The Back Up Part 2

By Evon Montgomery

Objective:  To continue adding skill and degree of difficulty to the back up.  Learn how to get a smooth, soft, head level, pleasant to watch, diagonal pair- reverse.  Depending on your division in the ACTHA event, you will be asked to do more challenging backing tasks.  Things such as backing up hills, around turns or into noisy objects could all be requirements.

Evon Montgomery

Last month we started by giving our horse a clue to our cue.  If you went to the blog and read further you will recall the cue the rider learned taught the horse to rock back into “reverse “.  The horse then learned how to “give” to the bit pressure, or “say yes” to the bit, and take one step back for each request.

Next, the rider learned the importance of immediately releasing the cue when the horse’s HIND foot moved back.  If you have done this correctly, your horse will not be bracing against the bit.  It will be soft and responsive; its head should be level and soft at the poll.  The horse will be able to back smoothly for 3-4 steps.

Now, we can begin to use leg pressure.  As always, each horse and rider team and situation may vary.   These are basic rules that can be used with variations.  The primary people I instruct are everyday riders who want to learn to be better equestrians and have an enhanced team with their horse.   If I teach people to put leg pressure on the ribs as soon as they apply hand pressure to the bit, the horse and rider usually become confused.   Head tossing, bracing, and possibly rearing could occur.  I have found that teaching in stages create better results, both horse and rider understand what is expected of them and can remain calm.

Taressa May Rankin and Baby Girl – Photo by Aponi

Here is some homework -Make an observation:  Watch someone back up, are they first putting the horse into ‘REVERSE’ or using their legs and reins at the same time.  You may be surprised.

Okay, let’s continue the Back up.

Step 1:  Prepare.  In order for a horse to have a smooth calm back up, their mind must be in reverse as well as their body.  In the January Blog, I discussed putting the “Cue” for the back up by lifting the reins “up” and holding gentle pressure until your horse actually responded by moving backward.  We will continue and I will assume your horse is by now backing up straight 3-4 steps with no resistance, head down and mouth closed.

  1. As you graduate to an unperceivable cue, your hands should only have to lift a couple of inches above riding position to request the back up. Lift your hand gently to put your horse into reverse and soften its poll.
  2. Glance down for just a second and decide which of your horses front legs are “leading” out in front. Let’s say the Left leg is ahead for this exercise. (A better trained horse will stop “square”, in that case you can use either of your leg cues. )
  3. As you lift your reins evenly to reverse, apply your LEFT calf light and rhythmic until the horse moves the LEFT rib cage AWAY and the LEFT HIND foot moves back. Remember, horses must move AWAY from pressure, not into pressure.
  4. In the beginning only use one calf at a time. If you use both calves and the horse is not trained, your RIGHT calf will block the swing of the horse’s rib cage.   Using your calf and not your heel is important.  As you apply your calf, you will stay on your seat bone and the horse backs straight, not crooked.  Using your “heel” on your horse’s side changes the angle of your pelvis causing you to lean forward on your pubic bone and giving your horse a mixed signal that may cause a twirl or crooked back up.
  5. After the horse moves its LEFT RIB and LEFT HIP, switch to your RIGHT CALF. Apply the RIGHT calf, light and rhythmic until the RIGHT side responds.  Do NOT pull super hard on your horse’s mouth, just lift your hand lightly and steady.   Cue ALTERNATELY with Left and right calves as many steps as you want to go.  It will take a little time for you to get the “feel” of the ribs swinging.  It is best if someone can watch or film you, then you will see as the rib swings, diagonal pairs are moving.  If your timing is off, you will block the swing of the rib and stop the backward motion.

Step 2:   Now add a turn while backing up.

  1. After the horse is backing easily with both legs it is time to “turn” the horse.. Set up some sort of poles or logs as a boundary to practice this maneuver.  It will eliminate confusion for the rider as to where you are going and where you have been.
  2. Let’s back an “L”. Set up an “L” to the LEFT. First, walk into the “L” alley.   This means you will be backing to the LEFT.  But you will be using your RIGHT calf!  Horses should move AWAY from pressure.
  3. Look STRAIGHT AHEAD. Cue your horse to back straight.  Take a couple of back steps, now, you can look to the left a little bit when you think you are close to the turn.  If you look left too much, you will lean into the center and your horse will be off of balance for the turn
  4. After you have reached the corner, STOP. Look forward again to straighten yourself up.  Now switch to looking over your RIGHT shoulder.  This will align your shoulder hips and heels to back correctly to the LEFT.
  5. Apply your RIGHT CALF in position 3, just behind the girth and begin to back again. Resist the urge to look both left and right rapidly while backing, it may confuse you or make you dizzy.   In an advanced maneuver, you will use your LEFT leg to move the shoulder and your right calf to move the hip. You have to be coordinated and know the timing.
  6. Once the horse has completed the turn, STOP.  Look straight ahead of you again so you can back STRAIGHT up out of the alley.  Where your head and eyes are looking is very important.  If you look down all of the time, you will confuse your horse and yourself.
  7. Remember use RIGHT calf while looking to the RIGHT to swing horses HIP to the left. Use your LEFT calf while looking to the LEFT to swing the horses HIP to the right.    If you don’t get this.  Practice with no boundaries, until you DO get the feel of it.  There is less stress this way.

Now you can practice backing around barrels, between cones, doing figure 8’s.  Use your imagination, be creative and have fun.  If your horse is tossing its head biting your feet and looking confused, STOP.  Evaluate where the situation went awry, figure out who is confused you or your horse.  Do an ERASER* and come back.  Take it slow and spend time enjoying the journey of learning.

Evonism *- ERASER = like a chalk board.  Erase and start with a clean slate.  Some of you will understand what a chalk board is..

Please feel free to contact me and request a maneuver that is giving you trouble.

Life is an Adventure, Saddle up and Ride !    Evon

Smooth Maneuvers

By Evon Montgomery

Photo by Aponi
Photo by Aponi

Objective: To get a light responsive “rein back” -“back”- “reverse” cue one step at a time. Your horse should back with a good attitude and using his legs in diagonal pairs to make it look smooth. The horse’s head should be level and hocks engaged, not resistant or bracing on the shoulder, mouth closed and not agape. All of this may be easier said than done.

When I judge a back-up obstacle, the most common picture I see is a rider pulling the reins like they are playing tug of war with the horse. The horse is tossing its head with mouth agape. I hope you are getting a mental picture. Imagery creates a “reminder tab” that helps a rider put their mind in the game as much as their body. This is huge in creating a winning team.

I am going to use the easiest method I know to teach maneuvers. 1) Spell out each step. 2) Eliminate guess work. Be kind as you read, mutter softly. As in everything horses, there are many different ways to get a result. This is just one of my ways of teaching how to back, see if it works for you. If you don’t get it, don’t worry. This technique may work for you with one horse, and not another. That is the beauty of horses; each one is a unique individual, just like YOU! The difference is that you have a reasoning ability.

Please learn to use your knowledge to the best of your ability. Read your horse’s warning signs. If you cannot get a teaching method to work, do not panic. Stop, take a break, and try again OR try another method. If necessary, seek professional help to learn if it is you or your horse that has a problem. Horses can be dangerous and you may inadvertently teach a horse to rear if you have unskilled hands and legs. The best way to have a horse without bad habits is to not create them in the first place.

Step 1: Prepare. In order for a horse to have a smooth calm back up, their mind must be in reverse as well as their body. How do you get that? Preparation it’s like putting a car into reverse. Are you getting the picture? As you shift your car into reverse, you feel a gentle rock back. Same goes with your horse. Here’s how you put your horse into reverse. Are you getting the picture? As you shift your car into reverse, you feel a gentle rock back. Same goes with your horse. Here’s how you put your horse into reverse.

1. Shorten your reins so you make light contact with your horse’s mouth.

2. Lift your reins up, NOT back. LIFT your reins up above your horse’s neck about 8-12 inches. One of my favorite Evon’isms is “exaggerate then graduate”. (Just like teaching a child to use the potty seat, reward the small steps.) Polish and finesse will come later.

3. Hold firm but gentle pressure from the up position until your horse “gives to the bit”. As the horse gives or yields to the pressure, it gives the appearance of “saying yes” or “nodding”. If your horse has its mouth gaped open; it is not “bit broke”. Bit broke is a term I will discuss later.

Step 2: Request ONE step. Since I am teaching the back up for primarily obstacle and trail type horses for these articles, I will aim my coaching as such. An obstacle trail horse should willingly back up as many steps as the rider requests and in whichever direction you choose. Your job as the rider is to know how to request each step and make it easier for you and your horse to work in unison.

1. After the horse “gives to the bit” and “shifts” into reverse, it is time to ask for one step backward. The best way to teach a horse a cue, is to give an “immediate” reward when the HIND foot moves. This means that as soon as the first HIND foot moves, you release the pressure on the bit. Do not be fooled into releasing pressure or “rewarding” if the front foot moves. The HIND foot must move. Either hind is ok for this phase.

2. The next request is a second step back. Smoothly lift the reins up again, making contact with your horse’s mouth. Gently but firmly request another HIND foot to move back. Most horses will stay in “reverse” for a few requests if you have good timing with your hands and release cue. It doesn’t matter which hind foot moves, just so that an “immediate” release of your reins follows your horses “try” at backing.

3. Only back 3-4 steps on the first practice. Go do another exercise or walk around before you do this again. If you keep requesting the back up when your horse gets it correct. The horse will assume it got the wrong answer because YOU KEEP on requesting it… A horse will quit trying if you ask for too much when you are teaching something new.

If your horse is not understanding, and begins to bob its head, try holding LIGHT, FIRM pressure, just a few seconds longer. Your horse may try forward, sideward left and sideward right before it tries to back up. If you let go of the pressure when your horse is doing any of the previous responses, you will have successfully taught your horse that when you apply the backup cue; you really mean bob the head, side step left or side step right. A horse thinks it has gotten the right answer when you let up the pressure.

Evon Montgomery
Evon Montgomery

Next month: Adding Leg aids to the back up.
Life is an Adventure, Saddle up and Ride !
Evon Montgomery, Horses-123

The Making of a Hoof Boot

As the President of Cavallo Horse and Rider, one of the most important aspects of my job is overseeing product development.  Creating cutting edge, market-changing equestrian products is what has brought Cavallo to the forefront of the hoof boot industry – an industry that is constantly evolving and redefining itself.  When we first tackled the challenge of making the best hoof boot on the market, we actually began with the END result as our starting point.  We asked horse owners, ranging from beginners to professional riders, what they would want and expect from a hoof boot.

Our first step was to do an informed study of our target market.  I started Cavallo in 1993, making rider garments and saddle pads, so we had an extensive database of market savvy customers, knowledgeable people who we could trust for quality feedback and market research. The one constant was the great love these people have for their horses. The comfort and well-being of their horse was paramount.  After that, it came down to a handful of essential requirements: functionality, safety, ease of use, and economy.  Not one of these points could be overlooked – a boot would have to encompass each feature in order to become the very best.  Our customers wanted a powerhouse of a boot that could tackle any rideable terrain on this continent and around the world.  Lightweight, comfortable, simple to use, long lasting with built-in drainage –  a boot that would stay on the hoof through the worst of conditions without fail.  A stylish appearance certainly never hurts, either! With this composite profile of a hoof boot; we rose to the challenge of making it a reality.

Greg Giles and Carole Herder

Although the materials I’d used in garment design were different than the materials needed to produce a hoof boot, I knew how to source them and put them together, at a cost that would work for everyone.  I was also aware of the role of quality control and rigid product testing, which are crucial in shaping a product that is absolutely fit for purpose. Cavallo’s CEO, Greg Giles, entered the picture in 2004, at a time in his career when he specialized in the development of safety footwear.  Greg provided another important addition to our team, as he was the Managing Director for Old Macs from Australia. Greg knows what it takes to make hoof boots a reality.  The products he oversaw were created for industrial use, regulated by strict material specifications and performance capacity.  Greg’s relevant skills and business knowledge in this area meshed perfectly with my own.  We were ready to make the best boot, at the best price, with the best possible delivery time – So our customers would get it when they needed it, use it easily and pay a comfortable price. Uniting our respective backgrounds with the desires of our customers was like cooking a well-balanced gourmet meal, combine just the right ingredients and viola the ideal hoof boot is born.

Cavallo-Simple-bootsIn 2006 we created the boot we’d envisioned. The funny thing was that after testing, trialing, and making all of the improvements we could ever foresee our customers wanting, our new hoof boot was still unnamed!  We were about to attend the WESA trade show in Denver (the largest Western and English equestrian trade show in the world) and a name was needed – and FAST. Much like naming a long awaited puppy, it had to be right, had to describe what the boot really was, had to capture its essence.  At home at our ranch, Greg and I we were playfully tossing our new, nameless hoof boot back and forth to each other across the room, trying to brainstorm by calling out its features.  The thing that kept escaping our mouths, again and again was how refreshingly simple it was – and it occurred to us – why would we need any other name than that?  Hence the name “Simple Boot”…… and we never looked back.

trekLast year we launched our new Cavallo Trek Boot. As in this case, new development can be brought on by external factors. Trek’s conception was fueled by an introduction to “Pro Mesh”; a technically advanced material. The developer of this new and technically advanced material suggested that TPU Pro Mesh would translate to a perfect hoof boot upper.   We liked the idea right away. We already knew what our TPU soles were capable of and were excited that this strength could be extended to a boot upper.  When we fully investigated the material, we found it to be durable, lightweight, flexible and incredibly hardy – taking the existing benefits our boots already offered to an even greater level. We successfully forged an agreement for Pro Mesh to be used exclusively, worldwide, for Cavallo Hoof Boots.  For a product to truly succeed around the world, strong relationships must be cultivated.

Greg always says there is a new invention under every rock – but how do you extract it, produce it, and make it readily available?  It requires knowledge, expertise, AND financing – a perfect storm, where all factors must come together at just the right time, and in just the right way to produce dynamic results.  A company must also have total confidence in their product to be able to offer a solid warranty to inspire trust and confidence for the customer. Only this can create a relationship that lasts many years. Cavallo offers the Best Boot Warranty on all of our hoof boots, taking the stress and uncertainty out of a purchase.  There are many products on the market that don’t meet the criteria of what a horse owner needs in a hoof boot, and in the end the consumer(and their lovely horse!) pay the price. They end up stuck, unhappy, with their money invested in a product that is not fit for purpose.  With Cavallo, we’re not just fulfilling the consumer’s need for a product; we are committed to education that highlights the health and financial benefits of keeping horses natural and barefoot.

ELB-Reg-Hi-Res2-452x402And, as all we do is in constant effort to grow, expand, develop and improve; we now announce the new ELB (Entry Level Boot). An exciting, game-changer: ELB is perfect for those still “nervous” about making the shift to becoming ‘barefoot and booted’. We wanted to offer easy access for riders to get into boots without a huge financial commitment.

Make no mistake; the ELB remains Cavallo consistent – uncompromising in quality and specification.  The ELB upper material is our 1680 count Denier industrial grade nylon – the same material used on Cavallo Sport style hoof boots, which have been ‘tried and tested’ in all terrains since 2008. The replaceable Velcro closure extends the working life of the ELB in the event of Velcro fatigue.  Easily fastened by 8 and 80 year-olds alike, the strap does not require any tools or extra physical strength. The ELB is offered on both Cavallo soles – Regular Sole, (hoof length and width are equal) and Slim Sole (hoof width is ¼” (5mm) narrower than length). Both soles incorporate the unique Cavallo patented front closure system and built in side drainage slots – which drain mud, water and sand effortlessly.

Available in 7 sizes (0 – 6 ) and sold individually, the ELB is available now at favorite tack stores or equine catalogues in the USA only, at the special launch price of ONLY $49.95 per boot.  As testimony to quality, the ELB is included in Cavallo’s Best Boot Warranty coverage – 180 day ‘repair or replace’.

Shop online:

Carriage Driving for Individuals with Disabilities

Driving Magic
By Jennifer Lindskoog, Founder & Executive Director

Driving Magic Inc_010It is 9:00 Friday morning and volunteers from Driving Magic, Inc. are preparing for a Magic Workshop: driving instructors are communicating lesson plans, horse handlers and certified drivers are busy grooming and harnessing, student assistants are staging teaching aids in the arena, on trails and in carriages, and activities volunteers are setting up art and crafts, refreshments and the picnic area. There is a little competition among volunteer teams for who will most quickly and thoroughly complete safety checks to be the first to enjoy warm-ups; and there is always a great sense of anticipation and sincere joy as 10:15 draws near, the time when the buses and cars from a local school’s special education class will arrive. While the teams perform final checks and test teaching aids on the sensory trail, the buses arrive. While many workshops are for teens or adults, this week 5 buses emerge carrying 25 pre-school students from Fort Daniel Elementary. That is when the magic begins for students, teachers and volunteers alike.  Regardless of students’ special needs, each experiences this moment in a unique and profound way–the sight of horse-drawn carriages entering the arena, the thunderous sound of horse hooves, the trembling of the earth as carriages pass by the waiting area, the smell of the countryside that envelopes them, the pumpkin patch where they will be taken to by horse-drawn carriage to pick from a field of preschool-sized pumpkins.

Driving Magic_cherrypublicity_Dream Photography_007As the turnouts stand poised and ready for their special passengers, volunteers work to prepare each participant for his/her experience by fitting helmets and practicing commands or hand movements.  Each participant is escorted into the arena to first greet his or her volunteer team, but the greatest excitement is in greeting the horse.  Prince, a 1900-pound draft horse driving the wheelchair-accessible carriage, turns and lowers his head a scratch on the nose. As his student is situated in the carriage, Prince attentively listens to whatever verbal or physical commands his student can achieve, interpreting his student’s needs and the skills that will be learned today. This student, like most, prefers “come up” versus “whoa” because it takes him on a journey that he may not otherwise experience as a person with a disability. It is less about this student’s diagnosis than is it about his specific needs and the skills he can accomplish; skills that may be imperceptible to those who are able-bodied but mean so much to a person with disabilities, regardless of age or the severity of the disability.  Perhaps the accomplishment is to use the reins to steer through a cones course or to learn that saying “gee” tells the horse to turn right; perhaps the objective is simply sensory or environmental – to calmly experience the movement and breeze as the horse-drawn carriage trots around the arena. It is an experience that promotes self-esteem and confidence and, most importantly, happiness. This is the magic of carriage driving for the disabled.

About Driving Magic
Driving Magic, Inc. is a 501(c)(3)non-profit which provides therapeutic and recreational carriage driving for children and adults with developmental and/or physical disabilities. We opened in 2004 with a donated draft horse, a borrowed cart and harness, and a young adult student whose family believed in the benefits of this type of equine-assisted activity and who trusDriving Magic Inc_012ted our business plan (this student still attends lessons on Sundays). While therapeutic carriage driving delivers such benefits as improved muscle tone, balance, posture and coordination, enhanced cognitive skills such as sequencing, spatial, environmental and directional awareness and improved motor planning, I believe it’s the freedom, empowerment, and confidence experienced by our students that makes the difference.  Traversing Steadfast Farms to feel the wind, listen to the trees and frogs, stop to smell and taste the nectar on “honeysuckle row,” click to the clip-clop of hooves on the driveway and feel the cadence of the horse as it moves in walk and trot, touches students and volunteers alike. And yes, speed, the natural speed of a horse-drawn carriage, is appealing to many of our students; especially for those whose disability so severely impacts their ability to experience the world around them.

Who Can Benefit

She has Autism, there’s NO WAY she’ll put on a helmet. There’s nothing much you can do for him; he’s too severe.  He’ll never learn to drive, so what’s the benefit? He’s scared of horses. She can’t see, how can she steer a carriage? I’m just not sure she’ll do it; she’s tried sports in school and just doesn’t have the confidence for it. She can’t use her upper body, how will she drive a horse?

Driving Magic_cherrypublicity_Dream Photography_001These are just some of the comments we hear when going through the interview process prior to a new student or group coming to Driving Magic, Inc.  What continues to astound, amaze, motivate, and create this heartfelt love for what we do is witnessing just the opposite.  With a thorough understanding of each participant’s needs, a well thought-out lesson and skills progression plan and the extraordinary connection between horses and people with disabilities, so much can be accomplished by individuals with mild to severe/profound disabilities.  When a participant steps up into the carriage (or rides up the lift), grasps reins (or a noodle or communicator) and commands into action a horse so powerful yet so docile and loving, something changes…you may catch it subtlety or it blows you away.  And you know that their life and yours will, thankfully, never again be the same.

So, YES he CAN hold his head up for 15 minutes on a cross-country trail drive, and YES she has become an advanced independent driver, and YES she puts her own helmet on by herself now and YES he can lead, groom and drive his horse, and YES she does drive on active reins with her feet, and YES she turned that 1900-pound horse in the direction of the handbells to perfectly stay on the obstacle course and OF COURSE, there wasn’t a dry eye at the farm today!

Driving Magic Inc_011To Find Out More

To receive more information, to volunteer or to donate to Driving Magic, Inc., please go to or call 404-358-4129. To learn more about carriage driving for individuals with disabilities, you can access the following resources:

  • (United States Driving for the Disabled)
  • How Many Angels Does It Take: The Remarkable Life of Heather Brooks, which can be purchased directly by sending an email to Janice Strang, Driving Magic instructor and mother of Heather Brooks, at or 678-907-3247.

Many thanks to Steadfast Farms, Hoschton, GA, for hosting our program and for honoring Driving Magic at the December 5, 2015 ACTHA event at the farm.


1215Originally published in the ACTHA Monthly Magazine December Issue.  To read more stories like this click here > 

Or click here to view archives of past issues >

Give the Trail Rider on Your List a Ride or Membership!

Click to enlarge and print

ACTHA Gift Certificates make great gifts for the horse lover in your life.  Gift certificates can be in any amount, and can be used toward rides, memberships or ACTHA training products; Trail Tips on DVD or the handy Pocket Book.  Make your gift tangible with a beautiful gift certificate you can print, tuck into a festive envelope and sneak into a stocking or pin to your tree.  And if you happen to be late shopping, what better gift can you give last minute than an adventure on the trail at an ACTHA ride near the person you want to please?

Click here to purchase an ACTHA Gift Certificate today >>

Cowboy Distress – by Jeff Wilson

“My horse is irreplaceable, there isn’t another like him,” are thoughts that can echo through our minds whenever we face losing them. Yes, I hate that topic too. Our fantastic riding partners are so unique, that without them, we have a void. Make sure you enjoy your own extraordinary horse today.

I was greeted by my horse, Black Willow Orion, as he emerged from the pasture the other morning. He looking as if his belly was saying, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” I reasoned with him that it was just a little too much grass as I led him back to the barn. I finished feeding everybody else and returned to him. I could see his distress, and his coat had begun to glisten with sweat. “OK, tough dude, you’ll be fine.” I murmured, trying to convince myself. But I knew, yes I knew… that hated killer, Colic, was payin’ us a visit today.Cowboy Distress - Jeff Wilson

Orion just stood there, motionless, dealing with it. My mind began to whirl, “This can’t be happening on the threshold of releasing our new promo video,”—a video that featured Orion. In my mind’s eye, I could see the video ending with his epitaph. I moved into his stall, the same stall he had been born in 17 years ago, and snapped a lead to his halter. “Let’s go walk around the arena.”

Some days it’s hard to rise to the occasion, it’s just easier to slide over to deal with it. Trying to keep my own guts from twisting, I hurriedly called my medical team. “It’s Orion,” I blurted, I had no words to downplay it. My team is exceptionally good, but serious challenges stomped in right along beside them. Orion’s veins would not stay open to administer fluids. He refused to swallow any mineral oil, and we weren’t able to tube him successfully. Did you know banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour? Did I mention that by this point that I was outta my mind and not coming back soon?

There aren’t words to describe your feelings towards people who stand with you; I was fortunate and grateful to have competent people working all day to evict that dirty, ole’ rotten scoundrel, Colic, from the premises. Despite their efforts, Orion’s temperature dropped, his body cold to the touch, and his gut sounds on the right side remained deadly quiet.

By the end of the day, there was nothing more for us to do. Facing the next tier of care, I recognized that he and I were heading towards our last moments together. As surreal as it was for me, I prepared myself to do what was necessary—for him. I wasn’t going to allow his suffering to escalate.

You can picture that moment, can’t you? What do you say and do to make everything better? Nothing. It was in that moment—with nowhere to run—that someone had the conviction to bring me a single dose of a product called SayWhoa which is the focus of this article. SayWhoa is a relatively new product designed to clear impactions using the power of osmosis—sending water back into the digestive system to clear the impaction and relieve the gas.

We administered the bottle, in truth, without much hope of recovery as Orion was so far gone. Time had been against us. Strangely, the SayWhoa was the only thing he cooperated with and swallowed. We waited; by now there was a small crowd of concerned people standing with us awaiting the outcome—the tension in your belly really does make you hold your breath.

Within 15 minutes of administering the product, Orion’s temperature began to rise and, like turning a switch, his temperament returned. Within a half hour his guts sounds returned (strongly), and, after drinking a half bucket of water, he strolled to the other side of the arena and began eating hay. Within 45 minutes he passed manure. Yes, a miracle occurred.Cowboy Distress - Jeff Wilson #eliteequestrian

We all stood stunned, in disbelief, at what we just witnessed. The transformation, had it happened any other way, may have left some skepticism behind in us (we are all so marketed to), but we were unanimously convinced. This product actually had done what it said it would do.

If you want to keep your horse around, you need to have a bottle of SayWhoa on hand all the time. The makers of this product are very accessible and willing to help you through your 911 emergency colic squatter eviction situation. You can find SayWhoa here: or their website

Check out this fantastic horse of mine on YouTube. Search ‘Orion the Star Morgan Stallion’ and thank you SayWhoa for making this video not an ‘in memoriam.’

Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted. Fortunately, this time, I got both. (Keeping Orion actively moving continued on that day, maybe to make us feel better. Moving around me in a circle, I did not ask for a routine, but Orion swooped in with all his big moves. He absolutely felt great.) Hi Ho Silver!

If you want to learn more about what I talked about here, or wish to ask a question, you can contact me at: Jeff@JeffWilsonCowboyDressage. com  or on FACEBOOK. I have been training horses for over 30 years and valued the western horse lifestyle in my approach to training. I give clinics and seminars on how to reach your full potential with your horse through the training foundation of Cowboy Dressage.

How to Register to Ride as an ACTHA Non-Member


From the home page ( open the event tabs (1) and then click Events & Locations (2) (


On the events page, select the ride you wish to register for.  The easiest way to search is to choose the STATE in the ‘Find By’ field and then click SEARCH (no need to insert anything in the ‘search’ field).  A list of rides appearing in that state will open, and you can easily find the ride you are searching for, if you don’t already have a link to it.  Click that ride to open it.  For rides consisting of multiple days, you will need to be sure to sign up for each day of the ride from this same page.  For now, choose one day of the ride and click it open.


When the ride page opens up, click the tan box that says JOIN RIDE


To sign up as a non-member, now click the RIDE AS A NON MEMBER tab


Fill in the form to begin the process of signing up as a non-member.  The software will walk you easily through the rest of the process.

If you have any difficulty, please feel free to contact our customer support line: 877-992-2842

Walking In Beauty

Jeff_Orion_7-6-15_0219smToday I will walk out, today everything unnecessary will leave me,
I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.
I will have a light body, I will be happy forever,
nothing will hinder me.
I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.

In beauty all day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With dew about my feet, may I walk.

With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty below me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
My words will be beautiful.

Navajo Blessing

Scarred and Discarded

A Surprise Happy Ending
By Pauline Stotsenburg of Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH)

Dutch after one year of rehab. Now plays in a pasture and has friends. Getting use to humans and is slowing building up trust.

2013 a Walking Horse,  his  pasterns covered in scars from years of  chemical abuse and the use of chains, making   it impossible  to pass  the inspections associated with the Horse Protection Act, is dumped by his owners.

Sold in the  parking lot of a Kentucky auction,   then taken to  a sale in Tennessee and  sold to a known killer buyer,  he was  hauled to a sale in Pennsylvania .  There he was spotted , wearing his big lick package,  in a pen where horses with no future were kept before being auctioned.

It is against the federal  law to sell a horse with  scars from soring practices at a public sale. A USDA investigation was initiated. He was given his  name, Dutch, because of the Pennsylvania connection.

dumped at auction with pads and when removed (slowly) pressure shoeing had been done on him as well
dumped at auction with pads and when removed (slowly) pressure shoeing had been done on him as well

The battered gelding was taken to   a local  rescue and examined by veterinarians.  The scars and condition of his feet were documented.  It appeared he had been  subjected to pressure shoeing. Scurffing of his skin was evidence of chemical applications.

After a year, the  USDA issued warnings  to the people involved in the sales.   The auction houses received warnings.   The original owners escaped detection.  USA Today was interested in Dutch’s story and he made national news.  What happened to him then?

Unlike other Walking Horses  that have been dumped, Dutch’s story has a happy ending. He was adopted into a forever home.  His physical   and emotional needs are met. Part  of a five horse herd,  he has learned that it’s safe to leave the stall,  the place where he spent most of his life,  for adventures in  the outdoors.

permanent scars that he will carry for life
permanent scars that he will carry for life

The  scars remain; he has COPD;  he will  require supportive shoeing for the rest of his life. But, more importantly,  he happily runs to greet visitors;  he tosses his feed pan back and forth with his stall cleaner;  he is addicted to Uncle Jimmy’s Squeezy Buns.   Dutch  is a bit of a clown.

In his 20s, he lives  joyfully and abundantly. Part of an animal trust,  he  will be buried at home  when  that time comes.  He will never be exploited again. The next part of Dutch’s life will be better than the first.

He  is the  living example of why the PAST Act must be enacted. PAST will end the soring, stacking,  and chaining used to produce unnatural gaits for the show ring and increase penalties for violators. It takes a call to your representative and senators to make a difference for all the other horses like Dutch,  the ones that are waiting for soring to be stopped forever.


0This story appeared in the October Issue of the ACTHA Monthly Magazine.  To see more stories like this visit this month’s issue >>


ACTHA Trail Horse Tees!

Official tshirts and hoodies are now available for purchase for the Great American Trail Horse Festival.  These will be available for a limited time, hurry and order yours to receive on time for the event!  Also, two other fun shirts to show your ‘team’ spirit as a member of ACTHA or a person who loves horses.  Some items are available in youth sizes, many colors, sizes and styles to choose from.  Hurry and get yours today!