Archive for July, 2010

Day 44-46

Hello All,

I haven’t done a whole lot exciting with Ren in the past couple of days but Topaz and I have been making some great progress. She now bows while I’m on her and consistently canters off on the correct lead. 🙂

But this evening, my dad came out and took some pictures for my Young Rider article and here’s what he came up with…


Ren and I


The whole family 🙂


"These are a few of my favorite things!"


Soft eye.


Here, let me help you bring your nose to the ground so you can eat. 😛


Slightly less graceful, for now.


These Mustangs just can't be trained... NOT 😛


"I'll always love you, and make you happy, if you will only stay the same!"




Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

I’m heading to Snomass this weekend to take care of Karen’s horses while she flies up to Montana to do a clinic. I also get to play with her fabulous Andalusians. 🙂 I look forward to testing my communication skills with Bergante. Hopefully he thinks I’m as clear as I try to be! 🙂

I’ll be back Tuesday!

Tip of the Day:

Horses, by nature, are scared of anything new, different, sudden, or abrupt! This is something that no one can change. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to desensitize a horse to everything they’ll see in life. What you CAN do, is teach them to read your body and your emotions so instead of having any question about whether they should run away from something scary, they will mimick your body and figure “If my leader isn’t scared, I shouldn’t be scared.” You can exercise this by starting with little things and just show them that when your body is not portraying pressure, they shouldn’t feel pressure by whatever stimuli. This is the type of leadership that will “bombproof” your horse. By no means can you simply “desensitize” your horse to everything! The ideal behavior would be for when the horse gets scared for them to read whether you’re calm or ready to leave from a real threat. This helps your relationship as well as your horse’s nerves!

Have fun! Be smart! Be safe!



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“My Horsey Life”

Wild About Mustangs

            The summer of my senior year in high school, I decided I needed to do something memorable that would make a difference. The American Mustang provided exactly this opportunity.

            As the summer began, I became aware of a competition in which young trainers could get a yearling Mustang and have 100 days to train them for a competition with other youth trainers. Less than a month later, after submitting forms of facility requirements, trailer requirements, and a personal biography, I became a trainer for the Extreme Mustang Makeover Yearling Edition—Nebraska ’10.

At the beginning of June, a family member and I drove two days to Elm Creek, Nebraska to pick up the Mustang. He turned out to be a beautiful bay with no markings. From the beginning he showed a curious personality and a willingness to learn. I named him Renaissance because I hoped to see myself go through an enlightenment and him through an artistic rebirth. Three days later, I led him out of the trailer into his stall at home.

Within the first week, I gained his trust and we could walk all around the property and interact with obstacles such as bridges, barrels, poles, tires, tarps, and more. I could pet him all over and isolate his movements to turns on the forehand and haunches. He never refused anything; he always made his best effort to try to respond correctly. His willingness and curiosity made it immeasurably fun to play with him and continues to amaze me every day.

Now with just over a month gone, Renaissance has developed into a horse with mannerisms and behaviors that are desired by many horse owners. He rises to my expectations and he always goes the extra mile to please. He currently does all sorts of ground exercises at on-line and is starting at liberty. I can pony him all over the mountains as well as the arenas from my older Mustang, and perform small tricks such as bowing and smiling.

I have learned so much in this competition. Another program from the Mustang Heritage Foundation allows me to gain knowledge and share it. This Youth Employment Program gives me the responsibility of being a Mustang Representative in which I contribute by publicizing my knowledge and training strengths and struggles in attempt to increase the amount of successful adoptions.

While I strongly support the adoption and training of the American Mustang, I find it crucial to voice the fact that my success (and other trainers’ success) is based on the level of effective communication with horses. As much as I encourage the adoption of Mustangs, it is equally important to gain the knowledge it takes to have a successful relationship with the horses.

Through a journey of trust, respect, and leadership, Renaissance and I strive to demonstrate the trainability and intelligence of the American Mustang as well as the importance of constantly gaining knowledge about the psychology of horses.

Have fun. Be smart. Be safe.

~Stephanie Linsley

For more information, check out my blog at slinsley.wordpress.com.

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           For centuries, horses have affected the lives of human. However, for decades, the focused trend has been the feral horse of the West—the American Mustang. Mustangs have become a trend, a root of sociopolitical conflicts, and a nation wide point interest. When trying to manifest the complexities and situation of this breed, it is important to understand the history as well as the current stature of the Mustang.

            In the 16th century, when Spanish exploration of the New World was in occurrence, horses were also discovering North America. Mustangs (originally known as mestenos or mestangos) developed as a feral group of horses that escaped from the Spanish missions and subsequent populations which brought horses to America. (Mustang4Us) For hundreds of years, these Mustang herds grew to vast numbers roaming throughout the West. The contributory breeds included everything from Morgans and Thoroughbreds of the U.S. and Spanish cavalries, to the working drafts: Percherons and Belgiums. Through natural selection and genetic diversity, a whole new breed of horse with many specific qualities developed and thrived. The new era of the hardy American Mustang was beginning. (Dines)

            During the 1700’s, there was an abundance of grasslands stretching over the Plains, and consequently, wild horses held their own niche in this ecosystem. When Americans began settling in the west, they often released their own domestic stallions and mares into the wild herds in attempt to improve the quality of the next generations of horses. Horses continued to be released for various reasons and because of this, by the middle of the next century, it is said (but not scientifically proven) that over two million wild horses roamed free in North America. (Dines)

            When ranchers began settling the lands in mass quantities, Mustangs became an inconvenience as they took away from available grazing lands for the ranches. Due to this hindrance, people began finding ways to rid the land of the wild horses. Rendering plants sprang up to turn Mustangs into fertilizer and pet food. Ranchers also began fencing in their properties which blocked off access to food and water sources for the wild horses. During the early 1900’s it was also legal to shoot Mustangs that were interfering with ranchers’ grazing lands. The populations of the wild horses which once roamed without conflict plummeted. (Dines)

            When the future looked dim for the wild spirits of the West, a young woman named Velma Johnston (famously known as Wild Horse Annie) stood up for the silent oppressed after witnessing the tragic scene of a truckload of suffering Mustangs. For 12 years she spread the word to Americans across the nation and headed the legislation known as The Wild Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971. (Cruise) This act declared the American Mustang a national icon and pioneer spirit of the West and thereby protecting them from unnecessary capture, branding, harassment, or death. The United States Congress stated that the Mustangs “are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of he public lands.” Wild Horse Annie’s continuous struggles paid off with the passage of this act and the protection of the iconic horses of the West. (US Congress)

            The Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 granted the Bureau of Land Management the responsibility of protecting and managing the Mustangs. Part of this responsibility also entitled the BLM to determine when and where overpopulation occurs and to remove excess animals to control the overpopulation. (US Congress) Methods of fertility control such as the Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) vaccine are also administered by certified individuals to help prevent overpopulation.(Deveraux)

            Today there are approximately 38,400 wild horses and burros residing in BLM managed areas in 10 Western states. The BLM continues to manage and protect the herds with assistance of public adoptions, fertility control, and non-profit associations in alliance with the BLM such as the Mustang Heritage Foundation. In addition, various organizations strive to publicize the positive assets of the beautiful American icons.(Mustang Heritage Foundation) With the support of the public, the wild horse of the Wild West can prevail regardless of an arduous history.


Cruise, David. Wild Horse Annie and the Last of the Mustangs: The Life of Velma Johnston. New York City: Scribner, 2010.

Deveraux, Brad. “PZP expert to talk about horse fertility control.” 23 July 2009. The Lovell Chronicle. 20 July 2010 <http://lovellchronical.com/Read/AllStories/tabid/754/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/2439/PZP-expert-to-talk-about-horse-fertility-control.aspx>.

Dines, Lisa. The American Mustang Guidebook. Minocqua: Willow Creek Press, 2001.

Mustang Heritage Foundation. Mustang Heritage Foundation. 20 July 2010 <http://mustangheritagefoundation.org/foundation.php>.

Mustang4Us. Mustangs 4 Us. 20 November 2004. 17 July 2010 <http://www.mustangs4us.com/mustang4.htm>.

US Congress. “The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.” 1971. BLM.gov. 18 July 2010 <htto://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/wo/Planning_and_Renewable_Resources/wild_horses_and_burros/sale_authority.Par.69801.File.dat/whbact_1971.pdf>.


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Hello everyone!

Today, I was unable to play with my horses due to my need to do homework for the Youth Employment Program. I finished writing my Mustang History report and my “My Horsey Life” article that I’ll be submitting to the Young Rider magazine. I thought I’d share them with you! They will be in the following two posts. 🙂


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I finally got my Introductory video done. This was designed for my Mustang partner, Cyanna since I can’t meet with her face to face. It was taken on an extremely windy day so the quality isn’t excellent. But here is the link to view it on Youtube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtInU_S0Ohc&feature=email

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Day 34-43

Hello all!

Sorry again for the long wait!

For the past ten days Renaissance and I have been doing all kinds of fun stuff.

Last Friday, Kylie and I were going to float down the ditch and so I brought Ren to walk along the bank. Though he was having none of that! No, instead, he felt he needed to be in the water with us! 🙂 He just jumped right in and waded the entire stretch over and over with us! It was so fun and we’ve swam with him a couple times since then.

The Water Horse 🙂

I also started driving him more often and he is doing really well along the rail but gets a little confused when we move off the rail. I have plans with some very experienced drivers to practice with them this week though. 🙂

He now will shift the weight off of all of his feet when I snap my fingers. My goal is to have him lift his feet for me when I snap. 🙂 He is coming along better and better every day! He also is bowing without fussing around. Now we just have to work on the smoothness of it and have him stay down until I ask him to stand back up. 🙂 Again, this is all getting better and better every day.

He has become increasingly more comfortable with other people interacting with him. Though he especially likes my little sister, Jazmyne. Here is Jaz leading Ren…

Jaz and Ren 🙂

Another thing, last Friday a group of friends from the Friends of the Mustangs went up to a friend’s house for a small play day with the horses. I didn’t get many pictures because my phone was dead but things we did included getting on pedistols, jumping barrels and stacked pipes, walking under hanging tarps and pool noodles, jump down hills and up hills, playing with big Parelli balls, and this… 🙂

Just south of riding. 🙂

We mastered the trick where he walks underneath me and I stand above him where I would be riding. I also can stand on his butt and balance and he just stands there. 🙂 Here is the Captain Morgan pose! 😛

TaDa 🙂

The other night I played with both of my horses in the large arena with Ren at liberty and Topaz under saddle. We played a little target game where the goal was to get Ren to put his nose in the corner and stay there while Topaz and I rode. This game was a good mental and physical activity for both horses because I needed Topaz to be very precise with her movements. As fast as we needed to put pressure towards Ren, we needed to release as well. This got Topaz reconnected to me while Ren got to think about being rewarded by comfort and reading our pressure. It took a while, but he finally stayed in the corner while Topaz and I rode one lap around the arena so we accepted that as the greatest effort of Ren and called it a day. 🙂

Everything is flowing so smoothly with Renaissance and there’s always more to learn!

Thanks for reading!

Tip of the Day:

It is the Release that teaches!

A common misconception in the equine industry is that horses learn from pressure. They will learn by pulling on the bit because it is a punishment for not stopping when you said Woah. Not Quite! Instead of pressure, it is the release of pressure that teaches the horse. Whatever behavior the horse is exercising when he finds comfort or you release the pressure, is the behavior that he will continue to do. This causes people to need to become very precise with their timing or else confuse the horse!

Remember to always release pressure the second the horse is exercising the correct behavior! 

Try to hone your timing so that your communication is clearer with your horse!

Have fun. Be smart. Be safe.


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Day 25-33

Hello everyone!

Forgive me for being so long for this post because now this one is going to be long!

When I left off on Day 24, I had passed out and been instructed to rest for a few days. For the following two days I did nothing much past resting and petting the horses briefly when I fed.

Friday, Eli and I hauled up to Snowmass for Karen Scholl’s Horsemanship for Women clinic. I have been learning from Karen from 5 years and have participated in 8 of her clinics now. She is a wonderful teacher and a phenomenal horse woman. I never pass up an opportunity to learn something new from her. I recommend everyone with a horse should participate in at least one of her clinics in their lifetime! It is nothing but beneficial.

She will be having a clinic here in Grand Junction on the weekend of August 27-29. Check out her website for your reservation. www.KarenScholl.com

So I had the privilege of participating in her clinic in Snowmass this weekend which was located at the beautiful Moon Run Ranch. To say the least, Renaissance and I learned so much during the clinic. We were able to fill in some holes that we’ve had and strengthen what we were already good at. The transformation that we were able to undergo this weekend drastically strengthened our abilities and my leadership with him. During the clinic we did everything from desensitizing to backing, isolations, sidepassing, driving, circling, and a few other fun things. I greatly enjoyed Karen’s ability to give Ren and I a job while the other participants were riding. I wasn’t able to take very many pictures during the clinic but Karen and Eli took some fun pictures and videos that I’ll get from them soon to post on here. 🙂 

During the evenings, after the clinic, I was able to play around the ranch where we swam in the pond, climbed hills, ran up and down the trails, and more.

Here is Ren in the Taj Mahal of horse stables.

Poking his head out.

Here he is next to a beautiful creek at the ranch…

Ren and Stream.

Here he is under an antler arch…

Don't lift your head!

And up the stairs…

The all naturale Stair Master.

And over the ditch…

"I've been doin' this since I was born!"

 And up the rock wall…

Mountain Goat!

One of the evenings, I was taking Ren for a walk and we decided to go for a swim.

"Hey, this is fun!"

He took right to the water…

Drinking and Splashing

And he cleared the grass away from the edges…

Tall grass--Yum!

He loved the water and played in it for about a half hour until I couldn’t feel my toes so we got out. Karen got a really fun video of us playing in the water that I’ll get from her as soon as she puts them up somewhere. The water was FREEZING so I didn’t go any farther than belly deep, but Ren swam out as far as the 12 ft lead rope would let him. I’m excited to take the horses up to the Mesa Lakes and really swim with all of them. 🙂

Here is Ren after the swim…

This towel isn't quite big enough for his whole body! 🙂

Also after the swim, I discovered LEECHES on my feet and ankles! It was really weird but Peroxide got them all off really quickly. 🙂

On the last day of the clinic we were doing fun stuff like having him walk underneath me while I’m standing on barrels (also on tape) and interacting with the “Big Pink Wiggly Guy” (Sky Dancer thing outside of car dealers and stuff). He didn’t care one bit about the Wiggly Guy, in fact, he had his butt to it in a matter of minutes.

The clinic was so much fun and the ideal vacation for my horse and I. Eli and I also got the privilege of staying with a very nice couple in Basalt on Saturday night. It was so nice of them to share their home with us. Thank you Sally and Craig!

On Monday, Eli, Karen, and I headed back to Grand Junction. For the past few days, during the cool hours of the day, I’ve been playing with Renaissance with driving, conditioning, and all the usual stuff. 🙂

He has gotten to the point where he will pick up his feet from a snap of my fingers. He is such a smart horse!

Can you believe we’re 1/3 the way through this!?

Tip of the Day:

Less is More! Often times people tend to work on something until it gets good, and then work on it some more. Instead, when the horse is giving you his very best effort, stop! Reward his best effort and move on! Do less instead of more. This way, if you quit every time they give their best effort, they will give you more and more of their best NEXT time! People think that they have to “Drill the exercises!” until the horse is tired! However, this only encourages mediocre behavior! So remember- Less is More!!

Have fun! Be smart! Be safe!

~Stephanie and Renaissance

Thank you to my sponsors:

ALAMAR STABLES LLC    (970) 523-1145



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