Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where to Rest One's Weary Head?

Darling and I stopped for dinner shortly after crossing the Washington~Oregon border. We needed to get out and stretch our legs and lay out our plans for the night. Should we find a hotel, or just grab a few winks in the cab of the truck at the Walmart parking lot? We decided on the latter, so once we paid for our dinner we were off in search of Wally World.

Up here where we live, lots of people camp in the Walmart parking lot. In this particular town there were signs saying overnighters weren't allowed. Darling and I wondered if cat winkers were okay? We tried our best, but the last thing I wanted was to have my window knocked on just as I drifted off to sleep, so we pulled out in search of a better parking lot. It didn't take long to find a nice, quiet strip mall up the highway a bit; lit just enough to keep on safe, and the Dominoes people were showing up for work (at midnight?), so we felt comfortable enough to doze off for a bit.

An hour later I felt rested enough to pull back out onto the highway and over the pass we went. Three hours later we pulled off at the rest area, an hour out of Redmond, and slept until 6. Then it was back on the road, rested and feeling pretty darned good considering our crazy beginning the day before.

I call her Mona...she's 15 years old and in need of a home.

Darling and I stopped to visit a good friend, Shelley, in Redmond after breakfast. It was nice to see her place and hear about her business. Shelley and I competed together in Sacramento and again in Albany with our mustangs. She's got several in for training right now and we were able to meet them all before we headed to Burns.

With National Wild Horse Adoption Day coming up, I'd promised the Mustang Heritage Foundation I'd pick out two horses to gentle. The goal is to find 1000 horses homes this month...hey, people, if you've ever wanted to adopt, now's the time! I'd hoped to find a nice, sturdy gelding, but was told all the geldings were gone unless I wanted an older one. I didn't mind taking something slated for Long Term Holding. After all, those horses are the ones who are facing the greatest danger right now since the BLM announced plans to begin euthanizing them last year. So it had already been in my mind to snag an older horse.

The mares were pretty much just as scarce, not because they were all gone, but because so many of them still had foals nursing. Two very striking bay mares really jumped out at me while we were driving around the corrals, but both had foals with them. The rest of the younger mares appeared to be colored...as in duns, which are off limits for the TIP program. So once again, an older horse seemed like it would be the best fit.

This pretty bay gelding is 12.
Look at those soft eyes!

Darling and I made the first trip on foot, then, since it was somewhere in the upper 90's, we got smart and made the second lap in our truck. The mares were difficult to pick out, intermingled with foals and always at a distance that made it difficult to see their numbers. With the corrals closing in less than an hour, we drove around the corner to get another look at the geldings.

As I stood at the fence scanning the herd through my camera lens, I noticed a set of eyes staring back at me. A pretty sorrel and white pinto was taking note, watching me as I watched the geldings. He was cute, but being a pinto I figured someone would pick him up. Besides, I didn't see the hip number that identified him as a Long Term Holding horse. So my cameral lens changed direction and I continued to look. Curiousity got the best of the pinto, though, and before long he was at the fence questioning our business there.

Hey, you! Whatcha doing on that side of the fence?

Darling grabbed a horse treat out of the truck and the friendly gelding lipped it up out of her fingers. Her hand slipped alongside his face and rubbed his cheek, gradually working back to his neck where she actually got in a few pats.

"I think we found our first horse," I said, as his hip number became visible now that he was up alongside us.

The following morning we headed back to the corrals bright and early, and Wendy brought the pen of available mares up where we could see them. Many duns, very few bays or blacks, and several six and older. Six and up meant Long Term Holding, and again, color was no longer an issue. Darling and I really liked a black mare, but upon seeing her move I knew right away that the mother and daughter who'd been there the day before had taken her. They'd been looking for a heavy built, nice moving horse for dressage. This black filly absolutely floated! And indeed, it turned out they'd spoken for her.

Darling and I continued to look. The bay? No, too snotty. The little black? No, she's kicking. She's a pretty one...but 15 may be a bit too old for this project. A long, leggy sorrel was watching us, standing apart from the rest. A closer look and we see the line down her back; a red dun without a hip brand. I sighed and looked at the paper we'd been given that told matched the numbers with the mares in front of us. The dun's number was there...and her age...and hey! Look at this! She's seven, just not branded yet because she'd been with her foal.

And there we had it. Our second horse picked out and ready to come home.

Tall, leggy red dun mare stands apart from the rest.

The third horse in the trailer was a lovely red dun mare, three years old and let me tell you she's one quick moving, smart little horse! I'm a bit envious of her adopter as she's just the sort of thing I'd be looking for in a cutting horse.

With the three horses selected, we were ready for a little fun.


photogchic said...

Great choices Tracey.

Paint Girl said...

Love them! The one you call Mona, is beautiful! I love how the pinto let Darling feed him a treat, and pet him! I think you did good!

wilddunz said...

You are such an asset to mustangs--these guys and gals are so lucky you came by with your big empty trailer :-) Looking forward to hearing about their journey!

PaintCrazy said...

The suspense in that tale was killing me! Nice story telling and great horse picks. I'm of course partial to the pinto! I loved that he let Darling feed him a treat and pet his face a little.

Jade said...

For you who like a bit more chrome to your horses, the South Steen's herd will be gathered this fall. They are amazing with their markings. Go by the Burns corrals and see all the lovely horses. Pick up one for yourself and one for TIP. There are 70 new horses this week. The horses that came in from Murderers creek are soooo awesome. There is 20 year old stud, soon to be gelding, that is so calm and level headed. Tracy may have seen him, because he was in the corrals while she was picking up her horses. The Beatty's Butte horses are due to come in soon too. Those are some smart, hardy horses (not to say they all aren't, but that country is tough).