Friday, June 26, 2009

Hydra Bull!

Just a short clip of our last lesson chasing that danged ol' bull around!

Darling & I are headed east of the Cascades for the weekend. If you live near Spokane, stop in at Valley Mission Park in Spokane on Sunday for Mustang Days! No...neither Sandy or Steve Holt! will be there, but I'll be judging the show and Darling will be, undoubtedly, bored to tears (unless someone comes and asks her for her autograph, that is!)

We had a lovely, if somewhat damp, ride yesterday with Paint & Pony. Got some video and I'll try to get that up for you once we return home. For now, have a great weekend, and don't forget to pop on over to Mustang U! Nearly 1000 visitors since we started blogging 2 1/2 weeks ago, thanks to all of you! And the filly has a new name, so you surely will want to go find out what it is!

Later, gators!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Moon grazes in the lush grass

Jupiter listens to the birds singing

Sandy & Steve Holt! finding tasty morsels

Steve Holt! asks, "Is this my better side?"

The past couple of mornings have been lovely, with blue skies and birds singing. It felt wonderful climbing out of bed to the buzzing of bumble bees hard at work and the warmth of the sun on my skin.

But then the clouds rolled in, and with them the rains began to fall from the heavens. And while the horses didn't seem to mind, I was driven back indoors to less than inspiring piles of laundry. I've got my way nearly through it, though, which is a good thing as Darling & I are going to head out of here shortly to meet up with Pony Girl and Paint Girl for a ride.

Hopefully Darling will be able to keep Sandy under control, as the wind is blowing a bit out there and when the tree tops get to swaying, Sandy gets to dancing. And when Sandy gets to dancing, well, there's no telling which way those feet of his are going to go. Wish the punk luck staying on today!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Best Thing Since Cottage Cheese!

Or at least that's what Darling says:
"I seriously love this little horse. She is one of the best things since cottage cheese. Thats some pretty amazing stuff. She's so smart. She's adorable. She'll try to do whatever it is you're asking ..."

When you're done watching, why not run over to Mustang U and offer up a possible name for the new yearling we've taken in? You could win...something! Oh, come on, now! You're not only gonna play for the prize, are you?'re going to play because it's the right thing to do!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Moon Hits the Trail

We had an amazing 26 days of sunshine here in the northwest. Bright and warm and best of mud! And did I mention amazing? It was awesome. Darling anxiously awaited her last day of school, which had been delayed by over a week due to making up not only snow days from the winter, but flood days as well. The river had risen to the point where the buses were unable to make it on some of their routes, so no school. Which, of course, children were delighted about at the time. Once June was here and Ol' Sol was up high in the sky, they were not.

But school is out now for the summer.

And the rain has returned.

While Darling was still stuck behind a desk doing tests, I grabbed her boy Sandy and headed up into the hills dragging along this lovely boy, Moon. Moon is from Beaty's Butte, just like Steve Holt!. In fact, they remind me a bit of each other. Same wistful, longing look to their eye.

Moon doesn't really need any dragging. He's pretty happy to get up on the hills. Like most Beaty's Butte horses, Moon has a good mind and enjoys learning. And with good, mustang tough feet, he follows Sandy like a trooper.

Despite the clouds and early morning rains, the afternoons have cleared up and give way to bits of sunshine. Ever optimistic, Darling wears her new summer outfit as we saddled up and hit the trails with Sandy & Steve Holt! yesterday afternoon.

We found a new little trail that kept us busy an extra five minutes before it met back up with the lower loop. Darling has become quite the little rider. Last year it would have frightened her a bit to have Sandy bolting down hills, but this year as he began a downward descent at the canter she stuck right with him. Me, of course, I'm hollering WHOA, and Steve Holt! thinks I'm talking to him and is more than happy to oblige. Sandy and Darling both looked up when they came face to tail with us, Darling giving a weak smile and saying, "Sorry." Kid thinks she's a cross country jumper or something these days.

Steve Holt! is less than enthusiastic about trail riding

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Dad's Day!

Yup, that's me! Smokin' hot toddler.

It's Father's Day, so I thought I'd give a shout out to my dad, the man who let me smoke a pipe when I was three. Musta been good, I had a smile on my face! I decided I'd write a poem for Dad today.

F is for the funny things you gave me (like pipes)
A is for the adorable daughter you had
T is for the turtle you bought me (that died)
H is for the humor you've shown
E is for email, which has little to do with you but it starts with E
R is for a really cool dad

Okay, so I won't rush out and get a job writing greeting cards just yet. But along with that interesting little ditty, I'm also getting you this, Dad. A horse. You've been so supportive of my bringing in these mustangs that I've decided to share with you my dream. So when you get home from wherever it is you're currently at (eh), you'll find this pretty girl on your patio. Hopefully she won't have wandered off and be roaming the streets of Lynden...although it's an agriculturally based community, so I'm sure no one will mind her leaving divets in their lawns. And it's chemical free fertilizer, too! You'll probably be very popular.

Have a great Father's Day, Dad!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm being a CELBRITY!

I'm crushing.

I'm being followed on Twitter by a younger man.

One who's got over 6,000 followers, even!

My knees are did this happen? Oh, sure...he's probably only seen me once there and, since he's following something like 3,000 people, will never see me again. But I'm not going to let that phase me. I'm being stalked by a celebrity and dog gone it all, I'm going to brag about it!


Nothing else...just how cool! Thanks, y'all, for taking an interest in my little bitty wild world.

Well, that, and Darling has just started her band. The Flying Potatoes...the best darned Air Band and Air Rockers you'll ever see! In fact, they're considering hosting an air concert down by the river this summer. Be on the lookout for their new air CD...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I lost two pounds!

Have you ever wondered what people in Brittan think when they hear those words? Do you think they're momentarily confused by whether a person has lost weight, or money?

I'm not one who's much into dieting. Oh, I watch what I it disappears into my mouth, that is. But I don't count calories and for the longest time I never owned a scale. If I could swing my hiney into a saddle without splitting my jeans, what was the point? But somewhere along the line I picked up a pair of pants which became labeled "The Inspiration Jeans", and I hung them in my bathroom where I could look at them every day, telling myself if I just lost a few pounds, those jeans would fit.

I began to seek out others who were also watching their weight, and even joined some friends online who were doing weekly weigh ins and announcing to the world just how much they weighed and what they wanted to lose. That was scary, but I did my part and went out and purchased a scale. And I began watching my weight.

Being a good girl, I also watched even more closely what I was eating. And I exercised. I picked up that donut, watched it very carefully as I curled my forearm and pumped it into my mouth. Dang, I got that down to a science, and I was equally good at pumping with my left and right arms, so I could watch both a maple bar and a bismark in the same sitting.

And my weight. I watched it, too, as that little needle began to climb. Hmmm...this is not what I'd had in mind. Those jeans were still hanging there and now they were no longer mildly uncomfortable when they were zipped and snapped. No...they weren't even zipped, let alone snapped! And my weight, well, I watched it spill over the top of many a jean waistline, creating the loveliest little muffin top. Yes, it was actually quite adorable. Or so I told myself.

My mother once told me I'd lose my head if it weren't attached, and obviously my muffin top is attached because I don't seem to be losing it.

Then last spring I moved Sandy down to Curt's place where I suddenly found myself without donuts to pump. Instead I cleaned stalls all day and rode until the muffin top shrunk. Not enough to slip into the Inspiration Jeans, but it was disappearing. Of course, winter came and with it, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and loads of mashed potatoes, ham and turkey later...well, lets just say my Brittish stockmarket was gaining again.

Which is why it was with great delight that I realized there's been an economic crisis of muffin top proportions here! I climbed on that scale to realize I'd lost two pounds! That's right, gone like a freight train, gone like yesterday, gone like a soldier in the civil war, bang bang. I don't know where they went, I don't care where they went. I'm just happy they're gone. Now, if I could just convince another 10 to disappear with them...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sacramento Extreme Mustang Makeover Results!

1. Wendy, shown by Katherine Cumberland of Santa Maria, CA , earning $2,000 and adopting for $4,000.
2. Lilly Bet, shown by Joel Sheridan of Acton, CA, earning $1,500 and adopting for $1,400.
3. Kanterry, shown by Bob Britland of Galt, CA, earning $1,000 and adopting for $1,500.
4. Marley, shown by Randall Davis of Greeley, CO, earning $800 and adopting for $2,200.
5. Cowgirls Hotrodd, shown by Amber Bussell of Oakdale, CA, earning $600 and adopting for $1,650.
6. Wild Rose Mustango, shown by Krista Koenig of Paso Robles, CA, earning $500 and adopting for $1,500.
7. Kto~, shown by Mardi Radway of Roseburg, OR, earning $400 and adopting for $1,000.
8. Sangria, shown by Juliane Hanley of Fall City, WA, earning $300 and adopting for $1,100.
9. Abby Lane, shown by Gary Wedemeyer of Winton, CA, earning $200 and adopting for $500.
10. Bella, shown by Joe Weitekamp of Las Vegas, NV, earning $200 and adopting for $500.

Other Adoption Results

  • MissFire, shown by Jennifer Mothershead of Buckley, WA, adopted for $600.
  • Tonopah Ora, shown by Steve Bauhr of La Grange, CA, adopted for $1,000.
  • Slippery When Wet (Slipper), shown by Julie Baumann of Lincoln, CA, adopted for $700.
  • Tesla's Sweet Dream, shown by Julie Baumann of Lincoln, CA, adopted for $1,000.
  • Shekinah, shown by Destry Campbell of Alturas, CA, adopted for $550.
  • Monique, shown by Micheal Carpenter of Lincoln, CA, adopted for $950.
  • Acacia, shown by Stephanie Korhel of Maple Valley, WA, adopted for $400.
  • Payette, shown by Curtis Northrup of Alturas, CA, adopted for $500.
  • Chili Pepper, shown by Rob Radway of Roseburg, OR, adopted for $800.
  • Barbwire, shown by Carlos Talamantes of Oakdale, CA, adopted for $400.
  • Mustang Candy, shown by Gena Wasley of Roseville, CA, adopted for $1,800.
  • Ima Your Horse, shown by Susan Watkins of Sheridan, CA , adopted for $900.
Thank you, Julie, at MHF for providing the results for me!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Does Your Horse Answer Your Phone?

We all know Steve Holt! is a pretty unique horse. Not just a good personality. He's got beauty and brains! Today he showed off just how intelligent he is when he answered my cell phone.

No, really, I kid you not! How many of you can say the same? I'm not thinking many.

City Boy went out and got us new phones this past week. Gone is the old one that got zippo reception while I was in the arena. Now I've got this bright yellow phone on which I can talk, talk, talk nearly everywhere I go. I suspect City Boy may regret that before too long.

Steve Holt!, however, is totally enamored with the new phone and when it rang while I was our riding, well...he answered it. You see, my new phone whinnies rather than Baaa's like the old one, and Steve Holt! gets so excited that he just can't help whinnying back to that horse in my little yellow cell phone.

Okay, so maybe he'll need to rely on his beauty and personality.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What would you choose?

Would you be interested in subscribing to an online Mustang Magazine? What would you like to read? What would you ask people? What would you be curious to know?

How to use particular pieces of equipment?

Would things like Herd Management stats intrigue you?

Perhaps adoption stories from readers?

How about learning what Wranglers are up to when they're not pushing horses around the corrals?

Training tips?


Hoof Care?

Tell me what would interest you. Don't be shy, now...I want to hear from you lurkers, too! I know you're out there...

Monday, June 8, 2009

1st Time Horse Owner Adopts Wild Mustang

Recipe for disaster? According to many, yes. But it's a scenario that gets played out over and over again.

She's never owned a horse before.

She visits the Wild Horse Corrals.

"That one's a pretty one."

You're cringing, aren't you? Admit it!

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone in the Puget Sound region asking if I'd be willing to take in her mare. She tells me the story; she visited the corrals, spotted the lovely buttermilk buckskin, and had to have her. The lovely mare was five years old...and bred, of course. The following spring this new to horses owner found herself with a black colt alongside the now six year old mare.

Of course, I've long advocated that an open mind and willingness to learn will get a newbie in the horse world farther than a closed minded person with 40 years of horsing around behind them. I asked a few questions, wondering just what I was going to be faced with. The mare had been ridden, but the owner was just to that spot where she couldn't really progress. The mare was a bit bracey, she said, and had gotten in a bit of a habit of racing off when they were cantering down a trail.

Well...okay. Let's see what we can do.

The owner came out to visit me and see where her pretty little mare would be living, and then said she'd like me to take both of her horses, if I could.

Well...okay, let's give it a try.

And so it came to pass that Jupiter, a pretty buttermilk buckskin mare (now 11 years old) and her black four year old son have come to live with me for a month in hopes of getting a bit of an education.

The first thing I'll tell you is that these two horses have exceeded my every expectation. They unloaded from the trailer just as nicely as any professionally trained horse would...or better. Their ground manners are impeccable and they respond willingly to each request to move this way or that.

The biggest hang up they've both got is a fear of ropes dragging around their legs. Being that I've got long split reins that hang down past the elbows, this simply will not do. So this is where we began our lessons.

In addition, Jupiter has never worn a bit. Stubborn, that sweet looking girl is! She clamps her teeth tight and refuses to let her muzzle be handled. Or at least, that was her plan. Persistence has paid off on my end. I just stand there at her head and refuse to give up, rubbing her muzzle and eventually slipping fingers inside her mouth. She threw her head around quite a bit at the thought of the bit, so I substituted her rope lead. Much softer on the teeth and surely safer for me when she began flinging her face into the air.

A few days of working without the bit and as of yesterday it's slipping in and out. She plays with it a lot, of course, as is only natural for any horse just introduced to a bit. I stood on her left side, lifted up the right rein and began playing with direct pressure, pulling her nose to the right until she began to turn around. Her hips slipped under my arm and her tail swished past my body as she followed the pressure of the rein, stopping when she found herself facing me.

She appeared a bit stiffer to the left than right, so I tied the left rein to the saddle. Not tight, just a bit of tension. The right rein was left loose so that she could tip her nose to the left easily.

This was not an exercise Jupiter liked, but as I walked away and behind her, she learned to follow and that giving to the pressure was easier than fighting it. Before long she was standing contentedly with her nose tipped just enough to avoid the pull, which is exactly what I wanted her to do.

Up until now, Jupiter's mom has ridden in one of those rope halters tied with a rope in mecate fashion. This is a great way to start a young horse, but one of the things Jupiter's mom wanted was support in transitioning to a bit. This is a smart, smart move on her part. An educated horse is one that will have more options in it's life. We can all say we'll keep our horses forever, but for some of us, forever for us isn't the life of the horse. We need to give them every opportunity to be successful in life should we find ourselves in a position of needing to rehome them.

Jupiter learned a lot today. I rode her with the bit and asked her to give to a pressure she's never felt before. At first she tried to avoid me, but we soon worked out the sticky gears and were trotting circles, giving to the bit, stopping nicely and even, just a little, bending around the leg. And on top of that, she wasn't frightened of the long reins slapping about her elbows and legs.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Stills

Sunday Stills

The Case of the Missing Mustangs

Rufus bounced happily along in front of me, despite my threats to send him back to the pound.

"Homeland Security, just doing my job, ma'am," was his answer. The naughty ball of fluff could care less that my boys were not in sight. Turning back towards the house and ready to go climb into my truck to see if they'd fled down the road, I noticed something back up in the shadows alongside the neighbor's house. Sure enough, there were my two runaways, grazing contentedly on the overgrown lawn. The muddy fluff ball at my side bounced towards them as if to indicate he'd been the one to locate their whereabouts. I growled at the dog, rattled the grain and coaxed my wayward mustangs towards home.

Darling was at school when I loaded our boys into the trailer and headed to Curt's for a lesson. Steve Holt! rode in the outdoor arena for the first time, and we were back on the bull! I just can't tell you how pleased I am with this horse; he doesn't seem to have missed a beat when it comes to memory retention. His biggest hang up is he's slow at his turns. Spurs will become part of our attire from this point forward.

I was just warming up when City Boy pulled in and deposited Darling. Her ride was fantastic! Curt left me to cool out my gelding while getting Darling started. By the time I walked around the front of the arena he was calling to me, "Hey, Mom, get in here!" So I did, and I watched Darling and Sandy doing some fast rollbacks along the wall. "This is the most aggressive I've ever seen her," said Curt. "She's getting better each time, she's real coachable. More than her mom," he said with a wink. Whatever, Storbakken... But he's right. Darling's riding has improved ten fold in the few lessons she's had. Once they'd spent a few minutes indoors, Curt had her move outside to see how Sandy would respond to her in the open. With all going well, Curt nodded his head, saying, "We'll do something a little different next time." Something tells me there's a bull session in Darling's future...

We loaded up and headed further south, completely confusing those mustangs, I'm sure, and met up with Paint Girl and OH for an evening trail ride. We had a great time and can't wait to do it again...hopefully with Pony Girl next time around!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Twittering...not sure I get it.

Why is it they feel the need to nap right next to the fence where I've left stuff sitting? Why can't they nap where there's no hose filling water tubs?

Do you twitter? Or tweet? I'm not so sure I get it. But today I signed up, and it automatically scanned through my email address book and created a list of people for me to 'follow'. Now there are 48 folks out there who think I'm stalking them!

Darling and I are headed to a lesson this afternoon with Curt. Afterward, we'll be heading down and hitting the trails with none other than Paintgirl! This will be Steve Holt!'s trail riding debut. So far he's just done our wee little trail here across the road. He crosses through mud and goes up and down hills. If Darling can keep Sandy under control, we'll have it made! (Sandy's been feeling like a wild mustang here of late; not sure what's gotten into that rascal!)

Speaking of Sandy the Rascal...

I've been bringing the boys down to the neighbor's where they spend the night grazing. In the morning, before the heat sets in, I lead them back home where they can lounge about inside a cool(ish) barn. The other day, before bringing them home, I decided to take a few minutes and set some fence posts out in the longer, lusher grass and create a new space for them. I opened the gate so they could come with me as I strung the hot wire.

At first they weren't so sure. I had all the posts where they belonged and was walking along, not so hot (for the time being) wire running through my hands as I connected it onto each post, when Sandy suddenly gets the idea that it's time to go home...and that meant NOW! And despite the fact that the gate through which we travel in and out is on the opposite side of the pasture, he jumps the little muddy stream of water, Steve Holt! hot on his heels, and dashes past me.

Of course, he manages to snag the hot wire across his chest (it's that skinny white stuff, not really wire) and drags a good 30' of it behind him until it comes to it's end, trailing through the long grass and no longer attached to a single post.

What's more, Sandy darts over the spot of blackberries separating this pasture with the one next door. Steve Holt! is so close I swear his chin is resting on Sandy's butt as they disappear across the field.

Oh, well...I'll finish fencing another day. The field the boys are making a mad dash across backs up to our property, and they're headed towards the little trail we take each day. I hear Rufus barking from our side of the creek and know the boys are on their way. I go climb into my truck so I can go home and open the gate for them.

But when I pull into my driveway, there are no horses. Maybe they're still down getting a drink from the creek? No...they're not there. But Rufus is, all wet and muddy and proud of himself, telling me he chased those big boys off his property. Stupid Rufus. Head full of fluff. It's back to the pound with you if I can't find those horses!

I cross the creek with a scoop of grain, rattling and calling, expecting to see them in the big pasture between home and the field they should have stayed in. But they were nowhere to be seen...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Darling & Sandy video

This past week I've been struggling with computer issues. But as cranky as I was over that little detail, I was equally delighted with how things have gone with the horses. Steve Holt! and I have strung together several good rides, including hauling down to Curt's for a lesson on Friday.

City Boy brought Darling down after school, and I managed to get a little bit of video footage of her ride. She's in seventh heaven over a new movie program she's got, so has gone a little crazy with the fun stuff.

In the evenings, when it's a bit cooler (we've been hitting high 70s here of late) Darling and I have been taking the boys to the tree farm for a short ride. Steve Holt! has been fantastic, not frantic at all when Darling and Sandy trot or even lope on up ahead, just picking up his walk a bit while still moving on a loose rein. And do you recall how worried we were over Sandy's profuse sweating last fall and winter? He now completes his rides with barely a damp hair, and then it's just under the girth, even with all the long trotting Darling has him doing. She's got that boy fit as a fiddle. Now I've got to do double time with Steve Holt! to catch up!