Posts Tagged ‘Missouri Fox Trotter’

PostHeaderIcon Feeling Your Body Freeze Means You Are Alive!

I’m getting old enough now to really appreciate being alive and being able to ride.

Here’s Velvet and I riding in front of Jazz and Hope.  I heard Hope talking and knew she was filming!

Velvet and facing into a freezing gusty wind today, Boy Howdy…full alert life up on that one! 

Having my body parts freeze today was a good reminder of being alive.  I suppose my feet froze last year, but I don’t remember that feeling.  I suppose my thighs froze last year, but I don’t remember that feeling either.

 Hope androde Jazz.  How many layers of clothes does she have on?  Even her hunter vest is padded against the cold.

Hope asked me if I wanted to wear one of her hunter vests.  I replied it would be better if one of them just shot me and got me out of my cold misery.  She yelled at me for being grumpy.

We broke the rules today. 
(Rule Number 1 – Ride Outdoors when it’s in the high 40′s and above.)
It was Hope’s fault. She wanted to ride.  I whined to no avail.  I grumped and was shut down. At the end of the ride, I moaned.  Moaning was allowed.

We met a big tractor-combine combination on the trail today.  The tractor tires were bigger than we were.  We had no where to get out of the way. We just stood on the side of the trail and let the big beast go by.  Velvet is used to stuff like that.  I’ve got to admit that I was just the slightest bit worried. The tractor combine guy waved when he went by.  Neither Hope or I waved back.  I wanted both  my hands on the reins!  Then the semi passed by us too.   I did manage to wave at the truck guy!  We were out in the middle of the park-on the trails.

We see big vehicle tracks now and then when we ride at the park.  In fact, we saw some today and commented on how big of a monster made those tracks.  And then we met it!

Just think if I had got my way and rode in an indoor arena, I might not have got to experience going one-on-one with a huge combine-tractor.


Where are my Muck Boots? Where are my insole heat inserts. Gotta find those.  I live in Muck Boots all winter long.  Where are they!

PostHeaderIcon Nova’s Notebook – Trail Riding is on Trails

Wowsa Missouri Fox Trotters!

My friend Ken loves to rode.  He is a rider. That’s the highest compliment I can bestow on a person.

Hope on Velvet and I on Nova decided to double grace Ken’s life and let him ride with us at Lake Perry again.  My last post was a statement of the rules. 

Let me repeat my rules:

Two hours
Flat places for going fast

This ride Ken followed the rules.  He found long stretches of flat land for us to go fast.  Ah…sigh…

Then he lead us into the forest where we had to go up and down those steep steep trails strewn with loose rocks.  I don’t mind going up.  I don’t feel like I’m going to die when we are climbing steep rock-strewn trails.  But going down those trails leads me to think about death…my death…dashed on the rocks.

So we went down one horrid long steep declince and I yelled at Ken…”That’s my last steep hill!”  I meant it too.

Luckily we were soon to come out right by the beautiful lake and Ken promised us a picnic table not far.  A picnic table might be a vision you have for those affairs with food.  Not me.  A picnic table is a mounting block.  I can get on and off my horse from a picnic table.

As promised we came to the picnic table area of heaven.  I got off and disappeared into the woods.  We chatted for a while and then got back on.  It was the best half way point I could have ever asked for.  I could have even rode more than 2 hours, but I didn’t tell Ken that.  Velvet and Nova were pretty tired.

The picnic table was next to a road with wide grassy shoulders.  We rode back following the road.  We found our field and road thru several fields and then we were back at the trailers.  I got to go as fast as I wanted for as far as I wanted.  Oh a lovely ride.

Fox Trotters are Wonderful Trail Horses!

Hope and Velvet were much better acquainted on their second ride.  Hope got some nice stretches of gaited heaven in. She really enjoys riding Velvet. (Hope is a rider!)

When we got back, and I mentioned again how I hate steep rock strewn downhill stretches, Ken complained just a little.  He told me that when people go trail riding, they follow a trail. 


I’ve been pondering this philosophy for a couple days now.  It sounds like a solid reasonable rule. 

But I still love flat land where you can go as fast as you want when you want to.

What is a trail anyway?

PostHeaderIcon Friday thru Monday Happiness

Just singing my happiness living my life with horses.

Friday was wonderful.  Powder came home from her 30 days of training with Tony and Jennifer Vaught.  It was good to have her back in the pasture again.  Powder and Velvet had never met.  Powder didn’t move fast enough to suit Velvet, so Powder lost some hair. She’s very aware of Velvet now.

Friday was lesson night.  I have my winter goals for  with Nova. 

  • We are to trail walk with head down until she is really relaxed.  You remember that picture of the Indian sitting on his paint horse. The horse has his head down and it’s titled The End of the Trail.  That’s the general idea except we are to do it at a slow walk.
  • We are to always work on flying lead changes and just regular lead changes
  • We are to work on our reining horse spins
  • We are to do a real trot where I have to post.  Nova’s fox trot is now so developed that I have a difficult time getting her to do a square two beat trot
  • We are to do collected canter departs which is the opposite of strung out canter departs.

I was going to talk about riding both Velvet and Nova out on the trail on Sunday.  That was heaven!

I was going to talk about taking Powder to Pine Dell this Monday night and playing with her.  I was blown away by her liberty trotting task and how she maintains the gait. There was no squirty speeding up, no tails up snorting. She just trotted around the round pen.  We went places in the dark, thru a narrow barn door, crossing a bridge while looking for the round pen light.  We started out in the big arena with two horses cantering around us.

Powder was as calm as could be.  I love this horse!

I love them all!!

I was going to go on and on, but Pawn Shop Stars is ready to start.  I must watch that show!

PostHeaderIcon Nova’s Notebook – Trailride with Velvet and Nathan

P1010155.jpg picture by susanfxtrt

It’s not often that I get to go trail riding with my son.  For a long long time early in my beginning adult riderhood, I realized that I didn’t have a safe horse for a beginner to ride.  I now think I underestimated Nathan’s riding ability, but you just never know.

So, I have been-there-done -that horses now and safe for my son to ride!Nathan came out to James A Reed and rode with Hope and I. Velvet and Nathan led the way around the park.  Occasionally Velvet and Nathan would decide life was boring unless you were cantering and off they went.

On our trail ride, we came around a corner and ahead was a pile of sticks tipi style about 2 feet in height with a plastic bag on top blowing in the wind. We think that’s how the deer hunter marked where to go into the woods to their deer stand. It took the mighty been-there-done-that horse, Velvet, to determine it was safe to go around. Scary object for an obstacle course!!!!
Nathan spotted someone’s cell phone on the trail.  He got off to get it and here it is an iPhone!  A horse had stepped on the back of it, whew! Later we heard from the park ranger that the grateful owner gave Nathan lots of THANKS!

Nova has been trained by Velvet to know that she is not the #1 horse. Velvet is the #1 horse in the herd.  For a long time, I could get Nova’s head to get even with Velvet rear, but she would never ride along beside Velvet.

Finally on the home stretch, Nova and I did something tricky and passed Velvet.  We started cantering.  Velvet harumphed in disdain and started cantering too. My son and I, Nova and Velvet cantered side by side on the trail for a goodly stretch.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

PostHeaderIcon Powder’s Progress – Two Years Old Today!


Powder - October 2008

She was born two years ago.  Her birthday is today!  But hold on! She’s going to be two again in 2011…for showing purposes!  Powder is two, she’ll have two birthdays.   Isn’t that two cool!

Powder was born in October and the rule is…Oct. thru December babies are deemed to attain their age in the following year.

In this past few weeks, I’m determined that Powder will have the best horse development ever.  I’ve been playing with her at home and taking her to Pine Dell.

Taking Powder to Pine Dell is totally cool. We have to get into the trailer.  At Pine Dell, we have two indoor arenas and two outdoor arenas in which to play. We also have a covered round pen.  Life is good for us.

A couple of days ago, I decided that we would play in the small outdoor arena by the road. We don’t have a busy road at home.  But next to the smaller outdoor arena, cars and trucks and bigger trucks zip up and down that road.  We even had a motorcycle zip by and put on the big ZZZZZZZooom for us.  You know that big load snort horses have for big danger warning?   I’d forgotten about that snort until it went off in my ear.  Powder did the Big Exhale Snort right into my ear.  It made me yell.  Ouch

Tonight we played in the small arena.  There were little sounds in the rafters…like little feet pattering above Powder’s body. SNORT!!!  Whoo WEE!

Later we had another horse come into the arena.  He was having some fun on his lunge line..bucking and carrying on.  Then we had the rumble snorting from Powder.  I got to see Powder with her tail straight up running around for a while.  But when she hit the end of the rope, she softened and came right back into softness.  Love that horse!

After we get done with all these new experiences…maybe this could be called seasoning, we have to get back into the trailer.  This isn’t our favorite thing in the world. Tonight we had horses all over the place and a tractor.  Powder got in the trailer and ran out several times.  We waited until she was semi calm in the trailer before I threw the lead rope over her back and let her stay in.

It’s a short ride home..perfect for trailer “seasoning”.  She was really upset when we got home.  I opened the door. She came out with her front feet and started eating grass.  Her back feet were forgotten as they stayed in the trailer for a time.  Yep, the trailer is a big deal!

Powder - October 2010
Powder- October 2010
12′ lead rope around her neck
22′ rope is how we play!

PostHeaderIcon Powder’s Progress- Phases of Pressure

Fairy Tale Filly

Here’s my terrible confession.  I am writing this blog just to publish some recent pictures of Powder. Don’t worry, I have more from this great Sunday Fall afternoon.  You’ll get to see all of them, eventually.

Here’s our self protrait.

Self Portrait

It’s my blog.  I can do whatever I want!  See how my eyebrows match her hair.  If I want, I can have half my hair match Powder, but I would never admit that to anyone!  Let’s just leave it at my eyebrows for now.  I love it when my horse and I match!

Powder and I are heavy into training now.  It occured to me to think about the phases of pressure that I use to ask her to do things.  Occasionally, my pressure phase has to get a little high to convince her to do these things. The thinking is that you use enough pressure to get the slightest movement and “the release” from pressure is what teaches.  When the pressure gets too high, Powder thinks about kicking me.  She will go right up into a high pressure phase when it suites her.  Her first pressure is the movement of her head, the next is ears back and then immediately her highest pressure is a swift kick.  These phases happen in about 3 seconds.

My job is to try not to go there and if it does happen, not to be there!

PostHeaderIcon Powder’s Progress- Liberty Game

Powder Leading the Liberty Herd

It’s a game we love to play. We turn the horses loose in the arena and wait for them to want to come back to us. The rules for the horses are trot or canter, maintain the same direction and don’t cut thru the middle.That last rule is important because that’s where the humans stand.  Tony called her “sassy”!  Sassy she was indeedy.  In the above picture, her goal was to be the leading horse. She cut the corner to pass Spike and JR.

Not only did Powder cut thru the middle and change direction, but she bluffed me out as well.  My “suggestion” that she change direction was met with total ignore.  It was a game of chicken and I stepped out of her way.

We did three horses at a time in the liberty game and Powder was lucky to get two geldings.  She got JR, who has long learned the rules of the game and Spike who was new to the game, but decided to follow JR.

Powder in the Game!

Powder’s game was to become the leader of the herd!  She broke all the rules to do it too! In the above picture, she is breaking the “go the same direction” rule. She’s out to have a meaningful meeting with JR!

Herd Control!

Powder’s job is to control the herd.  Making them back off and even stop is her desire.  JR got a little to close to Powder and she’s in the process of letting him know!

Powder had a great time at this game and was revved up for quite a while after the game wanting to do it again!

Powder Leading the Herd!

We all suggested that this might be the opportunity to have Tony ride Powder, but he graciously declined.

At the end, JR came into Lynne.  I looked at Powder and gestured her to come to me…and she did. Spike ran around a bit longer and Powder stayed with me for quite a while. Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore and went out to lead Spike around the arena a few more time.  When Spike decided the best place for him was with his human, Powder came right back to me.

What a glorius game it is when your horse comes to you at liberty.  Liberty is the Truth.

PostHeaderIcon Nova’s Notebook – Lesson time with Jenny

Pat Parelli has done various studies of their students and why they enter the program.  Some of them have specific problems and when these problems are overcome, the students move out of the program. Many stay a long long time. Others drop out for various reasons.

The category I’m in is “Want to Always Learn More – Can’t Ever Get Enough”

Lessons are my favorite horse back riding activity.  Lessons with the right people.  My right people are Jennifer and Tony Vaught.

Tonight was the first time I’ve rode Nova since the week long  Missouri Fox Trotter World Celebration ended.  Nova has had nearly a week off.  I started recoving from the week of the Celebration about two days ago. 

This year Nova and I are going to trot.  It will help build up her muscles for the fox trot.  We started tonight. I posted to the trot.  Jenny mentioned the word diagonals..bringing back the diagonals.  I thought she was talking about leg yeilding diagonally across the arena. whoops! No!  One has to rise when a specific front leg goes up at the trot.  I remember now. So, I had my body rise with the inside leg.  Every now and then Jenny would tell me to change my diagonal.  huh.  After that round of trotting was done and we were resting in the middle, Jenny asked me which leg I was supposed to rise with.  Me, “Inside!”  Jenny, “Rise with the leg on the Wall”  OH YES!  I haven’t posted seriously since I passed my original Level 3 Parelli test.  I must have thought I was cantering with the lead on the inside leg!

Another round and we posted correctly!

Then we fox trotted and seriously, Nova was awesome!

What fun it is to be back in lessonville with a great instructor and great friends at Pine Dell Farm.

Even Nova sez it's time to get back into lessons

PostHeaderIcon Nova’s Notebook – 1st Demonstration!

About two weeks before the big Vaught Family Natural Horsemanship, Jenny asked if I was going to ride in the demonstration. Whoops!  I didn’t know that Nova and I were going to be in the demonstration.  We had an assumption and non verbal communication.

Now, it’s something to be practicing all along for “being in the Spotlight” someday as opposed to actually having a date for a demonstration.

Nova and I started to practice and the holes we had were just a bit glaring.  I had not practiced enough in riding bridleless.  Our first practice session for riding bridleless in a real demonstration was dismal.  I wasn’t really confident.  But over the next two weeks, I managed to practice just a bit more and felt good about Nova stopping and slowing when I wanted.  Nova is not a “see the long rail and accelerate” kind of a horse.  That is what saves me from fear.  She’ll canter down the long rail at the same rate of speed.  She will stop. Stopping is a good feeling when riding bridleless.  You know what you get when you ride bridleless or play at liberty with your horse?  The truth!

We have a few glaring holes in running away from me when playing at liberty on the ground.  This hole showed up in the real demonstration.  I let her loose and she immediately took off.  She looked really pretty as she galloped around the arena a couple of times.  Nova is good at this. She doesn’t get close to other horses.  Finally Nova ran to me. There’s nothing like that…to have your horse run to you during a demonstration in a strange arena! 

Let’s see….we didn’t practice jumping over a barrel, but I got my nerve up during the demonstration and we jumped a few times over barrels.

Nova and I are good at sidepassing over barrels.  We can sidepass over stuff in our sleep. We are sidepass experts!

So, after I got on Nova during the demonstration, we went straight to the barrels, got into sidepass position but whoa howdy, I felt a big concrete wall.  Nova’s body told me front and center that she wasn’t going to sidepass over barrels.  We tried to sidepass the other direction and the concrete block was still there.

Ok, I thought!  We’ll go do something else and come back to sidepass over something.  A little later I asked her to sidepass over a small jump.  The concrete block was still there.  I thought I would fool her.  I asked her to step over the jump with her front legs and then asked her to sidepass.  HA!  I didn’t trick her. Instead she backed up and demolished the jump.  I’m certain we were the center of attention then!

I’ve tried to analyze this later.  During a demonstration, there’s an excitement level from the crowd.  It was a strange arena.  We didn’t set foot in that arena until our demonstration started.  So I bet Nova was telling me that she didn’t want her feet compromised.  Nova wanted her feet unemcumbered by barrels if she decided to take off.  Yep, that is it.

We did some cool stuff while I was riding and finally she did sidepass over the barrels. 

Now, I felt it was time…

I took off the bridle and we rode around the arena looking pretty cool.  There was this tarp on the ground.  Nova and I ride over tarps every now and then.  We think tarps are very harmless.  However, I don’t ever remember picking up a tarp while riding Nova.  Some demon show-off button inside me told me to pick up the tarp.  I picked it up with my carrot stick.  Nova was calm, so I gathered up the tarp and placed it over her withers. Then we sidepassed over a row of cones. That was way cool!  Walking around with that tarp cracking and rustling was the result of prior and proper preparation.

We had a great time.  Our maiden demonstration was a success!!!

PostHeaderIcon GRAND SLAM JAM!

A group of us showed at the Missouri Fox Trotter World Show this past week. We are all students of Parelli and study with Tony and Jenny Vaught of
“For the Horse” Ranch.
We are Hope Kahout, Mindy B.(I have forgotten how to spell her last name),
Nichole Vaught, Caitlyn Vaught.  We won 19 World Champion Ribbons!

Nichole and Velvet won 13 World Champion competitions and were awarded World Grand Champion Youth Ranch Horse and World Grand Champion Youth Versatility.

That’s Jenny holding the sign. Tony was missing when we got together for this picture.

Nova and I won two world champion competitions and some other places. Nova and I were awarded World Grand Champion Novice Versatility.

Mindy and Caitlyn won the Amatuer and Youth World Grand Champion awards.

We were awarded our reserve and World Grand Champion presentations on Saturday night in front of the crowd that came to see the World Grand Champion performance   horse competitions. They got to see a lot of us Versatility people too!

Nichole and Velvet were presented with TWO GARLANDS! Nichole got to ride Velvet around the arena twice – with each garland.  Nichole got two belt buckles and two horse head statues -gorgeous. They didn’t have a buckle for Novice World Grand Champion, so Nichole gave me one of her belt buckles. Blue ribbon winners also got a nice statue of a fox trotter horse. Nichole could not carry all her 13 boxes at the same time. She needs a trophy room.

Here’s Nichole and Velvet?during an event during the Ranch Horse competition.\

I’d like to point out that my horses, Velvet and Nova,?won a total of 15 World
Championships and three World Grand Champion awards. I follow the way of natural
horsemanship via the Pat Parelli methods!? Look at how it can turn out!!!

Here’s Nova and I practicing.

Here’s Jenny on the horse that I wrote many stories about in the 8 years I owned him (JR). Jenny got 5th in Open Ranch Horse and 3rd in Open Versatility\

Here’s Tony on Diva – I gave him Diva to start for me and he fell in love with
her.? She has been sold and Tony is her trainer.\