Posts Tagged ‘parelli’

PostHeaderIcon Powder’s Progress – Take a Giant Step

Powder - Winter

Surprise!  I asked Jennifer Vaught if she might want to train Powder for 30 days and the answer is YES!

We’re talking mid October thru Mid November.  I’ve also just about talked Jenny into blogging about training Powder. Wouldn’t that be something!

I think everyone should send Jenny an email and tell her how excited you would be to read a blog about Jenny’s thoughts during 30 days of training.  What does she hope to accomplish in the daily sessions? What happens during Powder’s training.  When does the first ride happen?  How far will Jenny and Powder get in 30 days! Just think about a diary of training one of JJ’s daughter!

Send that email now!

For the Horse Ranch
Vaught Family General Store and Information

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.\


PostHeaderIcon Sue- How Do You Do- No-Where Horse Back at the Park!

Sue and I went on a trail ride at James A. Reed Park.

It took us 14 months to get here. This park is the precipitating event of why she became my horse.

When she spooked at this park and her rider (who was trying her out as a trail horse) fell off, Sue set herself up to come to me. Neither of us knew it at the time.

She had no where to go after that. The no-where horse became my horse.

After 14 months of slow fear recovery, we made it back and rode the entire park with a nice low key friend…both horse and human.

Sue and I have now entered another phase of our relationship. Instead of Traumatized Horse, she has become:
Sue-”Studying for Level 3 in the Parelli program”.

There’s much difference in the two labels for both me and her.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You DO!

Susan and Sue at James A Reed Park – July 2007.Sue, a Missouri Fox Trotter, came to Pine Dell to be sold. Jenny told me, “I really like Sue! She’s light, fun to ride and very smooth. “WOWSA”, I thought. “I wish I could have her”.

I had a horse for sale then. Our pasture was being fenced and part of it was off-limits to horses until fencing got done. There was no way, I thought, that I could buy another horse. Of course the price was what Sue was worth and I couldn’t justify paying that for another horse to ride!

And the husband had a sell-some-horses edict! You can ignore husband edicts just so long.

Sue came back about 4 months later. The owner told Jenny to “unload her”.

Sue had been ruined. Sue was “fried”. She startled and flinched at everything. The stall cleaners couldn’t clean the stall without her flinching and throwing her head up at every move of the pitch fork. Jenny tried to ride her in a lesson. She flinched at every movement. What could have been done to her in such a short time to go from nice experienced trail horse to nut case?

It took Tony and Jenny about two months to get her back to being something that they could advertise for sale…Two months of playing, riding and desensitizing her to everything. That’s a long time in the book of retraining an already trained horse!

Several people came to ride and try her. A woman and her friends came and rode her up in the 40 acres. It went well. The potential buyer decided that she wanted a test trail ride before she would commit. The owner agreed.  They went to James A Reed park.

The trail ride went badly at the half way point. I believe the rider reached back to pat Sue’s behind.  That wasn’t an option for Sue’s nervous system.  Sue cam unglued.  The potential buyer fell off when Sue spooked forward. Sue ran off. She ran back to the trailer / headquarters and became an “uncatchable horse”. All the people that were available at the busy park made a big cirlce and surronded her. Finally she was caught and returned to Pine Dell…no sale!

My two horses had been sold and the fence was up. The husband was a happy guy. I remembered what Jenny said about Sue being fun to ride.

Jenny and I were talking about Sue. Things were glum. Tony and Jenny had decided that they could not recommend her to anyone after that. Things were double-glum. Sue had also reverted back to terrified of everything! She returned to “fruit loop” status horse

I remembered how Sue was the first time she came to be sold. Jenny had said all those wonderful words…fun to right, smooth and light. My mouth opened and someone’s voice said, “I’ll buy her!” Oh Goodness, it was my voice!

I made an offer. The owner accepted. Sue had been unloaded into my hands!

I went into Sue’s stall and met her for the first time as her new owner. She flinched so bad the skin on her back rolled when I raised my hand to pet her.

This blog is about bringing Sue’s sanity back.  When you work with a horse like Sue, very small improvements bring you intense happiness. 

 PS I bought Sue and then two more young horses. That’s one more horse than the number that I had when husband told me “too many horses, sell some!” That will teach him. It’s horse math! One of the horses was Diva, Sue’s foal and is a champange gold horse and Nova’s half sister. It’s a family thing!

Approximately fourteen months later, Sue and I went riding at that same park where she spooked and dumped her rider. It was almost “a walk in the park!”

Sue and I in the Sunflower field.
Sue has a sunflower in her mouth. This was our first trail ride with a bunch of other horses and she did great. It was more of a walk in the park…as we got to lead, be passed and be in the back!

Sue’s story is a happy ending. Promise that you’ll read the blog stories in order!


PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do -Another Crowded Arena?

Sue – How Do You Spell Crowded!

We had a What Do You Want to Do clinic yesterday. A bunch of horses and riders showed up. We had 10 horses in the arena. It’s a smaller arena than Pine Dell and 10 horses was just about the amount that the arena could comfortably hold.

Of course it was a little too cramped for Sue, the horse that is scared of many other horses.

A couple of times, we started to bolt forward when Sue got scared. Several times I caught her instantly relaxing and then going back into right brain when I startled and my body starting going into the clamping fetal position. But I was almost instantly able to get myself under control.From a distance, one wouldn’t have noticed the mini bolt.

Our job for most of the clinic was to ride around the barrel…about 10-12 feet away from the barrel. Our task was to go at a walk and then later at a trot. My desire for Sue was for her to pay attention to where my body was telling her to go. First I told her to follow the direction of my belly button. If she missed that signal, then my outside heel directed her where to go and the very last signal was the rein which was attached to her inside foot. If she didn’t make the circle, I picked up the rein in time to guide her inside front foot through the circle.

This would have been fine except for all the other horses. At the barrel next to our barrel was a horse that was being guided with a carrot stick. Thank goodness most of the time the horse listened to his rider’s body and she didn’t raise up the carrot stick to the side of the horse’s head. Plus he kept gettin very near our own circle.

Our barrel was right next to the wall where another horse and rider were practicing trotting from one end to the other and staying on the rail. Wouldn’t you know it that this horse had a problem with impulsion causing her rider to swing her arm every now and then to spank her horse forward.

You know it’s the picking up the arm, especially with a stick in it that causes us some trouble.

We weren’t too scared by the rider who flopped. That was a noisy rider, but the horse is nice and Sue isn’t scared of that horse.

We were standing quiet one time trying to be out of every one’s way and the sorrel horse came at us. Sue was scared of the sorrel horse and I don’t know why. Anyway, the sorrel horse came directly at us from the front. Sue scittered away. She was prevented from turning around and running, so she made sweeping sideways avoidance to get away.

I didn’t make a sound. In the past, I have been so scared that I would have yelled at the rider. Later I got so that I just screamed in a nice quiet voice. Today, I kept calm and stayed with Sue.
Whew. Both of us are making vast improvements! 

 Hello Emotional Fitness!

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do Your Eyes Sparkle!

I’ve been letting Sue be a horse in the pasture for 2-3 months since it has been so cold, icy and snowy here.

One day when I walked out to the pasture, I noticed that Sue was more outgoing. Her eyes were darker and more intent. Much to my amazement, she had moved up one horse in the pecking order. wow

Sue got to attend a clipping and braiding clinic a couple of weeks ago.
When I took her to the clinic, I noticed that she hadn’t regressed. In the past, if I didn’t play with her on a consistent basis, she went back to being very nervous at the start of our play time.

Well, of course someone had probably ripped on her ears trying to get her head down to force a bit in her mouth and she has not been thrilled about me playing the friendly game with her ears. I usually
get so that I can touch the outside of her ears after we play the games for a while.

So, clipping of the ears was not something that she was thrilled about. However, we did manage to get a little tiny bit of the outside of her ears clipped by the time the clinic was over. She’s not a “bit” afraid of the clippers. The clippers touched her head
and feet…no problem. By the end of the 3 hour clinic, we had a french braided mane and tail and looked really cool.

About two more weeks have passed and I’ve not done anything with Sue. Today, I took her to the stable to see if I could ride her.
Well, amazing things happened. She seemed very relaxed. We did a few extreme friendly game things that would have made her flinch and she didn’t flinch at all. My eyebrows went up.

On the ground, we circled at a trot and she didn’t panic. We did use the barrels as a calming safe place. In the past, I found that stopping her at a
barrel and having a treat be there for her, calmed her down quite a bit. But we were able to make multiple circles today without panicking. We even did “S” turns and she didn’t really panic. I
thought that she was ready to ride just about 5 minutes in to our games. Now that was amazing.

I got on her and rode. She was the most relaxed I’ve ever seen her that early in our ride. We played the bull’s eye game so we could stop at barrels and be safe…and dwell. We walked and then we trotted. I thought, “why mess this up” and got off.

I took Sue out of the arena and some of my best friends…twin teenage girls that work at both Pine Dell and For the Horse Ranch,
were petting Sue. One girl said, “Sue looks better”. I thought that she meant that Sue looked a little slimmer.
The girl said, “Sue’s eyes are sparkling. Before, her eyes were dull.”

I swear that Sue’s eyes have changed to a very dark shiny color. They didn’t look like this before. It’s amazing.

Another statement: April 07 will be a year since I got Sue. Tony told me last May that he thought it would be a year before Sue went into a real recovery mode.

It takes the Parelli system and it just takes time…a year of safety and good handling have returned her to something of what she must of been like…. before.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Interupt that Negative Fear Behavior?

I’ve not been able to get Sue to circle online without her going into the fear zone. Even the “S” turn manuever gets her riled up and rigid. She gets deep into fear before we hit the “S” of the turn and doesn’t recover too much when we managed our direction change. She’s sort of like a freight train to try to get turned and going the other way.

I’ve been doing half circles on the wall and that has worked reasonably well to interupt that fear.

BUT Tonight..we played the most wonderful game.

I made a circle of 4 barrels. I had the 22′ rope. I directed Sue to walk to each barrel and when she touched it with her nose, I gave her release. (I turned away.) She also thinks when she paws the barrel, that is the game. So we had a lot of pawing barrels and touching them going on.

I took the game up one emotional notch. But first I put a treat on each barrel. I asked her to trot to a barrel. Her fear level rises, she tries to pull away. She comes close to a barrel and I manage to slow her down. She stops at the barrel and finally discovers the treat. The game is on. Her fear still comes up and when she doesn’t stop at a barrel, she gets to keep going or start over again if she stops too far away from the barrel. (I’m making up the rules as we go.)

After a while, she stops at a barrel and released a ton of fear by blowing her nose, shaking her head and lowering her head. We rested for a long time with that one.

I had her go around and pick up one more round of treats. She lowered her head almost down to the ground at each barrel (after she found the treat) and became a relaxed little cow pony looking horse instead of a high headed intense horse.

After we were done with that, she helped me put away all the barrels. She followed me all over the arena at liberty.

It was a good night for Susan and the How Do You Do horse called Sue!

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do in Arena Chaos?

The arena was filled with horses. One horse and “new to us” rider  didn’t even know we were fearful. She was new.

We rode in an organized chaos. We all rode in a straight line somewhere and first stopped and did hindquarter perfect turns. Then we trotted, stopped and did our hindquarter perfect turns. After we did that for a while, we started at the walk again and did perfect forequarter turns…and then again at a trot. How do you think Sue did with horses going every which way?
She was on the lookout, but did GREAT!

Then we rode on the rail. But this wasn’t just any plain Jane riding on the rail. Some of us rode clockwise and some of us rode counterclockwise. Us counterclockwise people rode on the inside and the clockwise people rode on the rail.
How about Sue meeting horse after horse in the arena.
No Problem! She was aware, but fine.

In fact, we even trotted. She relaxed enough to get a trot going and she kept it up for maybe one length of the arena. She was relaxed.

Then we all came into the middle of the arena. Jenny picked various horse and rider combos to go out on the rail and canter. She told my very best friend, Kari, to cut through the middle and do a flying lead change. I didn’t react very fast. I was sitting on Sue with my sore leg out of the stirrup. Kari came racing by very close to the group of horses…and Sue’s rear end. You know what that means. We spurted forward a step or two. I managed to hold my curse word to a whisper. No one heard me. I was alive and proud of my restraint.

The next horse cut through the center and I was ready. That horse dislodged a dirt clod which spooked Sue. We spurted forward a step or two. This time I didn’t even think of swearing. I was fine.

At the end we went on the rail. We were to ride collected. My new goal is to get Sue to give to the bit and become soft. She pushes on the bit like she has been taught.

Sue relaxed and started trotting. She trotted for a while and then went back into a fox trot or running walk. Then she would occasionally break into a pace. It was great.

We stopped near the middle as someone was in our way. It was nearly 8:45pm and my knee lasted all this time. Well, I told Sue to get her speed back up and she refused to move. She was tired. I reached back and touched her rear end with my hand and there was zero reaction and no movement forward. I touched her again with the same nothingness. I smacked her a little firmer with my hand and was still ignored. I ended up smacking that sensitive right rear end about 6 times before she would take a step forward.

What an amazing evening it was! We ended with my gracefull dismount from the fence. She followed me all over the arena while I collected my discared stuff.

Sue got a lot of treats at the end of this ride.

It just keeps getting better and better!


PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Spell Progress?

This was a three hour group lesson in brutal heat. We started at 9:00 am and by noon everyone was very willing to STOP.

Last night I had watched the latest Parelli pod cast. It was about horses that are scared to have horses behind them or meet other horses. Talk about right on time Pod Cast!

Pat rode his pretend fearful horse, Cash, in the round pen. Linda’s job was to canter around the outside of the round pen. Cash rode on the rail inside and when she got too nervous, Pat just took her off the rail and went into and out of the middle. It’s approach and retreat. He did that for a while. Then he and Cash rode with Linda..side by side separated by the round pen fence. After that went well, he went the other way and met Linda and she cantered towards him.

HOW COOL! And we have a round pen set up in our large arena at Pine Dell.
This morning I was asked what I wanted to work on and I explained the concept to Jenny. Her eyes lit up with glee. We had a lot of horses that needed to go around the outside of the round pen throughout the lesson.

Everyone did liberty on the ground in the round pen and then it was my turn to ride in the round pen. Certain people throughout the morning were assigned to ride outside the round pen. Some were trotting. Some were cantering. The final person, friend Barb and Cocoa, walked bridleless!

Sue and I rode in front of the horses…with the horse coming up and passing us. We rode besides the horses. We turned and met the horses. It was GREAT!

Sue and I have never rode with the carrot stick. It’s a stick! We have been playing the friendly extreme game with the carrot stick when I first bought her and she is doing great. I’ve been afraid to ride with the carrot stick.

Here’s the other problem I was having with Sue. Don’t change gaits…Sue sometimes drags herself from stop to a go. Sometimes we are going along at a nice speed and she drops to a walk…she occasionally doesn’t respond to my squeezing of my legs to get her to speed up.

She still is terrified of something that appears to want to hit her. I have been using a very small slap of my hand on my thigh to make a very small clap noise. The smallest clap noise makes her startle and speed up. I hate the startle part. Other times she ignores my clap noise and just remains in the slower speed.

In the round pen to get her to speed up, I started clapping my hand on my thigh. When she ignored that, I put my hand behind her. She ignored that and I was able to touch her with my hand. She startled and sped up. We did that for a while until she quit the startle movement. WOW!

Then I asked Jenny to hand me the carrot stick. The exchange went well and I was holding the carrot stick and was still alive. Sue didn’t move.

I played the friendly game with the carrot stick. I rubbed her front part. We moved to the middle of the round pen and resumed the friendly game. I actually touched her belly and then came the time to touch her rear end. This was a scary part. The carrot stick touched her rear and and she didn’t even flinch! Wild Applause!

We started moving around the round pen. When she dropped into a trot, I managed to touch her rear end with the carrot stick…and we TOOK OFF! But it wasn’t that wild power surge. It was a medium power surge. After a moment or two, I was able to get her slowed down.

So this went on for a while. I learned that if I had the reins picked up with feel on her mouth, that my hands automatically pulled back when she surged forward. I started riding in the push passenger mode. I let the reins go slack, pushed against the saddle horn and let her go where she wanted. All I wanted was to keep at a trot-like gait. When I touched her with the carrot stick, my hands didn’t automatically tighten. I actually rode out some of the power surges without pulling on her mouth. Wild Applause here!

Near the end, she was getting mighty tired and started slowing down a lot. I had plenty of opportunities to touch her rear with the carrot stick. Occasionally I tapped her twice before I got a response. As we were going at the desired speed, my body told her to stop and we were very successful.

I also got to feed her treats while seated on her back. I tried to do that last Monday and she got scared of my leg when she bent around to take the treat!

We got out of the arena and zipped around on the wall. We had a horse pass and meet us and didn’t flinch!

I took her to the front, sidepassed to the deck fence and got off on the fence…another first. I have to lean over and slide down her side until my foot hits an opening in the wood. She didn’t move. I was grateful to live through this too.

It all was a HUGE DAY!

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do with Friends?

I set aside my fears tonight and it felt good. We got to ride outside in the big arena with dear good friends. That felt really good.

We warmed up really good. We are trying to do the hill climbing that Linda Parelli recommends so that Sue will be better balanced. Sue gets to trot up and down a small hill.  She also got to jump over some logs. What a fine time she had.

Our friends were in the arena. Our good friend Jane opened the gate for us. We don’t like to get really close to things yet.

We went in and just rode around. We tried to end up standing with the group. It made us nervous to be very close to the group of horses, but we survived.

Sue loves to get on the outside track of an arena and just go. I think that she finds comfort in that as it was how she was rode for quite a bit of time by a past owner who was good to her. Most of my horses like to cut the corner before we get to the fence, but not Sue. She goes straight to the fence. She doesn’t want to cut through the arena. she wants to follow the rail. So, I let her do that some of the time.

We didn’t ride much, but we rode without my fear getting in the way.

That was a big successful ride!