Jan 172020
 

By Patty Wilber

It might be apparent from the blogs that I kind of like horse training and horses.  Each horse is different and despite the fact that I have started a good number of colts (100? 150? I have not kept track) I like that it is not uncommon that I say to myself, “Well, I haven’t seen THAT before!” So much to learn!  So little time!

I also have really enjoyed having my own trainer/coach so that I can continue to get new ideas and techniques, because part of the fun for me is finding which keys to use to unlock the potential of each horse, as best I can.  I find getting in-person coaching with a particular horse under me really helpful and more fun than videos or reading.

BUT, right now, the cow guy I am working with is in Clovis (200 miles away) and so I can only go once a month at best, and thus I have “resorted” to books and video.  On dressage.  Not even western dressage. Gasp.

But, why dressage you may ask?  

1.Two of my friends have horses that have been diagnosed with mild cases of kissing spine.  One found an article about exercises that can help alleviate the problem and those exercises are dressage based. 

Kissing spine.

Radiograph of the mid thoracic spine showing evidence of kissing spines. (picture source linked above.)

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Jan 102020
 

By Patty Wilber

My WW three horse bumper pull stock horse trailer is 15 this year.

2018, at the Cruces Basin Trail Head.

Labor Day, 2018, in the Manzanos. Indy and LT by the trailer.

It has been a great trailer and while it is no longer pretty (if it ever actually was), it is still good to haul down the highway or on a 4-wheel drive road to the wilderness.

But, I thought it might be ok to step up and get something a little bit fancier.

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Jan 032020
 

By Patty Wilber

I hope you don’t cringe,
As the rhyming beings,
But here
is the year,
From the start to the fringe!

January was cold and there was lots of snow,
Training in snow makes progress quite slow.
The barn was still full of horses to ride.
Unfortunately, perhaps, the rides were outside!

February was quiet, for the most part,
Lucy worked cows with Ed for a start.
Atti tried to quit them and fall apart,
But soon she perked up and showed me some heart!

Yes, I am talking about you again, Ms. Atti!

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Dec 272019
 

By Patty Wilber

We got lucky and got to spend the Christmas Holidays with the grand girls in Hawaii!

On Day 1 we dragged them to a polo lesson while Mom and Dad went to work!

If I lived on Oahu, I think I polo might be a horse sport to try.  Cows are not especially numerous and most cow stuff appears to be on the Big Island (at least based on my brief Internet research). It also seems a bit tricky to trail ride on some of the steep, slick jungle trails!

We have a been to a few polo matches here and I thought a polo lesson would be fun.

Of course, it was!  

I went to Hawaii Polo Lessons. I rode a nice solid gelding that went when asked, picked up both leads and was easy to steer.  Perfect, because I did not have to think about riding and could concentrate on trying to hit the ball!

My instructor, Khai, on an Appaloosa! And me on Pep. Khai is a United States Polo Association certified polo instructor!

 

For introductory purposes I used a softer and slightly larger rubber ball than the standard game ball.  I tried to find a photo of one like it, for the blog, but struck out. Continue reading »

Dec 132019
 

By Patty Wilber

I am still really missing Ed (my cattle coach and friend who passed away earlier this year).  I think he would be telling me that it is time to get moving forward on the cattle training, though.

I have some local contacts in the works; some that could coach and some who might let me MOOch use of their cattle (and I will chip in towards feed).  But that might not be until January,

So, I set up a time to drive to Clovis to work with Clay Hight of Hight Performance Horses. I have been working my flag at home, but was excited to get H on real cattle and get some feedback on Lucy.

Not the greatest picture I have ever taken, but this is Clay at Hight Performance Horses, Clovis, NM

I was planning to leave between 8am and 9am to make the 200 mile drive, but when I went out to feed, 22 year old Cometa was not hungry.

Cometa is the consummate consumer.  He has never met hay he does not like.

Then he laid down.  Flat out. In the mud. That is not a good look for him.

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Nov 222019
 

By Patty Wilber

Last Friday I wanted to take Koh-Doh for his 20th day under saddle to the Sandia Mountains and do the Cienega Trail loop, but I had guys welding at the house and this was disconcerting to a couple of the horses, so I figured it was better not to take him on his first solo trailer ride with me to meet some new horses and do his first group trail ride. (I took Lucy.)

Every now and then I display good sense.

So, instead, on Saturday afternoon, we did ride 21. Mary Ann came over and she, Jim and I rode from our house to Ale Republic Brewery and had beer and snacks!

Koh-Doh loaded with his first “accessories”–cantle pack and a coat! He appears to be very bothered. Not.

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Nov 152019
 

By Patty Wilber

I have three geldings I am starting this autumn and they fall on a continuum of personality. It is fun to figure out how hard to push and when to go slower. That is something to consider everyday with colts, and generally, I tend to go slower rather than faster.

Coincidentally, I recently read “When Slow is Worse”  (thanks Barb K.) which discussed  the pitfalls of not moving quite fast enough in training (and thank goodness she was talking about A LOT slower than my pace).  Still, the article got me thinking about the differences between the three geldings.

H

I saw a cartoon on facebook (I couldn’t relocate it) that showed a glaring mare, a glaring stallion and a goofy gelding.  Now H (co-owned by me and Judith Huchton), at two, isn’t actually super goofy but he has a really chill attitude.

He is also responsive, smart, and has a ton of try. You just can’t beat this combination.  He has a high spot on the “Easiest Horses I Have Ever Started” list.  Now, with all that hype, I better make sure I help him live up to his potential in the show pen!!

At a show on 25 rides.

H (in the middle) “helping” put up the new panel. LT (left) waiting to give her two cents, and Lucy (right) inspecting the footing placement. So very thoughtful of all of them! I penned up three others that would have been on my side of the panel because six helpers would have just been too many!

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Nov 082019
 

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend was the end of the Back Country Horseman trail season.  We had nine riders and ten equines that rode out of Red Canyon trailhead in the Manzanos on Box Trail. I rode H and Lucy got to haul the tools. Cometa was the lead horse with Jim.

Lucy packing tools and H tooling along behind.

 We did a fair amount of lopping (not loping) and cleared a few small trees.  H got to practice standing tied to a tree.

Mr. Cool as a Cucumber.

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Nov 012019
 

By Patty Wilber

After our fun hunting trip, Lucy got a day off and then she convinced H that we should go to the NM Paint Palomino Buckskin Pinto All Breed Fall Color Round Up show at NM EXPO fairgrounds 10/27 and 28. It was a good choice as the weather was nice, the people were friendly, and it had a good set of ranch classes (but no cows, alas.)

Photo by Jo Ellen!

We had a fun crew of five riders (Mariah, Me, Nancy, Jo Ellen and Ryanne) sharing the tack room! I think I managed to hog up a little more than my allotted space, but everyone was kind about it!

I sure enjoyed the company!

Jo Ellen on Mocha,, Nancy on Moses and me on H. H is giving Moses the side eye for some reason!! Photo with Jo’s camera.

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Oct 252019
 

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend we went to the Cruces Basin near the Colorado border for Jim’s elk hunt. It was a darn site better than last year where all our food flew out the back of the camper on the way there and the snow and wet made it a bit tricky getting out. Click the link if you want refresher on that!

This year we got to enjoy the full Camp Kingsbury instead of the barebones Camp Wilberry! Camp Kingsbury included a wall tent, Richard Kingsbury as camp help and elk advisor, food, nice thick sleeping pads, a wood stove (ahh heat! The best!) a cooking stove (hot food!), lanterns, a latrine and other amenities. It was SOOOO nice. And so nice of Richard to take a weekend and all his stuff to be with us! We bought him a Blake’s Itsa Burger on the way home to thank him!

Camp Kingsbury was actually cached up near Toltec Mesa from the muzzleloader hunt two weeks ago and we rode in Friday with our personal gear, and fresh provisions for equine and human.

Richard Kingsbury rode one mule and pulled a string of five pack stock (four mules and one “bell” mare that all the mules love, whose name is actually Belle!). It was very impressive and beautiful!

This is on the way out, but was the best shot I got of the full string.

We took our Appaloosa girls (Penny, LT, and Lucy).  Old man Cometa (22) had a bit of a cough, so he stayed home. Continue reading »