Apr 262019

By Patty Wilber

I got Lucy’s results from the Paint Pinto Palomino Buckskin All Breed show. I guess I was overly critical.  In the all breed open stock horse pattern class where I said she was accurate but not as smooth as I would like…she got 2nd under both judges!  She managed 3rd in Ranch Rail in spite of her breaks of gait.  The future is bright for this one!

On to Easter with the grandbaby!

Maegan and Leilani flew into Phoenix from Hawaii for a wedding and Jim and I got to hang out with them!

I think we are in good shape with this grand girl as she is not afraid of animals and she loves water. She can be a surfing polo player!

Here are highlights.

We arrived and went to visit Meggie and Matt, adorable Harrison (2.5 years old) and beautiful baby Maxine, Karen and Mark, and Jenny and Paul. I did not get any good pictures of Leilani and Harrison, but they had  a lot of fun playing together.

Great time visiting old friends at the Smith’s!

Continue reading »

Apr 192019

By Patty Wilber

High AF is, as of 4/1/19, a gelding.  Judith Huchton and I, who are partners on him, are excited to meet him in person, but for now, as a two year old, he is still enjoying the wide open spaces with Heather McLevin at Thunderstruck Ranch in Alberta, Canada.  Thunderstuck Ranch was the high point breeder of the 2018 World Appaloosa Show.  We have high (hahaha) hopes for him. I plan to go get him from Montana in mid-July.

In the video:  This was his first day out after being gelded.  He is the one with the big white Appaloosa blanket!

Atti, who belongs to Judith, sprained her front leg almost two weeks ago, and is slated for a few more weeks of rest.  It was a relatively minor injury that she got while out playing in the big lot.  It is putting a crimp in our show plans, however, and we will miss the May show in Colorado.  Also, she had started working cattle like a bit of a cow horse, she can pony the new horses, is great on the trail, and I was even going to let her give a lesson (and she is only four) so, quadruple bummer. We expect a full recovery and hope to to be back in the show ring in June!

Atti says: i went down to my birth home for stall rest. i can’t wait to get back to my second home so i can keep everyone on their toes. Me: we miss your pesty self! Lots!

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Apr 142019

In Which the Red Horse Would Liked to be Touched. No, nevermind.  Yes, touch. No, changed my mind…
Including the Twisty Lips Power Song

by Doranna

Sensitive red muzzle with ALL the whiskers!

Takota is a horse of phases.

Not surprising–he’s in a new situation, being asked to think in ways he hasn’t done before, and being asked to respect manners and boundaries that he shows no signs of previously encountering and no signs of accepting gracefully.

(As these are safety manners between horse and human, they’re not negotiable.) Continue reading »

Apr 122019

By Patty Wilber

Shameless self-promotion:

I am excited to announce that I will be giving a clinic called Practical Trail June 22 and 23 at the Trout Stalker Ranch in Chama, NM!  We will work on horsemanship skills, play in the horse playground, and apply that to actual trails!   Here is the link if you want to register.  Only $300 for the all inclusive weekend!

Slots are limited.  We have a cap of 12 riders and it is filling up fast!


Introductory Water Crossing

Penny was the mentor horse.  She was a polite and confidence boosting mentor, and did not bring out her Boss Mare persona!

I got to be the leader for our 18 rider, 20 equine and one hiker Back Country Horsemen training ride starting at the Golden Open Space and continuing to a stretch of live water in the San Pedro Creek Canyon on BLM land.

Running water in NM is a bit of a scarce commodity, so even though this is a small bit, it is still exciting. We had four horses  that wanted some practice (well their riders wanted them to have practice), so we sent most of the group on to see a small pond and kept the four, along with me on Penny and Jim on Cometa, at the practice spot.

This water was shallow, there was no step down into it, and it was not especially muddy, so it was an ideal spot for Water Crossing 101. 

  • First. The riders asked their horses to cross by following Penny and Cometa.  Two of the four in our “needs practice” group, hesitated then went across at their rider’s request.  They came back and then I had them walk up and down the creek bed until they were comfortable.  Bruce’s beautiful Arabian picked his feet up extra high for a good 50 yards before he got used to the feel of the water on his legs and Ginny’s Fresian seemed to take it all in stride right away!

          Two of our four declined to cross. “not right now,” they said.  “our hooves might get muddy.”  

Continue reading »

Apr 072019

by Doranna

Benjy Beagle is a handsome elder statesman originally from West Virginia, where he spent his life in a hunting pack.  No one has to guess at this, although he came through the shelter system without identifying details–his freeze brands tell that tale. Continue reading »

Apr 052019

By Patty Wilber

There are a lot of busy horses in this world and a boatload of products that claim to have calming effects.  We have looked at equine appeasing hormone (EAP), tryptophan, magnesium and fat. So far, tryptophan had no supporting evidence for calming effects, fat had one old study supporting its effects in horses, EAP had one small study supporting its effects in horses and Mg had lots of research supporting its overall importance to living organisms, but only one that I could access supporting its calming effects in horses.

Effie, who I started back in 2015, is here for a tune up. She says a great calming agent is age and wet saddle blankets, and truth is, she should know.

This week, I am going to look at vitamin B.

Continue reading »

Apr 032019

by Doranna

Samhain Heartsong is complete, and it feels weird that story posts aren’t going out on a schedule any more.

So then…what next?  So many choices!  So many decisions.  HELP ME!

Do you like the online fiction? 

If no, I really want to know.  I want to focus my blog time on things that people enjoy!

If yes…

  • Did you like the regular, frequent installments?
  • Or would you prefer a longer piece all at once, less frequently?

And if yes, what would you like to see? 

  • More short stories?
  • Available novel excerpts?
  • Random jots from work in progress that might not even show up in the finished product?  (This would take all my nerve, though.)
  • Something I’m not thinking of that you might like?

So, simple as that.


Mar 312019

by Doranna
(off running agility again this weekend!)

Connery puppy

Baby photo! CH CT MACH3 PACH Cedar Ridge Doubleoseven VCD2 GN RE MXC MJC MXPB MJP3 MJPB PAX XF

Connery Beagle is FIFTEEN!

Unless you know Connery, it’s hard to understand our more or less unrelenting astonishment at this fact.

Never mind the multiple giant dog attacks when he was so young, the final one of which nearly took him out before he was even truly started.  Eighteen months of daily behavioral  and frequent physical rehab and he still bayed alarm at certain dogs and sounds, but was finally otherwise functional.

(In some ways, his near-total blindness has been a blessing.) Continue reading »

Mar 292019

By Patty Wilber

As I was looking up material for the magnesium blog, I came across several articles suggesting that increasing fat in the diet of horses could result in a calmer horse.

I guess I should not be suprised by what I found when I started to look for evidence to support that idea.

Yep. The usual.  A paucity of actual research.  Here are a few quotes from articles I looked at.

2011. “Research, supported by numerous anecdotal claims from horse owners, has also reported that high fat diets make horses calmer and more level-headed compared to traditional grain mixes that have no fat added.”

No actual research data was provided.

2017. “…ingredients such as beet pulp and fat have shown to decrease activity and reactivity of horses to their environment.”

No research was cited in this article, either. And they threw in beet pulp as a calmer.  That was the first time I had seen that.

Continue reading »

Mar 232019

In which the Red Horse Learns to Gear Down
by Doranna

Takota got his feet trimmed today, which was a pleasing occasion.  He arrived with ugly mismatched angles and quarter flares (in spite of one remedial trimming already behind him, but such fixes must be made gradually).  Now it’s 11 months later and his hooves have grown out healthy and strong; they’re holding their angles and showing no flare.  Very nice!

Takota Red Horse is an interesting enigma.  He really wants to be a good boy, but in so many ways, was never taught how.  Well, he was for sure taught that standing quietly for the farrier was a Good Boy Thing.  He demonstrated that quite ably today. Continue reading »