The special event that Tripp says I missed in the last post?
We were married on May 30, 2003. Happy Anniversary to us! Woo hoo!
Our anniversary weekend was spent at a friends place. She had a clinician from Colorado (Stephanie Linsley) there who wanted to practice for a colt starting contest. We took two of our horses for her to play with. There were several horses that had different levels of training. None of them were saddle trained and some were trained to lead while others had very little handling. Here is a short story of the two we took.
Ace. Mustang extraordinaire. Age 8.
History: He was adopted as a yearling, and the next year he showed up at a horse sale. A friend saw him and called me; the kill buyer bought him. She called me knowing I wanted to get in to rescue (which we found out is a bad idea....if you can't let go it just doesn't work very well) so we picked him up. He has been here ever since. I have done very little with him. You know the drill...full time job, too many horses....that about says it all. Every year he gets better looking and fills out more. It is amazing how much they can change for so long.
Ace meets Stephanie, and he is freaked out. She has a plan and she isn't going anywhere! From the minute she stepped into the round pen and he checked her out - I was proud! He really did do well!
"Well hello Miss Stephanie...."
"Miss Stephanie, I don't think bandanas look good on me back there....just sayin'"
"HHHEEEEEEKKKKKK....sucking in breath....don't breath....what is that? Why is it flying at me? HHHEEEEKKKK, it is gona hurt! I just know it!"
"Look at me, I am wearing a colorful pad! You are right Miss S...can I call you Miss S? This doesn't hurt!"
WHAT YOU ALL DON'T SEE: Ace blew up and took off bucking after Steph got the saddle on. He bucks large! I thought I had it on video but nope, it was not on. Grrrrr!!!!! Someone got a picture but I can't find it. After the bucking eposide, it was a great session.
Ace got used to the dead cow on his back and got to listening to Steph. I was very impressed with Steph and soooooo proud of Ace!
"Yes Miss S, I can back up for ya."
"Oh Miss S....that tickles! No bandanas there please. Nicker snort...."
"Hee heee, I will show Miss S. I will just walk around like this because it is less work. Yep, I got this gig figured out."
"ACK! What is she doing? I hope I don't fall over. I like Miss S and don't want to hurt her. I won't lie....this is kinda scary."
(I am trying to remember, but I think Steph did get all the way on at the end of his session on day 1)
"So this is what an honest days work feels like. I learned so much today!"
"Okay, I can't hide it any more. I am tired! Woo wee, she is one tough cowgirl! Are we going back home now?"
DAY 1 - Zephyr Rose. Mustang Marvelous! (She picked that name) :-) Age 8.
History: Word was put on the street that an animal rescue had to close, and there was an untitled mustang there. She was adopted by the guy who was managing the place. He was gone but the horse wasn't. Brian thought about it; then we e-mailed the gal who had the rescue. No response. We took it as a sign that it was not meant to be.
Then she was picked up by local friends/volunteers to take her to an adoption. The man who adopted her had the chance to show up and get his mustang and get her titled but he didn't show up. She came back home with the friends/volunteers to try to find a home for her. I told Brian that she came back with them, so we called that day and went to visit her. It all had to be Brian's decision....he spent a long time with her and decided he wanted her. We were told she had been trail ridden. At that point, that was all we knew about her. We brought her home and she started out snarky with the other horses (she was the same way at the rescue and we were told about this ahead of time), she didn't like to be cornered....it really stressed her out, she didn't like her feet held up for more than 1 or 2 seconds, but all in all she was very willing and loved to be around humans. We tried sliding on her bareback a couple times and she freaked out! (I had a horse like that....awesome under saddle but bareback was not in his vocabulary) Brian had a saddle on her and did a little bit of ground work (she braced against pressure a lot). That was all we did so did not have any idea what she could do or was willing to do. Stephanie said bring her over.
"Why is this girl ignoring me? I am here and either need some petting or a treat. Both make me happy."
"Hi Steph, may I call you Steph? I am Zephyr and am not sure what I am doing here. Let me tell you a story! First they try making me travel with that other horse. But there are wasps in the trailer! Yikes! Then the two leggeds bring this weird shaped thing out that makes a scary whooshing sound, and make it smell bad in the tin box. It flat out stunk! The wasps thought so too because they started dropping to the floor! I made up my mind then and there, I was not going in that thing with that other horse and the smells. Too much pressure. When the two leggeds left with the brown turd colored mustang, I thought I got out of this whatever it is, but nope. The one two legged came back for me! Now here I am...what are we going to do about this?"
(Zeph did so well she went straight to the big girl saddle and skipped the training saddle)
"ACK! Steph, this isn't what I had in mind! I thought you would help me get back with my new family so I can stand around looking marvelous! Why are you tossing that snake looking thing at my butt?"
"Okay, this girl is not going to give up, so I better do something and look good doing it. I think I will trot...slowly. Gotta conserve energy you know."
"Whoa Steph, no need to hurry! Let's just hang out together and relax. (Hmmm, she isn't going anywhere. Time to focus and try to process all this. New place, new two legged who wants me to do lots of things, and a stinky tin box I had to ride in.) Okay Steph, bring it on! I can do this! I am brave...AND MARVELOUS!"
Stephanie decided Zephyr needed some more encouragement. Steph was getting exhausted trying to keep that energy up. Diana, the gal who owns the place, came in with a stick and flag to help keep Zeph moving. That left Stephanie able to help Zeph change directions, etc. When Brian first got Zeph I joked with him about her being my other endurance horse. I don't think so....unless she changes her mind about what kind of work she will like.
"Steph, who is that other two legged in the pen? And why is she carrying that long thing with a flappy end? Don't worry! I will protect you!"
It was an exhausting hour for Steph and Zeph both. I loved seeing this too....if Stephanie didn't have confidence in Zephyr, she would never be doing this. And Zephyr was paying attention but not too worried.
Nothing like a good roll after hard work!
That night we had a bon fire. We all had so much fun! Everyone had stories to share and we all laughed and carried on. Brian and I set our tent up next to Stephanie's for the night. What a great ending to day 1!
"Miss S, are you tired?"
"Miss S, I would be happy to have someone get you a pillow. But isn't there someplace else you can rest so I can carry on with my day?"
"Oh oh, I remember this from yesterday. I learned it isn't called a dead cow, and I learned that it doesn't matter how much I jump around, it is going to be stuck on me. Not that I won't try just one more time.....nicker snort!"
(And he did...but the bucking didn't last as long)
"Miss S, you keep looking at my butt. I have heard my other girl say "Mustang butts drive me nuts" and she ain't jokin'! They do drive you all nuts! You all can't stop looking.......I will just keep moving it out of the way until you stop lookin'!"
"I will follow you this time, and next time you can follow me. Sounds like a great game!"
When I watch Steph get on the horses and sit like this, it makes me nervous. I am older, got hurt, and my brain says if that horse moves quickly I won't be able to react quick enough to land on my feet. Not to mention if I did land on my feet I don't have as much spring in my joints as I used to. Ha! The thing is, if Steph was not comfortable with what was going on with the horse, she would not be up there. Such a young girl with an incredible gift!!!
"Hey other girl, look at us! We are doing it and I can feel that everyone is happy!"
"Oh oh, something different. What is she doing?"
"I feel her on both sides of me now. Is she going to grip me? What is she doing up there? Oh wait, I think this might be more comfy for both of us."
"I think she means for me to walk so I will. She will let me know if I misunderstood."
"Look at me trot! I AM TROTTING!!!!!"
"Look at me trot the other way! And look at the face Miss Marvelous is making at me! Nicker snort....I don't need another person in the pen to move ME around. I am doing it all by myself. Me and Miss S!"
"Woo wee, I am so happy and feel so good, but I am also very tired. All this learning is hard work. Thank you Miss S for teaching me new things. I like you!"
"Do I look like a real cowgirl horse?"
(Brian and I both were so happy at the end of this session. Ace exceeded my expectations over these two days and I see so much potential in him. Now to make time to work with him...)
Stephanie travels with Wyatt. He is one big boy who thinks he is a little puppy.
This is what he does....comes right up and sits on laps. Everyone fell in love with Wyatt!
Wyatt slept in Stephanie's tent with her.
During the lunch break Stephanie got to go swimming with the horses. It is a great way to cool off!
There are parts where the horses were not touching the bottom....this is what you call real horse swimming. They had so much fun!
Now it is Zephyr's turn.
"Oooooohhhhhhh, I don't like this part and the girl knows it. Why why why?"
"Be brave, be brave, be brave....BE MARVELOUS!"
"This is not so bad. Hmmmm, silly me! Steph (she said I could call her Steph) would never do anything to hurt me. This isn't so bad."
"Time for the big girl saddle. I got to start out with the big girl saddle yesterday. That brown turd colored horse might trot without any help from another two legged, but I get to start out with the big girl saddle BECAUSE I AM MARVELOUS!"
"OH CRAP! OH CRAP! OH CRAP! WHAT THE !@#$!@#$!@#$!@#$!"
(Stephanie put bottles on the saddle after rubbing Zeph with them. Dragging them is much scarier than just tolerating a touch. Zeph can move when she wants to!)
"I am sorry Steph. I just freaked out on ya. They moved and made a weird nose and I just lost my mind. Thank you for sticking with me and understanding I needed to work my way through it. Whew! I need to practice those!"
"Yes, this is much better. Where is that brown turd colored horse now? I want him to see this! Just me and the nice girl!"
"I am imagining myself on the trail with my other two leggeds. Those will be good days! Thank you Steph for reminding me what I can do, and for showing the other two leggeds how MARVELOUS I really am. Even though they already knew it and took a chance on me. Nicker snort...."
What a great two days! Brian and I had a rough start....we could not get the horses loaded together and you know how it is....when their emotions run high and ours run high, it is a recipe for failure. We have a 12 ft stock trailer with no divider. Zephyr was not sure about sharing space with Ace and Ace respects her space. So we had the intimidation tactic from her to Ace. Then there were wasps in the trailer so we sprayed them. Now we had a stinky smelling trailer and intimidation tactic mixed with our emotions. We ended up taking the horses one at a time. We got Ace there that morning then Brian headed home to get Zephyr. (2 hrs one way) After the two days, Stephanie helped load both horses together. There was no drama....they said "Okay, whatever" They were tired and their minds were in a different place. Stephanie loaded and unloaded each one several times and then together several times. I watched Stephanie and how she positioned them in the trailer, then the light bulb went off! I am hoping I can do it how she did it. (I have habits to break)
When she put the first one in, she didn't let them turn to face the back (looking at the back door). She had them stand as if they were in a slant stall facing almost forward. Then the other one went in facing the same way. Once they were tied in and the door shut, then they could reposition to face the back, which is the direction they prefer to face when traveling.
I am used to putting in Tripp and Wyoming. Tripp gets in and turns his butt to the front of the trailer but at a slight angle. Then I put Wy in and he turns himself to stand the same way Tripp is. Even riding separate they prefer to face the back. I read an article about someplace that did some testing and there is less stress on their legs if they face backwards. Anyways, they prefer it so I am happy letting them.
It was a great weekend of learning and visiting with friends, and making new friends.
I heard that Stephanie is coming back this year and they are doing a different format for her clinic. I won't be able to take a horse to the clinic, but I am hoping to go audit. The world is a classroom....
How did we meet Stephanie? She was a youth competitor at the 2010 EMM in Lincoln, NE. She took Reserve Champion with her yearling. Look at her now! I highly recommend her if you need horse help or just need some training done. Search her on the internet....you will find her. The girl really does have a special gift.
Until later....Karen and Tripp who is rolling on the ground laughing because the other two didn't have any idea what they were in for! Nicker snort!