Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Wouldn't you want to jump right in and gobble that up??? Corn, Oats and Barley, mixed with some applesauce and sprinkled with a powdered antibiotic...Steve Holt! turns up his nose and prefers not to touch it. And after all the trouble I went to!

Right now Steve Holt!'s nose is drying up, kind of like your's or mine after the worst of the runnies are drying up. But the cough...well, that was more noticeable yesterday.

I've been unsure if he's been eating his grain after I leave or if it just gets dumped out into the bedding. Yesterday I hauled the big corner feeder that we'd purchased in Oregon into his stall. It's a Noble feeder, with a big opening in the center for hay and two corner pockets for grain or salt or whatever you'd like to use them for. I put his antibiotic laced grain and applesauce into it and left. When I came back out a bit later, it appeared he'd nuzzled it and attempted to taste some, but it surely wasn't something he couldn't leave his lips off from. So I got the bright idea to grind up his favorite horse treats into very fine chunks and mix that it. Bingo! This morning it was all gone and I know the antibiotics are inside that belly. Say a prayer that this cough goes away in the next couple of days so we don't end up with pneumonia.

Darling must have been bored the other day. Here is one of her latest videos:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hoofball, Bronchitis, and Sunday Stills

I've been a bit tied up the past couple weekends so haven't participated in Sunday Stills, but this week's assignment was easy enough. Landscapes. Oh, I'm sure there are those who've gone all out and captured some totally amazing shots. Me? Well...here's how the day went:

Darling and I were out of bed early and headed north to a hoofball clinic. This was designed to help both horse and rider get the feel of moving around one of those big balls and then transferring the movements later to a cow. Now, it ain't no hydra bull, that's for sure, but Sandy took to it immediately and the clinician commented time and again what a great work ethic this little horse had, and what fun he was.

Steve Holt! no doubt would have enjoyed pushing the ball around, too. Or at least I would have. And we were all saddled up, ready to go, when he blew the most gigantic booger out of his nose that I've ever seen. Thick and yellow and dangling a good four to five inches below his muzzle. I quickly wiped it up and wondered just what to do about that. Certainly didn't want to be exposing others to some sort of snorkiness. He gave a little cough, and within a minute blew a second one out that I swear was worse than the first. Back out to the trailer we went where I found a towel and cleaned him up a bit. I loaded him into the trailer and promptly called the vet.

Steve Holt! had had a bit of a runny nose prior to leaving for Oregon and I'd wondered if I needed the vet then. But heck, we all had colds that week with the weather swinging from mild back to cold and damp, and I couldn't imagine what they could do for a cold. I'd contemplated calling the Mustang Heritage Foundation, but would they say to me, "Keep him home if he's got a cold?" Probably not. But in retrospect I probably should have had the vet out earlier rather than later. Of course...it was probably just a cold then.

But now? Now it's bronchitis. A full week of antibiotics twice a day and two weeks of no riding.

Steve Holt! needs bed rest...

By mid afternoon I still hadn't gotten my Sunday Still shot. I'd been sent a link to a Crates saddle about 90 minutes south of me, and the price was decent so Darling and I took off as soon as we unloaded the horses at home. It rained. It poured. The drive was miserable and the saddle not quite what I was looking for, so we returned empty handed.

Back home, we found Jethro and Gusty out playing. Not inside the sheep pen, mind you, as the rails are spaced perfectly for big sheep, but little explorers can easily escape. Catching bouncing lambs is not an easy task. However, smart they are not, so when the climbed into the horse trailer they were trapped and Darling easily snagged them both.

After lambs were back with mum, horses fed and watered, Steve Holt!'s antibiotics mixed into his grain (which, btw, he doesn not like to eat), I finally took a deep breath and looked out over the pasture as the sun was fading behind me. Which is where I spotted the perfect Sunday Still Landscape shot. Or the only one, as the case may be.

The top of Stewart Mt is once again covered in a blanket of snow.
Winter can go away now.

Hoofball, the video:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Extremely Entertaining

You must, simply MUST click the link. Because if you thought the Mustang Makeovers were extreme...well, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Tomorrow (which may well be today by the time you read this) Darling and I are going to play hoofball with the 'boys'. What's hoofball? Soccer for horses, I think. A great big ball that we get to knock around. It's a fun clinic that is supposed to help a horse develop his following skills for cattle work. I'm sure we'll have some interesting video when we return!

And in other news...if you live somewhere in the western states, you may want to pick up a copy of the Northwest Horse Source, as Your's Truly has an article in it. Not only that, but Whatcom Magazine also did a profile on me for their April issue.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Madeline Pickens, The Spam Artist

Anyone else being hit as often as I am? Wish I could figure out a way to ban her IP address.

If you read this, Mrs. Pickens, back off. I'm no fan of your's.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

At Last...Flicka Video!

Here she is, all 14 hands (maybe) of mustang dynamo! This little mare is the nicest mover. She's 5 years old and really seems to want to please. She struggles a bit to the left but in the round pen with the rail to support her did much better than when we were out in the arena. You can see a little of her snarky mare-itude when I ask her to do what she doesn't want. Just a bit of left over fear, though, and I'm confident we can work that out of her in the next few weeks.

Flicka is available for adoption; her fee has been paid but her adopter will need to meet BLM requirements and fill out the paperwork. If you know anyone looking for a sport pony project, this is the girl!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Riding Course Video

Well, here it is! Our riding course portion of the Northwest Extreme Mustang Makeover. I've watched it and nit picked myself to death, but am still very pleased with how Steve Holt! managed to pull himself together and up in the over all standings.

Before leaving for Oregon I spent a great deal of time watching both the EMM videos as well as reining videos on you tube. I knew Steve Holt! wouldn't have the control at a fast paced lope, so I elected to go for slow. As Ruben pointed out, I played it safe. And that was okay, really, because it did show Steve Holt! at his best. Gone was the high head and racing speed; here was a horse who showed a nice, easy ground covering stride on a loose rein. I let him stop and pause between elements just like you see the reiners doing, giving their horses a moment to regroup before being asked for the next move. I think that in the long run this is going to benefit Steve Holt! over all.

Had I been a judge, I probably would have dinged my ride on the excessive patting that I did; I'd wanted to keep him quiet and reassured, but I think I went overboard. And while training aides were allowed, we knew going into this that we may lose points for using them. I'd originally planned on not using it, but after Thursday's little episode decided it was better to be safe than sorry.

Naturally, Darling has videos of a lot of competitors, so as the week goes on we'll sneak a few more in for you. Here's Lair McCabe on Mustang Sally doing his riding course (not Darling's video, but thought you may like it just the same):

Monday, March 23, 2009

Okay, okay...

Northwest EMM winner, Laird McCabe, takes a victory lap on Sally

There is nothing at all charming about driving through Portland. Oh, as a kid I loved all those bridges that reminded me of roller coasters! But hauling a trailer? Um...no. No thank you.

Steve Holt! settled right in to his temporary stall. I'm thinking he's wishing he had a cup of coffee just like City Boy, what do you think?

Can you see her?

There was a little black mare at the event named Flicka. Her young trainer had found out she was pregnant about the time we picked up our horses. She had a very rough first month; was quite sick and lost a lot of weight. Naturally, climbing on board a wild horse was out of the question! So she did what she could from the ground for little Flicka and hoped that someone would adopt and finish her.

Darling was fond of this little mare, spending time at the stall coaxing her into letting her touch that soft, velvety nose. Flicka was shy and unsure of all that was going on around, but she tried hard to be brave. When her trainer led her into the ring, no one raised their card. The auctioneer did his best to drum up some interest.

Darling sat next to City Boy with silent tears in her eyes. The young trainer stood below, trying to choke out the words into a microphone, telling people a little about her mare and praying she wouldn't end up being sent back to the corrals.

It was more than a City Boy could bear, having two girls crying over a little horse, so up went his number, and home came Flicka.

I'm afraid I just didn't have enough time yesterday to get a picture of her. She's a cute little thing; 14 hands at best but very solid. Pretty face on her; very refined muzzle and big bright eyes.

We don't intend to keep her, just help her get a bit more training then find her a home. There's an adoption event in Arlington next month, so hopefully something will work out for her there. Or maybe one of you would like to help her out and give her a home?

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Steve Holt! managed to pull himself up in the standings from 23rd on Thursday to 15th over all after the riding course where we tied for 12th...not as good as I'd have liked to have done, but his ride was nice and smooth, and we received several compliments from many people. So while we didn't make the finals, I'm happy with how he did.

I'm struggling to get the video uploaded, so you may need to wait until we're home for that. Darling also got video of all top ten finalists, but again it will take a while to process that. Sometime in the coming week, though!

So...do you want to know if I'm coming home with and empty trailer or not?

Well, not only is it not empty, but there are two horses being loaded this morning!

Oh, what a tease I am...

It's early and I'm not sleeping well; I think I'd better go back to bed. Y'all just sit back and wait. I promise you'll find out sooner or later. Heh heh...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday's Ride

Darling's not got the video ready...it was late and every one was tired when we got back from the
Expo grounds last night.

Steve Holt! was a pill in the afternoon, rearing and clipping my hand when we went out to the outdoor arena for a bit of leg stretching, but by early evening he was back to his old self. He wasn't bothered by the noise of the arena while we waiting outdoors, and by the time it was out turn he was half asleep. So half asleep that he received quite a laugh when he stumbled onto the bridge.

I don't recall if we got into our trot before going over the logs or not, but we didn't fall down (my fear when crossing poles, you know), and he did his back up dang near flawlessly. We'd spent the afternoon working on his downward transition so that our simple lead change came off without a hitch. Unfortunately, that meant each time I asked him to whoa, the thought we needed to drop into a long trot.

Forgetting his whoa isn't really anything new, is it? That was his only real flaw; he loped smooth, easy circles, loose reins, and during our 2 minutes of freestyle he did the fastest, smoothest, most awesome sidepass over a pole he's ever done! Darn near as good as those Spanish horses I showed you a few weeks ago! He also stood stock still while I untied my duster from his saddle and put it on.

And of course, there was a standing "Steve Holt!" shout from a few die hard fans up in the stands as we left the arena to thunderous applause.

Steve Holt! really pulled it out of the bag for me lat night and I am very proud of him. Now all I can do is hope no one outbids me during today's adoption.

The scores weren't posted until midnight, so I have no idea where we sit in the standings. We were way down a 23rd after the inhand...disappointing, to be sure and no real way to make it up. But last night's ride made up for any disappointment on not making the finals. (But gosh darn it all...I really wanted to run through my plastic!!!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stage Fright!

We made it to Oregon yesterday afternoon where Steve Holt! spent the night next door to Princess, Kevin Sink's little mare. He made himself right at home, comfortable enough to lay down for the night. This morning we headed on over to the Expo grounds. Steve Holt! did well under saddle in both arenas; a bit fast but not at all out of control. We even loped big, smooth circles off the rail, one handed at that!

I put him in his stall for the afternoon, then fed him an early dinner before we headed over to the in hand competition. We were middle of the pack...just enough time for Steve Holt! to burn off a bit of negative energy before heading in.


Before heading in, he did a big leap above the ground and kicked out as Darling went past him to get his rope halter (we bought a beautiful new green web one but he wasn't responding) which took me totally by surprise. Once in the 'hole' where the conditioning judge was to look him over, he began to dance and shift around to the point of her having a hard time getting a look. When the crowd applauded the horse ahead of us, he reared and struck out! Very much not him. He was on edge and this was going to be tough. The announcer asked the crowd not to applaud while we were in the arena, which was good. Still, he was nervous and struggled with the first few obstacles.

I won't know until tomorrow how we placed...I'm not holding my breath for a top 10...or even 15 at this point. Hopefully tomorrow things will be better once I'm on his back.

Darling has the video...I've yet to see it. We've been trying to upload, but it won't. Maybe tomorrow at the fairgrounds it will? Right now we're off to bed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On the Road...

Roughly an hour and we'll be headed down to Kevin and Lisa's place where Steve Holt! has been invited to spend the night before heading into Albany on Thursday morning.

Darling and I hauled Sandy and Steve Holt! up to the arena yesterday morning for one last ride. I set up a few trail obstacles and worked a bit on our in hand skills. Steve Holt! hates to trot while leading; he does it, but his ears are pinned back the entire time. Not sure how well that will go over. Darling and Sandy practiced jumping...or tripping...you'll enjoy her video, I'm sure.

I'm still unsure what we'll do for our 'at best' portion of the riding course. Have you got any ideas? We get about a minute or so to show off something we've worked on at home before moving into the obstacle course. I've watched a few videos on you tube...half passes, standing in the saddle, tossing a rope...that sort of stuff. We can't use props, although I believe the ropes were allowed because they could be carried on the saddle. I'm no good at standing in the saddle, but I can do one of those 'around the world' things where you turn all the way around from front to back then front again. I might do that. I'll probably jog a couple of circles, maybe throw in a half pass...I dunno. I'm counting on him riding through the course clean enough to gain me the points and make up for my inability to decide what else to do!

While we are nowhere near as far along as these two guys, I thought it may be fun for you to see what a couple of the top ten finishers looked like at the big makeover in TX last fall. The first one is Mark Lyon, who won. The second is Avrel Bass...I'm not sure where he placed but I want to say third.

Laptop in hand, I'll be checking in to see if y'all have come up with something interesting to show off our 'at best' portion of the riding course on Friday!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back to the Ground

Steve Holt! and I have but a few days left before leaving. Saturday he reminded me how young he is, and how far he's come...and just how much I'm asking of him. The struggles of a couple weeks ago, his high head and racing speed, had melted away as he finally figured out how to travel in a relaxed mode. But Saturday...well, he just wasn't there with me, I got pushy, and he responded with sideways hand gallops, bolting across the arena in an effort to avoid me. One reign stops were the only way to bring him down and around. I made sure we got in one good circle without an attempt at bolting to the end of the arena, stopped and stepped out of the saddle. No point in beating a dead horse, right? He had nothing to give me, and I hadn't helped, so we called it a day.

Sunday he and I both had collected our thoughts and headed off to the arena in a new frame of mind where he went from his worst from the day before to giving his best. His jog was slow, his head was low and his nose wasn't sticking out a foot ahead of his ears. He was relaxed and didn't need much direction from me to get there. We jogged circles around cones and then went out to the rail where it is his habit to forget slow, but not this time. This time he continued to stay relaxed and showed me just a hint of a western pleasure horse.

There were other horses in the arena with us, so no obstacles out to practice on. I went back up in the evening and set up some poles. I swear this colt just has no concept of where his feet and legs are. I led him forward and was going to have him walk in between two poles and back out. They were set close together, so I walked along the outside. Then I heard clunk clunk behind me and turned to see Steve Holt! straddling the pole; left feet on the left side, right feet on the right side. Goof ball. When I climbed on him a little later I used the mounting block. Once on I asked him to step away, and he managed to turn just enough to get the block under his belly and tripped with his hind legs as he stumbled over it. He has literally run into it while I've led him up to it as well. No clue what he's thinking. Sometimes I really wonder about him.

Our goal in the next few days is to get back to the ground work, lightening him up in his turns, backs and sidepassing for his in hand course on Friday.

And speaking of Friday, I'll be in the Northwest Horse Source booth at 9:00 am that day. Come look for me! First 3 people who can answer the trivia question will receive a free gift!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Steve Holt! vs. Hydra Bull!

Riding Club Demo

Steve Holt! was invited to do a demo for the Riding Club after our meeting last night. We did a few things like back between poles raised off the ground and then wowed them with how easily we could knock one of them down while side passing. No, kidding. We did knock down the pole, but the wow came when I pulled out that plastic bag and could hear people saying their broke horses weren't able to do that! I rubbed it all over him and had him sidepass over the top of it.

Darling caught some footage and, in my haste to get it uploaded, I didn't bother editing. But hey, you'll get a good look at where we're at in terms of his walk, trot and lope. As always, I expect feedback on your thoughts and suggestions to make this smooth and seamless!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Baa Baa Spotted Sheep

Two more unexpected days off for Steve Holt!. As we wrapped things up in the arena on Sunday afternoon I could see big, slushy flakes and sticking around the edges of the parking lot, so Darling and I packed up our horses and headed up the highway towards home. While there'd been relatively little snow on the ground at the arena, what met our eyes at the top of the hill just a few hundred feet away astounded me.

An inch of slushy snow covered the road, and two cars sat on their hoods in the ditch directly cross the road from one another. A state patrol car was there and it seemed as though at least one of the passengers was on her feet and standing without any problem. I kept my eyes on the road and concentrated on the task at hand. If it was this bad here...what would it be like going up the hill to get home? Thankfully the snow pattern was uncharacteristic in that once we hit our road a mile away, the snow stopped and blue sky was above us making the rest of the drive uneventful.

By Monday morning the snow began to fall again, and this time it wasn't playing games. We ended up with about 3 inches, and since the slushy stuff the night before had frozen and created a bit of an ice rink on the road, I opted not to haul Steve Holt! out to ride. Yesterday I climbed out of bed optimistic. The temps had risen to above freezing the day before and from the 'buzz', it would seem roads were bare and dry. I had a couple of sheep that had an appointment with Freezer Camp, so loaded them into my little truck and started out. I had every intention of coming home and getting Steve Holt! to the arena when I was finished, but upon reaching the north side of the hill I realized that was simply not to be. Compact snow and ice still encased my path thanks to the tall trees who's shadows were cast upon the ground 24 hours a day.

And so Steve Holt! has had a vacation of sorts, being ridden only a handful of times in the past week. Hopefully we can make it out today. My only consolation has been that God directs our paths, and there must be a divine plan wrapped up in this lack of riding somewhere.

With the running around being done with the two Freezer Camp candidates, I also had to make a trip to town to get my sewing machine looked at. Darling is taking a sewing class and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my machine. Thankfully it was a quick and easy fix, and I can now set Darling back to work making me some quilted shipping boots for Steve Holt!.

In the hustle and bustle of the day, I hadn't taken much time to look in on Marybelle. She'd not been eating about a week ago and appeared restless, so I separated her from Bessie and the lambs thinking she was ready to have her own. Not so. She's been in solitary confinement for a week and nothing...

But as I went out to water I caught a glimpse of an extra set of legs on the other side of her body, and sure enough, she had a little spotted lamb standing next to her!

Wait! Not just one, but two! Two little spotted twins, brother and sister, born on one of the coldest days of the year and I'd not been paying attention enough to know she was having them. Both were completely dry when I found them and they did well during the afternoon. I didn't see them both nurse, but since they were up and moving and totally dry I figured they must have gotten some nutrition into them.

Unfortunately, big brother Jethro thought he'd help out at the milk wagon. Hey, why not? Mom can feed him breakfast, Marybelle can provide a mid-day snack... I'm going to have to get a partition to keep him out for a couple of days so the newbies don't need to worry about him draining the milk supply.

Jethro looks mighty big next to his half brother!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Steve Holt! meets flags, bags and green plastic tarps

Combing You Tube as I do, I came across not only that super cool video of the Mounted Police drill team the other day, but this competition as well:

I've been spending a great deal of time trying to figure out what to do with Steve Holt! as the Makeover gets closer. He's just not smooth enough to go into the finals without some sort of gimmick. I'd love if we could just whip out a reining pattern, but that's obviously not going to happen, so finding new and unusual ways to show off his strengths is the plan.

Yesterday we worked on three new elements which may or may not be incorporated into a freestyle. First, I introduced him to one of those light weight painter's drop cloths. It's made of plastic, an opaque green that hung from the top of the round pen gate. Second came a big plastic bag filled with a few more bags (I think I need to use pop cans instead so they make noise) and asked him to side pass both directions with it. Tell me what you think, because to me it almost looks like he's stepping away rather than me asking him to move. And third, I waved my lunge whip full of streamers around while on him. I think I could go a bit faster next time, and maybe closer to his head...or not. At least faster, though.

Take a gander at the video and tell me what you think, and if anything is WOW enough to want to see in a freestyle.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Steve Holt!, week 14

This week's Sunday Stills assignment was Self Portraits...and we were told no cameras in front of the face, and no archives! I've been very guilty of pulling up old photos simply because I just haven't got my camera with me while working Steve Holt!, but a self portrait was easy enough...right?

But I forgot. And here it is, Sunday morning. 7:00 am and it's still just a little dark outside, but hey, I grab my camera and head towards the door to snap a quick shot before heading out to the barn. Might as well get a nice background, I'm thinking as I step out onto the steps, still half asleep.

I wasn't asleep for long! What was it that I found so shocking???

Ack! Another dose of snow...

No, it's not much. They were saying we'd get 2-8" overnight, but all that came down was a light pellet type dusting. So I went about my chores without too much concern. We'd hoped to get down to a tack sale today but since the roads were getting slick down south last night, I opted not to. Besides...it's City Boy's birthday today. He's 50! Y'all better wish him a happy happy. He's excited because he got the AARP membership enrollment form!

Meanwhile...Steve Holt! finished up week 14 this weekend. His biggest accomplishments were his slowed gait while working on the rail, and the fact that we got to work the Hydra Bull not once, but twice! Jay showed up just as we were about to leave on Friday, so he trimmed his little footsies. It wasn't exactly a walk in the park to get it done, but oh-so-much easier than last time.

Darling thinks she may like Steve Holt!. We know Steve Holt! likes her...

I am still struggling with what to do if we make the finals. Watch...all this thought poured into it and we'll goof up something else in the preliminaries. But...better to not make it and be prepared, than to make it and have nothing to offer. Besides, it gives us something to do in the coming days before leaving, right?

I found this little video for inspiration; I think we can pull it off, don't you?

Sigh...the snow has begun to come down again, and it's getting somewhat thick... Sure hope it doesn't plan on sticking around long. I've got a long drive to Oregon coming up!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Hey, kids, this one's for you!

So what is it I'm doing in my spare time?

Huh? Spare time, you say?

Well, yes...those few wee moments before the sun comes up and I head out to do chores are my spare moments, and I've been busy planning a fun little thing called YAY!

YAY, or Youth And Yearlings, is an event designed specifically for kids 18 and under in WA State. We're offering an opportunity to gentle and ground train a yearling mustang this spring, then hosting an all breed open youth show in July during which we will have trainers and their yearlings return to compete in Fitting & Showing and an In Hand Trail course!

If interested, pop me an email and I'll send you the rules and an application. Mustangs will be picked up on April 25 during the adoption event in Arlington, WA. At the end of 3 months trainers will return with their horses to Black Raven Stables in Arlington where they will compete. Following the show there will be a competitive bid adoption. Trainers may elect to keep their yearling for a reduced adoption fee. For those trainers who wish to part with their yearling, and all funds raised over the base price will go directly to that trainer!

This is sure to be a fun and exciting event and a terrific way to challenge yourself and grow as a trainer. There are only 12 spots available, so be sure to get those applications in by March 27!


Folks, there's not much time left between now and the Northwest Extreme Mustang Makeover! If you're planning on attending, be sure to visit Mustang Fever and order your Steve Holt! shirt so that folks know you're cheering us on!

If you're looking for something small and don't want the hassle of ordering over the internet, I'll be bringing 3.5" buttons along with me. I'm taking pre-orders right now, but need to have them paid for no later than 10 am Monday morning. Yes, I know...that's not long! Buttons are $6 each and you can paypal me at desperatehorsewife@gmail.com

And now, if you've made it through all my advertising...Steve Holt! and I worked the bull again today and he did great! No camera, unfortunately, as Darling was having a little get together with some friends here at the house which required her photographic attention (or so I was told.) But eventually...eventually! I promise we'll get some footage before we take off for Albany.

I'm going to head off and get some pain killers into my system. I was supposed to have a root canal yesterday but ended up having a panic attack. They sent me to the ER where I got all hooked up to monitors and got to spend a couple hours of my day in an uncomfortable bed until the doc showed up to tell me..."Hey, you're fine! What are you stressed over?" Well, I dunno...the dentist??? They can never get me numb. And I'm beginning to throb again right now so off I go...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bull Session!

Click to Mix and Solve

Hey, baby, what's your number?

Have we talked freeze brands before? Each mustang, once they're gathered, has a freezebrand placed on the left side of their neck to help identify them. The first symbol is that of the breed registry, which in this case is the US government. The next two symbols are stacked on top of each other and give the horse's age. In Steve Holt!'s case, this number is incorrect; he should be listed as born in '06, but his two year teeth weren't coming in and due to his size, he got labeled a year older. We now know that he's roughly 2 1/2 to 3, or an 'o6 model. The next two symbols identify which state he's from, and the last four correlate with the neck tag he wore while at the corrals. Those last six, the state and his neck tag, are his own personal numbers that won't be duplicated.

Earlier this week Steve Holt! made a trip to the vet for his health certificate and his brand needed to be recorded, so the vet hauled out the clippers and shaved his neck. He stood so nice! His numbers are nice and bright and pretty, don't you think?

While we were there, Steve Holt! also had a chiropractic session. I've never had one done on a horse and wasn't sure if this would help him or not, but since he's struggling so much with the cross overs and lateral movement to the left, I felt I needed to give it a try. Dr. Johnson got some movement in his atlas as well as down near his withers and again in the rib cage on the right side. Steve Holt! was quite sensitive to the pressure being applied in the loin area on his left side and we never did get far as he refused to stay put. Whether there's something there that's the root of our problem we do not know.

Our visit was Tuesday, Steve Holt!'s typical day off, and she instructed me not to ride that day and to be aware of any issues with soreness in the coming days. I hauled down to Curt's Weds afternoon, knowing it would be an easy ride with all the others there working the bull. I figured a few laps around, working at keeping our speed a bit slower and more consistent would be the extent of it. Curt was pleased with the progress, saying we were looking much better than we had on our last visit.

Steve Holt! and I hung out in a corner while Curt worked a couple of the customers on the bull. He moves the bull up and down his 'track', a smoothed out area in the center of the arena, while one horse is on one side and the other horse on the other side of him. He's sort of alike a hydra bull sandwich! The horses get a short workout, a breather while he works another horse (or two), and then they go back for a few more minutes. As the first two horses walked away, Curt turned off the bull but sat there and talked to a couple other folks. I saw my opportunity and walked quietly over and pointed Steve Holt!'s nose towards the bull. Curt looked up and smiled.

"Wanna work it?"

Hello...what do you think? Of course I want to work it! Am I not always pleading and begging? You don't need to ask me twice!


He turned back to one of his customers and resumed his conversation. We stood waiting.

"Well? You wanna work it?"

Okay, so evidently Curt felt the need to ask twice.


Curt looked to the others in the arena, saying, "This could be one helluva wreck, so you'd better move back," and he started up the bull.

Wreck??? I hardly think so! We had a blast! Steve Holt! had no clue what we were supposed to be doing, and I let him get a bit long (ahead of the bull) a couple of times, but he did a good job and got a lot of smiles from the onlookers as we trotted back and forth. Steve Holt! is so easy to bend around my leg that it wasn't at all difficult to keep his nose tipped towards the bull. I don't know if he had as much fun as everyone else did, but we're going to go back and do it again!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blog Virus Alert!

I was going to come and update you on Steve Holt!, only to find I'd been tagged by Angi at Free Rein Art.

Now, in the past I believe I complained enough about all the tagging blog viruses going on and eventually managed to create an immunity whereby people have left me alone. Angi, however, decided to tempt fate. But as this is a game of photo tag, I won't complain!

The game is this: Find the 6th folder and then the 6th photo from that folder in your files and post it.

How simple is that?

Wait...I've got more folders inside my folders!

Let's see...we'll start with the Mom folder, then count down six to the Brigget folder

...one, two, three...wait, here it is, six more folders to the Creepiness folder...

three, four five...photo number six from Brigget's Creepiness!

Creepiness to end all Creepiness...

My friend Brigget has a barn (eieio), and in that barn is something creepy (eieieo)... Actually, there are a lot of creepy things in Brigget's barn, but the creepiest of creepies is that thing above. For the longest time we didn't know just what it was, although there were little creepy spider legs and bodies shoved inside of it. They are scattered all over in the loft of Brigget's barn...the Loft Of All Things Creepy, as it came to be known the summer we found these creepy little gems.

It took some research, but in the end we discovered they were wasp larvae; the wasps would bring spiders to their young to feed them. Or something like that. All I know is I hate spiders with a passion, and each time I'd climb into the loft I'd be confronted with these and other creepy things. Like a noose hanging from the rafters. Yeah...that was creepy, too, since it hadn't always been there.

Not everything at Brigget's is creepy, though. Some things are super dee duper cute, like the little icelandic ewe lamb she's holding below.

Now, to tag six more unsuspecting souls...

Froglander (because I know you've got so much spare time, girl!)

Mustang Saga

Two Appaloosas and a Mustang

Stormy Ranch

Pony Girl

Eliminator PP

What, you've been subjected to this blog virus once already? Heh...well, tag, you're it...again!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Working Equitation, speed test!

I've been struggling with Steve Holt!, and it was pointed out to me yesterday (not directly, but just in what someone said) that I'm thinking quarter horse while he's definitely not. So what do I do, when that's all I know? Well, as luck would have it, I came across a video this morning on Working Equitation and I think I have my answer. This is right up Steve Holt!'s alley, don't you think?

Meet Jethro!

Congratulations, Shirley, on offering up the winning name for baby Jethro! Email me your addy and I'll pop a little something in the mail for you!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Circle Trotters...and Steve Holt! week 13

It was bone chilling cold up in Lynden yesterday when Darling and I arrived. We'd decided to take the boys up to the schooling show which benefited local non-profits as they try to feed hungry horses this winter. Darling has never been inside the ring with a horse before, and she'd been a bit uncomfortable about it last fall when I offered. The past couple of weeks, however, have seen her hungry to give it a try.

So we loaded up Sandy and Steve Holt! and headed into Little Canada. No, it's not really Canada, but you can see the Canadian Rockies from Lynden and the wind blasts it's way out of the Frazier Valley with force great enough to make you think you're not in Kansas anymore. Which of course, you never were to begin with...but images of Dorothy and Toto and Mrs. Gulch on her bicycle or broom are hard not to imagine when the wind gets blowing. And although the snow had melted from the parking lot here in these photos, it was still stuck to the tops of nearly every horse trailer there, which tells the tale of how cold it still is up here in the northwest.

But on to the show!

I signed Darling up for two classes, both walk trot; pleasure and stock seat equitation. As we got closer and closer to lunch break, Darling whined louder and louder about wanting to ride in a bareback class. I know she's not ready to be loping in circles, and I hadn't told her there was a walk trot bareback because let's be honest here...she's not been working a bit on horse show skills, just basic stay on the horse skills, and since Sandy had only been in one other show I didn't want to take a chance of him being snorty while in a crowd of kids. But Darling, when she's persistent, can generally sway me, and since Sandy was totally relaxed with her during warm up, I told her to pull off her saddle and sent her into the walk trot bareback class.

Darling was happier with that seventh place bareback ribbon than she was with her fourth place stock seat ribbon, or her second place western pleasure ribbon! To her, staying on that horse and having a good ride was more important than the placing. I'm very proud of her.

Steve Holt! handled himself much better than I'd thought he might. He's been in the arena once before, so I didn't have any qualms about him being nervous. I didn't expect him to do so well at keeping himself together on the rail, though. Yet he kept a steady pace and worked very hard to keep his head set nicely for me. We were fourth out of five in the Parent Pleasure class, but I'm going to venture to guess we were pretty close to the third place horse. We also entered showmanship, which was funny because I've not practiced setting up until we got there. Again, he was relaxed and tried his best. I thought we should have placed one placing higher, but maybe we were bumped down because we nearly ran over the judge? Could be...but Steve Holt! found her interesting and was in a hurry to go see her. Our third class was an open walk trot 'advanced pleasure equitation' class. Crazy...what the heck is advanced walk trot, anyway? The other walk trot that Darling entered was beginnner, never having won a blue. I really thought this class was for those green horses who weren't ready for walk trot lope, but there were no restrictions so I swear every horse was there in that arena with us! Over 20, easily. Again Steve Holt! did everything he was asked, but of course with his bouncy stride we weren't able to compete with those who truly were advanced, so placing was out of the question.

All in all it was a terrific day for everyone involved. Hungry horses got fed, Darling and Sandy did well as a team, and Steve Holt! got a little extra exposure that will come in quite handy when we head to Expo.

Sunday Stills

This weeks assignment was In Motion. And again, I dug back through the past rather than attempting to get anything new. (Darling got all the good action shots this week!)

Curt on Buddy working cattle.

Little Rip, a colt bred by Curt and purchased last year by Ken & Dee Dee McNabb.

Darling and I went to the reined cow horse event up in Lynden. I like the way this cowboy is all hunkered down as he's going after this calf.

I'm particularly fond of the bottom shot here.

I think reined cow horse would be a lot of fun, don't you? I'd like to give it a try on Sandy some day just for fun. After all, he's already a reined sheep horse!

Click Here to find more Sunday Stills