May 182014
 

Doranna & DuncanThis is Doranna Durgin’s WordPlay Blog. I’m glad you’re here–whether it’s to learn more about my books, or chat about dogs, horses, and reading.

On Fridays, The Write Horse usually stops by for life with horse training, written by Patty Wilber.

If you’d like to reach my Webstead, you can clicky on that link you just passed. Right there. Behind you! The one that said Webstead.

PS although I use a plug-in that allows commenters to sign in, it’s easy to post as a guest and guest commenters are welcome!

Dec 072018
 

By Patty Wilber

We have had a week of wintery weather, with more on the way. This is good news for our drought stricken state of affairs, which, surprising to me, is actually quite a bit worse right now, as compared to a year ago

All this cold and snow, however, is not so great for outdoor horse training, especially since it had been in the 40’s and 50’s up to now.

I am quite happy to be outside for hours if it is 25 F and sunny, but 15 F? at 9 am?  I just need another cup of coffee.

Monday 12/3/18. There is a ridge to the east of us, so the sun hasn’t quite made it to us yet. It was  15F. Looking west.

Later on Monday. Getting better, but by the time it reached 25 F, it was after 11 am, so not really enough time to get anything done before I had to head to town to teach one of my last microbio labs of the term.

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Nov 302018
 

By Patty Wilber

Based on advice in a Jack Brainard book (If I Were to Train a Horse, I think), I often use a running martingale when starting colts. It can give a little more leverage in order to prevent a wreck while a youngster is still learning how to respond to a bit, but doesn’t interfere with natural head carriage when all is going well.

The loop goes around the horse’s neck, the clip attaches to the cinch, and the reins go through the rings.

However, I have experienced a few glitches and came up with two very innovative (cough) ways to increase safety when using this tool.

 

Ellie, a three-year old filly owned by Judith Huchton modelling rein stoppers and the neck piece of the martingale tied to the saddle. She has eight rides, has been out on the trail and is just beginning to lope–both leads. She is a very sweet mare, (so far).

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Nov 232018
 

By Patty Wilber

An update on Cloud!

Backstory: In September, I saw his Livestock Board mug shot (picture) on the  New Mexico Horseman FB page and there was something about him that captured me. I don’t do rescues very often and I didn’t have room for him at this time, but still, there was something about him.

 So, I called Char Hudson at Walkin N Circles rescue ranch to see if Walkin N Circles could possibly bid for him if I would provide financial support for about a year (which wasn’t that much, so don’t be terribly impressed).

They said, “Yes!”

They won the bid, and WNC began the process of helping him recover by feeding him carefully, getting his teeth done, getting shots, etc.

As you can see by the pictures, he is doing really well!  And the best part is down below!

9/26/2018 at the Livestock Board pens

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Nov 162018
 

By Patty Wilber

It is getting late in the trail work season, but the forecast for last weekend was looking good, so we put together one last Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen trail project for the Manzanos.

We were scheduled to have seven riders but lameness (in a horse) and a dead battery took out four, leaving just Jim, Mary Ann and me.

It was a good thing we picked last weekend, because Monday, a storm came in and now there is snow!

View from my house, at 6800 feet. The trails we clear in the Manzano Mountains, 50 miles south, go up to 9,000+ feet, so the snow is probably going to stay on the ground there rather than melting. There were already some small patches last weekend.

We cleared a big log a few weeks ago, and the trails were clear, but then we got reports that there were a lot of down branches on the Albuquerque Trail-Mosca-Crest-Cerro Blanco-4th of July loop. (This is a pretty cool map and it even shows the horse bypass on Cerro Blanco that BCH put in around 10 years ago. Or more.  Time flies.)

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Nov 092018
 

By Patty Wilber

I have trained five horses that I showed at the World level and every one of them placed (hunter hack, yearling lunge line, trail, reining, working cow horse, western riding). Three of them (Ali, LT, Buckshot) won national or world titles.  None of them, including the stallion, lived in a stall, none of them lived alone, and they were slightly hairier than typical World competitors, despite my concession to slick-haired convention (I blanketed them, because they didn’t live in a heated barn or under lights).

Indy, Penny, Cometa. Happier together.

Maybe I should change my business name to Bunny Hugger Stables, but I think that, despite the inherent risks of housing horses outside, in large pens, in groups, the mental health benefits are huge.

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Nov 022018
 

By Patty Wilber

I went to Golden Open Space last Friday with four friends.  There was water in the arroyo that is normally dry and we had some gold cottonwoods–which were not the source of the name!

The water.  We got nearly two inches of rain last week, which seems like a huge amount here considering that our annual precipitation is around 16 inches at my place and only 8 inches in Albuquerque. The amount that we had actually caused live water to be running down the arroyos at the open space.  If you live in a wet area, this excitement may seem ludicrous, but to use desert rats, any running water is a thing.  A big thing!

Siri on Tabooli riding along WATER!

I know our 2 inches was a mere dribble compared to the hurricane drenched states where 30 to 50 inches fell in a matter of days.  If that happened here, all the houses might literally wash away.  Our soil just could not handle it.

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Oct 262018
 

By Patty Wilber

Lucy!

Lucy got here in July and quickly wormed her way into my heart.

She is a rather calm sort.

This was ride 13.  Mary Ann and I spent a couple hours out on the trail near my house. Granted Lucy did not lead, but she didn’t spook at anything, either, and she does cover some ground with her walk, without being in a rush, like, say, LT. Lucy is way way way way way easier. Way.

The only thing that I don’t care for so far is that saddles like to ride forward on her, so I think, for the back country, I will get her a britchen.

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Oct 192018
 

By Patty Wilber

Three forests, six horses, one week!

Last Monday, we returned from our hunting trip in the Carson National Forest in the Cruces Basin Wilderness.  Indy and Cometa went on that.  It was Indy’s first hunting trip and because she had Cometa, our old and very level-headed Spanish Barb as her companion, she really did well.  I have considered selling her, since she is currently relegated to a walk-trot horse due to her bone chip, but, well, not yet.

The habitat consists of meadows, some big like in the picture below. and some small.  The trees are mostly aspen and spruce.  The aspen was turning and the gold leaves are so stunning!

Last Friday, Mary Ann Ende and I went to the Santa Fe National Forest in the Pecos Wilderness to get trash, already bagged by other trail volunteers, from an abandoned camp near Stewart Lake.

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Oct 122018
 

By Patty Wilber

Jim had an elk tag and I have a license that I can use for grouse, so we took Indy and Cometa and went to the Cruces Basin to try our luck. This year it was Camp Wilberry and not Camp Kingsbury and we did miss the camaraderie and amenities of the amazing Camp Kingsbury!

On Friday, we loaded up, left our place, and  after four hours of travel, arrived at the last turnoff to the trailhead.  There we discovered that the door to the camper had popped open, probably somewhere on the 25 miles of dirt road we had just driven, and virtually all our food, wine that we had put in metal water bottles, our brand new Jet Boil stove, our water purified and my very best milk crate from my days as a wildlife major at Humboldt State University had ejected out the back.

We were so hosed.

Well, when life gives you lemons you can give up or you can regroup.  We turned around, drove an hour back out and went first to Tres Piedras (no food store) and then the other way into Antonito in Colorado to restock.  We even found a small stove, but the store did not have the proper fuel canisters for the model they stocked…

We finally made the trailhead by 5:30 pm.  Indy and Cometa had a fine bonding experience, but they were ready to get out of the trailer! They stayed overnight tied to the trailer that was hooked to the truck and they did not wiggle or mess with each other.

We were ready to drink the new bottle of wine we bought.

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Oct 042018
 

By Patty Wilber

(Thanks Lori for the blog idea!)

In a standard trail class, when there is a bridge, the usual thing to do is walk over it, long ways.

In training, however, there is so much more that can be done with a bridge!

1. Walk across the bridge short ways.  This is often the first direction I do a bridge with a young horse because it usually it easier for them to accomplish.

2. Walk up on it and stop. This can help a horse think and also gain patience and balance, which may seem odd, but it is pretty common for a young horse to fidget and fall off the side.

I was by myself when I was taking the pictures, so Atti had to perform riderless! Atti says “um, what are we doing??”

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