I really don’t know what caused me to get my horse, Cheyenne. I disliked the color grey, especially “flea bitten” grey, but I kept coming back to her and eventually had to go and see her. It seems as if she and I were brought together because of divine intervention.
At the pre-purchase exam, the vet told me that she had a mild sway in her back and her front left leg had a slight inward pigeon toe. I wanted to buy a horse to use in a certain riding style, but the vet told me that she didn’t have the right build for upper level dressage. But, I was already in love. I decided to find something that Cheyenne and I would enjoy doing together.
I found a trick book after browsing books at a horse tack store and soon discovered that Cheyenne loved the tricks as did I. However, I had to learn out of books and from a few videos, because not many trick instructors are around. Basically, I was on my own.
While working my horses in the South Jordan Equestrian Center, I saw another lady who had a great connection with her horse, the kind of connection I wanted with mine. I discovered that she, Jeannie Mortensen, was continuing her education in Pat Parelli, which is natural horsemanship.
Pat Parelli teaches harmony by teaching his students to read the horse’s expressions and understand horse psychology. This knowledge helps me better understand my horse, what makes her better at doing her tricks, and how we can have a more enjoyable time together as one great team.
I have worked long hours for four years now to teach Cheyenne. She now knows about forty tricks. She can bow in three different ways, play basketball, steal a checkbook out of a pocket, wave a flag, play piano, paint abstract art, count, say “yes” and “no,” smile, stick out her tongue, honk a horn, fetch a hat from another person and bring it to me and then take it back, square up and stretch out, stand on a pedestal, lie down, etc. We are working on marching in place and dancing on the hind quarters. She has a nice stage presence at shows and a real flair when performing. Instead of bowing once, she might choose to do five more bows to elicit more enthusiasm from her audience. She loves cameras and will show off her pearly whites, or yellow teeth.
My Parelli instructor told me that Cheyenne is not an average horse but a brilliant one. She has a gift for tricks. Cheyenne is also an alpha mare, making it more challenging to teach her, but her mind makes her so great to train.