Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wow, what a fun weekend! We packed up on Thursday and headed to Odessa for the mustang adoption. It was Tonka's first ambassadorial journey, and I had no idea how it would turn out. It was also his longest trailer ride, about 3 1/2 hours, his first time away from home for a camping trip, his first time sleeping all night tied to the trailer... Lots of firsts.

Going for a walk after we arrived:

Checking out the camp site the next morning:

Lea and I went for a really enjoyable trail ride. Here she is on Pepper, ponying Dixie:
We found some really neat little lakes. Bob calls them ponds, but I think they're little lakes.
Toward the end of our ride:

These here wild rock cages were super scary. What if the rocks got out and attacked?

We went on another trail ride with some super nice ladies in the evening. It was the little buckskin pinto's first real ride. She'd been ridden about 15 minutes in an arena twice last year. Lea and Pepper (can't see Lea in the picture) ponied them on the way out, through some thick sagebrush and rough terrain. Then she handed over the leadrope and they rode back with no help. What an excellent first ride! The two pintos in the picture are from South Steens, Pepper (the black) is a kiger, and the sorrel is from Coyote Lakes like Tonka. She was rounded up a long time ago so there's no way they know each other.The Mustang String at dawn:

The Border Patrol Mustangs are absolutely gorgeous. They just got back from a parade in Chicago. What versatile horses. They go from tough daily work to parades, to adoptions and other PR events. Very well behaved, happy, healthy horses. I'd take any one of them home, and one of those nice saddles too! Here they are taking a little grazing break. One of them hopped really funny in his hobbles to get around, it was cute.

Here we are talking to one of the Mustang Mentors and her daughter. Look how Tonka has himself parked all funny...

This sorrel two year old gelding was a favorite of a lot of people there. It's not the greatest picture, but he's really well put-together.

Check out this yearling filly. She's going to be BUILT.

Everyone liked this "dun" filly. She looks like a buckskin to me, I couldn't find a dorsal stripe. Pretty color though, whichever it is.

Tonka and I playing on the platform again.
Pepper and Dixie on a lunch break:

Foxy Lady in the lead, and I never did catch the pack horse's name. They were both steady and sweet horses.

What cool costumes, and what a sweet face on that mare.

The mares. My favorite was a little tiny Murderer's Creek horse, hiding behind the others here:

I didn't get any good pictures of any of my favorites. They were all plain, either black or bay, but had great eyes and were very inquisitive.

I wish I could have stayed for the bidding, I want to know which ones got homes. (We had to come home to medicate Scout because John left for a Mariner's game.) There wasn't much of a turnout by the time we left yesterday. Most of the people I talked to were just there out of curiosity, but I know some of them were going to adopt. Hopefully they had a lot more people come out today.

It was a really neat facility there. You can come in and use the corrals and barn and camp out and trail ride to your heart's content. There are all kinds of happy little birds around, coyotes in the night, and yes, rattlesnakes... I was glad it's not rattlesnake season. I love the little mesas and the sagebrush. I'm going back there sometime! Tonka really enjoyed it and went through the thick brush and rocky hillsides like he's done it all his life. Which I'm sure he did, before he was rounded up.

What a wonderful group of people too! The BLM people were all super friendly, as were the volunteers. Rick even gave me the hat off his own head when I asked if I could buy one to keep the sun off. So now I have a really nice Wild Horse and Burro baseball cap to wear to the adoptions!

I better get back to unpacking and hanging with the kids. I can't wait to do this again though!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Notice anything different?
Not just that his mane is brushed...



Here, for comparison:

Tonka got a haircut! Just his bridle path, the hair under his jaw and those funny ear tufts. We worked on getting him groomed up nicely for this weekend. I don't know if you can tell, but he still has lots of soft fluffy winter hair... We'll work on that.

And some random cuteness:
If I were to name this picture (below), I'd call it "Good morning, Sunshine!"

This boy is thinking bad, mouthy thoughts:"Hi there!"
Aspiring to be a giraffe? Or smiling for the camera?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Scout's eye is going to be okay! Yay! I can't tell you how relieved I am. It was the muscle behind the eye pulling it back because of pain, the eye itself is not shrunken. There is some abnormality in the back of the eye, but it sounds like it should heal, and even if it doesn't they didn't think it would cause him trouble.

In the trailer:

They did really well with their trip to WSU again. Took about 2 minutes to load Bella and another several minutes to convince Scout to go in rather than wandering around investigating. The ride was uneventful, except he has a little cut on his leg now but it's barely anything. The worst part was when they stuck the needle in his vein to sedate him. Scout played leaping Lippizan but they kept a hold of him and then all was well and he got very droopy.

I do have to give him a anti-inflammatory medication but it's a new drug that's supposed to be safe for the GI tract. I hope so... They told me I didn't need any additional medication to protect him from ulcers.

On the way out Bella practically jumped right in the trailer and Scout was right behind her. So we're home now, and all is well. I'm exhausted. This has sure been stressful.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I thought Scout's eye was getting better but now it seems to be shrinking. The eye itself, that is... I just got off the phone with the vet, there's nothing they can do today but they'll be out to look at him tomorrow. In which case they still might not be able to help him. If it's a puncture draining the eye I'll have to find an opthamologist unless there's a vet at WSU who knows how to deal with this. It could be a pain response though, a muscle behind the eye pulling the eye back into the head. I really, really hope that's the case. Then we can just put him on anti-inflammatories and gastro-gard, or maybe that isn't even necessary, I'm not sure...

I'm a mess, worried he's going to lose his eye. I don't think I want anything to do with any more foals or mares who can't watch where they're putting their feet! I watched her knock his pastern really hard today, not kicking but running into him. Frustrating.

Seriously, I'm freaking out. I don't know what we'll do if he is going to lose the eye. I think I'll go look up information on training a one-eyed horse...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

We had a kid-free night, and we were going to go to a mounted shooting event (to watch) in Lewiston, but John wasn't feeling too good so we came home. We went out to groom Mack and try to get some good current pictures to give people who ask about buying him. I was trimming hooves and John was spending time with Mack, trying to get him clean (seemed to just bring all the dirt to the surface). I had trimmed Soxy and almost finished with one hoof on Mack when John said the neighbor's horse was loose on our property. But no, it was on the wrong side of the creek and it was a dark bay, not a red dun. Running like the wind, totally freaked out, poor thing.

We had to drive around to the highway side of the property to try to block the only gate before the horse decided to leave again. She had parked herself as near as she could get to our horses though, and wasn't going anywhere. A guy had almost hit her on the highway and went to the boarding stable across the way and called the owners, so we waited for them to get there. I was a little apprehensive about trying to catch a stranger's horse who was obviously pretty worked up, but the stable owner wasn't getting there and it was starting to get dark so I went to see how she reacted to me. Jeez, the weeds over there are hard to walk through. There's some downed wire fencing along the creek that we haven't gotten around to picking up, since we don't use that side of the property, and I was worried she'd hurt herself. But she was really sweet and easy to catch, and just after I got her the barn owner showed up and walked her home. I drove her van back over to the barn and we got the horse settled back in. Gorgeous little appaloosa. We got to talking about the barn (which is for sale) and boy I wish we could buy it. I'd talked to John about it but we really thought it was a big risk. He looked around and really liked the place so who knows... I wouldn't mind having a job like that, taking care of a boarding stable when the kids are in school...

Anyway, the horse seemed fine other than a little nick on her hock, and all was well. I also learned about a local saddle club that I think I'm going to join. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Came home, got a call about my hay for sale. A guy is coming from three hours away to buy it! Which means I can definitely afford the trip to the adoption with my wonderful Tonka. He was so sweet tonight, hanging out pestering us, and was chewing on my rasp. I think maybe he's trying to hint that he needs a teeth float? It was hilarious, him standing there with it in his teeth...

Never did get those pictures of Mack. I sure wish John would keep him and ride with me. But John really likes that mustang gelding for sale here, so if Mack sells we could still be hitting the trails together after a refresher course for Scooby and some maybe some lessons for John.

We got our horses settled in for the night and Scout's eye ointment done, and now I'm ready to sit down and watch a movie.
Okay, so most of you know I like to make rope halters. I've decided to do a special on halters for the next week or so, trying to raise money for my trip to the mustang adoption. Diesel is really expensive, and with these recent vet bills we're a little tight.

So, here's an example of what I have for sale:
(Not the horse, of course.)

This halter is made of Samson 5mm kayak cord. Thin and stiff for training or everyday use, it's only as harsh as you make it. It does have all the correct knots, the fiador below the chin and lover's (double overhand) knots at all other points. I can make them with 2 or 4 nose knots, and can make custom sizes, although they are extremely adjustable. This size should fit anything from a small horse to a draft. Ponies and very large draft horses would need a different size, and if using them for riding you might want a more custom fit. You might notice that the tie end is a bit short here. This one was made specifically for Tonka, I don't normally cut them that short, so you would still have a lot of adjustability.

For the next week I'm offering them for $13 each including shipping, or $10 each for orders of three or more. These halters are sold by famous clinicians for quite a bit more. Paypal preferred. Checks accepted but I will wait until 10 days after the check is deposited to mail the halter.

Here's an example of a foal halter on the none-too-pleased Scout:
Leave me a comment if you're interested and I'll get right back to you.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Big comfy couch?
My handsome boy, who was so good this windy day
(Although you may notice we went for a walk rather than a ride)

Again, my handsome fella. Can't wait until he's all shed out.

I swear all my horses are going to float away like helium balloons one of these days.
Here's Tonka after his bucking spree, settled down again. Note big handsome Angus in his horse blanket in the background. Can't wait until we can leave the coat off for the summer!
How is my horse like a windmill? Well, high winds sure get him going! I was going to work with him even though it's nasty out. I got him moved into the round pen and left him there to calm down, but he's not really calming down... The wind is supposed to die down later, but then it's supposed to be raining. I'm at least going to get him groomed and get his attention before I put him back out. I was hoping to try my dad's other saddle on him. The one I rode in the last couple times really hurt my knees yesterday.

Thanks Dad for letting my use your stuff!

Here's my handsome boyo in a not so great picture from yesterday. He was a good boy.

And here is Scooby! Isn't he absolutely gorgeous?!?! Sorry, I was off my game on picture taking yesterday. But you should come buy him, he needs someone to love him every day. He's even prettier than Tonka (don't tell him I said that) with his dun coloring and great musculature even though he hasn't had much exercise.Come take Scooby home!
If you don't, I might, if only we can sell Mack. Anyone need a well trained gorgeous black quarter horse? He'd be wonderful for anyone with a little know-how.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I am hurting! For a good cause though. I rode at my lesson yesterday and then rode Tonka for a good while today and now I'm SORE. We had a fun ride, trotting around. I should work on taking him up and down our big hills, I'd like to get him in better shape. I need to groom him every day and try to ride every day for the next week, we're going to a mustang adoption in Odessa Washington next week. Going to do some trail riding and hang out and talk to prospective adopters.

Speaking of which, I've been meaning to write about that. Let me shout it out:

Wild Horse Adoption
April 26-27, 2008
Lakeview Ranch
10498 Lakeview Ranch Loop North
Odessa, Washington

20 horses available for adoption
They currently have Murderer's Creek, Jackie's Butte and Beaty's Butte herds in the corrals (unless I'm mistaken), so I expect they'll have some of each, and who knows, maybe a kiger or two.

For more information call 866-4MUSTANGS or go to
(You'll find photos and a daily schedule there.)

On another note, there's a gorgeous Warm Springs mustang for sale just a few miles from me. I was going to tempt you with pictures, but I can't upload them right now for some reason. He's about 12 years old, dun, broke but needs more consistent attention. I'd buy him for me if I didn't have Tonka. He was really nice. $900 OBO. Contact me if you want more info. I'll post a picture later.

Scout's ointment application is going a lot better. I think he's getting used to it and it's hurting less because it's healing. It makes a big difference when John holds him for me, but he wasn't too bad when I had to do it by myself this afternoon. Oh, and I should clarify that I didn't use a Q-tip on him, that was just the vet when he was looking for any debris in there. I just put the ointment under his eyelid with my finger.

Bella was being a total sweetheart today. I trimmed her front hooves and then she just stood with her nose in my hands. She's a good horse for those tender moments. Not so good at being caught out of the pasture yet though. She's funny. She'll run around the pasture a few times, then run in to the smaller pen and let me catch her. I don't think she understands that I actually want to catch her out in the pasture.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A sore-eyed sight. Perhaps I should have named him Rocky.

Putting the ointment in his eye is NOT going to be as easy as I thought. I need thicker boots, he really stomped my foot.

Gosh what a day. I've been running non-stop and it's never going to end! Just stopping in to say that Scout's eye is probably going to be okay. I have to put some ointment in it three times a day and if it's not better in a couple days I'll have to put him on some anti-inflammatories and gastro-guard to protect him from ulcers. So I'm really hoping the ointment does the trick! I don't want to medicate him.

The vet really liked Bella. Told her she was a good girl and gave her several firm pats to the forehead. She must have taken it in the spirit in which it was given, because she didn't seem to care about the different style of handling.

After having to handle the little guy they were a little worried that I might not be able to catch Scout and do his ointment three times a day. I told them we'd be fine, he's not really all that bad. He struggled a bit more for them than he normally does for me. I would too if someone tried to stick a q-tip under my really painful eyelid and move it around. But at least now I know it's not just me, he really is a little spitfire. All the more reason to work with him as much as I can. So I'm off to do just that!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Scout's got another problem. Something happened to his eye. I suspect Bella kicked him while they were playing in the pasture. She gets all excited and gets to bucking and kicking and I have seen her get him once before in the side. His eye is all swollen and weepy, and the parts that are supposed to be pink or white are red red red. I rinsed it with saline since there was some dirt and grass in evidence, then called the vet. They're probably going to come out tomorrow. There doesn't appear to be any trauma to the eyeball itself but I could have missed it. Hopefully they can come out really early. I don't like eye problems. The poor kid is miserable too. Hope she didn't damage his little head in the process... Now I'm thinking I better go check on them again. Hopefully it'll be no big deal though, maybe just a horsey equivalent of a black eye.
Scout wore a halter for the first time today! Doesn't he look happy about it? Well, yeah, I guess "happy" isn't quite the right word...
After a short lesson in giving to the halter (which was actually mainly him giving to my arm behind his butt) I took it off and rubbed him all over and baby-talked him to death. Katia held Bella for me, she was very helpful but she's quite opposed to the baby-talk.

Then I took them out into the pasture for some fun running around time. I'd prefer to have them out there all day, but the weather was just gross this morning and I had to leave for a while anyway. Not much better this afternoon, but oh well. See, he can fly too!
Look how well he's filling out. He's growing like a weed.
As you can probably tell, I found my camera! Yay! It turns out it was here all along.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I can't take pictures! It's horrible! I think I left my cell phone and my camera in my mom's car yesterday. Not good... Better than losing them forever though. I was going to talk John into taking pictures when I worked with Bella and Scout, but instead we both just stood around and loved on them. Haltering Bella and keeping her calm is doing wonders with Scout. He is naturally very curious, and he's staying close now that mama's not running away and doesn't follow when he takes off.

Time to go feed and love on them some more! Sorry, no pictures! Maybe I can find my old camera to get me through the week...
I just got back in from spending some time with Bella and Scout. Those two have been challenging lately. Bella is trying to be wild again. She doesn't want me messing with her boy, so she's been hard to catch, and hard to groom and pet without a halter on. She just leaves. Which of course shows Scout that I'm a no-good character and he should avoid me. So between the two of them either running off or following the one running off, there's been a lot of running off going on and no good progress made. I've been wracking my brain trying to think of a way to make Scout want to check me out. Wasn't worrying too much about Bella since it's normal for her to be freaked out when I handle her foal. I finally decided that I've been looking at it backward though. So I caught her and worked on flexing her neck and a small amount of disengaging the hindquarters. Asked her to give her head downward for me. Mostly I wanted to do something standing still that was familiar and would make her calmly think about something instead of worrying. It worked. Then, when Scout would peek around her hindquarters I'd pet him. When he'd run to the other side I'd swing the rope slowly and rhythmically on Bella's other side, and he'd decide it's easier to peek around her butt and let me pet him. I also need to make a commitment to be out there doing this several times a day, instead of just once or sometimes twice like I have been. I'm going to make him a little halter today. We have some fun times ahead of us! Lots of work!

Meanwhile he's getting HUGE. I really need to get some pictures. Bella's looking good too. The areas that are completely shed out are a darker chestnut, which makes a nice contrast with her mane and tail. I can't wait to see how she looks in a couple months.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I am totally exhausted! What a day. I got a lot done, but not everything I had hoped. The story of my life, there's always more to do! Thank goodness for tomorrows.

Tonka and I had another good ride today. I tried my dad's heavy roping saddle on him. Tonka didn't like it at all. It's really dry and creaky (going to have to clean and condition it, too long in storage) and Tonka's still not too thrilled about putting the saddle on anyway. So he was antsy when I put it on. Then he had to do a lot of work, because I asked him to move off to get the feel of the saddle, and as he did he kicked out at me! He worked up a good sweat and learned some voice commands in the process. I hopped on and wow, that is a WIDE saddle. A lot of leather between me and my horse. It was a lot different from my saddles, made me feel like it was harder to communicate, but strangely enough he was a lot more responsive today. Probably nothing to do with the saddle, but maybe... It does fit better. Anyway, we just did more of the same. Turn, stop, back, sidepass, pivot. Oh, another thing I changed - I lengthened his bridle. I swear his head is growing a lot. Actually it's probably just the difference between this new bit and the old one. It made him happier. I think it may still be too snug. And it's on the biggest adjustment. This is my nice bridle! I don't want to have to give it to one of the other horses! But since he seemed okay with it maybe it's not an issue.

Now I feel like I've been babbling about very uninteresting stuff. I need to go to bed. Tomorrow is Dump Day! Hooray!
Tonka and I had a nice little ride yesterday. It's been a long time since I've even had a halter on him, so I walked him around a bit first, checking to make sure he was paying perfect attention, stopping when I stopped without me having to ask him, etc. He's definitely well halter broke. Before I haltered him we did a little round pen work. He's not too interested in doing that, luckily, since the point was for him to stand with me while I groomed him without him wandering or eating grass. I do need to work on him learning his voice cues though. He likes to trot, not walk when I ask. He stops nicely, but then cruises on in to stand with me, so we don't exactly have a "whoa" when he's not on the lead or under saddle. But that's okay for now.

I need a new saddle! I sold the one I had been riding him in, which is great because it gave me lesson money. It didn't fit him anymore. But now the saddle I have, which I bought for my percheron years ago, is too wide. Which is really irritating, because I ordered a narrower saddle and they sold me the wrong width AND the wrong color. Unfortunately I didn't realize it until it was too late. It does fit Soxy quite well though. But on Tonka it slides back and then it's balanced all wrong and feels weird to ride in. I'm sure it doesn't feel right to him either. I'm going to try to get by using one of my dad's saddles. Hopefully it'll fit. But it's really heavy...

Anyway, I rode, after adjusting the saddle and then giving up and leaving it because it wasn't going to stay in place. We worked on him turning when I turned my body. He was somewhat responsive, but not great. I had to use my leg quite a bit, and quite often had to use my reins. He was side-passing pretty nicely though. And by the time we were done he was stopping very well off my seat and backing with little use of the reins.

A herd of deer came into the field nearby, the most I've seen here at once. It was cool. They were running around playing. Tonka was totally engrossed. His head went straight up like a giraffe and his ears were practically in my face. But I asked him to side pass and pivot on his hindquarters, and he did really well. Much better than when he didn't have a distraction. It was like he was too busy to fool around and pretend he didn't know what I was asking.

I plan on riding again today. I also have plans to worm them all, clean up the whole property, clean my son's room until it's at least passable, clean the bathroom, wash the truck (which I parked under a tree yesterday and the birds did what they do best), and finish up some paperwork for Mustang Days up in Spokane. Oh, yeah, and go to the post office. I was thinking about going to get a haircut, but I think I won't have time.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Here's my mouthy little bundle of attitude:

Once again, you may to turn down the volume so you don't have to listen to my baby talk too loudly. I just can't help myself...

And here I thought I was taking a nice picture of Soxy:

Tonka was looking rather studly here, I thought:

I didn't get any good pics of Mack. He's too muddy. And he likes to visit up close and personal. Got some eyeball and ear shots, not the artistic kind either.
Here's a little video of the little stinker. If this worked... You may want to turn down the volume, the wind was blowing.

I thought I had a bunch of good video, but it turns out it wasn't so great, so I'll try to get more today.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I had such a good time with my little stinker at feeding time tonight! He sniffs my face, which tickles like crazy with all those little whiskers, then he flips up his lip and tells me I stink! While he was sniffing I was able to pet him on his neck and shoulders, and eventually his ribs and butt too! Without restraining him! Woo hoo! I tell you, this is the most fun I've had with this baby yet. Other than seeing him born maybe.

I also rearranged Tonka's pasture today. I love temporary fencing. I'm going to turn him and the other two out together tomorrow. I had planned to do it this evening, but it took longer than I thought, so I ended up putting the three of them in real fencing for the night. Don't want them getting in trouble because they don't know where the fence is. Tonka got to enjoy it a bit, and ate as much grass as he possibly could before I opened the gate and he went in with the others. He's so good. I love that boy. I'm hoping to ride him on Thursday. It's been WAY too long.

Bella was a good girl too. Today when I needed to bring them in from the pasture she again refused to be caught. But it didn't take as long for her to run back into the small pen, and once inside she stood there waiting for me to catch her. So I did, and led her into the stall, then turned her loose again. Of course she took her son right back out into the hail, but only until I threw some hay in the stall.

A good day! Three special mustangs to share it with. What more can I ask?
I haven't kept up with replying to comments lately, but I wanted to say thank you all for visiting! And especially for leaving all your wonderful comments. I love to read them.

Some more eye candy for you today. Scout is nakey! He's really filling out. And getting more and more brave, exploring far away from mama as long as there's no "danger" around (namely, me). I should state that I am normally very opposed to turning horses out with a halter on. Not sure why I left Bella's on today, other than I just wasn't thinking. I led her out (couldn't lure her out with food) into the pasture and just let go... So I spent a long time approaching again to get it off. Which was a good lesson for her. The other day when I let them out I couldn't catch her. She ran until poor Scout's legs were shaking. Finally she ran into the stall and I went in and haltered her, then took it off, to show her that's all I wanted and it was NOT a big deal. The whole next day she shunned me. As if it was my fault she decided to run! I was only calmly walking, myself, and never once told her to run. Anyway... So today, after very little running on her part (but lots of evasiveness) I finally got up to her and scratched her quite a bit, then took the halter off and rubbed under her jaw, which is a favorite itchy spot. Then I left them alone. And Scout took advantage of his freedom to run huge loops almost the size of their pasture. I think it might be about an acre? I am so bad at guessing that sort of thing. I just looked up the measurements, and it's more like an acre and a half or something... Whatever. It's big enough for him to really stretch his legs. And now I have 3 pastures about the same size that I can rotate, as well as putting up temporary fencing around the place for them to graze. A lot of it will be hayed this year though. The unfenced part, that is.

Anywho, to that eye candy:

I love his spiky little mane! He's so dang cute! He still kicks me when I pick up his hind legs, and generally gives me a bit of a hard time, but he's coming around. He lets me pet his face and neck without restraining him. What a good boy!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

We finally got our fencing project finished, so we have a baby-safe pasture! Yay! They only had a short outing, but they made the most of it. Check them out:

This one is so funny! I thought the baby was supposed to be the one that levitates.