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 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…”

Pause.

“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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Jun 122020
 

By Patty Wilber

Last week, I went glamping with three of my friends at Rancho de Fe.   It is about 12 miles out of Las Vegas, NM. We were the first horse guests at this lovely site, and it was pretty sweet!

The ranch is 90 acres with riding access on an additional 200 private acres as well being within riding access to the Santa Fe National Forest. There are very nice view of Hermit’s Peak, to the west!

There are two houses and a cabin that can be rented, two full RV hook-ups and dry camping as well.  We chose one dry camp, one full hook up, and the cabin. I split the cost of dry camping with Patty S., and we paid $15 per night, including the horses. 

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May 292020
 

By Patty Wilber

We have had two BCH projects in the past two weeks.  One out of Red Canyon Campground in the Manzanos and one out of Panchuela in the Pecos.

In both cases, we got access behind locked gates, which was nice for us, and the trails!

In the Manzanos, we had 15 people, so we broke into three teams of five and did Box and some of Ox, Red Canyon, Spruce and the connecting part of the Crest Trail between Red and Spruce.

The Manzanos did not have gobs of down trees, so good deal, one fell swoop…or maybe that’s three fell swoops, but we got a lot done while in the appropriate group size, and yes we wore masks. 

Masked crew in the Manzanos: L Marianne, front Bruce, center back Victoria, R Jim. I took the picture!

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May 082020
 

By Patty Wilber

The two items in the title do not necessarily go together, but maybe….!

First: The Virtual Show. Ok, since we cannot have the real Red Hot Ranch Horse Challenge, we thought we would have a Virtual Red Hot Ranch Horse Show.

Yes, like this show, only by video and also no cattle, so exactly like this, only different!!

Actually, Christy is the one that thought we should have the show and she has done 98% of the work.  I have helped her by saying things like, “Great!” or  “Sounds good!” and every so often I give a suggestion, and oh, I did make one pattern.

All the details can be found on a new Facebook page Christy has built called Virtual Red Hot Ranch Horse Show!  Check it out!  We have two very good judges (Cindy Chilton Moore and Delena Doyle) and there will be payback money!  Get your videographers lined up and prepare to “come” join us!! 

If some trial runs of the W/T trail class goes well with Sombra, he might just get to enter!!

++++++++++++++++++

Sombra, the Placitas Mustang, who belongs to Mary Ann Shinnick, came here last July as an unhandled two-year-old.  We did a lot of work to help him become used to being a domestic horse instead of a wild one, and I had him about ready to saddle start at the end of last year.  But between the bad weather and some other colt starts, he got bumped back.  The extra time allowed him to mature a little bit as well.

Sombra

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May 012020
 

By Patty Wilber

Before we get into the woodrats, here are the results from last week’s “You be the Judge” in which Lucy, H, LT and Penny all did the same “ranch riding” type pattern.  Fifteen people, some horse folks and some not, judged via Survey Monkey.

Lucy got six first place votes but also four last place votes, giving her a total of 43 points.

H got four first place votes but only one last place vote and thus he edged out Lucy with 45.5 points!

H, who is not a minature horse, next to the new trailer, which, by the way, had a brake problem and is in the shop (under warranty).

LT, despite her lead change error, got three first places and also three last places, for third.

Penny also got two first place votes but, alas, was placed last six times (sorry Penny!) for fourth.

Thanks for playing!

Here is H’s winning go!

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Woodrats are common in New Mexico and we have plenty on the 30 acres across the street. We also have had woodrats in our hay barn but we have never, until recently, have had woodrats in the truck!

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