Friday, August 31, 2012

Goodbye Brickster

I had one lesson on Bricks the day before yesterday and it really wasn't even a hard one.  Never even left the round pen, but afterwards we could see that she was visably uncomfortable.  I took her in for her health check up yesterday and the vet watched her move one time and said she is lame in her right hind. After palpating her hocks she guessed arthritis, and offered to do xrays but I declined.  I called her previous owner and told him the news.  He apologized many times, said he had never noticed it in her, and just thought it was how she moved, and of course told me to bring her home.

Tom and I discussed the possibility of keeping her and managing the arthritis with injections, since we will never be riding her very very hard, but I put the kabosh on that idea.  I am already managing two lame horses, I cannot take on another.    She will go home tomorrow and Killian will come back to us.

I have discussed it with my trainer and he feels I can learn just as much on either Killian or Trax and so my lessons will continue.  I will start with Killian as he is easier and softer. 

One thing I asked her owner was what he will do with her, and he says he will either keep her in the family and use her as a brood mare or if she does get sold it will only be to someone with a kid who will only use her gently.  But I suspect they will just keep her. I was happy to hear that.

 My first ranch horse Clinic is Sunday I will have pictures and lots to post about that. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Question of Etiquette

A while back after purchasing a horse that ended up being something completely different than what I thought I was getting, I have had the "rules" of horse selling instructed to me over and over again by my friend Jay.

1. If you are buying, the seller should "Show" you the horse. Riding first, showing you all the things the horse can and cannot do.
2. If you are buying, never get onto a horse that the owner is not willing to get on themselves.

Those are the two biggest ones.

So far out of every horse I have bought I have only stuck to these rules once and that was with Killian. His owner was fantastic about showing me what his horse could do. 
Killian and his previous owner Chris.
With Trax his owner I think was afraid of him but wasn't willing to admit it.  I said, "show me what he can do" he says, "I don't care if I sell this horse, so if you are interested you ride him otherwise I'll put him back."    So I rode him.   Jay scolded me for it.  Trax ended up being a handful but not bad and I love love love this horse. 

Trax the first time I saw him
With Sassy, she wasn't broke so there was nothing really to show. In fact you could hardly catch her, but she was "free", so the rule did not apply here. The only thing she really had going for her was that she loaded wonderfully.

The day we brought Sassy home

There was another horse I had bought for a "fair" price of 600 dollars.  She was a registered paint named "Miss Revlon".  She had a turned in foot, was awful to load, and although I did ride her it was in a round pen and very controlled. I am not entirely convinced that she wasn't a little buted up when I looked at her.  When I called the sellers and said I wanted to return her, they refused.  She ended up putting me face first in the dirt 3 times in one day, was horrible to load, you could not move her feet.  Her upside was that you could always catch her, and she was a dream to trim. I worked and worked with her and she came a long ways but was getting to be more work than I could handle. I gave her to a girl in Riverton.  She has taken this horse and done wonderful things with her.  Because of that I believe that horse and owners a predestined to be together.
Miss Royal Revlon
BUT when I gave her away I spent an hour telling her everything I could about Revlon, her good points, but especially the problems, because I wanted her to know what she was getting into.  And of course I always said, if you don't want her call me.   She loves her and sends me new pics all the time of her giving lessons on her and now she is teaching her to run barrels. I am thrilled!

Then there was Tom's first horse Gambler.  He was a Tennessee walker.  His owner did not ride him for me, she had just got out of the hospital.  Her other horse had stepped on her and done internal damage. Again I got scolded because I rode him.  But he was a nice horse and everything she told me about him was true.  One time though he dumped Tom when he shied at my hat which flew off, and Tom decided he didn't like him as much then. Not because Tom fell off, but because he would shy and jump a lot.  Plus he hated Danny and that was a serious issue.
Gambler (AKA Big G)
We sold him to a lady who only had one other gelding, and that last I heard they just loved him.  Every time I sell a horse I always leave the door open for return. I don't want any horse I have loved to end up in the slaughter house.  Or any horse period!!!!
So anyway, what prompted this post was that I just got scolded again because Bricks's owner did not ride her first for me.  He was dressed for a wedding and had to go soon.  I understood that.  So I conceded and rode her myself.  So when I told Jay I was nervous the first time I rode her at home, he didn't understand why.  Didn't I see someone else ride her?  Well no I didn't.  He says he is gonna break me like a wild horse!  It was my second ride on her.  It had nothing to do with the horse and everything to do with lack of confidence.  The truth is I try to follow the "rules of selling"  But not everyone does.  In my mind that doesn't mean it is a bad horse.  It means things aren't exactly how I would like them.  If I had tons of money and could buy any horse I wanted, then you bet...the seller would be SHOWING me the horse they wanted to sell. 
But I am poor.  Most of my horses are someone elses rejects.  Because that is what I can afford and because I am not very savvy I guess.  It makes for some hard lessons learned, that is for sure.
But here is my question to the few followers I have.  If you sell a horse, do you show it to the potential buyer? Do you ride first and give an honest assessment?  What if you are buying?  If the owner does not ride the horse first is that a deal breaker for you?
Am I out of mind for riding these horses I do not know?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Getting the "feel"

Well I took the Brickster out for a short ride yesterday.  She had been wearing shoes when I got her and seemed to be stumbling on them alot when I rode her at her old home, so Sunday I had those pulled off and trimmed her up a little.  She is a little tender footed right now, so I kept is short and sweet after work last night.

She did quite well, I was awkward and (yes I'll admit it) a little nervous. She does get a little worked up when you are first saddling her.  I am thinking that a little ground work before riding from now on will do wonders on getting her into "a good place" mentally.  Not that she was mean or ornery, ancy...I guess would be the right word.

I noticed that she is pretty buddy sour already.  She latched on to Trax so quickly and kept gravitating back to him.  She was very buddy sour at her old home, so I guess I should not be surprised with this.

The other thing I am having to get used to with her is the gait.  Her little short legs make her sort of choppy, especially at a trot. She does have a pretty nice canter though.

 I am used to Trax who is smooth and easy at almost any gait.  He has the best trot or canter or even a dead run and his transitions from one to the other are seamless and easy.  It takes nothing to bring him up from walk to trot and then to canter.  Of course with him bringing him down is always an issue.  (he is a firm believer in faster is always better)

With Bricks I have to work a little harder to get that canter, (although not as hard as I did with Killian) but when she gives it to me it is nice. 

We worked on the leg yields, and are getting closer. I just need to learn how to ask. Again I think if we go back to ground work to get her mind right, asking her to step sideways from a little bit of pressure, I think it will help.

When we were done, she got candies.  Carrot flavored Candies.  I'm pretty sure she did not get many treats from her previous own as she was unsure of what I was handing her, but after the first two she was bobbing her head up down in agreement!

Tonight it will be Danny's night and then a ride on Trax.  His neck has healed up nicely and it is time to get his mind right as I will ride both him and Brickster at the clinic this weekend.

As I write this I can't help but compare the different personalities in my horses With Trax it is always "hurry up lets go, I got other things to do"  With Killian it was always about conserving energy, I am curious to see where Bricks' head is at.

Oh, one other thing, when I went to the pasture to close gates and lead the loose ponies to their perspective living areas she came right to me.  I petted her and then walked away and she followed me to the round pen, which is where she lives at night.  Trax followed to his pen as well.   She is very easy to catch.  Most of my horses come to me with the issue of being impossible to catch.  Jay says I need to do more catch and release.

I will work on that.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Miss Hidas Par Te  (aka: Bricks)
Well I made my decision and loaded up Killian
Saturday morning and we made the long trip down to Riverton. 
When we got there, Killian ever the rock was so quiet and patient in the trailer.  We went ahead and took him out and let him stretch his legs a little. Randy came out and caught his mare and we gave her the once over. 

Her name is Bricks, and it fits her too a T!!!

Long story short I rode her around a little and although I can see that I am under trained to ride this horse, I believe that with a few lessons I could be just fine. 

He looked over Killian and opted not to ride, but said he liked him and the temporary trade was made.  So we loaded her up and brought her home. She was a little fidgety for the first half of the ride but by time we got home had settled down nicely.  She came out so nice and calm. 

I lead her down to the round pen, Trax was loose so he came over to say hi.  It was very interesting to watch, he ran up they gave each other a sniff, she pinned her ears, but that was all. He sniffed a little more so she slowly turned her butt towards him and just lifted on leg, as if to say "I can kick, but I don't really want too."  At that he said, "Yep you're just another mare to me and I got no time for mares, I'd rather go eat." and off he went. 

I kept her in the round pen over night, but let her this morning with him.  They did the greeting again, he asked, "Do you wanna be boss?"  She said, "Nope, do you wanna be boss?"  He said, "Not really"  and the noses dropped and grass became the new concern.  Now she is out following him around, I do believe they are going to be best friends. 

Trax has never had a follower before, he was always the follower.  he has always been the lowest horse on the totem pole.  so I am sure this is a totally new experience for him.  I can tell by his expression that he is not quite sure how to handle it.

Then I opened the gate to Danny's pasture and let
 him come over and visit some too.

Of course Danny had to come over and do his "I'm so studly" act.  she was not impressed and walked away.   Interestingly enough, after that Danny went straight to the open pen which connects to Sassy's pen and that is where he is even now, with "his girl". 

 This is my "Big Butt" comparison shot! Not the best angle though.
I have thinned Trax down alot and she is just a little on the heavy side, not real bad though. But her butt is twice the width of his I think. Also I use to think that Sassy was not in bad shape, but I can see now that all this confinement, has killed her muscle tone,, she looks little and thin compared to Bricks. 

I like this picture of her too!

So far the only real issue I see with her is that she moves a little stiff in her hind quarters.  Jay noticed it first.  We do not know if this is just how she moves, if she was stiff from the long trailer ride, if she is a little arthritic from her competition days, or what.  She has a scar on one hind quarter.  I meant to ask what it was from, but forgot.  I will ask just so I have a full medical history.  I also plan on taking a "personal day" this week from work, so that I can take her in for a full check up.  As long as that stiffness doesn't bother her, then the riding I will do with her will be light enough it should not be too much of an issue.  But if it is something that is going to really bother her, then it might be a deal breaker.  I am not prepared to make a decision on that yet.  Want to see how she rides for a while first.

So there she is, the newest addition to the herd...let me know what you guys think of her.

Oh I got a text from Randy last night, he says that Killian is settling in nicely and has made a friend, so I do feel better about that.  After seeing all of Randy's horses I have no doubt that Killian will be well cared for and loved, and he certainly will get whipped into shape as they will be using him for long trail rides.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bigger decision....input please?

I have an acquaintance in Riverton who has a nice little mare, she is a Hiatus Pep granddaughter.  She was a competition cutting horse, she has been used for trail riding, hunting, lessons for kids, he has had her for years and years.  For a long time he has been telling me that he really needs to find a larger horse to replace her with. Not because she is too small to ride, but because when he hunts and she is in the string she cannot negotiate as easily over the terrain as his other horses who are all 16 hands or better.  It throws his pack string out of whack. She is made for competing.  He says she loves it.  I would like to compete.

We have Killian.  He is a rock solid trail horse (that is him in the picture being ridden bareback on a trail ride) kid safe, darn near bomb proof.  You can rope off him, you can push cows off of him.  He is a pretty decent horse, easy to get along with.  The only thing I really dislike about him is that I cannot let him and Danny out together.  What you cannot do on him is any kind of flying lead change (or any lead change) he just does not have that natural athletisism that Trax or Sassy has, or that I suspect this mare has.  He is a good horse, but not a competition horse.

I have the chance to trade Killian for this little mare, straight across, and on a trial run.  If I decide I don't like her after a month we can trade back.

So, do I do the trade? 

Sometimes I wish I could just keep them all.


Well thanks to the input of others I have made my decision.  I will take him down and see the mare and see if he likes Killian and I like the mare, and then I will play it by ear.  BUT if I do bring her home I will make sure that I am careful and learn how to ride her properly so as not to ruin her.

Will update with pics!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Decisions Decisions.....

I just found out that there is a ranch horse competition coming up in two weeks.  It just so happens that I own 2 ranch horses.  One is terrified of ropes and the other is slower than molasses in Jan.  Yet here I am considering entering one of them even though I no we have no chance of doing anything other than making complete fools of ourselves.

So I have to ask, "Why would I want to do that?"

My Answer. "Well I just don't know."  Perhaps it is because I want to do something with these guys besides ride around the block.  Maybe it is so I can finally find some people in horses to associate with who actually ride, and would prehaps ride with me. Maybe it is because I don't even know what my horses can and can't do.  Maybe I just want to learn to be a better rider. 

Do I have to have a reason other than , just because I want to?

So I took Trax out last night and worked on a few things.  I can open a gate on him. I can get mail out of a mail box.  I even got a rope out and swung it around over his head and next to him. He was a little jumpy at first but then settled right down.  We did that at a walk and a trot.  Then I put the rope around a stack of five gallon buckets and we dragged that around.  We went in all directions making sure thr rope went behind and up under his tail a little.  No reaction at all.  I was totally surprised.

As I was typing this I got a call from one of the ladies who is putting this on.  She assured me that many of the people are coming on horses who have never even seen a cow.  She says it is all in fun and just practice, so not to worry about failure.

I guess that settles it then!

Ranch Horse Competition here we come!!! 

(I'm sooo excited!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Camping at West Ten Sleep Lake

We took a break from the yard work, barn work, house work, and job work to do a little camping last weekend.  We had never camped at West Ten Sleep Lake in the Big Horn Mountains so that is where we decided to go.
We have a brand new camper which had only been used once so it was high time to break it in.

Of course there is a fire ban on the entire state of Wyoming right now.  No open fires of any kind, although I was very disappointed in how some people around us chose to ignore that warning and go ahead and build fires anyway.  The only fires allowed were propane grills, or sheep herder stoves with a spark arrester.

Of course we took the dogs, although before they get to go again they will need some serious obedience training.  Those two young dogs don't listen worth a darn and cannot be trusted!  Butch was pretty good about sticking around though.

Don't let Tom's scowl fool ya, he liked taking the dogs to the water.
We did a little bit of fishing in the lake and also drove down to Meadowlark Lake, where not only did we fish, but did some good catching as well.

The top picture is my 18 year old son, I was glad he went with us, he is usually off doing his own thing these days.  We did the catch and release routine.  I'm not that fond of trout. Plus I forgot alum foil for cooking them!   Pretty nice fish though!

The lake was just beautiful!  The whole weekend was.  The only real down side was the inconsiderate morans on their four wheelers that insisted on racing up and down the road past our camp site, covering us with dust.  I don't begrudge people their own favorite past times, but have a little respect for people who are there for the peace and quiet.

I tried my hand at some photography "art"

I must admit that Butch is an easy study.  That dog will freeze and drop to the ground with a single word and not move a muscle till we tell him too. I am assuming he was a great hunting dog at one time.   I love this picture of him though. Will probably have it blown up and framed. 

This one is also good but I wish I had paid attention to where my focus point was.   I am still learning how to operate this fancy camera.  It is the Sony Nex 7.  Great Camera!!

On the way home Tom found another "Short cut".  I have decided I like this side of him. We went home through Crazy Woman Canyon and gosh was it beautiful!

As you can see the road was very narrow, and our camper was very wide and when we met people on the road it was often quite scary. 

Anyway, we had a gret time, and if you are ever camping in Wyoming the Bighorns are one of the best places to go for sure!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Such a soft girl

Sassy had her first ride yesterday since she broke her coffin bone. Of course I did not ride her, and it was a very small slow ride, but it was nice to see her in "training mode" again.

 She truly is proof positive that less is more when it comes to horses.  It takes so little to get so much out of her.  This is Simon asking her to bend to him.  She will do it this soft to either side regardless of where he is standing. Notice how slack the lead rope is.  He asked with an ounce of pressure and she gives it all to him on her own. NICE!

Here I am asking her to back away while I stand still.  I give a slight suggestion on the rope and she backs till I say stop. 

Even with him on her back she is soft and supple, giving easily to any command.  Keep in mind that she hasn't been ridden since April, and even then only has about 40 rides on her.  I love watching her.  She is so perfectly put together.   

It was nice to be out there with my herd again!

Take care everyone!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'M NOT READY!!!!!!!

These were taken back in the good old days when all my horses got along.
It is also my reminder that winter is right around the corner and I am not ready!!!!

I know it is only August, but it is amazing how quickly Aug turns into Sept, and the Sept turns into Oct, and then Oct turns into...brrrrrrr!  

Sometimes it just seems like there are not enough hours in the day, nor enough money in the bank account, to take care of the things that need to be done.

I love these pictures, look how relaxed they all are with each other. I often wonder why things changed and if there was something I could have done to prevent it.

I will probably never know....

Monday, August 13, 2012

The road less traveled...OR..."The Shortcut"

So this weekend was busy busy driving here and there and everywhere in between.  First was Scottsbluff NE, which required us going through Lingle.

Do you know what is in Lingle???????

Whimsy !!!!!!  Oh yeah, that is one of my favorite little antique stores around.
I purchased two more pictures for my collection.

This is the first one, an original water color.  I have never heard of the artist, JL Stoner, but I love the picture!

This one is a pen and ink by Gary Ericson out of CA. Its just a nice picture and she had both marked down so I was able to get 2 for the price I was prepared to pay for one. 
The lady who owns this store has a great mix of new and old and she manages to find some of the best artwork I have ever seen.   She had some great old photographs of moving cows in WY, but they were full price and out of my range.  Too bad though, cuz they were awesome!

After that little excersion it was time to race home, grab the camper and make a mad dash for Ten Sleep WY for the Nowood Stock Music Festival.
It is a 3 day event held every August and every year I find new musical talent that you will not find on mainstream radio.  One thing about me....I am anything but main stream!

We decided to go through Thermopolis and Worland and headed out the 20/26 at a slow rate of speed due the the high winds and our top heavy camper.

Then Tom says to me, "Lets take a short cut!"
(Oh boy!)

We made a hard left at the tiny little burg of Moneta and started following a very desolate road, passing only trucks hauling gas.  That in itself wass a little scary.  Pretty soon we came to the town of Lysite. Then we blinked and it was gone. 

There was a little deliberation each time the road forked, but with the help of GPS on my Iphone and Tom's slightly dusty memory (he says "I've been here before but it was in the 70's"  YIKES!)  We did manage to make all the right choices.

Here are some pics of "The shortcut"
 Deserted dirt road
 We saw cows- some really nice ones
 And Horses.....
 No they weren't wild but pretty
 We even found this......
Complete with grass runway!

We saw some of the most gorgeous houses I have ever seen, but I did not take pictures of those.

We finally made it to Tensleep and I found that my camera was dead and my phone was dead and I had left all my chargers at home!

We stayed at the Ten Broeke, RV park, which I highly recommend.  They folks there were so good to us! They have a horse motel, next time I'm taking the ponies!

Then the next day we went to the music festival.

I found more art....I'm addicted I think

These are some photo's taken of some wild horses.  I managed to get the very first edition prints on these, both signed. I think they will look great in my basement that I am re-doing.

Then it was time to head home, after seeing Jalan Crossland play....I can't believe I wasn't able to take any more pictures!!!! 

The dogs, and kids and ponies were glad to see us, and it was sure nice to sleep in my own bed, but gosh what a great weekend!!!!!

Sometimes it really is worth it to take the road less traveled!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Old Man and the Little Girl

I have had all the ponies pretty much locked up as of late.  Mostly due to Trax and Sassy's rehab issues.  Sassy with her coffin bone and Trax with his wound.  But they are both healing up nicely, Sassy does not seem to be limping at all, and Trax is way past the point of being ready to get out of that pen.

So this morning I decided to give everyone a treat.  I gave the geldings (Trax and Killian) just a little bit of food, and then after putting some Natures Edge on Trax's cut, I opened the gates and turned them out.  Then I grabbed the mare and walked her over to Dannys pasture and put her little bit of haycubes down by the gate.  I had already fed Danny first as he always gets a full ration plus his Strategy GX.  He eats the grain first of course and was chowing down on the hay cubes when I put her in with him.  She was eating her own little bit of food, but she looked up and saw him and left her food to go eat with him. 

Interestingly enough, Danny does not share his food with anyone....except Sassy.  She is the same way. It was nice to see the two friends sharing a meal again.  The were the first two in the herd and never fought or argued over anything.  They always shared nicely and I think they were really happy to get to be together again.  It has been a long time since they have been able to hang out together.  Mostly because she has been in confinement since April.   Maybe I am humanizing their feelings, in how I want it to be.  But the fact that there was never a pinned ear between them, leads me to beleive otherwise.

The Old Man and the The Little Girl

They Look Pretty Happy to Me

My favorite part of my day right now, is when I go out in the mornings to feed and clean stalls.  The air is usually cool and fresh, my herd is always happy to see me.  I love being greeted by whinny's and nickers.  They all come in for a scratch on the head and a treat.  They aren't pushy or rude.  They wait their turns nicely.  I love it when I can turn them out in the mornings.  I like watching them run and kick up their heels.  I'm glad that Sassy doesn't when she is with Danny though, after all she is still in "rehab".  The part I hate is that I have to go back inside and get ready for work.  I wish I could just stay home with them all day.  Maybe someday......

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Great Music and Really Big Horses

Saturday was spent cleaning house and doing chores, and all the stuff I can't seem to stay caught up with during the week.  I was pretty exhausted by the afternoon.  Then Tom told me that my favorite local Troubadour was playing in town....suddenly I was not so tired any more!

His name is Jalan Crossland, he is from Tensleep WY.  I first heard his music a few years ago when he did a free concert at my sons high school.  I have a few guitar players in my family, so I have always been a big fan of a decent picker.  Jalan, is one of the very best I have ever seen.

His style is completely unique, unlike anything I have ever heard.  If you live anywhere near WY and get a chance to hear him me, it is worth the money!

He plays country/western/bluegrass/folk style music. 

He writes a lot of his own songs,
and then also does some covers of some great
songs as well.
Of course he doesn't just play the guitar, he also plays the Harmonica and the banjo.

There aren't many people who can keep an entire crowd completely entertained by himself, but Jalan Crossland can.  I wish I could get my video's to load so you could really see how amazing he is.

My post would not be complete without a horse picture......

We were at the Wyoming Historical Interpretive Center, and they had all the historical camps set up, and the wagons.  These were the draft horses they had there to pull the wagons with.  Big sweet boys.  With feet the size of saucers.