Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mustang VS Domestic


Years ago, 20 plus, I purchased a Golden Retriever. I'd stumbled upon an ad in one of the big dog publications for a breeder here in WA. It was listed in a town a couple of counties south. Lucky for me I had an uncle in that same town, and with that uncle, a telephone book. Mind you, this was before the internet was in every home across America, so telephone books were as close as you could to a Google search. We looked up the address, and off I went.

I drove down long and winding roads until I happened to find the residence of Dick and Ludell Beckwith. Sadly, no one was home. But I left a note on the door, and later that evening I received a phone call from Ludell to tell me that indeed, they did have a puppy available. It was one that had been reserved, but a divorce had taken place, and the soon to be ex-wife had called just that week to say they'd not be taking the pup.

I had no idea at the time that I was talking to whom some referred to as 'Grandma Golden', the matriarch of the golden retriever breed here in the northwest. I had gotten quite lucky, and as they say, timing is everything.

The pup I met on my return visit wasn't quite what I was looking for, however. I wanted a show dog, and this particular girl had a cowlick down the center of her face. She was pretty enough and conformationally correct, but the cowlick was a huge detraction. And all my dog books said "Buy the best you can afford." Well, she was certainly at the top of my price range, but there would be more pups, right? So I left.

Later that night I received another phone call from Ludell. "Tell you what," she said, "I have another pup. I was going to keep her. But you seem like you're serious about this, so would you be interested in a co-ownership?"

You may be wondering what on earth this has to do with mustangs and domestic horses.'s in the lessons. That co-ownership with Ludell opened doors. I got lucky that day, as I later realized. Years after leaving the dog show world, I started making phone calls for my sister, who was searching for a new dog. Ludell had passed away, but the good breeders knew and respected her, and that co-ownership I had with her made otherwise closed doors open.

Fast forward. I want to cut. I want to show that mustangs are able to cut. But my little mustangs get little respect, and in all honesty, I don't know what I'm doing out there. So what to do? Buy the best you can afford, and team up with someone who's respectable. Okay...I've got the team, but as much as the cowboy is amused by my tinkering with wild ones, he insists that if I'm serious, I need a serious horse.

Enter Kitty, a five year old Quarter Horse that the Cowboy had started a few years ago. She's not been ridden much at all in the past couple of years...once every two to three of months, at best. Her owner had others that were a priority, and Kitty stood in a stall doing not much of anything. But on this one day, when I told the Cowboy that maybe I'd be interested in replacing Steve Holt! with something that could cut, his eyes lit up and he sent me out to 'saddle that mare'.

To Be Continued...

Monday, April 25, 2011

How Many Days Till May Flowers?

I forgot to tell y'all that I have become employed as of last's very hard work. I'm doing chores at a boarding facility and am responsible for 40 horses. Feed, turn out, clean...all the stuff I do anyway, but did I mention it was for 40 horses?!? And it doesn't matter if it's raining or not, they still expect me to show up to work. I know...can you believe it?


Tika in the Sunshine


The Mighty Maxine


Rep's not nearly as light on her feet
as Tika, but she's a love bug, so it doesn't matter!

It felt so good to have sunshine on our shoulders. Tika has taken to her role as 'step mom', letting the girls know she is in charge before allowing them to hang out and eat out of the same pile of hay or drink alongside her at the water tank.

Sadly, the sun only lasted a couple of days, and we're back to icy cold rain. And just in time for me to return to work. I bet I'm the only one who'd prefer to have rain on their day off than when they're at work. Or am I? All I know for sure is that after all of April's showers, May had better offer up some pretty terrific flowers!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Installation

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cuttin' Loose!

Yesterday Darling and I climbed into the truck, along with Tucker, at 4 am. We picked up the Cowboy and the Doc, along with their horses, and hauled on down to the first cutting of the season for the Cuttin' Loose Club.

The Doc and The Cowboy

The Doc is 85 years old, and owns Darling's favorite cutting horse, Rosanna Montana. Rose and the Doc have been together for a few years now, and she knows her job. Stop That Cow!


Rose worked nearly perfectly for The Doc on Saturday, marking a 72 and giving him second place. Everyone cheers for The Doc...woo hoo's all around. Good ride, they tell him.

The Doc is congratulated by The Cowboy's Daughter.

The Cowboy had ridden Doxee as a turnback horse, one who stands in the corner and makes sure the cow in question stays where the competitor can work it well, inside the 'playing field' so to speak. Sometimes cows want to escape. Fancy that? The 'cutter' cuts a cow from the herd and then his horse works to stay between the cow and the herd. The rider keeps his hand down on the neck of his horse, giving it no help (ideally), as the horse works back and forth to keep the cow separated.

Doxee is the horse The Cowboy goes to when he wants one to work turn back, and she loves her job. A good turn back horse with a skilled rider can truly make or break a ride in some situations, and on this day, Doxee and The Cowboy did their job well, putting a smile on The Doc's face and a check in his pocket.

Friday, April 15, 2011


The other day I decided Rufus needed a hair cut. He's half Shih Tsu and half Eskimo. He's got that fine Eskimo undercoat with the long Shih Tsu top coat. When it snows, he likes to roll and gets all sorts of matts going in it. Then that bottom layer begins to shed and it makes a real mess. So I pulled out my clippers and thought I'd play dog groomer.


Rufus isn't speaking to me anymore.

Darling and I were driving down the road when we spotted a woman with puppies under each arm walking across her lawn and placing them into a pen. There were already a few pups in the pen, and she was heading back to the barn and grabbing more when we decided to turn around and pull into her driveway.

Nothing like stopping at a strangers to ask if you can play with their puppies. And all I can say is, it couldn't be helped. Really, could you have helped yourself?


No, I don't think you could have! And neither could we. His name is Tucker. And Rufus now hates us even more.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mustang Mauling

A woman was found mauled down by a pair of wild mustangs late yesterday afternoon. Apparently, she had been making an attempt to photograph the animals when they attacked. Images of the attack were captured on her digital camera.






Wild horse advocates warn that the general public is simply not aware of the dangers of befriending a mustang, that they are dangerous and can never be fully trusted. This is especially true if you are still carrying treats in your pocket intended for domestic horses.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Girls

Indeed overdue! This was from last weekend, when the girls came up on the BLM trailer. They roamed the arena for a few minutes while Gary pulled his trailer out, and I backed mine in. And then, play time was over, and they climbed into the next trailer for the final leg in their journey.


These two girls have such different personalities! City Boy's little red filly is bright and energetic. She's got boundless energy in the round pen, and despite the fact that we end each session with scratches and rubs, we begin each day the same as we began the day before...flighty and rushed.


Turned out together, Rep stands quietly, while the red filly (City Boy...what is her name?) hides behind her. And yet, walk out with a scoop of grain and you'll be mauled. Rep allows you to rub all over her face in exchange for grain. Red filly, on the other hand, becomes frustrated, grabbing at the scoop while trying to keep you from touching her.

Both girls have had the lunge line on them and are moving both directions pretty easily. I got the red filly leading yesterday, though a big shakily. She has a strong sense of what she wants to do. No fear. She's more like a toddler who wants her own way. Right now, she's the challenge of the two, but I'm sure that will swing the opposite direction many times over the next few months.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Lone Cowgirl

Okay, you simply must...I mean simply MUST...go check out my Facebook friend Shirley Morris' blog. MUST! She's got some really nifty neato stuff to talk about. Today's feature is caring for your vintage photographs. Totally cool!


So, in other news? The sun came out today. No, really. It did! And I went outside to play with my pony, Bad Reputation! Reppi (should I spell that with one or two p's? Repi? That doesn't even look or sound right...must do some thinking here on the name) isn't too keen on being my friend, I'm afraid. Oh, she's first in line when the chow comes, and I can rub all over her face while she's got her snout buried deep in the scoop. But no grain? No can pet. Well...that's her take on it, at least.

I did get the lead snapped on, no problem, while she was munching away. That led to some lunging, and turning and lunging the other way. She's weakest to her left, but circles to the right are pretty fluid. I did get to scratch on her, but she told me she didn't have to like it. That is, unless I scratched her cheek where the halter sits. That was okay...


She has got a rather pretty profile, doesn't she?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day Three, or Two

The rain is enough to drive a duck crazy. I know this, because there are a dozen crazy ducks in my backyard.


Hence, on day two, I didn't do a single thing with the new girls. They both looked like drowned rats out there, completely miserable and refusing to stand inside the barn on account of the funny noise it made with water pounding down upon it.

I wasn't any happier than they were with the weather. Only the ducks appeared to be enjoying their crazy sort of way.

Day three didn't yield much productivity, either. That is to say, I didn't go out and try to work with them and get them halter broke in the manner I typically would one of the older horses. The new girls are naturally curious and friendly...or at least they were when we were at the corrals in February. So when I went out to fill water tubs (not that there was a huge need, given the extreme rain), I stood at the rail of their paddock for a moment and it wasn't long before two little noses were reaching out to sniff me.

After a few minutes, I went inside, not expecting quite the same response. After all, there were no rails to protect them once I was on the inside. But City Boy's little red filly finally got brave enough to reach out her nose for a quick 'breather', softly blowing some warm breath onto my hand. Bad Reputation stood alongside, and after mulling it over a moment, she, too, reached out for a quick sniff.

Good enough training for Day Three, out there in the rain! I'm really hoping there's a break in the weather soon, but if there isn't? We'll stick to sniffing each other.


"Bad Reputation" as a baby this past July.
Roan horses get darker in the winter, covering up
their white roan hairs with the color of their 'base coat',
in this case, bay.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day One

I've been keeping a secret.

Back in February, City Boy adopted a filly. A cute, flashy little sorrel with three very tall stockings and a white blaze. She's only a yearling, and he's a bit disappointed that he'll need to wait for her to grow up, but I assured him this was a good thing. After all, I need to put more effort into Tika, and if I had a two or three year old here, she'd get moved to the back burner again. And a yearling would give us time to truly get her ready for life as a saddle horse.


The BLM was offering free shipping within 400 miles to anyone who adopted from 'Appy-Palooza', so it was a no-brainer to make sure we signed the adoption papers then. Yes, it would be a long was at their convenience, and last year that meant 2 months...but it was worth not having to haul the trailer down there.

A person can get quite anxious in 2 months, you know that?

But the waiting is finally over, and the new arrival is here!


But wait...what's that behind her?

Seems I've been keeping two secrets.


I saw pictures of the roan filly back in July when a friend visited the corrals. I was able to pick her out of the group of other yearling fillies at the corrals in Feb, despite the fact that her tag number had been changed. I'd really liked her...would have been thrilled if City Boy and Darling had liked her as well, but they didn't, so I thought I'd not end up with her.

But she haunted me, and when you're haunted, there's not much you can do except embrace your haunting! After all, as I explained to City Boy, I needed another resale project. Steve Holt! is up for sale, and who next? Better get something to keep me busy. Well...busy once Miss Tika is going a little stronger.


The girls are settling in well. They were unloaded at a friend's place, into his arena. When the BLM truck pulled away, I backed my trailer up. The girls looked at it with curiosity, and with the help of a half dozen people who were on hand, we formed a human fence behind those wild butts, and they walked quietly up to the trailer and stepped right in.


I've named my filly already: Bad Reputation! Mustang lovers gasp...why??? Well, because they have one, that's why! And I intend to poke fun at myself for always sticking with these wild things, and in the process, if I'm lucky, she'll be a winner. Heck, it's day one, and I've already touched her!


City Boy's filly hasn't been named yet. She's a bit flightier than Rep, but I was still able to rub her with the long pole. And back at the corrals, she came up and sniffed our hands, so I know it won't be long before she comes around.

So off we are on another adventure. You coming along for the wild ride?