Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ladies Glisten

This past weekend Darling and I headed southeast a bit to a cutting held in Sunnyside, WA. It was the Big Bang cutting, a benefit for one of their members who's stage 4 throat cancer. I recently got Curt a sponsorship with Equiscience, and they also offered to donate several bags not only as prizes to the cutters, but 10 more bags to the auction. Great folks there at Elenbaas!

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The weather was absolutely fantastic...a little warm compared to what we're used to here, but bright and sunny and...oh, heck, it was so blistering hot we were miserable! Darling went outside to photograph, but I stuck to the indoors. I've been told that ladies don't sweat...we glisten! Well, I tell you what, while I was outside I did so much glistening my face was dripping! Indoors, folks...indoors is where I spent my time.

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Now, listen to me here. I'd like to shed a couple pounds, and I believe I did over the weekend, simply through all my glistening. But now, here's the problem. I don't know if you know this about me, but I have narrow hips. Nearly non-existent. But muffin top? I've plenty of muffin to share. Did I lose weight where I needed to? No. No, I did not. And do you know what happens when one loses weight on already narrow hips?

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I'll tell you what happens. One's pants begin to slip off. And this is not a good thing! Polite society expects you to wear pants. Or at least dresses, of which I own but one and it simply would not do to wear it to a cutting. Unless you're Darling, who wore an adorable little yellow skirt along with MY cowboy boots (they matched better!) I can't believe I came home without a photo of her! That's what happens when you're glistening so hard.

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Despite the fact that I was glistening hard enough to cause droplets to appear on the end of my nose (which I'm sure made a terrific impression), we did manage to have a good time, and came away with some fun photos of the folks there cutting cows.

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And, of course, a few rail birds!

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

It Was So Exciting...

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Finally, a bit of sunshine in the northwest! For a full week, at that. Can you believe it?

I had told myself that once Red was gone I'd spend more time with Tika, but several days worth of decent weather and had I done anything with my fire breathing red head? Nope. So yesterday I decided I'd just better make the effort, and I drug the saddle out and plunked it atop her back. What a good girl she is...never any regression despite her almost constant vacation time. She stood right there and let me cinch it onto her back without so much as batting an eye.

I have a confession. I'm a coward. There sat the chair, which doubles as a mounting block, inside the paddock. I'd closed off a stall and the space we stood in was a mere 12'x20'; not much space to get wild. But did I climb on? Nope.

Oh, I bounced up and down in the stirrup a bit, and I stood on the chair and leaned over that saddle, but when it came right down to it, I wanted an anchor in case Tika had a momentary lapse of judgment while I was up there.

And that was that. Except it wasn't. I pulled the saddle off and looked longingly at her back. Well? Okay, might as well get on with it. I led her back to the chair, climbed up onto it and swung my leg over her bareback. And there we stood, not unlike the many other times I'd swung my leg over her while at the riding club.

But this time was different, because Tika decided to shift her weight while I was up there. And then? Then she took a step backward...and paused. I rubbed her neck, reassuring her, wondering what she was thinking about the weight of me while she moved. I picked up on the reins and asked her to take another step back, and she did. And another.

I asked her to bend her nose to the left, then the right, after which she volunteered a few more backward steps. At that point I pulled her nose back to the left and talked her into moving a front foot in the direction of my rein. Then another front foot followed, and soon? Soon I'd sat upon my monster as she made a 360 turn with me upon her back.

And me? I called it good and slipped back to the ground...at least physically. Mentally? Still walking on air.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mah Baby's Got Cow!

Just another day in a dusty arena...chasing some fiberglass bull back and forth in the dark!

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Thanks to Darling, who is finally out of school, I was able to get some still shots of Sandy as he dropped himself down to get after the cow. I know...y'all are looking and going, "Huh?", but to me? It's nearly pee your pants exciting. (I know...dork. Yes, I am.)

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The End...

Friday, June 18, 2010

And He's Off...

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It most certainly has been a long and interesting journey with Red. Slow, challenging, rewarding. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhilarating. Not nearly the progress I'd hoped to make, but for Red, it was a tremendous amount.

Today Red loaded into a stock trailer and headed on down the road. While I know he's far better equipped today than he was a month ago to make this trip, there was still some trepidation on my part when it came to loading him into an unfamiliar trailer. But you know what? He really did quite well. Amazingly well, considering it was a ramp, and there were two horse faces hanging over the rails of the stalls inside.

The driver was a bit nervous about it all as well.

Here's what the trailer looked like from the inside, just in case you've never had the opportunity to haul commercially. There was a side door and a ramp. Inside, there are two straight load stalls to the right, and two to the left, and about 8' of open space in between. The horse is loaded, then turned and backed into one of these straight load stalls.

I gulped. I was unprepared for Red needing to back into such a tiny space. And while he's backed up a bit, he certainly hasn't had to back 6' into a narrow space. He didn't plan on making this the first time he did it, either, and once he was up the ramp and it was closed behind him, he darted into 'his' stall, which was to our right. But he only got halfway in. Then driver climbed in through an escape door and all I could think was how a few months ago Red would have smashed his skull like a watermelon with those hind feet. Today, however, he just stood nervously until the stranger was in, then he shot backward out of his space and flipped around in that tiny little alleyway.

By now, roughly five minutes into the whole thing, Red had a couple of big dings on his face from where he'd crashed into the wall. You now know why the driver was nervous!

Red's frame is big, and the stalls are meant to have the horses facing into the center alley. Red again went in forward, but to get the bar in place (which should have been at his chest), he needed to squish in like an accordion. Well...what to do? He obviously wasn't going to back in, so the bar went across his butt and the big boy was in place. No kicking, no hissy fits, just standing there all squished up.

The driver was a bit concerned about the horse fighting his confinement once on the road and warned that he may be back, but I was sure that once Red settled in he'd be fine, even if he did look a bit like a sardine.

And they were off...

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I called Sarah, Red's adopter, and told her he was on his way, a little banged up but settled in. Within minutes of hanging up, the phone rang. It was the driver.

"I'm on my way back..."

No! No! What? Why?

"...because I got to thinking that I can move that center divider and maybe we can get him to turn around..."

Whew!

Back into the driveway, the center divider unlatched at one end and Red whipped himself around so that he was now facing the alleyway and the horses across from him. The driver put up a hay net for him, which he went straight to work on. Happy, content. At least as much as Red can get.

And they were off...again...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Here She Is!

Yeah...that's right...she!

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Beamer's Blue Moon

When we arrived at the adoption site in Longview, we were faced with a small group of yearlings, of which only 3 were geldings. As there were a couple of younger children, and one of those geldings was smaller and pretty quiet, Darling opted to let her gelding go and take one of the fillies. The one she ended up with was be-bopping around like nobodies business! One spunky little bay from Murderer's Creek.

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Darling spent a couple of sessions with her yesterday, and I must say I'm impressed! Darling's skills have grown since last year. She's got more rhythm and feel this time around. Beamer was flying in great haste when she first entered the pen with her, and I thought a couple of times that maybe a leg would fly through a panel...it was that wild! But by the end of the day, the lead rope was off and Darling was able to take the filly's head in her hands and rub on both sides of her face simultaneously. She's rubbing up and down both sides of her body and Beamer is giving a bit to pressure as Darling attempts to get her to move her feet as she pulls her nose around. I'm excited to see what they can accomplish over the next several weeks!

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Anyone interested in adopting? Beamer and the others will be available on October 2 at Reber Ranch in Kent, WA.

Friday, June 11, 2010

YAY!




It's that time again...time for the youth of Washington State to head to the Longview adoption and pick up their new best friend!

Ten youths from WA State are pretty excited right about now. The BLM truck will be pulling into Longview with ten yearlings ready to head home for a little yearling makeover. Last year Darling took two yearlings, as you may recall; Empire and Avalon. While Avalon had her issues, Empire was a fantastic little mare and a load of fun to work with. We know this year that Darling is receiving a gelding. Sure hope she has as much fun!

Darling has yet to come up with a name. She was considering Lawrence. I like that. Of course it'll change by the time we make it down there this afternoon. And again by tomorrow morning. And again by the time we load to come home... Maybe by Sunday I'll have a name to share?

Stay tuned for stories and photos!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wild Horse Sanctuary

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A current proposal may provide some relief for the BLM, a home for some wild horses, and a solution for those who've been in turmoil over the wild horse 'problem'. A Nevada Ranch has partnered up with Return to Freedom to offer 5,200 acres of private land at a reduced care rate which could save the BLM millions.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Good News Is...

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...Red will be leaving in ten more days.

The bad news is...Red will be leaving in ten more days.

He's come so far, yet we've barely just begun. Still not allowing his halter on and off; I can't really even touch his face. Not picking up feet. Slow to load (though we've done it, and hauled.) Wanting to be friends, but not ready to give up his sense of self preservation. Each day he gets closer, but the improvement is barely visible unless you go back a week, or two...or three. Or more.

I'm very excited for Red's adopter. She's going to really love this horse, and I'm so happy that she's going to be willing to give him the time he needs to develop into his full potential.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Preoccupation

I've been a little preoccupied, to say the least, of late. Now that Sandy is back home, no more daily trips to the trainer (sadly, as that was too fun!), but I've got something in the works here that's been a bit on the time consuming side. What might that be? A healthy dose of FUN, that's what!

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A shiny new arena is being built up here at our fairgrounds, and what better way to become familiar with it than to use it? A friend and I are putting together the Cascade Horse Fair in September. Two clinics, one with my all star cutting captain, Curt, and the other with my mustang makeover friend, Keith Danielson. I'm super excited that both have agreed to do this!

Of course, being there are two arenas now, we'll need to get a lot more stuff going than just a couple of clinics. I've also got a trail challenge, including a pack horse division, as well as the Rail To Trail Benefit Jackpot. I'm really looking forward to the last competition, as it's 3 classes (trail, ranch horse pleasure & reining) from which the top ten will be selected. These advance to the freestyle, winner take all, jackpot benefit. All riders name a charity of choice on their entry form, and if they win, the jackpot money goes to that charity!

So listen, folks, I'm needing help with this. If you're close enough to help physically that weekend, I'd love to see you. And of course everyone is hereby commissioned to spread the word, as we need riders in all four events! Vendor booths are also available (hint, hint, to those who may have some little business they'd like to have noticed!)

Now, if you'll excuse me...I need to find the cable that connects my camera to the computer so I can start uploading photos. The sun is shining today here in Mud Puddle, USA, and I may just want to go for a ride!