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Monday, December 17, 2012

New Year, New Fun!

Dixie and I from the 2012 EMM!

When I opened my email, I was not only excited to be reminded that the ONLY CALIFORNIA Mustang Makeover  is coming up, but also that DIXIE and I were the picture in the ad! It was a great feeling, and a nice to surprise to see myself and horse smiling on the trail. I remember that moment, right after coming up the big hill in Norco! Knowing Dixie a little better now, I have to think she probably did not need much of a walk break from that ride! We have ridden well over 100 training miles this year on the trail and 85 AERC LD miles.
In addition to riding outside, we are still working on developing her dressage skills. I am really excited for 2013, there will be lots of great changes for Dixie and me! I hope that YOU have a wonderful and SAFE holiday and New Year. Thanks for reading my blog, getting emails and comments always make me smile!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fort Ord Endurance Ride

It has been much too long since my last update. Which of course means there has been a lot going on!

I have a very sweet Fox Hog 3 year old that was gentled by my good friends at Sonrisa Stables in for 30 days of training under saddle. His wonderful owners came out to visit him and I said "jump on!". It was an absolutely perfect first ride for both of them and I still get goose bumps just thinking about it! I am so glad he has a great home but will be sad to see him go, he has been a lot of fun to work with. 

Dixie and I went to the Desert Gold AERC ride at Fort Ord this past weekend. It was our first multi day ride of 30 miles each day. Since we had been training for a few months I wanted to make sure we went slow the first day so she felt up to doing it again the next! The weather was perfect and I couldn't  have been happier with her performance.  She truly has the heart of an endurance horse. She wanted to 'go' the whole ride. The motto of endurance is "to finish is to win" and I was thrilled to see her positive and forward attitude throughout the entire ride. I managed to keep her with the middle of the pack day 1 and decided to let her ride a bit faster day 2 if she was up for it. Day 2 my wonderful friends Jennifer and Barry came in 1st and 2nd and I came in with riders 3, 4, and 5 with an overall place of 4th. Not bad for a beginner! The only unlucky part of the day was losing our EZ Boot on her hind foot the last day. This sport can get expensive quick! 

The only down side to endurance riding is there are not many photo ops! This is one from the photographers spot on the trail. 

 I am calling this "Dixie the Mule" picture :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lake Sonoma Ride

November 3rd marked the first endurance ride Dixie and I participated in. It was a great day, perfect weather, and beautiful trail. We rode 25 miles around Lake Sonoma and came in 6th. Dixie maintained a perfect attitude the whole ride and at each vet check got all A's and one A-. She pulsed down quicker than almost every horse that we came in with. As you can see, I ran with quite a bit as the day got hotter. It also kept my knees from getting too sore! Anthony was sweet enough to wait in this spot for 2 hours until we came through! The trail was missing a few markers and caused us (and others) to get lost which was the only bummer of the day. As my grandma used to say, that is just how the cookie crumbles! I came to the ride with two amazing riders that WON the 50 mile ride! Congrats Jenni and Bear on first and Jennifer and Stella on second! You guys are my hero's!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Horse Day News Coverage and Clinic!

Click here for some Horse Day coverage from the BLM

After Horse Day, Wylene and I headed to Sonrisa Stables for a clinic! We started the morning off with a discussion on laying a horse down. Wylene specializes in this technique and was featured in Western Horseman Magazine June 2012 that talks about when, how, and who should lay a horse down. I demonstrated the "lay downs" while Wylene narrated the process. It was really beneficial for the participants to see how this technique helps the horse learn to trust its' rider.
Afterwards, everyone grabbed a horse and we worked on horsemanship skills. Walking over tarps, rollbacks, and finishing off the day with everyone getting a chance to stand on their horse! It was a busy weekend and the time seemed to just fly by! I have done clinics here before and they are always the most fun! Thanks Sonrisa Stables and Karen for having us. 

Demonstrating a "lay down".
The key is to have the horse make the choice, not me.

You can see he is trying to find a good spot to lay down.
He is making the choice!
Quietly resting, he realizes that life is ok when all 4 feet are off the ground.

His owner is laying across his body, feeling each breath until they are both calm.
I am sitting beside them coaching her on what is happening.

He was so relaxed that when we got up and walked away, he stayed resting for another 5 minutes!
That was a great sign that he had complete trust in us.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A HUGE thank you...

What a successful weekend. I cannot say enough how blessed I am to have mustangs and the people who love them in my life. Saturday at UC Davis Horse Day was such a blast. I met so many people and got to share my love for mustangs. I just couldn't stop smiling all day.

This would not have been possible without the help of some very special people. The day went by in such a blur I wanted to make sure that I could let them know how much it meant to me...

Dr Roser, thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to share my passion. That first phone conversation was the spark that lit the fire!

Joel, you did a fantastic job of pulling off a really big event! Every time I saw you and your staff, you were working really hard to make sure things ran smoothly. You absolutely burned the 'midnight oil'! And it was well worth it.

My volunteers... Nancy and Mike with Sparky and Piney were such pros in the showcase. Their calm demeanor allowed so many people who had never seen a 'real live mustang' up close to have a fabulous first impression. How wonderful that you could show up with an adorable little pony that ground drives and great big paint that illustrated how different mustangs can look.

Mike and Piney
Nancy and Sparky
Amy from the BLM for setting up a booth and answering questions. It is so vital to have someone knowledgeable to talk with the public about our mustangs on and off the range. You did a great job of talking about what you see as a BLM employee and what the public needs to be aware of.

Conny, Roger, and Brandon with Talitha did a great job showing off Talitha's tricks and ground work. It was really her third time off the property and they did fabulous. For any 2 year old to be presented in front of grand stands, banners, and an audience it was quite a feat to be proud of!

Conny and Talitha
Judy, Sue, and Sweetie showed up with the only mustang to complete the TEVIS 100 mile endurance race this year! What a treat to have a local celebrity that showcases a highly Arabian dominated sport. I know I saw quite a few endurance riders take note on his impeccable build, size, and wonderful manners.
Judy and Sweetie

Karen and the Sonrisa Stables girls, parents, Socks, and Griffon.... driving over 3 hours each way just to be a part of our 45 minute demo was out of this world! It was such an honor for me to have you be there and share what you and your amazing team had done by gentling and adopting out 19 mustangs! I was so happy that you could bring mustangs that are STILL ADOPTABLE!!! (Please contact me for details!) You were all great! And after the demo, you had to drive home and get ready for your clinic with Wylene and I the next day.

Wylene, oh man where to start! Well I have to say that when we met at my first Extreme Mustang Makeover competition in 2010, I knew we would be fast friends. That was an understatement. I feel so lucky to have been able to share you with everyone for our training demonstration. Just having you by my side added a whole new dimension to the show that would have been unattainable solo. I can't thank you enough for making the trip out. I know I will be seeing you again soon! (keep following the blogs for her next clinic here).

To my friends and family for showing up and supporting me. My mom flew into town from Michigan just for this show and acted as my personal assistant helping me stay organized and get ready, Anthony my fiance` was there for me (and Dixie) to help us set up, take pictures, and clean up too. Katie and Kim came to support me and their comment "We don't even know anything about horses and we were really entertained" just made me smile.
My mom and our new friend Sonya!
And lastly to the people I met and talked with. It was such a great feeling to hear that people learned, enjoyed, and grew from the presentation. I have already gotten a few emails thanking me and asking when the next clinic will be. I am so thrilled to see the enthusiasm for mustangs grow and will continue to share my passion with others.

All in all, it was a great day. I think that same big smile is still stuck on my face :)

Friday, October 12, 2012


Where to start??
My extreme happiness that Wylene is here?
Horse Day tomorrow??
Sonrisa Clinic Sunday???
This epic weekend is just starting and I can't keep myself from smiling in my sleep I am so happy.
We started the week off with some great private lessons in Sonoma. It was unanimously decided right then and there that Wylene will be back (we are thinking beginning of February) for another horsemanship clinic.
I will post pictures soon so you can see how much fun we are having and get inspired to join us next time!
Hope to see YOU soon at Horse Day!!!!
(Click here for the schedule)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

UC Davis Horse Day Helpers

Meet a few of our UC Davis demo horses!
Here are 2 ADORABLE 2 year olds that you will see at Horse Day October 13th.
They will be shown by the Sonrisa Stables. If you are interested in adopting a youngster, these are the gals to talk to! They have gentled many yearlings through their program and found wonderful homes. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Check this out!

Dixie learning the Spanish Walk!
UC Davis Horse Day is October 13th and I am SO EXCITED to be a part of it this year! Mustangs will be the feature breed for the program and Dixie and I will be presenting a showcase of some very accomplished mustangs in the morning and then in the afternoon a talk about the differences in training mustangs vs domestic horses.  My mom is flying in from Michigan just to see me speak! I also have a few other exciting plans for the week including WYLENE WILSON coming to our area for private lessons, lay downs, and clinics.  If you have not read her article in Western Horse Magazine (June 2012) about laying a horse down, you should! Currently, she will be in Sonoma, CA October 11th and 16th. You can email me at to reserve a spot.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dixie's first competition

 It was a much awaited weekend...Dixie's first competition endurance ride. When Jennifer pulled the trailer up to the barn Saturday I was so excited. We have been training for a few months now and signed up for an AERC ride in Gilroy, CA. They offered a 50, 25, and 10 mile fun ride. I liked the idea of having the word 'fun' in our division and thought that if I paced her correctly we could do it twice. Upon arrival, we decided to take a nice walk and get our horses used to the setting. Dixie seemed to know how it worked from the get go! She was as calm as any other seasoned traveler.
Jennifer took off at 6:30 for the 50 miler and I followed behind at around 7:30. Anyone that knows me will not have a hard time believing that I found the trail directions rather challenging. I was not too concerned because I planned on taking my time and doing it twice anyways. After the first 8 miles we came in for water and to check her heart rate...44! She was in great shape so we went out again for 11 more miles. All in all, she did perfect in every way. She even got all A's on her vet check! Jennifer came in at 2nd place for the 50 mile and Stella looked fabulous. It was one of the best weekends I have had and can't wait to do it again!

Jennifer and

Our beautiful view 

Robin Hood, the mustang who is in the Hall of Fame with OVER 11,000 competition miles at the age of 22!

On the trail!

Below is a picture of our vet card. We got ALL A's! Way to go on your first ride and overnight camping trip Dixie! I could not be more proud!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hank has a home!

Congrats to Marialaina of Kick Back Ranch on her adoption of Hank. When I saw how both interacted it was as if they were just waiting to cross paths. It is so wonderful to watch something happen like it is supposed to! Easy and calm, Hank casually walked off the trailer and sniffed around. He was greeted by some new friends and after a sniff they all continued to show him the ropes. 

He is very lucky to be at such a great facility. Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC) is a non-profit organization. They specialize in gentling wild horses and burros, which are placed for adoption. They use natural horsemanship techniques to become partners with these magnificent animals. They are a legal Volunteer Service Organization to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and an authorized adoption agency for the State of Nevada Comstock Wild Horse Program and for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. If you need any help with your mustang or just want to check out what a cool place this is, click the link above! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mr Hanky

Let me first start off by saying that I did not name this cute little mustang. He came from the Virginia Range in Nevada. He is a beautiful buckskin gelding with a star, spot, and snip marking on his head. Originally trained at the Carson prison, he was adopted by a wonderful person that loved him very much for 6 years. Now 12 years old, his owner is unable to ride Hank and give him the attention he needs so she contacted me. I was happy to tell her that I would find him a home where he would be loved and ridden. He is a laid back guy, listens to cues and stops on a dime. I had a lot of fun watching him in his first big turn out with the others, you could see how much he loved it! He threw his tail up and pranced around like an Arabian!

Monday, September 10, 2012

"TIP"ping the double digits!

This Saturday marked my 10th mustang finding a forever home! Wild Card Ace was adopted by Colleen. I am so happy for them both and wish them lots of luck in their new journey. It takes a lot of patience and time to gentle a wild mustang but it takes more to turn them into a lifelong partner and friend! Good Luck Colleen, I am here if you need me :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hank needs a home!

He was adopted 6 years ago at the Wild Horse Show in Reno. Initially trained by the prisoner program and then professionally as a western trail horse. He is easy going in pasture with mares and geldings, fairly low on the pecking order. 14.3 hands and 12 years old. A great age! He is looking for someone who can spend more time with him as his current owner is older and unable to ride him consistently.  Please contact 530.723.2420 for more information about this sweet boy. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Horsey Love

I am feeling really lucky to have such awesome horses in my life. I have been leading Wild Card around and working on touching her all over on both sides. I hope to be loading her into a trailer by next week. I don't have great pictures, because I am usually the photographer which makes for an awkward shot!

Dixie and I have been trailering out on the weekends. Today we went to Sundance Ranch and rode in the arena. We practiced a lot and was really happy with her flying lead changes:)
After, we had a good trail ride in the vineyards. She did really well with bikers, dogs, and the other horses too. It is so much fun to watch a mustang from the 'wild' stage and then progress into an equine citizen. We are planning on trailering to Lynch Canyon tomorrow, wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Updates in August

Ok, not the best picture but I was feeling like an update was in order! Wild Card is doing really well. It has been 2 weeks as of today and I am really happy with her. 
I have also been busy working Augusta so she is ready for her mom to take her out on the trails. 
Dixie has been less than pleased with me being around Wild Card and has made it her job to stand guard outside Wild Card's pen when I am working. Horses can be so funny! She may not speak the same language but she sure did get her point across. I made sure to work her out on the trails after working Wild Card and I did take her out to Anguin Park for a nice trail ride over the weekend so I am sure she still knows she is my favorite :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Litchfield Corrals

Well it only took about 48 hours from the time we bought our truck to heading up to the corrals. I picked out a nice 4 year old Wall Canyon mare as a TIP horse on Tuesday. I am thrilled to report she is doing great. What an amazing mane! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tevis Cup 2012

Anthony and I were invited to 'crew' at the Tevis cup this weekend. For those of you that have not heard of the toughest endurance ride in the United States, read all about it here

We had a great time, and although it is predominantly Arabians, there were a few mustangs in the mix.  It was great to see (for the first time) the BLM there to cheer on the mustangs and pass out any information on adoption to interested people.

It was our first experience with endurance riding and I was really impressed with the riders and horses that were in attendance. I think Dixie may have a career ahead of her ;)

On the way home, we stopped at a few dealers on our quest to find a truck. I am happy to say that we were successful! We are the proud new owners of a 2011 Dodge Ram 1500. I can't wait to use it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Intern for a week, new horse under saddle, jumping mustangs, and adios Hades!

For the first time, I had an 'intern' come and work with me. Laura flew in from Michigan to see what training mustangs is all about. I took her around with me to the various barns to see what it is like to work with equines all day. I think she liked it! Especially when I taught her how to 'join up'. It is a pretty cool moment to know you have made an equine friend that trusts you! Way to go Laura! Can't wait to help you get your first mustang ;)

Anthony came out to the barn and I really wanted him to see how well Auggie has been doing, so we went out for a nice trail ride. On the way back, they found a few obstacles to jump so I quickly galloped back to the barn to grab my camera. They look like naturals! 

One of the special horses that I have been working with, this is our second ride. Although he is not a mustang, he certainly responds well to the same natural horsemanship techniques used. This ride was quiet and uneventful, just the way you hope a second ride would be!

Of course I cannot stay away from my favorite friesian barn! Here is Hades and I practicing some ground manners. We have been working together for a few months and I am happy to say he has found his forever home and will be leaving us at the end of July. Good luck Hades! I know you will go far :)