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!

Jul 212017
 

By Patty Wilber

Last Sunday, the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen (BCH) helped pack out a folding toilet, a propane tank and other materials that helped make Kevin Balciar’s volunteer trail crew happier on their 10 day stint working on Rito Los Esteros (#226) and Skyline (#251) trails in the Pecos Wilderness.

It was a tough job (really it was just fun), but someone had to do it.

Jim and I spent the night at Iron Gate campground.  In the past, BCH had avoided Iron Gate because the four miles of dirt road was a steep  trailer eater, full of deep ruts and hitch-cracking, axle-snapping holes.  It was repaired, and while still steep (we would not have got our camper and loaded three horse trailer out in the rain without 4WD), it only had two big holes and the surface was solid and not terribly slick, even with water streaming down it.

To begin the day, we had to get an early start to meet Richard, Amber and Peter who had ridden in Saturday and overnighted with Kevin’s group, so we rode out of Iron Gate at 7:10 am.

The route leaves Iron Gate and heads south on trail 249 then right on 250 to Mora Flats.

I do not know if we are on 249 or 250 in this picture. Trail 249 starts from Iron Gate camp ground and joins 250 which stays high for a while then drops down to the top of this valley that you can see to our right. The trail (240) then heads back south and is down there somewhere.

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Jul 142017
 

By Patty Wilber

I just got a horse in to start under saddle.  He is a three year old Appaloosa, with no spots, from John and Judith Huchton.  He came last Sunday and they said he had a “big personality”, which is horse people code for “giant (but hopefully endearing) pest”.

I think they are right. I got all these pictures by Thursday!

Gunner: “u said we are done so i think it is time to take these boots off.”  He gave a try at the second boot, but it didn’t release immediately, so he went for the tarp.

“this tarp was bored sitting on the barrel” says Gunner, “so i moved it for u. i tried to cover up that boot someone left on the ground.”

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Jul 072017
 

By Patty Wilber

Last week I used the term “neck collars” to describe what I bought from Perri’s Leather for the horses, but Perri’s calls them neck STRAPS, in case anyone was searching.

But as long as I am thinking about collars, how about breast collars?

I have a saddle that is lacking the typical “D” rings for “normal” breast collar attachment, so I finally got around  to looking for one of those breast collars that attach through the gullet of the saddle. Turns out they are called “pulling collars”.

And while I was searching around I also found there are breast collars called “tripping collars”, so here is a little run down on breast collars, because although I have more than one breast collar, apparently, I really knew very little about breast collar styles!

The Normal-to-Me breast collar:  These hook to the “D” rings on the saddle and go between the horse’s legs and hook to the cinch.  They can be decorative for showing and also work well for holding a saddle in place when riding in the mountains or doing working cow horse stuff.  They are also good for for roping.

This one is neoprene from SMX. Neoprene is easy to clean! This one would be good for holding a saddle in place, but would probably not hold up for roping.

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Jun 292017
 

By Patty Wilber

Fly season isn’t in full buzz, just yet, but there are enough of the pesky critters crawling around the horse’s eyes, that I put fly masks on.

The horses don’t seem to mind and it makes me feel better.  Also, we have fewer instances of swollen and goopy eyes.

Of course, we have a whole variety of fly masks.  Some, we were given, and some we bought.

LT sporting a with-ears model. LT is not bothered by flies in her ears and I don’t shave the hair out of any of the horse’s ears anyway, but this mask came with ears, so there you go. Thanks Colleen for this mask.

This one is a bit big on Andy, but is in its third year of use, so it is lasting.

This is a Dura Mesh, and it is a hardy model, all right. It may be 6 or 7 years old! That is 90 in human years! The mesh is kind of stiff and these run large, so poor Penny looks a little, well, lacking in style.  Fun color though! LT is photo bombing in the back ground.

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Jun 232017
 

By Patty Wilber

It still snows in May, it starts to rain in July, leaving baking-dry-most-hours-of-daylight June as the hottest month of the year in my neck of the southwest.  Surely everyone knows this, I have have been known to pronounce, perhaps incredulously.

Except, it turns out, July is actually the hottest month.  Now I feel kinda stupid.

Date Average
Low
Average
High
Record
Low
Record
High
Average
Precipitation
Average
Snow
January 18° 42° -19° (1949) 66° (1950) 1.2″ NA
February 22° 47° -20° (1951) 69° (1986) 1.3″ NA
March 27° 53° -14° (1948) 75° (1989) 1.4″ NA
April 34° 62° 5° (1983) 83° (1981) 1″ NA
May 42° 72° 20° (1967) 92° (2000) 1.1″ NA
June 50° 82° 31° (1953) 99° (1981) 1″ NA
July 54° 85° 38° (1990) 100° (1980) 3″ NA
August 53° 81° 38° (1968) 95° (1972) 2.9″ NA
September 47° 74° 21° (1999) 92° (1958) 2″ NA
October 37° 65° 6° (1996) 85° (1957) 1.6″ NA
November 27° 52° -11° (1976) 74° (1980) 1.2″ NA
December 20° 44° -21° (1990) 65° (1980) 1.3″ NA

Never-the-less, it does rain a lot more in July, (There is data! See above!) and the thundercloud build-up in the afternoon can block the sun.  Rain can cool things off.  So, maybe the average LATE AFTERNOON temperature is higher in June.  According to this bit of  NOAA data (see below), THAT is true. The average (1981-2010) hourly temperatures on June 15th vs. July 15th  at the Albuquerque International Airport (the nearest station with hourly data) shows it IS hotter in June from 6 to 8 pm.  So.

Hour 15-Jun 15-Jul
18 85.2 84.8
19 82.6 81.9
20 79.2 79

This last week has been hitting high 90’s at my house (99 Tuesday. Huh–that might be a record…)  and over 100 in Albuquerque, which is actually pretty rare.

At least we are not as hot as Arizona!

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Jun 162017
 

By Patty Wilber

Back Country Horsemen is planning to pack supplies up the Bosque Trail in the Manzano Mountains for a trail crew on June 26th, but we haven’t travelled that path in many years. So, we needed to check it out.

Also, unfortunately, Bosque Trail, while less than one mile from the Cerro Blanco Trailhead is past the point where road gets steep, narrow and quite rutted. Our own personal BCH Road Scout (Cheryl) advised me to park near Cerro Blanco and ride to the Bosque Trail for the exploratory trip.

I was girding up for a solo adventure.  I have four-wheel drive now!  I am good with a map!  I have a big-ass knife! I was excited to play the brave, lone explorer. (Don’t tell anyone, but part of me was secretly a little nervous.)

But then my co-leader, Peter, was able to come along. Having an accomplice turned out to be really nice.

The road was ok up to the recommended parking area.  It got down to one lane and had some bad spots. I smacked the trailer hitch hard on one hole I misjudged (I have a bumper-pull three horse trailer). No obvious problems, and if there’d been some, I had help in the passenger seat!

We parked, saddled and rode up the road to the Bosque Trail trailhead.  The road was fairly deeply rutted in one section, but we concluded that we can drive up for the project, so long as it is dry.  If there is rain, the dirt ruts will turn to slick and sucking mud pits.  That could be bad, even with help!

Bosque Trail takes off from the campground, not from the trailhead parking area, (at least we did not see the trail at the trailhead parking area). Once we found the real starting spot, the way is obvious, but could use some lopping.  It heads up steeply for a at least a mile and is technical and rocky.  We had to stop to give the horses a breather at least twice and Squirt’s (the horse) butt muscles were twitching from the climb.  Even LT was happy to stop.

Squirt says: don’t look at my twitching butt!

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Jun 092017
 

By Patty Wilber

You know you’ve got it made when you have 24 hour barn help (even if they are dogs)!

Coulson: hurry up mom! the sun is up, me and lani have been out and back in and you are not on a horse yet! Me, mumbling: Need coffee…

Lani: ok! she is on the move. today we will lay in the arena for every horse. Coulson: great! everything is great!

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Jun 022017
 

By Patty Wilber

The wind howled down the mountain slopes, the ground was snow-wet and the trees fell down all around, all around this winter in the Pecos Wilderness!

Luckily, Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter, to the rescue (and a bunch of other people, too, but this post is all about US, not them)!

Yes, we cleared this!

Done! Keith, Siri, Chris, Melissa, Mary Ann, Linda, Kevin, Peter, Me, Jim. This was a fun “wreck” to clear and took about two hours with most of us busy! Photo by Siri!

 

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May 262017
 

By Patty Wilber

Jim and I went for a whirlwind trip to the Santa Barbara area this past weekend to visit Progeny #2 (Mark) and his better half (Erika).  We got in Friday morning around 10am, and pretty much went non-stop (except for the part on Saturday where I took a “less drowsy” dramamine at 3pm, had a glass of wine at 7pm and about passed out at 8pm…Alcohol and dramamine apparently don’t go well together.  It probably says that on the packaging somewhere…) until Sunday evening when we flew out at 7:30pm.

Friday, we went hiking, checked out a mission, hit a brew pub and played board games.

The hike went up a canyon with water and this gopher snake. Mark is a herp guy (as in herpetology) so of course he had to catch the snake!

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May 192017
 

By Patty Wilber

“The expression of Leopard Complex (LP gene) includes several components: mottled skin around the muzzle, anus, genitalia, and eyes, and progressive roaning of pigmented coat areas with age. (My underlining.) White spotting may also be present, with pigmented leopard spots tending to occur on the white spotting background of heterozygous horses. The mutation is an incomplete dominant and expression of Leopard Complex is variable ranging from absent to extreme white patterning.” (UC Davis genetic testing site.)

Indy has an Appaloosa with spots father and a quarter horse mother. When I bought her, I didn’t look too closely (because color wasn’t why I bought her), and I didn’t think she had inherited any Appaloosa color genes from her father. Her mom being a solid colored quarter horse, didn’t have any Appaloosa genes to donate!

Indy at about nine months old. Dark bay!

Indy at about nine months old. Dark bay, Dec. 2014.

But then she shed her winter coat and became a roan! Thus, she did get one copy of the LP gene–from her dad!! One copy is fun–a horse of a different color every season and every year!  I happy with only one LP gene copy though. Horses with two copies of the LP gene have “Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB) which is the inability to see in low to no-light conditions.” (UC Davis genetic testing site.)

14.1! Holy crap. She is growing awfully fast! Liking her coat color!

Indy, June, 2015. 14.1! 860 lbs  yearling. Roan!

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