Tag Archives: natural horsemanship

Sirocco & Me

I’ve been studying Parelli Natural Horsemanship for a few years and never before took the time to get “officially certified” in the program. I’ve signed up for a level 3 & 4 clinic in June which means I must be certified in level 2 to attend. I’m really looking forward to the clinic which is with one of Parelli’s top trainers, Carol Coppinger. I’ve been to one of her level 1 clinics a few years ago and she’s amazing. Great teacher too.

So the other day Emily ran the camera for me and I completed my Level 2 online audition tape. Now I wait to hear if I passed. The other part of level 2 is the riding part which I haven’t recorded yet. Here’s my online audition with my gelding Sirocco. (9 minute youtube video at the end of this post)

about the horse…

He was born here and is out of my quarter horse mare April. She died last year at 24 from a spine injury suffered in a fall last winter. She slipped in the pasture when it was wet and muddy. She was a great horse, my best friend and a wonderful mamma. I still miss her and the many trail rides we had together. She is buried on our farm down near “the point,” a spot next to the geldings pasture and the lake.

Sirocco is a quarter horse and his bloodlines are King p234, king fritz, leo & poco buano. Those are all old foundation QH lines. There are two common types of quarter horses…the cowboys rode stalky horses with a lot of muscle to work cows. They are fast and can turn on a dime. Later thoroughbreds were bred into the line to add a slender tall frame to the mix for things like jumping, dressage and eventing. Sirocco is short and stalky. Quarter Horses got the name because they could run the fastest 1/4 mile. His grand father was “Woodchex,” a national reining horse champion. Reining is also called “the cowboy’s dressage.”

In terms Parelli folks understand, he is a left brain introvert/extrovert (I see both of those in him so not sure where he falls on the chart) I started riding him before winter set in and now we’re just getting back to riding in the arena. He’s been doing really well and I think all the ground work is really paying off. He’s side passing, coming off my leg, picking up his lead and backing nicely. I’m really happy with his progress.

He has a full brother “Grayson Chex Leo” that I am working with too but I am not as far along yet with him. I’ll post more about him later. A local trainer, JR has been coming to the farm to help start all the young green horses and he’s really helped me with my riding skills too. He’s the 3rd generation in his family to train horses and he too is a natural horseman. Here he is playing a circle game with Dolly (“Honcho’s Dolly Dee”) another one of our quarter horses in training at Avalon Farms.

Val’s Level 2 Online Audition Video

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Help make it a felony to starve horses and farm animals in Tennessee

I spoke with Janis Sontany and she really needs help to get HB3386 passed. The agriculture committee for the most part is not wanting to deal with this. They are going to need to hear from us or they are going to basically blow it off. Please call the people on the committee and tell them how you feel. Is it ok to look the other way while horses and other livestock are allowed to starve? We protect dogs & cats but not horses? Tell them how you feel. If you know members of the press ask them to come Tuesday, March 16th at 9am on Capitol Hill Room 28. If you can, show up yourself. I’m going and so are other horse enthusiasts and people who care enough to speak for these animals that cannot speak for themselves.

I grew up learning that Tennessee was not only home to “Music City” but that it was “horse country” as well. Growing up in New England, I read about it in school text books and saw pictures of rolling grass pastures full of horses. That’s one of the reasons I moved here. As a musician/songwriter and an equestrian, music and horses are two huge interests of mine and Middle Tennessee offered both. My partner & I purchased a horse farm in 1998 and there are currently 15 horses under my care here at Avalon Farms.

From the history of the Thoroughbreds at Belle Meade Mansion to the $260million+ Walking Horse Industry to the thousands of stables and backyard horse owners in every equine discipline, Tennessee horse lovers and businesses are big business for Tennessee. We should be setting the standard for folks around the country. With all this we have no law to protect them from neglect. A person in Tennessee can starve them, lock them up without care or water until they die and expect no more than the equivalent of a traffic ticket. A slap on the wrist…

Now, a bill is being introduced to the agriculture committee (HB3386) to make it a felony to starve these and other farm animals. Rep. Janis Sontany is introducing it after witnessing for herself, the 84 starved horses from Cannon County in November. She came down to the fairgrounds where many of us were volunteering to feed them and care for them under the supervision of the National Humane Society. I held horses for the farriers that voluteered their time to trim feet. I saw hooves with frogs completely rotted away from standing in their own excrement. I saw feet with shoes that had been left on for months and growth so long that they could barely walk. I saw many horses so underweight that from my own experience I know it would take a year or more to bring them back to a healthy condition if they survived at all.

Together we can put a stop to this or at least help make it where offenders are punished for cruel treetment like this. It really is going to take us all speaking out to stop the senseless suffering of these magnificent animals. Pick up the phone, email the members of the committee. Tell Janis Sontany thanks for standing up for these wonderful creatures and let her know she’s not alone in this fight. You can reach Janis at JANIS SONTANY
STATE REPRESENTATIVE
53RD LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

32 LEGISLATIVE PLAZA
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE 37243-0153
PHONE (615-) 741-6861
FAX (615) 253-0325
E-MAIL:
rep.janis.sontany@legislature.state.tn.us

Pass this along to everyone you know.
Thanks, Val Reynolds/Avalonfarms@hughes.net

The members of the House Agriculture Committee are: Committee OfficersStratton Bone, Chair (615) 741-7086 rep.stratton.bone@capitol.tn.govDale Ford, Vice Chair (615) 741-1717 rep.dale.ford@capitol.tn.govWillie Butch Borchert, Secretary (615) 741-6804 rep.willie.borchert@capitol.tn.gov MembersEddie Bass (615) 741-1864 rep.eddie.bass@capitol.tn.govChad Faulkner (615) 741-3335 rep.chad.faulkner@capitol.tn.govCurits ;Halford (615) 741-7478 rep.curtis.halford@capitol.tn.govJohn Litz (615) 741-6877 rep.john.litz@capitol.tn.govSteve McDaniel (615) 741-0750 rep.steve.mcdaniel@capitol.tn.govFrank Niceley (615) 741-4419 rep.frank.niceley@capitol.tn.govJohnny Shaw (615) 741-4538 rep.johnny.shaw@capitol.tn.govTerri Lynn Weaver (615) 741-2192 rep.terri.lynn.weaver@capitol.tn.govJohn Mark Windle (615) 741-1260 rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov

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Action Alert: Update on HB3386 Make Starving Horses & Livestock a Felony

Hi there,
Here’s the latest on a bill to make it a felony to starve horses. There’s more to it than that but this what came out of the fairgrounds horses case from cannon county. https://avalonfarmblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/84-seized-horses-update/
I plan to go to the hill next tuesday at 9am when it is introduced. Please read the letter from Janis Sontany. (below) I know for a fact she went out to see the 84 horses herself in November and vowed to present this bill. Please try to be there or at the very least…call the people on the committee and tell them to support HB3386. The animals don’t have a voice in this. It’s up to us and Janis is going up against Insurance lobbiest that are not willing to compromise. Let’s all help her in this fight.-Val

valerie reynolds
Speak softly and carry a carrot stick

JANIS SONTANY
STATE REPRESENTATIVE
53RD LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

32 LEGISLATIVE PLAZA
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE 37243-0153
PHONE (615-) 741-6861
FAX (615) 253-0325
E-MAIL:
rep.janis.sontany@legislature.state.tn.us

188 CHILTON STREET
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE 37211
(615) 331-7616

House of Representatives
State of Tennessee

NASHVILLE

SECRETARY
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

COMMITEES
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
FINANCE WAYS AND MEANS

SUB COMMITTEE
CRIMINAL PRACTICE, CHAIR
I hope this finds you and your family doing well and looking forward to Spring.

Each of you has contacted me over the past few months regarding the starving horses rescued from Cannon County and taken to the Fairgrounds here in Nashville. I promised then that I would introduce legislation that would make withholding food and/or water from any animal a felony and that I would update you on the progress and ask for your continued help. It makes no sense to me to have two different penalties – aggravated animal cruelty with a felony penalty for companion animals and a misdemeanor for the same action for “livestock”. Cruelty is cruelty regardless if you are 3 lbs. or 16 hands high. How can we continue to say that it is far worse to starve a dog than to starve a horse?

When the horses were at the Fairgrounds, I was asked by the media why the penalty for starving these horses was only a misdemeanor. My answer simply was Farm Bureau Insurance Company. This company has always demanded different laws for “livestock”.

When I first drafted this legislation, I met with Farm Bureau Insurance Company’s lobbyists to try to find some common ground. I was told that starving these horses didn’t rise to the level of aggravated animal cruelty and the current law was working just fine and they refused to negotiate.

Last week, Farm Bureau’s President, Lacy Upchurch, and their Chief Administrative Officer, Julius Johnson, visited my office to discuss my bill. I was so in hopes that we could negotiate in good faith to have a bill that we both could agree on that would stop this continued cruelty. They, however, only wanted to express to me their concern that this legislation would land some poor farmer in jail for dehorning his cattle. My bill clearly exempts accepted veterinary practices and makes no mention of discontinuing current tax breaks for farmers on livestock.

I offered to file an amendment that would require the sworn statement of a veterinarian that the animal/animals were starved – deprived of food and/or water or abused in a depraved or sadistic manner before criminal charges could be filed, to no avail. Mr. Upchurch and Mr. Johnson wouldn’t agree to that either – they said there would be too much gray area. Clearly, they didn’t come in good faith to negotiate.

This cruelty continues to happen. There were the 20 horses in Sumner County that were reported starved, three in Smith County – one of which was already dead and the other two found with no food or water nearly starved to death. And, then there was the incident in Bedford County where over 100 head of cattle were found starved to death.

I was told that Farm Bureau Insurance Company has 650,000 members across Tennessee. When I asked how many of them had input on their positions and policies, I was told not 650,000 but a very small percentage. I think all their members need to know their position on animal cruelty and if they don’t agree with the company’s position, they should contact Mr. Upchurch 931-388-7872 x 2201 and Mr. Johnson at 931-388-7872 x 2205 and express their disagreement and dissatisfaction.

This bill addresses more than starvation of animals. It also addresses other forms of animal cruelty. There was a woman in Sweetwater last year whose husband got mad at her and dragged her favorite horse behind his truck until the animal was almost dead. To finish him off he stabbed him with a pitch fork. When the woman contacted the district attorney in her area, she was told that they would not prosecute this action because it was a misdemeanor and wasn’t worth their time. My bill would make this action a felony as well. A misdemeanor is like getting a traffic ticket.

I plan to bring HB3386 before the House Agriculture Committee on 3/16 at 9:00 a.m. I invite any of you that can to join me that day to show support for this bill. I know that for many of you that won’t be possible, however, I respectfully ask that you get this message out to any and all that are interested in supporting our legislation and also ask that you contact the members of the House Agriculture Committee to ask for their support. It will take all of us working together to get this legislation passed.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office at 615-741-6861 or 615-331-7616.

The members of the House Agriculture Committee are:

Committee Officers
Stratton Bone, Chair (615) 741-7086 rep.stratton.bone@capitol.tn.gov
Dale Ford, Vice Chair (615) 741-1717 rep.dale.ford@capitol.tn.gov
Willie Butch Borchert, Secretary (615) 741-6804 rep.willie.borchert@capitol.tn.gov

Members
Eddie Bass (615) 741-1864 rep.eddie.bass@capitol.tn.gov
Chad Faulkner (615) 741-3335 rep.chad.faulkner@capitol.tn.gov
Curits ;Halford (615) 741-7478 rep.curtis.halford@capitol.tn.gov
John Litz (615) 741-6877 rep.john.litz@capitol.tn.gov
Steve McDaniel (615) 741-0750 rep.steve.mcdaniel@capitol.tn.gov
Frank Niceley (615) 741-4419 rep.frank.niceley@capitol.tn.gov
Johnny Shaw (615) 741-4538 rep.johnny.shaw@capitol.tn.gov
Terri Lynn Weaver (615) 741-2192 rep.terri.lynn.weaver@capitol.tn.gov
John Mark Windle (615) 741-1260 rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov

Sincerely,

Janis Sontany

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This just in from Parelli.com…

On February 9, 2010, the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) met to discuss the use of the highly controversial technique known as “rollkur.” Parelli was proud to contribute to the global initiative to stop rollkur, and we thank all of you who responded to our call to sign and spread the petitions in opposition of this abusive training method.

We are pleased to announce that 41,000 signatures were collected and presented to the FEI conference! The group reached the consensus that, “any head and neck position achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable.”

Thank you again for your support! Due to the protests of horse-lovers worldwide, the horse world has taken a huge step in the right direction.

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Action Alert: Rescued Horses inspire new legislation in Tennessee

Before Thanksgiving, you will recall the 85 horses and mules removed from a farm in Cannon County. It was obvious that these horses were in very bad shape – many hundreds of pounds below normal weight. The horses were relocated to the Nashville Fairgrounds and cared for by volunteers from all over the state, many from Nashville and Middle Tennessee. At that time, I committed to filing a bill that would make the intentional withholding of food and/or water from any animal a felony. Currently, withholding food and/or water from companion animals is felony aggravated animal cruelty – to do the very same to “livestock” is a misdemeanor. It makes no sense to have one penalty for companion animals and a different one for “livestock”. Cruelty is cruelty regardless if you are 3 lbs. or 16 hands high.

Sen. Ketron and I have sponsored legislation that will make withholding food and/or water from ANY animal felony aggravated animal cruelty. The bill numbers are HB3386 and SB3546. The bill can be viewed by going to http://www.capitol.tn.gov, the legislative page will appear, go to the bottom left hand side to “find legislation”, enter the bill number and click on search. You can print the bill from there.

If you have problems, please call our office at 741-6861.

Please contact your legislators – both House and Senate – and ask for their support in passing this important legislation. It will take everyone working together.

Thanks for all your support.

Janis Sontany
State Representative – District 53
741-6861/331-7616

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Snow pictures from the farm!

The news says we got 5″ here. (Near Nashville) Roads too icey to drive and it’s going down to 9 degrees tonight so no thaw for another day or two. We’re fine. Try to find something to use for sledding down a hill tomorrow.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=182832&id=621835798&l=749a257d9d

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update: Rescued horses at the Fairgrounds

I spend today at the fairgrounds in isle D taking care of the horses on our row with Scott & Cynthia. My job was holding horses while Scott shoveled poop and grooming. The horses are looking a little better and most seem to be doing well. Most have had feet trimmed, wounds treated, manes and tails combed out and are enjoying a steady diet of fresh hay and feed.

JR came today to work with the stallion that nobody could handle. It would bite or strike and had a nasty wound on the front leg that needed to be tended to. JR put a grazing muzzle on him to at least eliminate the chance of a bite and was able to walk him outside for a soaking with the water hose. Two volunteers cleaned his stall while he was out in the parking lot area.

Most of the horses are very sweet and easy to handle. I think they know we are trying to help them. Life has certainly changed for them. They are out of the weather and even have a blanket when the temperature drops again tomorrow night to 22 degrees. The shavings in their stall are fresh & clean and 4″ deep. Every stall has fresh hay and a salt block along with a bucket of fresh water. Volunteers are brushing and grooming them back to a soft fur coat instead of the mud caked crusted mess they came in with.

As the days go by, some of the volunteers may drop off so contact tnhorserescue@hsus.org or go to the fairgrounds to sign up. They have an office in a small trailer next to the barn. The response has been wonderful. I’ve seen farriers I know, JR who comes to Avalon Farms twice a week to train our horses has been going down there and several friends I know have been down there helping. I’ve met a lot of horse lovers from all around middle Tennessee. There are also folks from out of state there too.

Eventually these horses are going to be up for adoption. Some will be fine mounts when they put on weight and gain back their strength. Some will be too debilitated for riding but will need that special loving person that wants an equine friend. Some are young enough that all this will be a dim memory from when they were are baby. I hope they all find good homes and have a happy life. I’m not sure what the process will be but the humane society can tell you. They aren’t ready for that and won’t be for a while.

The law isn’t good enough to protect horses in Tennessee and there are wheels in motion to change that. I think that is one good thing that will come out of all this. I’ll post the proposed bill as soon as I find it online. I think it’s so cool that so many people have come together to save these animals.

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