Molly Fox...blooming and 8 months pregnant.
first time I saw Miss Molly Fox I had gone to Missouri to look for brood stock
for a breeding program we wanted to start. At the home of Rollen Clarkson I was
greeted in a down home, southern style. Rollen took me out on his ranch of several
thousand acres to look at horses.
horses ranged in age groups in different quadrants of the ranch. Miss Molly and
four other horses were ranging with the two year olds even though they were three
years old at the time. Rollen had held them over due to a bad bout with worms.
He had lost a number of horses but after worming them he put the survivors out
with the young stock and there was Miss Molly.
horses live virtually feral. They are bred, born and live in a wild state on the
ranch with precious little human contact if they ever get any. That contact generally
consisted of running the horses into a catch pen, roping them, earing them down
to do whatever treatment was required before releasing them again to the herd.
carried a five gallon bucket full of grain in his truck. We came to a water hole
where there were shade trees to shelter the horses from the hot, late spring sun.
On the rise above the spring, Rollen stopped the truck and spread the grain on
the ground in a long line.
Molly Fox, foxtrotting up a hill.
the horses at the water hole came up to the area and began to eat the grain. I
was watching each one closely deciding if any would suit my specific needs. As
I watched, one horse broke away from the group. She left the grain completely.
She walked in a wide arch around the rest of the horses and was heading toward
me as I stood watching. Rollen was a number of yards away leaning on the hood
of his truck.
Standing utterly still
and watching the mare only with my eyes moving I didn't change body position at
all. Eventually the mare circled half behind me and then inched her way closer
and closer to me. At last she was standing so close I could feel her breath. Curbing
the desire to touch I remained perfectly still...but not stiff.
the mare reached out her nose and began to sniff me. Then she very gently ran
her muzzle up and down my cheek! She nuzzled my hair, she nuzzled my collar and
then she ran her nose up and down my cheek again.
this while I remained stationary and relaxed. Finally, having satisfied her curiosity,
the mare quietly walked away and rejoined her herdmates to eat some of the grain
that was fast disappearing.
left Rollen pushed his hat back on his head and said he'd never seen anything
like that in his life. I assured him nor had I. Rollen said "that mare has
chosen you." and I believe he was right. I had to own her. I had to own Miss
Molly Fox at age three on the Clarkson Ranch May 1996
believe if you searched the whole world over you would ever find another mare
quite like Miss Molly Fox. I wish we could because I'd have a whole pasture full
of them if it was possible! When Miss Molly Fox came to us from the Rollen Clarkson
ranch in Protem, Missouri, she was on a load with 11 horses that were coming to
us from Rollen's ranch.
Several of the horses being shipped were
to be mine, but the others were Rollens that I had agreed to gentle down and sell
for him. The Ozarks had been suffering from drought for two or three years and
the horses were in pretty bad shape due to the lack of available pasture. They
shipped in April just coming off a miserable Ozark winter which had made survival
difficult for the horses. They had horrid shaggy coats and every bone in their
bodies stood out clearly. We had contracted with Quality Horse Transfer out of
Texas to haul the load. We took the entire van so the trip would be straight through
instead of having to stop midway for a lay over.
We much prefer
straight through trips when at all possible. It is less stressful for the horses
and they get to us much faster! Unfortunately, along the way one of those Rocky
Mountain fast storms blew up and the snow came in buckets. The van was at Buffalo,
Wyoming when the roads were being closed all around and the blizzard raged so
fiercely that the transport jack knifed and crashed! The trailer swapped ends
with the truck and the result was a very crunched cab to the truck and a stuck
Molly Fox 6 weeks before shipping...no grass. February 1997
luck would have it there is a fairgrounds at Buffalo and some farmers helped get
the horses to the grounds and got them put up in stalls there. Now these are range
bred horses who had never seen a barn in their life much less been put into a
stall, yet the horses went in. The snow continued and they were stranded there
for a number of days. They were out of hay and with temperatures running close
to zero just getting them watered was a serious job!
A farmer got
through to them on a tractor to give them a couple bags of alfalfa cubes which
the horses chewed at. The cubes were too large for them to get hold of so the
best they could do was chew on the edges of them.
The driver and
his wife did all they could do in such trying circumstances to keep the horses
healthy and at the same time get the truck fixed so they could continue their
journey as soon as the roads opened.
At last, a week late, the horses
arrived at our farm. They were bone thin and so weary they were shaking on their
legs. They were scared half out of their wits and yet not one ever offered to
kick, strike or bite. I had alerted my vet to be available as we expected to see
dehydration problems, colic and possibly even worse. Yet none of those things
occurred. The horses came off that van and were put into a quarantine area where
we had bunkers full of grass hay, lots of fresh water, and green grass as well
as a place to roll and stretch out. To the horse they went right to eating and
never once looked back. They just accepted the change in their life as though
it was to be expected. Quite remarkable animals.
arrived in very poor condition..April 1997
In the load Miss
Molly Fox stood out. Her long, thick mane hung down to her shoulder and appeared
to be anchoring her neck in a ewe shape. Her coat was rough and shaggy and her
bony body was so flat and ragged looking I ached for her. Besides her gaunt look
Miss Molly had been injured in the round up at the ranch. As they were driving
the horses into the catch pens Molly had run into the gate pin and injured her
It was not a huge gash but none the less her shoulder
was sore and needed treating. As if all this was not enough, Molly was also suffering
from gravels in her feet. This is a condition whereby the grit and small gravel
actually grind and work their way up into the foot. The foot gets sore as a boil
and often will abscess. If left untreated the gravel will migrate up and usually
blow out at the top of the hoof near the hair line and then the foot will heal.
Molly Fox one week after arriving. Her ribs are already starting to cover over,
her belly is fuller and her hip bones are not sticking out so badly.
Molly had three feet involved with this condition and because her hoof horn was
so thick and hard the gravels could not blow out. Her near starvation condition
had caused her white line to be soft enough to allow the gravel in but the hoof
wall and sole was so hard and thick the gravel could do no more than lay in the
hoof festering and causing great pain.
The only way to get the feet
well was to soak and soften the hoof in the hopes of either drawing the gravels
out of the hoof, or by softening the hoof wall enough so it could blow out and
heal. That meant Miss Molly was going to have to be gentled enough to allow her
feet to be worked on. A feat I was not really looking forward to.
Molly Fox 6 months after arriving at our farm
tamed and gentled Mustangs off the Nevada range years before this, I was expecting
the same sort of responses as those range animals showed. My fears were totally
unfounded when it came to Miss Molly Fox. This mare just seemed to know I was
trying to help her. She cooperated every step of the way even though she had been
subjected to some pretty rough handling back at the ranch.
older ranches in the country, old time cowboy ways are still the order of the
day. In the case of these horses when they were rounded up, they were driven into
catch pens where they were roped and eared down so a vet could get tube wormer
into them. At that time any who still had wolf teeth were subjected to a piece
of 2x4 being placed up next to the tooth and then a sharp rap from a big hammer
knocked the wolf teeth out of the horses jaw. NOT exactly modern dentistry but
this method has been used for countless decades on American ranches and seems
to do the job albeit, rather crudely! I could just FEEL the discomfort her pretty
head had to endure!
Molly had been tied to the back of a truck along with Casey and some others,
then had been and half drug down the road until they all learned to lead so though
they were too wild to get a halter on them, they would all lead IF and when you
could get that halter on them!!! Rather an odd set of circumstances. So now here
was poor Molly, so thin you could count her bones, so tired and sore she could
hardly walk, so scared she didn't know whether to try to run or just lay down
and give up.
I drove her into a paddock that was attached to a barn
stall. Each stall was 12x14 and stood independent as a total barn with attached
tack room. The paddocks were graveled to prevent mud and were approximately 30x50
feet and that opened onto a small grassy turn out. Molly took to this set up because
she no longer had to compete for food or defend her space. Even though she was
an alpha mare, her sore feet made her unwilling to challenge or defend herself.
She really just wanted to lay down unaccosted and rest her painful feet!
the other ten horses, this amazing mare was so brilliant that within thirty minutes
I was able to walk up to her and soothingly talk to her and pet her. She was trembling
with fear, yet she held her ground and gave me the benefit of the doubt. With
little effort, I managed to get a halter on her and within a few more minutes
I had Molly’s foot in a bucket of warm Epsom salt water and what’s more she stood
there without a fuss! What a brain this mare has! After the first couple days
I could fill the bucket and say “ Molly come put your foot in the bucket and she
would just go put her foot in the bucket! I still had to place the hind foot but
she did her own front feet! She would stand in the hot Epsom salt water til it
cooled and then would just calmly step out and stand there til I told her to go
back to her pen.
It took a number of weeks to get the feet in order
and during that time little was done with Molly other than soaking her feet, digging
out grit and packing the feet to make her comfortable as possible.
backing of Miss Molly Fox
During that time I was round penning
and working to gentle down the other horses . The round pen was within view of
Molly’s paddock and often I would see her standing looking over the fence watching
what was going on in the round pen with interest. Through the spring and summer
I worked with the other horses and then one day in September it was Molly’s turn.
Her feet were healed, she had gained her weight and now it was time to get her
going. Her once shaggy coat now was sleek and gleaming. Her ewed out neck was
coming up to a fine arch. In short, Miss Molly who had arrived as an ugly duckling
had turned to a swan.
One sunny day I took Molly to the round pen
and was in for one of the biggest surprises of my life. She went right to the
rail and began to work as if she had been doing this all her life. She knew every
cue and command and responded promptly and appropriately to every signal I gave
her! The only thing I could think was that she had learned by watching all the
others go through this training!
Within 20 minutes I had the saddle
and bridle on her and she stood still and at liberty to receive them. She never
offered to so much as walk away. A few more minutes passed and then I just climbed
on her and she was as calm and ready for me to be there as any horse who has been
ridden for months. Using my seat I pushed her forward and she just walked on.
She just wanted to know what came next. Perfectly calm and ready to do my bidding.
Molly Fox first ride
The next day I took Miss Molly Fox up
the highway to the trail head one and a half miles away. We rode along a wide
verge but that road is a trucking highway with all manner of conveyances strange
to a range horse! School busses, logging trucks, concrete trucks, motorcycles,
...you name it we met it. Miss Molly never turned her head. The only thing she
even stopped to look at was a pair of little girls swinging on a swing set. They
each had on red sweaters and were swinging opposed to one another. When one went
away the other came to. That seemed to puzzle Molly. She watched them for a few
seconds and then seeming to have settled in her mind they were not to be feared,
she just stepped right out and continued on our way.
We went up
the trails through the deep forest and she never missed a beat. She went through
water, over logs, through mud, over bridges, you name it. She just went wherever
she was pointed and never hesitated. Over the course of the next couple months
I tried to find anything that may spook Molly but could never find a thing. She
was and is just as solid as they come in the brain and she never panics or gets
upset over things. She trusts and is reasonable in everything she does.
few months after I started riding Molly, Lee Zeigler came up to Washington to
give some clinics. Lee was a friend of mine and stayed at our home while she was
there. Lee took a liking to Molly and all our Clarkson horses. She particularly
liked their sound joints.
Our Local club was sponsoring a clinic
for Lee so Molly and I participated in that clinic. Molly was still very green
broke and had never been out in public. She took all the hubub in her typical
calm way but I could feel she was a tad nervous because she kept fidgeting with
her feet. Just not quite standing still.
Molly Fox and Lee Zeigler at a clinic.
Lee used Molly as an
example in one of the segments. She put dots on Molly's joints to show how the
eye can deceive a person. Many Foxtrotters are long bodied in relationship to
their leg length. Some people see that and assume the horse has a long back but
they don't. When Lee put those measures to Molly she was just where she was supposed
to be in balance of thirds.
When it came to the riding segment,
Lee was having us use aides which Molly had no knowledge of as yet. She was doing
well with leg aides but was not real experienced or by any means finished. Lee
really liked and appreciated Miss Molly Fox and so do we!
ways Molly was short changed because she was so gentle natured. All our horses
undergo extensive ground training prior to riding and that includes long lining
and driving etc. Molly had not gotten that so it took longer to accomplish the
same things with her.
I had only been riding Molly for maybe a dozen
rides when it was Christmas time. A bunch of our friends wanted to go on a ride
so they gathered at our house. They all rode gaited horses but not many were Foxtrotters.
Our sister in law, Jan was to go with us riding her Arab but she was the only
non-gaited horse in the bunch.
We all started out laughing and enjoying
ourselves and I was letting Molly follow the group. She needed to learn it was
ok to go behind the horses as well as lead.
We headed up the highway
to the trail head about a mile away. There is an odd place along that route where
a culvert goes under the road. It's a very large culvert and to both sides of
the road there is a swamp. It sits down in a hollow where it is sheltered by large,
dark trees. It has an odd oder to it and as a rule horses don't like that spot.
lead horse in the group was a big Tennessee Walking Horse mare who decided she
was not going to pass that place and started to dance around in the road.
her all the other horses began to get anxious and were tap dancing around in the
road milling in circles while their riders attempted to take control of them.
stopped Molly and just sat watching for a minute. Not wanting Molly to pick up
on their energy or become excited or resitant I decided to ask her to go forward.
All the horses had been past that place many times and so had Molly
yet Molly, the green horse with less than a dozen rides on her, took it calmly
and went right between all those dancing horses and right on up the road pretty
as you please. GOOD GIRL MOLLY.
Behind us the horses mellowed out
once they saw Molly was doing ok so they fell in line and came after us.
the trail head which is really a logging road, there is a chained gate to keep
cars out. To get past it we had to climb a tricky little hill that was real steep
and went around one big Fir tree that had exposed roots and between two others.
The footing was real dicy there and takes a horse paying attention or they might
Molly didn't even hesitate, she just climbed up, went around
the tree and back down onto the trail and away we went. Behind us I could hear
others fussing with their horses trying to get them to negotiate that tricky place
even though all of them have been through there many times.
they all caught up and we were enjoying our ride. About an hour out we had climbed
a bit up to the real trails when we came around a bend to find the trail blocked.
A wind storm we'd had a few days prior had brought down some huge fir trees. These
trees are a couple hundred feet tall with a butt end ranging between 3 to 5 feet
in diameter! The way they fell was odd in that the butt end of two trees were
on one side of the trail and the butt end of the middle tree was on the other
side. They formed sort of a "Z" that ended at bolders on each side so
we could not get around the blockage.
Disappointed the group decided
our ride had to end there. Another day they would come back with chain saws to
clear the trail. But as I looked at the situation I decided to try something.
I indicated to Molly that I wanted to continue up the trail by using my legs.
I reached way forward and gave Molly her head. Understanding me, Molly walked
calmly to the one end of the blockage where the top of the tree lay.
hesitation Molly stepped over the brushy tree top so that she was now between
two trees. She coupled herself up tight and pivoted around and then walked down
between those trees stepping over branches as she went. At the end of the trees
she stepped over the top of the second tree.
Even at the top the
branches were long enough they were brushing her belly and yet she never missed
a step and never hesitated. Once across the second tree she did the same thing
and walked to the end of the last tree. She crossed it as if it was nothing and
we continued up the trail.
Behind us all the other riders decided
if Molly could do that then they could as well. They had to coax and prod their
horses along but in the end all of them managed to get past that blockage and
we continued our ride.
We took the long way home so we didn't have
to negotiate that place again but I know Molly would have thought little of it
all the same.
Molly is by far not the fastest horse we own. She is
not the hottest horse we own. But she is the most solid horse I've ever known.
She has a text book perfect foxtrot that is reachy and smooth as sitting in an
easy chair to ride. Her running walk is breathtakingly smooth and fast. She racks
like a dynamo and can really make time. Her canter is an easy chair rocking motion
that is wonderfully comfortable to ride but she does not waste her energy on nerves
or attitude. She just does her work. She is sensible and easy to manage but is
very quiet in her manner.
A few days after the incident on the trail
I was riding with Jan. It had frozen hard and then snowed so the ground was a
bit slick in places and all the puddles were iced over and covered in snow. Babe,
Jan's Arab gets real nervy around water or anything that affects footing.
were riding along a power line trail that is good footing but tends to have some
very large puddles in places. Babe had a fit about going across them and was cat
walking around trying to find a way to go up the trail without having to step
where the puddles were.
One large puddle was totally frozen over.
I thought it might be a good time to test Molly to see if anything might spook
her. I asked her to go across the puddle. Without even a hesitation in her stride
Molly just walked across that ice. CRUNCH< CRACKLE< there was air space
between the several inches of ice and the actual water and the bottom was still
slightly soft. That has to be a very odd feeling to a horse to have their foot
go through the ice and land in wet mud and water. The ice around their legs and
the noise it makes. Molly didn't seem to even notice it. She just calmly went
on her way.
It's that sort of thing that makes Miss Molly Fox an
invaluable asset to our farm. It is one of the many things about Molly that makes
her a personal favorite of mine. I know any time I wish I can climb on Molly and
go for a ride and not have to worry about a thing.
With the ailments
I have and my bad back I have little strength any more and can tolerate no jostling
or the risk of getting dumped. Molly is my girl even though she does not present
the same thrill Jasmine or Ribbon do under saddle and is not as energetic as Casey.
Molly is a go anywhere, go forever type horse. She covers ground well enough but
she is not a speed queen and I don't need her to be.
Molly Fox and me at a Lee Zeigler clinic.
next spring we bred Molly to Toy Boy. I rode Molly for the first few months of
her pregnancy but once she began to get heavy I got off her and let her have her
time. Her first foal was a colt we named Foxvangen's Shere Khan. He was a stout
colt with amazing bone and joints. He was so well built and gaited we decided
to breed Molly back again.
pregnancy Molly again produced a colt. We named this one Miss Molly's Toy Fox.
He was an outstanding colt. Unfortunately both colts never lived to adulthood
due to accidents that proved fatal to them. We grieve them mightily but life must
Just prior to our move to Arkansas
we bred Molly to our jr. stallion, Montana's Blue Nugget. Molly foaled the next
year in Arkansas. A lovely filly we named Foxvangen's Belle Lyra.
then Molly has produced Foxvangen's Tinker Toy, Foxvangen's Ozark Suncatcher,
Foxvangen's Pharaoh, and Foxvangen's Autumn Topaz. A total of seven offspring
Due to my poor health Carl and I retired and moved
to Arkansas. It was a gigantic move both emotionally as well as physically for
us. I closed my childcare/preschool business which had been a big part of my life
for over 30 years. We sold our small boarding stable where I had also trained
and given lessons for several years. We closed down both of our homes which in
and of itself was a big job. We paired down to what we could bring in one trip
since the distance was so great.
We bought land in Arkansas that
had at one time been a dairy so the land was cleared and all in pasture. It had
to be fenced and we had to either build a home or buy a mobile home. We opted
for the latter since we were both experienced in the difficulties of building
and the toll it takes upon a relationship!
We contracted for the
same shipper to come pick up our horses and deliver them to Arkansas that had
delivered all the Clarkson horses to us a few years prior. My daughter and I came
ahead of Carl so we could receive the horses and he remained behind to see them
off. It was July and blistering hot in Arkansas. But the horses made the trip
well and took to their new accommodations well.
Family as well as
personal illness and the time consuming task of building barns, sheds, fences
...in short building a farm, precluded any fun time for riding. Because of that
Molly and the other mares were turned out to pasture as brood mares. One year
led to another until before we knew it 8 years had passed with Molly having been
ridden at the most maybe 15 times.
During that time, however she
raised 7 good foals. Shortly after her seventh foal was born some visitors came
from out of state. We pulled Molly out of the field and saddled her up. Poor Molly.
She was broody fat and lazy and totally confused what the dickens we were asking
of her. In her whole life she likely had fewer than 60 rides on her but she tried
and eventually started getting with the program. Her willingness and gentleness
are a testament to the breed. Many horses might have gotten a bit irate at such
treatment, but not good natured Molly.
Molly Fox with Lydia fresh out of pasture after 8 years being a brood mare.
Like all Clarkson horses I’ve met, Miss Molly has an excellent fox trot. Text
book perfect for form, rhythm and extension. She is powerful at the foxtrot and
has a wonderful flat walk. At speed Molly can run walk with the best of them and
when asked she is a powerhouse at the rack. She has a hind end that is hard to
beat and uses her body to advantage. Her front end is so strong with a well muscled,
long forearm that she maximizes every stride. She can canter and gallop beautifully
and to top it off she carries a high Saddlebred tail naturally.
our opinion, Molly is a beauty. Molly is a fully roaned Sabino mare. She produces
beautiful babies that you can pick out of a line up. She just doesn’t make junk.
She is an asset to the breed and a wonderful friend and partner to us.
is also our supreme alpha of our mare herd. She rules very judiciously and does
not brook any discord in her band. Molly likes her mares to be nice. If they get
out of hand with one another they have Molly to reckon with. She runs a tight
Molly with her band at the pond
Each of our horses come when
they are called by name. Molly is no exception. She comes on the run when I call
her. None of the other horses dare pass her but if I just call one of them, Molly
stays where she is and only the one I call comes.
Molly Fox coming when she is called.
Miss Molly Fox turned
16 years old in 2009. She is still a very lovely mare and will be my riding mare
for some time to come if the Good Lord sees fit to grant her the time. She is
the grandmother to our junior stallion and has graced many homes with her lovely
offspring. Perhaps in another year or so we will breed her again but for now I
believe she has earned her right to being bell of the pasture and my pleasure
Molly Fox 8 months pregnant with her last foal.
are Molly's foals. We are proud of her production and her lovely disposition,
not to mention her fabulous gaits and beauty.
we want from Molly to add to our bloodline is her amazingly textbook perfect foxtrot,
her reach, her style, her quiet power and smooth action. We want her innately
kind disposition, her willingness to please and her quiet docility. We want her
smoothness in motion, her ability to speed rack and her natural intelligence.
We also want the Clarkson built in prepotence that Molly carries.
we would like to improve upon would be to give her bigger feet, a little more
Shere Khan..Molly/ Foxvangen's Toy Boy..V-94
Molly's Toy Fox..Molly/ Foxvangen's Toy Boy..V-94
Belle Lyra..Molly/ Montana's Blue Nugget P...V-82
Tinker Toy..Molly/ Foxvangen's Toy Boy..V-94
Ozark Suncatcher..Molly/ Dan'na's Magni..V-88
Pharaoh..Molly / Foxvangen's Braveheart Two..V-86
Autumn Topaz...Molly/Foxvangen's Toy Boy...V-94
here for Pedigree