Jan 30, 2014

First time rides and a visit from CSM Greg Burch our Cowboy Up! Warrior advisor and mentor.

27th January 2014

Welcome new Wrangler, Bianca Shannon!  
An experienced Horsewoman who come to us with a strong backround in English equitation but is all  cowgirl now and ready to REALLY ride! 
Chris Chaisson gives Bianca a few tips like how to stop Hollywood from encroaching on her and Jack's space.

Comin' through the cones, I'd better move out the way!

28 January 2014

A Kodak moment, as John Shannon rides with his daughter for the very first time. Though he has always supported Bianca's love of horses and riding, he was a little busy defending our country...
Enter Cowboy Up!...riding together into the sunset as they write some new history together!

Left to right: Bianca and John Shannon and Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis.

Bianca showing "dad" how to smooth out the stop.

Being quite the  gentleman, John gets the gate for the ladies, and shows his daughter the skills he has been learning here at the ranch!  ~ Thanks John!

30 January, 2014

Body alignment is key to riding well, and nothing illustrates that as well as the traditional 
martial arts  posture known as "Horse Stance".  When in proper alignment your body cannot be swayed.

Eric and Chris observe the "horse stance" and balanced positioning of Nancy and John.
Just as in shooting and CQB,  Eric and John illustrate body position...

...and John gets "over his gun" and in position.

With that in mind we mount up for our session...

...and put that knowledge and feel to trotting.

Eric gives some tips as John settles into a real nice seated trot.

Afterward we have a special visit from Command Sgt. Major Greg Burch. Welcome aboard!

Just like in the Team Room our crew is fully engaged in covering the days activities in the "Hot wash". 

Nancy, Ranger,John, Eric, Rick & Greg on the porch.

Jan 25, 2014

Cowboy Up! Group Session~ Working like a team!

Jan 25th, 2014                 

Instructors Chris Chaisson and Eric Yorty checking saddles.

New instructor Chuck Aranda overseeing a cinch adjustment. Welcome aboard Chuck!

Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis explaining balance and how a horse responds to weight.

 Chris Chaisson overseeing turns through the cones.

Chuck Aranda demonstrating how to "move out".

"the crew" practicing half-halts.

The crew heading back to unsaddle, take care of their horses and enjoy a hot ranch lunch.

Jan 24, 2014

24 January 2014

Though the temperature was in the mid 20's  that didn't stop this hard charging crew from getting some  time in the saddle!
Chris came up with his new swivel offset stirrups to accommodate his prosthetic leg, and they work great!

Tacking up Hollywood with Chris, John and Rick.

As we test out the new stirrups, Chris takes the time to give John a few pointers on rein control.

Once Chris feels settled and we have the tack set correctly he heads out with fellow Cowboy Up! Instructor Eric riding Knight for some arena work on the rail and through the cones. 

After a bit of a hietus, it's time for John to get back in the saddle, and with a few "tune up" tips...

... from the ground instructors... 

... we turn instruction over to Eric to illustrate seat, leg and rein ques...

... to contiue with mounted instruction.
Chris overseas the session with a watchful eye!

It takes good clear ques to get your horse to open and close a ranch gate, and under Eric's guidance John does the job with Hollywood just right.

We'd like to take a moment to remember our friend and brother Chad Winters who we lost five years ago today.  We honor your memory every time our warriors step into your arena!
You will never be forgotten. 

  CHAD WINTERS    MAY 1, 1982 ~  JANUARY 24, 2009

Jan 22, 2014

January 22nd, 2014

With Chris' new boots that fit his new leg he's ready to ride...again!! 

That's right!  Each time he improves upon the last!
Because the prosthetic foot does not arch, cowboy boots with the stacked heel cannot be worn so we went with a lower heel lace up packer type boot.  Chris said when asked how they work:
"It's like putting Air Jordan's on!".

Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis gets a chance to ride 
with Chris today, and what a day!

Working on more centered riding, focusing on our "dantien" (chinese for center of gravity), 
   and queing from our seat, fine tuning all the way.

Though it was a crisp, overcast day, there was nothing stopping anyone!

Nice leg work going through the cones Chris!

Left to right, Army guys and Cowboy Up! Instructors Chris Chaisson and Eric Yorty, Assistant Instructor John Shannon, and Executive Director Rick Iannucci sit down to one of Rick's homecooked meals after a STELLAR day!!!

Jan 17, 2014

January 3rd, 2014

Chris back for more riding, not having his prosthetic leg does not stop him!

Fellow Army veteran and Cowboy Up! instructor Eric Yorty eases Jack into place helping Hollywood to square up next to mounting platform.

After we work getting Chris his balanced seat we step back and let him work Hollywood around the cones.

Then he takes the lead with Eric and Jack walking, stopping, turning... 

... walking over and stopping on the bridge all the while 
working his core muscles.

 Hollywood is relaxed and confident because he trusts his rider,  Chris. And Chris  is relaxed and confident because he trusts Hollywood.
What a partnership!

"HOTWASH".  Discussion on stirrups as Chris prepares for his 
new coming prosthetic leg for next session.

It's always good to cover what was done and how to make it better!

Chris never stops thinking of ways that will make life easier ~ what an incredible idea he had to put zippers on the outside of his pant leg to accomodate the ease of putting on and removing his prosthetic leg.  I got on the phone with my good friend Jacinda Witt who is a whiz with a sewing machine and asked if it would be possible to put a zipper on some jeans, so three days later...

January 6th, 2014 

...Cowboy Up! Director Nancy De Santis headed over to Jacinda's to get to work on those zippered legs!  The easy part was to open the leg and pin the zipper, sewing is another story and left to the master ~ thanks Jacinda!!!  

January 17th, 2014

Chris is back to try out his new jeans WITH his NEW LEG!!!

Cowboy Up! Baby!

Smooth as silk and working good!

Rick works with Hollywood refreshing his memory of being used to Chris' "sticks".

Hollywood and Chris are ready...

... and smoothly back in the saddle !

We are learning there are pressure points on the Chris' new leg that need to be addressed...

... and adjustments made.

After lowering the stirrups and adjusting leg position we do another test run.

Then Chris is ready to ride unassisted with Rick.

Take a look at this short clip made from the still photos:

Another great day!

Cowboy Up!