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Dot Starnes
  • Female
  • Paris, TN
  • United States
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  • Audrey Faye Rody
  • Chuck and Barbara Stegall
  • Debra Proaps
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How many horses do you own?
What breed do you own primarily?
Tennessee Walking Horses
Where was your favorite trail riding experience?
Tell us something about you, anything.
I have been riding since I was 3 y/o and am now in my 40s. I've ridden and shown many disciplines / breeds including QHs ( barrel and WP) , hunter / jumpers, American Saddlebreds and Tennessee Walkers ( flat shod). I love all horses and despise those who are closed minded against any breed of horse. There are good and bad in all and normally bad stems from poor breeding or poor training. Not the horse or its breed. Current I show a 3 gait TWH flatshod of my own and run barrels for another individual. 90% of all training is done out on the trail to make a well rounded horse.

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At 9:51am on December 10, 2009, Dot Starnes said…
i have about quit training for other people since my show season has gotten so busy and I agreed to run a barrel horse for a friend of mine this year. I have a very close friend that is absolutely awesome and she charges 375 a month. She runs barrels but can train anything. Does alot of trail work with a horse. I've seen her work everything from a QH to a saddlebred. She always hollers for me when she get a gaited horse in though. She has asked me to bring Jazz to her house this summer so she can get some help working a couple of horses.
Well when I'm trail riding Jazz I can use my feet to guide him around the trees pretty much. The woods are ok but when you have a big boy like I do it can be challenging. I love to get out on old gravel roads and just GO.
At 8:12am on December 10, 2009, Audrey Faye Rody said…
Oh my gosh, seeing Stacy Westfall ride bridless brought tears to my eyes!!!! It's a beautiful thing to see a rider and horse mesh as one,to be so in sync with each other.!!!!! I've only had one horse that I ever felt that way about,I swear we could read each other's minds!!!!HA-HA!!!! Yeah,neck reining takes some time to accomplish. It helps to ride in the woods where you have to manuver around trees and such.It took me almost a year to get my buckskin/white mare to neck rein good,but my black /white has only been rode 30 days and has already picked it up pretty good. I will just have to be patient!!!! Your Jazz Man horse sounds very nice,Is he the one on your profile pic? I admire you for being able to train and show! Wow,I've always wanted to show,but I get to nervous,so I just enjoy watching other people show. How much do you charge for training? I have a gorgeous sorrel overo paint/blue eyes,that I broke him to ride,but I never did anything but walk on him. I can get him to get in a slow jog with a lot of collection,but he won't stay consistent,and wants to break into a rough trot. I never rode him in draw reins,I guess I should though.I just don't like to ride quarter horses anymore,I'm addicted to that glide ride!!!HA-HA!!!! I got to many horses!!!! They are addictive!!!!! I have him posted on the TTR classified,there is one couple interested,but he just had surgery and won't be able to ride for awhile. Oh Well,I gotta go do some Christmas shopping,talk to you later,Audrey
At 7:34am on December 10, 2009, Dot Starnes said…
teaching any animal to neck rein is a feat in itself but thats one of those thing you need to get alot of miles of them before you start trying. Have her solid in her way of going before you begin. She may be 5 before you're ready. Its done of direct and indirect reins though with leg pressure and literally turning your body the way you want them to go. When you're working her now you can over exaggerate turning your body the way you want to go to get her used to your seat.
Murphy and I didn't make it this far since I only had him 90 days. Honestly my Jazz Man horse is 6 and I just this year taught him to canter and neck rein. He could canter going along on the trail but I wanted to show him 3 gait. We are putting the finishing touching on his lead departures and he neck reins very nice. I can move him around quite a bit with my legs for the most part. Jazz bless his heart has been shown so much though that he's getting to the place he hears the ring announcer.
The last Western Pleasure horse I showed for a gentleman up in Ky was one fine tuned animal. Have you ever watched Stacy Westfall ride bridless? This horse could do that. I didn't try it bareback but I did ride him the the arena with out a bridle which was too cool. I was a little intimadated on the beginning but once I got my nerves together I had the biggest time.
You'll have to email me at tranquility.acres@gmail.com and let me send you a video of Jazz. Of course this is from 2 years ago and he's bigger and better now. I bought him at the Celebration Sale as a 3 y/o from Joe Martin Stables. He was one long legged skinny thing......
trust me questions don't bother me. Poor Lewis Summers has put up with me all these years. He trains TWH in Erin TN and has turned out some really nice horses. He won the Nationals two years ago on Flashy Gangster and took 3rd in the English Trail Pleasure Championships at the Internationals on a 3 y/o Back on Gen this year.
At 5:15pm on December 9, 2009, Audrey Faye Rody said…
Hey Dot, I have her where she is fully tacked up ,even with a crouper. I am using a D ring snaffle,and a dropped nose band bridle. I am in no way a trainer,but I enjoy working with them.I have broke several horses,but only where you can ride them. They have turned out to be decent animals to ride,but that's it. I wish I had more of your knowledge about training. She is out of a gaited jack and a saddle horse mare,or so the man I bought her from told me.He did say that 70% of his jacks babies were gaited.Is it easy to teach a mule to neck rein? I hope you are'nt getting tired of all my questions,I feel I'm learning so much.Thanks,Audrey
At 4:38pm on December 9, 2009, Dot Starnes said…
Do you know your girl is gaited? They say one out of a gaited jack and a walking mare will gait but otherwise you have a 1 in 4 chance. Murphy was out of a gaited jack and he wanted to trot at first but he figured out what I wanted pretty quick. All it took was a half halt each time I felt him even think about trotting. Mules don't move out as fast as horses and it takes a little bit of time to get them to move on. I found a riding crop on the butt will get them going better than most things.
At 4:33pm on December 9, 2009, Dot Starnes said…
Teaching one to vertical flex is a step to teaching them to collect up when they go. Have you seen animals that when they trot or gait their back is hollow? this is what fixes this problem. They have to learn to flex at the poll and the shoulder to ever round out their back. Of course I could go on and on here about then teaching them to drive off their back end but thats another thing all together. Too bad you live so far away. You could bring her up one day and I could give you some pointers. You guys just need to come to Bucksnort Memorial Day weekend and we will play with her in the big arena. Heck we'll have you riding her by the end of the weekend.
At 4:33pm on December 9, 2009, Dot Starnes said…
oh these little games are normal for any baby. They are just trying you out to see what they can get away with. Just like a kid.....Be careful putting her in cross ties though and mounting here. If she ever spooks and sits back in the cross ties you will have a whole new problem to fix. Most of the time they say anything new like ear clipping, mounting take them out in the round pen where they are not confined. If you have her flexing bend her back to you where she won't step off with you and step up. Best thing would be to have a helper though. I always "enlist the troops" when I start a baby. Someone leading a baby is so much better than you doing it by yourself.
Have you put a bit in her mouth yet? This is the easiest way to teach a vertical flex. Use a simple o-ring snaffle ( but a full cheek snaffle is my favorite ) Once she get used to wearing the bit - let her eat in it, let her wear it when you work her and do your lateral flex with it. Next is the vertical flex. Take up all the slack in your reins ( while on the ground) and put pressure in her mouth pulling the reins ( this is referred to as bridle up ) she is going to fight it a little bit at first but the instance she bobs her head down give her a bunch of slack in the reins. Do this over an over. She will soon learn that is her cue to put her head down. Now as she figures it out though you are going to hold it a little longer so she doesn't start just doing a quick dink and popping back up. Soon you want her to put her head down and keep it there. Will take a little longer with a mule though. Of course once you are riding her you will also do this. Remember to pick UP on the reins though NOT BACK cause that will be her cue to back up.
At 2:35pm on December 9, 2009, Audrey Faye Rody said…
Actually the mule I was interested in before I bought mine was colored just like the one you trained,but when I went over to look at her,she had hurt her knee and it was all swollen. I wasn't gonna buy an injured mule ,so the guy I bought Jewel from was gonna make her his personal mule,but it was Christmas time and he wanted the money,so he showed me her and I bought her. He has been over here wanting to buy her back,but that's another story!!!! I have taught her to flex,now all I have to do is say flex and she does it . How is the best way to teach her to flex at the pole?She knows some voice commands,back,walk,turn,whoa,flex and trot!!! I put her in the cross ties,put my mounting block down and I give her a cue and say over,she will side pass over to the mounting block. Then I step in the stirrup. I have really had a lot of fun with her and she does trust me.But sometimes she plays these little games,like when I go to put her up,she hesitates and wants to stay ,sometimes I just have to put a whip under my arm and then she comes along nicely. She only plays that little game every once in awhile. Is little things like that normal for a mule? She has always came to me ,even when I turn her out in the open. What can I say "I love my mule". I have enjoyed your comments,keep them coming!!!HA-HA!!! Later,Audrey
At 1:57pm on December 9, 2009, Dot Starnes said…
My round pen is also intergrated so I can relate but my father has done a BUNCH of work on it to get it to drain correctly and he goes out ever so often and drags it for me....mom says keep him out of her hair so I give him barn chores. LOL
Big thing with any animal is flex, flex flex. I have found it doesn't matter if its a walker, mule, QH they all have to be able to flex both horizontal and vertical. They have to be able to give at the poll and the shoulder. All this stuff is so important to do prior to ever worrying about getting on their back. If you're patient and do desenizitizing, flexing, and ground driving you just won't believe how easy the rest will come. They already trust you and are listening to you at this point. Respect is so important especially with a mule. Like I said they will be your friend for life.
Have you thought about recruiting a helper for your mule. Find you a young man or lady in your area that would be willing to get on and off for you and you hold him. Make sure to do both sides too. Once she doesn't pay any attention to someone stepping up then let them sit in the saddle then progress to you leading the mule with them on her back. Let this go on for a few days until its old news. This is where flexing coming in handy.....now you are ready to mount without a helper. Ask her to flex back the side and step on her. That was if she spooks or something you have her already turned.
Wade when he decided to sell Murphy he asked me to come to the mule sale and ride him in the ring. He was the cutest little thing. He's black with 4 white stocking feet about his knees. My trainer buddy who doesn't like mules made the remark that was the first mule he had seen he actually likes. Still couldn't get him to ride him but he did complement him.
At 11:56am on December 9, 2009, Audrey Faye Rody said…
You gave me some very good insight into training my mule,I'm excited about it and scared at the same time!!!Ha-Ha!!! My round pen has trenches washed out in it,because of all the rain we've had. My round pen was cut out in the side of a inclined part of my land,at one time there was a ditch dug all the way around the back half of my round pen,to help water run around it . After years of erosion,the water has ran right through my round pen,and washed all my quarter down off and made trenches. I need to have it fixed but,that will take money,I don't have right now.I would just move the pen somewhere else,but like a dummy,I had the fence intregated onto the round pen,so if I moved my round pen,I'd have no fence where the pen sat!!! Why I got into all this about my round pen,Oh Yeah,It's gonna be hard to train in a messed up round pen!!! She's coming around pretty good and maybe won't be to hard to break,I just can't mount and dismount like I use too!!! I don't have any mule friends around to give me guidance.So I really appreciate any suggestions anyone may have. And since you broke a mule,and he's doing well,I know you know what you are talking about. I want to do this the right way,I have a good relationship with my mule and that's a good start!!! Thanks again for the information!!!! Audrey

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