Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Look who's a big two year old!
He sure has grown.This one wanted to steal all the attention (and the carrot).

They were mugging me so it was hard to get any pictures. But I did get a funny series of shots of the mugging! I'll share those another day, when I have nothing else to post.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I like this picture of me and Bella looking at some crazy young male creature - either my son or my dog, I'm not sure which. Then my camera died so John couldn't get any pictures of our ride.
Today I picked up the mess from our fence tear-down and took it to the burn pile.
While I was at it I noticed a problem on the truck. This thing is a flap of plastic. I thought it was metal. Silly me. Anyway, it was flapping down onto the tire because the bolts had come out. The best thing I could find was a long eye-bolt to temporarily fix it. I'm good at monkey rigging stuff. Not so good at actually doing a job right...

Then I got Tonka out, discovered a bite on his shoulder that would have hurt under a saddle, so we played with the drain tile. It makes a great noise on the stiff, woody tansy stubble.

Then Huck wanted India's mouse.

She wasn't interested in sharing.
I did some shopping today. Later I'll have to share with you the cute stuff I got for the kids for Easter. Handmade suckers and cute candies. I still have to go by Cowgirl Chocolates and see if they have any chocolate cows or horses. I'll show you when I've got all the loot gathered. Such fun, I'm actually going to be ready ahead of time this year!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's been a busy week and a busy day today. I have some pictures from a ride last week, but they're on my computer at my standing desk and my feet hurt like heck so I'm writing on the Netbook on the couch. Tonka and I went out with my sister and Cowboy for a short trail ride earlier this week. It was fun but I can't think of anything specific that's interesting enough to write about.

Today was a very busy day. We went to town and did some errands. I got some drain tile. I don't know why they call it that since it's pipe. I wanted it to practice some trail challenge type stuff. I've seen it used in short sections scattered over a bridge obstacle and also as an object to drag around a tree, kind of like the traditional log or tire drag. It made the weirdest noise going around the tree, since it's kind of corrugated. Tonka did really well with that obstacle but that was in-hand a couple years ago.

When we got home I took Bella to the round pen and tried out a couple bits. Found the one she fidgeted with less and then left her to herself for a bit. Then we tore down a long section of some old fencing. It was fun, just me and my guys. Liam was a big help. It's great to see him really apply himself to a job. He likes hands-on stuff, especially if there are tools involved. He made me nervous pulling fencing staples with the pointy end of the fencing tool but he never hurt himself.

Then I rode Bella. She was a B-I-you-know-what. I ended up running her around the round pen (with me on the ground) regardless of her lameness. She was quite spry and threw in a few rude kicks as well. So I got a little mean and scared her and she didn't do that again. But she was still a real pill whenever I got on her back. It's a problem, her attitude and the fact that I can't really work her. She's such a sweetheart as a pet but she has no work ethic. And there's also the thought in the back of my head that it may be pain related, although I really don't think it is. She's not all that lame at all lately. I do still see her knuckle over going downhill though. I think I've decided to lay off on the riding and just start taking her with me whenever I ride and ponying her. I don't have the balls to ride her through it if she does blow, and I think she will at some point. Maybe she'll make a pack horse.

After tying her up for a while to think about things I took her down to the creek to get in the water. She loves water, so that's a reward rather than work. Then we went and looked at the bonfire and the child spraying water from the hose. She was scared of that but calmed down pretty well and went to grazing.

Speaking of water, Huck figured out he could cross the creek today. Not good, with the highway on that side (a little ways away). But he was really funny to watch, looking hard to try to figure out how deep the water was and then surprised to find himself swimming. Then afterward, all wet with his legs looking skinny and his butt hair swinging from side to side as he pranced around, throwing spray everywhere. Liam and I were both cracking up.

My nephew fell out of a tree onto my sister today. She was already having a lot of trouble with a bad disc in her back, and now she's hurting pretty bad. He's fine though. I was heartless enough to say it probably would have been better if he'd gotten hurt and not her. Kids heal fast. But it could have been bad, I suppose, so maybe it's better she caught him.

It was a long day. Plenty of other stuff went on in between, like John tweaking his back this morning. We'd had plans to get a lot done on the barn but he needed to take it easy.

I love these long sunny chore-filled days. Not too hot or too cold to get plenty done, and at night you're genuinely exhausted (not to mention a little crabby but of course that's not the fun part).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'm back home and I learned I do actually like my job. I am a creature of routine, it seems. It feels good to feed the horses and do laundry. I should admit that I spent a good couple hours stretched out in bed when I got home though. The drive wore me out I guess. And my CD player doesn't work! So I listened to more country, Christian, and Spanish music than I ever have in my whole life. Which still isn't much. I mostly just kept the radio off. Which kind of ruined the usual road trip! excitement.

We had a good trip and it was hard to say goodbye. Not just for us peoples but for the dogs too. Huckleberry and Dasie are best friends now. They played constantly. It was awesome.

I thought I had more to say but I guess I'm still tired from the trip. It's going to be an early bedtime tonight.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Northwest Extreme Mustang Makeover starts tonight. I wish I could be there but it just wasn't in the budget right now. To those of you going, I hope you have a blast! I'm sure there will be lots of great horses and trainers competing. It's really exciting stuff. If you haven't been to a Makeover you should definitely check one out.

Yesterday Liam, Huckleberry and I drove across the state of Washington to visit friends. We're having lots of fun. We're going to check out the Pacific Science Center later. Everyone's been there but me. So I expect it will be lots of fun, hopefully not too boring for those who have been before. I know Liam will love it even if some of it was the same when he visited last year.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Today I got out the Excalibur and all three boys got their sheaths cleaned. I'd never cleaned Scout's before. He wasn't too happy about it, but it wasn't a rodeo or anything. Tonka was as good, and as disgustingly dirty, as ever. Cisco stood there and pretended I wasn't doing anything, so as to excuse me from being embarrassed by my own rudeness. I didn't get to the nasty crusty bits he's been showing off when he's dropped, because of course he wasn't dropped. I'll have to catch him at just the right moment for that.

The weather is warm and the sun is almost shining. I should have gone for a ride but I'm just not motivated for it lately. Tired of riding around in circles. And I'm in the midst of packing for a short trip so I probably shouldn't be screwing around outside anyway.

Speaking of which, I better get back to work! Hope you all have a gorgeous rest of the week!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yesterday I talked about a decision (for now). Well, I had pretty much talked myself into having Bella put down sometime, maybe when it's Soxy's time to go. She's lame on both stifles. The surgery would cost a lot and may not help anyway. She'd be an expensive pet, and that is not fair to my family. That's an easy decision to make, inside the house, when I've avoided spending any time with her.

This weekend I spent a little time with her with no agenda, and it didn't take long at all before I remembered how special she is and how much I love her. She's the sweetest, tenderest horse I've ever known. Those big eyes, that sweet nose. Ahhh, she just makes my soul more comfortable. Like it's wearing soft, warm jammies.

And speaking of Bella - holy cow that mare would have made a phenomenal cow horse! She hates those cows! She guards our fenceline and makes sour faces at them when they try to hang around. I thought she was hanging out there because she likes them, but that isn't the case. Then today I don't know what got her kinked up, but she was racing around in these small circles, getting right down into the ground and making incredible turns, then taking off like a rocket. You wouldn't have known she had any lameness issues. What a show. Makes me wish I was the kind of horseman that could take advantage of that, if I can get her lameness fixed.

I just thought I'd blather here for a minute before bed. And now you know the circles my mind has been going in regarding my favorite mare in the world.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I've never met a kid who's as at home on a horse as this one. And I was very happy that my mustangs and I were able to help create some unforgettable memories!

Her mom got to ride too and boy howdy this is a bad picture, doesn't look like her at all, but I'm going to post it anyway.My good friend came for a weekend visit and we had a blast. Thanks to the little one we spent lots and lots of time with the "horsies!" and she unknowingly helped me make a very important decision (for now). I'll probably write on that when I'm less tired. I haven't stayed up that late in a long time! Now I'm off to bed to make up for that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More on what makes a mustang different. Tracey asked on the Mustang Fever forum, and she brought up another thought, maybe it's just us. Maybe it's that the people who choose mustangs are different.

Here are my ramblings in response to that thought. Keep in mind I was replying to Tracey, so when I say "you..." in the second paragraph, I'm referring to her blog post from yesterday.

Yeah, the people are different. We don't see the time commitment as a setback, that's the fun part. We don't want a well-groomed show horse with stable vices and feet that are shod wrong to get a certain kind of gait. We want a healthy horse, and a healthy relationship, and the challenge and hard work it takes to make it work with a mustang. They teach us about ourselves. They bring their mental health to us and make us more healthy, if we're willing to listen to their feedback. I think it takes a strong person to have their flaws laid bare by a horse (because they will be honest with you) and have to come back and ask for forgiveness and start chipping away at becoming a better horseman and person. I'm sure all of us mustang lovers have had that experience. They make us find ways to be better.

But I think you expressed it well in your blog. It's about the time we spend. They're ours from the start, a clean slate but with a good foundation from their life in the wild, and we spend such an incredible amount of time with them. You can't get that kind of bond with a horse you buy and just start riding. Or with a horse born on your place that you work with once a month until it's time to start saddle training.

I also think that some domestics are damaged goods, mentally and emotionally. They may be happy but they don't function like they would in the wild. They don't know how to be a horse. Someone explained it as the difference between someone who's had a healthy childhood and someone who didn't. A horse raised alone isn't going to be mentally normal. A horse raised with just a few other horses isn't going to necessarily have all the herd members that should hold all the different positions in its life. Maybe all the horses it lives with are very permissive and it never gets put in its place. Horses live to have a place in the herd.

There are the physical aspects as well. I like a certain look in a horse. I couldn't say what it is but I know it when I see it. One part of it is strong bone and good feet. There are a lot of mustangs that make me go "wow." Not many quarter horses do. Sometimes I see ads for horses that I really like, but usually it just looks like another horse to me. Mustangs, even if they're ugly in one way or another, have an endearing quality (to me). And some of them are just drop-dead gorgeous.

Good feet and bone developed on the range, not penned up in their own mess. A lot of why I'd want a mustang is all the time spent moving, making the inner structure of the feet strong and bones dense.

My main reason for loving a mustang is the gentling process. I love it. So it all comes back to the incredible amount of time we spend with them. Anyone wanting a "made" horse probably ought not to bother. But then I think true horsemanship comes from learning with your horse, not just buying a horse and riding it on the weekends. That's fun, and I'm glad there are people out there like that, because that's good too and that's where a lot of us start. Horses can have all kinds of places in people's lives. But when you commit to a horse (and you can commit to a domestic) it really is life-altering. And you have to commit to a mustang or you're not going to get anywhere.

I'm not a religious person, but when my sister says she thinks horses are a special creation of God, made for us, I think she's right. They are unlike any other creature I know. A true gift, if one can just be open enough to see what they have to teach us.

I read yesterday that the Hebrew word for horse means, "to explain."

I should add that I'm absolutely not bashing domestic horses, just trying to think why they might be different. A wild horse is certainly not for everyone. And all horses have that little spark of the divine. They all have something special. Despite fugly people out there who like to point out that certain horses shouldn't have been born. They were born, they are special, and I'm sure every horse has touched someone's life and made it better, or different in some way that leads to growth.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Third post in one day. Yeah, sorry about that. But you should really read this post Tracey did about mustangs and whether they're any different than domestic horses. I agree with her wholeheartedly, and some of the comments are dead-on too. I was going to write on this subject last week but didn't get it together in my head. So read Tracey's, it's worth it.
Jayke asked about Huckleberry. He's great. He is a purebred Aussie, but I think he may not be your usual Aussie. I'm not sure. I've never known any others. His mom was agility bred but she and his dad, who is working bred, both work on a ranch south of here.

Huckleberry is pretty lazy at times, but when he needs to get out, he NEEDS to get out. He runs full out several times a day, and gets cagey and whiny if I try to keep him in when he's bored. He could never be happy as a city dog, but he's perfect for us. Not too crazy hyper at all. I met a border collie last weekend who was NUTS. Totally and completely focused on running back and forth between us and the cows, us and the cows, the hay and the cows, the hay and the cows, then to the llama, who kicked her. I couldn't own a dog like that. But my sister has a lazy border collie. So I guess there are all types.

I used to say I'd never, ever, ever own a herding dog. Now I don't know why it took me so long! I love this dog. He's been very easy to raise and train. Which isn't to say he's totally well behaved. He has a tendency to grab people's hands and sleeves with his mouth. He has a tremendous wiggle-butt (really it's a full body wiggle) when he likes someone, and he loves to poke people in the butt or run between their legs to get attention. But sometimes he really doesn't like people and will give his big bark while backing away from them. I can't figure out why he reacts this way to some people and not others. It has to do with their posture, I think. I know if people ignore him at first he likes them better. Some people who baby-talk him and are too intent on him, he really doesn't want anything to do with. Anyone out there know about dog psychology?

So anyway... If you're looking for a good farm dog an Aussie might be good for you. But I'd definitely make sure you have lots of time for them. For the first several months that I had him, I took him everywhere with me. It's just been this past month or two that I've started leaving him home. They need their people more so than other breeds, from what I've read. I've heard they can have separation anxiety. Huck doesn't have that problem, but he has our other dogs for company and he sure is glad to see us when we get back.

If you live in the city or are gone most of the day, I would definitely not recommend an Aussie. It wouldn't be fair to the dog at all. And if you don't have time for basic training, or to supervise them when they're outside around livestock, it would be a bad idea. A bad herding dog is really hard to find a home for.

So there's my rambling expert opinion - me being an expert owner of one (possibly abnormal) Australian Shepherd. Aren't I a help?
Quick update - Soxy is hanging in there. Still some discharge but I haven't seen the bloody stuff in a couple days. Which doesn't mean it's not happening, but I hope it's getting better. Her snot now is green. So still something wrong there. I called my real vet, but he's on vacation, so I'm waiting for his counterpart to call. I am hoping they'll give me a better antibiotic to try. I was also hoping they could tell me which nostril this happened in a year ago, but they didn't have it in the records.

I've been letting the hens out of their coop during the day lately. I'd forgotten just how much I enjoy them. I love their excited noises when they find a bug to eat, and the satisfaction they get from a good dust bath in the sun. So far Huck has only chased them once. He still shows too much interest, but he knows they're mine so I'm really hoping he'll keep his instincts at bay.

Speaking of Huckleberry. I do love that pup. His eyes! His goofiness! His cute fluffiness! I can't even tell you how much that pup has stolen my heart.

I think he has an old deer bone he's breaking apart. He finds the best treasures.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

This is not normal. But you probably could have guessed that.We were coming down the driveway, and of course I was admiring my sweet mares, when I blurted out, "Oh shit. Stop. Soxy has a bloody nose." She had a snotty nose the other day and I've been worried about her. This turned out not to be bright red blood, but dark brownish syrupy snotty old blood. Anyway... Long story short, we made an emergency weekend vet visit today. It may be serious, and it may not. She's to be on antibiotics for five days and see how it goes. The picture above is after most of the dark brown goo has run off.

I've been wanting to ride Bella and so I did. Kind of. I got on and off 3 or 4 times.
Her stifles are better but she's knuckling over going down hill, and locking up on turns. I am very seriously thinking about retiring her before she's really started. Which is not a good outcome. We'll see. I may still consider the surgery, eventually when I can afford it. Depends on what the vet's advice is.

Not the best of days, horse-wise. But the weather was glorious and we got to help out with a rummage sale at Liam's new school, which was good.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Another ride today. My mom called me up, "You want to ride at 12:30?" I reluctantly said yes. I was going to give my horse the day off today, but I knew it would be fun and my mom isn't usually this interested in riding. I think she really likes my new Wade saddle that I got for Christmas. She had to ride Cisco, Soxy wasn't feeling too hot after our ride yesterday. I think that girl isn't up to much anymore.

Another cell phone picture, not very good. I couldn't see the screen. That's my mom on Cisco, my sister's friend on her super cute quarter horse, and my sister on Cowboy.
Today Amy got to see that Cowboy isn't going to do anything stupid when other horses spook. My horse, of course, was the instigator. He saw some blowing plastic and didn't want to calm down, so we did a very fast sidepass a ways down the road. Cisco did a little bolt, at a trot of course. I don't think he has a faster speed under saddle. :) It didn't take him long to realize Tonka was just being a doof and there was nothing to worry about.

I'm going to go get my feeding done early tonight. Hope you all have a great evening, and a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I have been soooo cranky today! Nobody done me wrong, but I just can't get out of this funk. I'm going to blame it on too much sugar but I think maybe it's a combination of a bunch of things.

I had a very nice ride with my mom and my sister today. Mom rode Soxy and Amy rode Cowboy.

Here's Amy and Cowboy. I think she's looking at me funny or something.This one was an accidental self portrait:

Here's my mom, with her reins wrapped around her saddle horn and her hands in her pockets. She just got back from Hawaii, poor thing, and she can't handle the cold. :) I couldn't decide which of these next two pictures was cuter (more cute?), so I posted both.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I'd had the same old phone for years now. It didn't take pictures or slide or have a touch screen or turn into Superman. But it was good and sturdy and I could trap it between my shoulder and my ear so I could talk hands-free. That is a long lost design spec, as phones are getting smaller and more streamlined and slick. But I traded it in. John offered me a new phone, one that the stores had used and were done with, so it was free. It slides two ways, has a full keyboard, and still doesn't have any games worth playing. I'll have to figure out how to add a game to it for those times I'm waiting in the car for someone. Anyway, now that I've bored you to death - my point, which really isn't that interesting.

I used my cellphone camera for the first time to get a picture of my horse. I shall call it, "Mom, please don't make me go through the pond again."
We went on a long ride today but we didn't go far. I spent a lot of time chatting with the neighbors. They're nice.

Tonka was a nervous nellie today. He was convinced a round bale at the neighbor's was going to eat him up. Then he thought there were probably crocodiles in the pond. And all sorts of smaller ankle biting vermin in between. With very sharp teeth. Such as scraps of garbage on the side of the road. He's a dork. But he's a lovable dork.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Look what I found growing out back. Beautiful!

Today I briefly worked both my boys in the round pen.

Then I saddled up and ponied the baby all over the place. We even went out on the road and got to encounter traffic. That wasn't near as scary as the remains of an old fence post lying on the side of the road. My Tonka...

Linda at Beautiful Mustang had a good point the other day. Ponying doesn't build the same bond as walking with your horse. Scout thinks the sun rises and sets by Tonka, and the moon too! So when I got down out of the saddle he was still glued to Tonka like a baby to his mama's side. He didn't give a darn what I was up to (until I insisted he peel off), he just wanted to stay next to Tonka. Maybe tomorrow we'll go for a walk. But it's nice to be able to get two horses worked with at one time...

Linda also gave me a Beautiful Blogger award. Thank you Linda! I was afraid to download the picture, because I just recently got a nasty virus. And I'm also going to be lazy about nominating new blogs for the award. I'm sorry! I feel bad, but I just... I'm too lazy. Lately I've been barely making it through the days, there's so much stress, work, and running around. My horse time keeps me from going insane.

Speaking of which, I had a great time today lying in the green grass with my two dogs cuddling against me and my horse grazing on the lead line in the sun. Drinking in the warm spring breeze. So peaceful. Then I realized if anyone noticed me from a distance they'd probably think I'd been thrown and was hurt (Tonka was still saddled). He'd exhausted the grass within reach anyway, so I called it quits and went back to reality.