Progress with Paisley


When I first applied for Extreme Mustang Makeover (EMM), I had no idea what I would be getting myself into. As I awaited the decision to be trainer, I got more and more excited. Upon acceptance, I was overjoyed. The training, hard work, and time I would have to put in, weren’t a problem, but a story.

Already a month has flown by and I just want to share the progress I have made with Paisley. Granted, I am no professional horse trainer, just a girl who has been riding and working with horses for about eight years.

I used to ride and show with Nicole Barbye who is also doing the EMM. I asked her about her experience and the good times or difficulties she has faced so far as a trainer. She responded with, “Not to sound too cheesy, but it’s been a wild ride so far. I’ve learned more about myself and horses in 30 days with Z than I have in a whole lifetime of riding. She’s taught me  to forgive not just her, but myself for small mistakes. And I can’t get wrapped up in small failures because the next day might bring a HUGE success.”

I have created a timeline with pictures of most of the things we have worked on day by day. If you click on each photo in the timeline, it will also give you a sentence or two description. As a little “sneak peek:”

Day 1 was April 6, 2013 when my dad and I drove in a truck with a trailer down to Lorton, Virginia to pick up my mustang. I had no idea what number, color, or temperament horse I would be taking home. It took us about three hours to get there. After signing some papers the lady doing the office work told me “You have a chestnut. She is about five years old.” Her number was 9919 so I anxiously went to the holding pens to find her.

Day 2 I spent all day with Paisley, mostly trying to come up with a name, but also allowing her get familiar with me. I even got to touch her.

On Day 3 I could touch Paisley all over, so next we introduced the brush. We working on standing while being pet and brushed all over. Next, we worked on leading.

Day 4 was a little more in depth. Of course, I started with approaching and brushing Paisley. We practiced some leading and then I brought out the saddle pad and saddle. At first, she didn’t like either one. She snorted and backed away from them. After talking to her and giving her time, I could finally walk up to her with the item in my hand. So the next thing i did was kind of brush the object on her body to let her know it is okay.

By Day 5 I was amazed by the progress we had made so I decided I would climb onto Paisley’s back. She’s a little too tall to just “hop on” so I brought her close to the fence, climbed up the rails, and slid on. I only sat there for a minute or two, before something crazy happened. Of course, she was fine with me sitting there so I climbed down.

On Day 6 I worked on saddling and unsaddling with Paisley. After all, you can never practice too much. Day 7 was pouring rain so we didn’t get to do a whole lot, but we worked on picking up feet… in the mud.

I’ve learned the most important thing about horse training is repetition. It’s funny how one day Paisley would do something fine and then two days later act like she didn’t have a clue what I was trying to do. Nicky Franchette, another trainer competing in the EMM this year from New York, agreed by saying “Don’t think that what worked for you before will definitely work today- Try something different.” And that is just all part of the fun! Another important aspect is confidence. Horses can sense the way humans are feeling, so if I were really scared and nervous about working with Paisley, she would take advantage of that and we probably would not have accomplished what we have.

For more information, check out the timeline I’ve put together for “events” that happened over the past month.


Painting Capri’s Skeleton

This week is my video post is about the skeletal anatomy of a horse; More specifically, my horse, Capri. She is the bay roan Quarter Horse mare that I’ve been talking about. Honestly, I was surprised how patient she was through the whole painting process. I had trouble finding a color of paint that would show up on both her body, which is mostly white, and her legs that are black so I ended up picking a light pink. I made sure to video her body standing still, walking, trotting, and loping. If the video is not clear while she is moving, I apologize! It is easiest to recognize how the bones move and legs extend while she is walking. Make sure to look closely so you don’t miss it.

Home Safe and Sound, Still No Name


Yesterday was such a long day! I got my mustang; She’s a five year-old, chestnut mare. Unfortunately, she still doesn’t have a name. I’m hoping she will do something and it will just come to me. When I arrived, I had to sign a few papers for the BLM. I was then given a folder with the horse’s record of shots. I was handed a yellow slip with the numbers “9919,” my name, and “chestnut” on it. Then I was allowed to search the pens for my new partner in this adventure. She was in a pen with another horse who seemed to be the bossy one. My mustang was curious and sweet from the start. Thankfully, we didn’t hit any traffic on our journey. We drove three hours to Virginia, five hours to central New Jersey to drop off another mustang, and then two hours home. It seems like a lot of riding in the truck, but it wasn’t all that bad because I could look back and see my new friend standing patiently in the trailer. Here are two pictures I took in Virginia while she was still in the holding pen. Any name ideas yet?

Straight From 2011’s Youth World Champ

This week, I’ve done a Q&A with Johnryon Foster, a young roper who grew up in Pennsylvania. Johnryon is 2011’s  Youth World Champion. He has plenty of experience, both roping and with horses because both of his parents are familiar with showing horses. In this Q&A, he talks about his passion as a team roper. Below is a picture of Johnryon with his horse named Bevo.


Q: How long have you been roping/riding?

A: I’ve been swinging a rope since I could walk but I started roping live cattle off a horse when I was… I think 11 or 12. I’m 16 now.

Q: How many horses do you have and what are their names?

A: I have 5 horses. I have a sorrel 11-year-old mare named Rockstar, a sorrel 10-year-old mare named Suntan, a bay 5-year-old gelding named Bevo, a buckskin 25-year-old gelding named Tuck and a grey 13-year-old gelding named Casper.

Q:  About how many shows or team roping competitions have you gone to?

A:  I’m not sure how many team roping competitions and shows I’ve gone to but I try to practice everyday and I go to a roping at least 2 or 3 times a month, sometimes more.

Q. What’s the hardest part about being a roper?

A: The hardest part is maintaining your horses and keeping them working good, if your horses don’t work good your chances of winning are much less.

Q. What’s your favorite part?

A: My favorite part is always winning but it’s also great to be able to compete against people that are better than me.

Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to be good at roping?

A: If you want to be good at it you have to practice hard all the time and always keep trying to make your self better. The more you go to team roping competitions the better you get even if you are not doing good you just have to keep going because eventually it will go your way!

A Horse’s Pedicure

Caring for your horse is one thing but maintaining healthy hooves is another story.

In case you are new to horses; horses need their feet (hooves) trimmed or shod by a farrier every four to six weeks in the spring and summer. In the fall and winter the job is postponed a little longer; about six to eight weeks. This is because horses’ hooves actually grow slower in the winter.

What’s a hoof and why does it need care? Think of horse hooves like your fingernails. If hooves grew out long, they would expand and become very wide, increasing the chance of the horse’s hoof splitting.

Horse hooves may also become dry in the summer because of the weather. Hoof dressing is a great solution.

A horse’s feet should be picked out just about everyday and definitely before every ride. Horses have two grooves on the bottom of their hoof where, throughout the day, rocks and dirt can get wedged and packed in there.

Between the grooves lies a triangular-shaped bump. This is called the frog. The frog serves as a shock absorber for the horse that can be very sensitive.

Tyler Miller, a farrier in Pennsylvania, added, “The frog is also a very important part of the circulatory system. It helps push blood back up the leg to the heart.”

Most horses require horseshoes. One reason a horse might need shoes is because of bad confirmation. Confirmation is the physical features about the horse, such as, which way the horse’s toes point. Shoes can help correct these blemishes. Also, horses ridden a lot barefoot (without shoes) will eventually wear down their hooves until it becomes lame. The term “lame” means sore, not uncool. Another reason most horses have shoes may be because they live in a rocky area. Rocks can actually bruise the sole of the hoof. The sole of the hoof is the bottom part that is flat and smooth.

What does it take to become a farrier? A farrier is someone who specializes in caring for horse hooves. Farriers-to-be attend horse shoeing school or work with an experienced farrier as an apprentice.

Tommy Lanzalotti, a young local farrier, says, “What made me wanna start shoeing is that I really enjoyed riding and working with horses so I figured being a farrier would be a good job for me.” Tommy ran a shoeing business on his own. It involves scheduling clients, driving back and forth to locations, and a long days work almost everyday. Tommy used the words “interesting, rewarding and time-consuming” to describe his unique self-employed experience.


Dreaming of the Extreme Mustang Makeover

Hey guys! Okay, so I have good news… Have you heard of the Extreme Mustang Makeover? (If not, check this out) It is basically a horse training competition- with different programs, including a program just for youth.  So once accepted as a trainer, each one will have approximately one hundred days to gentle and train a mustang. To gentle a mustang just means to be able to touch the horse and put a halter on it (the everyday things) and make it familiar to humans. The competition concludes with trainers showing off the tricks and qualities they have taught their new companion. After each trainer’s demonstration, the mustangs are adopted via auction. After a successful event last year, the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition will return to New Jersey at our very own Dream Park located in Logan Township. I applied to become a trainer and received an email Tuesday informing me that I should know if I am accepted to compete shortly after the February 15th deadline. Fingers crossed! If you have already trained a mustang, I’d love to hear about your experience! It’s really interesting how the Bureau of Land Management  works. Numerous mustangs are rounded up from California, Nevada, and Utah (just to name a few) for adoption to control the number of wild horses. Don’t worry, it isn’t to harm the horses. There are actually so many wild horses, that if the BLM didn’t monitor and control the population, there wouldn’t be enough food and water for all of the mustangs. If you’re interested and want more information, check out the film “Wild Horse, Wild Ride” that can be obtained through Redbox.

Photo by Gerry- Mustangs in Northwest Nevada


Welcome to Chomping At The Bit!

Hi. Welcome to my blog! My name is Chaeli. I live in New Jersey and attend Rowan University. I’ve been involved with horses for about eight years and I don’t plan on changing that anytime soon. I started by taking lessons that eventually changed into leasing. For almost two years, I worked as a stable hand in exchange for my lessons and it was a great learning experience. After years of begging my parents, I got a horse to call my own that I keep in my backyard. She is an eight year old, bay roan, Quarter Horse named Capri. I’m sure I will be posting pictures soon! In this blog, I intend to provide you with tips and advice for owning or caring for horses. If you ever have ANY topics specifically you’d like me to write about, send me an email or contact me through Twitter and I’ll gladly consider it! You’re probably wondering why I named my blog “Chomping At The Bit.” Well, I wanted the name to be a horse phrase that is somewhat common and easy for non-horse people to recognize. The phrase is used to describe the situation when a horse is constantly biting on the bit. So I figured, readers checking my blog for new information is kind of the same thing. If you aren’t familiar with horses, don’t worry, this blog is for you too! Hopefully, I will familiarize you and ignite your curiosity for horses. In the meantime, feel free to check out the sites I’ve listed in my Blogroll. We’ll talk again soon!