Gambler's Jasmine


(original name Red Roxanne)

Jasmine at the age of 14 still shows tons of power.

In the late 1980's I was told by my doctors that I had to give up riding due to the severe condition of my back and joints. Degenerative disk and joint disease had made life difficult and I was told I'd be in a wheel chair by time I was in my mid 50's. I was not ready for that mentally but I was told I absolutely had to be careful not to jar my back or strain myself so I sold off everything I had remotely related to horses.

THEN the depression set in. I suppose from a medical standpoint the doctors figured my depression was due to my illness but they were only slightly right. My depression was really due to the fact I no longer had a horse in my life. They are great stress relievers and help bring down my blood pressure. Most of all I have had horses in my life for over six decades and need that contact, smell, the soft nickers and the affection!

Things went from bad to worse until one day in 1994 my brilliant husband suggested we might explore GAITED horses as a compromise between not riding at all, and riding without the jarring to my damaged joints.

Enthusiastically we started looking into various breeds of gaited horse. I knew I wanted a square moving horse for the balance and athletic ability but beyond that I knew very little about the specific differences between gaited breeds.

We also lived in an area where gaited horses were not real common. There were a few Tennessee Walkers, some Saddlebreds and an odd gaited Morgan or Paso but there was really not a gaited community there as yet

Jasmine right after we first bought her at age 5. She was slab sided, dull and deficient but had an amazing heart girth, powerful shoulder and a strong hip.

Our study on the subject led us to believe the Missouri Foxtrotter would best suit our needs. SO we went to work trying to locate a horse for sale. NOT an easy task since anyone who had a Foxtrotter in our area was holding tight to them! There were a very few young horses for sale but for my needs I needed a broke and going horse. No green or untried youngsters for me at that stage of my life!

Believe it or not, it took almost six months to find a horse within 500 miles for sale! I had put the word out in five states through various groups and kept my eye's glued to the newspaper horse for sale ads.

Finally in March of 1995 the secretary of the Oregon chapter of the Missouri Foxtrotter Association called and said there were two mares for sale in Oregon. One was a palomino located near the coast and one was a red sorrel located in Grants Pass.

I am a red horse lover so I decided to go see the sorrel first. Grants Pass was about a 9 or 10 hour drive from our home. With enthusiasm we started out for a week end jaunt that would take us to see our first serious Foxtrotter for sale. It was the week-end of our 22nd wedding anniversary so we took a long week-end.

Unfortunately when we arrived in Grant's Pass it was pouring down rain. At nearly 1,000 foot altitude the rain was coming in sheets that was cascading off all the evergreen trees like mini-waterfalls. BUT, we had traveled to see a horse and SEE that horse we were determined to do!

We arrived at the seller's place to see a depressed and sullen looking mare standing in the shelter of a shed roof while the noise the rain made on that roof was nearly deafening. I looked around. The entire area was shrouded in Evergreen limbs. Had it even been sunny there would have been precious little sunlight filtering through to where the mare's pasture was! Only one tiny corner of her five acre pasture afforded an open spot in which to catch some sun.

Jasmine the month after we bought her was still unsure as to what humans were good for. She was obedient and beginning to warm up but was still very guarded from her previous handling.

The seller came out with a English saddle and tacked the mare up. We were told her name was Gambler's Jasmine. She had come from Missouri and had arrived in Grants Pass the very day she had turned 2! She had been fully broke and set in her gaits when she arrived which means someone had to have been on this poor little mare by the time she was about 16 months old! GOOD GRIEF!

Jasmine stood a scant 14.2 hands and weighed less than 850 lbs when we first saw her at age 5... just think how small she must have been at age 2!

The seller had borrowed a 16 hand black TWH gelding to ride so she could take me for a test ride on Jasmine. I approached the entire situation like a greenhorn really! I was so taken aback by the weather and the fact we were going to ride up the mountain in the rain with an English saddle and a horse I knew nothing about! But I looked forward to the ride!

Off we went... the seller leading on that big gelding that was two hands taller than Jasmine. BUT that little mare pushed that horse up that mountain and never missed a beat. She crossed wooden bridges, raging creeks, logs, and mud. She gaited amazingly smooth and effortlessly even in steep climbs. She was sure footed as a goat and never slipped or missed a step in all the slick mud and wet stone we traveled over.

In short, it was one thrilling and amazing ride. I was enjoying it so very much it never even occurred to me to ask to lead or to try to take her away from her trail partner etc etc. I was just enjoying the most thrilling ride I'd had in years!

At the end of the ride Carl and I decided to go have lunch and talk about the mare. There was also a mare in Missouri we were interested in and had to decide which mare would fit best for our needs.

During the lunch break we called Missouri to find the mare there had already sold! SO we determined to buy Jasmine.

Jasmine's sire, Missouri's Fancy Gambler was a true foxtrotting horse with a ton of rhythm.

We had no trailer or way to pick her up that day and having been kept solitary and away from strange horses for three years we felt it would be wise to have a vet come vaccinate her and get her travel papers in order. We would come back in two weeks to pick her up.

On the way home we stopped along the highway and bought a horse trailer! It was like a dream for me. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself.

Two weeks later we repeated our journey and came home to the boarding stable with Jasmine. Having been kept in solitary for so long when she stepped off the trailer she was all eyes and on her toes! She was so excited she didn't know which way to look first! Her nostrils were so large a man's fist would fit in them. Poor thing was scared and yet excited all at the same time.

We let Jasmine settle in for a few weeks before asking anything of her. I visited her every day and usually more than once a day. I groomed her, walked with her, and in general just got acquainted.

When it came time to ride her..YIKES! I found out that this red tornado had no whoa, and no turn! She was hard mouthed as sin and bull necked into the bargain. It was my own fault not to have discovered this sooner but the seller was not very honest not to have mentioned her short comings. Because we are honest we just sometimes forget others are not!

Jasmine also turned out to be a spook. She is hot, hot hot! I like that in her myself but can see how someone faint hearted could be intimidated because Jasmine is an extremely powerful mare with lightning fast reflexes and a lot of baggage caused from being scared witless as a youngster when she should have been learning to be a horse!

Little by little Jasmine and I began to get an understanding for one another. Her trust began to be placed in me for the most part and we were communicating. One of the first things we did was take the harsh bit that came with her off her! It was heavy and cruel but then some people think the way to fix a hard mouth is to get more force! I work the opposite to that.

It took a while but we finally found a bit Jasmine liked. We had tried sweet iron, copper, aluminum, steel, you name it but when we put this simple little grazing bit in her mouth it was as if she audibly gave a sigh of relief!

Jasmine and I after a 28 mile mountain ride. She came back 20 minutes before the next horse and was still fresh and ready to go!

It took over a year to get Jasmine to stop bracing her neck and almost another year before she had a soft mouth. She is a thrilling horse to ride and she is not a horse for everyone. She suits me fine.

Over the years we bred Jasmine. She has produced 5 fillies for us and we have four of them still on our place. One is boarded here but the other three belong to us. We like the rhythm and natural foxtrot of them and we like their brains. NONE of Jasmine's daughters has the nerves Jasmine has but then we don't force babies. We allow our horses to mature before being put to work. I'm sure had Jasmine been treated better she would be a totally different horse.

Jasmine is now coming 20. She is semi-retired and lives with her daughters on our farm. We may or may not breed her again but this year I will be doing some arena work with her.

Jasmine has in my opinion the most perfect foxtrot rhythm of any horse I've ever seen or ridden. She foxtrots everywhere she goes in the pasture and she foxtrots naturally on the trail. She also can rack like crazy! She is a powerful speed demon racker and I enjoy that speed rack in her but her flat walk and foxtrot are the gaits we use most.

In the nearly 15 years I've owned Jasmine I've never seen her pace a step nor have I ever seen her stepping pace or hard trot.

She is by far not the prettiest horse we have ever owned and she is certainly not the fastest at the gallop. She is not the calmest or the most affectionate. BUT she is a solid foxtrotting horse that is utterly tireless. She will foxtrot up grades most horses have trouble climbing and she is sure footed as a goat. She is not demanding and she is no problem in the pasture. She is respectful and she is obedient. In short she suits me fine.

Shortly after we got Jasmine I participated in a group, poker ride where we were to ride 28 miles but that 28 miles was up the face of a mountain, across the top and down the other side then back to the starting point. The trail was on old logging skid road that switch backed up the mountain. At the top of the mountain the terrain was pretty flat but the down hill side was steep and more like a toboggan run than anything else. Once to the bottom of the mountain it was about a 2 mile ride back to the farm from which we started.

Jasmine in condition 6 months after purchase. She had filled out, toned up and rounded into a very strong, attractive mare

Since Jasmine was not retrained to give to the bit yet I knew controlling her would be an issue. Really had no business even going out on a horse so hard mouthed but you know what they say about fools and children!

There were over 100 horses on the ride. The last card draw was at the top of the mountain. I told my friends to go on ahead because I knew Jasmine was going to out work them. They were to call down the mountain when they got to the third switch back and then move over when I came by.

They all left and I worked Jasmine in a field near the base of the trail until I heard them call. Since they were virtually straight up over my head the sound carried easily.

To access the trail one had to step down into a rather narrow, deep, creek and immediately up onto the bank and then start the climb. I let Jasmine have her head and pick her own speed. Truly I figured she would tire out and become more agreeable to slowing down. Her former owner had racked the tar out of her to keep up with all the tall TWH she rode with so Jasmine only knew one speed!

But this day there were no other horses in sight. Jasmine defaulted to her steady foxtrot and though the trail was pretty steep, she foxtrotted up it without slowing a bit. We began to pass other riders. Some were breathing their puffing horses and others were deciding whether it was worth going up the rest of the way. It was not a particularly leisurely ride!

At the first card stop Jasmine was impatient to continue on. I barely had time to collect my card before she was pulling to be off again. So off we went again. More switchbacks and several card stops later we had left all but the hardiest horses behind us. Still Jasmine was not blowing and she continued on at a steady, ground eating foxtrot.

At the fourth card stop we were in the lead. Not only were we in the lead, there were no horses even within sight or sound of us. We collected our card and Jasmine was off again just as fresh as when we started.

We crowned the top of the mountain to find the card holder asleep on a rock. We had to wake him up to get our last card. He was shocked to see us there because he didn't think there had been enough time for anyone to climb that mountain yet! We got directions from him as to how to locate the trail across the top of the mountain and down the other side. We selected the last card and away we went, still at a steady foxtrot.

Jasmine at age 10 in the snow.

It was a lovely, sunny spring day but the breeze had a nip to it. Jasmine was sweating a bit but mostly from nerves. She ate the ground up with her steady foxtrot and really I was just a passenger! She worked and got the job well in hand. Then we started down. I thought surely she would slow on the downhill track...but nope. She tucked her fanny and sat back but she never slowed down one bit.

I cannot tell you what gait we came down that mountain at but it was smooth as glass. The trail on that side was broad and smooth and the footing really good. She just stepped off the miles as if it was nothing.

Finally we reached the bottom of the mountain. The highway was only a few yards to my left and ahead of use was a broad, mowed, grassy verge that was table top flat. Perfect! Away we went.

Jasmine carries a high tail and crests her neck when she is happy to be traveling and that day she was really stepping them off and putting on a show. We were foxtrotting along at a great speed when cars came by actually stopped, backed up and watched. Several people asked what kind of horse she was. Though not a classic beauty by any means, when she is working she is so striking she stops traffic...literally!

We just ate up that two miles and crossed the highway to the farm where we turned in our cards. The lady there thought we were just a late arrival wanting to start the ride! She could not believe we had already finished it and Jasmine was still just as raring to go as she was at the start!

I took her to a pasture out back and worked with her while we waited for someone else to arrive. It was a full 20 minutes before the next horse came in. Tired, ready to stop and showing itself to be played out. Little by little the others straggled in. Almost every horse was beat for tired and yet I was still riding Jasmine and teaching her to give to my leg pressure, and even a decent whoa now and then!

No one could believe that little mare had worked like that and was still so fresh. I truly believe she could have gone around a second time without hurting her. She just has that endlessly enduring motor.

Jasmine's first foal, Foxvangen's Black Sonja

In 2000 we moved to Arkansas. Jasmine had a foal at her side and was sorely glad to come out of that hot transporter and get out on grass. We didn't ride that year because we were too busy building our farm. In January 2001, our first winter here, we had a bad ice storm. I had never seen this sort of ice before. It is incredibly beautiful yet lethal. It is impossible to stand up on the stuff without cleats and it is dangerous to horses because they can slip and break a pelvis or hip.

We had not had time to build a barn yet but there was a hay barn on the place. We used it for sheltering the horses somewhat even though there were no sides to it. We fed the horses with buckets clipped to rings on the posts to the hay barn.

One day I had just taken all the buckets down and was heading to the house when I heard a strange WHOOSH sound. I asked Carl what that sound was. He said "oh it was probably ice coming off the roof". Well at wind chill factors of 50 below zero ice does not come OFF a metal roof! Carefully we turned around and found the entire center span of the hay barn that I had just walked out from under, had collapsed!

Instantly I searched and counted noses... one, two... when I got to the end of my counting one horse was missing! JASMINE!

Then as we got closer we saw her...UNDER the collapsed roof! My heart just stopped! The roof had come right down on her. The rafters and perlins had broken over her back and the roofing metal had peeled back around her like a mouse hole! I was just sure she must be dead.

Then we saw her move. The roof had hit her so fast it had flattened her instantly. She had hit her mouth on the ground so hard it had bloodied her whole nose and mouth. All four legs were flat on the ground facing her front.

You can see the hole where the rafters and perlins broke over Jasmine's back!

I asked Carl for his knife and then set about cutting her blanket off. It was caught in the ragged edges of the torn metal and was holding her down. I was not sure how we were going to get her out of there but one thing was for certain, I was not leaving her there like that!

The span of that center of the barn is 75 feet long and 28 feet wide. The builder had not put adequate bracing in it and we knew that. We had plans to add bracing already drawn up on a blue print! In Washington such a structure would not be allowed to be built! But here there were no codes or code enforcement's so people just built any old which way! I am glad to say those times are past now.

The entire 28 X 75 feet long center collapsed. The next day the wind took the two sides of the barn down and blew the right side up over the top of the left like giant Frisbees!

I began to cut Jasmine's blanket free of the torn metal. Finally it came free. She felt it and with a mighty heave she pushed herself upright! She lifted that entire roof from laying down to standing upright! I don't know how much that roof weighs but it's in the thousands of pounds! Yet this little 14.2 hand 1200 lb mare picked it up as if it was a feather.

The metal tore and crumpled around her like a mouse hole. The sharp edges caught on her blanket but she came away without a cut!

She stepped out from under the carnage! I was utterly amazed she could stand much less walk! Yet walk she did. She came to me shaking so bad I thought sure she would have a heart attack! As I checked her over I sent Carl to the house for another blanket. The wind was blowing hard and with chill factors at 50 below zero she needed a blanket ....particularly because she was now sweating from nerves!

At age 12 Jasmine still enjoyed romping with the young stock. She took years to learn to be part of a herd. She tended to isolate herself in the pasture and does not like to fight at all.

Jasmine came out of that wreck without one cut. Not a scrape! The only thing besides her mouth being bloodied was she had a small knot over her loin where the perlin had broken over her spine. I feared internal injuries or kidney failure... my heart raced with worry.

My sister in law already had their barn built and had an extra stall as luck would have it so laboriously I stomped my cleats into the ice and walked Jasmine the half mile up to her house. Jasmine was shaking so bad she didn't mind going slow for once in her life!

Once bedded down into a warm(er) stall I went to the phone and called the vet in West Plains, Missouri. He said if she was able to walk she was not going to die from internal injuries and he felt her kidneys would be fine BUT he said she would be so stiff and sore the next day she would not be able to move! He recommended we put her on BUTE. All well but there was no way to get any Bute. We were iced in. Not even 4wheel drive vehicles were managing our hill.

The next morning, however, Jasmine was NOT stiff. She wanted OUT of that barn. To this day she cannot abide the sound of the wind on metal. She lives in an open shed where she has free access to the exit. It makes her very nervous to be closed in a barn.

By spring we had our barn built but as yet had not moved the mares up the hill to where it was located. All the mares were in one pasture and the colts were in another. One night we heard a commotion outside. I grabbed a flashlight and went to investigate.

Jasmine foxtrotting with her second foal, Foxvangen's Pagan who had to rack to keep up with her mother's foxtrot.

Our horses often run at night in the full moon. They love to race and play in the moonlight but generally three or four laps of the field and they are done. That night they didn't stop.

Counting eyes in the light of the flash light it became clear what was going on. Evidently one of the colts had gotten through the fence and our lead mare, Miss Molly Fox was having a tizzy fit. She runs a tight ship and didn't want any boys making unsolicited visits!

The colt was only 15 months old and had never shown any interest in the ladies, but Jasmine is a hussie. She was also the only mare in the field that was not already bred! Sure enough, there she was running with Bravehart Two!

I hoped Molly had kept them too busy running for him to have mated with her but alas when I had her vet checked she checked in foal! I wanted her aborted but the vet refused. Jasmine had suffered with all three of her former pregnancies and I really didn't want to put her through that again. But the vet said she was built perfect for a brood mare and he believed the cause of her troubles in the past was due to a low grade chronic placentitis.

He assured me she would breeze through pregnancy happy and healthy if we caslicked her and put her on antibiotics for a week or two. So we did. Though her conformation is sound evidently when Jasmine lays down when she starts getting big in the belly she gaps. That allows bacteria into the repro tract and sure enough the result is placentits.

This time, however, true to his word, Jasmine sailed through her pregnance happy and healthy. She delivered Foxvangen's Summer Heat without a hitch. The cross was such a good one that the next year we made it again. The result of that mating was our lovely Foxvangen's Ruby Slippers.

At age 10 Jasmine had filled out to quite a chunk but she still moved well

Between family illness and building a farm Jasmine really has not been ridden in years but every once in a while we pull her out of pasture and use her to demo on. Smart, sly fox has learned some new tricks! NOW if there is a rider other than myself on her she at first refuses to move. Then if she begins to move she is a real slug. She will pull toward me not wanting to go. It takes a rider with savvy to get anything from her, the sly old fox.

We sent her up for a tune up about a year or so ago and the trainer had a blast with her. She goes like sixty and he likes that in her but he also likes the fact she is so handy. He works on a cattle ranch for his "real" job so he appreciates a horse that knows where it's feet are and can turn with balance and speed. At 18 she was still a handful of power.

8 month's pregnant and 13 years old, Jasmine snoozes in the hot Arkansas sun.

Jasmine's one actual fault is she is a spook at times. She does not spook at just anything and she does not do it very often but when she does she will unseat the best of riders. Her way of spooking is to spin around and go the other direction. Full reverse!! She is so outrageously quick a person needs Velcro on their seat to hold them to the saddle. In the 15 years I've owned her she has unseated me 3 times. NOT so funny! She is the only horse out of hundreds I've ridden to ever be able to unseat me.

Going into winter Jasmine is in good shape at age 19.

The good news is that none of her offspring show that characteristic. I"m pretty sure her spooky tendency stems at least in part from being started far too early and pushed to hard before her brain was mature enough to handle the stress. She is mega high energy and puts all her force into all her actions. All the same I would not part with her for the world. She is the best ride I've ever had in my life which is saying something considering some of our other horses that are such a thrill to ride!

Since moving to Arkansas we have suspected even more than ever that Jasmine was a "closet curly horse". Her mane and tail are real wavy and most winters she develops a patch of waves on her neck/shoulder area. For years that patch was basically the same each year but in Washington the seasons change gradually from one to another.

In Arkansas seasons change fast. One day it can be 80 degrees and the next 20! Since 2007 we have had snap freezes each year. One of them was in 2007 in May! All the leaves had come out and flowers were blooming and then suddenly the weather changed back to winter with temperatures of 0 and below. That lasted for several weeks. The result was all the trees turned brown and shed their leaves again. Countless birds and small animals died in that freeze. The freeze also affected the horses that had already shed their winter coats. Suddenly they all grew new winter coats!

THAT year Jasmine got waves all over her body. We likely would never have seen it had we not gotten that sudden snap freeze. But by her developing a wavy coat it settled in my mind that she was indeed some form of curly horse. (See articles on curly horses and theory on the articles page)

Jasmine develops fine waves during cool winters.

This curl is not the same as horses that have Cushings. It is a natural insulatory hair coat that can manifest in a wide variety of patterns. Jasmine has produced curly foals and has curly grand children as well.

When her hair was examined under magnification it showed she has both "C" curls and "S" curls to her hair. She also has crimp to each hair. For more information on curly horse hair please visit the "articles" page of this web site for more detailed information.

Jasmine will be 20 in March of 2010. She does not seem to be aware of that as yet however. She is now my arena horse and I'm having such a good time with her. She is still a grand old gal and even though we have prettier horses, ones with no hang ups, ones that gait smoothly, and ones that are not spooky, she just suites me fine!

What we wanted from Jasmine to add to our bloodline is her fabulous rhythm, natural foxtrot that is also her default gait. We want her power and staying ability and her ability to be a little horse that can carry weight. We wanted her multiple gaits and her lack of pace and trot. We want her quickness and her athletic ability.

What we would like to improve upon is to give her offspring less coarseness, a flatter back and better shaped feet and maybe a bit more bone.

We may breed her one more time because we would like to cross her with Solaris. We like Jasmine's daughters so well we have retained three of them in our breeding program. Here are Jasmine's daughters.

Jasmine's first daughter, Foxvangen's Black Sonja.. V-94; foaled 1997. Sired by Cloud's Perfection A...a direct son of Black Cloud.

Jasmine's second daughter Foxvangen's Pagan..V-78; foaled 1998, sired by Wildfire's Socks, a Clarkson stallion and half brother to Toy Boy.

Jasmine's third daughter, Foxvangen's Aysha...V-73; foaled 2000, sired by Montana's Blue Nugget, grandson to Gold Exchange, bred by the Petersons in Montana.

Jasmine's fourth daughter, Foxvangen's Summer Heat..V-79; foaled in 2002, sired by Foxvangen's Braveheart Two by Foxvangen's Toy Boy in a whoops mating.

Jasmine's fifth daughter, Foxvangen's Ruby Slippers..V-79; foaled in 2003, sired by Foxvangen's Braveheart Two, sired by Foxvangen's Toy Boy. The whoops mating was such a good one we deliberately repeated it before Braveheart went to his new home in Germany.


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