Archive for August, 2010

Day 64

Hey all,

I know I said I was just going to spend time with my two legged friends today, but you know I couldn’t leave out my four legged family! I had fun swimming and floating and sunning with my friends though!

This evening the family and I decided to go shooting at the C road desert which happens to be less than a mile from Alamar. So I rode Topaz and ponied Ren out while they set up.

I was in a rush to saddle up and ride out there so as soon as I got on, Topaz and I took off at a lope so we could get out there and shoot. Ren was a bit confused by the fact that we didn’t do anything to warm up. “What happened to the walk then trot then walk some more?!” But what he learned today was that he has to be ready to go anywhere, any time, with any level of urgency! He figured it out really quickly!

Once we got out to the range, I tied Topaz to the front rack of the truck and walked Ren around to the back where the family was shooting.  He didn’t care one bit to begin! He was aware of the shots but wasn’t scared. I shot a few rounds next to him and he was fine to start with.


He was really good for a long time but then all of a sudden he started to get bothered by the shots. I was considering maybe his ears started getting bothered so every shot hurt his already bothered ears.

To end on a good note, I tied him to the front of the truck with Topaz and took some time to shoot until he stopped fussing. Then I rode home and we called it a good day! 🙂 We’ll keep working on this shooting thing! 🙂

Tip of the Day:

Just like Topaz was ready to go, your horse should be ready at any given moment to do anything you ask! If your kid’s horse comes running back from the trail without a rider, I bet you’d want your horse to be able to run and save your possibly injured kid! This ability comes with an increase in leadership and variety. Remember to not get stuck in the same pattern every day! Change it up as often as possible so that your horse doesn’t start to assume a pattern.

Have fun! Be smart! Be safe!

~Stephanie and Renaissance



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Day 63

Hello all!

As you know, today I was supposed to go to the show and show Renaissance in Halter and Showmanship. However, I got there late and missed Halter and then the as we waited and waited to go into Showmanship, the announcer forgot to call our class! So basically, Ren didn’t get to make his big debute! 😦

Topaz and I did the Western classes and did alright, and my little sister Jazmyne rode Topaz in leadline and won 1st! (All 5 of the little kids got 1st) 🙂

Jazmyne and her sleeping pony!

Renaissance was a good boy today as he patiently waited at the trailer all day! He was a bit confused about why we left and went home without doing anything! 🙂

Sorry I didn’t return with any great stories about Ren winning Showmanship or anything! Next time! 🙂

Tomorrow I’m going to be spending time with my very neglected two-legged friends!

Tip of the Day:

How do you get a horse to ride well in the trailer? Have him ride alot! Most of us only take our horses anywhere in the trailer once a month or less. However, you never see a traveling horseman on the show circuit or a traveling clinician with a horse who doesn’t like riding in the trailer! If you don’t do many events with your horse, just take him on errands! When you go to the grocery story, take him! It doesn’t at all hurt a horse to spend time in a horse trailer- in fact, they learn to like it! So hook up the horse trailer next time you go to Wal-Mart! 🙂

Have fun! Be smart! Be safe!

~Stephanie and Renaissance

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Day 62

This evening concluded day 2 of West Fest! 

What a GREAT day! Friday the 13th? I think Not! 🙂 

Tracy and I were able to get there a bit later than yesterday since our booth and tent were already set up from yesterday and our horses were stalled at the fairgrounds over night. We took down our out-of-place blue nylon tent and buddied up with some very nice mountain men under an authentic canvas tent so we fit in better! They were a great bunch of people; fun, friendly, and most importantly, very respectful of the Mustangs! 

I did alot more with Renaissance today since there was more public interest. We had a 50 ft “round” pen set up and Ren and I did whatever we could in there from driving to liberty play to Almost laying down! Yeah, he’s almost there! By the way things are going, I think he should be laying down for the competition, but I make no promises! Wouldn’t that be cool though?! 🙂 

When we got bored in the round pen, I took Ren for “drives” around the whole place. He did great with it all! He only once spooked through the entire day and when he did, he merely hopped in place and kept right on walking as calmly as before. 🙂 

Renaissance attracted alot of attention from passerbyers, children, and people of all sorts. There was one group of older people (two couples) that were a joy to talk to. I talked with them about my Mustangs and my involvement with the horses and the competition for a long time. One of the couples told me that they work with juvenile delinquents in Arizona and that it was great to meet such a wholesome, respectful teenager with a great purpose in life. It just tickled me! 🙂 Then I brought out Ren to meet them and one of the guys just fell in love! I swear he petted him and loved on him for 20 minutes straight! With an ear to ear grin the entire time, not to mention! It really just made my heart happy to see someone share the joy of Renaissance with me! For a while I thought this guy was going to take him home! 🙂 It really made my day. They were all so sweet and the way the one guy fell head over heels for Ren just warmed my heart! Later in the day, they found me and made told me that “We were so inspired by you and your Mustang that we’d like you to have this.” and he gave me a very generous donation for our journey. It was such a kind gesture and they both will be recieving some special pictures in their Thank You cards! 🙂 

Most of the day, Ren and I were driving around the fairgrounds. 

My view while driving!


Obviously, it’s really hard to take a picture of myself driving him so this is the best I could do! 🙂 

Overall it was a great day for Ren and me! Tomorrow we head to the Mesa County Fairgrounds for the CQHSA All Breeds Show. We’ll be doing the halter class. Topaz and I will be doing the Western classes. 🙂 

Tip of the Day: 

Today as we loaded the horses to go home, it made me think of the huge importance in having a horse that loves to get in the trailer! Because if there is ever an accident at your home or horse facility, you need your horse to get in the trailer right away so you can keep everyone sbafe! However, necessity was not the mother of creation in this sense! Trailering is one of the most common problems I see and hear about with people and horses! I personally love trailer loading! It is one of my favorite things to work out with a horse and it is really rewarding to know that this horse will now be able to get out of any incident! (Provided that the owner continues practicing good trailering!) It’s a bit hard to describe the feel and timing in a trailer loading but the basic idea is making it uncomfortable outside of the trailer and having a resting happy place inside the trailer. I don’t like to trailer horses initially by leading them in. It puts my in a very vulnerable position in case that horse decides to launch in the trailer; then there’s a fearful 1000 lb animal in a metal box with you in it! AHH! I like to start off to the side of the gate. I put pressure on the leadrope directing that horse’s nose into the trailer. If he needs further encouragement, you can use a carrot stick or the end of a lead rope to add Rhythmic pressure behing the drive line of the horse! (behind the shoulder) Then the second that horse takes a step in the right direction (in/towards the trailer) release all of the pressure and give him comfort. Once he gets comfortable with that, ask for a little more. Ask for a foot in the trailer the same way.  Start with the steady pressure on the halter, then add rhythmic pressure if needed. When the horse puts a foot in the trailer, give him a huge reward! Let him rest there for as long as he will stand there, pet him if you’d like! Often times, early on the horse will volunteer to step right out. That’s OK! It gives you another opportunity to ask him in there! However, when he comes out, put the pressure immediately on. Remember the concept is to make it uncomfortable to be out of the trailer and comfortable in the trailer! Eventually when he is comfortable with a foot or two in the trailer and he gets sort of stuck in there, back him out with your stick or rope. Have him back out directly into that steady pressure. He should stick two feet in the trailer a few times before he realizes that it’s a good place to be-inside the trailer! He will eventually hop right in. Now wait! Do NOT close that gate! It is a common tendency to shut the door quickly! Because after all, the horse is in the trailer! NO! That will just reinforce a claustrophobic behavior! Instead, give him comfort in there. Let him rest, pet his butt, whatever he likes. And let him come out if he wants! Just make sure he gets out right into that pressure! Pretty soon you will walk by a trailer and he’ll want to hop in! All of my horses are eager to get in a trailer first try! Yours can be too! Remember to ask someone if you find yourself stuck or need help! There’s no shame in asking for help! I do it all the time! 🙂 

Have fun! Be smart! Be safe! 

~Stephanie and Renaissance

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Day 61

Today was the first day of West Fest in Rifle. It was slow today because it was mainly just a Set Up day but in the big arena they had National Team Sorting Finals going on which caused all sorts of noise and chaos!

Tracy and I got to Rifle and were fully set up by 8:30 and sat twidling our thumbs at our Friends of the Mustang booth for quite a while in the midst of the Mountain Man Rendevous area! We were surrounded by teepees and canvas huts/lodges. This is what our tent looked like…

Our modern "easy-up" next to a legitimate Oregon Trail style lodge.

And our horses were happy…

Closest is Izzy, Tracy's Mustang. Ren is hiding behind the banner!

Tracy and I walked Ren and Izzy around for a while since there were no people there and got them around the Team Sorting Chaos and Ren never thought twice about it. I played with him a bit in the midst of the loud and crazy stuff to make sure he was connected to me even in crazy circumstances. He did great. He did everything I asked as if I was asking him to do it at home. This gave me a new level of confidence that he will behave brilliantly at the competition and I won’t have to worry about him getting distracted with the lights, speakers, and crowds.

Throughout the day, Ren hung out with Tracy and I under the easy up tent. He enjoyed looking at our displays…

Checking out the Mustang posters.

and learning about Mustangs, and he even took home a bumper sticker…

"Will this sticker look good on my bumper?"

He was just histerical to watch. 🙂 He gave us the comic relief we needed for the day!

The rest of the day was pretty slow and the horses spent alot of time sitting around.


Tomorrow there is supposed to be alot more people since the festival officially begins! Then we’ll do more demos. We even have bleachers set up in front of our arena. Hopefully tomorrow’s entry will be full of more exciting stories! 🙂

Tip of the Day:

Variety is the spice of life! I was thinking about this today as I was backing Ren into the arena which I could have just as easily walked in straight forward. I like to try and switch up absolutely everything! And as many ways as possible! I put my horse in odd situations for him to think through or listen to me with. All too often people get caught up in a daily routine and then their horses start to anticipate what’s coming next! This can be a bad habit to get into because then when you try to do something else, the horse doesn’t understand because it’s not the same thing you always do! I like to change things up as many ways as possible so the communication is consistent, but the routine varies! This allows you to go anywhere, do anything, any time and have fun doing it! Isn’t that the ultimate goal with every horse and rider? So switch things up! Show your horse your spontaneous side!

Have fun! Be smart! Be safe!


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Day 60

Finally got back to a good routine!

Today I went out to the barn early to beat the heat! I rode Topaz for a while and let Renaissance run around. He was happy to let loose and run and buck. 🙂

After while, a friend and his sister came out to ride with me and they helped me bathe Ren. He was perfectly happy with 3 people lathering him with shampoo and touching him all over and in funny places and so on. 🙂 I was very pleased with his additude towards them.

Once my friends were gone, Ren and I went back to the barn to continue trying to sit him down on a hay bail. I know it’s a crazy task but he’s getting so close! It won’t be long!

Almost sitting! Terrible picture.

After that I took Ren for a good, long run behind the 4wheeler. I’m trying to muscle him up before the competition!

He and I played in the round pen with circling on line and driving at liberty. He did really well but got a bit disconnected when I moved to liberty. When he started misunderstanding me, I just put him back online and helped him understand what I was asking him. There’s no harm in going back to Square One!!

He is getting really good about all of his feet. I only have to snap my fingers and he lifts whatever foot I’m asking for.

His bow is getting better and better. I no longer need to ask him to back up with the leadrope. I just have to pick up his foot and shift backwards and he follows that feel into a bow.

I tried to put the whole harness on him today so I could start driving him with the harness but I am going to have to ask for help with that because I couldn’t figure out how the heck the whole thing went!! There are just so many straps to a harness and they all look alike! No worries, I’ll get it eventually. Since I couldn’t get the whole rigging on him, I just put the sursingle on him and drove with the drive lines strung through the loops on the sursingle so he could get used to that feeling. He did extremely well with driving in the barn, out of the barn, all around the property, over logs and bridges, and everything! I was so proud at how he was responding even though I haven’t gotten to spend much time with driving. In the cart by competition? Perhaps! 🙂

I spent the final part of the day grooming him up for West Fest the next couple days. He is now shiny and smooth and ready to go!

Pretty wavy tail! 🙂


 Tip of the Day:

Driving is a great exersize for you and your horse! I have just recently become drawn to driving but it has grown on me very rapidly-for good reasons! Driving is a great way to exercise a young or recovering horse as it helps reinforce the rein cues you are giving while you ride. It is truely “riding from the ground” as it allows you to “ride” a horse that you may not be confident enough to really ride yet! It is also great exercise for the human too! I recommend taking off the boots and putting on a good pair of tennis shoes because there’s alot of walking involved! I enjoy getting some cardio in while I’m playing with my horses! Who needs a gym when we have a barn? 😉 Get out and try hooking up some long lines to your horse’s bridle or halter! And always remember, if something is too much for you, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help or take it slower!

Have fun! Be smart! Be safe!

~Stephanie and Renaissance

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The fight for the American Mustang has been going on for decades with endless political conflict over various issues, however, perhaps one of the most important issues with the plight of the Mustang has never seen the floor of Congress nor has it encompassed the front cover of a newspaper. This clandestine affair is too often disregarded and thus causes further, more extreme issues in the industry. Every day, Mustang advocate groups persist to promote the adoption of theses horses to people across the nation through showing them the finished product of a trained Mustang and displaying how trainable the horse is. However, scarcely do those groups explain that Mustangs require a raised level of knowledge in order to accomplish a successful partnership.

While it is of the utmost importance to try to raise the number of Mustang adoptions in order to keep the horses out of holding facilities, it is of equal importance to explain to people that it is essential to seek the knowledge it takes to communicate with a wild prey animal. When people with a limited skill set adopt a wild horse with the intent to help the horse, it can end in disaster as the people do not understand how to communicate with the Mustang in an effective manner.

Clouded communication can lead to confusion for horse and human which can lead to violence and injury for both parties. At best, the horse is stuck in a pen with the halter and lead rope from the adoption still hanging on their head weeks or even months after the round up while the human is stuck on the fence wondering how in the world they are ever going to touch this wild animal. Often times this is the start of a negative opinion of the breed. People see that they couldn’t train this horse so all Mustangs must be untrainable and stupid. However, it needs to be understood that it is the lack of knowledge and skills in the human, not the brain of the horse, which is the root of the negative response. (Sponenberg)

Programs such as the Extreme Mustang Makeover go so far as to “showcase the beauty, versatility, and trainability of the American Mustang.” (MHF) What this showcase tends to forget is the high level of skills instilled in the successful trainers. Equine educator and expert, Karen Scholl, offered her enlightened opinion on the situation in an informal interview. “What exactly are the requirements for adopting or training a Mustang other than facility and trailers? I think the problem I see most with Mustangs is that people get them and just don’t know how to handle them. They don’t have a high enough skill set to communicate effectively and the end result is the horse and human stuck and confused.” She went on to discuss that Mustangs can be the easiest horses to train and are wonderful horses in the right hands. (Scholl)

To solve this problem, if the Bureau of Land Management and organizations such as the Mustang Heritage Foundation are going to display how trainable the Mustangs are, they equally need to advocate the importance of gaining adequate skills and knowledge before adopting a wild horse. With the age of technology at full bloom, there is anything but an absence of available information. Today it is not uncommon to see a plethora of videos, audio clips, clinics, classes, books, and television shows all about training horses on the market. The information is entirely available for any dedicated horse owner and should be sought after by anyone who is going to take on the responsibility of adopting and training a wild Mustang.

It is the absolute truth that the American Mustang is one of the most versatile, intelligent, trainable breeds in the equine industry. However, these qualities can go downhill very quickly when a person with inadequate skills attempts to interact with a thousand pound wild prey animal. The fault of this downfall is not upon the shoulders of the horse, but rather the human’s lack of knowledge. The solution to this problem is not to give up on the entire game, it is merely to read the directions and learn how to play!

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Day 47-59

I know I know, another huge gap! I’m sorry! After coming home from Snowmass, I had to leave the next day for Las Vegas. I’m almost done with summer vacation and thus my vacations will soon come to an end. Which is especially good because I reeaally need to focus this last month with Renaissance so that we can WOW the judges and win!

Last night I continued driving Ren. He is such a pleasure to teach new things because even when he gets confused he doesn’t freak out. He just stops.

Today I got out there a little too late to beat the heat but I played with him a bit anyways. I noticed his feet were starting to get a little long looking so I filed them down to where they’re supposed to be.

(I would have pictures of the day if my phone hadn’t of died so soon. 😦  )

Then I took the bowing to the next level as I had him stay down for longer than he had before. He did really well with it. I think he’ll lay down by the competition but I make no promises.

He was quite energetic today as he’s been in a stall for entirely too long. He lost focus a couple times but I was able to bring his mind back on me.

I realized today that he is still a bit confused when it comes to steady pressure. This is an indication that I’ve been doing too much with rhythmic pressure and not enough steady. I’ll start changing that!

I also think that he needs to muscle up a bit more before the competition if we intend to get anywhere in the conditioning part of the competition. We’re going to start going on long trots together as often as possible! Especially now that his weight isn’t a problem! (He’s almost on the verge of getting fat!)

Again, sorry for the lack of pictures today! 😦

Tip of the Day:

Steady Pressure vs. Rhythmic Pressure. First of all, what the heck are these two things? When communication with a horse, there are two kinds of pressure we use: steady and rhythmic. Steady pressure is when we are making physical contact with the horse. Rhythmic is not touching. In nature, it is instinct for them to move away from Rhythmic pressure as that is the pressure used by other horses. Imagine a horse pinning his ears, moving closer, and biting if he needs to! This is Rhythmic pressure! Steady pressure, on the other hand, is meant to be pushed into in nature. Instinctually they need to push through steady pressure. Steady pressure is found when a horse is caught in something or a predator on their back. A horse has to push through that in order to survive! However when we domesticate these horses and begin training them, we use mostly steady pressure and expect them to move away from it. Think of the pressure on the poll from the halter or in the mouth from the bit. It is all too natural for them to want to push into that pressure rather than come away from the pressure. It is important to teach a horse to move away from both Rhythmic AND Steady pressure for optimum communication in every situation!

Have fun! Be smart! Be safe!

~Stephanie and Renaissance

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