Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And We're Back!

Tired, exhausted, dragging our hiney's across the ground. The Cascade Horse Fair was three long, weary days. Amazingly, my toe and knee held up through the entire thing.

Local trainer, Roger Saur, gets ready for his practice go while
Emily Diaz enters the ring with her paint gelding.

I wasn't able to get many photos during the event since I was running about like a chicken without a head. A few photos snapped on Friday evening of some of the cutters as they got ready to warm up, but then I was off on Sandy and cameras were the last thing on my mind.

Curt's daughter, Janel, sits atop Buddy as she waits her turn.

Some decent checks were given out at the cutting, along with pretty buckles for the winners of the three cutting classes as well as a couple of rail to trail trophy buckles. The arena was packed on Saturday as folks came to see what the HydraBull cutting was all about.

Sandy got a bee in his bonnet on Saturday about halfway through the clinic. We rode fine in the first half, took a break, and when we returned he was so wired I couldn't get him to settle down. No clue what the problem was. Later in the day when we finally got to cut..for real and for points...he had his head up and we missed an opportunity to work (that's what the score sheet said), when he didn't get a turn. But it was a blast, either way. By Sunday he was too tired from all the stopping he'd done with the bull, and when I asked him to stop in the ranch pleasure and reining classes it was more on the forehand than he usually does. He was pooped, and had nothing left to give. But it didn't matter. I had a good time with him, gave him a couple days off, and may take a short trail ride a bit later today. I try not to dwell on the shortness of time that we have left, but rather our accomplishments and the fact that Dave is excited to get his new horse.

Photo snapped by my mom

Back to the horse fair....I'd been quite concerned that I'd not have enough riders in the clinics, or in the Rail to Trail competition, or people there to watch the demos...but in the end it all turned out. Everyone was smiling and having a good time, and they want to come back next year.

Next year? Okay! Already working on the schedule of events. How about Cowboy Mounted Shooting?

We have one more weekend of craziness here, though, as Darling puts the finishing touches on Beamer and gets her ready for Saturday's competition and adoption at the Youth & Yearlings event. Beamer doesn't like to trot...better wish the kid some luck.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Can I Panic Now?

So here it is...early, still dark, Friday morning. I've been up for two hours and Lord only knows when I'll get back to bed.

Today I haul horses to the fairgrounds and begin setting up for the Cascade Horse Fair. And yes...I'm in stress mode.

In an effort to cope, I think I'm just going to slip into a case of denial and let the volunteers run everything. I mean...I'm not into stress, so why shouldn't I just hand it off to someone else, right? Right. Good plan.

Have I got any volunteers???

Three bulls waiting to outfox the cutting horses.

The highlight of the weekend, of course, will be the HydraBull clinic and competition on Saturday. That has drawn the most interest from people...and why not? That crazy bull is just too much fun to chase around!

I've also got my friend, Keith Danielson, coming from Hooper WA to do a trail clinic, Mission Farrier School doing a couple of demos, Dr. Brooke Johnson is an equine chiropractor who will be there on Saturday, and the popular computerized saddle fitting demo both days.

Curt gives John a couple of pointers during this week's lesson

I was quite concerned that my knee and toe wouldn't handle the pressure of the weekend. I still am...but the good news is I've been riding since Monday! So who cares about anything else, right? Sandy and I will be able to compete on Saturday afternoon.

And you'd better all be there to watch me! Not that I'm threatening you...but yes, I'm threatening you. Be there! And bring your wallets because we've also got some To. Die. For. Vendors!

Is this beginning to sound like an advertisement? Okay, I'm good with that.

Alrighty then. Backing away from the blog and other social networking sites in an attempt to finish the paperwork needed for the weekend. Last call for volunteers! Anyone?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Caption Needed!

Plumb out of ideas. Need a caption for this before turning it into a poster or t-shirt or whatever. Can you help?


Nothing joking or funny or amusing...looking for something more poetic, maybe? Dunno. Help. I need somebody. Help. Not just anybody...(oops, think Darling's playing her Beatles music a bit too much around here!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Boot!

It's on my foot! My broken toed foot is wearing my boot! See my silly grin? If you saw me walking you'd think me intoxicated. Truly. I'm wobbling all over the flippin' place, but I don't care cuz my BOOT is on!

I'm going out with my boots on...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thought You May Like...

to see how Red is doing!


Red still has his daily struggles. Trust is slow to come when new people are introduced, but his adopter has said that he trusts Dan, his trainer, and responds well for her at this point as well. Doesn't he look good under saddle? Such an incredible horse. I truly hope some day he allows his people to completely unlock that brain of his.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Double Barrel


Started out a good day. Hauled Sandy and Lefty down to Curt's, figuring that Lefty had been solid enough that the trip would be good for him. He loaded nicely, bolted a bit when we unloaded, but then stood tied to the rail like a champ while Roz and I worked the HydraBull.

When we were done, I transferred my saddle to Lefty, who'd stood pretty quietly during all the commotion that'd taken place up until then. Heck, Curt had even run the tractor and harrowed the arena, and while Lefty's head was up and he was pretty intense in his staring, he was quiet.

Roz climbed on one of Curt's colts and took a brief ride, while another client showed up on his rather green horse, and through it all Lefty stood and watched intently. I watered the horses in the barn and decided that perhaps it was time to pull the saddle and load up to go home. We'd been there 2.5 hours, and I was mighty pleased with how the colt was doing.


As I crossed the arena, John spoke to me and I was answering. I had my head turned as I approached Lefty, and reached out to put my hand on the saddle to loosen the cinch.

Which is when all hell broke loose. Lefty had been looking the opposite direction, and I hadn't spoken to him as I approached. He was caught 100% off guard. He did a half rear and shot back. When there was nowhere to go, he lurched forward, landing square on top of my left foot. The pain was intense and immediate. And Lefty didn't stop at that. He swung his head away, and both hind feet shot out so fast that it sent me spinning.

At first, I denied being kicked. I had seen those feet take a second shot at me, but was sure that he'd just banged into me with his haunches the first time. I was sitting in the dirt, clamoring quickly out of the way of the second kick, fearful of those feet coming into contact with my head.

Lefty snorted and swung back to face me, startled and not sure himself what had just happened. John jumped from his horse and rushed to my side. I asked him to get me a glass of water, certain that if I didn't put some liquid into my system immediately that shock would begin to set in.

Curt had been in the barn. When he walked out, he saw me sitting on the ground 15' from Lefty, and John's horse loose just a few feet away. He stood there a moment, trying to assess what he was seeing. I told him John had gone to get me some water, and by this time Curt had crossed the arena as I told him what'd happened. He held out a hand and helped me up. My left foot, the one that'd been stepped on, was throbbing. I was sure I'd broken at least one toe. The knee on my right side seemed to be fine...which is why when John came back and said he was sure Lefty had made contact ("I heard it!"), I said no. I walked to the end of the arena and sat down.

A minute later when I tried to stand up, I had to admit that perhaps contact had been made. Within minutes my knee was doubled in size and I couldn't put weight on it. weight on the right because of the knee, no weight on the left because of the toe! Great. Great. Great.

Linda put me in the car and hauled me off to the hospital while Curt and John dealt with the horses. A couple hours later, the xrays were done and thankfully the knee was just badly bruised and swollen. The second toe was broken, but good news was that it wasn't the joint and despite the fact that I'll be in pain for a good month (according to the doc), I'll heal.

So really, despite everything that happened, it could have been so much worse! Thanking God I'm okay, and going to be sure I don't let things distract me when approaching a horse, despite how good they may appear to be!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Freakin' Amazing Horse


No, really. He is!
Stirrups bouncing about not a problem.
Jacket hanging off the saddle horn, not a problem.
The look on his face when he spotted himself in the mirror?



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Big Day for Lefty




Not exactly what I'd call a fine specimen for hunt seat, but the little saddle was strapped on tight without a fight!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just A Few...

...shots from last week's trip south.

Pete French's Round Barn:





The round barn was build with the idea of a barn inside, and an alley way on the outside. The alley was used for training horses. It was wide enough for a wagon if you wanted to drive, or you could send riders around.

Horses in the corrals:

I don't think I'd want to mess with this hungry girl!



And a couple scenery shots to round it out!


Photobucket maybe this one isn't scenery? Darling found an arrowhead and decided one of the rocks needed a little modern artwork.

It looks almost not raining right now, so I'd better run out and do chores. Hope y'all have a wonderful day and I'll be sure to do the same!

Monday, September 6, 2010



Today I went down to Curt's in the morning with Sandy & Duns. Duns hadn't seen the hydrabull before, and while others worked it inside the arena, we stood out in the Washington rain where we could stay safe (or, in reality, those inside could be safe from us!) and still watch the motorized bull zip back and forth.

Duns didn't really care about the bull. He was more curious about all those horses tied to the walls and be-bopping around. He's going to make someone a very nice horse!

Later, I came home and spent a little bit of time with Lefty. What, you think I'm going to keep my hands off that boy? Yeah...right. Well, okay, I may have but City Boy did request I help out a bit since he obviously needs to spend time at work. So out with the spotted wonder I went.

Lefty is very intelligent. It doesn't take him long to realize there's nowhere to go inside his pen and he gives up the game of keep away. A few circles this way, followed by a couple more going that way, and he turned to face up. I rubbed him a bit, and in my arm I carried a red halter which I slipped onto him.

Then I went out and picked up a pocketfull of treats. My favorite training tool...treats! Love to get those horses looking for you and coming up to check the pockets. At first Lefty didn't think it right of me to handle him once, then return immediately and expect to touch him again, so a couple more circles were made before he stopped and gave me a glaring eye, as if to say 'my work day was done!' I guess he thinks a work day is 3 minutes long. In any case, the treat appeared and he took it, rolled it around in his mouth, munched it up in his teeth and proceeded to allow me to give him another. A few more and he even took a step toward me in search of one.

Good progress. Need him wanting to come for treats. Once he wants to be with us, we can start tossing on the blanket and saddle. Next week, or sooner, yes? Only took 8 days for Sandy and Steve Holt!, and they hadn't been handled at all previously. We'll see how the boy does.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

On the Road Again...

Just can't wait to be on the road again...

That Willie Nelson jingle ran through my mind most of Friday, and by the first crack of dawn, Darling and I were definitely there, burning up the rubber as we headed once again for Oregon. It'd been Monday when we'd left the corrals and our friends Maggie & Farrel. In their trailer were Raven, the bay mother of Honor's Legacy (aka Gunner), and with her road the black and white pinto gelding, Lefty...City Boy's new horse.

It took all stinking day to get down to Creswell, which it should not have, and we were bone weary tired by the time we opened the doors to the pick up in their yard. But not too weary to haul ourselves to the round pen where Farrel stood with Lefty.


Lefty had been selected to use as a Promo horse by the corrals; the one they gentle and raffle off for a scholarship fundraiser. But he was so snorty that they felt he may be a bit too much for some folks. As big as he is, he could intimidate you into believing he was dangerous. So the halter came off and back out into the corrals he went. Lucky for City Boy!


We, of course, are not afraid of a little snortin' and blowin' around here! After all, Sandy did it for the first 3 months, and still does now and then. So while Wendy was pointing out a couple others that were also nice horses, my mind was kinda made up, and since City Boy was being a bit non-committal, I decided to go with the horse we'd picked (and the horse I'd picked back in February, then decided against, as it so happens.)


Working with him just a little in the round pen on Saturday night, it was obvious to me that this horse had some talent. He could move quite well, and was able to roll back over his hocks in his turns. "Could make a cutter!" was my far too audible thought. "You are not to touch this horse. Dad says it's for me and him to train!" came Darling's also very audible voice.

Well, we'll see how it all turns out. One thing is for certain; Lefty is very cute!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Fun has just Begun


The corrals are normally closed on the weekend, but if you time it just right you can slip through the gate in the early morning during feeding hours, which is exactly what we did on Sunday morning before heading up to Stinkingwater. Yeah...I said Stinkingwater. What sort of name is that? I'd love to learn the history of it (though it sounds rather obvious, eh?) Among the many horses at corrals was this lovely pinto and her stunning bay filly. The morning was brisk and play was the name of the game. We all wondered just how closely this mare may be related to Dibs. Sister? Cousin? Certainly a resemblance.

We'd been told by our Harney County friend, Andi, that there were a couple of entrances into Stinking Water; the first was an unmarked dirt road just past the rest area, and the second was yet another dirt road, but this one marked. The marked road, she said, was the backside, so we were pretty intent on finding the first road.

But we didn't.

We did find some cows.


And we found a ridge with a beautiful view over the Stinkingwater Reservoir.


The road was long and dusty. And long and dusty. And long and dusty.

And long and dusty.

And bumpy.

Tater wonders where the Stinking horses are?

After traveling for several hours (I kid you not), we finally found ourselves faced with a sign (BLM land has signs in the middle of flipping nowhere, telling you how far you are from the next nowhere) that told us we were just 12 miles from the highway. I was never so happy. I didn't care if we didn't see a horse. I just wanted off the long, dusty, bumpy road.

Along the way we'd seen several campsites with twenty plus foot travel trailers pulled in by hunters. It was insane, as windy and nasty as that road was. Farrel had put the truck into 4WD more than once, and we weren't pulling anything! Hunters are crazy. And as we drove out of the HMA, we spotted one ahead of us, hauling his trailer out, and before anyone really realized what was happening, that trailer's dust blocking our view, suddenly a lightening bolt of movement as a dozen horses galloped wildly across the path of the hunter, leaving their water hole and making their way up the hillside. And we were stunned. This is the image we often think of when considering wild horses, not the peaceful, tranquil sight we often see on the Steens.

We found a place to pull over and ventured up across the lava beds that the horses appear to make their home. As we climbed the hill, we spotted the stallion.


The terrain here was so different than South Steens. Lava was everywhere beneath our feet. How do these horses survive?


Eventually we caught up with (sort of) the band of horses.



This was our first trip to Stinkingwater, but now that we know where it is? We'll be back.

On Monday before heading home we stopped once more at the wild horse corrals. City Boy had told all who'd asked, "We're not bringing a horse trailer and a wild horse won't fit in the car," when people wondered if we'd bring something home.

Um...but did he forget that we could go back and pick one up?


Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Adventure Continues

We spent two full days in Harney County with our friends, Farrel and Maggie. We were up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to head up to the South Steens, which of course is where we met up with Dibs and his small bachelor band.


Among the group of young stallions was this red dun, who seemed to be having a love affair with my camera.


These horses are a prime example of what a good program they've got going in Oregon. The South Steens HMA was gathered last fall, and horses such as Dibs were returned to help create a more adoptable horse. I'm really liking the sorrels below.


We ventured up the hill a bit, and back behind some trees we spotted a set of ears. As we climbed, horses began coming out of the trees, a steady stream of stallions, mares and foals. Before long, a trail of 40 or more were standing in front of us, and among them? The Stud Muffin Stallion known as Honor.





City Boy and Farrel walked up along the top in an effort to video the horses from a different direction, as well as encouraging them to stick closer to us girls down on the bottom side. This last shot was of a blue roan stallion who is obviously loving the limelight!

Not all is fun and games when you're a wild horse. Take a look at the battle scar Blue is carrying around with him.


Now I've just got to ask...don't you think this is the most adorable filly ever? Next Steens gather is roughly 2013...wonder if she'll be among those left out on the hill, or if I'll find her at the corrals?


More adventures to come, my friends, as this was just day one, and it wasn't even finished yet!