Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Stolen Horses

This came through on a mustang horse list:

I have 2 chestnut horses missing/stolen (1 BLM).

They were delivered to the trainer (Paul Heape) May 5th in Gridley KS, and I have not seen them since. No I did not owe him money. Neither the horses nor the trainer can be found. The trainer may be wanted in OK and KS.

Pictures are on the web site but I have a couple others of Christmas Fire and a drawing of her freeze mark. I just want my baby back. Please forward this email along.

The description of the horses are as follows:

Christmas Fire (my baby) 8 yr old chestnut mustang mare with freeze mark (99212485) on left side of neck under mane. Thin strip or blaze on face, snip on nose. LF stocking, Right rear pastern. Has been haltered, lead, tied, saddled/bridled but only ridden a couple times and is very hard to catch unless she is in a small area. This mare is a titled BLM mustang from the government. (the man in the photo is NOT the trainer)

Odie ( a recent purchase which is why I have only a couple photo's of him) 15+ old chestnut Quarter horse gelding. 2 hind socks and wide blaze.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Just like people, some horses are more photogenic than others.

While folks see Jet's picture and comment on how pretty she is, I think they're just seeing the color. In person, she's okay. On camera? Not so okay. I don't know; she just doesn't do it for me.

Sunny, too. Cute little horse, but hard to get a really great shot of her.

Quiet Storm is fun to photograph. She's always willing to put on a show of some sort, and it always amazes me when the pictures actually turn out!

But the horse who far and away is my favorite for portraits is Regalo. There's just something terribly romantic about the way this horse looks into the camera.

Regalo was adopted in 2004 by my friend Cheryle (who's last name I will not butcher in an attempt to spell it here.) She'd seen him at a 2003 adoption but was unable to take him at that time. She was thrilled beyond belief when she found him again a year later!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What color?

I've got a case of the 'punies', as my dad would say. Came home from the farmer's market yesterday feeling fatigued and with a bit of a sore throat. By last night my nose was completely stuffed and today my face aches. I won't be working horses today, not only because I just don't feel up to it, but because it's wet out yet again.

To keep you busy, though, how about you tell me what color Quiet Storm is? Her paperwork lists her as sorrel, but I'm not so sure about that. Others have stated she may be a silver bay. What do you think?

First, a profile shot. Her base color looks sorrel enough, but she's got mottled stockings, a dark muzzle and a rather odd colored mane/tail.

Her mane has dark roots, but that frosted tip isn't just baby or bleached; back near her withers she has new grown that is not as dark as the roots shown here. She also has a dark muzzle which turns black in the winter.

There is a line barely visible down her back. Actually, you can barely see it up near the withers, not at all down her back, but it shows up again here on her butt. Note the tail color, too; silver and gray hairs there at the top.

Another look at the tail coloring, plus a better look at those legs. Darker hair, but not solid. It's mottled, both in front and back. You can see the backs of her front and that the 'stockings' come up well past her knees.

So, all you color gurus...what color is this horse?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Catching and Bullies

I kept Sunny in her round pen for about 24 hours. A bit more grass there than her 'pasture', so she was quite content. I worked her a couple more times and she did quite well, even when I did it off the rope. Short sessions, of course, just enough for her to get the idea of I want her looking at me.

Back out in her oddly shaped field, she's kept the lesson. No rope dragging, but she faces up almost immediately. She tolerates (I think she enjoys, but won't admit it) scratching along her back and buttocks, but is not so fond of anything ahead of the withers. When she turns from me, I immediatly put her to work. Doesn't take more than a few steps for her to turn back to me. Work is a four letter word. Last night I didn't get to touch the halter, but she did allow me to rub the front of her face up under her forelock.

Sunny relaxes in the sunshine

Elsewhere, Jet and Quiet Storm had a skirmish that left Storm shaky and City Boy repairing a paddock.

Sunny will beat up on Quiet Storm at the drop of a hat. Sunny is boss and doesn't hesitate to use her two back feet to prove it with either of the other fillies. She does tolerate Jet, however, and the two of them are content grazing together or just hanging out.

Quiet Storm has managed to get along better with Jet than Sunny. Jet is very easy going, and the two of them will scratch at each other's withers over the fence and have even been together in the pasture with no problems. So what happened yesterday came as a complete shock! Darling and I were outside in the sheep pasture (visit Carpenter Creek for new lamb pics) when we heard the clammor and City Boy hollering. Jet had Quiet Storm pinned in the corner and was whalloping on her so bad that one of the rails flew off the paddock!

Storm was shaking, and quite honestly I was afraid of broken bones. But after putting Jet out into the field, Quiet Storm followed us into her own private paddock for hay and she seemed okay. At least she was walking squarely on all fours. There's a small gash near her hip, and last night she appeared to be rather sensitive to touch just above her elbow. I'm going to have to keep an eye on that as I couldn't quite tell if there was swelling or not.

I've no clue what set that little tizzy off, and am really wondering what makes Quiet Storm so unlikable with the other two. As Darling pointed out, even in the adoption pen she had but one friend.
I would not want to have these teeth after me!
Fortunately, she was just yawning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Round Pen

It's not pretty, and it's probably not even round, but it's what I'm trying for now. I worked Sunny in it yesterday morning, pushing and pushing until she finally decided to stop and look at me. She doesn't come up close, but she 'follows' in terms of keeping her face towards me when I walk about inside her pen. I was also able to scratch on her and slowly make my way to her face.

The face is the biggest issue. If she weren't so shy about it, I think we'd be miles ahead of where we are right now. But when you've got a horse that's so sensitive that she refuses to eat treats from your hand for fear of touching you, well, things just get hard. So I scratched her back and her hip, yet when my hand worked up to the withers and neck, she began turning from me. Just her face at first, then her front feet.

At that point I stepped back and made her move in a circle again. She almost immediately faced up. Again I approached her and this time she let my hand work up to her ears and down under her jaw, where she's quite itchy. I let my hand run along her halter, and I could tell she wasn't happy about it, but she also didn't pull away. I took the rope off and left her alone.

I made an anti-fungal salve for her, as she's loosing quite a bit of hair up near her forelock. It appears to be working it's way across her forehead, and I spotted a very dandruff laden spot on her chest yesterday as well. I need to treat her, but golly, this doesn't make winning her trust any easier when I'm worse than an eight handed octopus boy on a first date with her!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunny's progress

Sunny walks peacefully at the end of the rope

Sunny is still struggling with being caught. However, with the new hot wire up in the pasture, dividing it into three smaller sections, I decided I could turn her out with the long rope and not have any real big issues. She's been enjoying her time outside where she can graze, even though there's not much grass.

I finally broke down and watched a Parelli video the other day with Darling. I've never watched one before, but figured it couldn't hurt to see what he had to say on the subject of catching. Not having a round pen has made things somewhat challenging, and as I was watching the video I was thinking I could probably fashion some sort of temporary pen for Sunny. Low and behold, Mr. Parelli mentioned making one out of hot wire. Yup, that would certainly work. In the end, I felt good about how I'd been handling things, knowing that something other than my odd shaped paddock full of corners would be helpful.

Even without the round pen, I decided to go outside and see what I could accomplish with Sunny in the pasture. While it's not a big pasture, it gives her more room to move than she had in the paddock. I decided to see how she'd work on the end of the long cotton rope using the same basic techniques I've been trying in the paddock. Sure, I'd have more control of her face than if she were loose in a round pen, but it was worth a shot. And you know what? She did amazingly well!
After just a few minutes, she was turning and facing me, then letting me walk up to her. Darling was outside, so I asked if she'd like to give it a try. Up until this point, Darling had never worked with Sunny. In fact, the closest she'd ever gotten was a couple months ago when she sat down with a pan of grain, so this would be a real test to see just what Sunny had learned in the past few minutes. Keep in mind that Darling has never worked any horse in this fashion before.

Darling stays even with Sunny's hip, keeping the forward motion going.

Sunny decides to look at Darling, so Darling stops moving

Sunny is relaxed and allows Darling to walk up towards her.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Different Kind of Horse Power

I'd been out grooming Jet the other day when a horse trailer pulled into the driveway and alongside her paddock. We were both curious to see what was being delivered.

Do you suppose it's a new playmate?

A different kind of horsepower

How do you expect me to play with that?

It better not be sharing my bedroom with me!

Monday, June 11, 2007

The halter is off

I noticed that Jet had an ouchie spot where her halter had been rubbing. It was a bit small for her long face, and seeing how she's so easy to catch (she catches me, really) I opted to take it off.

An hour later I heard the dog doing her 'danger!' bark, so poked my head out to see what the ruckus was about. I heard a horrible noise, wasn't sure what it was at first, then spotted Jet out in the pasture with Quiet Storm. The two of them were doing the squealy mare dance, kicking and sounding like they were dying.

By the time I got my boots on, they'd taken off down to the end of the pasture. Upon seeing me, Jet came racing back, for which I was enormously thankful. Sadly, I was so concerned about catching her up I didn't allow myself to fully take in how beautifully she was moving. Floating, really, and it flitted across my mind that she had a trot like a Friesian horse; just so big and upright and bold... And before long she was standing beside me like she'd been born in captivity and never knew anything but trotting back and forth inside my little four foot fences.

Wish I had some photos, but I didn't take any at the time, nor did I think to get some of her pretty face without her old halter. Perhaps tomorrow!

Gotta love peer pressure

I emailed Vonni Halverson regarding our little catching issue with Sunny, and she recommend two things.

1) Peer pressure. Let her get jealous of what's going on.

2) Keep her moving, don't let her stop until she faces up to me and lets me come up to her. If she turns away, get her going again. Eventually, she'll realize that she only gets to relax if she stands for me.

I'd already been moving her around, but in a large area. So...I tightened up the corral and put her in the small side and round and round we went. It didn't take long for her to stop and say 'alright, already!' and take a few steps towards me. I walked towards her and then away before she had a chance to move away from me. We did it a few more times and eventually I walked up and scratched her. Tighter space = more work = I'll let you walk up to me.

Later in the day she was out with Jet, who's miss socialite. I don't feed from my hands typically, and Jet is oral already, but I wanted to try the peer pressure to see if it worked. The answer is yes, it did! Although Sunny didn't ever take anything from my hand (she's very protective of her muzzle), she desperately wanted to and walked timidly up to see what Jet was getting.

This will most definitely be our routine until she decides to give in.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More Pics of the Adoption Scene

Hope you enjoy a few more photos from the adoption in Monroe!

This roan was named Henry by his new mamma.

Greg works from the top of the trailer to encourage horses to come down the ramp.

Pretty, pretty boy went to a home in Mt.Vernon

This champagne mare had yet to find a home by the time Darling and I left.

'Leroy' was selected by the daughter of a local trainer in Monroe.

Pen of yearling fillies, then mares. Can you see Jet?

A reflective moment

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Somethings different...

So, Steve...notice anything here?
Jet is curious about the camera
I'm really enjoying Jet. Where Sunny is super sensitive and preferring not to be handled, and Quiet Storm is not the least sensitive and has no personal space; Jet is the perfect blend. She's curious and enjoys being scratched, but she's not obnoxious. She's not flighty, not frightened of the dogs or things that bump her head (she's tall and tree branches are constantly getting between her ears.)

Darling and Jet share a moment

This afternoon the dogs decided to dig a hole. They got all busy just outside of Jet's paddock, and Jet had to go check it out. She lowered her head only to find herself the target for dirt and mud clumps being flung by Tait and Rufus. Aside from a couple of flinches, it didn't faze her. She's unbelievably good natured.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...

Jet's been so easy that we took her rope off. She's still wearing the halter for now, but I suspect that'll change within a few days. If she weren't so tall, I'd take it off now, but I don't know if she'll keep her head low enough for me to get it over her ears or not just yet.

Now, did anyone notice the change in that picture of Sunny? She's wearing her new halter! Yup, I got the one she came home with from Steve's off today, and the new one on. In fact, I even left her without the lead rope tonight, so no dragging it along. Hopefully, that let's her face feel a bit more comfortable and free. Poor girl, it's been rubbing on her for months now. This new one is a better fit, and while it was off I rubbed her all over. She actually seemed to enjoy it!


It's raining here again. I don't like playing with the horses in the rain. I wish I had some cover, but I don't. So everyone is getting a mini vacation.

On Monday I went out and pushed Sunny a bit harder than I have in the past. We're getting to that point, I believe, where she's just got to be made to do things. I spent some time talking with Tom Moore, a BLM volunteer who, along with his wife Vonni Halvorson, has fostered several horses in the adoption program. They had a big gray gelding at the adoption who'd had similar issues to Sunny, he only wanted to be handled from one side and not the other (and like Sunny, he prefered no handling at all.)

I'd been considering pushing Sunny a bit, but then I'd wondered if that was the best thing for her. Tom said that sometimes you get the point where pushing is the only way you're going to move foreward, because it becomes an issue of stubborness instead of fear. And while I do believe there's some reserve left in Sunny, I think we've reached the point together where she just needs to do what I tell her to do.

So...Monday I pushed. I didn't back off from her when we made one small step of progress; instead, I kept moving forward in an effort to get her to a point where I can get that old halter off and a new one on. Eventually we did a mock haltering; she was still wearing the old one, but I pulled the new one over her nose and up behind her ears. She's super protective of that nose of her's, so it was a big accomplishment.

With the rain comes limited time, and limited time means I need to juggle who's being worked with and how often. Quiet Storm will wait; she had a good weekend away with us, hanging out in a new location with a lot more horses than she's seen since last year. All that commotion was good for her. With her personality, she'll wait a while between training sessions. Jet is laid back and at this time, nothing more than a few minutes of scratching her face is needed.

Sunny remains the priority.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Congratulations to Rising Rainbow on winning the T-shirt!

There were plenty of demonstrations going on at the adoption this weekend. From Lesley Newman's wild horse gentling to Cheryle McConnaughey's barefoot trimming, the crowd was never left wanting for something educational.

One of the fun things, for me at least, was seeing the US Border Patrol. They have begun using mustangs to patrol the border between Canada and the US in country that can only be reached by foot or on horseback. They're thrilled with the mustangs because of their sure footedness and willingness to move over terrain most domestic horses aren't capable of.

There were four horses there, all big and stout. They're trained in the prison system, then adopted out. The BP said they're so thrilled with them that they plan on adopting more.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Home from the adoption

Thank you so much, Rachelle, for coming here (and to Carpenter Creek) and letting folks know I'd forgotten my laptop! You're a sweetheart, and it was great to finally meet you!

I've yet to sort throughy my photographs, so instead of offering you dinner, then dessert, I'm going to jump straight to dessert. You don't mind, do you? I'm sure this will come to you as a huge shock, but I've adopted another mustang. I tried to remain strong, I really did. But I need a nice, easy going horse that's also big enough for City Boy, not to mention myselt, to ride.

Darling wasted no time, no time at all, scouring the herd for suitable mounts. There were several appys there, most in the form of roans. She liked a cute little bay with a snowflake pattern two year old gelding, as well as a couple other bay geldings. They held her favor until Saturday afternoon, when she began to take notice of a couple of the mares. Good thing, too, as City Boy doesn't really like appys that well, and I do believe he said something like "Don't bring home any more than you leave with" before we left. So bringing home something we know he doesn't like isn't going to go over well.

On the mare side there was a tall black, a pretty roan, and a sorrel. The sorrel was three and quite lanky, reminding me of an old style running quarter horse. Nothing flashy, but nice. The roan was heavier, a two year old with a very pretty eye. The black was, in my book, rather average. Another two year old, she was the tallest of the mares; I believe she's just over 15 hands. All three of them were staying out of trouble in their pens; none was a bully but none were cowering in fear, either.

After spending a great deal of time with the mares on Saturday afternoon and into the evening, Darling decided the black was her favorite. The filly had been eating out of her hand at the fence, and I'd even reached in at one point and scratched her neck. Unlike last year, when we were outbid on our first two attempts at getting a horse, this adoption was slow when it came to the fillies and mares, and there was no competition. It seemed we were the only ones who wanted this girl.

Gary gets a halter on our new filly.

We've dubbed her Jet. After a bit of hopping around after loading, she settled down in the trailer and it was smooth ride home. Once out of the trailer here, she settled right into her surroundings, curious about the cat and dogs, and again coming up to Darling while she was sitting in her chair.

So now we've got three mustangs to follow here at the Diaries!