Honored Equine

These are Knot-A-Tail's  honored Equine  stories: stories of the  heart and of connection.

Email us at to nominate a super horse you know.   


                   heads to the Rose Bowl Parade

                                                                                   ..........................    again in 2011Horse show photo contest

My mother was given Rockys mother as a gift from my biological father in 1975.

She was a Purebred Arabian and very large for her size. When my parents were divorced, my mom insisted on keeping Jilida, as she was a great mare, show horse, kid horse and broodmare. In the mid ‘80’s Cal Poly Pomona had a *Bask son named Reign On go champion at the Scottsdale show in park and my mom and I became very interested in breeding to him… and it all began there.

Rocky was born 03/04/1988 and his mother acutely colliced soon there after and was rushed to the hospital.Knot-a-Tail honored Equine After 2 surgeries and my Mom refinancing her house, we lost Bridens Jilida due to complications of the surgeries and Rockys birth. Rocky was a very strong colt and survived through a bad bout of salmonella poisoning and never looked back. He was a rather naughty youngster, as we came to find out, he was VERY much his father’s son, yet my Mom continued to want to keep him a stallion. Well, late in his 2 yr old year, he attacked my step dad and the decision had been made, Rocky would now be a gelding. When we lost Jilida, I was 15 and she was my main riding horse, so my mom found a gelding for me to buy and be a project while Rocky was growing up.Knot-a-Tail honored Equine My new gelding soon after beginning to jump bowed his tendon. He had a year off before we decided he needed surgery to be sound again. So once again I was left without a riding horse. Rocky was my only option if I wanted to ride, so I began the task of breaking him. This turned out to be a make it or break it time for me in my equestrian career as he WAS NOT an easy pupil!!!! We started western, then turned to hunter pleasure, then turned to Country English Pleasure and this seemed to be his niche!! WHEW!!! Well, just when he decided he knew all there was to know about something, he became a trouble maker once again…Knot-a-Tail honored Equine And low and behold a new category was introduced to the Arabian industry, SHOW HACK!!!!! Every gait has a collected, normal and extended call, and the canter calls for a hand gallop as well. Well, history tells this story and Rocky LOVED show hack… we began competing in that discipline as well as continuing the country pleasure and adding in side saddle and native costume. Rocky was such a super star!! He won nearly every class he was entered in, and eventually my Mom began showing him in the adult amateur divisions as well! Then people began to approach me about training their horses, so much to my Mothers horror, I dropped out of college and began my training career!!!! He thrived on the work and discipline it took to do so many classes in one show, but if he wasn’t busy he wasn’t happy!! In 1995 Rocky broke his jaw, quite severely and we were left not knowing if he would ever be able to show again, let alone make it through the surgery needed to repair his jaw. In typical Rocky fashion, he made it through and ended up just as he was before, if not better!!! I had to be careful with the double bridle on him for the rest of his show career, but he never looked back and healed great!!! He was retired from showing in 2001 due to arthritis in his hocks, but that proved to be yet another problem with Rocky, he did not rest well, and certainly did not want to live leisurely out in a pasture somewhere…Knot-a-Tail honored Equine So after a bit of time for his hocks to fuse, he began a new career as a lesson horse, trail horse, pony horse for my babies and whatever else I could think of for him to do and keep busy!! At the age of 19 Rocky had colic surgery. I would have bet the farm he had a stone (afterall, he was a 19 yr old arab gelding)… but he instead had 3 slight twists in his small intestine!! He also had a very abnormal liver… which the doctor warned us very well could be cancer… so off the biopsy went to UC Davis, and came back normal, thankfully… just another one of those things with him we guessed!!! So VERY long story short… Rocky and I were just hanging out when I got an email asking if I would like to be part of a parade group with our local southern California Arabian group, and turn in an application to be considered for the 2010 Rose Parade!!!! Knot-a-Tail honored Equine

 I jumped at the chance and felt very fortunate when our group was accepted!!! Now I feel even more fortunate to be asked to participate once again in the 2011 parade!!!!!

Sorry I am so long winded… I hope this helps paint a picture of our journey so far….

Thanks again!!!!    Molly Jenks 


Knot-a-Tail horse hair custom tassels 


Knot-a-tail is sending a complete set of our double layered tassels custom made just for Rocky to match is spectular parade outfit.

Congratulations  Rocky



Vinny shows the world

exactly what is in the heart of a Mustang 

The story starts about 5 years ago when my Wife got me interested in horses again.

Horse hair bracelet
I had always loved them but never got real serious about them until she started taking riding lessons.
My interest really escalated after that and I loved being around horses more than anything. I was leaning towards blanket appaloosas so Joanne and I went to the Equine Affarie to see some.

There was not a lot of appys there and as we walked around the place a horse caught my eye and I stopped in my tracks literally.


I looked at Joanne and said"


Now that is what a horse is supposed to look like".

It was a Mustang at the BLM booth.Honored equine

He was just stunning!

Short solid built and a real look of nobility. I talked to the people there and was hooked plain and simple.

That night I started to look for Mustangs and that is how I found Vinny.

He was born in 1993 and was captured as a yearling at the Nevada Wild Horse Range on Edwards Air Force Base. He was adopted in IL as a 2 year old. Somehow he wound up in RI and now lives in NH.

 When I was talking to the BLM they mentioned that there was going to be an adoption in NH later in the year and asked if I would like to help out promoting it.
I said I would and that is how Vinny started to help promote the wild mustangs.

 The Eagle tribune and the Nashua telegraph did interviews with  Vinny and I  when we promoted the BLM Mustang adoption in Somersworth NH in 2007. Vinny also did months worth of promotion for the adoption and when the time came we had 60 Mustangs and 10 Burros available and all were adopted.

With Vinny's help, it was as I recall the most successful adoption of the year.


Together, we also did an article in the Cowboy Chronicle and the two of us did radio interviews as well and were on NH chronicle who came to the Somerworth adoption to do a story on the Mustangs.
The adoption was a 100% success!!

All 70 horses and Burros found homes and we sent the trucks back to the BLM empty. It was at the adoption I met Robin and Mike.

Honored equine

We started talking about setting up a national org for Mustangs and that is how we began the USWHBA (US Wild Horse and Burro Assoc.)
our goals were to help the BLM find homes for Mustangs and Burros, help adopters learn about their animals, help them train them and to show the horse loving public that Mustangs were not the crazed killer horses that they had been portrayed as over the years.


In fact Mustangs are the exact opposite of the rumors.

They are very smart, tough as nails and worthy of your trust.


They can do anything a domestic can and in many cases do it better.
It became Vinny's and my  mission to prove that the Mustang was the best kept secret in the horse world


Honored equine
I started loaning Vinny out to people so they could see for themselves that Mustangs were great horses.

She and Vinny pretty much fell in love at first sight.
I loan him to my friend's daughter Morgan for shows, we took him on a mounted police trail ride so people could see him.
We had the only mustangs in the ride of over 100 horses. Every single time he turned heads and changed minds.


A year ago I was approached by a woman that does EGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) and asked if I would be willing to use our Mustangs in the program.

Honored equine

I of course jumped at the chance and once again Vinny showed he was up to the job.

Vinny could make even the most locked into themselves person come out of their shell and let him into their hearts.


Vinny has been a God send and has changed my life.

Vinny  has led to 2 more Mustangs at our place.

Sadie and Liza.

Vinny and all his friends  have shown many many people that Mustangs are wonderful horses and many of those people have gone on to adopt Mustangs of their own.



story submitted:  Hans Shull

Story by Heather Purdy
about Prince and Charlotte-Louise Purdy


Hi I am Heather Purdy
 I would like to nominate our miniature horse as the honored equine.

They only had a very short time together, she only had him for 15 months before  she died....but wow what an amazing time, and an amazing bond.

Honored equine

NCF   Mystical Silver Prince


NCF Mystical Silver Prince (I know his name is bigger than him) is a super little stallion. 
We got him for my daughter when she was terminally ill, and he made her last year of life the most amazing ever.

Honored equine
Prince was such a quiet yearling, and he responded even to her thoughts.
Our daughter, Charlotte-Louise Purdy lived to show, she loved  her ponies and that is all she wanted to do.


Sadly her condition was deteriorating rapidly, and she was no longer strong enough to cope with her 12hh  show pony.


That is when we got Prince.


Prince was a yearling who had been orphaned. Prince and Charlotte took to each other straight away.


It was true love


Horse hair bracelet
Charlotte showed him with much success for her last few months.


After being given a life expectancy  of only two weeks, she held on to her precious life for another five months.
She had qualified her boy for a National Show, and she was going to be there.

She showed him from a wheelchair, with oxygen in place, and did amazingly well.

Prince as usual was on his best behavior.

When she was too poorly to go to the stables, Prince came home.  He was in the house and just loved it, (even trying to get on the sofa to give her a hug).
Honored equine
This little horse loved his little girl as much as she loved him.
Sadly Charlotte lost her fight for life, in Sept 2008.

Thanks to all my horses I am coming to terms with it now.

But Prince, still looks past us at the gate, hoping she will be there.


If he sees a child of the same age coming, his head is up, and he whinneys, only to appear all sad, and disapointed when he realizes that it is not her.

For a tiny horse to give so much to so many is amazing
Prince  has helped the whole family to come to terms with the grief of losing our baby.

The pic of Charlotte wearing all the rosettes, are at her last show.


Heather Purdy

Everyone here at Knot-A-Tail are extremely proud to honor the loving connection between Charlotte and her beloved Prince.  

Love Roberta and staff






Named as "The World's Smartest Horse",

Playing with Lukas   


An astonishing fact:  my horse Lukas receives over one hundred emails a day! How can that be you might ask, what could anyone possibly write to a horse about? 

Let me give you a few examples: "Thank you, Karen and Lukas, for changing people's perception of horses - I own a horse rescue and I have been getting more calls than ever from prospective adopters.  Lukas is helping to bring greater understanding and vast improvement into the lives of horses worldwide".  

"Lukas makes my autistic son smile, thank you from the bottom of my heart."  

"Lukas is like a beacon to the world - showing how truly remarkable and wonderful our equine friends are.  I always knew they had intelligence and emotions, now I can prove it to the skeptics I know."  


And one of my favorites, "I just had to tell you how much I love Lukas - since losing my horse 2 years ago, I've been so depressed I haven't wanted to ride.  I saw Lukas' videos on you-tube and realized how much I miss being around horses after seeing the bond that you two share.  Now, I'm going to 1/2 lease a friend's mare.  I'm so excited, thank you, Lukas!"



As glowing as all this sounds, it wasn't always this way.  Lukas (race name was Just Ask Mike) left the track as a two year old with two bowed tendons after three unmemorable race finishes. He changed hands several times and ended up emaciated and neglected in a backyard. 


He was rescued by Sue Smith, who took pity on the then eight year old chestnut gelding who said about him, “You could see every rib and his tail was a solid bat of dried mud."  Smith, a local trainer had hoped to eventually include him in her amateur jumping program.  According to Smith he still wasn’t fitting in after two years and I purchased him from her after seeing his picture ad in the local Horsetrader.


Working full-time as a psychiatric nurse, I had our (then) barn trainer begin some basic lessons with him. The plan was to take over myself and show him at lower level dressage shows.  In a very short time Lukas became sullen and resistant to the point of being extremely dangerous - bucking, bolting and spooking (even in his own stall!).  "He's a throwaway, Karen, what do you expect? Quit wasting your time on him,"  I was told by more than a few well meaning observers.  After 30 years of training horses, I had just about met my match with Lukas. 


Before giving up, I decided to fall back on my behavioral training experience (these types of dangerous behaviors are best dealt with by professionals) and also try to find out what he would enjoy doing.  My approach uses a very broad base of shaping (successive approximation), a specialized version of clicker training and a large amount of positive reinforcement.  So, I set about un-training by replacing unwanted behaviors with desirable responses. 


The particular responses that I chose to substitute happened to be tricks - fun and play being at the core of my system.  I've always used the trick training games as a way to create a connection and build confidence, willingness, focus and trust.  I also ascribe to strictly liberty (free and without any equipment) work to show the true significance and effectiveness of my style.  It must also be said that I employ patience and kindness, affection and appreciation - without which none of this would have been possible.


As I said before, I needed to find something that he would enjoy doing – and I found it! We started with the smile and we're still going strong.  To date, Lukas' repertoire includes:  posing, nodding yes and shaking his head no, a dry and wet kiss, fetching, being "blindfolded", catching, yawning, saluting, pedestal work, Spanish Walk (forward and backward), the stay and come, jambet (3 legged pivot), reverence, passage, bow, crossing his front legs, laying down while I sit on him, feet together (front and back), hide and seek (with his beloved green towel), acting lame, pushing a cart, and the rear.  Most of his acclaim, however, comes from his amazing abilities to spell, count, identify shapes and discriminate colors.


This once-upon-a -time "throwaway" has been on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, HLN, and Equisearch. The Associated Press also recently released a feature story on him.  He is listed on both Yahoo and Google as "The World's Smartest Horse", and Guinness is considering a record on him.  His story - which has really become a love story between a woman and her horse - has been in countless magazines, newsletters, blogs and newspapers worldwide.


He is the official Spokeshorse for TROTT (Training Racehorses Off the Track) and a poster boy for the California Thoroughbred Breeder's Association.   He is also associated with Heal with Horses  - an equine assisted therapy group helping trauma victims.  He has been invited to attend the Grand Prix HITS Desert Circuit Horse Show, the Equine Affaire, The International Equestrian Festival, The Western States Horse Expo and America's Family Pet Expo.  Now, if only I could teach him to respond to his own mail!            


 Honored Equine

(Multiple World Champion)

"I wish you could "meet" Vicky...She is OH, SO SPOILED!! Loves peppermints...Can be temperamental...but gentle as a kitten with a "Special Needs" child. Vicky has used her in a handicapped riding program even though she has 24 World Champion Titles in many events. "  Carol Bracken

Victoriass's sire is a Texas Jack and her dam is an AQHA granddaughter of Peppy San Badger.  Vicky is a brown 1996 molly mule.  Vicky has many world and national championships in multiple open, amateur and youth events including, but not limited to: halter, showmanship, reining, trail, western pleasure, hunter under saddle, ranch riding, hunter hack, obstacle driving, pleasure driving, western riding and anything else she has ever entered. 

Vicky has also been used in a riding program for handicapped children where she shows the gentle side of her personality. 



Knot-A-Tail's Honored Equine is a true member of the Bracken family. 

She joins right in.

 Yes, Victoriass does come in the Bracken home for her Christmas photo with the family.


Go ahead Vicky, take a Bow, you deserve it.

Victoriass is priceless to her family.

Since a mule doesn't reproduce, their value is in their training and performance ability. 

I think we would all have to agree that Victoriass has the pretty much proved her worth many times, but most of all, she's a very cool mule.  Love you Vicky

I love her ability to shift gears.  Go Vicky Go

Such a Beautiful Molly Mule.   Shine on, Victoriass

I admire Vicky on well she pays attention to her young rider.

Thank you Vicky for sharing so much with all the humans in your life. 

Our Honored  Victoriass

Thank you  Vicky, from the  Knot-A-Tail Crew.