11/09/2013

A hot and eventful summer 2013

Like every year in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun this summer was again a hot one.
With more than 100 F in the shade, the sun was burning out of a clear sky in the summer months between June and August.
Many residents turn their back towards the Sonoran Desert during these months. We call them snowbirds; in winter they escape the ice and snow in the North and return then to the North during our summer heat.

Already in September the first snowbirds arrive; October 1st, the main season starts here in Arizona, temperatures have fallen and prices are raising and the snowbirds are back. During the summer months the population shrinks by 30% in the area of Phoenix, the Valley of the Sun.

Also at the Miller-Ranch there is normally less activity during the summer months; although the arena and the round pen with the special roof construction allow working with the horses during the hot months up to 10 a.m..
But then siesta starts; sensible work will start again at 8 p.m. But this summer it was different.
With Julia Schaefer, Julia Heller, Pia Hottenbacher all from Germany and Manuela Perret from Switzerland, four trainees visited the Miller-Ranch during the hot summer months with the effect, that this year the main horse training was done at night. Julia Heller was named “Blondie” to differ her from the dark haired Julia Schaeffer.
Julia Heller only had time for 3 months at the ranch. Like Pia, she already had some years of riding experience; but at the Miller-Ranch she discovered that much of what she had learned before could not be used. She had to change to the training method according to the horse’s natural predisposition. She wanted to learn more about the horse training and especially more of the Missouri Fox Trotter.
All beginnings are difficult; but within the short time available, she learned very fast and very well as one can see in the video with“Smokey Joe"
This video was also watched by many people, when published in the net, also by Rita and J. Andrew Sole in Washington State; but “Smokey Joe” was not available for an immediate sale, he was needed for the Monument Valley Trail in September.
The first opportunity for Rita and Andrew to try Smokey Joe was in October- their decision was done at once. Now “Smokey Joe” has arrived well and sound at his new home in Washington, welcomed by the happy new owners.

Julia Schaeffer is an experienced and very successful young rider. With her two Fox Trotters “Velvet’s MoMo” and “Legend Outlaw´s Maximus M.R.”, she has won many blue ribbons in Germany. Both horses were bought by her parents for her from the Miller-Ranch. She won the title European High Point Champion Youth and with “Velvet’s Cheyenne”, owned by Stefan Herzog, she became European High Point Champion 2010. It was her dream to ride once in Ava at the Celebration and World Championship of the Missouri Fox Trotter in September.

She decided to start in the Versatility and in the Performance classes with the professionals. In the Performance she had two top horses at her disposal; “Legend’s Outlaw M.R.” the sire of her horse “Maximus” and “Legend Outlaw´s Maxima M.R.,” the sister of Maximus.
But sad things happen with living creatures ,Legend draw a crack at his right front foot, his training was finished, and it was uncertain, whether he could perform again during the tournament. With a special shoe we tried to get him a light training three weeks before the tournament.
Julia showed him in Ava and qualified also for the final, but she could not start in the final. Legend, a gaited machine with unbeatable rhythm otherwise, was not ready to get him consistent, he was not ready for this class of top horses.
 “Maxima” was in top condition. Julia invested much of her time and she had built an excellent relation with this sensitive mare. In both videos, made during her training, one can see both in top condition. Unfortunately at that special day, during that special hour, when it was important, the nerves of our young 19 years old lady did not cooperate. The highly sensitive “Maxima” sensed right away the tension of her rider, and Julia did what was the right thing to do, she took the mare out of the class to avoid a judgment under value of this mare.

Her experience as tournament rider in Europe helped her, to come to the right decision in this situation. Although the expectations in the Performance Class ended with a disappointment, the results in the Versatility Class showed much greater success.
Also here Julia was well prepared with “Arizona Outlaw’s Kachina M.R.” She could have started as an amateur in Ava, but she wanted to test her ability, and so she started in the Versatility Classes also with the professionals.
She knew, that she had to compete against the big shots, as Julie Moore with Arizona’s Outlaw M.R., the sire from “Kachina”. Julie Moore had Arizona’s Outlaw M.R. in training since May to start with him in the Versatility Classes, to collect the necessary points, each breeding stallion needs, to be registered in the European Stud Book in Class I to III.
Arizona had collected already the necessary points from the Performance Classes as World Champion, World Grand Champion and World Grand Champion Reserve.

With the professionals and next to Julie Moore, who already had won the title World Grand Champion in Versatility, started also Sally Scott with “A Thrill A Minute”. These two are a legend; over years a top team with uncountable victories and titles.
At the end of all classes the title Open Versatility World Grand Champion went to

 1.”Nathan’s Ovation” with Jennifer Vaught, Fair Play MO for Susan Engle, Pleasant Hill MO
2.”Stroker’s Pepper Shaker” with Janalyn White for Stephen’s Foxtrotters, Wallsburg, UT
3.”A Thrill A Minute” with Sally Scott for Sally Scott, Rogersville, MO
4.”Arizona’s Outlaw M.R. with Julie Moore, Rogersville, MO for Miller-Ranch, Scottsdale, AZ 5.”Arisona’s Outlaw Kachina M.R.” with Julia Schaefer, Germany for Miller-Ranch, Scottsdale AZ

With 16 participants this is an excellent result. Julia was especially proud being addressed all the time by participants and spectators. With “Kachina” she showed the best canter or rather Lope from all participants. The highlight for Julia and Kachina was the Trail Obstacle Jackpot, authorized by the American Trail Association. The Obstacle Trail is a show-jumping course with natural obstacles. The obstacles are imitating Nature. During recent years it was known also as Extreme Trail or Cowboy Trail.
 37 participants had registered; with 14 professionals.
1st place went to Julie Moore with “Arizona’s Outlaw M.R.”
followed very tight by Julia Schaefer
2nd place with “Arizona Outlaw’s Kachina M.R.”
These are two top riders with top trail horses, which are used to the most difficult terrain in Arizona; they probably considered those obstacles more like a playground for foals.
All’s well that ends well; Julia can be more than satisfied with her first appearance amongst the professionals in Ava.
Also Manuela Perret from Switzerland had already experience with the Miller-Ranch and its training program. She learned the ropes with the Missouri Fox Trotter very well. She has a good feeling for the gaits. Her experience with her Islanders helped her.
This year it was her fourth time at the Miller-Ranch. Her first video was made in 2011 with “Agains Gunsmoke” 
Nr. 2 in January 2012 with  “Commander”
Nr. 3 in February 2013 with  “Arizona Outlaw’s Kokopelli M.R.”
No.4 Leonard’s Cuba Libre M.R. did win many friends because of this video and his appearance in Ava. A number of requests for him came in.

Since Nov 01, Susan Barry from Chicago is the happy new owner of this luxury gelding, which has a staggering character and a Canter soft as marzipan.

Although Manuela has been our guest at the Miller-Ranch so many times, this time she had the chance to go with on one of our great trails:
The Monument Valley Trail. It is again and again an adventure our trail with the Missouri Fox Trotters from the Miller-Ranch into the land of the Navajos. Nothing can compare with it.
Two days we ride, where also other groups with horses show up; we cannot miss the most important places of interest. At many places, tourists from all over the world take more pictures from our group and the horses, than our guests do.
After these two days in the valley, we move into an area, where the tourists are not to be seen anymore. No other groups are riding here on the paths of the wild burros in the Painted Mountains.
We are the only white people in this solitude of the Navajos.
This time, our group was very german with Ingo, Kalle and Stefan from Germany, Manuela from Switzerland, Lothar from the Miller-Ranch and Nesswood, our Navajo guide.
In 2012 Stefan had won the European Championship with “Velvet’s Cheyenne” and with it the price, sponsored by the Miller-Ranch, the Monument Valley Trail.
On this trail he had the chance to ride the World Grand Champion “Arizona’s Outlaw M.R.”.
Kalle had a lot of fun with “Smokey’ Joe”. Ingo was riding the trail crack “Winchester’s Peacemaker”, which as always was sure footed and determined to go the trails.
Manuela was very happy to ride “Freddie”, also especially sure footed, experienced and composed- watch his video.:
Freddie gave Manuela the safety during steep, small and impassable paths, some of which show steep descends at the edge.
Manuela is a very good rider, but heights let her blood pressure raise and her heart beat faster.

Also Freddie found an especial happy new owner; Sandy, a small, graceful and charming lady of Chinese descent.
She had a very bad experience with her old horses, a painful accident. She was looking for a horse like Freddie, which could give her back the safety.
Sandy lives in Arizona and decided for the time being, to accept the longer drive to the Miller-Ranch and to take advantage of the better trails there with her Freddie. Freddie likes it too, because he can stay together with his old friends in the herd he is used to.

From our trainees, only Pia Hottenbacher is still at the Ranch. She will return to Europe beginning of December, just in time to be with her family in Germany for Christmas.
Also her goal is it to make a video with one of the horses she has in training.
We still have time, let ´see, which horse it will be, she can make ready to reach the training goal; “Velvet’s Santiago M.R.” is her favorite. We come back again, when there more news from the Miller-Ranch.

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