle and led the galloping around the arena. One lap he led the way with his tail straight up like the mystical Arabian galloping across the desert.

Boy Howdy!

After a bunch of laps around the arena, Lucky Star decided he was tired and galloped to me. He stayed right with me while Belle kept going. When Belle decided she had enough, two horse liberty was done

I got back on Lucky Star, rode him to far end of arena and cantered just a short distance back.
Wowsa! This was probably my 4th time at a canter on him. He can only manage to stay at the canter a short distance before his feet get confused! We cantered both ways of the arena

We did an ultra smooth fox trot and some dandy flat foot walk. Oh man

We rested a bit and then sidepassed over a barrel both ways. Done!

I leaped off and was chatting with Teresa when suddenly Lucky told me that it was time for me to teach him to lay down. Quick as a wink, I managed to barely get the saddle off before teaching him to lay down. Saddle off and a few moments later, he laid down and dug his head, neck body and tail into that sandy arena!
After about 10 full body rolls, he layed his body flat on the sand and pretended to be a dead horse (except he kept the one eye open). I petted his pretty sand-caked head.
He rolled a couple more times and got up. Instead of a liver chestnut horse, I had a desert sand horse!

This evening play time with Lucky Star had been full of surprises!

PostHeaderIcon Pixie Dust Magic

Lucky Star is at his owner’s farm. There is magic pixie dust in their large arena.
This pixie dust will help set Lucky’s flat foot walk and fox trot. Magic Pixie Dust and some coaching from Lucky’s learned owner, Teresa Osborn, will help us find true the groove.

Lucky got to return to his pasture with his horse herd. You know Lucky has a low impulsion drive (that I love). He can be indifferent to requests to move his body. When a dominant mate named Sassy asks you to move, you should immediately comply. I have started carrying a healing ointment for Lucky. He’s got a big bite mark on his neck.  And she is his full sister too!  It’s very evident that Sassy is in charge of the pasture.

Tonight was a big night in our relationship. Lucky Star did not argue with me! He had been lifting his head and pushing out his nose in a teenager kind of  “talk-back” , “I’m doing what you want,but I’m sneering at you.”

The sneering stopped. Was it the Saturday wonderful Groundskills Clinic and coaching from Tony Vaught? What you do on the ground translates up!  We had really improved the quality of my requests to ask Lucky Star to move.

Lucky Star is DEVELOPING!!
It’s a wonderful experience to bring a brave little horse along a path to realizing all his great potential!

Yee Haw

PS:  Pixie dust looks a lot like sand!

PostHeaderIcon Goals

My groundskills Goal for Lucky: Move out immediately when asked. All I want is a snappy 2 or 3 foot depart (Lucky footsteps) .

Lucky Star’s goal in an arena: Nap or stare around at interesting things. Lucky Star could be a great teacher of how to stay ground tied.


If convinced that he should move, Lucky Star’s favorite speed would match that of a tortoise.

My goal is “snappy”.

I think it was about 3:00 this afternoon when I finally realized how to ask and get snappy.
If you see me around, ask me to demonstrate the “make my self get big” move.
Lucky Star is moving out snappy now.
He even jumped over barrels late this afternoon
If course he was mentally exhausted at the end of the clinic and needed a nap before going home. He whined about his neck being cold, so I let him wear my vest. That is the picture that ended the clinic.

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star 5 Miler

Lucky Star First Trail Ride

Lucky Star is a one in a million horse! He handled his first real Trailride like a been there done that Horse

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star Loves Girls

From Jenny:

Lucky Star story for this cold windy day. New mare in the pasture. He was so…. excited. Followed her every where, including in the pond! She went for a swim, crazy horse. Four times. He watched until the fourth time, then he went in nearly up to his belly. Then had a good role. Needless to say, he had a blast on this cold windy day!

PostHeaderIcon World Celebration Blog is DONE for 2011

I didn’t want it to end. Really!  What a marvelous time.  What marvelous weather!  Nova and I were beautiful…the stuff of little girl dreams in a big ole aged woman body!

Yee Haw

Versatility Blog

PostHeaderIcon Hook, Line and…

Relax, only the” line” applies and it turned out good.  I’m alive to write the story!

The iPhone ”Weather” application said it was going to rain at noon and keep on raining today.  I called my riding buddy.  “She-who-will-remain-nameless” assured me that it would not rain and riding today will be really fun.

Why I believed her, I will never know.  I had HOPE!

I rode Nova and “She-who-will-remain-nameless” rode Velvet.  We were zipping along coming upon a small lake.  Before you could cook a goose, up came two geese from the dam, hissing and honking while running into the lake.  The horses came to a halt and we all stared at the geese. But, they were being chased by a fox. What we really saw were the outraged geese and a fox chasing them.  The fox gave a hard stare at them and then another growling hissing noise erupted from the tiny island in the lake.  It was a blue heron making his scary noise.  I’ve never heard a scary noise from a blue heron before. All of us (horses and humans) were darn amazed at this entire drama.  Nova led the way down the side of the dam. She was very careful as there had been a predator leaping about. But we negotiated the  tight trail including the pipe with pouring water and the mud goo.

We came up the other side and saw the geese again swimming in the lake. Then we saw the four tiny geese babies! That fox was trying to catch him a goose baby!  I wondered why a fox would take on a goose that was twice his size. But a baby goose would make a great meal. There were four baby geese and they were alive!

About 10 minutes later the non-promised rain started up. We came to the farthest lake in the park and I was all for taking the quickest trail back to the park.  “She-who-will-remain-nameless” argued that a medium quick trail might be OK.  At that moment the rain had slacked up and I agreed.  Off we went by the side of the lake to the medium longest trail.

I could hear some Velvet leaping behind me sounds.  Usually Velvet doesn’t move when she spooks.  Then a voice rang out, “Stop, Susan Stop!  Stop Susan! I wondered what the heck was wrong with Velvet. But it was not Velvet who was in danger.  It was Nova and I!

Nova and I came to a stop and were told that a fish line had wrapped itself around Nova’s back leg.
“Scream!” I said silently.

I looked around and there was a pickup in the parking lot.  It was a pickup mounting block! Thank Goodness as I can’t mount my horse from the ground.

I did an quick dismount.  The fish line filament line was thin, long and looped.  It was also dragging a stick with a root. That’s what Velvet got excited about.  There was a stick jumping up and down from the ground in front of her.  Nova was dragging the filament line with the stick caught in it!

Nova didn’t react at all with the fish line around her foot or the pop-up stick.  I am very grateful for the million of hours we have spent in desensitizing, especially with ropes around her feet. Because of that, I’m not injured or gone to horse heaven!

Nova stepped out of the fish line and I threw it in the trash.  The pickup owner was out of sight, fishing.  I borrowed the truck’s trailer hookup “step” to mount my horse.

Nova, she’s worth more than my weight in gold!

We sped back to the trailer while I was getting colder and colder on my arms.  I learned that “She-who-will-remain-nameless” was wearing long underwear and three other layers.  I was wearing a sweatshirt and a CNN raincoat light jacket.  It was wet, cold and forty seven degrees!

When I got home and took off my rain jacket, my sweat shirt was wet on my upper arms.  My raincoat leaked!  No wonder my arms were cold!

Good GAD!  Oh the suffering.

It was really really cool watching that fox chase the geese!

PostHeaderIcon BFO DOG WALK!

BFO = Blinding Flash of the Obvious.  We horse people have them every now and then. That’s why our foreheads often get dented. Check out  my forehead the next time you see me.  Does it have a dent?

Warning:  Non horse people and horse people with non-gaited horses are going to find this exceedingly dull. Gaited horse people are going to hang on every word and probably not breathe until I run out of words.

I have an IQ over 100.  I’ve been understanding why the dog walk is so good for gaited horses.  Let me tell you:  It builds up the muscles that the gaited horse needs to gait. It increases their stride. An increased stride at the faster gaits makes us humans smile bigger and smoother!

I understand what it looks like:  The human’s stomach area is rocked forward and backward.  It looks like it hurts.  And it’s not what I would describe as comfortable.

About 100 years ago, Jenny told me that she developed her champion Tennessee Walking Horse’s stride over the winter by having him do a dog walk.  Doing that for a long winter wore out a pair of Jenny’s pants and increased his stride by a whopping long amount.  I’ve always remembered that.

When I had JR, I could never get him to dog walk.  I gave up in about 5 minutes or anytime Jenny’s back was turned. We sped up into the wonderful smooth flat foot walk.

With Nova, every now and then I can accidentally get a dog walk.  I try and fool Jenny all the other times and then try to speed up into the flat foot walk any time I can get away with it in a lesson.

After all, the dog walk is slow, it’s uncomfortable and I couldn’t get it. What better reasons do you want?  I want to go fast with that wonderful gaited horse’s rhythmic gaits.  I love speeds up to a gallop!

At the recent gaited horse clinic with Jenny and Tony Vaught, again I got to hear about why the dog walk was so important.  I tried to care and I did for a while.

I went for a trail ride on Velvet last Saturday. Velvet has spent two years with the Vaughts.  Her stride is a lot longer than it was the last time I was riding her.  On the trail, we went on a fast dogwalk for about the entire distance.  It was fast and her stride was long.  Amazing, I thought!  This is why her fox trot stride has increased.

Tonight I rode Nova.  I learned how to get her to dog walk! This is incredible.  She has to put her head down, relax and walk faster than a real walk and not as fast as a flat foot walk.


So, tonight Nova and I practiced patterns at the dog walk. She was pretty surprised to have the evening end without her doing her faster gaits.

It’s all about feel. Tonight I felt it and understood it.  I am “one with the dog walk”!

PostHeaderIcon Nova is a Blessing

Snow in Missouri.  Stacks and stacks of it.  My truck and trailer have been buried.  I forgot how to ride a horse in six weeks.

This was a big day.  I got the truck and trailer out of the snow drifts.  Now to get the horse out of the barn.  There’s still a foot of snow out there and it’s hard to walk thru.

I tried to open the barn door. Drat, the cord that hangs on the door was buried in 3″ of ice.  I hacked and hacked with a shovel to get that cord loose.  I raised up the barn door only to find another door piece stuck under the ice.

I gave that up.

I led Nova into the tack room and out the human door.  Dripping water was making noises, but she was OK in tack room.  We found a bag of horse treats and had a good time with those.

Next out the door where my tractor is stuck. Well a hose broke and that hose is very important to forwards and backwards on the tractor.  Nova just took the tractor in stride.

I have a narrow path where I walk and we have to pass by the tractor with the round bale spike on the back.  Nova walked in the snow and I walked in the path.  Usually she gets somewhat excited to leave the other horses, but she was calm today.  That was good because my footing was tricky slick.   She was very interested in staying with me.  It might have been because we stopped every now and then and she got a treat!

We made it to a wider gravel path where I could walk freely.  We made it to the trailer.  It had some frozen spots of ice on the floor by the door, but that didn’t bother Nova at all.

She loaded and we left home.  I got to ride today in a lesson with Tony Vaught!  We learned a lot.  Nova and I have lots of homework. We have seven days of forecast without snow.  I’m going to be riding now!

The big arena at Pine Dell Farm has mirrors in the back now. When Nova and I were leaving, I decided she should “see herself” for the first time!

She was mighty interested too.  She fogged up the mirror trying to smell herself! Her conclusion was, “I am a beautiful horse!”

It was a wonderful day!

PostHeaderIcon Four Outdoor Horse Hours

Thank you Jennifer Vaught for the great lesson and the fun time riding with great friends. Great friends, a great teacher and great horses.  The greats pile up!

We rode slow with occasional times of speed and many rest periods.  We didn’t want sweat.

OK, most of the four hours wasn’t outdoors.  Most of it was in an indoor arena. Someone did forget to turn on the furnace.  I left home at 11:30 and came back at 4:00.  The lesson was from 1:00-3:00, but it always runs longer. We did toast up in the indoor lounge after the group lesson, but most of the time I was without heat.

I discovered, once again, that I can ride in the winter.  I remember discovering this fact every year.  It gets to be winter and I always assume, I can only survive in my lounge chair.

But then magically, I’m forced to ride and discover…I can survive!

On the flip side, the other half of the partnership was convinced that she would die.  In the last part of the lesson, we had to canter. We cantered quite a bit and had an ongoing argument. 

NOVA  “I can’t breathe!  I must stop and I must stop NOW! Are you kidding me?  You haven’t exercised me for 3 weeks and now you want to run me into the ground?  NO!  I am going to balk! Why don’t you ride Velvet, not me?”

Susan “Only for a little while longer.  You can do it. Don’t die on me.  Keep cantering. Stop arguing with me.  If you would just canter nicely, we could stop!  Velvet lived thru this, it’s your turn now.”

Nova was so tired at the end of the lesson, that she couldn’t walk to the exit gate.  Her saddle was loose.  Her bridle was off. She balked twice while I was leading her to the gate.

Nova is a dominant-argumentative- only-child mare.

We’ll be riding a lot more winter nights now.  No more recliner chair!  Well, let’s say, “less recliner chair nights”.