Saturday, January 28, 2023

KENNA: Born of Fire - Winter Update

 Kenna and the Winter Season

We have had lots of snow, rain, ice, and mud this season. With only an outdoor arena to work in, training has been slow going. However we have been doing lots of interaction exercises, from simply grooming to leadership walks outside the arena. She is putting on some muscle, learning social skills with the other mares and is simply thriving. Besides advancing her groundwork and riding skills, we are going to be working with her on understanding that the stall is a good thing and that we always come back. She does not like to be left alone so we have to address that. One challenge at a time.

Trailering is the other project. W have had to borrow or rent trailers over the last few years. On Sunday we pick up a new to us three horse, slant load stock style trailer with a tack/dressing room. We'll begin hauling Kenna over to a friends facility to work in the indoor arena during the winter. We have several expos and events coming up this season that we need to prepare Kenna (and Ronan) for and now we can do this as needed. Pretty excited!

So for know...we keep doing what we are doing with Kenna. It may not be exciting but it is critical to her development as a good Equine Partner. She has really be a nice horse to work with overall. As she gets more healthy and more secure/confident her personality has shown through. A little sass is expected but her huge heart keeps winning us over.

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 16, 2023

KENNA: First Off-Property Experience!

 SUNDAY JANUARY 15, 2023....Kenna had her first off property experience!

Kenna traveled to Lucky Star Stables in Clinton Corners, NY to help (and experience) at the January Connection Session and Obstacles Practice. She did great! Loaded nicely and traveled well. We had no idea if she ever was in an indoor arena before and we know she has not had much exposure to unfamiliar horses prior to her coming into our reality on October 10, 2023. Add to this the Obstacles that were set up prior to our arrival and is being very cold/windy outside, which made the arena make noises!


Kenna was a solid Teachers Assistant for the Collaborative Groundwork and Cooperative Riding aspects of the session and even tried a few of the obstacles we had set up!

We could not be more proud of Kenna and her progress in just three short months (she does not get worked every day so realistically its closer to 2.5 months)!

Here is a short video of her working with Michael at the Connection Session:

More pictures and videos will be posted soon at

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 7, 2023

KENNA: Born of Fire - 12/24/2022 - 01/07/2023


It is the season of snow, mud, sprains, strains and tossing shoes like its a job! Normally the barn we work out of moves for the winter to facilities that have indoor arenas so we do not have to reduce training days. This season that has not happened for a variety of reasons outside our control so training days are reduced to those times when the outdoor arena is not to muddy or the weather is mild.

Time a GOOD THING for most horses and REALLY important for horses with histories like Kenna! During the down times we work on connection...grooming, taking walks around the property and just spending "non work" time together. This encourages connection and communication. It reminds the horse that the human is a source of POSITIVE things and that being around them is a really good deal.

Kenna is getting fit and putting on some much needed muscle. She is not as afraid of the bit, and is growing more confident as she unpacks her baggage and learns to be a good equine partner. She is showing her personality and confidence more too. We have some fun plans for her training as the seasons change and we hope to be exposing her to new places and new experiences!

It is a journey, not a race!

Kenna was an unexpected blessing to say the least. She has a good mind and a willing heart. At this stage of her journey we could not ask for anything more. Hard to believe that in just three days, we will be at the three month mark.

It is a journey, not a race...and the journey is beautiful.

Friday, December 23, 2022


November 27 – December 23, 2022: Slow and Steady Progress

Winter has arrived here in the Hudson Valley of New York! Snow, freezing temperatures, mud and the joyful chaos of the Holiday Season (and given the fact that the facility we have Kenna at does not have an indoor arena) have put a crimp in our training schedule. Still, we have done lots of work on connection and communication, establishing the bonds of respect and moving forward at a steady pace.

Two of the more difficult Collaborative Groundwork exercises in our program (foundation level) is Yielding the Forequarters and Leading Beside. These two exercises require trust and connection. With the understanding that horses assert themselves with their head, neck and shoulders, getting a smooth yield at the forequarters is not always easy. Kenna struggled, like most horses, with these exercises. It took a couple of sessions to help her understand what the request entailed but once she got the hang of them we were able to make really nice progress!

Under saddle we focused on getting her comfortable with the snaffle (remember she was abused and poorly trained prior to coming to us and had real fear of the bit) and work with her on “steering” by listening to our seat, core, and legs. We use “Look, Leg & Lift” to help Kenna understand the requests. We use our “outside leg” to help with wider turns and our “inside leg” to help with tighter turns. We are also working with her on carriage and balance. Like most horses who are not handled properly, she drops her shoulder into turns. We are helping her be in balance when performing maneuvers currently and she is doing a good job. We keep things simple and straightforward during this period of her training and her advancement.

Kenna as progressed nicely and we have high hopes for her future. We see more of her personality each day as she puts on weight and feels better overall. We have some sassy moments but overall she has been a pleasure to work with. We look back on the “history” we were given about her and compare that to the horse we have now and often wonder how “uneducated” and “unaware” her previous humans were because – to be brutally honest – we have not experienced anything behavior wise to the level of what we were told. So often it is the human who creates the issues. It is the horse who suffers from the creation. What is in Kenna’s future? At this point we simply do not know. She is going to continue through our program, get exposed to new activities and we will see what she enjoys! That is the plan.

Here are some new videos we have crafted with Kenna. These are unedited and unscripted so you see what we get during the session.

Different Sides/Different Eyes:

Look, Leg & Lift – Steering with Kenna:

Monday, November 28, 2022

Observations, Thoughts, and the Journey So Far

 KENNA: Observations and Thoughts

Kenna has certainly made a great deal of progress so far. She continues to improve and grow in her trust, connection and communication. Her skills on the ground and under saddle also continue to improve and grow. What we have been mindful of is "listening" to Kenna. We "ask" the question and then "listen to the answer" and adjust our responses accordingly. If she is fearful or uncomfortable with something, we figure out why and then address it. If she simply doesn't understand then we address the lack of understanding. We praise a great deal and ask with kindness/fairness. Efforts are rewarded with rubbing, affection and simply relaxing. Given Kenna's history we have opted for a slow and steady program of retraining and rebuilding. We firmly believe that this is a journey, not a race. If we continue to focus on the Four C's of Horsemanship - Connection, Communication, Control and Confidence - in every aspect of Kenna's journey, we believe that she will be a very good Equine Partner.

Kenna has a good mind. This means she is willing and able to trust and try as we go through the Cooperative Horsemanship approach. Kenna is curious, which is a tremendous asset in her development. She is smart, which is also really helpful in her development. Kenna is social and wants to connect, which has certainly been a benefit to everyone, horses and humans alike during this process. The flipside to thins is that she lacks "life experience" and exposure to the realities of being part of a herd and family. She can be distracted easily by new things and can, at times, be spooky (although this is really getting better). Like most mares she can be sassy and demonstrative when she would rather not do something, but she does follow good leadership.

So, where do we see her in a year? Our initial impression is that she will be a good family horse and will be able to enjoy the arena as well as the trail. She can jump (we will be exploring that aspect of her development in 2023) and moves well, so some sort of performance riding may be in her future. We do not think she should ever be a horse for someone "learning to ride" as humans make too many mistakes with their communication. A solid advanced beginner with soft hands, a confident seat and a good understanding of the the Four C's of Horsemanship will be the best fit for Kenna. Now, in the next year anything can happen and she may surprise us with what she wants to do! We are hoping to bring her to several Horse Expos and Event in 2023 as well as Clinics and Connection Sessions in order to provide her with "life experiences" that can build her confidence. Training on the trail with leadership walks to group trail rides will be part of her program in 2023. In short, she will tell us what fits her best and we will do our best to provide her with the experiences and skills to be successful in whatever she wishes to do!

HUGE THANK YOU for all the positive wishes for Kenna's continued success! We were so surprised at the number of her fans who stopped by the Lucky Star Horsemanship booth at Equine Affaire, Inc. (Official) in Springfield, MA recently. It was heartwarming to meet and chat with you! Your sharing of your own experiences inspire us!

One question we continue to get from her fans is "Is she for sale?" Honestly, at this point that is not even a consideration, as we have lots of work to do before we would even think about rehoming her. If that time comes, we will be very particular as to her placement. The humans would have to be the right fit and we will be putting any potential "new home" through a rather extensive interview process. So "not now" is the answer to that question.


Lucky Star Horsemanship has crafted an ongoing video series entitled “Essential Groundwork/ Essential Riding with Kenna” which is available to view for FREE on the Lucky Star Horsemanship Facebook page located at (be sure to LIKE and FOLLOW the page to get all the latest videos and content). Kenna’s experiences are highlighted and will continue to be documented. Here is the series thus far (in order):

1.       Introduction:

2.       Respectful Lunging:

3.       The Saddle:

4.       The Mecate Bridle:

5.       The Mounting Block:

6.       A Couple Days Off:

7.       The Beginning of Connection:

8.       Impulsion and the Flag:

9.       Desensitizing and the Flag:

10.   Backing with Steady Pressure:

11.   Yielding the Hindquarters:

12.   The 5 in 1 Circle:

13.   Being Ponied:

14.   An Unexpected Ride:

15.   A First “Real” Ride:

16.   The Bosal:

17.   The Stop:

18.   First Farrier Visit:

We will continue to build this video series, which we are so excited to share with all of Kenna's fans! We hope to provide inspiration, education and fun as we craft up more videos. Keep the positive vibes flowing and we'll keep you all updated!

Have a great week and a fantastic holiday season!

Saturday, November 26, 2022

KENNA: Day 29 to 48: Advancing, Healing and Improving!


November 7 – 26, 2022 – Day 29 to 48: Advancing, Healing and Improving!

We have been traveling quite a bit these last few weeks so Kenna has gotten more time to just be a horse. Good nutrition, good health care and lots of TLC combined with her training seems to be working some “magic” with Kenna’s confidence and curiosity. She has had some “sassy” moments but nothing unusual or difficult. More comical than anything. She is learning that self-expression is really okay on her new reality and she is learning that we listen and guide her to proper behavior and accepted boundaries, which she seems more than happy to exist within. She is becoming pretty attached to her humans too!

KENNA HAS FANS! We met many of them at Equine Affaire in Springfield, MA this past week! What a treat that was! We even had offers to purchase here, which we politely declined at this point. We are VERY thankful for all the positive support and wishes we received during the event!

When we were considering her case, we heard that she was difficult to saddle, would not stand still when grooming and was horrible for the farrier. Well, in our reality these are non-acceptable behaviors. Over the span of her retraining with us here at Lucky Star Horsemanship have focused on these supposed “issues.” She now loves being groomed and pampered (as a lady should) stands quietly to be saddled (note: we go slow and steady on the girthing, snugging it up in three stages) and stands fairly well at the mounting block. On 11/25/2022 Kenna and our amazing Farrier Gina Volpe, of G.V. Farrier Services got to share some time and trim up Kenna’s hooves! A couple of weeks ago Gina was at the stables and took some time to simply look a Kenna’s feet and introduce herself. They got along well. Gina had some initial impressions and offered some advice. We worked with Kenna on picking up her feet, being calm when her legs were worked with, including stretches and generally preparing her for Gina’s visit. Now when we got Kenna, she had front shoes but the job of was very poorly done on many levels. Gina discussed going barefoot with Kenna for a while to help her grow and shape her hooved properly (we agreed) and then proceeded to trim, shape and level her hooves, allowing Kenna to be more comfortable and to assist in positive growth. Kenna was curious about all the neat tools in Gina’s truck and was really easy to work with during the session. Now we are on the right path to good hoof care!

We also are continuing with the ultrasound and electro therapy to help Kenna feel better in her hind end. She was in some pain when we took her in due to the incredibly rough "training" she was subjected to. This discomfort made it difficult for her to transition comfortably into the higher gaits. With the therapy sessions, good hoof care, good nutrition and positive training we have seen real improvement in Kenna's overall well-being and willingness to try.

We will be moving Kenna and Ronan to the winter barn later this season. The “winter program” for both horses is to work on refinement of the skills already introduced as well as conditioning. There may be some introduction of new experiences within the skill set. We have a goal to bring Kenna with us to some upcoming Horse Expos and Events in the next few months. We will also be filming more “Essential Groundwork with Kenna” and “Essential Riding with Kenna” videos too!


The Farrier:

The Stop:

Sunday, November 6, 2022

KENNA: Days 15 to 28


October 24-31, 2022 – Day 15 -21: Connection and Communication

We have had rain (days off), short sessions and longer sessions. We have introduced the rear cinch. We have introduced new exercises. We have begun to establish new standards of performance while we continue to refine the skills we feel are needed to be a great “Equine Partner.” We have begun structuring a series of videos that will highlight what we deem as “essential” exercises/skills on the ground and under saddle. She has inspired Michael to write a series of short articles about the needs of the typical “rescue horse” which will appear on our Facebook page weekly.

The major win this week was that Kenna worked with Michael as his demo horse in a Cooperative Horsemanship Clinic he taught. Clinics present several challenges and requirements upon the horse, such as having to be quiet/patient, having to focus on a variety of exercises and more. It is not easy! Kenna did really well and we are very proud of her.

November 1 – 6, 2022 – Day 22 – 28: Becoming a Citizen and Partner.

We have been super busy with Clients, Clinics and preparing for Equine Affair! Still we get in some training time. Kenna is getting stronger and the body work is helping. Her trot is still “goofy” but it is getting better. She was worn several bits with various degrees of “like” and success at this point. We want to get her as comfortable as possible in the snaffle though as this is a bit we see used a great deal out east. Of course it is in a mecate set up (grin). We continue to refine what has been taught previously and have continued to work on conditioning, connection and trust. Her confidence in the fact that we will listen to her and adapt as needed is growing. She getting so much better with her feet too! Soon we’ll be moving into our winter housing and will have access to a nice round pen, and an indoor arena! Our goal is to continue to train with Kenna and getting her exposed to many new things. We hope to take her to some Expos in 2023 too! Whatever her future is, it is going to be pretty cooll!


Yield the HQ to Touch:

Backing with Steady Pressure:

The week of November 7+13, 2022 is a mad rush of preparation, packing, stress and travel for us here at Lucky Star Horsemanship as we are in "Expo Mode" with Equine Affaire happening, We will be there educating the attendees and showcasing our new L.S.H. product line which is really exciting! What this means for Kenna is a little time off from training. We will be working in some short rides and training sessions but we will not be introducing anything new to her until we get back from Springfield, MA. The time off will do her some good and allow many of the lessons to "sink in" a getting to simply "be a horse" for a little bit is good for her spirit!