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

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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Sep 082017

By Patty Wilber

I have let my hair get pretty long, partly because I only have to get it cut about four times a year and partly because a ponytail is easy under a hat or helmet at the barn and keeps my hair out of the way in the microbiology teaching lab. But I have been thinking I might want a change…

Given my typical day, it seems like the only sensible alternative to long is pixie short that can be fluffed out of hat head and doesn’t have to be pulled back to avoid student petri dishes growing Staphylococcus aureus or Escherichia coli.

In between pixie and ponytail are too many bobby pins and unruly, in-the-way strands. I looked up haircuts for equestrians and the discussion post I found came to the same conclusion: Pixie or ponytail.

I also began looking at my horse friend’s hair.  Many of them do have very short do’s.

Then I started checking out videos.

In case any one was considering running for Rodeo Queen, long is in, but you can enhance your natural locks with extensions or hair pieces.

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Sep 012017

By Patty Wilber

In 2013, the Jaroso Fire in the Pecos Wilderness was 100% contained on August 5th.  On Labor Day, 2013, the Back Country Horsemen rode through the burn area on the way to our annual trip to Beatty’s Cabin. This year’s post is from our Supply Run the weekend before Labor Day. So, first the fire scar blogs and photos and then the supply run .

2013: Burn n Bridge.  This is the funniest of the three, I think. It features Longshot and his non-compliant pack string ways.  Longshot (now 7) was my lead horse for 2016.

2014: Bridge Club.  This one features a bridge that we worked on.

2015: Beatty’s Cabin, 2015. Lots of linseed oil in this one!

2016: Jaroso Fire Scar 2013-2016 Labor Day.  The 2017 blog has a LOT of overlap with the 2016 blog.

Labor Day weekend, 2013.  The fire was contained in August due to work of the fire crews and help from mother nature in the form of a lot of rain. The amount of regrowth that occurred in a month was amazing! Bracken fern seems to be prevalent.


The lone aspen.

IMG_2969 IMG_3008 IMG_3012


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Aug 182017

By Patty Wilber

I went to a polo game while in Hawaii!  I had never been to a polo game.

It turns out all sorts of people, not just the horsey type, will come tailgate and hang out at a polo match!   At $12 per head.  Businesses also sponsor tables.  Too bad we couldn’t harness such interest for cow horse events.  Maybe if we have tents with tables, serve champagne and…add a tropical beach!

Polo has four players per team and each has a position, but if you are new to polo, it is not super obvious what the positions do.  The object of the game is to hit a ball through the goal.  If that occurs, the game restarts at the center and the teams switch which goal they are attacking.

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Aug 112017

By Patty Wilber

The New Mexico Appaloosa Horse Club’s Roadrunner Show with The Red Hot Ranch Horse Challenge, Ranch Pleasure Challenge, Ranch Championship Jackpot, added Appaloosa cow horse money, amazing sponsors (see the FB page)  and really fun roadrunner trophies from Ardith Williams was a blast!  So many people helped out and participated!  We doubled our entries from last year and we all nearly collapsed from the marathon length of the ranch portion of the show (8 am to 1 am).

Results are posted on the FB page. We want to do it again next year, and we have GOT to find a corporate sponsor so we can continue to have great payouts and increase our Ranch Pleasure monies.

Grand Prize $1000: Winner of the Red Hot Ranch Horse Challenge was Non-Pro Katherine Arnold on Deal A Little Lena. (She won last year, too!!) Thanks Ed Armstrong for the great pictures and graphics and combining the Ranch Championship Series with our show!  A great combination!

 Facebook is moving into Los Lunas, I hear, so that seems like a Sponsorship target! I mean we did advertise there, almost exclusively!

The show deserves its own blog, but I just became a Grandma to Leilani James Ruggles at the end of July! Pretty good timing as far as the show went!

Now I am in Hawaii and THAT is where my heart is this week!


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Aug 042017

By Patty Wilber

Ok, so at pushing 56, maybe I am no longer a girl, but “A Woman and her Tractor” sounded too staid, “Me and my Tractor” too plain, and “The Old Lady and her Tractor”… well, I am not THAT old!

We have had the tractor a few years now, and I confess, I get a big kick out of being a tractor operator! Unfortunately, my tractor-ness does not extend to tractor maintenance, so I am not a true tractor aficionado.  I have, however, come really close to tipping the thing over with a loaded bucket and have gotten it stuck (and unstuck), so that does give me some tractor creds!

I have been moving crusher fines to fill in some mud holes, and digging out the culvert after our 1.6 inches of rain event, so here are some tractor shots.

This is the “dump and smooth”. Unfortunately, if crusher fines do not have a chance to sit and pack, big rains wash them down hill. These got somewhat rearranged about two days after I put them in.

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Jul 282017

By Patty Wilber

Rubber mats can be useful under horses, especially in areas where they eat or are tied.

I used to have a source for free conveyor belts, but that dried up, so most recently, I got some used mats from a trailer dealer.

Old trailer mats under a feed tub. The only downside is that they has to be swept daily or the dirt and rock ends up on the mats.

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