BlogPatty

Here’s the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. After many years of wishing it were so, I started a small horse training business (it’s a “boutique” training business, not because it’s super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I take a maximum of 3 outside horses at a time. I have two 3 year old fillies of my own as well and a Spanish Barb. I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a community college.

Dec 072017
 

By Patty Wilber

We have gotten a big FAIL when it comes to keeping the floors halfway clean at our house.

I wonder why?

Perhaps it is the dogs.

us? surely u don’t mean us?

Or maybe the barn dirt.

Or maybe dogs covered in barn dirt.

Or the two indoor cats (sleeping on a sweatshirt that seems suspiciously coated in barn dirt and now cat hair).

Two former Bosque Farms Rodeo Arena cats, now living the cushy life.

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Dec 012017
 

By Patty Wilber

This Thanksgiving, the whole clan on the Hannon side got together in California, and as a new Granny, it was, well, ESPECIALLY AWESOME.

I am not one that is normally drawn to babies, but since she is my grandbaby and my own baby girl is her mother, I guess a whole different set of emotions come into play.  I was, once again, (just like when she was first born and we went to Hawaii), very happy to sit still and hold that sweet thing!

Leilani!

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Nov 242017
 

By Patty Wilber

Travelling without the horses might be almost as bad as travelling with them as you have to find a horse sitter (and a dog and cat sitter) and prepare all the food in such a way that the horse sitter doesn’t have to kill themselves.

First, I make signs, and it has to be a new set of signs each time because there are new horses or new pen mates or dirt of unknown origins (maybe rodent) on the old signs.

Then, I stack up daily servings of hay for each horse. Usually, I have a would-be helper, thinking I might just give out snacks since I am in the feed room, anyway.

“i need more food,” says Durango.

Then, the supplements must be measured out.

Then, make sure the emergency information is up to date.

Then, check that the waters are all full.

Then, pull up the weather app. Oh good!  Not too cold this trip, since the winter bubblers and tank heaters are not set up.

Then, cross my fingers that all goes well while we are gone!

Happy Day after Thanksgiving!

 

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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