TRAINING
NOTEBOOK 5
:
SADDLE TRAINING,
VILASA'S FIRST SADDLE

USE THIS DIRECTORY TO NAVIGATE THE SERIES:

TRAINING ALBUM 1: INTRO AND TRAILER TRAINING
TRAINING ALBUM 2: EARLY TRAINING
TRAINING ALBUM 3: ARETHA'S FIRST SADDLE
TRAINING ALBUM 4: ANGELITA'S FIRST SADDLE
TRAINING ALBUM 5: VILASA'S FIRST SADDLE

In the first training notebook, we discussed our training philosophy and gave a fun lesson in trailer loading. The second article presents vital early and pre-saddle training that every horse must receive to be a good equine citizen. (This was not without thrills.) The next three articles rock'n'roll-- presenting the first time our three fillies were ridden. Here we present Her Royal Highness, Vilasa BSN, who is probably the best horse we've produced. First saddles always represent surprises. Rodeos happen when you don't expect them, and calmness reigns when you anticipate hysteria. What will happen with red hot Vilasa?

You saw Vilasa in Training Note Book 2 demonstrating a few things and then bucking like crazy when the stirrups hit her. She's a very, very hot filly, the daughter of our beloved La Soberbia and the six time US and Canadian National Champion of Champions Breeding Stallion, *JOR Norte y Sur+. Norte's won so many titles that it would take a whole page to list them.

I have a story about Norte. Kind of a turning point for me. The first time I saw Norte y Sur, he'd just arrived in this country from Peru. He was underweight from the quarantine and stress of traveling. He still looked absolutely fabulous. He was up at the Kimmel's place, Rancho de Colores in Monterey. Different people were riding him in their arena. I couldn't believe how beautiful he was. The ease of movement. His elegance. Nobility. I thought, "I wish I could have a horse like that. Why can't we have horses like that?" Well, we do now. You can have one, too. Just breed a mare to Norte. Click on his name above and learn how.

The photos in this notebook were taken a few weeks after the other training albums: Vilasa took a little extra time and care to be ready for this important first saddle. And even so-- when the time came to get on her and move her out, Tony wanted someone helping him on the ground who was a bit more experienced, not to mention spry, than Barry.

What do you do when it's too tough to handle yourself? Call in the cops. Or a consultant, at least.

We made arrangements for our friend and superb professional trainer, Sandro Mazzi, to come over and handle Vilasa from the ground. We hit the jackpot! Little did we know that his father, Sr. Manuel Mazzi (Known as Manolo) was in the United States with Sra. Mazzi. The Mazzi's are among the most respected breeders of Peruvian Pasos in the world. Sr. Mazzi has judged both the US and Peruvian National Championships as well as countless regional shows. He has bred some of the finest Pasos in the world. Manolo is an excellent hand with a horse and an incredible rider. Father and son showed up to help us with Vilasa.


MANOLO MAZZI STUDIES THE SITUATION

Sr. Mazzi entered the round pen with the air of a surgeon entering the operating room. He watched Tony prepare Vilasa for riding, longeing her in both directions, warming her up. When things were ready, he approached Tony.

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MANOLO MAZZI INSTRUCTS TONY ABOUT A LITTLE "DETAIL" WE FORGOT

The most important joint in the horse's body in terms of correct functioning under saddle is the joining of the neck vertebrae to the skull. If a horse is "locked up" or stiff in this joint, it's locked up everywhere. And prone to bucking, leaping, rearing and running away. Peruvians know this. That's why they do all those limbering exercises. We knew that joint had to be loose. We've heard Harry Whitney and Deb Bennet and other horsy experts say the same thing. (A tight neck joint may have been responsible for the flying lesson Tony took off of Aretha in Notebook 3.) Why did we forget with Vilasa? The first thing Manolo noticed was that Vilasa was locked up. Manolo's shown here talking to Tony and limbering Vilasa's head to the right.

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MANOLO MAZZI WORKS VILASA'S HEAD IN BOTH DIRECTIONS
When he felt Vilasa was sufficiently "loose", Manolo instructed Sandro and Tony to begin.

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TONY PREPARES TO MOUNT WITH SANDRO ASSISTING
Tony's mounted Vilasa a million times from both sides and sat in the saddle. This is different. They're going to move out.

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TONY'S UP-- SITTING CAREFULLY
Moment of truth: What will she do?

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ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
Careful preparation pays off. She just walks out. No rodeo.

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HAVE A BLAST!
Picking up speed a few moments later.

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VILASA MOVES OUT
She's lively, but not out of control. The two guys are having a great time.

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A FEW THRILLS
She's a hot filly, after all. Look at the smiles on both men's faces! These guys had fun the whole time-- and Vilasa was never terribly upset. Absolutely no rodeo bucking the whole session.

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SHE'S LOCKED UP HERE
Vilasa came out of her upset a little perturbed. . She comes to a stop with front legs set and locked. Also her neck. Horses buck, bolt, rear and so on when they're "locked up." Watch what Sandro does.
(Also notice his smileŚ)

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SANDRO WORKS HER HEAD AND NECK TO THE RIGHT, UNLOCKING THE NECK
Look at her front legs: Rigid. If she wasn't limbered up now, she'd do something regrettable.

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WORKING THAT NECK TO THE LEFT
Vilasa's softening already. Look at that left front foot. She's loosened up and ready to start moving again.

A few more minutes working, and that was it. First session done. Did the Mazzi's like this horse? Oh, yes.

Sandro came over one other time to help Tony. After that, Vilasa had progressed to the point that he didn't think we needed his help. I guess not, because a week later:

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BARRY LEADS VILASA AROUND LIKE A KID'S HORSE
Well, almost. A very hot kid's horse. Look how relaxed she is.

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FROM THERE, IT'S A SIMPLE STEP TO LONGEING

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AND THEN BEING RIDDEN IN THE ROUND PEN WITH NO LONGE LINE
Look at this filly's carriage and elegance. All natural. She's the spitting image of her dad, *JOR Norte y Sur.

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IT'S A SIMPLE STEP DOWN TO THE ARENA WITH THE "BIG KIDS"

I heard a noise outside my kitchen the other day. I was Tony, riding Vilasa on our front lawn. She's progressed so fast. Very hot, but very sensible and not afraid of anything. We haven't shown her yet. That's a simple progression in training. One step at a time, when she's ready.

No, she's not for sale.


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