Posts Tagged ‘Tony Vaught’

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 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 – Announcing a Scary Goal

Two years and four months of emotional fitness.

 ”My personal craven coward to hero journey”,

Employing the practical purpose of natural horsemanship

Using high level friendly games, bonding and leadership-with a “ruined” right brain introvert

It is my thrill to announce:

I will be showing Sue at the Fox Trotter All Breed Horse Show at Longview Horse Park on 8/9/08. 

  • Riding from the trailer into the arena,
  • Riding back to the trailer
  • Long awaited goals!

Occasionally, Sue and I will even be performing the gait as directed by the judge!

If you are there, please cheer me on.  Ahem.. You can even clap if you “stand back” from the fence as we sail by!  We’re not totally immune yet to arm movements!

Thank you to all the people that have helped Sue and I in this journey.  A special thanks to Tony, and Jenny Vaught and Nichole Copple for the role they played in the rehabilitation of  Sue (and me too).

“Bring ‘em in at the Fox Trot”

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 Plateau?

Yep, we’ve plateau’d. Of course that’s not a real word.
Sue has spent her first week at the boarding stable, called “For the Horse” Ranch. A small amount of her fear came back and I spent two riding nights with her completely on the ground. I managed to ride her the third night. After a couple laps around the arena, we stopped and I breathed again. That fear is there waiting….

We had two clinics on Saturday. One was with Jenny Vaught in the am and the other one was with Tony Vaught in the PM.

Sue’s forward bolts are now only two steps before she stops. Jenny pointed out to me that I lean forward at the start of the bolt instead of staying on my balance point. I still grab at the reins. I am a miserable human being.

In the afternoon, I repeated my plight about not being a strong enough leader that Sue trusts me…especially on her back.

Tony figured out an amazing exercise for us. The principle is to bring the horse right up to the emotional part of fear and then stop doing whatever causes the fear. (FEAR! / RELAX) That way the horse learns that he/she can deal with fear and maybe fear isn’t necessary.

It’s just magic. I’ve heard Tony tell this to auditors at Difficult Horse Clinics, but of course it never registered for my own personal journey with horse.

So, my task was to ask Sue to do something, then ask her to do it faster. When I asked her to do the task faster, that brought up her fear. Then we were to slow down and quit when she was light and relaxed. We did this backing, hindquarter disengagements, front quarter disengagements and sidepassing. We had long periods in between of dwelling.

After about an hour of this, Tony told me to do more than one thing–transition from backing to sidepassing etc. We spent a while at this too. Transitions take a while. She might get emotional during the transitional tasks and I couldn’t stop until she was relaxed.

Here’s what I learned. Sue had gotten used to me asking her for 3-4 steps. She assumed and stopped. That was when the stick ran into her. Then she did hurry and move. I had to keep going until her panic abated and she would slow down and relax. Then we quit.

After she stopped making the assumption of the 3-4 steps, I was able to go slow, speed up and then go slow again and quit. Just think how many transitions from fear to relaxation that Sue did in an hour.

I asked permission to ride for the last hour. Sue was the most relaxed that I’ve ever seen her. We had a few wondrous laps around the arena. It was so wondrous that I got off and quit for the day.

I rode her again Sunday. We practiced our slow and fast games. We practiced cantering at liberty in the round pen. She can canter; she can’t sustain a canter-yet.

Then we rode. We rode for a while until we had one lap without breaking gait. I got off and we walked down the long end of the arena to get a Winnie’s Cookie. Sue was very impressed.

I got back on and we did some laps the other way until she did a perfect lap without breaking gait.

My new mandate is to ride with one hand on the horn holding the loose rein in the crook of a finger. When something goes wrong, the reins aren’t in a position where my “jerk the reins back” response works right away. By the time my hands find both reins, the bolt has stopped.

So we did all these laps with perfectly loose reins. She did speed up in the semi bolt now and then. I managed to stay quiet and not grab the reins. We stood for a lot of rubbing after this.

Then I decided it was carry the carrot stick time. She didn’t flinch when I picked up the stick. She did start the bolt when I had the stick in my hand sideways. The stick scared her and the bolt started in slow motion. Her head comes up and her muscles tense. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hold only one rein to stop. My hands grabbed both reins. Sue stopped in 2-3 steps. We did a lot of rubbing then and she was fine with the stick.

I did pick the stick up and let the string go from side to side. It just slid across her mane. That’s all that my courage was able to do at this point. So we rode with the stick.

After a few laps, my courage failed me again and we put the stick down. We did a couple more laps without breaking gait and quit for the day.

I’m very proud of her progress.

I think there is hope for me too!

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do with Having a Bad Day?

Sue had a hard day today. Well, let me tell you about it.

We went to Pine Dell and Isabel was boiling in her stall. It’s her turn to stay with Velvet in the dry lot at night. I got the saddle on Sue and then got Isabel. I let Isabel loose in the big arena and she ran back and forth from the gate where Sue was tied and the front of the arena. Finally, I got Sue ready and in we went.

I let Sue loose and we played the circle game at liberty with two horses. We all had quite a time. Isabel, still feeling fresh, exploded now and then in a kick at Sue. Sue dodged.

Tony came by and we chatted about Isabel. I turned around and had Isabel come into me. I petted her and let her return to play with Sue. Tony and I chatted for a while and that’s when I noticed that Sue and Isabel were still running around the arena. They would trot half the arena and then stop and rest for a moment.

This is when Sue’s mind turned from horse accepting of humans into a “Can’t Catch Me Horse”. Isabel was having such a great time at this, she just followed Sue.

We started playing the Catch Me game in earnest. They had to keep moving and I didn’t. If either horse looked in to me, I would back up and allow the horse to catch me. That didn’t happen.

They were having a great time running around the arena. Sue was the lead horse and Isabel was right on her hip.

That’s when I noticed the catastrophe starting to happen. Was that saddle slipping. hmmm. Yes, I believe the saddle is starting to slip. Oh Wow! It’s half way to her belly right now. I headed them off and got both horses to stop. I approached Isabel and then Sue. Right as I was starting to get my rope over Sue’s neck, Isabel took off and Sue flew away too. It wasn’t but a half a lap and Sue was wearing the saddle underneath her tummy.

She went galloping around a corner, slipped and fell. Then she couldn’t get up. It was hard to determine if she had a foot caught in something or what. Isabel came over and pretended to kick at her. I thought that was pretty nasty of her.

Sue stopped thrashing and I has able to get to her head. Tony got there and took over Sue. I got to Isabel and started leading her to the gate. Barb came in with the halter and took Isabel away.

Tony had kept Sue from struggling. He held her neck down and just rubbed and rubbed her. When I got back, he was ready to get the saddle off. Luck was with us as the place where the girth was cinched up was right on the top of Sue’s belly. Tony was able to reach it and then we all stepped back. Now Sue was too frightened to get up. Tony had to slap her on her rear to get her to try again. We finally determined that she had her feet in the belly of the saddle and couldn’t get the foot to stay in place. Finally, the saddle was thrown aside and Sue was able to rise. She was unhurt.

Tony haltered her and handed me the lead rope. We all rubbed on her for a moment. Then I took her over to the mounting block and I just sat there with her. She had steam coming up from her back.

After the steam settled, I need to play with her some more to get her mind back in the game and also to tighten her saddle girth.

I decided to play with the Hula Hoop. Sue is still very nervous about the Hula Hoop going over her head. This time we started with the hoop going over her head instead of finishing with it. We also got a lot of ear touching done with the hoop.

Then I used the hoop instead of the carrot stick to ask Sue to do the circle game, turn on the hind quarters and forequarters. We played with it again and again over the head.

I also “accidentally” dropped the hoop on the saddle. That makes Sue nervous. She flinches with things hit the saddle and make a noise.

Finally, it’s time to ride. Sue is so nervous after I got on that when I let the rope rein go slack, she flinched when it touched her neck. Now that is nervous.

So, all we did for a long while is the 4 corner game. We walked to a corner, stopped and backed. We sat there for a least a minute and I rubbed her neck. Sometimes I rubbed her rear end too. Then we walked the other direction. After a while of this, she would let out a huge sigh at every stop. She also started to shake her head. She was letting the stress go.

After a long time at the walk, we did a faster walk to the corners. After we did this and she was relaxed at the stops, we went on up to a gait. We did that and then started to pass a corner. Instead of stopping at every corner, we skipped 2-3 corners.
When she got so that she could go down the long end of the arena at a nice relaxed gait, we stopped for the day.

She took me up to the fence and I dismounted. She wasn’t nearly as surprised this time when I suddenly disappeared from her back.

We had a good ride.

PostHeaderIcon JR’s Journal – A lot of Excitement in Learning How To Stop

I was going to ride JR at home and was doing the pre flight check up.  He did his version of the bucking bronco.  He has no suspension when he bucks.  It just looks like a rocking chair canter with the head down!  This went on for a while.  Then the wind came up and the rain clouds approached.  I decided this was not the time for valor!  We loaded up and went over to Pine Dell.

Well, the arena was being used for turn out for a weanling and older friend.  So, we rode outside after all.  He was nice and pyched up, but we managed to have a beautiful ride up and back in the 40 acre hay field.  He did a smooth fox trot the entire time!  He had been switching back and forth between the running walk and the fox trot. 

Then, one of my friends told me that she was having a lesson with Jenny at 4:00 and would I like to join it.!  whooppee.  Jenny was late, but husband Tony was there to start us out.  I complained about JR’s stop at the canter.  It takes him too long to stop after I ask.  Tony asked me if I wanted to get a REALLY REALLY good …almost reining horse stop.  I said, Yes!.

Passenger riding is the answer.  Since I don’t have a great stop at the trot either, we elected to do this at a trot.

Passenger riding.  In an arena.  You do not hang on to the reins.  You don’t tell the horse where to go with leg aides.  His job is to travel nicely in one direction next to the wall…that’s when I get to ask with my body for him to stop.

Traveling nicely along the wall is not the horse’s idea.  They like to go in small circles…get next to other horses in the arena…visit places they like to stop at the middle.  My job is to keep JR trotting…even in the tight little circles.

In the arena is the weanling (loose), Tony is training a spooky horse and two other women riding.  Did I mention that JR was fascinated with the weanling.  He kept trying to visit the weanling.

All set.  I let the reins loose and get set…GO! WELL…all JR wanted to do was chase the weanling!  We zipped along towards the weanling and the weanling took off…and so did JR!  Forget the passenger riding, our game turned into a Cutting Horse Game.  I let out my famous quiet scream and soon the cutting horse game came to a stop.  Tony decided that my passenger game needed to continue without the weanling.  The weanling was delivered back to his stall.

I have a COW HORSE!  JR hooked onto that weanling like he wanted to eat him for dinner.  I’ve been wondering how JR would do at a cow clinic and now I KNOW!

Well, the passenger game continued.  We tried really hard to run into Tony and the spooky horse.  I have to urge JR to go faster when we turn into the middle, which really spooked the spooky horse.  Tony did appreciate this.  It helped the spooky horse to learn that nothing was going to eat him.  Then we decided to go help the cantering horse.  We were fox trotting ..heads even… with the horse that was cantering.  The cantering horse was on the wall and JR and I were on the inside.  We looked like synchronized swimming there for a while.  The end of the arena came…we both made the turn and JR cut her off on the far long wall.  But, no matter!  I apologized to everyone before we started.

We did some more nice little circles and fast turns here and there and finally JR discovered that being on the wall was the nicest place to be.  I asked him to stop several times and he didn’t listen, so he got pushed to go faster….but we did stay in the fox trot almost the entire time this went on!  Finally, his body told him to listen to my body and he stopped.  We stayed stopped for about 5 minutes.  That’s the release that teaches!

We got to do this once more and it didn’t take near as long …nor near as many quick little turns for him until he was floating along the wall and then came to a stop when my body told him.  This time the stop was almost reining horse stop!

The lesson with Jenny was pretty nice.  We fox trotted nicely.He cantered nicely.  We pretended to do flying lead changes.  Jenny complimented us at the end of the lesson!

I had a bunch of fun with JR today.  He is SO Much Fun to ride now that he has the gait back!!!

PostHeaderIcon Velvet at Equitana -Velvet the Slow -Herd Breaker II

The 2nd Savvy Demonstration was held in Freedom Hall. That’s the ultimate facility. It was full to watch the much talked about Parelli demonstrations!This is the facility where the evening performance, the Mane Event, is held. You can be in the arena and look up at the seats that go to the sky.

The instructors came and wowed the crowd with the things that they can do with their horses. People were abuzz about this one and that one. Velvet seemed to be much more relaxed on this day. She stuck with Jenny until..well, that’s today’s story.

Pat came in and explained some of the concepts. He introduced all the instructors and their horses. He didn’t elaborate this day about Fox Trotters. Upon introducing Jenny, he told the crowd that she was riding a Missouri Fox Trotter.

Pat told us that he was going to do something different each day. Today, he was going to demonstrate how these horses are horses…but also bonded with their human. He is going to conduct an experiment. He proposed to turn all the horses loose and send them all out on the rail. We would see how long it would take before we could tell that each horse was seeking out it’s human.

One more thing…Pat’s horse is a Stallion…a black stallion. Pat had Casper right with him when he proposed this game. I’m thinking…is Velvet

in heat?

All at once the instructors sent their horse out on a gallop on the rail. There were eight horses that went out. The game was to keep the horses going the same direction at the same gait. The instructors stood lined up in the middle to prevent the horses from cutting through any part of the middle. Eight horses went to the rail and started galloping.

The black mare was galloping easy…going a steady pace. But, all the other horses were going a much faster pace. She never really tried to speed up and stay with the other horses. For 5 laps of this arena we had the 7 horses in a group and the black mare solo. It became apparent that the group of horses were catching up with the solo horse. On the 7th lap, the horses were all on the same side of the arena…with the large group in back steadily catching up with the one in front.

The slow, but beautiful black mare was about midway along the long end of the rail. The solo horse had started to become bothered that she was alone…she had started taking glances at the group behind her.

All at once, she turned and galloped wildly toward the group just coming around the corner. (This was against the rules of going the same direction, but no human was fast enough to react and stop her). She ran pell mell into the group of seven.

The group of seven became alarmed and slammed on their collective seven sets of brakes. It looked like a black mare “bowling ball” had made a strike. Horses went in all directions. Then, as if they had spoken to each other, all horses turned around and started running the opposite way, Velvet’s way. This was Linda Parelli’s end. She and a few other instructors ran down to the end of the arena to turn all the horses back the original direction and get them going into a canter again. This took several wild moments with horses going here and there. (Maybe bedlam is too harsh a word to describe this scene.) In short order, all the horses had turned and were running the original direction. Jenny and Tony (Jenny’s husband) were relaxing on the other end of the arena…ready to fly into action if such an event occurred on their end…it didn’t!

Velvet was in the middle of the herd. But not for long. Soon she had dropped to the back and then was left by the group again.

I thought this was a good ad for people who are afraid of horses that run off…Buy fox trotters…if they run off,  it will be s l o w e r than any other horse!!!

Eventually the horses tired of running around and started looking for their humans to save them. Several horses came running into their owner. The gallop had slowed down to a canter and the group had lapped Velvet. She teamed up with Sasha, Jenny’s own quarter horse who was being used by Tony. Velvet had ridden in the trailer from KC to Louisville with Sasha, so they had become good friends.

Velvet teamed up with Sasha and Pat started talking about them as the “married couple horses”. Pat asked, “Are the married couple’s horses ready to come in?” Jenny and Tony caught the eye of Velvet and Sasha and they came galloping in. Whoops, confusion occurred. Sasha wanted to come to Jenny too, but was confused about Tony standing there. Well, Velvet said the heck to this waiting, I’ll go to Tony! Sasha went to Jenny and Velvet went to Tony! The crowd murmured “they went to different people!”…after a few moments when none of the 3000 people were watching (ha), Jenny and Tony switched horses!

This is when it became clear to me that Velvet was going to do something Every Day to draw attention to herself. The personality of Velvet and her owner is more alike than I thought…HAMS! (By the way, the stallion did not cause one iota of trouble in the galloping herd.)

Pat talked for a while after that…and the horses rested. While Pat talked and the horses caught their breath, the instructors mounted the horses. Jenny mounted Velvet by jumping on her neck….about the last 1/4 of the neck. Velvet raised her head and Jenny slid down to her withers and got her legs on both sides of her…mounting bareback…no halter, bridle… nothing but the small 6′ rope around her neck. That’s how she rode the remainder of the demonstration.