Monday, June 30, 2008

Who Stole Spring?

Cricket grazes happily

I'm not a big fan of Junuary, I don't think. To drive home earlier this month in snow, and now to have it exit in a blaze of heat (we hit the mid 90's here yesterday), is not my idea of fun. And somewhere in there I think it was supposed to be spring, but I must have missed it.

It's been too hot to do much these past few days. Not just the heat, really, but the humidity that comes along with it. Even when the breeze blows, it's a wet, balmy air that hits you. It dawned on me yesterday that while I'd been training in the rain, wishing I'd applied for the Extreme Mustang Makeover rather than the Western States one, I am now happy to have been working in the mud, because in the heat I don't move. Not one little bit. The horses stand sweating in their pens, so I'm sure they're happy not to be working as well.

Despite not working, we had a busy weekend. Someone came to see Cricket and they've submitted an application, plus sent me photos of their facility. I'll be getting all of that in the mail for final approval and hopefully by the end of the week he'll have an owner! I liked the woman very much. Her husband was at work, but she and her two children were quite nice. She told me her husband had spotted Cricket in the Craigslist ad I ran, and he hollered at her "This is the one!" They're both very excited, and I'm quite pleased with the match.

On Friday I drove up the mountainside with the Animal Control Officer from the county south of me. She'd called to say there was a field (valley, really) with wild horses that had been breeding there and she was needing someone with wild horse experience to help gather them. Evidently, the first attempt hadn't gone so well.

Turns out my idea of wild is different than most peoples. These were very curious, social horses who hadn't been handled, but were accustomed to at least the presence of one or two people in their valley. All four adults approached me independently and sniffed my hand; the mares allowed me to rub their faces and necks. Originally there had been ten, but the first attempt had resulted in two of them being caught, leaving two stallions, two mares and their four remaining offspring.

Six year old stallion runs wild

Unfortunately, a couple of the key players bailed and we weren't able to do any gather, but in the long run I think that was best. I was able to go out and meet the horses and get a feel for their personalities and their habits. I know where I want the panels to be placed for the trap when we go up again. I think there was just too much commotion and activity for them this last time and they were spooked. We'll try to make things a bit smoother when we try again. If you'd like to read more about these horses, visit On The Shores of Carpenter Creek.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cricket's Big Adventure

Cricket had a big adventure. He had been so hesitant to lead the day before, but once he figured it out we were off! He led easily around his paddock, so I opened the gate and led him to the round pen. No problem! He stepped nicely through the narrow gate and asked politely for a treat. Smart boy!

I left him with a flake of grass hay and a bucket of water for an hour or so where he could enjoy a new view. He didn't want the hay, but indicated he'd rather have a bit of that fresh, green grass on the other side of the panels. Since he was being so good, I decided I could trust him out in the big field.

He's really a nice boy, this Cross Eyed Cricket! He perked up when he saw the neighbor's horses, but settled back down to his quiet self as soon as I turned his head away. When the pig decided to remodel his house in the nearby pig pen, Cricket bolted ahead of me three big strides. The lead rope shot out of my hand, but he turned around to see what had caused the ruckus and once more settled back down. Dump trucks rumbled down the road, the pig continued to rearrange his pen, and the neighbor's wanna be stallion continued to roar across the fence. But Cricket only wanted to eat the grass.

Interested in adopting Cricket?
$125 and a BLM care agreement are all it takes!
Email me for more details!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Will Work For Treats

Put a piece of chocolate in front of me and I'll do just about anything you want. Within reason, of course.

Firecracker, it would seem, has the same set of standards I do, although not for chocolate. No, FC, the ever elusive Kiger, loves packer pellets. So much so that she now stands at the gate when she sees me coming.

With dry days and Sandy's training load now lighter, I've got time to work all five horses, and Firecracker was disappointed to be in the line up. That is until she discovered apple flavored treats. We don't really do a whole lot when it comes to a work load; she gets haltered and handled and led, then turned loose again. Just the wee little things to help build trust. A few days ago she went for her first walk outside. We crossed the creek and walked through the field behind us, then she was turned out for about 20 minutes down with the sheep. Long rope dragging behind, naturally, so catching was made easier. And that would be class for Firecracker, complete with treats. Don't you wish school had been that simple when you were a kid?

Meanwhile, back in the paddock, Cricket is now sporting a halter. It wasn't easy; I had to use my trusty, long rope to get it on as he's still not sure I ought to touch his face. He doesn't mind his neck, shoulders and chest, but the face is different. Still, he's not inclined to panic and bolt, which is nice.

Most of my energy last week had gone into Cricket and getting him used to me being in his space. With the halter in place, Darling instructed me to, "Start working with my horse." Her horse? Not yet, not officially, but is sure is looking like she and Dude are going to be a pair. Dude is a bit more interested in things around him than Cricket, but he's a bit on the shy side as well. I tossed the rope over his neck and let him get used to it dangling around his legs. He wasn't fond of the feel at first, but settled right down.

Sunday found me working on getting a lead rope on Dude's halter. I used the long rope and managed to fashion one of my oh~so~stylish halters out of it (like I did with FC back in Feb) over the top of the web halter he had on. That gave me a bit more control over his body and eventually he settled down enough for me to slip my hand and the lead rope up to the halter ring.

Later in the day, both Dude and Cricket learned to lead. Dude was simple, just getting him to turn had him moving all four feet and figuring out what was being asked. Cricket, on the other hand, I'm certain knew what was being asked but refused to cooperate. He decided to plant those back feet and nothing was going to budge him. He stretched like Gumby with those front legs, but the hind end never saw forward motion. So out came my handy garden rake of encouragement. With a few taps on the hind end, Cricket decided forward motion was better than no motion, and while it wasn't pretty we did managed to take a few forward steps.

When the evening was through I brought a handful of treats into the paddock. Sandy is housed in the first stall and mauled me as I walked to the new boys. Dude was quite interested in what Sandy was getting and put his nose on my hand and took a good sniff. He seemed not to know how to eat the solid treat, so I stuffed it between his lips and eventually he let it between his teeth. Sure was funny to watch him chomping it down and curling his lip! But he liked it well enough to try a second. Cricket didn't take nearly as much encouragement to try his treat.

I suspect by the end of this week I'll have a whole herd of horses willing to work for treats! At least, that's the plan...

Friday, June 20, 2008


Steve at the Power Guides just sent me this. I've not taken a look at it but told him I'd post it. Let's find out together what the heck that crazy husband of Callie's has been up to!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cricket, Dude, and a busy day!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have several horses you need to work in one day? I know I've wondered what it would be like, and now I's time consuming!

This morning began with Cricket and Dude. Cricket is halterless, and since I may have an adopter for him (yes, already!) I really want to concentrate on gentling him down. Yesterday I brought my rope out and began tossing it over his back and letting it dangle down on his legs. He didn't mind, so I got it up around his neck and gradually worked myself into a position where I could also loop it over his nose, just like I had with Firecracker, and fashioned a halter.

Although having it touch his head wasn't an issue, he didn't quite get the whole giving to pressure and turning, so after a few tries I gave up on that. He never panicked, but he was obviously frustrated and not figuring it out. Today I left the rope hanging and brought in a long alder sapling with which to rub and scratch his body with. At first he wasn't sure about it, but after 10 minutes he was letting me stand an arms reach from him and was thoroughly enjoying being rubbed under his neck and on his chest. One small step and I'd be able to reach him with my hand...should I try?

Cricket is a sweet boy!

I tried, got my hand on him and walked away quickly and quietly before he had an opportunity to react.

Later in the day I went back and this time I asked for more. A brief touch, then a little rub, but he made me reach out with the sapling first. I'd scratch with the alder, then rub with my hand, then step away and approach again. And it wasn't long before he was enjoying my hand rubbing under his mane and down on his chest. He let me step away and approach without first touching him with the little tree and even began to wiggle his lip and reach towards me. Tomorrow I'll work at getting my hands on his face so that hopefully the halter can be put on and off by the end of the week.

Dude is another story. He's curious, but nervous about things touching him. The rope brought an immediate reaction as he darted out from under it with a snort. He didn't like it bouncing on his body or over his tail. He actually reminds me of Jet, but with less confidence. She also doesn't like things like the rope (or my hands) touching her body, but she's very curious about things and approached us right away. Dude is also curious, but the only one he's approached and sniffed at this point is Darling.

Dude wants to be loved, but is a bit shy.

Since I had the alder in with Cricket, I also used it with Dude. Again, he jumped and shot out from under it, but eventually he came to realize it wouldn't bite as it rested on his back. I tried to rub it on his chest and neck, but he'd have none of that. He seems to by hypersensitive when it comes to touch, but he still perks up his ears and is inquisitive when he sees me.

Sandy has found his snort. Evidently it's been here waiting for him at Carpenter Creek. Darling and I walked down to the sheep and led Sandy along with us. We crossed the creek and Sandy snorted, then splashed and checked to see if there was a bottom before crossing. I rode him yesterday in the round pen, then a little later I used Firecracker as a cow and made him move her around the field a bit.

Jet was ridden today; it was the first time she's been in a snaffle bit and she did great! We even trotted a little, something she was reluctant to do last summer as she thought maybe I'd fall off. I must say I've gained a lot of confidence after spending the last three months with Sandy and the other green horses at Curt's place, and today on Jet things just fell into place.

Firecracker also found herself trotting in circles as I worked her from the ground in the round pen. I need to get her where she's easier to catch and halter. Her one big advancement today was taking a treat from my fingers! Sounds so simple, doesn't it? And yet she hates to let her lips touch my skin. I fed her those packer pellet treats, though, so it was like offering a carrot and she was careful to hold her lips back and take the treat gingerly in her teeth. The one time her lips brushed my fingers she jumped back like she's just received and electric shock!

And that was my day. That, and being eaten by mosquitos.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Disappointment in Pasco

The drive was long.

The weather was great.

The turnout was disappointing.

This was the third adoption event held in WA this year and trust me, the amount of horses sent home would have barely covered my gas expenses and came no where near covering what that big old BLM truck must have sucked up in diesel. Odessa only saw 2 horses go to new homes. Spokane ended up with 7. And this weekend in Pasco they're calling it 11...but in reality there were only 9 that brought money and two of them had been 7 would be a more accurate number.

This dun was smashingly beautiful, but so scared that he would pose quite the dangerous situation to most adopters.

Darling and I were there for one purpose only; to pick up two horses and bring them home for gentling and then adopt them out at our local fair. I'd gone through the photos from Spokane and had selected two geldings; a yearling and a two year old. When we showed up we found the yearling had been injured in the trailer ride. Not lame, but there appeared to be a bit of swelling in the pastern and a cut that may or may not have become infected. I opted to pass on him since I didn't want my first few weeks with him to be spent doctoring and waiting for him to heal. I felt a bit bad about leaving him, but with a deadline looming for adoption I wanted to take something that was a bit more sure fire.

The yearling fillies were super adorable.

We looked at the yearlings, and I must say I was sorely tempted by a few of the fillies. However, something kept telling me to find another two year old. I was thinking in terms of a horse that someone wouldn't have to wait another year to start light saddle work, figuring potential adopters would be happier with a gentled two year old. But selecting the perfect one seemed to be posing us some problems.

Ruben Villasenor did the gentling demonstrations.

There were a handful of bays and blacks, and in Spokane I'd been interested in a black three year old filly. But in Pasco she was crabby and beating up on the two 2 year old fillies in with her. I didn't want that, so mentally scratched her off the list.

I found myself drawn a sweet bay gelding in with the nervous dun. He didn't really seem to want to make a lot of eye contact, preferring to pretend none of this was happening. He wasn't real strong through the hind quarters, but I did like him. Seems spending time with Sandy has got me looking at those plain brown wrapper horses.

Darling, however, was looking at a sorrel gelding in the same pen, and she was relentless. "He wants to be friendly," she kept telling me. And indeed he did seem to be wanting to make contact, reaching out his nose and stretching his neck. But I told her no, I really preferred the bay.

We spent Saturday evening watching all the horses, and there was no escaping Darling's constant pleas on behalf of the sorrel. I looked at fillies and geldings, chestnuts and bays, and Darling kept harping. I finally asked Tom, one of the wranglers, which of the two he'd take if he were looking for one to adopt out. Without missing a beat, he pointed to Darling's sorrel.

"I, personally, like the looks of the bay for a horse for myself, but if I were looking to turn a horse around, I'd take the sorrel. He's a nice guy."

Darling was busy elbowing me with a triumphant smirk on her face.

No, he's not quite as down hill as he looks; it was the ground (and maybe my camera!)

Darling has named him Dude Lee Dooright. Tom had been calling him Dude as he looked like one of the old horses that had been used at the corrals, so Darling said he needed to keep that name. We hauled him home Sunday afternoon, and Darling went straight to the barn after she got out of school Monday. She was happy (way, way to pleased with herself) to report that Dude had come up and sniffed her.

The other gelding is Cross Eyed Cricket. Why the name? Well, it's our whimsical take on all those fancy registered horse names. Cricket is already 16 hands and once he fills out he's going to be one big boy! And like most mustangs, he's got a stride that won't quit. If you or someone you know is looking for a nice tall boy, his adoption fee is just $125!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Quick Note

...and HUGE Thank You to Pioneer Ford who has once again come through with a truck for me!

On our way home earlier this week, Brown Betty had a few minor issues. Darling and I are headed out of here in just a few minutes for the Pasco adoption and City Boy wasn't sure we ought to be driving Betty, so Pioneer Ford stepped up to the plate once again so that we could get over the pass and pick up two new horses.

What's that, you say? We're bringing home a yearling and two year old for some gentling and will be adopting them out in August at the Northwest Washington Fair. Darling will be working on gentling one of them, most likely the yearling, and promoting adoption to the 4-H crowd. Adoptions in WA so far this year have been dismal, to say the least, and we hope to highlight just how wonderful our Living Legends are.

Pioneer Ford isn't the only one that needs a big round of applause here. Brim Tractor sold me the Silverlite Trailer yesterday below cost!!! Now tell me, just how incredibly cool are those folks???

I'll be back early next week; not sure I'll have internet connection (wireless) or the time to be updating during the adoption this weekend. Y'all take care and see you in a few days!

Oh...Sandy is doing well. There's a little stumble in the hind end from time to time that I'll need to have checked before long if it doesn't stop on it's own. I've done some light riding the past three days just to keep him tuned up a bit. He looks good on the lunge line and seems willing enough to work, so that's a good thing :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

God's Hand...

What a journey, eh? Thank you so much, each and every one of you, for sticking with my indecision, whining, crying and celebrating these past few months. Wild ride, wouldn't you say?

Five months ago I wasn't sure if I had what it took to get the job done. I prayed. You prayed with me. God answered with a song, Brooks and Dunn's "God Must Be Busy". In the song there is a line that talks about his prayer being nothing more than a Speck Of Sand in the great scheme of things. That's just how I felt...what was the purpose for praying for something so small when we've got wars being fought, children dying and more in this world? But I told God that if I were accepted into the challenge, I'd name my horse Speck of Sand so that I'd remember that He was the reason behind it all.

When Sandy came home, he lacked even more confidence than I did. I remember telling myself (over and over) that this was God's horse, the horse he'd granted me, so it had to be the right horse despite how it appeared things weren't progressing here in the rain.

Then Curt got hurt. Talk about God's timing! Curt had an annuerysm and no way would he have gone to the doctor (in fact he'd ignored the early symptoms) had his ribs not been in such pain. And had he not been in pain, he wouldn't have needed my help to clean stalls and keep horses legged up. You wouldn't generally think that getting thrown from a horse into a wall would be a good thing, would you? But it could have saved his life and it most definitely got Sandy and I a solid foundation. So solid, in fact, that by the time we ended up in Sacramento last week people teased I'd been telling tall tales here regarding Sandy's progress; he definitely looked like a top ten contender.

And then he was lame. I cried. I couldn't believe that we'd gone from being unsure I'd be able to ride, to knowing we had a shot at the top ten, back to not being able to ride. And some folks hinted that perhaps I was doing this to keep the price down at the adoption so I could keep him. That was hard to swallow. I knew that's what it looked like and I'd considered that when I pulled him, and knew as well that his price would be lower as a result. He was on butte which helped, and it was hard to see the pain if you didn't know him. He looked at me with grumpy eyes and he hadn't rolled since Thursday.

When I called Curt and Linda that afternoon to tell them what I'd done, Linda was watching the Belmont Stakes and was telling me that Big Brown was fighting his jockey. I stayed on the phone until after the race and she heard the interview; "The win wasn't worth risking the horse", she repeated after the jockey. I nearly cried. Big Brown had a shot at the triple crown while the world watched, and I was only doing a small challenge with a few thousand people. But our stories were the same. Sandy was more important than the ride.

City Boy'd said he figured we could go no higher than $1000. That night, despite Patti Colbert announcing to everyone that she'd seen my horse walk, jog and loping plus doing flawless simple changes and that she knew he'd have made the top ten if I hadn't pulled him, people only bid against City Boy until we reached our top price...and then the bidding stopped. God had known I would pull my horse rather than risk injury, and that decision kept the price low enough to send Speck Of Sand home.

Back in the beginning, when Darling learned why I'd named Sandy what I had, she told me that in God's eyes no prayer is as small as a speck of sand, and that all our prayers are equally important to Him. With all I learned these past few months, that was the most important. All our prayers are important to God!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Top 10

Your Western States Mustang Challenge Top Ten!

1. Corrine Elser and Dolly

2. Joe Misner and Laredo

3. Matt Sheridan and Luna

4.'re really not that interested, are you? I didn't think so...

You are? You want to know? Okay. Fourth place was Madylyn Wagner and Handy Hank.

5. Matt Zimmerman and Ali

6. Matt Replogle and Jennifer

7. Beverly Vreeland and Diamond

8. Janet Titus and Chato

9. Jenna Nelson and Domestic Aim

10. Kieth Danielson and Tina Turner

There were so many neat stories, but one of my favorites was how Jennifer got her name. A "Name the Mustang" contest was held in Las Vegas and one little boy wrote in that his sister, Jennifer, was in Iraq and they never knew where she would be, so he wanted the horse to have his sister's name. How sweet was that for Matt to choose that name?

Top selling horse...are you interested? Sit down, y'all, because the only horse to ever bring more money in was Hail Yeah. Are you ready? Sandy Anderson, trainer for Outback Jack, paid a whopping $32,000 to get him back!!!

As for Sandy, despite him not being ridden in the obstacle course, there was still a fair amount of interest in him and he ended up selling for $1,000...which was more than a couple of the top ten horses brought in. God was good to him...and to me...because he's coming home.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday at Cal Expo!

Friday's in hand class should have gone flawlessly. In fact, it was close...except Sandy refused to trot. Totally not him and I found myself trying to figure out what had gone wrong for the next few hours. We did the obstacles themselves quite well...we ought to have hit 8-10 on everything. As it was, 9 was our highest score and it went down from there as Sandy refused to do anything but walk. On top of that, during the hoof pick up he snatched the right hind away so quickly that I decided I needed to make him pick it up again....and that time he not only snatched but stepped away. I was frustrated with myself, wondering if I'd just miscued due to nerves and being rusty after so many years out of the ring.

A bit later in the day I led him out to lunge a bit and found him reluctant to move out. In fact, he was giving me a look out of the corner of his eye that said, "Leave me alone!", and after a couple of circles I saw a short, quick step with the right hind leg. He didn't stop, kept going, but something was definitely off there. I reversed him and this time after a couple circles his entire hip dropped down as he took a misstep. My boy was sore and I couldn't quite tell where. His stifle? Hip? Lower back? It wasn't his foot or hock, but something higher that was catching. Either way, the mystery of his performance was solved.

Trouble could I ride him now? I spent some time leading him around the grounds hoping whatever it was would work itself out.

One notable thing here: Sandy loves his roll in the sand, and he hadn't rolled at all. Something was definitely wrong. When I took him out later in the day, the same thing happened. He'd go fine a round or two, then something that only a mother can see would change, and then he'd miss. Before leaving for the night I gave him some butte, the equine equivalent of asprin, to reduce any inflamation. In the morning I led him out once more to the arena, hoping to have him looking for a good roll...but he didn't. I had no choice. I couldn't ride a horse who was sore, especially knowing he'd have to get into a trailer and head down the road somewhere, anywhere, in another day.

Patti Colbert was so sweet, saying she was so sorry because she'd watched me ride earlier in the week and had been sure I'd be one of those who made the top ten. That was so nice to hear...Sandy and I have come so far in the past couple of weeks that not riding was killing me. I was allowed to do a 90 second freestyle just from the ground to show some of what Sandy had accomplished. I probably could have mounted, but opted not to. I bridled him in the arena so people could see how easily he took the bit, backed the L and did two 360 turns.

Later, Saunya told me someone had commented along the rail that I was doing this just to keep people from bidding. She jumped on their case immediately, asking if they'd ever trained a horse, if they'd ever ridden in a trailer for two days then stood and slept on a concrete floor for four days where the lights never went off...and if they thought they'd feel like going to work on Monday if they'd spent their weekend that way. Guess it shut them right up. A MAJOR hug to Saunya for sticking up for me!

Sandy backing the L

Corinne Elsner from Burns, OR, chooses a less traditional way to mount her mare, Dolly.
These two made tonight's finals!

Saunya and Little Diva trot the barrels.
These two are also in the finals!

I didn't get the complete list of the riders in tonight's finals but will post them either later tonight or tomorrow. Probably the later as tonight at 9 is the adoption and I will no doubt be a huge puddle of tears...

Please say your prayers for Sandy! Ask God to find him the perfect new home so that I don't need to worry about him :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thursday at Expo

No time to upload pics last night, sorry! Sandy started out well once again, although he's obviously got his energy buried in there somewhere. We lunged in the morning, then I climbed on to ride. It's unfortunate that there are so many who haven't got their horses under control and are racing around with little regard to others...and I'm not talking just the mustang folks. We're now riding with all the open show folks as well, which makes the arena busy for an insecure bloke like Sandy. Still, he maintained and rather than do a lot of riding I did a few circles and then stood in the center and talked to another trainer while the chaos ensued around us.

Later in the afternoon I went out again. There were only a couple of well behaved horses out there and I wanted to take advantage of that quiet moment. No sooner had I gotten out there than two buggies pulled in. Sandy glanced but didn't care. I was so proud of him! We continued to lunge until they left, then I climbed up. Which is when it entered the arena. A little pinto pony and a tiny cart. Sandy's head shot straight up and his ears swiveled around. He was on high alert, and I stepped quickly back to the ground.

They stayed at the other end of the arena, thankfully, but Sandy couldn't pull it together enough to lunge a full circle around me so captivated was he by the strange spotted pony. The driver was sending the pony in tight circles at breakneck speed and I felt it best we leave before anything stupid happened. But it was too late for that. The driver turned her cart too tight and it flipped over, trapping her beneath it and the pony dragging it along in a panic. Thankfully she had someone standing not far and he managed to grab the reins or something and got the pony under control before it made it the 100 feet to where Sandy and I were standing in shock.

Needless to say, my boy hadn't needed to witness that in the arena we're to ride in on Saturday, but after leaving and heading to the smaller, in hand competition arena, he got his mind back into the game and began listening. (The driver, by the way, wasn't hurt and got back in to drive circles once more as we were leaving.)

The walk through of the in hand competition starts in90 minutes, so I'm heading over right now. I'm so thankful we've drawn one of the first spots so we don't have to sit on show nerves all morning!

Stay tuned for more news from Sacramento's Western States Mustang Challenge, y'all!

Please say your prayers for Sandy! Ask God to find him the perfect new home so that I don't need to worry about him :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday at Expo

We were the first to arrive this morning at just prior to ten. Within an hour the second mustang arrived, then a few more until by mid afternoon the bulk of the trainers competing here at the Western States Mustang Challenge were here. I led Sandy out to the arena around noon to lunge him, then again a couple hours later when I hopped on and took my first ride on him outside of his 'home' arena. He performed like a star! Of course, he was tired as all get out after two days in the trailer, so we'll see if he holds onto his great attitude tomorrow.

One of the trainers here that I've been exchanging emails with throughout the training process has been Saunya Bolton of Reno, Nevada. She trains Quarter Horses and has qualified and competed at the world show several times, even making it to the top ten on multiple occasions. She's riding a little mare she calls Little Diva. If any of you are in the Reno area and in need of a trainer, look her up, she's a real neat lady.

The weather here is wonderful. In the 80's is what I've heard, and the wind is blowing just enough to keep us cool. After ten minutes of working under saddle, Sandy had only one thing on his mind...and to keep my saddle in one piece I made sure to high tail it back to the tack room before coming out and granting him his wish!

We've received our packets with the in hand and riding course patterns. Friday is our in hand class; Sandy and I are the fifth pair to go through. The pattern consists of walking over poles, trotting into a 'chute' (poles on the ground) and backing out, then backing a bit of a zig zag to the left and another to the right. From there we trot out towards the trailer and load, then unload. After the trailer we trot towards three poles that are set in a U pattern and trot towards them at an angle, crossing two poles then making a turn and coming back to hit the third. It's kind of tight and I'm glad Saunya brought poles for us to practice with. After the poles, we stop and pick up all four feet, make a 360 degree turn to the right and walk to finish.

The trailer loading is the only thing I'm really concerned about, but we'll just have to do what ever can be done, right? I'll be back again tomorrow with more photos and updates!

Thank you for your faithful prayers...they've helped to ease my troubled spirit tremendously!

Please say your prayers for Sandy! Ask God to find him the perfect new home so that I don't need to worry about him :)


Two days traveling and here we are. Sandy rides nicely, although he's a bit tired of loading up and has needed some extra encouragement from behind. I'm not sure how that will play out during the in hand portion of the competition. Last night after he was settled in his horse hotel for an hour or two I went back and led him around the facility, then to the trailer and offered him some beet pulp and treats. This time he loaded, but he took his time and I'm sure they won't allow me several minutes to get the job done there. Oh well, such is life, eh?

We're in a town called Auburn, just outside of Sacramento. We'll be headed to the stable to pick Sandy up shortly and then to Cal Expo to check in.

Worst part of the entire trip so far is that I've got a sore throat. Woke up with it on Monday and it's still hanging on...and now my gums are sore and it feels like it's beginning to settle down in my lungs. Hopefully the warm weather here will dry me out and get me feeling spiffy before the day is up!

I'll have more updates as the week progress for y'all! As always, I covet your prayers :)

Please say your prayers for Sandy! Ask God to find him the perfect new home so that I don't need to worry about him :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another Day of Firsts

Should a person really be waiting until the last minute to try new things? Today was my last day with Sandy at home. We rode this morning without any warm up lunging, nor did Curt hang onto him when I climbed up and rode. No time like the day before we leave to figure out if he's broke, eh?

Not only that, but we went outside this afternoon to ride in the outdoor arena for the first time as well! Crazy. But despite my sometimes wishing we'd been moving along faster these past few weeks, today was a perfect example of laying a good foundation. Every day I've ridden up until now, Sandy has been lunged before I climb on, and then Curt has lunged him more while I've been mounted. He knows the routine and although he questioned Curt stepping away from him, he went straight to work, a little fresh but still listening.

Thanks to each of you for all the kind words of encouragement, the well wishes, and of course for joining the Hay Burners Club! You're too wonderful for words and I couldn't have taken this journey without your support. Y'all are the BEST!

A few questions folks have been asking me, via email or forums or here:

When are you leaving? 4 am Monday morning. I'm probably on the road while you're reading this. We plan to pick Sandy up and have him loaded by 5, then head down to the Medford area to spend the night.

How much do you think he'll sell for? Lots, I hope, because I earn a 20% commission! The average, if I heard right, has been just a few dollars under $1900 at the past two events.

Any chance you'll bring him home? Unless he's not being bid on, but I see that as unlikely. I've managed to get my heart to switch gears and am focusing on getting Jet and Firecracker going this summer. Plus, Darling and I will have two horses through the incentive program that we'll be gentling and then adopting out at the fair in August. So despite the fact that I'll be shedding enough tears to float the Ark, I'm trying to stay focused on what God has placed before me to occupy my mind and body. (Don't stop praying, though!)

Did you ever get to work the bull? No. Bummer, eh? Thats the hardest part about letting him go! I wanna see him learn to move cattle and do some cutting. He needs to teach some of these folks up here what a mustang can really do!

When is the competition, exactly? Conditioning and In Hand are judged on Friday. The riding portion will be Saturday, with the top ten doing the freestyle that afternoon and the adoption taking place Saturday night.

Okay. It's late and I really need to head off to slumber land. Laptop, camera, battery chargers...all are packed and ready to head to Cal Expo with us! Darling will be behind the lens for a good share of the week and we'll do our best to keep you informed as things develop!

Please say your prayers for Sandy! Ask God to find him the perfect new home so that I don't need to worry about him :)