Thursday, July 31, 2008

See What Happens??

The previous post is what happens when you post in the middle of the night. Restless Leg Syndrome has always been a problem for me and sometimes no matter how damn tired I am, I cannot stay asleep. Doesn't mean that I am coherent in the middle of the night, but sure can't lay there and handle the twitching in my feet and legs.

So when I decided to just get up and post, I had something on my mind, damn if that is what turned up when I hit publish. What I had actually wanted to "talk" about what this darn horse market and what can happen to good horses. So hopefully this is more coherent...

A couple of weeks ago, my mom was contacted by the lady who owns Pistol...
Pistol is a horse we raised out of my old mare and by our King stallion. He is a finished barrel horse, head and heel horse and has been used on the ranch since these people bought him from my brother. The lady sold him to a high school barrel racer a couple of years ago for $40,000. He proved to be too much horse for her and he went back to his owner...with a little knee damage. I don't know the whole story-but Pistol is supposed to be sound again and ready for action. However, the people who own him slimmed down their herd considerably(at a monumental loss) and would like for me to take Pistol...for whatever I can afford to pay. WHAT????
How is this possible? How the hell does a horse go from top-dollar, winning pro-rodeos and placing in the top 15 at the NBHA Finals to "Please take him for whatever you can come up with"? And how do I say No to that?

That isn't the end of this crazy story either...Just 2 days ago, another guy who bred his NCHA money winning, daughter of Boon Bar to our King stud called mom and asked if we wanted to buy that filly. For just over kill price! WTF-this guy probably has a couple thousand invested in this mare in training.

Both of these phone calls have my head spinning. I know how bad the horse market is. It isn't just affecting the low-end, unregistered, why-did-you breed-for-that stuff. But d.a.m.n-this is beyond ridiculous. These people are desperate to find good homes for these horses, because they really do think a lot of them. These are not starved, or ruined or old horses. The desperation of the horse market has finally hit home.

So while I was working Mr. Smoke, it made me think about the fact that my brother turned down $3500 for him as a yearling and now he is worth...maybe a couple of hundred dollars? Kill price! Who in their right mind would take an 8y/o, badly scarred, unbroke horse for more than that? All the potential in the world wrapped up in this cute little package and if he left our place...his future would be a short trip across the border.

Smoke isn't the only one on our place who's future would be short if we ever HAD to get rid of some horses. I would say, about 1/2 of our herd would have no future if they were hauled to a sale. We basically have three types of horses: finished horses-between the ages of 10-24, broke to ride horses that need miles-between the ages of 6-14, and unbroke horses between the ages of 3-10. Good lord-how did this happen?

The only thing that separates us from a lot of people in this predicament is the fact that our horses are not starving and we own our own land. Worst case scenario for our bunch is that they sit in the pasture for the rest of their natural lives, fat, dumb and untrained. We are lucky. Our horses are lucky. So many others are not.

So, with much discussion-we are going to look at the Boon Bar mare and will more than likely bring her home. And if the lady who owns Pistol can hold on until this fall-it is likely he will be coming home too. Good lord-the goal has been to get some of these guys doing something in the hopes that there is still some sort of a market for good using horses, but with these developments...my hopes are dwindling.

Its rather heartbreaking because the big problem with horses is that they don't have a shelf life. It's either use them now or they get past their prime. The goal is still to get everything broke to ride. Whether they are 10 or not. There are some diamonds in the rough standing out there and while they may not turn into barrel or rope horses because they got a late start in life-there are tons of things they can do.

Getting Going

The ever fanstastic Mrs Mom from Ohhorsefeathers passed this award to me. Thank you MM! I love reading your blog(s)...all three of them!!

I am going to break all of the rules and pass this on to everyone on my blogroll. Being rather busy lately-I haven't been able to get to everyone every day, but you all are there for a reason. I love reading your blogs!!! For those of you that have already received this award-know that you are appreciated and for those of you that haven't had it passed to you yet...Consider it done!! Every single one of you are fantastic reads and deserve this award.

So this is another one of my "project's"...
This is Smoke. He is an 8y/o gelding, that we bred and raised...
He isn't broke to ride! YET!!
As a yearling, my brother turned down $3500 for this horse. He is the only horse that we have ever raised that we ever considered stallion quality. I know, some of you may look at his rather long back and question why we would ever consider letting him keep his testies. His sire was a Lady Bugs Moon/Otoe/Poco Tivio bred stud. Smoke's dam was out of a AAA+ sire and a AA dam. There is a lot of "run" in those bloodlines and ideally we wanted to add some length to our rather blocky King/Leo bred mares.
Smoke's greatest downfall as a stallion prospect was the fact that he was rank. He was probably one of the meanest horses we have ever owned. My brother was scared of him and didn't handle him much. As a 2y/o Smoke pawed through a panel, got his hoof stuck, tore the fence down trying to get loose and very nearly removed his right front foot. While at the vet's for 2 weeks, he also got "brain surgery". Six months of doctoring that foot didn't make him too fond of people messing with him either.
By that winter, my brother's life was rapidly falling apart and healed or not-Smoke was turned out to pasture. There he sat for the next 4 years. Amazingly, while he has a terrible scar on that foot, the hoof wall is not damaged and he is completely sound.

When I came back to SD, 2 years ago-he was one of the ones I started messing with. He was so obese that we christened him "Fat Albert". First order of business was to get him to like people-even just a little bit. Megan is great for that. She just goes out and follows stuff around until they get tired and let her pet them. It took most of that summer to just get him where I could halter him and try to trim those feet. But he came around. He may have been a rank stud, but as a gelding he is very gentle.
Last fall, I went to the ranch to pick up a couple other horses and there stood poor Smoke with his nose twice it's normal size. Worried that it might be a rattlesnake bite, I hauled him to mom's to doctor. Luckily, I think that bite must have come from a bee up his nose, because he got over that in a couple of days. Rather than haul him back to the ranch, I decided to start his round pen work. I figured he was just too darn nice to let him sit. Besides, he is a 1/2 brother to Moon, so I am thinking "BARREL HORSE".
He started out really nice. He is a kind horse...loves attention and has never bucked one single time under saddle. So why didn't I go ahead and step on him last fall? I don't know! Maybe because I am getting older, maybe because I am out of practice at riding colts the first few times, maybe because he is older and I know just how much power he has. So here I am again, this summer, he is another year older and I am faced with having to step on this guy very soon. I learned a little trick, that I employed on Frosty and it worked great. I am going to saddle a broke horse and spend some time on him in the pen with Smoke. The getting on and off another horse really helps horses get used to having someone above them and having another horse that doesn't get excited seems to calm the greenies. Part of me really, really wishes there was someone around here that would work with me and would be willing to put the first few rides on him. But there isn't, soooo I am stuck with doing it. I really, really hope I do not become a lawn dart. It sucks getting older...wiser...losing your bounce.

This morning, Smoke worked just as nice as last night. I stepped into the stirrup and he blew sideways. Holy crap, this horse has a lot of power. I am not worried about him bucking with me so much as I am of him just flat out leaving me in mid-air. He can turn on a dime and give you change. But I just kept messing with him and pretty soon he was standing fine. I'm sure that working him with another horse is going to work fine. Once he gets used to seeing someone mount and being above him, I think he will calm down and move off without a big wreck.

He has a lot of lessons to be learned yet. He was not having anything to do with having a bath this morning...
But they all come around to that pretty quick. Nothing feels so good as cool water, washing the sweat off. My mom used to poo-poo a lot of the stuff that Megan and I do, but our horses seldom spook at anything, they tie, they clip, they load and they lead properly. There is just something about all of that time spent on the ground that translates into "its no big deal" when you start riding them. At least that is what I am praying for. :o

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Breaking In The Round Pen

Yesterday was so stinking hot and humid that all Megan and I did was lay in the house and sweat. I was really wishing I had just went ahead and bought that window air conditioner a couple of weeks ago. It is unusual for my little cement house to get overly hot. Usually we just shut it up when it starts to warm up outside and it stays nice and cool inside.

Thank goodness that the humidity index went down today. Even though it was in the 90's-it felt a lot nicer than yesterday. It was so much cooler this morning that I got ambitious and decided that Frosty's foot has healed enough to start him back under saddle...
Bless my pretty boy-he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he is as gentle as they come. He stood perfectly to be saddled. And moved off in his pretty little pleasure horse way...
Then we started getting a little hump...
And then a little jump...

And then a full blown buck...
Oh all right...I am pulling your leg. You know they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but pictures lie. Frosty was actually stopping while he was all humped up and this picture makes it look like he is fixing to buck pretty hard. Not my Frosty! He may hump a little, but he can't buck to save his life. Every time he tries-he stops and looks at me like...what the heck was that all about? My poor sweet dumb-dumb! Speaking of dumb-dumbs-do you guys see that silly Red Dog on the outside of the round pen? He runs laps around the round pen when I am working horses. When I say Whoa-he stops. When I cluck-he takes off again. And he is always going the opposite direction of the horse. Man, that dog cracks me up-talk about a workaholic.
Make him go mom, make him go again!!

I didn't want to work Frosty too hard. That cut has healed nicely, but I really want to make sure that everything is solid before we get too serious. So just a little lunging to finish his workout...
Some stretching...
And some loves...
I thought he did exceptionally well considering he hasn't been saddled in a year and as a 6y/o only has about 30 days on him-total. No one can ever accuse us of rushing our colts-LOL.
Frosty wasn't the only one who got worked today, but I will save the rest of the pictures for tomorrow. It's either feast or famine around here.

Here you go Callie and Mrs Mom...A swatch of my cowgirl pole dancer shirt...
People always stare at it when they are talking to me. I know they are thinking "That really can't be tiny little pole dancers...can it?" Yup, it is!! I saw it...I had to have it-LOL.

The fantabulous Mrs Mom gave me an award-I was going to post it here tonight, but darn, I have been getting crazy with the pictures lately, so I will post and past that along tomorrow-If everyone hasn't received it by then! Oh well, I will pass it along, even if some of you guys already have it...just to show you all how much you all are appreciated!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm A Goin' And A Blowin'...

Headin' down the road, trying to make a livin' rodeoin'-as Chris LaDouix would sing.

Okay, so I am not making a living rodeoing...yet!! But I was trying to make it to a rodeo today, so I got to see the sun rise through the windshield of the Duramax, as I left Denver...
A hundred miles down the road and I ran into this...
I could still see well enough so I didn't have to slow down, but for the next eighty or so miles, this is all of Eastern Colorado and Western Nebraska that you are going to get to see-LOL.

Finally, back in the Sandhills. When you turn north on 83 at North Platte, once you cross the bridge, you are officially back in the Sandhills. Here you see lots of these(yep...cows...sorry, It's hard to take pictures at 65mph, when you are by yourself...and I wasn't about to slow down)...
The sandhills are interesting to me. These rolling hills are basically grass-covered sand dunes. Grazing conservation is very important in these parts. Over-grazing the grass exposes the sand underneath and when that happens the ground just starts to blow away. Needless to say the good ranchers are very protective of the grass that they have. The water table is very shallow and the ground water is wonderful. They say that there is a huge underground ocean under this part of Nebraska. Several companies have tried to come up with ways to pull from this aquafir to supply areas like Omaha and Denver with an additional water supply, but the people in this area are very protective of their ground water and have stopped them at every turn.

Because the water table is shallow you see tons of these...
And this...
For 65 miles!!
There is nothing but rolling sandhills, grass, windmills and cows!!!
It is easy to drive down the road and lose yourself in thoughts of how much fun it would be to be riding in these wide-open spaces. The pastures are huge-in some you could ride for a full day and not have to see the same country or get off to open a gate.

Then you get to see one of these...
If you need fuel...you better get it...
Because there is another 65 miles of this...

Some neat old corrals...
And these guys in the back, going "Are we there yet?, are we there yet?, are we there yet???"
Finally, we hit Valentine! One of my favorite little towns. This is a cowboy town. Lots of cowboys-old and young....Oh Pony Girl...they are always in need of good teachers in these parts(wink, wink)...
One more jag and we are home. I know I am getting close when I see a herd of these...
This is just one of the many herds of horses along the road owned by a local "production" ranch.

The final sprint...

Covered 380 miles in 7 hours just in time to hook up, load up and head to the rodeo...
That's my little pin-headed, speed-demon.

And this is our run! It sucked! We were everywhere, but on track.

video

Pilot errors galore!! I must have looked down before first because Moon tried to turn early. I am not sitting long enough as we come out of first, causing a major bow. I don't know what the freek happened at 2nd, but it caused us to blow wide to 3rd. But we won! Don't ask me how...oh, you probably guessed...the competition level was not very high. Oh well, I won my entry fees back + extra, bringing Moon's money earnings up to $111 for this year.
This sort of run would never have won if there had been a decent turnout for this rodeo, but the high entry fees and the high cost of fuel is really affecting these small rodeos.

Now for me and Mr. Cooked Noodle Boy...we are headed back to the slow pen to let me get a grip on my timing and to give me a chance to add some starch to the Pin-Head's shoulders!!

How's that Train Wreck?? That enough pictures for ya? LMAO...

Friday, July 25, 2008

All The Odds And Ends...

Didn't get a chance to post last night, due to a SEVERE thunderstorm that chased mom and I home, all the way from the Black Hills. It was a nasty one with 70mph wind gusts, pingpong sized hail and torrential rain.

The day started with heavy fog and some mist. Mom and I were cleaning up an old wood pile and desperately trying to the last of it hauled to our neighbor's burn pit before it really started to rain and we couldn't get in or out of there. Sure enough, as soon as we got the last load dumped and headed back to the house-the sun came out. Naturally!! As soon as the sun came out it got hot and muggy so we decided to head to the Black Hills to pick up a load of continuous fence and a car for my brother's family. That part of the trip went well. But we stopped at the training barn, where my aunt's horses are and look at the "natural" trimming job she had someone else do on her horses. Thank goodness they got those awful shoes pulled off the barrel horse and her feet look much better. Upon inspection of the shoes-we noticed that the previous farrier had put a front shoe on a hind foot...WHAT?? Holy crap! I didn't notice that last week. Already the mare looks more comfortable-her frogs are spreading, the quarter crack is gone and the wind puffs on her ankles are going down. Yay!
While we were visiting, the wind come up, so we all walked outside to look at the sky. OMG-it was black and you could see the storm rolling over the hills. Time to go!! So mom and I headed down the road and raced that storm, all the way home(3 hours). I was wanting to beat it home, so I could get my plywood up around my "pot garden". I have veggies that are ready to be picked and I just knew this storm would destroy my plants.
I got the boards up and Megan finished chores just before the storm hit. The lightening was horrible. The wind howled and it poured rain, but no hail. The wind lifted up the plywood and plopped it down on my plants-they are a little crushed this morning, but I think they will survive. I will have to come up with a better windblock for them next year...

Okay, so I finally got up the nerve to take the little black dress test that Train Wreck posted...



What Your Little Black Dress Says About You



You are sexy, outrageous, and daring. You love to push people's buttons.



You are fearless and free spirited. You get people talking... and you don't care what they say about you.



Your style is revealing, trendy, and flirty. You love to look good.



If you were a shoe, you would be: Strappy sandals


Well...I happen to agree with this assessment of my personality. Of course, the strappy sandals would have to have a high, high heel. Ummm...I love super high-heels. It took years for Chris to finally figure out exactly how tall(or short) I was. Heehee!!

Speaking of my Honey...he is in Alaska...on a fishing boat! NO FAIR!! That is a trip I would have loved to have taken. He says he is loving it and is booking us for next year. Now, that will be a FUN family vacation-WooHoo!

On to the "What's wrong with this picture?"
Okay...probably not a fair question. Actually my mom had to point it out to me, years ago!! My dad is "out of stroke" with his saddle bronc. When a bucking horse is kicking out, as this picture depics-the bronc rider is supposed to have his feet in the horse's shoulder. Having his feet back in the cantle, as my dad's are, deducts points from your score-if you make the 8-second whistle. Just a little rodeo trivia.

On to that meme from Mrs. Mom...

1) The "little black dress" test is a clue to my "real" personality. I actually love to piss people off. It's a sickness-LOL. I just can't help myself from blurting out what is on my mind. A genetic defect, that makes my mother cringe-I was born without an inner monologue. Sometimes what comes out of my mouth surprises even me...

2) People think I am crabby or pissed off most of the time, because I don't go around smiling like an idiot. Apparently I have a face that looks pissed off if I am not smiling?!?!

3) I loved waitressing and bartending but actually prefer to be by myself most of the time.

4) I don't look anything like the rest of my family. I am 3/4 German, a little Lakota Indian and a little Scottish(those percentages are disputable-but either way it's not a lot of either) but look very Indian. The rest of my family looks very White(blonde/light brown hair and blue/grey eyes). Mexicans are often confused and speak to me in Spanish. No Comprehende'-LOL.

5) I have a semi-photographic memory. I have noticed that this annoys people-especially attorneys. I have had to testify several times and when I have had to recall things, I can remember tiny details that have blown other people's stories to hell. One time a judge even told the attorney to "shut up-because I obviously knew what I was talking about, unlike his client". I thought that was great-LOL.

6) I fit the persona of "biker chick" much more than I do of "cowgirl". But I am pretty good at fitting into any circle-I change my costume and I change my persona. First class, 5-star, evening gown--no problem...drinking a beer, in a strip-club with my bad biker boy--not a problem there either. Speaking of which, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is coming up...Yay! Can't wait-Kid Rock is going to be there...luv, Luv, LOVE that dirty, white boy's music!!

Well, there you go-probably more than anyone wanted to know...hope I don't scare you all off-LOL.

On the fly again this weekend-I have to leave for Denver this evening-Chris is flying in Saturday morning. I have to take his trailer back to him and want to hang out with him for a day-then I have to haul a** back home, grab my barrel horse and hit an Indian rodeo I am entered in on Sunday. Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It Was A Good Show...

No Purples this year...but Megan and Strawberry came sooooo close. This pair makes me happy on so many levels. My momma pride kicks in watching my daughter perform and my horse trainer pride kicks in watching the little roan horse perform for her. Megan has done 99% percent of the work with Strawberry and it is so obvious that they are a team.

The first class of the morning was Western Showmanship...
This class is their forte'. One of the first things we ever noticed about Strawberry, was the way he always stops square. That is such a nice feature on a Showmanship horse. There is almost never any movement necessary to get his feet perfectly square to present to the judge.
They earned a nice solid Blue in this class. There was a bobble in the trot coming around the corner of the L-shaped Showmanship pattern and Strawberry moved his foot back one step in his 360 degree turnaround. It doesn't take much to knock you out of the Purples at State. The Western Showmanship is the toughest class there.

Next up was Engish Showmanship...
This pattern was definitely a test, in my opinion. It was a trot, from a set-up position, down to a walk, a stop, a 360 degree turn around, back to a trot to a stop and set-up for inspection. When the judge dismissed you, you were supposed to back 5 steps, do a 270 degree turnaround and trot to the fence, curve around and trot out of the arena. Yikes!
Well, I was holding my breath when Megan went in and set-up. Strawberry went directly into the trot-not a single walk step, was traveling perfectly straight, they came down to the walk in a perfectly straight line, stopped square(I was about ready to pass out-because they were spot on and I could see the judge checking off on the plus side of his sheet). Strawberry executed the most perfect 360 degree turnaround I have ever seen him do-his back foot did not move an inch-he just spun it perfectly in place and his front feet were crossing beautifully(More pluses). They trotted off and stopped square in front of the judge. Megan moved when she was supposed to AND smiled(not that phony, icky smile you see a lot of them doing). The judge nodded-Megan pivoted Strawberry, a very nice 270 degree turn and I about died. She had just gone from a Purple to a Red...She forgot to BACK!! I wanted to cry, right then and there. Not only did I think Megan had earned her Purple-I think she had the class won. I had watched most of the other kids go and not one had had that perfect of a pattern. Ugghhh!!!

Well, there was no time to cry over spilled milk. Okay-so I cried-I was mad. Not at Megan, but just at the fact that...darn it...I was disappointed for her. Megan didn't even realize that she had forgot the back, until she came outside. Does that make me one of those BAD horse-show moms?
Her next class was English Equitation...
Thanks to the lesson she got while we were in RC, getting Strawberry's teeth floated, she did very well. The judge said she had nice, quiet hands and a soft seat. She just needs to continue to work on her leg position-so it is consistant. Another Blue ribbon. This class was a definite improvement over last year-so they are making progress. I worried that getting Strawberry's teeth floated so close to the show would not help him, but as you can see from the picture-his head is back where it needs to be. It was such an improvement. No more trying to evade the bit or throwing his head up in his stops. He is happier and I could see Megan relaxing as she rode. She didn't have to worry about that head popping up every couple of strides anymore. Strawberry's next stop is to a chiropractor. I am hoping that the one my aunt uses can help him out-the poor little horse sounds like he has firecrackers going off in his stifles.

Now the day was over and we could relax at the campsite for a little bit, before we had to load up and come home. Actually-I think that next year-even if Megan's classes are all in one day, we will stay an extra day, just so we have time to watch some other classes and look around. I didn't have time to take many pictures because while Megan is responsible to clipping and bathing her horse-but I am the groom that prepares her horse for her classes. That is time consuming work-but a job that I love to do.
So we all finally got the energy to start loading up-surprisingly we were so well organized this time that it didn't take long. ???-I kept thinking I was missing something because it went so smoothly. I though-oh good, I will have time to walk around and take some pictures. As I was hooking up the trailer-the people whose horse I hauled up, pulled up to the campsite. I looked up, because I thought her car sounded funny, but finished what I was doing. Her son come running over and said they couldn't get their car to shut off...

I sprinted over with him and jumped in the car. I turned the key off and the car kept running, but it sounded like the starter was grinding and the engine would not stop. I put it in gear and tried...same thing. I moved it forward and put it in neutral...same thing. The car was starting to smoke---NOT GOOD. Now smoke was boiling out of the engine-CRAP! They started throwing their stuff out of the car-I ran for a fire extinguisher and smoke was rolling out of the engine. HOLY CRAP!!! And then everything locked up and the car quit running. Uhhh-Ohhh...Well, at least it didn't burst into flames-Whew! Luckily, one of the local moms has a boyfriend that lives there and he has mechanic friends. A couple of hours later-we had our friend's stuff loaded in our vehicle and they rode home with us. Not sure what happened to cause their car trouble-possibly a short in the starter-making it run continually, until it burned up. We left their car in good hands and they should know the damages in a couple of days. I hate it when that sort of stuff happens to people. But man, am I glad it didn't happen when we were on the road home. We all would have been stuck by the roadside waiting for help.

PS-I'll get to your meme in tomorrow's post Mrs Mom. Along with the answer to the "what's wrong with the painting". And YAYYYYY, Mikey's back!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

4-H State and Some of My Art Work

We are off to the 4-H State Horse Show today-so won't "see" you all until Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed for Megan and Strawberry. They would really like to come home with a Purple from State this year. Lucky for me all of her classes are on one day...It is always hot and humid at State. But I still remember my mom hauling me up there every year, so I cannot deny Miss Megan.

In the meantime-back when we were all "showing off" our blogging spaces, I mentioned all of my art supplies and Miss Pony Girl asked to see some of my artwork. I held off posting pictures of what I had because there is one in particular that I am very proud of, but it is at the ranch and I thought I would remember to get a picture of it to post. I never did remember, so I will have to post it another time. Click on any image to enlarge, if you want to see them better.

Elk and Wolves...
A monochromatic, acrylic painting from High School. I did this for my dad.

Irises...
A watercolor I did for my mom in High School. The only watercolor I ever did, that I like.

An oil Impressionism, from college...
All I can say about this one is that I like the colors. Impressionism isn't my "thing", but it was a required piece. Mom likes the colors too and hangs it in her spare bedroom-LOL.

A pencil...
One of my favorites, although I hate the framing job.

And another oil I started a couple of years ago...
I'll get it finished...eventually-LOL.

This piece was done by one of my stepmoms. Its a watercolor of my dad. The eagle feather is from his funeral...
I spent hours as a kid, watching my step-mom paint. She was fantastic. Of course, she ended up being one of the Top Ten Wildlife Artists in the world, so I guess she was a pretty good person to learn from. Her name was Lanford Monroe. Some of you guys may recognize her name from her equine statues that the Franklin Mint sold. They were always listed in the Western Horseman's.
High Fives to anyone who sees whats wrong with the picture. A hint-its not the artist's fault.

This is a watercolor my dad did back in the late 50's or early 60's. Mom can't remember exactly..
It pisses me off that I did not get his ability to work with watercolor. I love watercolor-just can't get it to look natural or "right".

These days, this is pretty much the extent of the "artwork" that I do...

That's not a tile floor. Its a wood floor that I painted to look like spanish tile. It's a 3-step, 5-color process, that is pretty easy, just time consuming.
My mom fought for years to get these old cement walls to look "nice"-like sheetrock walls. I used a 2-part, 2-color, wet on wet technique to bring out the "stucco" feel. I like it much better.

Hopefully, the talented Train Wreck thinks her beautiful print got a deserving home. I already have it's spot picked out-right next to my computer desk. I have to go back to RC this week, so will take it to a framer that Chris' mom knows. I'm pretty picky about getting my prints framed. I insist on acid-free matting and backing and non-glare glass, but the price's some places charge is beyond ridiculous. Hmmm...maybe I will have to look into learning how to do it myself??

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kill Them With Kindness...

I figured out why Woofer is so lame. My mom started feeding her twice a day while I was gone and the old mare just cannot handle that much protein. It took me a few days of racking my brain and I finally remembered last winter when mom said Woofer needed more feed. I went to feeding her twice a day and within a few days both her front legs has swelled up and she was very stiff. Now I don't think you could come up with a more natural feed program than what we have-grass hay, beet pulp shreds, rolled oats, ground soybean and a couple of cups of alfalfa pellets. The only processed feed we use is Woody's Equine Senior pellets. Everything is mixed with room temperature water, so it's a nice soupy mash. The horses love it. Moon is the only one that gets ground flax-he still needs all of the extra fat I can get into him.

Uh-huh...while I was gone, mom decided that Woofer looked a little peaked from the heat and nursing that colt and so she doubled her feed. Wham-lame horse again. Now, I listen to my mother very carefully when she discusses feed and nutrients. She knows a ton. Especially when it comes to old mares and foals. But she does get carried away and is killing her horses with kindness.

Last fall she decided that some of the horses that I was riding needed some extra nutrients-you know-because I made them sweat a little...She started her little vitamin program on those horses and within a couple of weeks, I was going backwards. Horses that were coming along nicely and losing a couple of pounds started acting like freaks and gaining weight. Needless to say...it caused a HUGE argument between us, with me blowing up and telling her if she was going to feed them like this...she was going to be the one to ride them!!

It took her getting Megan bucked off of a horse that has never bucked in his life-EVER-for her to realize that sometimes to much, is just that....to much! Now she isn't very happy with me that I have backed the old mare off to the amount of feed that I was feeding before, but I am not going to watch my old mare suffer pain in her legs, just so I can cover up the slight amount of rib she is starting to show. This morning-Big Momma is almost completely sound again-Problem solved!

Yesterday, Megan and I threw her little paint pony in the trailer and headed to RC to get his teeth floated. I decided to try the guy that my aunt and uncle use. The guy I use and love is hard to get on short notice and I was pretty sure that Strawberry didn't have any major issues, just some sharp edges. I was correct in my assumption and this kid did a fine job. He is just getting started in the dental work-has taken the schooling and is just finishing it up by working in the field before he has to take his test to get his certification.

He is a barrel racer too-which is why we met him in RC. They were having a huge three day barrel racing there. Originally, it was my intention to take Moon and run on Friday-but monsterous storms rolled through the western part of the state and I decided that I have gotten wiser(OLD) and didn't want to fight the weather.

I walked around all day with the camera in my hand and don't have a single picture to show you all. Why? I was to busy showing everyone pictures of my handsome Shooter and my last barrel run. No-I'm not a bit proud of that colt-;).

I did get to see my aunt and uncle's barrel horse run. She is coming along nicely. My aunt wants me to work with the girl that is riding the mare, but I didn't really see that she was needing help with her runs. The mare had a nice pattern and is really stretching out. Besides, what I did see could be the cause of this mare not really running yet-her shoeing job!!! (Sorry V.-of course you knew I would have to talk about this on my blog and we are on the same page with it right?)

OMG!! The poor mare was just reshod a couple of weeks ago and her feet are so long they look like she hasn't been reshod in 3 months. Also, the heels of her shoes are cranked in so tight that her heels are contracted. Literally, this mare looks like she has built up Walking Horse feet. No wonder the poor thing don't want to RUN. The other thing I noticed and pointed out is that she is starting to get windpuffs on her front pasterns. Not a good sign. I gotta tell you that this is not a shoeing job that my aunt approved of, even before I pointed it out. But sometimes knowing it isn't right and being able to tell someone what is wrong with it is two different things. So it was helpful to my aunt for me to explain all of the problems with this shoeing job to the girl who is riding her horse. We came up with a plan of correction. This next week, I am going to go back up, pull this mare's shoes and trim her correctly. When we are done with that-we will decide if she needs to be reshod(by another farrier) or not. Personally, I don't think the mare needs shoes. She does have an old scar and a bit of a quarter crack that they seem to think needs some support, but I think that when we trim off all of the excess hoof-the quarter crack will be gone. I think pulling these shoes and getting her hooves back down to the size they need to be is going to make a tremendous difference in the effort this mare puts into running. The girl riding her is a little worried that she is going to be tender, but I told them about 20M and Abu, so we will be finding some Durasole(??-gotta go back to 20M's posts and double check that) and Pine Tar.

Hopefully, we will be adding another one to the barefoot army!! I have to tell you all-walking around that barrel race-I saw some of the most god-awful shoeing jobs I think I have ever seen. I just feel so bad for those horses. It's no wonder a lot of those girls go through horses the way they do.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Storm Clouds

We were hooking up to head to the barrel racing the other night and I watched Megan's cat go into "hunter" mode. He is a hunting fool and I love watching him put the stalk on birds, grasshoppers and pretty much anything that captures his attention.

I was a little startled to see that what he was hunting was a snake...
All the poor snake wanted was to get the heck out of there. But every direction he tried to go, there was this darn white cat in his way...swatting at him...
Pretty soon he had had enough and went on the fight...
At that point Megan and I quit laughing and threw a couple of rocks at the cat to make him leave. Naa...we didn't kill the snake. He was just a harmless bull snake. Unless they have rattles-they get a reprieve from Megan and I. The rest of the family...not so much. I never saw a couple of people so terrified of snakes as my mom and brother. They will hurt themselves or anyone in their way, getting away from ANY snake. Makes me laugh...A LOT-hehehe. I don't know why snakes don't scare me or Megan. Spiders though....those creepy things send me through the roof. First its the ewwwwww, then its the squish!

On the way home from the barrel race, Megan got some great photos of the thunderhead clouds that were to the south of us...
Beautiful...
Ummm...wait a second...there is lightening in those clouds. Thats not good. Uhhh...we have to GO that direction...
Thankfully, the storm stayed in the sky and we didn't come home to my pot garden destroyed by high winds or hail. I am really looking forward to those tomatoes and my little heart would be broken if my tomato trees get ruined.

The yesterday we got this put up...
Oops-the picture looks a little dark on blogger. Thats my new round pen. Yep-there are some ponies in trouble around these parts. Holy crap-did this guy think I was breaking Clydesdales? Those panels are 7 foot tall and each one weighs around 150lbs. Cripes-I guess I could always switch to raising elephants-LOL.

Last night the storm clouds blew up again and this time they laid a nice 1/2" rain on us.
Whew-cooled it down and settled the dust anyway.

On a less cheery note-my old mare is lame, lame, lame. I don't know what she did but the poor old girl can't hardly put any weight on her right front leg. Since there is not a mark on her, no scuffed hair and nothing in her hoof I have been alternating treatment between cold water soaks and warm water epsom salt soaks. Tonight she is slightly better and can actually straighten out her fetlock. Poor old momma!