Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Perfect Day

Today was one of those rare, perfect days. The weather was just right, no wind and I was on a roll.
For the longest time, it didn't seem to matter how much I know I got done in a day, I couldn't see any difference. About 10 pickup loads of tree branches later, a crappy fence removed, several loads of old hay gone and I can finally see a difference around here.
Thank god-I was starting to get a little discouraged.
So I loaded up yet another load of tree branches and headed to mom's. They have a draw that is washing out and we have been dumping tree branches, old hay and anything else that is organic. Sure saves money not having to pay the dump fee. She was ready for me this morning and the whole herd was in the corral and waiting.

I have kinda decided that pretty much what everyone needs is just some easy, straight line walking with a little long trotting thrown in if they are too high. Most of these guys haven't been ridden since last November and although everyone that I am taking out is pretty broke, they aren't above giving a buck or two. Just so I know that they feel just fine-LOL. They can't get too out of control because they are all FAT and lose their air pretty quick. Lucky for me because there is something in my mom's grass that turns Shetland ponies into Clydesdales.
This one was supposed to be a shetland...

That is a 6' fence behind him and he is wearing a 16" cutting saddle. I was standing on a cement ledge that is about 1 1/2 feet above the dirt. Clydesdale!!!
Actually, this is Sandy. He and another gelding were supposed to go to Nebraska to get some pasture miles on them, but the guy never showed up to get them, so I have added them to the riding remuda.
Funny thing about Sandy, he is what most people hate about foundation bred QH. He is straight shouldered, short pasterned, long backed and kind of has a dumb look in his eye. But he has what all of the old foundation breeders bred for-SPEED. This big lug can flat get it. I started him on barrels last year and am going to continue on with him now. I got to train his maternal 1/2 sister on barrels for my aunt and uncle and I loved that crazy mare. She wasn't too sane but we got along. Even after she ran over me and left hoof prints on my chest and butt. She was a natural barrel horse and I wished I could have gone on with her, but they needed to lighten their load a little and had to sell her. But I believe in the power of the dam and if little sister could run barrels so can big Sandy.
So I ended the day at mom's with 4 horses rode, 5 groomed within an inch of their lives, 2 horse's with pretty new manicures and 2 that got baths(I can't believe my mom let me give horses baths-usually she is against that sort of thing).
I had plenty of daylight left and was hoping my favorite daughter was in the mood for a ride. She was, so we saddled up the geldings in town and headed for the arena. I was delighted to see that they had worked it up and the ground was beautiful. Now what does a barrel racer do with good ground? You know it-I slipped a run in on Moon. It was strictly my intention to just ease him around the barrels, but when he turned first-it was on!! Holy Crap-I gotta learn how to ride a barrel horse again. Because he just about left me sitting at first and I was still gathering up reins when he took 2nd. I blew a stirrup and dropped my reins between 2nd and 3rd and was sucking on the horn just to stay with him when he turned 3rd.
Megan was laughing her ass off at me-the little twerp. I think I can safely say that Moon is back on pattern-and I don't have to worry about his desire to run.
Now-a full bore run was not what I was after-he just really took me by suprise. So we walked til he quit blowing and headed home. I gave his stifles a good rub down with linament and am praying that he isn't sore tomorrow. If I can keep his stifles from getting sore until he is in shape-I have me a barrel horse...Yay!!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Get of Dam

My family has raised horses for generations so foals nearly every year wasn't anything new, but it takes on a whole new meaning when that foal is yours.
In 1990 my brother came home with a black "King" bred stallion that he intended to cut and use as a heel horse. Once my mother got a glance at his papers there was no more talk of cutting him. Instead my brother bought a Leo bred mare to cross on him and I decided to breed my Poco Pine/Senor Tardy mare.
This was the start of my horse herd...

Kings Stylish Babe-"Queenie"

Queenie inherited her mother's good looks. She also inherited a lot of bronc from her dam's side. The Senor Tardy/Poco Pine cross produces a lot of arena horses-they just happen to come out of the bucking chutes rather than the roping chutes. It took me 4 years, a bronc rider and an equine chiropractor to get this mare broke. But I was determined I was going to ride her and I did. I ended up running barrels and pole bending on her. I also used her at the cattle sale barn and roped on her. She turned into a really nice mare.

In the years it took to get her broke, I bred her(I know, a cardinal sin these days) to a Doc's Okie Quiote/Poco Bueno bred stud and got this...

Okies Royal Command-"Okie"
Love this mare. She is just the sweetest thing ever. She would have made a fantastic barrel horse or I really believe that I could have taken her to the cutting pen. Alas, she was born with a twisted left hind foot. I started her on barrels and even got some respectable runs on her, but I could tell it started to hurt so i quit and we just used her for W.Pleasure(LOL-they all look crippled anyway)and Showmanship classes. Over time the calcification on the joint has gotten so bad that I need to have her put down. I really thought about breeding her but she is in pain now and I couldn't make her suffer for a year just to get a colt out of her.

After I rode the black mare for a year, I had the opportunity to breed her to a Lady Bugs Moon/Otoe stud and jumped at the chance. Despite what some people say-King horses can run if they are crossed right. Lady Bugs Moon and Otoe are both noted producers of running horses and this was my chance to add a little speed to the mix. Got it in this one...

Ladybugs In Command-"Beauty"

Beauty stayed in SD when I moved to AZ so she didn't get broke. I suppose she wouldn't be too hard to start, she is only 7 this year, but I think I will let it go. She is halter broke and I can trim her feet and worm her. I have others that are more important to ride and I have plans to breed her to our new stallion.

I knew another person had crossed one of our King mares on a Sun Frost bred horse and the resulting foals were superior, so I thought I might try that cross. Sun Frost bred horses are good rope/barrel horses. I bred to a Sun Frost/Docs Decathalon bred stud and got this guy(finally...a gelding!!)...

Docs Frosty Command-"Frosty"
Now this is just a super, sweet horse. He started so easy and is so willing. He just happens to be as dumb as a box of hair. I know he can run. I have seen him leave the other horses standing, but when you ride him, he is just the most natural western pleasure horse I think I have ever ridden. So this year, it looks like I will be spending some time in the pleasure pen...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Flip This House

I love home improvement shows. One of my favorites is Flip This House. Both Megan and I think that the best part is when they start the demolition. Woohoo-they really tear some stuff up.
Well, a few episodes this morning put me in the mood for some demolition of my own. This is the last section of the old corrals. Pretty sad looking...

In its day it was a beautiful fence. Although it was always too short. If a horse wanted out, it wasn't much of a jump. My step-dad tore down the "old" corrals and built these - about thirty-five years ago. So I have to admit I was a little sad to be taking down the last bit of all his hard work.
But boy does it look nicer now...

It wasn't a very satisfactory demo though. Once I unwired the panels from the fence-it pretty much fell down. The posts were rotted through-LOL. The roan horse did a number on that tree didn't he?

So it was on to another project. We call these plants Indian Tobacco.

They get huge and shoot large stems up that get a head of brown seeds on them. They look similar to tobacco plants-guess that is where they get their local name. I have no idea what they are really called. Anyway-I have made it my mission to keep them from getting so big and going to seed. So I have been hacking at them with the spade.

All these years I never knew they had roots like this...

They look like a cross between carrots and sweet potatoes. I wasn't about to take a bite to see how they tasted though. But now I know that they don't spread by seeds.
Look at the size of this root...

When my back got tired, it was on to more tree trimming. Yay-I am almost done with what I can reach from the ground. Chris fixed my Wild Thing. Ladies and Gentlemen-I did not tear it up. But what I didn't realize that the chain brake must be released before the chain will turn. Who knew?

The evening was so nice, I just kept puttering outside. While I was sweeping the sidewalk, I saw this...

Awwww-it is so tiny...

It's a little early for the irises to be blooming. And I have never seen one this tiny bloom before. These are special though. I transplanted them last fall from our family cemetary. My grandmother Burnette loved purple irises and she planted them everywhere. They have gotten so thick at the cemetary that they aren't growing or blooming anymore. So Megan and I dug some up and brought them to town. Am hoping that we got some of the bi-colored ones too.

Sheez - you would think fat ass has had a hard day or something...

Friday, April 25, 2008

That Darn Stifle

We woke up to this...

It is cold and nasty and shows no sign of letting up.

Looks like I won't be going to the barrel racing tomorrow after all :(
I went out to catch Moon yesterday(boy did it take some effort to make myself do that, as sore as my back was) to just go for a nice easy ride at the arena. Thought I might trot around the barrel pattern a couple of times to see if his mind was on business again.
As Moon trotted that big circle around me to avoid being caught, I noticed that his right hind leg didn't seem to be coming up correctly.
Damn it-here we go again...

When Megan got home, I asked her to trot him off for me. I couldn't see anything. Thought maybe it was just because the ground was a little slick on top from the moisture. But when she circled to the right with him, there it was. He is not lifting his right stifle quite right and his right toe was dragging just a bit.

Now up until last year, this horse has never taken a lame step. He was like iron. But last April, I got a sobbing phone call from my niece saying that she didn't have a barrel horse to ride in the High School Rodeos her parents had entered her in(Long, stupid story). I don't lend my horses out lightly but in a moment of weakness I said long as I am there every time you ride him.

In the interest of brevity and to avoid going into a long drawn out family saga-Moon ended up with pulled stifle muscles. He got too strung out running and was not staying in his correct lead. When he would get about 2 strides from the barrel he would try to switch over. I watched the video of it and saw him catch his hind toes as he was trying to change and his hind legs just sort of hung there while the rest of him was still going forward. I am sure this is what did it, but it sure didn't look severe enought to have caused permanent damage. I gave him 60 days off and then brought him back rather lightly toward the end of last summer. I made one run on him and it was horrible. So I went back to the drawing board on his training and have been working on the various problems he has accumulated. There has been no sign of lameness since he was hurt. Until yesterday.
Although he was being a butt head on Wednesday, I was really careful about warming him up, taking breaks and a good cool down. I don't know if this is a strength issue or if there is permanent damage.
The changing out of his leads is something he has always done. His mother was the same way. They are very easy leaded horses and will switch with the lightest pressure or change of direction. The ground I worked him on was dry and shallow but not hard.
So if anyone has ever had experience with a stifle injury or knows of exercises to strengthen the stifle please let me know...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sweaty Horses

And now...Back to our regularly scheduled program-LOL.

The last couple of days I have just been bopping around the blog sphere catching up on what everyone has been up too. MiKael over at Rising Rainbow gave me my wake-up call. She is trying to ride nine head of horses-mostly young stuff, from what I understand and needs to do groundwork on nine more. OMG!!
I have been letting myself get sidetracked with all of this spring cleaning and haven't even tried to ride anything but my barrel horse. I do want to go to that barrel racing this weekend. My mom actually suggested that I take another barrel horse, so I thought I better get a few rides on him before we go. He is actually in good shape and our horses get a lot of exercise going up and down the hills in the horse pasture, so I thought sure, why not.
So today-thanks to MiKael-I got my priorities straight.

First on the list was my pin-headed, speed demon-Moon.

Moon has decided that he wants to cheat on his turns. He would love to just throw that hip out, drop that shoulder and whip around the barrel. Ummm...NO!! I have been working on his shoulders and hips at a trot around the house. Today we went to the arena(yea-the WR Rodeo Arena is 5 blocks from my house-lucky me) and worked at the lope. I worked him a little harder than I wanted to because he was being a monster about staying in his right lead in the back. One of my favorite exercises to work on this problem is starting a large circle-about 50-60 ft-in the corner of the arena and just loping him around. When he is relaxed and moving correctly I ride out of the circle in a straight line. The goal is to make the horse stay in his lead and travel a straight line. Moon did not want to stay in his lead, so he got to keep doing it until he did. As soon as he maintained his lead in a straight line-we quit.

Next up was Megan's barrel horse in training-Rip.

Now Rip is just about as broke as they come. He is extremely laid back and the perfect horse for Megan. However, he has NO right lead. I doubt my brother ever asked him for a lead in the pasture or when he used him for team roping. I love my brother-but a good trainer he is not. A good team roper he is. Megan has been working on shoulders in and out and two tracking to get Rip more responsive to cues but just couldn't get him tipped into that right lead. Today - SUCCESS. I got him into his right lead with little trouble the first time I asked. Boy is he rough in that lead. It is going to take a lot practice for him to get comfortable. I cannot take credit for him picking the lead up though-Megan did all of the work-I just helped him tip over the edge.

The day was young so I headed to mom's to ride the other barrel horse. As pretty as my mom & step-dad's place is...I could never live out there. The wind blows all the time. Today was no exception.
So I decided to groom a couple of horses and trim some feet.

Turk(the jerk) just happened to be in the pen closest to the barn.
Much elbow grease and four trimmed feet later, I saddled him and left him to "soak" awhile. Turk is going to be a barrel horse too. His personality reminds me a lot of Moon. I don't know if this makes me love him or hate him. Unlike Moon, I wouldn't want to pull him out of the pasture, jerk a cinch(so to speak) and try to ride off. I am pretty sure I would end up on my head. He is one of those horses who just can't help but be spooky. Thankfully, he gets a little better the more you handle him.

And then there is Leo.

By the time I got Leo up, brushed to within an inch of his life and his front feet trimmed(my back gave out-I am such a wuss) the wind had gone down enough to go for a ride. Leo is a finished head, heel, break-away and barrel horse. I love him to death. He has to be one of the nicest horses I have ever ridden. However, he is 15 this year and seems to be getting stiffer. Don't we all with age? So I won't be taking him to the barrel racing this weekend. We have several weeks of bending and flexing ahead of us to get him limbered back up. I can't wait to get a run on this guy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Caution...Redneck Alert

Now I am going to warn you-if hunting small animals, displaying their bodies, drinking and driving and taking dumb, but fun road trips offend you. STOP READING RIGHT HERE...Thanks for stopping by and come back tomorrow.

Now for the rest of us...this is what we consider a great family day out here on the plains. Yes, there is what is commonly called a bad combination of drinking(a couple of beers), driving(Chris' new mule-LOVE IT) and high powered rifles(take no prisoners).

Safety is ALWAYS a priority. No live rounds chambered until we are stopped. Bolts are not levered until we have our target. The point is to actually kill a prairie dog with each round. One shoots, the other spots.

A beautiful, uphill shot of about 190-200 yards on this one.

Beer...High powered rifles...Small animals...Priceless

Everyone shoots in this family...

Of course we have to check out just where we can go in the mule...

Took off cross country to see what all this awesome little rig could do and ended up here...Huh...Now we know it only takes 1 1/2 hours to get to the nearest bar.

Thank goodness Billy's daughter is a licensed driver. We sent out the 911 and she came with the pickup and trailer to get our dumb asses. Can't remember the last time we all had so much fun together.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

This is a picture of a portion of "what the hell do we do with it now" row at my mom and step-dad's place. Any farm or ranch that has been in existance for more than 10-20 years has one of these. Well, I found the solution for most of it...

On Thursday my plans to go to the ranch and trim horses and clean were changed because Chris needed me to come to Rapid City to pick him up. He was having the protective coating put on his suburban and they needed to keep it for a couple days. I decided this was as good a time as any to haul a bunch of junk that was sitting around here up to the recycling place in RC. I mean you really can't take a load up just to take a load up with the price of fuel these days. So, I scrambled around loading junk pieces of tin from the house in town and at mom's and at the ranch. I threw on a bunch of old cable that came off the barn when they re-tinned the roof and pretty much any scrap piece of metal that would fit in the pickup. I topped it off with 3 old lawn mowers that were unrepairable and seven(yes 7) old batteried that had accumulated.

Really, my only concern was just being able to get this junk the hell out of here. It's ugly, unusable and dangerous.

I have heard everyone saying that scrap iron prices have really gone up so I figured it might be worth a little bit. Wow!! I might have a new hobby. That pickup load of junk cashed out at $96.70. Now that is a deal you just can't beat. Got rid of useless crap and have cash in hand. Unprepared(not crushed) scrap iron is bringing $130 a ton. Mom and step-dad are excited too. I can see my step-dad doing a mental inventory of what is in his junk rows and deciding what can go. I will have to go take inventory at the ranch too. Looks like I will be busy sorting junk for awhile...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Piddley Stuff

I seem to have gotten off track this week. The wind has blown to no end and the temperature went from 50 degrees on Monday to 90 degrees on Tuesday to 40 degrees today.
Monday was frustrating because I started projects and could not get them finished. Today was better. My friend, Jimmy and I went out to my mom's and worked on piddley stuff. It didn't take too long and we got her 4-wheeler running again, a new battery in one of their pick-ups, the oil changed in the push mower, the starter off of one of the rider mowers-determined it is no good and am trying to find the part and not have sticker shock, the repaired tire back on the 76' Malibu(sweet car) and a dead battery out of an old Ferguson tractor my step-dad wants to get running again. It is all little stuff, but it adds up and makes my mom and step-dad happy.
Chris is on his way to SD tomorrow too. Should make for a fun weekend. Of course that is if I can pry him away from my brother long enough to spend any time together-LOL. Chris and Billy love to prairie dog hunt together. The weekend promises to be beautiful so I am sure there are going to be a few less prairie dogs on Monday. I really needed to get them poisoned, but the weather did not cooperate and now it is too late until July. Our government in its infinite wisdom says you cannot poison between March and July because that is their breeding season. So its okay to poison? Just not when they are reproducing? I am pretty sure the reason we poison is to get rid of them. So in July I get to kill off even more of them? After they have eaten the pasture to nothing? WOW!!

Moon has decided that he will stand and eat his hay now. Don't know what caused him to be so neurotic but putting him in the stall overnight for a week has cured the problem. He is filling out again. Now he is out most of the time. I just put him in the corral for a few hours a day, so Rip can get out and eat a little grass. He doesn't need it, but they sure stay happier if they can just graze for a little while. I have started letting Woofer(the bred mare) out during the day too. That makes her a very happy old woman. You would never guess the old bat is 24 and bred. I have to really keep her under control when I let her out because she has always had a bad habit of charging out the gate. At least I know she is feeling good.

On the agenda for tomorrow-go to the ranch and trim Megan's pony. I am betting the stud is going to need a trim too. Check on the rest of the horses and probably do a little cleaning around the yard. We won't even go into how much work that place needs. Yikes!!
I think a good idea for this weekend is getting Roan Dog in and him and I having a come to Jesus meeting about trimming those front feet. I noticed the last time I was out there that one of them is not breaking off evenly and is starting to turn his foot in. Can't have that.
Yea-that sounds like a good idea, at least I will have someone around to call 911 when he does a happy dance on my head-LOL.

Monday, April 14, 2008

...And then there is Monday

Why is it some days, usually Monday, that you just cannot get anything accomplished? I started several projects today but found myself thwarted at every turn.
It was too windy to haul the tree branches out that I have already trimmed off of trees. I did get a pile of old lumber hauled out to the neighbors burn pit. I ended up at mom's unprepared to finish up a couple of projects I have going out there. So I came back to town and figured I would finish up trimming out a bunch of elm trees that have decided to grow in the middle of one of the pastures. Of course as soon as I got some roots dug out and went to fire up the would not start and then when I did get it started, the chain wouldn't turn. Ughhhh!!!!
Determined to accomplish something today, I tore everything out of my feed shed that somehow has also turned into the tool shed and the storage shed. Got it swept out and things put back in order. I forced myself to haul a few things out to mom's that needed to go in the dumpster and stored for winter. Not much to show for a perfectly good day. Oh beat a day at the office thinking about all of the things I would rather be doing-LOL.

This is why the geldings do not live together...

Yes I know - boys will be boys...

You gotta holler at them before they knock it off...

A big lap around the pasture and then its - What? Who? Us?

Megan came home with a friend, who is spending the night and they built themselves a tree swing. Sheez-I think of all the money I spent on swingsets and slides...

Red Dog drug his ball around until I took pity on him and swung it for him. These two dummies will jump for this ball until they stroke out or your arm falls off.
Ute does the cutest little flips...

Fat Butt Red Dog can get some air...

When he gets tired of jumping for the ball, he will just jump up and clothesline himself and then they both attack it. You have to pretend that you really want that ball back so that they can feel satisfied they really are big and tuff.

Sometimes I wonder if being so easily amused means I am not right in the head. What do you think?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Is Funday

There are few things in life that are better than loading up with my best girl and heading off into the wild blue yonder. Today we felt the need to do something different. So we did.

This is where we ended up. I know, big surprise - a horse event.

Now isn't he a handsome boy...He could live in my barn.

So we watched a few races. And then this big, beautiful thing strutted by...Caution a drool cup is going to be necessary when viewing the next three pictures...

She won...

Of course she did. How could she not. Oh, would she look fanstastic running the barrels...

Of course, no road trip is complete without the requisite "jamming".

We get to practice every move, from every dancing John Travolta movie ever made.

Things do get a little wild...

I got to laughing so hard, I almost missed a curve in the road.

Not good driving ettiquete. So things calmed down a little bit and we made it safely home.
There really is nothing better in life than a good mommy/daughter day!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Even I Have To Clean My House

Oh yes, the last couple of days have been strange. I was in the mood to clean my house. I know...will wonders never cease-LOL. I have to take advantage of this mood because it almost never happens and it is usually very short lived.
I am not talking about the day to day dishes, sweeping and such. No, I am talking about the move the furniture and actually going through the piles of paperwork that accumulate while I wait for this mood to strike me.
At this moment, I despise housepets and have kicked the boys, all 4 of them, to the curb. I have found enough hair under the couches and in the blankets to build another couple of cats or at the very least another dog. God forbid!! The dust on the hard to reach places is at least 1/2" thick.
My mother cringed when I told her I was in "spring" cleaning mode. She says my cleaning methods leave the house looking like a demolition project. Say what??...I cannot help the fact that when I decide to clean that everything must come out of closets and dressers and cupboards to be evaluated, cleaned and neatly put away. I blame it on my OCD. I am not quite to the point of having all of the canned goods in rows and labels facing the same way...ummm...okay so I am to that point, but I like it like this. What can I say??!!
Even Megan was bored and tied into her bedroom. OCD is rubbing off!!! I have lots to put away yet, but not as much as I took out. This is my time to decide if that cake pan, that I have never used...but had to have 10 years ago is going to make it another year or not.

It probably will. I mean much room does a cake pan take up-LMAO.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Boys And Their Toys

Mom can I play with this toy?

I'll be gentle, I promise. I just want to hear it sing...

Ummmm...Excuse me...That is MY toy!!

Its okay monkey, I saved you...

And so goes the day when the weather is bad and you are stuck inside.