Visten is a Tennessee Walking Horse gelding that was bred in New York state and born into unfortunate conditions. His legs were crooked from malnutrition and he was terrified of humans. Visten was rescued from his initial situation by a kind women who donated him to FOSH as a yearling. He traveled from New York to Texas in Feb. 2009, where he went under the care and instruction of noted trick trainer Sue DeLaurentis. Through the generous donated care of Dr. Glenn Portie, a financial donation from Bill and Deborah Keyes, supplements and cookies from Start To Finish Products and Sue's extrordinary training, Visten has progressed into a healthy, intelligent and willing horse. He will remain in training with Sue  until his debut performance at the  2010 Sound Horse Conference in Louisville, KY.

Interview with Sue De Laurentis - rehabilitating an abused Tennessee Walking Horse , July 2009,

Visten -11-18-09 Visten in fall flowers-10-7-09
Vistin 3-9-09 Buddy Boullet
Climbing Wall

Visten 3-6-09 Visten Proudly
Practicing On The Pedestal

Visten 2-24-09
Having A Hoof Trim

Visten 2-22-09

Visten 2-15-09
Watching Liberty Horses
Visten 2-15-09 With
Boullet Ag Platform
Visten 2-15-09
Visten’s buddy Boullet

The Visten Chronicles

I can't tell you how Visten has blessed my life. He is very special and very "deep". He has a cute sense of humor and I am happy to say he has not a care in the world

Feb 8 2010

Visten was introduced to the Climbing Wall last week. This is a tall panel with horizontal rungs that is lowered by a motor from the ceiling of the training stall. Allen always jokes and says every barn needs one.

It took a lot of energy and “inspiration” from me to urge Visten to actually climb it. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted by the time our first session ended.

The wall helps a horse to get his weight on the hind end as he reaches out and “climbs” with the front end. With a horse that knows the Spanish Walk, which Visten does, we just position him about 10 feet from the wall and ask him to Spanish Walk toward it. When he takes the last big step before lifting off, we pressure him with a guider and tell him “’Up”. We never force it but strongly encourage him to put the feet on the rungs. When Visten first got his long legs off of the ground and onto the rungs his little (huge actually) knees were shaking like a leaf. His face was so expectant and so proud that we (Kristi and I) laughed out loud. He just got better and better with each repetition.

Today we will begin working on getting him to climb higher and reach with his front legs. Just imagine how much courage it takes for a colt like Visten to climb when he is asked!! I think that there is nothing that he won’t try for us with enough encouragement. And I stress encouragement as this is what training is really about. If he will climb a wall, I think he will try anything for his humans if given the time and space that it requires of him!

Visten’s coordination continues to improve. I hardly have to duck now for fear that he will “bob” and hit me with his head.
I haven’t gotten tangled in his long legs for a few months now. There’s still a ways to go before his coordination is what we would call normal, but it’s much better.

I recently built a new small open barn for Visten and Boullet and it borders the boarding side of the ranch. The boys can watch folks come and go all day and work with their horses. This makes it easier for me to catch one of the boys and work him for a few minutes several times between my other chores. Visten can stand the goings on just so long before he starts pulling at the halter and lead that are fastened on the gate. He pulls and tugs and tries every way to put his head into the halter as if to make sure that I know it is his turn. I had someone ask the other day how in the world we catch our horses if they aren’t in stalls? Ha, you have to almost run from these boys!

Visten loves to “walk out” either by being ponied or led from the golf cart. And talk about a running walk!!

We are back to working on the Kneel, separating it out as a single move rather than part of the Lay Down process. He is doing great, very quiet and cooperative and not the least intimidated in any way.

Will get a video clip soon for you than shows his super Spanish Walk!! Talk about big steps! He reaches so high that he has to swing his head so as not to hit his chin with his legs.

Suzanne De Laurentis

November 2009: 

Today was probably V's 5th day to work on this in the Lay Down stall. Kristi is helping me and today we worked on leg cues of tapping the cannon bone with the handle end of the guider whip. He just bunches up his long spider legs and lays down. So as not to make him feel helpless we let him lay quietly in the Sphinx position (llike a dog lays, head up). He is so loving and nice.  Later in the afternoon I ponied him from my MFT (Dean) and we went all around the trails. Visten was very enthusiastic and 'walked out" like a big boy. Wow, what a running walk that guy has!!! Unbellievable! By the time we got back to the barn yard he was a tired little guy.  He is a joy.  Sue


Note from a Visten supporter:  That is so awesome, Sue!  Thank you for your patience with Visten and taking him out on the trails like a big boy.  I am happy that he can do a running walk after those issues with his legs and early crookedness.  This brings tears to my eyes.  I can see why you find him so endearing.

October 14, 2009

Visten is doing just great with learning to kneel. Here he is on the second day, kneeling in exchange for a "cookie". As you can see, it is no big deal
to him and he is very sweet and compliant about it. No struggle, no problem. We will start on the rest of the lay down in a few days. Note the very deep
shavings (lay down stall) and the knee padding.

July 21, 2009

Boullet lays down on cue now both outside and inside the “lay down” stall inside the barn. He has been completely willing and sweet about the process. Next he will learn to “sit up” in the deep shavings (about 2 feet). I let Visten watch from outside the stall and he is curious and calm.


Yesterday I started hobble training Visten. This is the introductory training that is done prior to a horse learning both the lay down and the kneel. I was very interested to see how he would react. We approach moves of this sort that we call “moves or tricks of submission” as a process and not a move in themselves. Each horse comes to this series of moves with his own baggage, resistance or lack thereof. To treat the teaching of moves of submission with other than a humble and empathetic attitude does the horse a great disservice.


Visten could have easily been scared or resistant considering his plight early in his young life. He was not…he was trusting and patient and compliant.


He has been wearing a light pad and surcingle for some time although not in every training session. He is also accustomed to having his legs wrapped and with wearing hobbles around his pasterns.


I took him into the lay down stall and asked him to pick up his near leg which he did without hesitation. I did this a number of times so that he understood that I would let him put his leg down in a reasonable length of time. After a few repetitions of lifting and holding his leg with the rigging I asked him to take a couple of steps in that position. He did so confidently and with no struggle. He did look at me in a curious way but was completely confident in me and the process.


I did not have company so the pictures that I snapped were not great quality.


I believe that learning to lay down* on cue will be non eventful for both me and for Visten.


*We commonly use the term lay down although lie down is grammatically correct.


June 1, 2009