Thursday, July 21, 2016

Almost Ready to Ride?

Duncan is so close to being ready to ride, even with me being inconsistent working with him. I'm going to make it my goal to spend an hour every day, even on work days, making actual progress. And I could be on his back soon. If I can get over my jitters. Wish I had a man on the ground to help.

Anyway, yesterday was a great day for him. In the morning he stood saddled and tied to the round pen for over an hour while I rode Scout. He was antsy and whinnied a bit, even got the rope over his head sometime when I wasn't looking, it he didn't freak out about it.

Scout and I went in the round pen and just chilled with him for a while. It took a minute for him to be comfortable with me petting him from up there, and also to be comfortable with investigating the saddle and my leg. Little things like that nervous reserve tell me that maybe he's not quite ready to ride yet.

In the evening we did a lot of ground driving outside the round pen. We did this once before, briefly, but he got kind of chargy so we went back to the round pen. Last night was soooo much better. He happily went way out away from the other horses, did serpentines, stops, crossed the ditch and some poles. Straight lines were the hardest, of course. We were at it for quite a while. I did have to get after him several times for trying to eat but I don't blame him, it was dinner time. It was good to have to discipline him a bit. Usually he's so careful and I never have to get after him, but now I know he won't fall apart if I make a loud noise at him when he's distracted and committing a minor badness.

Then we went to the round pen and I stood on the mounting block and asked him to get in position for mounting. I did my physical therapy exercises that usually have me leaning on a yoga ball, using him as the yoga ball. This is the second time we've done this and it's pretty cool. He was super uncomfortable the first time, but I wasn't concentrating on him and that gave him the courage to bring his head around and check out what I was doing. Funny how just looking at a horse (or not) can be so powerful.

We did that on both sides and he was getting a little antsy at the end, wanting to move his feet. The bugs were getting bad.

He's a sensible dude. I don't see him getting into any kind of wrecks or trying to buck me off, but he does get overwhelmed sometimes. As he makes mistakes and has to work through then, he's getting more comfortable with being corrected/directed and learning that mistakes are OK. He's letting down a little of his stiff reserve and relaxing, taking deep breaths, and licking and chewing more.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Nothing Much

I've been filling a lot of my hours with berries and other non-horse-related things.

This was the view on Sunday when we went huckleberry picking:

I found a big patch of black currants too.

 And one ripe thimbleberry. When they're more ripe I might try to go pick enough to make one batch of jam this year. I've always wanted to do that.

Winston in his happy place. He'll wedge himself into any imagined space on the couch. There can be plenty of good spots elsewhere but he's not happy unless he's in contact with someone.

I've wanted one of these 3 tier saddle racks for a long time and found this one on Craigslist super cheap. So happy!

 The saddle rack just happened to be at a saddle shop where a friend had consigned some saddles that hadn't sold, so I picked those up too. I couldn't resist riding in her Syd Hill saddle. So nice. I may try to get myself one someday. Comfy, very well made, and lighter than most western saddles. They don't make them anymore and they're not cheap.

Look what I found at the end of the rainbow!

The skies have been gorgeous in the evenings. A lot of almost thunderstorms.

This was a different rainbow. Actually a double rainbow that lingered for a long time. The boys are in the pasture in the middle.

Last night I had planned on going horse camping but after 10 hours of non-stop go go go at work and no lunch, I was so tired I was shaking and cranky. I just said forget it. It was storming in the mountains and I still have trouble enjoying camping with the horses after what happened to Tonka and it just was not going to happen. I wish I had a way to meet them at the trailhead this morning but my dad needed the trailer to take his horse.

I'm going to ride at home and work with Duncan, do some more canning, and go to my favorite hidden creek in the mountains when the day gets hot.

Nothing Much

I've been filling a lot of my hours with berries and other non-horse-related things.

This was the view on Sunday when we went huckleberry picking:

I found a big patch of black currants too.

 And one ripe thimbleberry. When they're more ripe I might try to go pick enough to make one batch of jam this year. I've always wanted to do that.

Winston in his happy place. He'll wedge himself into any imagined space on the couch. There can be plenty of good spots elsewhere but he's not happy unless he's in contact with someone.

I've wanted one of these 3 tier saddle racks for a long time and found this one on Craigslist super cheap. So happy!

 The saddle rack just happened to be at a saddle shop where a friend had consigned some saddles that hadn't sold, so I picked those up too. I couldn't resist riding in her Syd Hill saddle. So nice. I may try to get myself one someday. Comfy, very well made, and lighter than most western saddles. They don't make them anymore and they're not cheap.

Look what I found at the end of the rainbow!

The skies have been gorgeous in the evenings. A lot of almost thunderstorms.

This was a different rainbow. Actually a double rainbow that lingered for a long time. The boys are in the pasture in the middle.

Last night I had planned on going horse camping but after 10 hours of non-stop go go go at work and no lunch, I was so tired I was shaking and cranky. Then my sister got pushy and I just said forget it. It was storming in the mountains and I still have trouble enjoying camping with the horses after what happened to Tonka and it just was not going to happen. I wish I had a way to meet them at the trailhead this morning but my dad needed the trailer to take his horse.

I'm going to ride at home and work with Duncan, do some more canning, and go to my favorite hidden creek in the mountains when the day gets hot.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Doing Well

Winston is doing well after his quill removal. Anesthesia seems to affect him a little more than most dogs. He's still really tired.

He left evidence in his kennel at work that he'd eaten the baby porcupine. Gross. And concerning. But I think he'll be okay. Time will tell. Blue has eaten adult quills before and been fine, so I'm going to try not to worry, while watching him very closely.

Friday, July 15, 2016

What a Jerk

It looks like Winston got a baby porcupine this time. He'll be going to work with me to get them pulled while he's knocked out. Last time we did it with him awake we all suffered.
I'm not sure if this is worse because there are so many, or better because they're small. Really it's just bad. I think there are a bunch inside his mouth.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Vacation's Over

On a rainy day I made huckleberry pie
 Watched a movie with Huckleberry
 Ended with some good progress
 The next day I made sourdough huckleberry pancakes
 And then picked a lot of huckleberries. The pink ones are really tasty, but fragile.
 We also did some hiking and exploring.





And now it's back to the grind!

Friday, July 08, 2016

I Love Where I Live

 We've spent a lot of time on top of the world this week. We hiked about 13 miles up and over and back down Sand Mountain and Mica Mountain. I think our elevation gain was about 3000-3500 feet. I was able to ride a little bit, but it was too rocky to ride poor barefoot Scout for much of it. It was a hard hike!
 The views were spectacular, but the trails were steep.
 At one point while I was riding my foot hit a rotten log on the side of the trail. I didn't think much of it. A minute later when John passed that spot he got stung several times by hornets! Not cool. He was okay but of course it hurt really bad. Liam hurried through and didn't get stung.

The forest is still incredibly green.

One thing that really struck me as I got back on to ride for a bit is how much more relaxing and rejuvenating it is to be on horseback. You can lift your eyes from the dirt and really enjoy all the beauty around you. There's nothing like having a good horse under you, happy, making his way skillfully on the mountainous terrain.

 The next day we went huckleberry picking. We found the best huckleberry patch ever! It was wet and rainy but it was still super fun. I took some friends from work with me who had never done anything like that before. John saw a moose, but it ran off before anyone else got to see it.

Hiding under a tree works pretty well to keep the rain off:

Yesterday my sister and I went out to Gold Hill and checked out a branch of a trail we'd never taken before. We always thought it was a short spur that wasn't worth taking. Boy were we wrong!

The trail was really nice and the views were wonderful. If you look closely below you can see the cone of Steptoe Butte in the distance. Normally it towers over everything around but it looked tiny from up there.

This is on the other side of the mountain. No houses or towns in this view. Scout heard some huckleberry pickers on the hillside though.

We both really loved the rugged, rocky mountaintop trail. 

He's so cute. :) Listening behind him for my sister and her horse Moose.

Scout thought this was the best part, at the end of the ride.

My tracking app wasn't working right, but I figure we did about 10-12 miles based on how long we were riding, with a 2000 foot elevation gain. Not bad! Absolutely worth the work. I feel pretty lucky to have such a beautiful place to play, right in my back yard. Staycation is just fine by me! I don't go back to work until Tuesday, I wonder what adventures we'll have by then.