Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Next Year's Mommas

My brother did get a couple of mares turned out with the stallion this year. One of them was my mare, Beauty...
This picture as taken when I was home in May. She already looks bred - LOL. Oh, the grass is green and thick back home in SD. All of the horses on the ranch are hog fat. Beauty is my other Lady Bug's Moon bred mare out of a daughter of our old King stallion. The only one that we have that carries the blood of both of our old stallions.

Originally, we had intended to breed one of my mom's mares...another mare I am excited to get a foal out of....but the roads were so crappy with all of the moisture that they never could get her hauled from mom's ranch into my ranch. She's on the 'next year' list. ;)

The other mare turned with the stallion is G...
I looked all over in my old posts for the pictures I had of this mare when I was showing her in halter. Oh, she is a stunner when she is fit and shiny. G is a bit lacking in the speed department, but has several full brothers and sisters who are quite fast, so genetically it is there. I'm sure crossing her on this stallion will produce foals with plenty of speed.

Interestingly enough, both mares are 1/2 sisters to Beretta's mom, Chunk...
Beauty and Chunk share the same sire. G and Chunk share the same dam.

And this is daddy...
Sire to Shooter, Beretta and Gunner, I do believe Pistol is nicking well with our mares. It's interesting how different all three foals are in shape, but they all share daddy's kind and interested disposition, learn quickly and seem to be real 'thinking' horses.

I have a feeling that G with produce a foal similar to Beretta...
As our original Leo mare seem to produce the same look with a good bit of consistently and that appears to have followed through to Beretta.

Beauty is going to be the big question mark. It remains to be seen if the Lady Bug's Moon blood produces some sort of consistent look. The original generation was all over the board, but they have all been fast.

You know, there is an old saying about breeding horses..."You never have to worry about a horse breeder committing suicide, as they are always looking forward to what might hit the ground next year." It's a sad statement, but ever so true.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day

A couple of weeks off of competition is at least bringing some things to light with Moon.
We have been working at variable speeds on the pattern and at the risk of being completely monotonous about the subject, I thought I would share the trouble spots that I found and am working on.
It's always interesting when you run into problems, because the most obvious problem is usually only the result of something that precursors it.
In Moon's case, his biggest problem is that he is rushing the barrels and diving into them.
Moon is a horse with a one-track mind. He knows his job is to turn those barrels and by god he is going to make that turn. When things are working...it's a wonderful quality to have in a barrel horse. When things are not working...well...it's nice to know that your horse is going to turn, but it makes it hard to help them because regardless of how out of whack their position is...they are going to turn and there is little you can do to control them.
So, I had to do a little back tracking to find where Moon was losing his body position. That is the spot that needs fixed.
It didn't really take much to find that spot. Moon is cheating on his rate. Instead of running to his rate spot, lifting his back and bringing his inside hind leg up to balance on and push off of, Moon is running to his rate spot and pushing his shoulder, ribcage and hip out. This allows him to fade out of his true pocket and just for fun, he sometimes flips his lead out as well.
All in all, it makes it exceedingly easy for him to drop that shoulder and dive into the barrel and nearly impossible for me to lift or correct him once he gets into that position. Attempts to get him to lift and set for the rate, are resulting in him simply flipping into the other lead.
Now, if Moon was any less of an athletic horse, a person might be able to still get him around the barrel without hitting it, even though it is an incorrect turn. But no, he is and always has been able to turn back through himself...no matter how out of position he is. It's kind of a freaky, weird ability and not one that is very useful-LOL. It makes keeping this horse correct a lot more technical and trying than most horses.
Take into Moon's one-track mind and since he thinks this is the way to do things...you can imagine how much fun it has been to get him to actually think about doing it differently. He has gotten those spankings I warned might come. Just enough to snap him out of his...I'm going to do it MY way...line of thinking and get him to start thinking about paying attention to what I am asking. I think we are back on track because this morning Moon was at least making more of an attempt to feel for my cues.
In the interest of clarity, I want to make sure that anyone who reads this understands that repeatedly spanking a horse for making deliberate mistakes when turning a barrel is NOT a training tool. I'm pretty sure my regular readers understand this, but I know that there are a lot of people who do read and do not comment. Spanking is really only a option for a horse that has at some point been capable of running a nice pattern and for some reason has started making the same mistake over and over. Once the rider has eliminated themselves as the source of the mistake and taken the time to evaluate exactly where the problem is AND has taken the time to show the horse the correct way to do things....if the horse insists on continuing making the mistake, a good quick over and under very often gets their attention and makes them realize that they need to pay attention to the rider. If you do find yourself in a position where you think your horse needs spanked-make it quick, make it effective and DO NOT hold a grudge. Get the horse's attention and move directly on.
I do not use spurs for this as the only affect they seem to have is to make a horse pissy. I have no issues with riding with spurs, I just don't use them in that way. Yanking on the mouth also not a good option. When a horse is in the correct body position and using themselves properly, your bit is for balancing and assisting in the follow-through. I'm not even going to pretend that ALL horses are light-mouthed or responsive during a competitive run, so refuse to get involved in the 'great snaffle debate'. The only opinion I have on what someone runs their horse with is...if you have to keep moving to a bigger and bigger bit...you do not have a mouth problem, you have a body position/rate problem.
Okay, so that got longer than I anticipated...the next post will be about fixing the problems Moon is having.
And no, the picture has nothing to do with anything I was just talking about - LOL. Don't know why I put it in...sometimes these posts take on a life of their own when I start writing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Looking At Turk's Feet

As I mentioned in the previous post, the Paint gelding Turk suffered a massive injury to his right front foot in his youth. His 4 y/o year to be exact. He's 12 this year.

However, as you can see from this picture, the problem these days is not with Turk's previously injured foot, rather his uninjured left front... This is the residual damage from Turk's injury...
It definitely changed the way his foot looks...

But as crazy as that hoof looks, unless it is allowed to get too long and causes the crack in the hoofwall to split up, that is not the hoof that is causing the disjointed gait problem Turk is experiencing.
The uninjured hoof is 'pancaking'...
Having front feet that look like they belong on two different horses is making it difficult for Turk to travel evenly. I was hoping that simply keeping him trimmed up would help bring things back into line, but I almost wonder if he isn't going to need a bit of a wedge pad on this foot to bring the angle more in line with the injured hoof?

To this point, I've done the best I can by keeping him trimmed up and working on getting his angles similar. But, since I would really like to have a horse that travels correctly, so that I can actually see what his potential is...it's time to get a farrier involved.

I think Wade and Mikey need to ease this way and help me out. ;-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Once It's In Perspective...

I can get as frustrated as I want with how things have been going in competition with Moon, but really...In the grand scheme of things...

It's not that big of deal. Frustrating. But nothing I cannot fix in due time. It's just one of those things that more often than not crop up.

Deciding not to go to the NBHA run this last weekend took a lot of pressure off and gave me a chance to slow down and spend some time with the kiddo and just have fun.

Well most of it was fun. On Saturday, my big buckskin creamed me again. For no reason really. Him and I...We had it out. When the dust settled...it was a tie. He made me eat dirt, I made him regret it.

So on Sunday, I decided Meg and I needed to go to another one of the local playdays. She loves going and having fun on her big blue horse...

BTW-Meg had the fast time of the day in barrel racing. She even beat all of the adult times. Seems the blue horse is finding new gears. ;-) She was very, very happy, as was I for her!!!

I decided the buckskin needed to feel what tired was. I saddled him up first thing in the morning and after seeing how tense he was thought that he probably needed longed first. I haven't longed him before riding him in a couple of years. It was a good call. That big yellow dummy blew up and made a complete fool of himself. I made him go until he grew a brain back and tied him up in the corral until we were ready to go to the playday. Loaded everyone up, him included...still saddled BTW and headed out.

I also took the paint gelding, Turk. He needs some exposure too. Megan is always so good about ponying my horses for me while I am doing sign-ups...
It's also a really good thing to do, if you are not certain how a horse is going to react to all of the commotion at public events.

Turk did really, really well. He is such a handsome boy...
I was going to use him in the events, but the ground was too hard for him. In his youth, Turk just about cut his right front foot off and it took a few years for it to heal. He's actually sound on that foot, but seems to be struggling with his left front. I believe it can be corrected by getting him shod, but I wanted to see how he did barefoot. Now I am on the hunt for a good farrier. We'll get him fixed up and see what he can do. He's actually taking this 'town horse' thing really well considering he has never experienced it before.

Much better than this do-do, who has been hauled thousands of miles already...

No worries though...After being camped on for 9 hours...Frosty had a completely new attitude today. He's thinking maybe he ought to give the 'grown up' horse thing a chance-LOL.

I do not believe in being cruel to a horse when they act stupid. Although, there were a lot of mean thoughts going through my head as I was picking myself up out of the dirt on Saturday. But I do believe in making them work their hinney's off for...oohhhh...two or three M.O.N.T.H.S! Frosty has never had that, but he's going to get it now. Time for the big baby to grow up.

Today, we headed over to the neighbor's place to rope...

We had a total blast and are headed back again tomorrow morning. By the time we left all 4 horses that we took over; Moon, Frosty, Rip and Spooks were nice and tired. We had working horses under us again...and boy does that feel good!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Miracles Do Happen

I have been quite impressed with how incredibly friendly and welcoming the horse people have been in this area, but this afternoon I had my doors blown off.

One of our new neighbors often rides the road ditches like Megan and I do. Most of the time in the evenings he rides with his daughter and son. Often he is ponying a horse and occasionally he has one loaded up with a pack saddle. It's pretty obvious he is a working cowboy.

Actually, all of our new neighbors have been very friendly. We couldn't be happier with the location of the new place. It is so nice to be surrounded by pleasant people. Not that the neighbors we have now are not also pleasant. They are all very nice people as well and we often stop and visit when we see each other on the roads.

This afternoon, as I was working on the irrigation, I see the cowboy neighbor riding down the road as usual and waved. Instead of riding on, this time he comes riding into the yard. He introduces himself and tells me that one of our neighbors at our current house told him that Megan and I were 'rodeo people'.

He offered an open invitation to Megan and I to come over to his place to use his arena any time we needed it and amazingly enough offered the use of his roping steers and break-a-way calves to us as well. No charge. No need to call and make arrangements, just come on over anytime.


It's like a sign right?

And who the heck is that nice these days?

Apparently a good portion of the horse people on the western slope of Colorado!

A couple of the barrel racers who are also local to me have also invited me over to ride with them and use their arenas as well (although I haven't had time to take them up on that). I was very surprised. Barrel racers can be an odd lot and are not always prone to offering up the use of their facilities to others. So to have several ladies ask me and Meg to come ride with them was pleasantly surprising.

But to have the use of an arena just around the corner and roping stock as well is like Christmas coming early. I have so wanted to get some of these horses tracking cattle and work on my heeling and break-a-way. Megan has been dying to get to rope to.

This is going to be excellent for Moon as well. I think all barrel horses should have something to do besides run barrels and tracking cattle and roping off of them is excellent. Maybe if we get to working on something else, he will quite trying to over-achieve when running barrels and if he does not settle into that, then he will be all refreshed on the roping end of things.

I'm skipping the barrel race this week-end since this opportunity came up. My heart just isn't in going and fighting with him and a few days of tracking cattle and repititious patterning after Moon is a bit tired and more focused may be just the ticket. I may still end up having to work things out in the competition ring with him, but then again, maybe this is fates way of stepping and saying...there is always another option.

Thanks for your guy's support.

**And to answer Breathe's question, I look more at position than expression when it comes to looking at pictures of horses during competition. Expression is hard to tell, unless it is really bad-gapping jaws or flinging heads. Not all of us have a tendency to look really 'happy' or pleasant during the heat of a run. Did ya see the poor girl's expression on picture #63 (the last picture on the link I put on the last post)? That's an 'oh-sheee-iitttt' look if I ever saw one. Poor thing.

As far as good body position for the horse and rider, I have to say there are several there-#6 and #29 is the same rider on different horses, but both her and her horse's are in very similar and excellent positions. # 8,9,13,15,16,17,21,23 and 56 are also good examples. Different from each other, but all good form. #49 has almost the same body position as Moon, except you can see that he is really pushing from behind. He would have enough momentum to carry him on around the barrel, whereas Moon is setting up and attempting to roll back. You can really tell the difference if you look at that girl's hand position compared to mine. Mine is up and over Moon's neck trying to keep him from diving in. Her's is out and in position to bring her horse around when he gathers for the next stride.

Careful about offering me an Appy barrel horse there fern. I have a soft spot for those spotted butts. I don't know if I could say no. ;)

Same Old Song And Dance

I tell ya, the fun is gone from this competition thing.

One 1/2 way decent run and Moon is back to slamming into barrels. He hit 3rd so hard last night, all of the skin is gone from below my knee and my shin is swollen and sore. I can't ever remember having that happen before.

I'm sick of it and tired of paying entry fees only to look like a complete gunsel out there.

Sorry for the lack of videos lately. I don't know what Meg's deal is, but the ding-a-ling seems to have forgotten how to push the record button. Either she is gawking off and completely forgets to record my oh-so-crappy runs or she only manages to get half of them. Come on kid, get with the program!

As for Moon...well...He better shape up too or he is going to find himself with a one way ticket to Texas. I've got a friend down there who harassed me for some time about buying him. He roped on him when we lived in AZ and absolutely fell in love with him.

It's no fun having a barrel horse who is a deliberate cheat. I think Moon has a couple of minor issues that he needs help figuring out, but he is not making this easy, nor is he letting me help him through it.

For one thing, he is a horse who is always thinking of ways to get out of doing what you are asking of him. He's not what you would call a willing participant...of anything. Not just barrel racing. If that was the case, I would say that he didn't particularly like running barrels and just do something else with him. No, the lack of willingness has reared it's ugly head time and time again over the years, in every event I have every used him in.

He's always been smart enough to realize that I cannot really get after him during competition too. He's pretty sneaky that way. Although what he needs when he acts like that is a good spanking, these days, people frown if you get after your horse too much in public. Even if the dirty, rotten bugger needs the attitude adjustment.

Do you know how hard it is to explain to people that your horse is really, truely a belligerent bully and the only thing he really understands when he starts thinking he is smarter than his rider is a one time over and under? It's a quick reminder that I am the boss of what is going to happen, not him.

I have become friends with the gal who runs the NBHA district I have a membership to and we have discussed my little on-going battle with Moon. I finally asked her last night, if I would be sanctioned for giving Moon the spanking he needs during the time-only's at the NBHA run this weekend. She told me no, as long as it was only a couple of swats. We all know, no one wants to watch anyone beat the hell out of their horse, but thankfully I am running with a good bunch of ladies, most of who are really good horsewomen and they all know that occasionally a horse has to be reprimanded at exactly the right time...in Moon's case in a competitive setting...to get it into a horse's head that what they are doing is wrong.

With the current trend leaning towards the 'train them forever' mentality, many people just do not realize that at some point the horse has to have some responsibility too. Barrel racing is not an event where you can go win if when you go through the gate, you are wondering...Is my horse going to rate, is he going to rate too hard, is he going to stay off the barrel, is he going to run out straight?

No, there comes a time when you have to be able to trust that your horse is going to run in there and do their part as well. I don't trust Moon to do that anymore and he is not letting me help him through the runs either. It's time to take back control of the situation and make him realize that there are consequences for making no attempt to pay attention to what I am asking or to stay off of the barrels.

It is interesting though that the one thing that is making Moon difficult, will end up being an awesome attribute, if I can get him re-focused on turning the barrels correctly. If nothing else, Moon is consistent. He is consistently making the same errors in his runs. So if I can get him dialed in that THIS is the way to do it, he should be consistent then too.

Here is the link to a pic taken at Hotchkiss...CWBRA-6-5-10 (pic #14 and if you click on it it will enlarge) that kind of shows what Moon is doing. It's not a horrible pic, but my reins are definitely too long (I switched bridles that day and did not switch my reins) and you can see how hard I am having to pick up on him to hold him up. Rather than bending around the barrel, he is arcing into it. Horses that do that just loose all of their momentum when they have to gather for the next stride. This most often causes them to either drop into the pocket or depending where you are in the turn, roll back into the barrel as they leave for the next one. Either way, you usually end up hitting, if not knocking over the barrel. That day we didn't tip any barrels and picked up a check, but it's really frustrating that we are so inconsistent. Every time I manage to beat Moon to the punch, he figures out a way to anticipate it the next time. I'm done trying to figure out a way to out-think him, every single run. It's time for him to start paying attention to me. If a spanking or two is what it is going to take, I guess that is what it will have to be.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Speaking Of 'Wild' Animals

We ended up keeping this mischievous little rodent...

I did ask around to see if there were any wildlife rehabilitators and no one seemed to know of any, so we just kept taking care of him.

He's living like a king these days...

Oh yea...I sent My Honey and Megan to the pet store to get some puppy formula...as recommended on all of the 'how to raise a squirrel' info and they came home loaded to the gills.

The little rat (technically he is a Rock Squirrel and considered as much of a pest to local farmers as Prairie Dogs are) certainly keeps us entertained...
He loves his little ferret bed as he is able to stuff all of his extra food in the crack around the pillow. We about died laughing at him one day. When he was first starting to eat solid food, Megan would hand him walnuts, which he promptly stuffed into his cheeks until they could not hold any more. He then ran down each level of his palace looking for a place to hide them. When he got to the bottom he jumped into his bed and started stuffing the walnuts from his cheeks into the crack. He was very meticulous about it, moving them around this way and then that way. For the final coupe de gra, he started jumping up and down on the pillow.

Has everyone seen Ice Age? Oh yea...Our Scrat is j.u.s.t. like that.

Who me???

Now I don't know what we will do with him. Releasing him into the wild seems a little cruel at this point. He is very happy in his little home. He has his nest, his bed full of spare food, a hammock and his wheel. He loves to hand 'wrestle' with Megan and likes being stroked.

His only dislike is being picked up. Once you have him picked up he likes being held just fine. It's just the picking up part. Oh can that little sucker bite. Owwww!! Megan bought him a harness and has been working on getting him used to that. I guess having him is about like having a pet ferret.

Anyway, if it becomes apparent that he is not happy, he is still young enough to re-introduce to his natural habitat. Maybe this fall, as Rock Squirrels have a tendency to hibernate through much of the winter.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Brake For Turtles

Driving south on Highway 83 in Nebraska, I am absolutely amazed at the amount of standing water in the Sandhills. I thought that country was wet last year...Yow-za! They are drowning this year and suffering from storm after storm.

I've run into bad weather every time I have made the trip this spring and this time was no exception. I did miss the hail and tornado this time though, even if it was only by a few miles.

So anyway, I'm toodling along and see a hug black spot in the road ahead. I figured it was a 'road alligator', but as I slowed down so as not to flip it under my trailer and possibly wreck one of my own tires, I see it's this guy...

Awwww damn! I hate seeing turtles trying to cross the road. I feel so sorry for them doing their best to get across. Most often its the little Box Turtles. This time it was a big old snapper.

I almost didn't stop.

But a 100 feet up the road was his buddy...


So I pulled over, backed my rig into a handy turn-off and hustled back to give the big guy a lift to the other side. He was none too happy with my interference and once I got up to him, I realized he was too big to pick up. That's my size 8 hoof looking pretty small on his back...

Luckily, there wasn't any traffic at that exact moment and I managed to get him shoved over to the side of the road. Well, actually I gave him a few shoves with my foot to get him moving and that only ticked him off, so then he just chased my foot the rest of the way.

But, I got him headed into the grass...

He was fairly ungrateful about the whole thing, but I felt better. Hopefully, he decides that side of the road is where he wanted to be and stays there. I just hate seeing those big, old turtles squished on the road. At that size, you know he had to be over 50 years old...more likely 70-80 years old.

I can't imagine running over one. Talk about popping a tire.

This little guy startled me when I came out of the bathroom at a convenience store in Sliver Plume. He strolled right into the store, but ran back out the door when he saw me standing there...
At that time the door was propped open, so I told the clerk he had a visitor. He kind of laughed it off, but did come close the door. I'm guessing someone has been feeding him/her because it was not one bit afraid. After the guy shut the door, it just parked itself in front of the door like a dog would and waited.

While the little guy was awfully cute, I always hate to see people feed wild animals like that. It never ends well for the animal.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Last Trip....

For awhile anyway.

I had to make my last trip back to SD this last week.

I cannot believe how much I miss my babies...

This little girl has changed a bunch in a couple of weeks. That throatlatch I was worried about being a bit on the thick side? Not any more. She has really taken off growing and everything is really coming together. Holy Moly...The stifle on this chiquita is outstanding. I told mom, this filly absolutely screams 'calf horse' to me. She takes off flying and when she wants to stop, she just sticks it in the ground. She definitely has future barrel horse potential.

**And no, she is not a pissy, unhappy little girl, she just flicked her ears back at the camera click.

Then there is this guy...

Yeesh...can we say future show horse?

When Shooter moves all I see is WP and HUS prospect. He is long, low, fluid poetry in motion.

LOL...and he has absolutely No Stop. When he takes off in a dash (If you could ever call it that), unlike Beretta, who slides to a stop and rolls back to change direction, Shooter takes off and to slow down has to make big loops. I really doubt he will ever be a barrel horse. There is just no natural rate in him whatsoever. Oh well, that's the breaks sometimes. Megan and I will have fun taking him to the show ring next year. I'm thinking it would be fun to have my first bozel horse. Wouldn't that narrow little head look pretty in a bozel?

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Well, Moon and I put together a better run today and finally drew a check.Second in the 4D. Not exactly a smoking run. But soooo much better than we have had the last coouple of trips out.


Sorry, no video...I dunno what the heck Meg was doing....Off in lala land...She is blonde ya know...LOL.

My memory of the run stride by stride is failing me. I was so focused on keeping my eyes where they needed to be and making Moon honor his pockets, that about all I remember is seeing the ground around the barrels and looking up to the next one.

We had some tack changes and I actually think they worked out pretty well.

The last time I ran Moon, he popped the breast collar D-ring lumb off of the saddle I have been using on him. I couldn't get it fixed before this weekend, so I decided to use that little Blue Ribbon saddle I got off of Ebay.

Heck, I thought I loved running in that Hereford I picked up, but I think I like the Blue Ribbon better. I sat nice and tight. I had just a hair of slipping room in the Hereford. Nothing that was going to sling me around, but still.

I also switched from running Moon in a full gag to a twisted wire snaffle. It's a big twist. One I have used for years and years. The mouth piece on the gag was a smooth copper and Moon was laying on that pretty hard. So much for the idiot theory that a full gag is brutal. LOL

I didn't use a tiedown on my run today, but I will be adding that back in tomorrow. I could just feel Moon reaching forward on his front-end, looking for the tiedown to balance on. Without the tiedown he has nothing to balance on but the bit and he gets too far forward on his front-end. Can't lift a shoulder then.

Well, tomorrow is another day and another run. Hopefully when that time rolls around, I will feel like I can let Moon out another notch and he will still hold his position. He really hates only going half speed.

Myself, I didn't mind too much. Geez-it gave me time to actually think.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Making A Dent

This week has been about nothing but getting the rest of the junk cleaned up around the new place.

Thanks to a very hard-working young man who was in need of some extra $$...

We have made a HUGE dent in that.

The junk is out of the shop.

The junk is out of the little barn.

Most of the mowing is done.

In the last 2 days we have completely stuffed this industrial sized cage dumpster...
(Blogger is being a pain in the butt about loading pics tonight. I can only load one at a time and I am to tired to bother to load more...but I'm sure you all get the idea.;)

Half of my big storage shed is painted.

And I even managed to fit in getting some of the hoof trimming done on those horses that I brought back with me.

There hasn't been much time to ride.

But, sometimes that is okay. I think taking the time to slow down and look some things over has helped me to figure out some issues we have been having with a couple of the horses.

I'll expound on those in further detail soon...

Hope everyone is well out there in blogger-land. I just haven't had the time to get around and visit everyone much...and I'm too exausted to think of anything intelligent as far as comments when I have actually stopped by.

Hopefully now that we have the majority of the grunt work done, Meg and I can get back into our riding routine...and I'll have time to catch up on what ya'll have been doing so far this summer.