Thursday, May 26, 2011

Three Sure Signs of Spring


The apple trees finally have blossoms.


The 'Spring Pig' has arrived


Your horse is dressing like a dork...

Are there signs of spring at your house yet?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


There are no words that do justice to the Diva!



She defies description!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Equine Herpes claims 2 Horses

My tennies were on my feet. My boots were put away. I'd finished riding Kitty and was helping the Cowboy with a few little things that he couldn't do alone before heading home.


He'd replaced a barn wall, but needed help lifting it up into place and making sure it was 'plumb'. While I was holding and he was nailing, the Doc wandered in to take a look at the progress. "You riding?" he asked me. "Already done," I replied, still holding the framework. The cowboy told me I ought to saddle one and ride with the Doc. I sighed an inward sigh...I really ought to head home, but at the same time, I sure didn't mind being told to saddle one up and ride!

Before I could say, 'maybe not today', the Cowboy continued with, "You can ride turnback while Doc works the buffalo."


I have never worked a buffalo before, and only twice had Sandy and I had an opportunity to even trail a cow, so this was terribly exciting stuff! I quickly saddled up Doxee and got her warmed up.

Enter the buffalo. Just one. A young heifer trotted into the arena and looked around, wondering where her friends were, seeing only the two of us on our horses. Doc was at one end of the arena, I at the other. We were about 30' away from the buffalo, who was done looking and now trotting toward the wall, thinking she'd slip around behind the Doc and head back to the gate. No such luck, as Rose blocked her exit. While Rose kept the buffie from making it to the gate, Doxee and I followed back and forth at our end, making sure she didn't suddenly turn and run the opposite direction. I also had the task of moving toward her hip in an effort to get some added forward motion should she stop too long and not move, but if I did that I needed to be quick to get back to my 'spot' so that she couldn't run past me.

I had an absolute blast! I want me some buffalo... Perhaps next time I can sweet talk the Cowboy into letting me work the buffies with Kitty?

In other somewhat distressing news, there is an outbreak of equine herpes on the west coast. The Cowboy has quarantined his barn for the next few weeks in an effort to keep everyone healthy. The outbreak involved some horses who'd been at the National Cutting Horse Associations Western Nationals last week. Two horses have died (one in CA, one in CO), and many competitors had already left without knowing their horses may have been infected with the virus. There is no vaccination for this strain, unfortunately. If you're on the west coast, I'd highly recommend not traveling and consulting your veterinarian as to the potential dangers. Even though we're in WA, quite a distance away, we know several people who were there with horses, and it makes no sense to risk leaving the barn right now when it is so highly contagious.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bad to the Bone!

Spring fever has struck! The girls were turned out this afternoon for a bit of play time. Look at them go!


Max and Tika take a brisk canter along the fence.


"Hey, what are you doing?"


Max lets 'er rip!


"Hey, are you taking pictures? Be sure to take mine!"


Tika takes the lead!


Bad Reputation finally gets into the act. Someone forgot to tell her it's fight or flight...she's a lover, not a flighter or a fighter!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!


With Steve Holt! still here, buying a new horse wasn't an option. But since the owner was over horsed, and the Cowboy was looking to wheel and deal, a deal indeed was made. She is, for all intents and purposes, mine. And when the mustang sells, registration papers come this way. In the meantime, Miss Kitty and I are becoming better acquainted.

First thing I've learned is that Kitty does not like to be ignored. The more she gets out of the stall, the more she wants out of her stall. And like the border collie, Patch, she's willing to dig to make it happen. She rattles doors until she's driven you half crazy. Leave the hose too close to the bottom of her stall door and her lips will reach out there and drag it into the stall where she can better play with it.

Saddled up, Kitty just keeps getting better and better. She's learned to completely relax at the jog so that we can go around nice and slow on a loose rein. The other day I worked the bull again. Her head dropped down low and she stuck right with it. I'll need to begin hauling her to the riding club and a couple other arenas in the coming weeks so she can get used to visiting new locations. I've got the calendar listing the cutting events in W. WA sitting here. This month, we're not ready. But June? Well, we'll see. Perhaps just wishful thinking. At least she can go and watch and see what it's all about. By the end of summer, though? I hope to be cutting!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tucker Puppy Goes to Work


"I can do no wrong!"

Tucks wasn't paying close enough attention the other day and stepped in front of a horse. You could hear that poor pup yelp a mile away! Landed squarely on his right paw while walking across the pavement. Poor Tucker! He limped and gimped his way back to my truck where he spent the rest of the day waiting for me. He's such a good puppy when he goes to work with me, but pony feet can be a dangerous thing!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kitty stood in the middle of the barn alley, cross tied and saddled, when the cowboy came wandering in. I took one look at him, and had to ask the question, "Where are your boots? Aren't you going to ride first?" After all, the white board in the barn that tracked which horses were turned out or ridden on which day, had very clearly lacked an X alongside Kitty for a good, long time. Oh, she'd been turned out, but ridden? Not.

"She'll be okay. You just climb on and ride with one hand. You'll be fine," came the answer from the preoccupied trainer. So I slipped the snaffle into her mouth and ran the reins through the martingale rings, and into the saddle I swung.

Her walk, at first, was fast, as though in a hurry to make the first lap, but then it evened out into a long, smooth stride. Before moving into a trot, I went to two hands, and again she picked up the pace, moving a bit faster than a horse who'd been ridden regularly, but far more relaxed than one who'd only been ridden once in the past six or more months. Her lope was pretty much the same; a bit fast and uneven, but nothing stupid. At one point, when asking her to pick up the lope to the right, she thought she'd kick up her heels a bit, but that was it.

I asked her to walk and she came back down, no fight or fidget like you'd expect from a high power horse after a long break. A twinkling of blue eyes from the Cowboy, and the HydraBull started up. Kitty went straight to work with hard stops and fast turns. I'm pretty sure I had a stupid grin on my face the whole time.

It was a strangely odd experience, to be truthful. On one hand, it felt like stepping onto an old friend. Her size is similar to Sandy, and she rode a bit like him. The buttons were all in the same place, making it easy enough to figure out how to ride her. But her training was more fine tuned...she was much quicker to respond when working the bull.

Over the past few years, I'd walked past Kitty's stall, giving her nose a rub, wishing her owner would let me turn her out to play. But she wouldn't, so Kitty would stay in her stall while I cleaned out the others. I shut down any feelings for the mare that may have sprung know how that is, don't you? Some little tickle that says you could develop a liking, but you don't allow yourself to go there because in the end, it just causes grief. I turned my attention instead to the horses that belonged to the cowboy, especially the gray mare. I wasn't on Kitty more than fifteen minutes, but in that time, I knew there had been a reason for those early tinglings. This was a definite fit.

I rode Kitty again the following day. She nickered this time when she saw me. The following day, I brought Darling down and let her ride and get a feel for the little red mare. Darling wore the same stupid grin I had the first time.