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!


Trail Riders, Here’s Your Blessing

Jeff_Orion_7-6-15_0336If you don’t read more than one article per month, you’d be well advised to let it be the column by Jeff Wilson Cowboy Dressage featured in each issue of the ACTHA Monthly Magazine.  Jeff writes for YOU, the trail rider, in each issue.  These aren’t articles he’s got stockpiled and sends to dozens of magazines each month.  No.  Each one is written especially for the trail rider, analyzing a different ACTHA obstacle in each issue, providing tips, advise and his wonderful way of looking at things through the eyes of the horse, a seasoned horseman and his brilliant sense of humor.  We are indeed so greatly blessed to have him as one of our contributing authors, and we just had to take a moment to say it to the world!  Thank you Jeff!

4The August Issue of the ACTHA Monthly discusses the DRAG obstacle.  In the article, Jeff discusses performance tips, gives suggestions on potential issues while training or practicing and even tips on how to train the horse who is new to obstacles.  There’s even a great tip provided by one of our members, Nicky Frechette (left) and her horse Lundi, about what NOT to do, based on a recent experience they shared at an ACTHA event.  If you haven’t read the article yet, click over and git’r done!  And be sure to watch for Jeff’s articles in each issue.  You’ll be glad you did.

A final note, we are very excited to be able to present Jeff Wilson Cowboy Dressage at the upcoming ACTHA hosted Great American Trail Horse Festival, November 5-8 in Mora, Missouri.  Jeff will be one of the fifteen renowned clinicians who will be presenting, teaching, offering private lessons, and celebrating the wonderful trail horse!

An ACTHA Horse Living the Good Life

Levi hamming for the camera, again, at a recent ACTHA “Pajama Party”

Not only is Levi a beautiful Gypsy Vanner / Morgan cross and an awesome ACTHA horse who recently earned his Bronze Medal, but he is also a television celebrity!  It was only a few short years ago that Levi appeared on an episode of the ABC television series, The Bachelor.  It really sounds like Levi is living the good life!

Congratulations to both Levi and his human counterpart, Ginni Rease Bradbury of Escondido, California, upon earning the Bronze Medal achievement. What’s next for this dynamic duo?  The sky’s the limit!

Watch for more about Levi and Ginni in the September issue of the ACTHA Monthly Magazine.

Levi appearing on ABC’s “The Bachelor”

ACTHA Member Perks! Half Price Sale at Cavallo!

We LOVE our Sponsors!

Not yet an ACTHA Member?  Join today and qualify for our member’s only savings from one of ACTHA’s longest and most generous sponsors; Cavallo Horse & Rider.  Whether it’s time for a new pair of Hoof Boots, or you’ve been anxious to try the new Treks, or possibly ready for a new top of the line saddle pad or other accessory offered at Cavallo, take advantage of this HOT HOT HOT special receiving 50% off any full priced product from Cavallo! Cavallo will even pay the shipping for you!

Hurry!  Offer is good only through September 4th!


How to receive your 50% off:

Shop Cavallo-inc.com and place your Cavallo branded products in your shopping cart.  Enter your name and billing information.  When you reach the final step to “Review Order” enter “ACTHA” and your ACTHA membership ID eg. “ACTHA123456” in the promo code field.  You will then see the 50% off discount applied to your order total.


From Wildman to Gentleman


I adopted “Chief Spookshimself”  a little over 5 years ago from a family that had given up on him.  Chief, a non-registered strawberry roan Pintaloosa, was shipped from Montana to California by accident. Yes, they sent the wrong horse and it gets pretty complicated after that so I’ll save you the details.  The owners were ready to send him to Red   Bucket Rescue, a local non-profit for abandoned horses, when I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time.

They asked me if “I knew someone that wanted a horse” and I had already been getting to know Chief since he was my mare’s barn neighbor. Even though he wasn’t handled much, I saw something special in him, so I agreed to take him. I noticed he was observant, sensitive and very macho. Combining all of those things, I had a ticking time-bomb on my hands. Early on, Chief snapped at least 5 lead lines and trashed a saddle before I was able to take him on a trail ride without incident. Everyone kept telling me “it was the Appaloosa in him”. But no matter, he just needed a leader.

Being a Docent / Trail Guide for the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, It was my job to insure the safety of my guest riders and horses. So it became quite humorous when Chief would bust into his break dance for apparently no reason. I ignored it, and he would finally settle down for the rest of the day.

We are living proof that success is showing up and having a good time.

10Subsequently, I heard about ACTHA from some friends who were competing locally. Our first outing, put on by host Jody Childs, was both scary and eye-opening. However, I realized this is what Chief and I needed to improve our bond and trail skills. He continued to amaze me at the events but he always found a way to escape the Blue Ribbon- a smell, a piece of glitter, the sound of my water bottle crunching in the saddlebag. To him it was a 10 foot mountain lion licking its chops. We are living proof that success is showing up and having a good time. Last season we earned a spot in the Final Top 10 California, Bronze and Silver among other awards.

We love our new friends we’ve met at the ACTHA events and we continue to be challenged by every new AOC arena and CTC trail ride. No better place to enjoy the two things I love, horses and the outdoors. Chief still has his episodes now and again but he keeps me on my toes and shows me the way.

This story originally appeared in the August issue of the ACTHA Monthly Magazine.  For more stories like it, view the online magazine >>



Bob is a volunteer for the Irvine Ranch Conservancy serving as an Equestrian Docent-Trail Guide to their 50,000 acre wilderness located in Southern California. Bob specializes in History Rides sharing local stories about the Native Americans, Spanish Incursion, Days of the Rancho Dons and the Outlaws who lived and died here.