Tag Archives: Bossa Nova de Miami

Bossa Nova De Miami

Bossa Nova de Miami – a Memorial

Bossa Nova de Miami started my whole journey with Mangalarga Marchadors.     She is gone now to greener pastures, buried on a friend’s property next to her sister’s orphan foal overlooking the Blanco River in Pagosa Springs.   But what a life we lived together.

We were partners for 21 years, and I will forever wish it could have been longer.   We had many firsts together in the early years.   She was my first Marchador; my first mare; and my first gaited horse.   She was the first Marchador (we think) in endurance,  short-lived as she thought it too much work.   Bossa Nova was the first Marchador inspected and branded by the ABCCMM (Brazilian registry) in the U.S.  Dr. Jose Eduardo Teves and Dr. Getulio Viera traveling to us at our Scottsdale Ranch.   I remember building a fire for the branding iron and then running to the refrigerator for lemons for the branded area,  as they wanted to follow “tradition” to mark the occasion.   It took many years and hours at the ABCCMM registry office to get the paperwork in order for this to happen, but we felt it was worth it.  She was definitely worth it.

We rode together in the 2002 Rose Bowl Parade, probably against all wisdom as it was the first parade we had ever done.   She was not yet 4  years old.   She did really well, reacting only once to a place where the pavement changed to brick.  

Bossa Nova was smooth to ride and smart, so often she won for a rider that just stayed on as Bossa Nova did the pattern or the obstacle.   She gave everyone confidence that rode her and I trusted her to keep my family safe – as they all rode her when they came to visit.

She was uncanny at remembering directions (something I am not good at).   She always knew where the trailer was parked.   One time when John and I were riding fast down a wash, she took a left that I didn’t even know was there.   John thought I disappeared!   And what do you know, it was a new trail, and a shorter way home.

Bossa Nova was the matriarch of the Summerwind herd.  She was the protector of me and of the other horses.   One time in Colorado, 2 workers jumped the fence to take a short-cut through her pasture.   But they failed to notice that her sister Chanel de Miami was in there as well with a new foal, Caesar do Summerwind.   Never in my life did I see Bossa Nova rear up, but she did at those men and then chased them over the fence!  

In her later years, she was no longer as capable, but everyone deferred to her still.  Brasilia do Summerwind, younger and stronger and just as dominant, could have challenged her leadership, but it never happened.  There was honor and deference within the group.   Her wisdom and experience earned her that.

To say we will miss her is an understatement.    It is difficult to look at photos and remember being young together, riding wild and free and loving every minute.  

Bossa Nova de Miami and all the “de Miami” horses were bred by the Guerra family of Miami FL who had the first Marchadors imported to the US in the 1990s.   

Colorado 2016 Photos!

Colorado Marchador Photos!  We had a great time riding in the mountains in Pagosa Springs, CO.   Our new neighbors Karen Livesay and Randy Conilogue joined us often and were great fun.   We had lots of friends riding with us!  Thank you for coming!

You can click on any photo to make it larger.

Training – Words for Success

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.” Mark Twain

Adrienne and Gralha
Adrienne and Gralha

Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt were master horse trainers and communicators. They advocated to “set the horse up for success”, “to let the horse learn it” and “to feel and listen to the horse.” We have found our own master trainer here in Arizona in Ned Leigh of Ned Leigh, Equine Focus. It is with Ned that I learned how important the words we use are in the setting up of this kind of environment.

All of Ned’s work comes with the horse in mind. Knowing that there many be many answers the horse will choose during training. The try is important. The repetition and clarity of the request is what will cause over time for the horse to choose the RIGHT answer, the one you intended. From the horse’s point of view, all the responses are valid. Ned’s words to the trainers are always horse-focused. And what a difference it makes – in your head and in the horse’s head!


Here are 5 examples of the words that help create the mind-set for success.

1. “Help your horse”
What a difference in mindset! This is almost revolutionary – 180 degrees from “you have to win”,  “correct your horse”, “make him obey”.  If your horse is a partner, a member of the family, you’ll want to help him succeed, not get frustrated because he isn’t getting it as fast as you want.

2. “Your horse is confused”
Related to number 1 above, but what a great way to think of it. Instead of “You (the trainer) are doing it wrong”, again the focus is on the horse. Now you need to learn how to make your request easier or clearer to him. There must be 10 ways to request a backup. Maybe more. Anyone will do as long as both you and your horse understand what is being requested.

3. “Wait. Give the horse a chance to make the decision.”
Let your horse try. Let your horse discover the right answer through the process of elimination. Just keep asking in a consistent and clear manner and reward the right answer.  No need to escalate or rush. Take a deep breath and instead, watch him think. You might learn something about how your horse learns.

4. “Watch for the muscle movement to release.”
Timing is everything in the reward for doing the right thing. The earlier the release, the softer the horse. When you ask the horse to move, before the horse actually moves its feet, the muscles respond. If we build our release, the reward on the muscle movement, you are rewarding the correct thought and that speeds up the horse’s understanding.

5. “Use the backup command to establish your boundary”
The horse is a gregarious and social animal. That’s what we want too, someone to love and spend time with. However, establishing a boundary establishes your relationship with the horse with you as the leader.  It is the responsibility of the person to control their horse’s approach to the boundary and if they cross into it without permission, it is the person’s fault.  The horse should not be punished for the person’s failure to control the boundary.

The backup.  Ned, Carmen and Koyote
The backup. Ned, Carmen and Koyote

Often Ned’s teaching is broken down into at least 3 steps. This gives the horse a clear, repeatable pattern.   And it helps the trainer become clearer in his/her request and less hurried.  The horse is “set up for success”.   It will learn the request, the sequence and the right response.

The horse can choose to respond (and that’s the desired response) on the first step. This teaching makes for a soft, willing partner.  Isn’t that what we all want?

This is training from the horse’s point of view. This is training for UNDERSTANDING.

Any training with the mindset of MAKING your horse do something is totally NOT what I want for my horses.

If you are using words that don’t describe your thoughts and actions from the horse’s point of view, see if you can change them. See if that makes a difference in yourself and your horse. I’d love to hear back from you.

The partnership.  Bossa Nova de Miami and Lynn.
The partnership. Bossa Nova de Miami and Lynn.

All the photos below in the gallery from the clinics are Mangalarga Marchadors from Summerwind during a Ned Leigh Clinics.   All happy horses and happy people!   Photo credit to Lynn Kelley, Leticia Ribeiro and Laura Patterson Rosa.  Click on any of the gallery photos to make it larger or read the captions!

For more information on Ned Leigh Equine Focus or Summerwind Marchadors:  Ned Leigh Equine Focus Website  or Summerwind Marchadors Website


All the photos are Mangalarga Marchadors from Summerwind during a Ned Leigh Clinics.  Photo credit to Lynn Kelley, Leticia Ribeiro and Laura Patterson Rosa. For more information on Ned Leigh Equine Focus or Summerwind Marchadors:

Ned Leigh Equine Focus Website

Summerwind Marchadors Website


“Contrary to popular belief, horses do not get bored with basic work. If the rider (trainer) request exact responses, paying close attention to detail and quality, neither the horse nor rider will have time to get bored, rather a true sense of accomplishment will be gained.” Erik F. Herbermann.