Jun 212018
 

By Patty Wilber

To get every chapter as soon as they post, you can subscribe to the site!  If you missed any of the past Chapters, the links are all here. Thanks for reading!

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10

CHAPTER ELEVEN – NO WATER

They were climbing up an east facing slope.  The sun had burned away any tiny droplets of dew that had condensed overnight.  The rays, bouncing back and forth among the red cliffs and boulders created a still heat that was oven-like. The dust kicked up by the horses hung in the air and climbed thickly into Callie’s nose. The plants gave off dry aromatic scents, as if offering their last precious oils in return for the sun’s mercy.

Callie was thankful she had grabbed a baseball cap off the hat rack before they’d left. She had taken the liner out of her helmet and put in the cap. The wide brim, pulled low onto her forehead, kept the sharpest rays out of her eyes, and shaded her nose. She touched the jug that hung on the saddle and wondered how long it would be until the water it contained boiled over like the radiator of an overheated car.

Ahead of her, Callie saw Jeff half hidden in the hot dust rising from the ground. He turned in his saddle. “The creek should be just around the comer,” he said. “We ought to stop there and let the horses rest and drink.”

Jake’s tongue lolled at the comer of his mouth and when he heard the word drink, he wagged his tail and ran it ran once around his silvery muzzle. He was a young dog and the heat didn’t seem to bother him much.

“I need a drink, too,” said Callie. Her sweat was evaporating as soon as it hit the air and the skin on her face felt like thin paper stretched across her cheekbones. “And look at Cloud.” She pointed to the sweat darkened patches on his hide. “It is like a desert out here.”

“It IS a desert out here,” Jeff pointed out. “High desert, but still.”

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Jun 182018
 

By Patty Wilber

To get every chapter as soon as they post, you can subscribe to the site!  If you missed any of the past Chapters, the links are all here. Thanks for reading!

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9

CHAPTER TEN-ON THE WAY TO THE RIDGE

Callie shivered with excitement. Today was the ride to the ridge, and only one week until her birthday, AND then the round-up.  The round-up had come up, but her going had not, and she hadn’t summoned enough courage to ask. Maybe tonight, but first, the Ride to The Ridge, capitalized, in her mind.

She felt like an explorer at the start of an important expedition. Perhaps they would discover the Outlaw in a secret valley!

Callie pulled a blue plaid shirt out of the closet and went to the old oak dresser to get a pair of jeans. She paused to study the picture of the mare and colt on the dresser and then the one on the wall. Hers was a little more worn. She used to run her finger over the horses, as if she were grooming them. Her mother saw her one evening and Callie had said, “I wish they were mine!”

Her mother had said, “There is no place to keep them, and horse pictures are much safer.”

“One day,“ Callie had declared, “I will have my own!”

“Just be careful.”  Her mother had replied.

“I will,” said Callie, out loud, back to the present. “I have been.” She reached out and touched picture then snapped the white pearled buttons on her blue plaid shirt and stepped into her jeans.

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Jun 152018
 

By Patty Wilber

Two shows in one week!  One in Oklahoma!

Jordyn and Slick getting ready for AQHA Youth Ranch Versatility Trail in green (and really humid and awfully hot) Oklahoma.

We had an New Mexico Appaloosa Club Appaloosa and All Breed show over the weekend, and Judith Huchtons’s Atti (She Has Attitude) took a long while to adjust to the new venue.  I have boot scabs from where my boot rubbed my left calf during the extensive settling in period to prove it, and I think I was more worn out that she was.  But, she got there and we had a really nice go in Junior Trail, earning 1.5 national points.

On Sunday, I had hoped she would be more relaxed, but she was refreshed and while she did complete all her pattern classes correctly and without refusing (improvement from Colorado!), I did not have the softness of Saturday.  Also, she was the only junior Appaloosa entered, so we did not get any points, but we had fun riding with the quarter horses: Natalie and her amazing gelding and Taylor and her two youngsters.

Next year, I will hopefully have two junior Appaloosa mares (Lucy-my new 2-yr old–coming SOON from Canada, and Atti) so they can compete against each other in most of the ranch classes!

Atti

Lucy (Qwhizenart)

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Jun 082018
 

By Patty Wilber

To get every chapter as soon as they post, you can subscribe to the site! Chapter 8 was published earlier this week.  If you missed any of the Chapters, the links are all here. Thanks for reading!

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

CHAPTER NINE-MUSTANG ROUND UP

They’d been at the pond for over two hours, and Callie was lying on her back, looking up at the ridge that formed the backdrop of Ridge Pasture and the Rocking W Ranch. “I’d like to ride up there,” she said.

“It’s a great ride,” said Luis, looking at Jeff. “We went up there once last summer.”

Jeff nodded in agreement and his eyes lit up. “Let’s see if we can go a week from tomorrow,” he said. “It’d take all day, but it’d be fun.”

“Yeah,” said Callie, looking first at Luis, and then at Jose. They both nodded. “We’d have to start at daybreak,” said Jeff, “And bring lunches.”

“And agua,” added Luis. “There is only one stream that crosses the trail.”

“Sometimes when it’s hot like it’s been this summer, that creek dries up,” Jose said. “Almost like a desert, it’s so dry….and hot.” He dragged his hand across his forehead, smearing off imaginary sweat. He fell to his knees. “Aqua,” he said. “Necesito aqua.” He was on his stomach now, stretching for the fictitious liquid that was just out of reach.

“Oh cut it out, Jose,” said Luis, prodding his dark-haired little brother with his bare toe.

“Oww!” said Jose. “O.K., O.K., already.” He got to his feet and brushed the dust off his chest, and jumped into the pond. Callie and Jeff sailed in after him.

“You know,” said Luis from the bank, “After the ridge ride, if we get to go, there’s only a few weeks until we have to bring in a few mustangs! The Forest Service called Dad last night.  The herd is getting too big again, and we need to bring some in for adoption.”

“That was a blast last year! I can’t wait to see the new foals,” said Jeff, climbing up onto Cloud’s ready-made, diving platform rump. He cannonballed in, making a water crater and sending water spraying like rain. He came up shaking his sun-streaked hair, so that it flipped off his forehead and out of his eyes. “This’ll be my second round-up!” he said proudly.

“Mine too,” said Luis from the bank.

“My zero,” said twelve-year-old Jose, with such a forlorn air that they all began to laugh. Even Cloud turned his head toward them and flicked his ears back and forth. Jake barked, ran along the bank, and then jumped in the water. He swam straight for Jose, licked him once in the face and headed for shore.

“Federal Mustang Service rules.  You have to be thirteen,” said Luis, trying to stop laughing at Jake long enough to use his best big brotherly voice, “Then you’ll get to go.”

“Thirteen,” thought Callie. “I’ll be thirteen in two weeks! That means…” She could hardly let herself think the words. I’ll be able to GO!”

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Jun 052018
 

CALLIE’S STAR By Patty Wilber

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7

CHAPTER EIGHT-MOVING THE CATTLE

Callie awoke while the sky was still streaked with pale pink and yellow streamers. She hoped to enjoy the quiet solitude of the dawn alone. Mornings were her favorite time, and she wanted to ride to the overlook where she had first spotted the Outlaw. Callie always felt strangely happy when she was up there, looking into the little valley. One morning she caught a glimpse of the stallion, black and shining silk in the soft early light. Her breath had knotted in her throat, and his beauty and freedom filled her mind until there was room for nothing else.

“Callie?”

She turned toward the voice.  It was Uncle Bob.

“I was just coming to wake you, but you’re already dressed!”He reached out to touch Callie’s horse picture that matched the picture on the wall.

“This picture was a favorite of your mother’s,” he said.

“Was that hers on the wall?” Callie asked.

Uncle Bob looked up at that one with surprise, and back to the one on the dresser and said, “Yes. Is this one yours?’

Callie nodded.  “I found it in…in a… store we used to go to.” She didn’t want to say, “the Goodwill we used to go to.”  Aunt Martha and Uncle Bob donated to Goodwill.  They didn’t shop there. “Mom didn’t tell me she used to have one just like it.”

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Jun 012018
 

By Patty Wilber

Callie’s Star, Chapter 7 is posted!

So, for the last 10 years I have been wanting to buy a horse related to this horse: All Round Sundown, Ali. Ali was bred by Connie Hunter at Sunset Stock Horses in Alberta Canada, and owned at the time I trained her by Cheryl Pozzi at Whispering Spirit Ranch. Her sire was All ‘Round Texas. Yes, he’s Canadian.

Perhaps my memory is faulty after all this time, but in my mind, she was one of the easiest horses I have ever trained.  She won a shaggy show trail class, walk, trot, lope, after 50 rides.  That’s about 2.5 months of training. She figured out lead changes, in ONE DAY, and basically never missed a lead change again.  We won an Appaloosa National Championship in Jr. Western Riding.  That was my first really big show, so I was living a dream!  At the World show, she was top ten in Jr. trail, top 5 in Jr. reining and top 5 in Jr. Western Riding.

Plus, she was easy to get along with at the barn and good in the backcountry.

So, a couple years ago, I told Connie that I was going to be wanting a Texas baby, cowy, please, and could she keep that in mind for 2018 or 2019? I meant it, but was not sure that could really come to fruition.

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May 312018
 

By Patty Wilber

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapters 5 and 6

CHAPTER SEVEN–GREEN SPRINGS RUN

In a few weeks, Callie had become proficient at saddling and bridling. Her horsemanship improved tremendously, too, but her relationship with Jeff had not made much progress. They spent many hours together doing ranch chores, and a few times they had spent the afternoon with their only neighbors, Luis and Jose Romero.

“I want you two to go down to Green Springs Run,” said Uncle Bob over breakfast, “Check the water troughs and salt licks. It should be a nice ride for the two of you.”

Callie nodded. Uncle Bob and Callie had driven the pickup down there once before in the golden light just before dusk, and he’d showed her a bald eagle’s nest. It sat way up in a dead and gnarled cottonwood snag that stood above a small stream lined with tall green grass. The eagles weren’t there, but the green grass stood out in Callie’s mind like emeralds. New Mexico had an achingly blue sky, with muted greens and tawny brown land like the coat of a cougar, and it smelled dry in a sharp way that got into the back of her nose. The only places that were bright green were the few places where there was water.

“You two be back by lunch, so we can make a run into town,” said Aunt Martha, bringing Callie back to her half-finished Cheerios.  “I have to drop off a few things we don’t need any more at the Goodwill.”  She checked a list she’d written on the back of an envelope.  “I also need to get another flash drive, some food from the Farmer’s Market, and I thought you two could go to the library for a while.  So,” she finished.  “Don’t be home late!”

“No problem,” said Jeff, glancing at Callie so that she knew he was thinking she would be the slow poke.  She wolfed down the rest of her cereal, and got up from the table. “Meet you at the barn, Jeff.”

He nodded slightly, and took another leisurely bite of toast. HE didn’t need to hurry.

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May 252018
 

By Patty Wilber

Chapter 5 and 6 of Callie’s Star are posted!

This blog is largely a rerun of last year’s May post on Indy’s color, until the last two pictures.

“The expression of Leopard Complex (LP gene) includes several components: mottled skin around the muzzle, anus, genitalia, and eyes, and progressive roaning of pigmented coat areas with age. (My underlining.) White spotting may also be present, with pigmented leopard spots tending to occur on the white spotting background of heterozygous horses. The mutation is an incomplete dominant and expression of Leopard Complex is variable ranging from absent to extreme white patterning.” (UC Davis genetic testing site.)

Indy has an Appaloosa with spots father and a quarter horse mother. When I bought her, I didn’t look too closely (because color wasn’t why I bought her), and I didn’t think she had inherited any Appaloosa color genes from her father. Her mom being a solid colored quarter horse, didn’t have any Appaloosa genes to donate!

Indy at about nine months old. Dark bay!

Indy at about nine months old. Dark bay, Dec. 2014.

But then she shed her winter coat and became a roan! Thus, she did get one copy of the LP gene–from her dad!! One copy is fun–a horse of a different color every season and every year!  I happy with only one LP gene copy though. Horses with two copies of the LP gene may have “Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB) which is the inability to see in low to no-light conditions.” (UC Davis genetic testing site.)

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May 202018
 

Callie’s Star

By Patty Wilber

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

CHAPTER FIVE. THE ACCIDENT

“Well,” said Uncle Bob, as he washed the last dish and set it in the drainer. “How’d Callie do today?”

“Pretty well, I think,” replied Aunt Martha. “She rode most of the morning with Jeff and spent the afternoon unpacking and reading.” Martha gave the table one last wipe, and straightened up. “She fell asleep about four-thirty, and I just let her sleep. She’s probably exhausted.”

Uncle Bob paused and wiped a hand across his eyes. “You know how her mother disliked everything associated with this ranch. Did she pass that on to Callie?”

Aunt Martha put her hands on Uncle Bob’s shoulders. “Bob,” She said. “Don’t be too hard on Ellen. The accident changed her. It could have changed any one.”

“You’re right,” Uncle Bob sighed. “She always was the quiet one, even before that. Dad used to say she took after Mom, until that day.” His work roughened hands reached up and covered hers. “Is Callie like that? Can she be happy here?”

“She was raised in Chicago, but you heard her yesterday, when she saw those wild horses. And Jeff told me today that she couldn’t saddle ‘worth a bean’, but could ‘sorta’ ride.” Aunt Martha gave Uncle Bob’s hands a squeeze and they walked into the living room.  Uncle Bob looked at the ranch paperwork on his desk for a moment, but sat instead on the couch with Aunt Martha.

“This whole thing is going to be a big change for Jeff, too,” Uncle Bob said.

“I know,” Aunt Martha agreed. “But I think it’ll all work out. All Callie could talk about this afternoon was the Outlaw and his band of mares, and you know how Jeff loves the horses. They’ll have that in common at least.”

Uncle Bob rubbed his chin, thinking, and nodded. “I don’t think she was ever told about the accident.” Martha leaned forward, reaching for the newspaper on the coffee table.

“What accident?” asked Callie. Her voice was scratchy with sleep and her face was lined with pillow case wrinkles.

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May 182018
 

By Patty Wilber

Callie’s Star Ch 4 is posted, also.

She Has Attitude, a.k.a. Atti, went to her first Appaloosa show, in Colorado, last weekend.  I confess I was a little nervous, because not that long ago, I was certain she would not be ready.   Even as we left, I was still not positive.

It was a nine hour drive and she handled it really well.  I rode her around after we got there to help her get used to the new place.  I have learned that most of her bad behavior (refusing to go, threatening to rear, no left turn) is largely due to fear, so she absolutely had to be ridden in the arena where she was going to be shown. It took a lot of slow easy work to get her moving comfortably with all steering in working order.

Saturday morning was All Breed Boxing. She did the dry work pattern without complaining and she worked her cow at the level she is at.  We did lose our cow, and then I thought, “Well, hey!  Appaloosa rules for Working Cow Horse say I can call for a new cow within 30 seconds! I will just try it.” So I called for a new cow, surprising the judges, and they acquiesced.  This one wouldn’t move at all, but we still had fun. And we won!  We were also the only contestants.

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