Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sometimes You Just Gotta Back Up

This morning I looked out the window and saw this...
It made me giggle! Talk about taking in some sun.

The wind howled today and it had a bite to it, so I figured it was just a good day to groom. This horse, VooDoo has become uncomfortable about having his feet handled...
(Now isn't this a prime example of the judging term, long from eye to muzzle?)A couple of times I thought if I could just get a hold of a foot and hold on he would get over it and stand up. He's not terribly strong, not like Roan Dog, who could just take his foot away without a struggle. He's been trimmed before and been okay, not great, but he would stand for a couple of nips, I'd set his foot down, give him a second and then get another couple of nips. The last couple of times I have tried to do that, he has tried to come over the top of me, has struck viciously at me and used his teeth to back it all up. NOT fun!! Today I was determined to get control of him and get that foot and hold it. In such cases, I usually use a leadrope wrapped around the foot and use the leverage to hold the foot until they quit struggling. This way I am not bent over and can use my body to hold their shoulder up. It works slick and I thought it would be cool to show you guys. You know us girls need to use our smarts, cause brute strength is not on our side.;-)

Such was not to be the case, cause as I started grooming the tall kid, I started to realize just how uncomfortable he was with ANY contact. So I just kept grooming...and grooming...and grooming. I used all the brushes in the arsonal. He's a nice horse. He wants to get along. He's been a slow developer mentally, which is why he is 4 and I am just now comfortable going ahead with breaking him out. I finally slowed down MY agenda long enough to realize he is still pretty immature and we need to back it up a few steps until he is comfortable with just being handled again. He is very uncomfortable just having his legs brushed, so it only stands to reason that he would be uncomfortable handing over that foot for trimming. Sometimes it don't matter how much you have already done with a young horse, if they get something in their brain or are rushed out of their comfort zone, they can kind of fall apart.

By the time my arms gave out from grooming, he was licking his lips...
He should come back pretty quickly. You can see everything clicking in his head. It's just going to be an everyday handling, grooming and messing with process.

Shooter has settled into living at mom's really well. He is getting to know everyone through the fence. The mares are all out of heat now, so he has stopped screaming at them and reverted back to his normal, docile self. The vet's office cancelled his gelding day, they had some stuff come up. It was rainy, cloudy and muddy those few days anyway. Not a good time to geld. I'm shooting for this next week...
I love how this colt turns around, he just gets up underneath of himself and rolls back over his's so natural. M.U.S.T get him gelded soon or I might change my mind.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tired Girl

My girl is home after spending 3 days at the state FCCLA(It's kinda like FHA-but non-ag) meeting...
She did well on her speech and had a blast. And obviously not a lot of sleep. A shower, some supper and she was out like a light. I miss the days of when she was small enough to pick up and tuck into bed.

That darn cat of hers misses her terribly when she is gone!

Monday, April 27, 2009

High Dollar Horses

In last month's issue of the Western Horseman was a brief article about High-Dollar Barrel Racing(Out of the Chutes by Ed Knocke)...and it has kind of stuck in my craw every since.

I looked for the article online so you all could read it yourselves, but was not able to locate I'm just going to basically hit on a few of the points that sorta torqued me off and why.

"Barrel racing has undergone a major transformation in recent years. Today's women ride racehorses with outstanding pedigrees, not cow horses with ranch savvy. And as the quality of competition has increased, available money has spiraled upward."

There is no doubt this is all true... kinda. It's an odd statement to make when so many barrel horse trainers actually prefer horses that have been used on a ranch or will specifically send their green horses somewhere so they can get some cattle work done on them. Why? Because top barrel horses are more than just racehorses. Barrel racing is not all about speed. You have to have a fast horse...that can also turn a barrel. It's a delicate mix. If it was only a race, you would see more TB's succeeding in barrel racing and well, can anyone think of a single TB that has ever been a great barrel horse? I can't.

Lindsey Spears, speaks of her mare, Martha(worth six figures), "She was born to run barrels, based on her genetics. Her sire competed at the NFR. Even today, he's among the most dominant stallions in barrel racing. There are very few people out there riding $500 horses today."

Yea, she's right. Martha's bloodlines are the cream of the crop. That mare is doing exactly what she was bred to do......And she was almost a wash-out! She was originally intended to be a futurity horse, but wasn't handling that very well. You all want to know why Martha is the great barrel horse she is today? Dena Kirkpatrick KNEW this mare had potential. She KNEW she was a great mare. And she was smart enough not to ruin her by forcing the futurity issue. I always wonder just how many horses with the exact same potential end up washed out and with blown minds because people can't or won't recognize that what they are doing isn't working?

This is where I get more than a bit huffy about what some people think $500 horses are or are capable of achieving. There are a lot of girls going down the road these days that ARE riding high dollar horses. Almost none of them MADE these horses. They are just good at maintaining them and good enough jockeys that they can get good runs out of these horses. But where did these horses come from? They weren't always high dollar horses. Someone had to train them. Someone had to put the time in on them to make them what they are. Cause if they hadn't, they would be $500 horses(or free).

Brittany Pozzi-Pharr thinks cheap barrel horses are a thing of the past. She paid a significant amount for her horse, Stitch, that she won't even reveal the exact figure. "I paid quite a bit for him," she says. "He was already a trained barrel horse and the man who owned him knew what he was."

Well, Duuuhhhh!! Some of these girls...I swear! Anytime you have a good one, you know what they are and you are not going to give them away. BTW, Thanks Brittany...I'm going to jack the price of all my barrel horses several grand...because barrel horses aren't cheap these days. ;-)

The part that irritates me the most is when they compare jockeys, like these girls to people who made their horses. Like...

Charmayne James and Scamper...and Magic....and Cruizer. Charmayne made all of those horses. Particularly Scamper. Charmayne is more than just a jockey on a barrel horse. She can make a horse great-from start to the NFR. I think I remember Scamper's original price was $1500(?).


Kristie Peterson and Bozo. Yea, Bozo was a $400 purchase. He was also partially blind, cranky, untrained and bad to kick. It took Kristie and her husband YEARS to turn Bozo into a decent saddle horse, much less a 4-time World Champion.

or even...

Kelly Kaminski and Rocky. Kelly raised Rocky, out of a mare she paid $500 for. But she was the one who trained him and made him great.

how about...

Jill Moody and Dolly. Jill doesn't even own Dolly. But she is about the only one who can get along with her. Dolly's owners raised her and think the world of both Jill and Dolly.

Maybe it's because I have a soft spot for the underdog. Maybe, it's because I actually train my own barrel horses...but, I don't think the big change in barrel racing is so much about what a horse costs. I think we have just realized a clear delineation between barrel racers and barrel jockeys.

You know, for a long time, I didn't really care for Sheri Cervi. It was no secret that she came from money and paid big bucks for the horses she rode. But, I read a quote from her one time that raised my level of respect for her wayyyy up there. Basically she just acknowledged that her family did have money and could afford to pay for very nice horses for her. She always wanted to make it to the NFR and she was thankful she had the means to make that dream come true.

Now that's a woman after my own heart. So down to earth and grateful for the opportunities she had available. There was no looking down on others and no need to feel superior because she could afford to buy the best. There is an article about her in the new Western Horseman this month. She is going to make a bid for the NFR on a horse raised by her family. And I for one, hope she kicks some snotty little jockey butt!!

Does this mean I don't respect people who buy finished horses to run barrels on? Absolutely not, if everyone trained their own horses, trainers would be out of business. I just don't like the attitude that you have to pay big bucks to make it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Yesterday, I was recovering from sunburn and too many hours spent working in the unusually warm temperature on Thursday.

This morning there was snow on the ground...

Ya just gotta love South Dakota weather!!

The dwarf irises said the heck with it though and are blooming anyway...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Welcome To My Playground

Today was a rather long, HOT(what the heck? 90 degrees in April?), frustrating day trying to get things done on my ranch. So to "get right with the world", I had to drive to the cemetary and take a few minutes.

This makes everything worth it...

And so the sun sets...

And tomorrow is another day!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

To Geld Or Not To Geld

Do you see this adorable face?
All winter I have waffled back and forth as to whether I wanted to geld Shooter or not. I have really been leaning toward NOT gelding him right away. Let me tell you, this would be the first time THAT thought has ever crossed my mind. Only one horse on this place has ever made it to the fall of his yearling year intact. As soon as the temps made it possible he was hauled to the vet and received his brain surgery. I don't know what my brother was thinking.;)Looking over the herd, there is not one single horse that we ever regretted gelding. We just are not "stallion" people.

But there has always been something a whole lot special about Shooter. I just hated the thought of gelding him and then regretting it. As a stud prospect, he is perfect. He is not related to any of our mares. Yet he possessed the exact bloodlines we want to cross them with. Also, his mother has outproduced herself every single time and Shooter is the last colt she will have. And well, he is going to be an absolutely gorgeous horse. The only thing I didn't think was perfect about him is the fact that he is a bit long in the back. But looking at the mares that I would potentially breed to him, that would be compensated for.

Well, guess what...he has an appointment with the veterinarian on Monday. My sweet, well-mannered colt has turned into a screaming monster. He got his cahones and he is letting the whole world know he is now a stallion. I was suddenly reminded of why everything is gelded around here. I HATE young stallions. They are the biggest pain in the butt things to have around EVER! I have weighted the pros and the cons and I don't want to raise a stallion. I want a nice gelding. So brain surgery is scheduled and I can't wait.

I had to make a short day of working horses today. I am on my way to the ranch to get things arranged so I can bring my bred-mare into town. In case you are wondering about the running tally on what got done that last few days, I'm trying to keep track of what's been done and who is doing what. Seems if I don't write it down somewhere, I forget by the next morning. Must be my age showing-LOL!

G got her "broke-horse" brain back...
She is a firecracker of a little mare, but darn nice when she hits her stride.

Turk was awesome today. Getting his teeth done was just the ticket. He walked out, jogged and loped off without so much as a swish of his tail. Before, he had a difficult time holding a jog and every time you asked him to lope, he rung his tail and kicked up in the back. I need to take him to the arena and work on his right lead. He just cannot seem to pick it up, so some roll-backs off the fence are in order.

VooDoo, the monstrous 4y/o got groomed up, sacked out and got the little bareback pad strapped to him while he ate his grain. He needs so much work. He is being a PITA about his feet and he has one really long front foot that is in desperate need of a trim. I am going to have to use a foot hobble to teach him to stand on three legs, cause he is so tall that when I bend to pick that foot up, he just steps over the top of me. I have no doubt he would do a happy dance on me if I pushed the issue. Ohhh Mikey...Wanna trade?

Boon-the little black mare we bought back last fall is a changed woman. No longer is she unfriendly toward people. Rather, she has decided that pocket pony status is for her. She still grinds her teeth occasionally, but you can tell it is more from habit than stress or nervousness. It's time to start saddling her. She is broke, but we just weren't too sure how broke. I'm just going to start her all over again to make sure there are no holes.

Roan Dog got the saddling treatment again. At least today, I did not feel the need to softly chant "Please do not kill me...please do not kill me", while saddling him in the stall. I even took him out of the stall to unsaddle him and trim his hind feet. He still won't let me pick up those front feet unless he is in the stall, but at least he isn't trying to fall down to avoid it anymore. Mom came tippy-toeing in the barn while I was working with him and I told her to stop acting like that around him. He knows when people are acting overly nervous around him and that makes him think he has something to worry about.

And these are the best dogs...ever...
There is not a move I make that I do not have these two keeping up with me. Where I go, they go. They just make my day!

And now I am off again...I am hoping to get my mare and the pony, Mighty Mouse moved to town tomorrow. It won't be long and I will be on foal watch again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When Your A Bully...

The pity party for Roan Dog is o.v.e.r!!

Last night he decided to take after poor Blue and he ran him all over the corral. Today, Blue is awfully sore. He is a pretty tender-footed horse anyway and getting terroized and ran over the rough corral ground did him in.

So this is how RD spent his day...

Saddled and standing in a stall.

Yep, that's what bullies get... He didn't suffer to badly...some hay in the manger and a bucket of water.

But, this is something this horse needs a lot of and from now on, he is going to get it. Saddling him in the stall was a bit interesting. He does not like confined spaces, nor does he like being alone. To bad!

We had another little come-to-jesus meeting about those front feet, but he let me clean them out. I've come to realize with this horse, you constantly have to alternate between reassuring him and strict discipline. More and more, I realize that the majority of his "issues" are self-made. You can do something with him one time and he is fine. The next time and he blows. Well, he is going to get his chance to become a decent citizen...if he insists on being a complete bronc...I've got the number to a local stock contractor.

On a brighter note, Sandy got his broke-horse brain back. We worked on bending, stopping, backing and crossing over correctly in his turnarounds.

G got her huffy butt saddled and rode.

Electra and Watch got groomed, a leading lesson and their front feet trimmed.

Turk got slapped in his own little corral...Every single mare on the place is in heat and he is one of those geldings that didn't quite get the memo. He keeps everyone on the move trying to convince them he is "the" herd stallion. Take him away from the girls and he is fine. He's going to get added to the roster tomorrow. I'm very anxious to see if getting his teeth worked on fixed the hitch in his lope off.

Bunny got groomed and tomorrow I will start ponying her. She is literally too fat to ride at the moment. She is going to have to lose at least 5o or 70lbs before her wither shows up enough to hold a saddle. Geez-that mare is nothing but blubber.

I wore mom smooth out today...there were no more comments about what wasn't getting done-LOL

I'll have this whole herd on the roster before you know it. Then it will be time to start on the other herd...ohhhh fun!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Burst My Bubble

Ahhhh glorious sunshine!!

We got some today.

And I got ear everyday english...I got to ride.

Holy cow-I am out of shape...three horses rode, one trimmed...and I am tired.

My dogs are wiped out. They went on every single ride with me. And I rode each horse about 3 miles. Nine miles for fat, out of shape dogs? They will sleep good tonight.

Mom was crabby as hell today. I do not understand, why...on days when I can actually get something done, she gets crabby about the amount of stuff that still needs to get done. It's not like the weather has been real cooperative the past few weeks.

I finally just told her to stop trying to burst my bubble. I can't work every horse right off the bat. I have to start with a few and keep adding. I don't know how else to get anything done. Ohhh well, she'll get over it. What she don't know is that as soon as I get the fresh off of these first few, she is going to be riding with Ha! There are several that will get their "oh-yea-I'm-broke" brains back after just a few days. That will put her in a better frame of mind and free up more time for me to add another couple to the mix.

I am kind of disappointed in the horses we sent to Nebraska with our friend last fall. I know they haven't been ridden in a few months, but I rather expected them to be a bit better. It was hard to get either of them to just walk out. It's pretty obvious that they spent most of their time working in a long trot. Blue used to just walk right out, no matter how long it had been since he had been ridden. Today, he had a hard time relaxing and hitting his usual business-like walk. Sandy, was a squirrel! I was hoping that getting those working miles on him would put a little finish on him, but it sure doesn't seem like it.

I'm probably being too overanalytical though. It's been 5 months since either of them have been rode and it's spring-time, so I better cut our friend a little slack. I know he rode those horses and put some working miles on them. They were sure in working shape when they came back. And he said he really enjoyed having broke horses to use. Yea...I am probably just being too picky. I'll give it a few days.

Oddly, it was Leo, who is usually jiggy and bad to root his nose the first few rides, who simply walked off in a business-like manner. I'm sure tomorrow, everyone will all be doing something completely different.

I just love spring.:)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Let The Bucks Out...

SunnyinSD tagged me to post 2 of my pet peeves...


Only TWO??

Oh, all right...I'll be nice and only post two! Hey, it's spring time. The grass is greening up and the temperatures are getting pretty nice. My temperment has definitely been improved.;-)

Pet Peeve #1-Food commercials! Have you all notice how almost every commercial about food out there is related to SEX? And it's not suble anymore! Come On...I love food! But, enough already. I do not need to relate my eating pleasure to anything else. Has anyone else seen that Quizno's commercial? It's just not right!

Pet Peeve #2-People who pass you, just so they can get off at the next exit...which usually happens to be r.i.g.h.t there. Especially when you notice them coming up behind you, jump in the other lane, fly by you and then they jerk in front of you to make their exit...and there is no one else behind you. What the hell dude?

I'm sure I have other pet peeves that irritate me just as much as these two, but they just happened to jump into my head.

****Okay, at the request of Mrs for things that make me happy...

On the same theme as #1

Sorry, this commercial just cracks me up!!

Nuthin' I can do about #2 though...crappy drivers are just irritating!

Soooo....I guess the other thing I have to be grateful for is having blogger friends. I live in a TINY town and while there are some nice people here, being able to talk to other people about a variety of topics on a larger scale than just how things affect our immediate area is very nice...You guys really do help to keep my horizons broadened. My Honey is wonderful to talk too as well, but I think sometimes he gets tired of hearing me blather on about things that are of absolutely of no interest to him.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Prom Night

Sometimes it seems that living with a teenage girl has to be the most frustating experience e.v.e.r!

But on nights like tonight...she does a momma proud!!

Megan and Carson, her date(boyfriend too, or so I'm told)...

Lisa, Megan and Brittney...

Fabulous "do's"...
(Megan had to go in at 11:30 this morning to get her hair "did"...with all the rain today, it was looking a tad frizzed by prom time, but I still thought it was beautiful)

Charlie's Angels???...

Ummm NO...more like Charlie's hell raisers! ya think she looks like me?
Poor kid!

Okay, FINE! I'll stop with the pictures...
Ornery turds!

The parents got to watch the Grand March and then they kicked us out! It was time for the kids to enjoy the rest of the evening without all of us oohhing and aahhing over how beautiful all the girls looked and how handsome the boys were. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about the "after" prom celebrations, like my mom did. The school provides a non-alcoholic after-prom party for the kids to attend that lasts ALL NIGHT!

Friday, April 17, 2009

An Unknown Killing Disease Linked To Ticks

****For those of you who are arriving here from that message board...they do not know what is specifically killing these cattle. The DEER have tested positive for Anaplasmosis. SOME of the cattle are testing positive for Blue Tongue, a disease that kills primarily White Tailed Deer. They pick a "bug" larvae up from drinking stagnent water and it wrecks their intestines. That should not be happing this time of year, as the dams have only recently thawed and the cattle are primarily drinking from fresh water tanks. And it has never been known to infect cattle before either!!

Anaplasmosis is also a pathogen that primarily affects White Tail Deer. No one has ever seen it in Mule Deer before. So they believe that this form could be a mutation. However, none of the tests that have been done on the cattle are confirming that Anaplasmosis is what is killing the cattle.

If this disease has in fact mutated...they have no idea of what all types of animals it could or could not infect. There are more questions than answers at the moment.

People in Nebraska are noticing a winter tick infestation on their horses as well. This is definitely a growing concern to animal owners all over this area. Primarily, it has hit particularly hard after the spring storms we have had. The animals are stressed and that is all it seems to take. Once they go's over...they die. One of the primary symptoms seems to be rapid weight loss, weakness and hairloss. Some of the animals look like they have been starved for quite some time and yet only a few days before they were fine.

Can whatever is going on affect horses? No one knows. No one thought what was killing the deer could infect the cattle either. While they are linked, it is not the same thing. As awful as it sounds, I hope the only reason those horses are dying is from starvation. If this disease/pathogen has mutated to where it could in fact infect horses and there is no remedy, it will be worse than the West Nile epidemic that swept the country.

Cattle are dying in the western part of South Dakota. Numerous cattle!!

One place lost 51 head. Another 40+(and counting)...another 11 bulls...another over 100 head of bred cows, dead.

And you know what?

They don't have much of a clue of what this is killing them. The local vets are working overtime, running every test known, involving veterinary colleges and...the Game, Fish and Parks.

Awhile back I posted about the multitude of deer dying around my mom's place. Based on the condition of the deer-wasting away to nothing before dying...We assumed that it was Chronic Wasting Disease. Well, mom contacted G,F&P about these deer and for months, they blew us off.

Yea...not so much these days!

I'll back this story up a bit, so everyone knows what we this point!

A few years ago, mom started noticing ticks on her horses in the winter. The first year, just a few. We thought it was odd. Normally, ticks just don't survive in the winters around here. But for many years, we have had abnormally mild winters. Sooo...we rather assumed that it just wasn't getting cold enough to kill them off or cause them to hibernate(or whatever they do).

Last winter, every horse at my mom's was absolutely infested with ticks. Hundreds of them. Plus, we were finding horse lice. We treated everything and that seemed to be the end of the problem.

This winter, we have kept a pretty close eye on everything and sure enough, in February we started finding ticks and lice on the horses again. Not everything this year though. So we treated anyone we found with them.

So, for the last couple of years, there have also been dying deer around the area. No one really seemed overly concerned...because it seemed that only the Mule deer have been affected and with the overpopulation, it seemed nature was just taking care of herself. This year, the deer have had a dramatic die-off. They would get thin and their hair looked like it was shedding in huge patches. They looked just awful and then they would just die. Wherever they happened to be standing. I'm not kidding. One was walking along the fence line and just fell over dead.

So far, we have removed about 20 from the yard this winter and after the last blizzard, the draw below the house has at least 6 dead deer in it. The thing is...these deer are all coated in ticks.

Then stories started surfacing about people losing cattle. Once those stories started to surface, you heard stories that people had noticed their cows didn't look very good and were covered in ticks, so they had had to treat the middle of the winter!

Now, it's really coming out. The livestock papers are running stories of dying cattle and it even made the news. Some of the cattle tested came back positive for Blue Tongue. A disease that kills off White Tail deer. We had that about 10 years ago around here. But they do not know WHAT, specifically is killing the cattle.

The deer apparently are dying of Anaplasmosis. A tick-born disease that can infect ANY animal that is bitten by an infected tick. So far, the only known deaths associated with this disease is in fact the deer. They are not entirely sure that this is what is killing the cows, as the tests have not confirmed a definite disease or pathogen.

As they come out with more information...I'll keep you all posted. This is a new problem in our area and much like the spread of West Nile, nothing has any immunity to it. All they have been able to conclude is that it is most likely being spread by a new type of winter hatching tick. So far, no equine deaths have been associated with this disease, but that does not mean that horses, or pets or people cannot be infected.

Link to News story and video provided curtesy of SunnyinSD...Thanks!

Oh, and hey....That's my primary veterinarian!! Norma rocks. Don't get on her bad side though.;-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter In The Hills

So I found the camera...LOL...buried under "stuff" in Megan's room. We are not so great about immmediately putting things away when we get home from a trip-sheesh!!

For the first time ever, we spent a holiday at Chris' mom's place in the Black Hills. She has a beautiful place there...same place Chris was raised in. It's to D.I.E. for!! Immediately behind her house is Forest Service land...which is wonderful for hiking in. So that is what we did Easter morning...went for a little hike.
Here is a tiny sampling of some of the photos Megan and I took...

This is an old gold mine...
Apparently a recent slide has closed the actual mine shaft(probably for the best).

We came back through the neighbor's valley...

On our way out of town, is the Crazy Horse Monument...
This thing has been a work in progress every since I can remember. There has been a lot done since the last time I saw it though. Hopefully, they will finish it in my lifetime.

It was a great weekend. Chris' mom is the sweetest lady. Bless her heart, she pulled out the fine china and sets a pretty darn fancy table! She taught Megan how to play some card games and we played Kizmet, which is like Yatzi(sp?). We all ended up getting a Yatzi before the night was crazy is that?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Yeeeeaaaa...been a little MIA here.

We had a great Easter...have some beautiful photos to share...but can't seem to find my camera.

I'm hoping it is in the pickup...which is at mom's. I was too lazy to unhook the horse trailer, just to have to hook it up again tomorrow. So I just drove one of her pickups to town.'s finally looking rather spring-like around here. Green grass and almost all of the snow is gone. The ponies are really getting shed out too. It's time to start riding. Among other things! Holy moly-I've got some fence to fix. The deer and the snow banks have been hard on the fences.

That's about it...until I can locate that darn camera.;-)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

We are outa here for the weekend. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Must Have These...

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me or has been reading my blog for awhile, that I am just as much of a biker chick as I am a cowgirl. There's not a lot of differences between the two. Really...Both love the outdoors and the wind in our hair. Both prefer manly men to sissy boys. Both appreciate fine works of leather.

And well there are a few other similarities...but I'll just leave those up to your imagination.

But there is one thing that I have loved about the biker attire for a very long time...

Get the idea?


It's f.l.a.m.e.s!!

I LOVE them. I'll buy anything with flames on it and love getting gifted these items(My Honey knows my taste well-he bought me the two pairs of sandals). I can't help myself. It's a weakness in my nature.

And Now...

The cowboy world is coming around to my way of thinking....

I think I am in LOVE!

These are even Ariat's Probabies, so I can safely ride in them(We won't tell people that I sometimes ride in my Fatbabies).

Quick...what's the next holiday coming up that I can safely make this purchase and justify it?

Ohhhh....I love the Easter Bunny!!!

**I also found myself another beautiful pair of Boulet boots. I took pictures of them on my phone, but the Verizon dude has apparently NOT rode his donkey through this area...cause the darn phone won't send pictures without digital service...Apparently, he cannot hear me now. Soon as I get somewhere with the appropriately modern service...what does that tell you about the boonies I live in?...I'll post pictures of them too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Soo...What's Your Story? Quiz From MiKael's Blog

This fun little quiz was on MiKael's blog a couple of days ago...Feel free to play along!

1. How old were you when you first started riding? Very young-I suppose I was riding before I was walking and riding alone by the time I was 3.

2. First horse ridden? I don't remember.

3. First horse trotted on? Probably Flyspeck, a POA we had for nearly 30 years.

4. First horse cantered on? Probably my mom's palomino barrel horse, King.

5. First Horse fallen off of? I suspect that would either be Flyspeck or my blind Shetland, Pony.

6. Most recent horse fallen off? Fallen or bucked off of? The last horse to dump me was Frosty, my buckskin gelding. He didn't mean it.

7. Most terrifying fall? Nothing is really coming to mind.

8. First horse jumped with? Woofer(Shooter's mom)-I learned to jump in college.

9. First horse who ran away with you? My mom's palomino barrel horse, King.

10. First horse that scared the crap out of you? That would have been my aunt's palomino barrel horse named, Playboy. He was pretty scary to get into the arena-my mom had to lead me and he would try to spin and rear. My mom would hang on and I remember being more scared he would run over her than that he would run off with me. But any other time, he was a wonderful horse.

11. First horse shown? Flyspeck, at the local 4-H show. I was 8. I ran barrels and poles on a Shetland named Rudy and made it to state in both events.

12. First horse to win a class with? Can't remember if I won any speed events on Rudy or if my first win was with a roan gelding named Roany(His registered name was Roan Ranger Bar and I thought that was just the coolest name EVER).

13. Do you/have you taken lessons? No. Although, I suppose you might count some of the things we learned in 4-H as beneficial.

14. First horse you ever rode bareback? I didn't have a saddle until I was 8 and needed one to show in the horse show with, so before that I rode everything bareback.

15. First horse trail ridden with? I have flashes of memories of going on a very long cattle drive when I was very little. Mom says we drove cattle 15 miles that day. I rode Roany(the same horse I later used in 4-H). I was 3y/o, he was 3y/o.

16. Current Barn name? We've never named our ranch. My brother came up with a cool brand that I need to see if I can get registered. It's a whole bunch of mill irons hooked together to form 2 bits...get it? The two bit ranch...LMAO...I thought that was a great idea!

17. Do you ride English or western? Mostly western. I do ride HUS and Meg and I are going to work on jumping this year.

18. First Horse to place at a show with? Rudy

19. Ever been to horse camp? No, but I always wanted to go to one.

20. Ever been to a riding clinic? A couple, although only ever as an observer. Never participated.

21. Ridden sidesaddle? Does it count if we did it in regular saddles? Oh yea, my brother and I were like monkeys on our horses. We rode sidesaddle, backwards, standing up, double, triple and practiced hanging off the side of their necks like the Indians used too.

22. First horse leased? Spooks, a paint barrel horse I leased to see if I wanted to purchase him.

23. Last Horse Leased? Spooks. He owner was such an ass. I leased this horse straight out of the pasture, had to get his feet done, his teeth done, had a chiropractor work him over, fixed him so he didn't nail 1st barrel 100% of the time and his owner said he was worth more now, so upped his sale price. No, I didn't have anything in writing...the jackass was my step-uncle.

24. Highest ribbon in a show? Champion. Hey what can I say, I play to win.;)

25. Ever been to an 'A' rated show? No, but in the stock horse world is a breed show similar? Then yes, I have shown in breed shows.

26. Ever competed in pony games/relay races? Yes

27. Ever fallen off at a show? No(knock on wood). I'm hoping to get Roan Dog riding again and hopefully to some shows this you think they will charge me double entry fees? One entry fee for barrels and one for saddle bronc...

28. Do you ride Hunter/Jumpers? No...but we would like to change that.

29. Have you ever barrel raced? Yes

30. Ever done pole bending? Yes

31. Favorite gait? That depends on what horse I am riding.;-)

32. Ever cantered bareback? Yes. Play arena tag bareback sometime, it's a blast!

33. Have you ever done dressage? No...another thing I would love to be able to try.

34. Have you ever evented? desire there.

35. Have you ever mucked a stall? One or two

36. Ever been bucked off? Yes

37. Ever been on a horse that reared? Yes. And thanks to my grandpa's advice, got my nose broke by one. So for anyone who ever wondered...bonking the horse between the ears does not work. Hey, I was about 12y/o...when you are that age, you do what your grandpa tells you too! Anyway, Ole' Dunny went up, I bonked him between the ears with a piece of wood my grandpa handed me, the board bounced off Dunny's poll and whacked me in the nose. Well, at least one of us learned something that day...

38. Horses or ponies? Horses. Interestingly enough, the only ponies I was ever around were really good ones. Didn't mean they wouldn't dump ya if you weren't paying attention, but they were a darn sight better than most I have seen since then.

39. Do you wear a helmet? No

40. What's the highest you've jumped? 3 or 3-1/2 feet.

41. Have you ever ridden at night? Yes. By the light of the full moon, with good friends and cold wine coolers...I miss my AZ buddies!

42. Do you watch horsey television shows? Kinda-I irriate everyone because I nitpick them.

43. Have you ever been seriously hurt/injured from a fall? No. Lucky me, I only got hurt when I was doing something mundane like opening my tack door on the trailer or helping someone move a mare and foal.

44. Most falls in one lesson? I think I remember a Tuffernhell-bred gelding bucking me off twice in one training session. He was bad to buck, rear and run off. He broke his owner's leg, so ended up in our barn to break. He was gorgeous...the brain the size of a peanut...but darn pretty to look at.

45. Do you ride in an arena/ring? When I can. Mostly we ride in the open, but haul to the local arena whenever the ground is good.

46. Have you ever been trampled by a horse? Yes. She seriously injured me too-but I was too dumb to go to the hospital. How cool is it when you have to explain to your new boyfriend how you got that hoofprint on your chest. Not to mention the matching one on your buttock. Sheez!

47. Have you ever been bitten? Yes

48. Ever had your foot stepped on by a horse? Yes

49: Favorite riding moment? Not one in particular, but I love that time right after a horse struggles to grasp something and you finally feel them "get it".

50. Most fun horse you've ridden? Oh pretty much all of them at some point or other...but the one that was really surprising and a wonderful find was a 4y/o TB I bought at an auction for $500. I passed him up several times while walking the pens, but he has such a kind look in his eye that when the girl took him to the arena to ride him before the sale, I followed. She was just a girl hired to ride horses through the sale and she was a complete moron. It was pretty obvious that the horse knew more than she did and she did a really good job of making him look like he didn't know anything and a kicker too boot. But I really liked the way he moved. After he got home and settled in, I rode him and he was 100X's better than I ever could have imagined. He had beautiful transitions-up and down, flying lead changes and was so beautifully mannered. Come to find out, he had a year's worth of dressage training on him but washed out because he ground his teeth and hung his tongue out the side of his mouth...continually.

So that's me. Kind of a redneck by today's standards. But I wouldn't know half of what I do now, if I hadn't have gotten to do the things I did then. It was fun growing up with horses and having a family that let us do lots of stuff with them, as long as we were not mean to them. Personally, I think there are a lot of people who are too stuffy about what you should and shouldn't do with horses. Horses are supposed to be fun...why the heck else would we spend every spare dollar we have on them?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Megan's Turn

So a couple of weeks know, when we had one day of spring, one day of summer and one day of fall weather before we slipped back into winter...Teeheehee

Miss Megan gathered up her favorite little black mare, Snip and gave her, her once a year handling session. I'm just kidding. Actually, Megan has a very soft spot for this little mare and has been determined to use her to practice her groundworking skills with. Although I have been hesitant to turn Megan loose with anything that is not reasonably well broke...the fact is, she is not as little as I like to think of her and she does know what she is doing. The only way to get better is to let her work with horses that are not tremendously strong and although green, do have basic leading skills.

So here is Megan, doing her thing...
**caution, the wind is blowing in this video, so it is annoyingly scratchy sounding. You may want to turn your sound down.

I'm sure most everyone has watched clinicians do this exercise, so it's not anything new. But I think this is a pretty good example of what it looks like when your horse is being less than cooperative. It's really noticeable just how much moving of your feet it takes to stay in the correct position. When the horse doesn't really want to move their feet, that is when the person has to work harder to stay just behind the shoulder and work at pushing the horse forward.

I stopped videoing in a spot where Snip was not wanting to move her feet at all. Megan was doing all the right things, but Snip just didn't want to move. At this point you have several options. Myself, I would step toward the shoulder and swing the end of the lead toward the shoulder in bigger and bigger arcs until the horse moved away from me. I would just keep swinging that lead and letting it pop the horse on the shoulder until the horse could not stand it anymore and moved away. Megan chose another route. She stopped trying to push the mare away, pulled Snip so she faced up, stepped to her and then led her a few steps. She kept doing that until Snip finally moved off in the circle again.

There's always more than one way to do something and still get the same end result. The point is that you are working toward an end result. It took Megan and Snip a little longer to work through things, but they did and the end result was Megan leading Snip all over the corral, through a gate and in and out of the barn. Something this mare has not done in years. I told mom, we better be careful or we will look up one of these days and that mare will be saddled and Megan will be riding her...I was only about 1/2 kidding!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Parrot Mouth

Mrs Mom commented on seeing a horse with a severe parrot mouth a couple of posts back and it got me to thinking...

I did own a parrot mouthed horse one time. He was a tiny dynamo of a speed event horse and was so darn cowy that when he locked onto a calf or steer, you could just throw the reins away and focus on roping. Since he was a gelding...the question of reproducing that fault never came up.

I'm sure that everyone else was raised with the understanding that the parrot mouth condition was entirely genetic and was the result of one or both of the parents having the same condition. In the case of my little gelding, neither of his parents were parrot mouthed and he really didn't get noticeable until he was a 4y/o. I think he was 5 or 6 before I got his teeth worked on by a really good veterinarian who enlightened me a whole bunch about this horse's mouth. Not only was he significantly parrot-mouthed, he apparently had very soft teeth. He was missing a few already and the vet found another broken one still in his jaw. The only indication that this horse had any dental issues was that he carried his head slightly tipped while loping to the right.

The vet explained that the primary reason a parrot jaw is undesirable is because of how the teeth line up in the mandible. Any misalignment in the jaw bones leaves a horse with the propencity to "grow" hooks both on the upper and lower teeth.

Now, based on talking to my equine dentist, I started doing a little reading. According to the dentist, parrot jaw is not necessarily genetic! And it can be fixed to a certain extent with proper dental work. Now, I certainly am not knowledgeable enough to discuss this in detail, but I did find this really good article on the subject...Equine Dental/Parrot Mouth. There are good pictures included of both mild and severe cases.

Now in the article, they talk about the over grinding of teeth during dental work, which is something that CdnCowgirl brought up in previous comments. With modern power tools, this is a valid concern. I'm very comfortable with the expertise of the dentist I use, but he came highly recommended. Actually, anyone I talked to about getting horse's teeth worked on, they either recommended this guy or an equine specialist veterinarian who is nearly 200 miles away. I wouldn't recommend that anyone just hire the first name they came across and let them go to grinding on your horse's teeth. In that case, manual floats sure would be the way to go, lot less chance of creating more of a problem than they are fixing. As far as the sedation? Every horse I've ever had worked on, even with manual floats were sedated. I do remember hearing about an equine dentist in AZ, who used homeopathic remedies to relax horses so they could be worked on. I kind of poo-pooed the idea, but still wanted to see it in person(not enough to pay for his services though). A couple of people I talked to about him said they didn't think he got much accomplished with that method. So I stuck with what I knew, which was still manual floating at the time and regular sedation.

So back on topic, I asked our dentist what exactly creates a parrot mouth, if it is not entirely genetic? He said most often it is caused by feeding horses out of mangers, rather than on the ground and foals that are weaned late. Gulp!! So, to the top of the list for him to check out in May will be little Shooter. I think Shooter has a mouth that resembles Moon's anyway, it sure would suck if I've caused further damage by leaving him on his momma that extra time.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

This Is Spring?

That damn Easter bunny is gonna have a heckava time in this country next week. ;-)

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Dentist Cometh

Finally, our equine dentist was able to make it out for a full day. Bless his heart, I love this guy. He is so down to earth, takes his time and explains and shows me everything that is going on in each horse's mouth.

Equine dental is something I am still learning the finer points of-no pun intended. The old days of having someone manually file the sharp edges off your horse's teeth seems way too basic and outdated. But this guy does not condescend nor even suggest that a basic float does not have it's merits. He also believes that how often a horse needs his teeth floated depends on the horse. Annual is good for most. Depending on the horse and it's living and eating situation, he even says most horses can go a couple of years between floats. Wow-how is that for common sense?

He got quite a variety in the line-up we had ready for him. From the 4y/o gelding, I am ready to start to an 18y/o mare, that Megan is going to use as a practice horse. He worked on 7 head for us this time. I made another list of "to-do" horses for when he comes back in May and another list for this fall.
So what did he find?
Well, everything has some sharp points, some had wavy mouth, some had ramps and some had hooks. There were a few that had late growing wolf teeth he removed and the 4y/o had a partial cap that he popped off.
From the picture above, starting from the left;
Boon(black mare)-the 6y/o we bought last fall. She was a severe teeth grinder when we got her. The dentist said that the grinding itself does not necessarily cause dental problems, but it sure doesn't hurt to keep an eye on it. The mare has slowly gotten over the grinding issue and seldom does it anymore. That speaks volumes of her mental state from the time we got her til now. It took 6 months for mom to be able to integrate her into a herd situation. She had no herd social skills whatsoever, nor any concept of how to travel in open spaces. Her mouth wasn't in terrible shape-a few sharp edges and a bit of wave. And a wolf tooth. She is completely fixed up now. I'm going to start saddling her and doing some groundwork, but probably won't start riding her (she is broke) until I get a chiropractor to work her over. I know she is locked in one hip for sure and I think she is out in the poll too, as well as a couple places in her neck.

Turk(paint gelding)-He had some wave, some ramps and 4 very definite hooks. He is now fixed up and his front teeth were ground down a tad to get his grinding motion fixed. Him, I will start riding to see if this helped his lope-off issues. It's possible he will need another chiropractic adjustment as well, but at least I am comfortable riding him to try to start working on balance and cadence issues.

Bunny(bay mare hiding behind Turk)-She had some serious waves and ramps and two prominent hooks in the front. When I let her in the barn, the dentist had to look her all over. It's easy to chuckle over the width and breadth of this mare-she is massive. In shape, she weighted up at 1350lbs. Add a couple hundred extra pounds to that, on a horse that is only 14.3H and you have a halter horse lovers wet dream. She is on a diet and I am very serious about getting her in shape this year. In spite of her thick build, she is tremendously athletic-she can slide to a stop and spin like a top...and then she is out of breath-LOL.

Sissy(paint mare)-Is going to be Megan's practice horse this year. She is a pony looking little thing, but looks and moves beautifully in an English saddle. Never would have thought that in a million years. The dentist had to take a second look at her when I told him she was 18y/o. She looks more like an 8y/o. Megan is pretty specific about which horses she likes and wants to work with. However, if she is going to get serious about her English and learning to jump this year, she is going to have to have more than one or two horses to practice on. I figure if she has 4 or 5 that need pole and cavaletti work, she will get the practice she needs without overworking any one this is where having a "herd" is a definite advantage-LOL. She had sharp edges and some hooks. Her fronts were ground down a tad to get her grinding action correct. The dentist was also amazed that she had such perfectly straight teeth for a girl her age. And big teeth. He commented several times on the size of her teeth. Poor little pony.;)

Not pictured were;
Sandy-The big bay gelding I am going to start exhibitioning in barrels this year. The dentist loved him. He had the start of some wave going on and some sharp edges, but overall was in pretty decent shape.

Nod-One of mom's broodmares(too be). Some real sharp edges and prominent ramps. She took 3 doses of relax-meds. You could say this mare is a little tightly wound-sheez. I am inclined to breed this mare this year. I told mom all a person would ever need is one or two foals out of this mare and they would be mounted for years.

and finally,
VooDoo-I was joking with the dentist and told him VooDoo was his payment for services rendered...he said keep him in the stall, he would be right back with his pickup and trailer. Whoops! Doo got a 1/2 a cap popped off and some sharp edges smoothed out. He is ready to start working.

Now, cause I always understand things better with a visual, I was looking for some pictures to post to show what some of these dental issues looked like, instead, I found this really good article, complete with pictures that explains everything that most horses have going on in their mouths...Equine Dental Article.

So far, the only horse we have that has anything outside of the "normal" dental issues is Moon. He has what the dentist calls a "scissor-mouth". Basically, that means his teeth angle too sharply, resembling scissor blades when they come together. The dentist fixed that problem in Moon, but he is a horse that will always require more dental care than the average horse. The best I can hope for on Moon, is going a year between floats. Seven to nine months is better, but since I was unable to get this guy this winter, Moon will be worked on in May. That puts him slightly over the one year mark this time. Thankfully, the dentist is starting to limit his clientele, so he is not going to be quite as busy as he has been the last couple of years.

So now, I have numerous horses ready to ride and here we are bracing for another blizzard and significant amounts of snow...groan. If we thought winter was long and cold, this spring is proving to be even more difficult.