Thursday, July 30, 2009

An adopter for Empire?

Darling accepts her third place ribbon in Fitting & Showing

Little Em came home with us this past weekend when there were no adopters looking for fillies. "No mares", was the comment I heard over and over again. That's pretty disappointing when half the horses you've got are fillies. It was difficult to send Avalon and Willow back to the corrals, especially when little Willow had been giving me everything she had. She didn't have much, mind you, but she gave all that was there and it breaks my heart to see her returned. But as I'm constantly being reminded, "Tracey, you can't save them all!"

But I can save one, right? And Empire came home. Darling informed me she didn't want to work with her anymore, because it was too hard to fall in love and let go. She told me it wasn't fair that I always got to keep my competition horses and she was force to give hers up. But Empire simply is too small for our long legged family, and Darling wants a jumper...or Dibs (and hopefully, she says, they'll be one in the same.) So a new home for Em is a priority.

Darling & Empire also took third in In Hand Trail

One of our sponsors for the event, Elenbaas Feed, had donated several bags of grain for the yearlings as well as grain for high point prizes. I received a call from Ty on Tuesday wondering how things went, and then he proceeded to tell me that he was hooked on this mustang idea. We'd talked a bit about mustangs when I'd picked up the grain and he'd been intrigued. Over the weekend he'd started looking up information on them, and now he was telling me that they are approached by many rescues looking for help, but he thinks the mustangs are where it's at and he'd like to sponsor our efforts!

And me, I'm thinking "Cool Beans!", and saying how it'd be fantastic to get some grain for the horses. He pauses, then said that was easy enough, but he was thinking of donating a percentage of sales...

Okay, it's warm out and I think I've just fainted. Can someone lift me up, please? Did he just say they'd actually To our little mustang project?

After I stumbled for words and thanked him, he said that he and his wife would like to come out and see the mustangs I had, because he'd always sorta~kinda~wondered if he should get one for a trail horse. Well, now we're in my world...and of course he can come out and of course he should adopt a mustang!

So we took a tour of Greenhill and visited with Steve Holt! and Sandy, then wandered over to Empire who was hanging out in the arena with a couple of her domestic friends. And being the curious, friendly sort she is, she was right there in our pockets and checking out the newcomers. I explained how she'd been passed by, most likely because she was a filly but also her small stature hadn't helped. Ty, he's a tall man, but his wife was standing there stroking Empire softly...and as I looked towards her face I saw it happening. Em had hooked this petite woman, and by the end of our visit she was asking for an adoption application.

So it would appear that our sweet little girl will have a home, pending application approval, by the end of the week. Darling is very happy; she'd liked how softly Empire's future mamma was touching her and running her fingertips over the filly's face. Em seemed to enjoy it, too. They should have plenty of happy trails together in the future.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

If you do nothing else...

Call and be heard!

Stop National Animal ID before it's too late!

If you've not heard of it, read up. The USDA claims it will help prevent the spread of disease. I'm not sure when a disease has listened to the USDA and stopped spreading simply because they say a rule will prevent it. What's important to know is that your freedom is at stake. Your freedom to move about without reporting your where abouts to the authorities.
Now, if you don't mind sending in a form each day your horse (or pig or cow or chicken) crosses the road, by all means, support this. But if you'd prefer to be able to enjoy a nice trail ride, or leave your horse in your neighbor's pasture without having approval from the USDA, the please, please, please get on the phone and make this very important call.

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Action Alert

Now! Let me do a little bragging.

It's been stinking hot and beyond humid here, so sitting down to the computer has been unbearable for me. But I had to make the effort today as it's been a full week since I last wrote, and so much has happened!

Isn't that the cutest little yearling? Darling took third place with Empire in both the Fitting & Showing as well as In Hand Trail Class at the YAY Show this weekend! Unfortunately, there were very few adopters on hand, and Empire, Avalon and Willow, along with the other two fillies in the competition, did not find homes. Four of them were sent back on the truck to the corrals. We hung on to Empire in hopes of finding her a good home where she'll be appreciated. Her size is the only thing detracting; she's going to be a half pint, but a half pint with heart! Perfect for that kid who wants to head out and do cross country (she can jump!) or do a bit of ranch work. Please pass along to any and all you know that this adorable little filly is available.

Peek A Boo! Who are you? I'll tell you who's doing the's Liberty's Chance! Yes, our dear sale authority mare is finally in the custody of Mustang U, along with her filly, Chance. You can follow their story at the Mustang U blog.

Now it's time for me to turn off this computer for the day before I find myself melting into a puddle due to the heat it puts out. Y'all have a great...and hopefully cooler!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Goin' Out With My Spurs On

Our first trip to Burns we spotted a man decked to the hilt looking all the part of a 50's Hollywood Cowboy as he strutted across the road and into...the fabric store? Certainly you wouldn't have seen John Wayne doing that. Or would you? After all, this guy was wearing his work clothes, from cowboy hat to jingle bobs, he was the real deal and in the dusty high desert ranch town he was not one bit out of place.

In my town, people do not dress the part of the old west, but rather you'll see them in their business suits or dresses as they scurry about from desk job to the counter at the bank to the line at Starbuck's. Except me that is. I go out with my spurs on. Heck, it's what I wear when I go to work, so that's what I've got on when I head out to do business. Pink boots and pretty little spurs. Maybe I need to invest in a wild rag to go with?

This has been a rough couple of weeks here for me. Typically when I get a cold, it's a 48 hour deal. They can get as nasty as all get out in that 48 hours, but by day three I've bounced back and am kicking harder than ever. But not this time. My throat still burns and there's a mild fever that floats in and out with it. I suspect the fever is more humidity related than anything; it's barely there and most often found after I come in from working with the horses. A recent trip to the Dr confirmed there is nothing I can take; this is viral and attacking the vocal cords, so suffer through is the best I can do. Hence, I've severely limited my phone calls.

I've also limited my time with the new trainees in an effort to heal a bit sooner, rather than drag this thing on and on. I actually took the entire weekend off, something I'm not prone to doing, and I've cut my training back to once a day, or sometimes twice, rather than working them 3 times a day. My goal is to keep at it just enough to not lose anything we've gained up until now.

Dakota is leading, a bit shyly, but willingly in his small paddock. If I'm patient and keep my back to him, he'll come up and investigate, wiggling his lips on my shoulder in an attempt to familiarize himself with me. I've never had a horse who's not been gelded until age 4; he's different than the others. Gentle, quiet, but there's a power there that I don't want to least not in a defensive manner, so we're taking things a bit slower, and I'm happy with where he is. It won't be long before he's relaxed and comfy with people.

Addie struggles still just a bit, but I've been able to scratch both sides of her at the shoulder, and today she decided it was okay to move in a forward fashion when I was 'leading' her. Typically she plants those big hind feet of hers and pivots, but nothing more. She's the most fearful of the bunch, even though I was able to touch her first. She freezes, but then jumps, so I need to be careful. I've decided to let her drag a line with her so she can learn to give when she steps on it. Much easier when they teach themselves.

Denny...oh, what a boy he is! As previously mentioned, I can nearly climb all over his right side, but he's not comfortable withe me on his left. Although~I did manage to get him lunging just 6-7 feet from me with his left side facing me. He didn't like it and made several get away attempts, but he's coming around. He's also not fond of being touched on his face, so we're working at that. He did, however, figure out the leading thing last night.

Once they get to this point, things do tend to move along. A lot will depend on my 'recovery' though. Feels funny to say that as I'm not really sick...just tired (probably increased with the heat/humidity) and feeling crummy due to the sore throat. Hopefully I can shake this in the next day or two, because...

The big Youth & Yearlings event is this weekend! I know, I know...3 months have passed and now it's time for the kids to show off what they've learned, and most will be saying goodbye to their dear little friends. If you're in the area, please come out and support them at Black Raven in Arlington.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Can't Beat The Heat...

...but, OH, how I wish I could!

While the numbers have not been high, the humidity is killing me. I fare poorly when it's damp outside, and it makes it difficult to train, both for me and the horse. Top this off with the fact that I've come down with the creeping crud and you've got one horsewife desperate for feeling better on top of cooler, or at least drier, weather.

Despite the heat and sore throat issues, I plus slowly along with my three new charges. They're all such good minded horses, yet all with distinct personalities. Take Denny, for example. He's two, a bit flighty, and very right sided. He refuses to allow me onto his right side at this point. He flies, scampers and scoots to avoid eye contact. That's okay, it's not like I've not done this before, first with Sunny and more recently with Willow.

Despite not being able to do much at all from the left, I can work my way into his space from the right. I even hauled my camera out the other morning to get pictures of me scratching his back. I don't know's not like it's all that interesting, but maybe his mom and dad want to see his first scratching session? What really impressed me with Denny recently was how I was able to walk around the back end of him and scratch all over his hips without him feeling the need to defend himself. There is absolutely zero kick in this boy, no matter how uncomfortable he's been in his new surroundings and being hounded and tormented by the lady with the big long rope.

"Look, ma! She's touching me!"

Addie, the big, drafty type mare, is another quiet, good minded girl. Unlike Denny, she doesn't have an overt preference for one side of the other. Yes, she's a bit stronger on her left, but she's allowing me into her bubble on both sides and I've gotten my fingers into that matted, snarly mane of hers to begin untangling the witch knots. She's not happy about it, mind you, but she tolerates me. Where Denny allows me to rub all over his hips (or hip, as it would be), Addie hits the panic button when my hands move anywhere away from the shoulder and neck area.

Well, that's not entirely true...I can work my way up to her ears if I'm on the left side. And I've gotten the lead snapped to her halter in an effort to begin leading lessons. A lesson that Addie has taught me, is that you really can't drag a draft horse. They've got to want to move of their own accord!

And then there's Dakota. Look! You can see his eye peeking out from behind that sheepdog forelock of his! And what a soft eye it is, too.

Dakota is a special case. He's leery of people, but curious. In most ways he doesn't appear to be making the headway that the other two are. I've not touched him yet, and in fact he's barely been brave enough to reach out and sniff my fingers but once or twice. He's slow moving, quiet, cautious and reserved. He's always facing me when I'm out with him. I've not used my rope much with this boy, it doesn't seem like the right tool for him. Is there a reason for this decision? I don't just doesn't feel right, and sometimes that's all I can go on, the gut feeling. I don't want to do anything that will create fear or aggression.

Of course, sometimes I wonder if using my pole isn't going to be seen as a threat. He arches his neck and blows, looking at the pole as it approaches, sometimes taking a step backwards, sometimes lifting a mighty hoof into the air to ask me to back off the pressure, and sometimes he just stands there and lets me rub and scratch his neck while standing in front of him.

Like Sandy, this is where Dakota likes his people to be; right in front of him. But last night he softened up just a little bit and allowed me to step off to his left side just a bit more while working the pole up his neck and beneath his mane. Man, what a mane! It's crazy thick and tangled into a couple of serious dreads. Must be mighty itchy under there...or at least that's what I'm hoping as I begin inching my way closer to him.

While Dakota is the most protective of his body, he's also the only one of the three to be watching me with both eyes. He's not afraid, but very polite. Not once have his ears gone back while I've been in with him. He's the only one of the three dragging a lead, and when I pick it up, he's very light at the end of it and will follow me fairly willingly in cirlces, both left and right, as well as straight ahead. Neither of the other two is wanting to lead at this point. They'll follow the pressure when I pull, but they're heavy. Dakota actually leads.

He may be part sheep dog.

I see a few clouds outside. Little, fluffy white clouds. I sure hope this means just a wee bit cooler weather ahead. I simply cannot get out there and work these horses like I ought to when it's so muggy. Makes it more difficult to get well when I'm sweating like that.

Why do they call it sweating like a pig, anyway? Pigs don't sweat...

Oh, never mind my rambling mind and fingers. Back to work I go!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TIP, and Spare Tires

I've been contacted by our local fair and asked to return with wild horses once again. Last year we brought three mustangs in and did gentling demos all week with them, taking them from fearful, shaking creatures to halter broke ponies looking for a leader. It was great fun, and the crowds loved what we were doing.

The horses I bring are part of TIP (trainer incentive program), which was created by the Mustang Heritage Foundation to help trainers cover costs while the horses are in their care. If the horse is adopted within 90 days, they'll send you a check to help cover expenses. If you don't find an adopter, you're out the money you've put into the horse, unfortunately, so it's good if you can get a good minded, easily adopted animal in your hands.

Of course, people all want pretty, colorful ponies, especially if they're getting mustangs. And who can blame them? But a lot of nice bays such as Sandy and Steve Holt! get overlooked because of that, so the horses who come through TIP are typically the bays and browns and blacks. But a couple of weeks ago I got a call to tell me there was a dun in the TIP corral in Oregon, and would I like him? Oh, boy, yes! He'd be perfect for the fair. I don't mind having the bays there, but one horse with a bit of flash will catch the eyes of onlookers, and that's very important. So this past weekend Darling and I drove to Longview WA where we met the pretty dun gelding you see above.

At 4 1/2, he's very aloof and leery of people; he stuck to the back of the pen and wouldn't come forward, not even to eat. People were mesmerized by him, but his age had them discussing whether or not he could be gentled. This was exactly the reason the folks at Burns put him in the TIP program. Most people were intimidated by his age, so why not give him a chance with a bit of training?

I plunked a sign up on his pen telling folks to find me if they were interested in adopting, and I had a number of inquiries, but even with 30 days gentling offered they were still hesitant. It didn't take more than a couple of hours, however, to find someone who desperately wanted him, so before we even left for home, Dakota had an adopter. Of course, this means I haven't got anything with flash to bring to the fair as Dakota will be in his new home by then. Guess I'd better go mustang shopping, eh?

By the end of the day on Saturday I'd adopted out Dakota, found someone else who wanted their new mustang in training, and picked out another TIP mare as we were closing up. She may not be flashy, but she was a big four year old with a very pleasing attitude. Only problem was that Dakota's adopter showed up with her sister...and the sister adopted the mare! So two TIP horses were now adopted, and I had a full trailer coming home. So yes, I really DO need to go mustang shopping!

Everyone loaded easily and Darling and I waved goodbye as we headed for home. Just as we hit the pavement, however, I began to hear a little click click click. A rock, I thought...but it didn't come loose so I pulled over at the stop sign a block from the fairgrounds and climbed out to look. Oh, no! A huge nail was buried in my front tire. So back to the fairgrounds I went, where I begged and pleaded and tried my best to look like a damsel in distress in an effort to get the gruff and tough BLM men to help me out.

It looks like I ran him over, right?

Give that government man a shovel...he's having to lean on his knees!

Once the spare was on the truck we headed for home. Traffic on the way down had been horrific; a parking lot from Everett to beyond Olympia. If you know anything about WA state, you'll know that's over half the state in one big traffic jam. Thankfully that was not the case on the way home, although Seattle traffic never sleeps. With the late start, and the tire change, it was after seven by the time we hit the road and midnight before the horses were unloaded into their dark new home. I'm sure they slept as well as we did that night. I'm kind of wishing I was still sleeping!

Seattle at dusk. No, it's not blurred; that's the way it really looks!
All the Starbucks caffeine, don'cha know!

Photos in this blog post by Darling.
Go visit her at Mustang Desire.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Does Clinton Anderson read my blog???

"I have a whole new respect for what you do," said the voice on the phone. A neighbor, who happens to be an equine vet, had just finished watching Clinton Anderson's episode on RFD where he'd been working with mustangs. "Have you seen it?" No...I'm afraid not.

She wasn't the first person to ask. Even Curt wondered if I'd seen CA and his girls working mustangs. But until City Boy taped it and plunked me down yesterday morning, I can honestly say it hadn't ever passed in front of my eyes. And when I did sit down, it wasn't for long...

"He's been reading my blog! Look, he's using my rope trick!"

City Boy went back to check the first aired date, which was in March. Proof, I said, because I'd been using my rope long before that. He must have copied me. Right? Well, okay, maybe someone else out there realized on their own what a sweet deal a long rope can be when dealing with a wild mustang. But I'm sticking to the Clinton Anderson reads my blog story.

A few years ago I adopted this mare, Sunny. She was a reassignment, meaning someone else had adopted her but was now giving her up. She'd not been touched since they'd gotten her. Adopted in June, we picked her up in February. She'd rubbed off her halter and avoided any contact with humans, which wasn't difficult since they'd adopted a little colt who was more than willing to be buddies with them.

So when Sunny came home, we began a journey together. Quiet Storm had been easy, Sunny was not. She was shy, and very touchy about you being on her right side. People continually commented that she must be blind, but she wasn't...she was just a wild horse who didn't like you on her right side.

I worked Sunny with a rope, tossing it repeatedly over her back until it was no big deal to have it laying across her body and dangling down the other side. It took three months for her to relax enough to actually allow me to touch her right shoulder. The day she looked at me with that eye was cause for great celebration. I had to take a picture so I could look at it later and know it wasn't my imagination.

Sunny was a tough nut to crack, and being only my second wild horse, she offered me a lot of opportunities for learning. But learn I did, and learn she did as well. While I never did ride her before finding her a new adopter, she did get good at standing nicely to be tacked up, and I even lead her up on the trails.

When people ask me what my favorite tool is when working wild horses, I tell them a rope. Of course now they'll think I learned it from Clinton Anderson. But those of you who've known me long enough will know that Clinton learned it from me...(that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Liberate Liberty!

Head on over to Mustang U for your chance to win! Sign up as a follower; when they hit 100 someone will win, so get your friends to sign up, too!

Plus, there's another Name Game going on, so plunk your thinking caps atop your little noggins and offer up a name (there, not here) for yet another opportunity to win.

The rains are falling here in W. WA, which should not be surprising considering this is the northWET, after all, but with all the lovely warm weather we've had, it seems somewhat foreign. The horses are all out standing in it, taking showers while grazing. Cloudy again today, though birds are out there singing. Had hoped for a trail ride but Darling made arrangements to visit the mall with cousin, Lanky Hanky, and Miss Banana Head is coming along to hang out with me, it would seem. Wonder what we'll do to occupy ourselves for a couple of hours in a mall?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Riding into...Canada???

Darling is happy. Sandy? Not so much.

Darling and I have been wanting to try a new trail. A new to us trail that is. Acutally, I've been there once before but I was about Darling's age...mid teens...and I refuse to acknowledge just how many years that's been. Let's just say long enough that I didn't remember how to get there. But we recently purchased a little booklet of horse trails in the county, so off we happily went.

A mouth wateringly tempting trail head awaits.

The trail head began with a wide logging road which disappeared into the tall timbers. After a bit we came to a trail that crossed from one side of the road to the other. Darling shrugged, then darted off to the right where we found ourselves on a well traveled and quite lovely path. Vine maples criss crossed over our heads, moss hanging down and sunlight streaming between leaves creating dappled shadows on the ground.

Why Darling and Sandy cannot let me just enjoy a simple ride is beyond me; it didn't take long for that little helmeted punk to find downed trees across the trail, sending Sandy forward at brisk trots and slow canters in an effort to fly. While the flying trapeze act zipped out of sight, Steve Holt! insisted there was nothing to be concerned about and continued his meandering like a well broke trail horse. Why on earth a horse who was wild and untouched just 7 months ago and who took a two month vacation in the middle of his training would pack me along with little concern boggles my mind, but I do believe Darling and Sandy were happy for it as it allowed them the freedom they desired to make foolish decisions; that of being airborne on the trail.

Naturally, nothing horrific happened to either of them. Good think I had Steve Holt! to take care of me and keep me company out there.

Canada, Canada, where for art thou, Canada?

We'd been on the trails for nearly two hours when we came across a man leading his pack horse while riding his mule. We stopped and chatted a bit, and he told us to be careful of the trails to the north as some led into Canada. I told him no problem, we're riding mustangs. You know, the Border Patrol rides mustangs. They'd probably mistake us for Dudley Dooright...oh, wait, he's a mountie, isn't he? He didn't ride a mustang. (Hmmm...maybe I need to enable some mounties?)

Three hours later and untold miles of unexplored trail later, Darling, Sandy, Steve Holt! and I were back at the trailer. The boys were given a bit of time to nibble the green grass before loading up and heading back home. This was a beautiful evening ride and Darling and I are anxiously awaiting our next trip into the foothills below Canada.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More Trip...and How Does She Do That?!

All right, first thing I'm going to do is apologize to you RIGHT NOW for this super photo intense post! If you've got dial up, you'll be here all day. But hey, this was a four day journey for Darling and I, so what's one day when waiting at your computer for the photos to load?

It was evening in the Spokane Valley when we arrived, and Lea said it was time to bring the horses off the pasture. So out she went with Darling and I trotting along behind. And not trotting in the sense that we were on horseback and off to some great round up. No, Lea hopped onto her four wheeler and Darling and I were trotting (and huffing and puffing) on our own two feet in an effort to get out there with her.

The horses know the routine, and did their best to avoid capture. But Lea is pretty good on her motorized pony and before long the stubborn beasts were heading towards the gate.

Which is where Raven promptly dropped her head to the ground to snatch one last morsel of green grass, causing a pile up behind. Miss Raven needs brake lights, me thinks.

Lea shares a special moment with Ditto, her paint mare.
The two were quite the team back in their show days.

Hey! That's not a horse. City Boy, I want some of these.
Maybe for my birthday?

Hey, Mom! I want one of these for my birthday!

Darling! What are you doing hijacking my blog?

No, I did not photoshop that hair. Darling had a cut and color job done before we left. It took a long time. I fell asleep in the chair at the salon waiting. Gee, I hope I didn't snore!

Something I miss seeing here in my little valley are sunsets. And sunrises, for that matter. We've got a hill to the west and a hill to the east, so the sun is high in the sky before we ever see it. At Bob and Lea's, though, the world appears flat and the setting sun creates wonderful colors in the sky.

Coming home we opted to take highway 2, which is narrow, steep and winding; three words I do not like to associate with driving. But it'd been a few years since traveling that way and I felt up for some adventure.

Rock formations reach for the sky

Road work caused us to stop and wait. Thankfully there was something to read!

Banks Lake looks like a river when you're crossing the bridge.

And there you have it, last weekend in pictures. Most of them were taken by Darling, the camera thief. Speaking of Darling, I took a peek at her youtube page and spotted the most incredible background wallpaper! How does the kid do that?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wild Ponies in Vantage...and Spokane!

It was hot. It was dry. It was dusty. But am I complaining?

Well...yes, YES I am. And whining, too. I got a sunburn! And Darling looks like she's blistering. Darling never burns. Ever. She's got that skin that transparent people such as myself are ever so envious of. She walks across the yard on a sunny day and somehow ends up tan by the time she reaches the other side. I sit next to the water for 8 hours, turn red as a lobster and two days later have nothing to show for it other than my skin has returned to it's normal summer tone of white...which is a shade darker than transparent for those who are unaware.

But this weekend in Spokane...wowser. Hot, dry, dusty and sun rays that are far more damaging than those on the WET coast.

Despite our lesson in sunshine, we had an enjoyable weekend in Spokane. We took I-90 across Snoqualmie Pass and past John Wayne Trail. Shortly after crossing the Columbia River (which is huge and where a great deal of trading went on in the early days of western settlization...that's the technical term, settlization) we came to wild horse hills. And sure enough, high on a bluff, there they were!

Galloping in wild abandon, this herd of horses appears to be ready to jump off the bluff and thunder past civilization below. Stopping traffic, cars pulled over and people were swept in throngs to the base of the hill in awe and wonder. It doesn't matter how often they see these horses, there's something magical, mysterious about this scene, as though it transports us back to a time long gone when the wild ones outnumbered the cars, and instead of engines you heard hooves thundering across the hills.

Of course, the horses are long gone and all we have left is the iron monument to remind us of the past. The horses are made of iron, crafted by sculptor David Govedare, who pays tribute to the Last Great Roundup which took place here in 1906.

Of course, some fools just can't stay at the bottom of the hill to view the horses. They feel the need to climb the steep hillside with it's loose rock and sand in an effort to get up close and personal with the 1200 pound ponies. Not that I knew of anyone personally to get that stupid in the heat of the day. Darling, put down that camera! Punk.

Oh, I'm sorry! Did I manage to get the camera back under my control? Why, yes, yes I did. And what did my little lens spy on the way back down? Darling tells me she's got a good seat as she slides back down the hill!

After paying tribute to the wild ponies of yesteryear, we continued our drive into the Spokane Valley. Lea and Bob were gracious hosts and I've got some lovely photos of their place that I'll share a bit later. For now, here are a couple quick shots of the lovely Thumper, a mustang mare who I first spotted at a wild horse adoption four years ago. Back then, as a yearling, she was a dark, steely gray. I was amazed to see how she'd lightened up!

From a distance you'd have thought she was an Andulusion. Close up? Too small, so you'd reclassify her as Paso Fino. But I can guarantee you that folks wouldn't take this mare as a mustang. I must admit that if she'd had a few extra inches in height, I'd have been hard pressed not to try to convince Jim that Thumper needed to come home with me!

Thumper wasn't the only one who caught our eyes. When Darling and I first pulled up we spotted a tall, lanky red dun tied to the rail. Smiling, I told Darling that there was her horse, and maybe she ought to take More Better for a little walk. It didn't take much coaxing to convince Darling to play the role of horse thief, and even less time for Andrea to realize someone was making off with her boy!

We'd not seen More, Tonka...since Andrea'd adopted him in 2006. He's filled out quite a bit since his two year old year, and she's done a lovely job training him. He's light and responsive and genuinely enjoys her company. While Darling would have loved to have adopted him three years ago (Andrea outbid us that day), we can't imagine him in a better home.