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!

Nov 172017
 

By Patty Wilber

There is a real danger of over kill (uh, well, maybe that is a bad choice of words for this topic) when it comes to safety recommendations for riding in the backcountry. It is impossible to be prepared for every possibility, so the trick is to be reasonably well outfitted without having to take the kitchen sink and the inflatable helicopter.

At the end of a 20 mile ride!

Here are some ideas.

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Nov 102017
 

By Patty Wilber

Riding high country trails is a goal of many riders.  I understand that goal because it sure is fun to be way out there on a good horse.  “Way out there” can mean far from help, also, so here are some things to think about (in the form of a checklist) when considering a back country ride. Understanding what you are up for can help you pick when and where to ride.

I can hike backcountry terrain at elevations over 9 thousand feet.

  • 1 mile
  • 2 miles
  • 5 miles
  • 10 miles
  • Over 10 miles

Hiking??? I thought we were horseback!  We hope to be, but in the case of emergency or a lost horse, can you get out?  If I lost my horse, most of my gear would be gone as well….but that is a different problem!

I love hiking on cliffsides. Not. And this was at sea level, but still.

I can lead my equine:

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Nov 032017
 

By Patty Wilber

While a good number of my Appaloosa cow horse friends were at the Appaloosa World Show (doing a great job! I hope Indy will be good enough to go in 2019), me and my own cow horse turned trail horse for this week, LT, Jim and my BCH buddies Peter and Mary Ann went to clean up a junky, litter-strewn hunting camp in the Pecos Wilderness, for the Forest Service.

Mary Ann and I made a first run at it Friday Oct 23, but only made Beatty’s Cabin (14 mile round trip) due to unforeseen minor, but delaying, complications.  Since the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder, we wanted to check this box before the snow froze the high country off for the season.  October 28 looked like it could work for the 22 mile round trip. A little cold, but no chance of precipitation

We saddled up in 23 degree F weather 

“who’s bright idea was this? we had to get up at, like, dark o’clock, and btw, it is cold,” says Squirt. Longshot agrees.

We left Jack’s Creek at 840 am (left home at 545 am).

Tulip (with Mary Ann up) says, “cold grass is still tasty!” Cometa is in the foreground pack- saddled and waiting.

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Oct 272017
 

By Patty Wilber

Despite the fact that I truly enjoy training horses for the intrinsic rewards, I do like to win stuff when I show.

This past weekend, at the New Mexico Buckskin Horse Association Ranch Horse Show, LT proceeded to get top marks in Boxing (won Open, tied for best score in show), Ranch Cutting, Working Cow and Reining (for the last three: won open and had best score in show).

We got big trophies!

The trophies were for the best of show scores. We also won a stall front bag for winning the over all Open high point. Cool!

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Oct 192017
 

By Patty Wilber

Mike Bertin asked me to ride Sandy, a Paso Fino cross, in a Larry Whitesell gaited horse clinic that was  held at Four Winds Equestrian Center this past weekend. He even footed the bill! Elisa Bohannon rode too, with Effie (who belongs to Elisa now) and Dancer (still Mike and Carolyn’s).

Dancer (the horse) framing MIke and Taffy. Photo by Elisa.

Mike and Cody.

I rode rescue Tennessee Walking Horses in high school for a lady in my home town (I got to ride about 50 different horses, and train my first horse from the ground up there, so that was amazing), but all the horses were flat shod and every one of them was naturally gaited.  That was a few (like 38) years ago, so I was really looking forward to this clinic to learn more about gaited horses (in the modern era).

Me (16) with my cousin Amy and Mardi Gras, a 4 yr old Tennessee Walker.

Unfortunately, Larry had a medical emergency and was not able to come. We are wishing him the best.

Cody Harrison, more of a dressage and hunter-jumper guy, was the replacement.  Cody did a really good job.  He was clear in his explanations and very easy to follow, but the focus was not on gaited horses.  Bummer.

I did not really like the format, we only left the walk for about one (I literally mean one) minute the whole three days, and we did a bunch of exercises I am familiar with…

Perhaps inexplicably, I, nevertheless, really enjoyed the clinic. I liked spending time with Mike and Elisa.

Sandy, me, Elisa and Dancer.

Elisa and Effie

 I enjoyed the other participants (my friend Siri was there, too!) and the Four Winds folks (I will be back to give my own lessons out there Oct. 29th).

Siri. Dancing!?

I even learned some things that I have been applying.  Sandy, who can be a bit tense, got markedly softer over the three days, and he caught the eye of a prospective buyer!

The format was this:

  • Day 1 am: Three hours of ground work with the whole crew of 14 participants.
  • Day 1 pm: One hour in a group lesson with five other people, including Mike and Elisa.  It was nice to be in the same group with them.
  • Day 2 and 3 am: One hour in a group lesson with our team of five.
  • Day 2 and 3 pm: Another one hour lesson with our team of five.

To me, that was not enough learning time for the money. However, it did give me an opportunity to ride my own horses (Penny and Atti) in the slack time and also to eat too much, socialize, and watch some of the other group lessons.

Here are some things I learned:

  1. For a horse that is stiff in the poll and won’t lower his head when doing ground work, sticking your fingers in his mouth can cause him to unclench his jaw, relax the muscles in his face, which can relax the poll, and down comes the head.
  2. Head to the fence!  We did a shoulder-fore exercise (check out his nice article) on the ground where the horse’s head is bent to the inside and the bend-side hind leg reaches up farther under the horse. In the clinic, we did the opposite of this by bending the horse’s head toward the fence. Then, we did a circle with nice bend, working on that hind leg reaching up under. Cody, the clinician, next told us, “Head to the fence”, so at least four out of five of the class took our horses perpendicular to the fence and stopped! What he really wanted us to do was the reverse shoulder-fore exercise with our horses heads bend toward the rail!  We had good laugh!

    Elisa and Dancer, bending.

  3. All that walking and soft bending really did help Sandy relax and lighten up.  I am not known to be a trainer in a rush, but adding more of these slow and easy bending activities, with more purpose and softness, to my warm-ups seems like a good fit for me. So, I have used them all week on the two 2yr olds I have right now.
  4. It is fun to go to clinics with people and horses I know!  (Well, I already knew that!) All five of the horses Mike trailered in have spent time here! Of course there are blogs.  Awesome EffieSunny, Choctaw PonyTaffy in the PecosDancing in the Caja.

Goofy faces!

Yes, we had fun!

 

 

Oct 132017
 

By Patty Wilber

THE GREAT GROUSE ADVENTURE

in which

PATTY BAGS TWO GROUSE

and

PENNY PACKS TENT POLES

Well!  I am finally a “real” hunter!  I brought home two spruce grouse and I did it with two shots of Jim’s 20 ga shot gun.  I am a fan of the 20 ga shot gun.  It is light (under 5 pounds), thus easy to tote around the wilderness. Since I was shooting shot, which has a spray, I hit every time. I have not a clue about the “choke” on the gun and it is late already, so I am not going to try to figure it out, but the pictures below give an idea of the pattern the pellets make.

I got one from about 15 yards (on the ground) and on from about 25 yards (in a tree) and did not have a “shot” at an on-the-wing bird, for the trifecta. We had green chile grouse enchiladas Thursday pm and they were delicious. (Thanks Kay Coen for that cooking idea!)

Me and my first grouse!

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Oct 062017
 

By Patty Wilber

We are heading to Camp Kingsbury (well, Jim and Richard already left) this weekend!  Jim has a bull elk tag and I am going to tag along as spotter and aim (again) at grouse hunting. I have been on two elk hunts where I had the tag, five or six javelina hunts, a deer hunt and one grouse hunt and so far I have  harvested…nothing.   We will see what happens this time.

Jim and Richard are setting up our back country camp. I hope Jim gets a picture of Richard with his string of five pack animals!  Jim will be riding Cometa and packing Penny.  I thought everyone would be happier if LT did not go without me and Indy is still in OCD rehab (and doing well).

To prepare for this year, we got a new muzzle loader, a Thompson Triumph.

Last weekend we went to sight it in with the Kingsburys. They brought all the cool toys to help with that!

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Sep 292017
 

By Patty Wilber

We got a new rescue in about two weeks ago.  I didn’t rescue her.  Walkin ‘N Circles did.  She was feral and captured out near Budaghers.  She came to the rescue with another mare and both had foals at their sides.

The foals were weaned at the beginning of September, and so it was time for the mares to get some attention of their own.   Unfortunately, Onxy would not let anyone within 20 feet of her. I offered to halter break one of the foals (that would be easy, I thought!), but no!  “Take the scardy-est one,” they said.

Onxy came here the middle of September.

At Walkin ‘N Circles, we had to set up a chute and “guide” her into the trailer.

Onxy says: “this can’t be good…” “It will be great,” I told her.

When we let her out at my house, she very cooperatively walked right into the “mustang pen” we had set up when we got Slim (the cryptorchid-not-a-gelding mustang–well now he is a gelding!)

True to form, she would not let anyone within 2o feet of her, except other horses, and they mostly were trying to bite her (across the fences).

“hi! i am cometa! i will bite u so u know i am the BOSS!!”

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Sep 222017
 

By Patty Wilber

That is not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

It is Osteochondritis Dessicans and is a bone and cartilage problem in horse joints that is multifactorial in origin and can affect any breed. According to The American College of Veterinary Surgeons the causes could be:

  • “Rapid growth and large body size
  • Nutrition: Diets very high in energy or have an imbalance in trace minerals (low copper diets)
  • Genetics: Risk of OCD may be partially inherited
  • Hormonal imbalances:  Insulin and thyroid hormones
  • Trauma and exercise: Trauma (including routine exercise) is often involved in the formation and loosening of the OCD flap”

Indy had some swelling in her hock and since I didn’t know of any particular injury nor had she been working super hard, it seemed odd. Also, she wasn’t lame, but she was a bit reluctant to pick up her left lead, which had heretofore been preferred.

Indy ponying LT back in January

So, we went to the vet and it turned out she had the classic presentation of OCD in the hock, with less swelling than shown in the picture I got off this site on the Internet. The swelling with lack of lameness is also common.  The only thing off was that she was kind of old, at three, to just now be showing signs.  This apparently indicates that I don’t over work my equines.

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) classical swelling.

This kind of swelling is called a “bog spavin”, which describes the appearance of the hock, not the cause.

“Bog spavin” sounds very old timey to me, so I Googled the etymology and this is what I found:

1400-50; late Middle English spaveyne < Old French (e)spavain, esparvain swelling < ? This bunch differs from bog spavin in that it is hard, while bog spavin is soft. … Distension of the capsular ligament of the tibial tarsal (tibioastragular) joint with synovia is commonly known as bog spavin.

Bog spavin | Define Bog spavin at Dictionary.com

www.dictionary.com/browse/bog-spavin

We did x-rays and this confirmed that she had the OCD “bone chip”.  I had heard of bone chips before, and I thought they were sharp shards poking around in the joint.

From the same site I got the photo of the leg, I got this graphic.

“Figure 1. Normal development results in a bone (shown in blue) with a subchondral bone plate to which a smooth cartilage cap is attached (shown in yellow).

Figure 2. Abnormal development due to a defect in endochondral ossification results in an area of thickened and/or weakened abnormal bone and cartilage (shown in green).

Figure 3. Trauma or exercise can further damage the abnormal area as the horse flexes and extends the joint.

Figure 4. Separation of the abnormal bone and cartilage from the underlying and surrounding tissue results in an OCD fragment, which can form a flap or can detach and float as a free body within the joint.”

The recommended treatment is arthroscopic surgery to remove the offending piece.

Indy’s fragment was not sharp at all.  It was more like a bone bean and had not detached.

That is it to the right.

And that is it with my finger for scale.

She is recovering well.  She has a little residual swelling in her hock which may be permanent (but will only be cosmetic) and some slight swelling in her fetlock (which better not be another bone bean, but according to the CSU college of Veterinary Medicine it is UNusual for a hock and a fetlock in the same horse to be affected. Also, affected fetlocks fail the flexion test* and she passed.).

It will be a few more weeks until she goes back to real work. To aid recovery, she is being hand walked…or ponied.

In the meantime, LT is getting some action both on cows and as the pony horse.

Photo by Ed Armstrong

*Flexion tests.

Sep 152017
 

By Patty Wilber

No, really!  I am NOT kidding.  Dexter is a very fine trail horse and we cannot seem to get him sold.

Me and Dexter in the Manzanos last weekend. Picture by Terri Gore.

Ok, there was that one guy that texted two weeks ago.  He didn’t want to come see the horse.  He wanted to pick him up. Prospective Buyer (PB) didn’t ask me one single question about Dexter and when I inquired as to what he was planning to use the boy for, he did not answer.

He gave me the creeps, actually, and I told PB I’d contact the owner and get back to him and I told the Spouse that I would not meet this PB alone.

Then I thought some more, and decided PB unsettled my gut enough that I wouldn’t even tell him where we lived and we (me and the body guard Spouse) would only meet PB at a public arena.

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