Aug 212020

By Patty Wilber

So, as you may know, Judith and I have this three-year old named H, and he is a pretty cool dude.  So cool, in fact, that I think he could make money as an Open Reined Cow Horse, as well as excelling at all the Ranch Horse Events, and then going on to be an outstanding Non-Pro horse.

Me and H last October, H was barely started (26 rides) but went to a show anyway, and placed.

Because of my high opinion of H’s cow horse talents, and the fact that he is a co-owned prospect (as in we plan to sell him), we made the decision to send him to Cody Crow’s No Where But Up Performance Horses in Colorado.

Let’s face it, I can get H on cows once a week, at best, in a smallish arena, and yes, he is making progress, but Cody can have him on cows every day if he chooses, in a full size indoor, super size outdoor, a round pen or in a cutting pen. 

Plus, I like Cody’s philosophy and approach, and he is successful at the bigger venues where I believe H will shine.

After getting that choice made (and not lightly), the next step was to drive 500 miles with H and Lucy (who went so I could get some coaching on cows with her– I REALLY MISS having a nearby coach!!).

Got all my stuff together and pulled out Friday morning.  I noticed that the heat gauge on my truck was acting a little wonky right off the bat, but then it seemed to go back to behaving….so I kept driving, but when I got to the big hills on I25 just before Pecos, it was clear things were not working right. 

I stopped and assessed.  The radiator seemed ok– no leaking, normal fluid levels.  No mechanic shops were open, yet, but the Napa Auto Parts woman gave me some tips and a gas station guy did, also.  Finally, I called my mechanic at American Diesel, thinking maybe I had a faulty temperature sensor, and he said to bring it in and he would see if he could get me fixed up and on the road. I headed home.

Broken truck.  Making it to the border looking dim.

On the way back south, I called my friend Richard who was laying low due to an eye issue, so I figured I’d regale him with my tale of woe.  He listened and then out of the blue offered me their truck, so I said, “OK!”

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Aug 132020

By Patty Wilber

Thursday, Lucy gave her first lesson her first ever time in a dressage saddle.

Of course, she was fine, except we did have to use a crop to get her to move forward a bit.

My friend Kathleen enjoyed riding her!

They walked and trotted.

They worked some cones. And they did some games with the bridge.

Lucy says, “i can’t believe she asked me to practically fall off the bridge like that.” “Um,” I say, “Pretty sure that one is on you, Luc!”

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Aug 072020

By Patty Wilber

I am not going to deny that I was a little choked up last Saturday. LT went to college!

She will be on the Ranch Horse Team at CSU with Jordyn. She even got a scholarship (because Jordyn is paying for her expenses!)

Jordyn and LT about to load up.

She almost got a room (stall/run) to herself, but I thought she would be happier in a pasture with pals. She went to rush week and got accepted to the Tri Beta Sorority (3…B…for buckskin). (It was the Di Beta before she showed up).

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Jul 312020

By Patty Wilber

So, we decided to drive to Illinois last week so Jim could go to a memorial service for his aunt who had passed away from old age in February.

That part went well and it was very nice to see family.

It is about a 20 hour drive one way, and we took two days for the trip there and two more for the trip back.  We spent one day in IL.

During the driving, we read an entire Clive Custler novel and we saw some of the country.  We took the southern route through TX, OK, MO and of course IL on the way there, and the middle route of IL, MO, KS, and TX on the way back.

It was interesting to note that no matter where we were or whatever nice scenery we saw, we kept saying, “Well, I am glad we don’t live here!”

On the way there, we stopped at Shaw Nature Reserve and we were able to purchase tickets to enter via my phone on the spur of the moment.

This beautiful bald cypress grove reminded us of some ponds in Delaware (where we lived 30 years ago–oh my–time flies) but the heat and humidity made us say, “Boy, glad we don’t live here!” because of course in NM, it’s a dry heat. Which is true, and it does really make a difference, but it is also cliche! We do live at over 6,500 feet which usually helps us be a little cooler, as well.

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Jul 242020

By Patty Wilber

A bunch of our horses are wearing fly masks. The four mares, mostly, keep theirs on.  Don’t mess with the mares! They have also trained H, a 3 year old gelding that lives with them, to keep his on.

The other four geldings, on the other hand, really feel the need to party.  Two of the younger boys (another three-year-old and a four-year-old) seem especially fond of removing and hiding them.  The older gents (19 and 23) apparently can’t stand to remain out of the fray and seem to like to be de-masked.

So, every morning, we humans get to finish the previous night’s game.  They hide the face masks, and we seek them

Found one! “Black Jack?  Did you do this?”

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Jul 172020

By Patty Wilber

I got my brand renewal form, so I thought I better go buy some calves!

Got two!

I went with my friend Peter and we picked up four: two for me and two for him. 

Then, as we  hauled them over to the Tucker’s (as me and Tuckers are actually co-owners of “my” two), the fun started. 

I called Derek.  “We are on our way!  I  got one heifer and one bull.”

“You got a bull?”

“Um, yes…”


“Well, ok.  We will just cut him when you get here!”

Hang up.

Peter says, “He’s a steer.  He’s banded.”

Well, I feel stupid.  I didn’t see the rubber bands up there on the testicles (even though if you look they were pretty obvious).  The seller kept calling him a bull, so I just went with it.

Called back.  “He’s a steer.”

“Oh, good!”

So we arrive and Peter backs up to the pen to unload.  Out they come, and Derek calls for the heifer to be pushed into the squeeze chute so we can brand and vaccinate her.  In she goes….and right out the other side… then right out of the pen! Squeeze chute was not shut and the pen gate wasn’t, either! Oops!

We all just kind of watch in amazement for a minute!

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Jul 102020

By Patty Wilber

I rode with with my usual Friday group, and we now, after lo, these many years, have an official name: No, were are not “The Covid 5”.  We are “The Flat Stirrup Crew”. 

Yes, the stirrup was literally flattened! Siri says it gives a whole a new perspective on collapsible gear! Photos by Patty S.

We are not exactly sure how this occurred.  Either Siri’s horse laid down while no one was looking or he squashed it against the rather small tree to which he was tied at Pecos Baldy Lake.

Surely, I thought, we could fix it.  

The metal was unfortunately sturdy, even in the flattened state, so we resorted to the only tools we could find.  Rocks.

We hammered, and stuck rocks inside, and used rocks for leverage, and by golly…

We fixed it!

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Jul 022020

By Patty Wilber

So, the NM Quarter Horse show was just cancelled and Covid cases are spiking over a good part of the country.  I am expecting my next show (Paint Appy) will also be cancelled as it was to be the next weekend after the QH show, at the same venue.

Here in NM we are actually in pretty good shape Covid-wise (map) compared to some of our neighboring states. But the way things are going, I guess we should not be resting on our laurels or our hay bales. 

Green is good, Red is bad. Arizona is awfully red. My county is yellow, so that is something.

And another thing.  We need rain.  

We are falling into drought again. Bernalillo county is “only”, yes, yellow, abnormally dry. We have been red in other drought years (which lately seems like every other year).

As long as I am being a debbie downer, my sister, mom and nieces have been here every 4th of July, for like 10 years, and this year they are trapped in Covid Calif.   I am missing them!

But, at least I have an intern!

Jordyn is here for the summer, earning college credit working for me.  She was interested in colt starting, so perfect timing.  I am doing colt starts all over the place (which for me means I have had a colt start or two going this entire year: Coco, Fancy, Sombra, Birdie, Daytona, Simba, and now Black Jack).  Plus, I have the younger show horses (that never get to show due to Covid cancellations; Lucy and H) and the seasoned girls (Penny and LT).

I have never had anyone work with me before, and this is pure luxury!  

I get to lecture (ya know I like to lecture since I teach at a college!!) on what I like to do with each horse and why, and I get to order her around: “Now you can saddle so and so then rinse so and so and then clean out the horse trailer and then ride so and so.” I also had her give some lessons, film and ride in some of the virtual shows and have dragged her around to work cows, trail ride (on the scary stuff, just to give her good experience!) and judge (she volunteered for that one, and thank goodness–it was super helpful.)

It is great!

It is so much easier to get all the horses worked in a timely fashion and to get feedback and input on how the youngsters are responding to her!

Jordyn and her horse Slick in a virtual show, filmed here.

Unfortunately, she will have to go back to Colorado at the end of July for school at Colorado State.

If I win the lottery, I am planning to hire her full time when she graduates and expand the barn!

I could put up an indoor arena on the 30 acres, buy some cows, build a nice horsey playground etc. etc.!

In the meantime, I am taking Penny to the Pecos for a ride to Baldy Lake at the crack of dawn.

So, Happy Thursday night.

Jun 262020

By Patty Wilber

For Father’s Day we joined old friends and new friends for a camping trip at the trailhead in the Cruces Basin Wilderness Area that we use as a starting point for our packed-in elk hunting trips (the craziest being Camp Wilberry).  Road 572, not maintained for passenger cars.  So we hauled in our horse trailers, because, you know, why not? (And we have been there before, a few times.)

At the trailhead where we camped. Mary Ann, Bill, Patty, me (also Patty!) and Lani dog.

The new trailer went and the truck brakes and the trailer brakes speak different languages, as far as I can tell, so while we just had our truck brakes redone, we put a little wear on them on this trip and later in the week hauling down from the Santa Fe Ski Basin after a Back Country Horseman project.   I am hiring a translator to help them out.  Just saying.

The Cruces Basin is one of my favorite places as it is so beautiful and over the six or so years we have been going there, it also is a place of wonderful memories and friendship. This trip was no exception.

Jim and I won both our horseshoes games. This is only funny if you were there, but I actually played decently, and contributed to our wins.

We rode up Diablo Creek, Cruces Creek, down Beaver Creek (and Jim hiked up) and rode up on Toltec Mesa.

Me and Penny, up Cruces Creek to near the end. Photo by Patty S.

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Jun 192020

By Patty Wilber

We compost our horse manure and then spread it around the easily accessible acres–which is about two out of 34, so, we have gotten kind of OM’d (Over Manured).  So we decided to rent a big dump trailer from our friend, and use our tractor to fill it.

That concept worked well, but there is LOT more manure in those bin that meets the eye, and to make matters more interesting, just as I was finishing emptying the first bin, the tractor went “thump” and the bucket malfunctioned!  Tt would go up, but not down, unless I turned off the tractor, and sort of pumped the control levers, which allowed the bucket to creep down down as the pressure declined…

But, the one load was done, so off to the transfer station.

It turns out we are not the only ones that take manure to the transfer station.  It cost $20 for this load. And since this was a dump trailer, up it went, and out slid the manure, pretty much. Wow! That was kind of fun!

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