Mar 272020
 

By Patty Wilber

Well!  I went to Clovis and had a nice time working cows with Clay (Hight Performance Horses) (from a safe social distance).  Lucy tore it up in our boxing on Day One (Clay was pretty excited for us!!) and then… we struggled with our driving on Day Two.  But, I have a plan using the flag and being more consistent with my leg cues: Inside leg to pass and stop the cow; outside leg to get in position and drive. Lucy is smart.  She will figure this out, quick.

Mariah’s young mare, Fancy, came with us.  She has about 18 rides with me and can open and shut a gate and go over the bridge.  She is walk-trot-loping in the round pen and on the trail, and starting to get that in the unfenced arena, which is somehow harder for her.   I am going to get video of her this weekend (because she might be for sale!). She is super cute, just saying!

Fuzzy because my camera does not do well in low light. Also this pic is at my house, not in Clovis, but it does show how cute Ms. Fancy is!

H had month of lighter work with Clay but he is still dialled in when a cow shows up.  His intensity on cows reminds me of LT, which is very exciting.  On the other hand, when he is done working, he comes back down and can stand still, which is like Lucy.  That is a relief. I am super duper duper super excited to have him home. He and I get along pretty darn well!

Just look at that face! The boy is home!

I brought my camper to Clovis to avoid staying in any of the cheap (= rather low end) hotels and it was cold out (43F Saturday afternoon) with a sort of freezing mist later, so I was seriously bummed when I thought I had run out of propane and would be spending the night under all the blankets and sleeping bags eating a cold dinner! And no morning coffee.  I mean, I was feeling low.

Fortunately, it was just a minor heater glitch and I had ended up having lovely heat and a functional stove. Luxury, I tell you, luxury.

I made it home, and while H and Lucy were best buds before he left, old H lost some social skills while he was away living in a pen by himself.  He was a little too aggressive with Lucy (he didn’t mess with LT).  To help him regain his manners, he is going to have to live with Penny for a bit.  “NO. u cannot stand there.  u must stand over in that corner.  changed my mind.  go stand on the other side.  DON’T look at me unless i give permission.  NO.  this is MY hay.” etc.  He was looking pretty chagrined when I let him in another pen to feed him some grain Thursday evening! So sad. Not.

Since being home home, I have spend most days from about 7am to about 3pm and 8 to bedtime (10? 11? 12?) glued to my computer continuing to convert my three in-person college classes to online classes due to the new COVID-19 Stay-at-Home policy we have in NM (went to Clovis just in time!), as well as keeping up with the other three classes that were already on line. Fun, but time consuming!!

I have had learned how to give an online lecture, using my little laptop, to a whole class, via a program called Collaborate Ultra.  I learned how to break said class into smaller work groups!  I have got my Microbio lab students started on their unknown microbe identification project in a virtual environment! 

The first set of “incubated” plates have come out of the computer!

They “inoculated” three of these four “plates”!

 

And after “incubation” stuff “grew”!! Now they get to “do” further tests to identify what grew!!

 It is very exciting!!

I have had some help, as well.

Rena says: “right here is where that bacteria is making the ATP! it is totally obvious. i do not know why they didn’t get that!”

And here is another fuzzy picture, of Thursday’s sunset.

I am thankful to live in this big state with a relatively small population, and to live out of town.  Be safe everyone, stock up on Tylenol or Motrin and wash your hands!

Mar 192020
 

By Patty Wilber

Note: if you want to keep up with the blog without Facebook, you can subscribe here, upper right side of page.

I spend most of this week, morning, noon and late, late nights, parked in front of my computer working (remotely–the college shut down due to COVID-19) figuring out creative ways to keep our Microbiology Lab course running while maintaining the integrity of the course.  We created a very good online midterm exam and have figured out how to do our unknown project in a virtual way without sacrificing the logic and creative thinking the students need to employ.  Getting all the parts pulled together took, and still will take, a good many more hours, but the framework and teamwork are there!

My other two classes that need to be converted are not as tricky–I already have an online version for one, and the other is just a matter of reframing existing lecture material and borrowing prepared materials from my generous co-workers–still time consuming, but straight forward.

I got those horses ridden, too. It is pretty nice to be able to ride out and still be “safe at home”.

Thursday was a windy, snow spitting day, and not very inviting for outdoor activity.  Still, after eight hours in a chair in front of a screen, I was getting pretty desperate to breathe fresh air, so I bundled up, and as I went out the door, I kid you not, the wind quit. What a gift!

I took a long trail ride on Lucy and good trail ride on Birdie, too.

In the canyon behind the house with Lucy. This doesn’t suck.

We have 35 COVID cases in NM, so either today (Friday) or tomorrow, I am driving to Clovis  (where there are none) to pick up H, before travel is further restricted. He was slated to come home now, anyway, as well, because originally we had a show the first weekend in April.  Which is cancelled, of course.

It will be pretty easy to maintain social distancing–staying in my camper, not a hotel, bringing all my own food, and using the outdoor pumps for fuel. 

I am looking forward to showing, and trail work later this year when the viral infections wane.

Stay safe everyone, and wash those hands.

 

 

Mar 132020
 

By Patty Wilber

I was listening to the Podcast, “Along for the ride: Phil Rapp & Andrea Fappani” and they were talking about what made great cutting and great reining horses.  They got to talking about grit and trainability. But before we get to that:

Andrea Fappani is a reining horse trainer; “National Reining Horse Association “NRHA” 5.7 Million Dollar Rider was born and raised in Italy and followed his dream of moving to the USA and becoming one of the all-time leading trainers in the Performance Horse industry. His focus, drive and passion for excellence not only made him the youngest NRHA million Dollar Rider, along the way he has been recognized for his ability to teach and advocate exceptional horsemanship.” (from the podcast blurb)

Phil Rapp is a cutting horse trainer:  “Phil Rapp of Weatherford, TX is a cutting horse trainer, inductee in both the NCHA Rider Hall of Fame[1] and NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame,[2] and the leading NCHA money earner with lifetime earnings totaling $9,733,216.88 as of Sept 2019.[3] He was elected vice-president of the National Cutting Horse Association in 2016,[4] and became president in June 2018. Phil & Mary Anne are Breeders of over $8,079,413.34. Mary Anne LTE $4,819,752.77 as a Non Pro, Ryan Rapp LTE $288,031.78 as a Non Pro.” (from the podcast blurb).

Back in the summer of 1980 and ’81 when I was 18 and 19, I worked at a horse ranch camp called K-Arrow near Jamestown, California.  We had a camper named Phil Rapp who was about 10.  I had always wondered if it was the same Phil Rapp.  Pretty sure it was because in the podcast he says he is 50 (I am am 58, so the age is right), he lived in northern California and spent summers at a horse camp.  I don’t actually remember all that many campers, but this kid came from a well-to-do-family (Phil Rapp’s dad was very successful in the hotel business) and he brought his own horse.  It was a super nice sorrel (as I recall, anyway) pony and that is why I remember him.  We also had Captain and Tenille’s kids or band member’s kids, but they didn’t bring  a horse, so I don’t remember their names.  I do remember a lot of the horses…of course….

Returning to the topic.

Phil and Andrea were talking about what makes a great cutter or a great reiner and they were talking about whether horse learned easily and well and whether it would perform under stress, when tired, or when a little sore.  Trainability and grit.  So, I started thinking about some of my horses, which are obviously not in the million dollar winning category, but this was still fun to think about.

LT.  Tons of grit, but kinda low on the trainability scale.  I did not ride her on Back Country projects until she was five and I didn’t campaign her seriously until she was five, either, because it took me that long to get it all together with her.  At five she still could not stand still and while I had hoped she would be an all around ranch versatility type horse, it turned out reined cow horse was her thing.  At five, she was National Appaloosa Jr Cow Horse Champ and Reserve in Jr Reining.  At the Appaloosa World Show that year, she was reserve in Jr. cow horse by a mere half a point.  She pulled up sore after her go, but in the pen, she gave it her all.   I still get a little choked up thinking about that run, as it was a lifetime highlight for me, with a horse that never said quit.  Grit. 

I love the look in her eye!

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Mar 062020
 

By Patty Wilber

Part three?  Well, part one was “Training with a buddy“.

Coco, the palomino, was a great mentor for Birdie, who, at this time was a bit on the “YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAAAAT!?” end of the spectrum. (Coco finished her 60 days at the end of February and we got a nice video of her at the walk, trot and lope. Her sister, Fancy, has come in!)

Fancy.  I have to apologize, because this is a nice mare and the picture does not do her any kind of justice, except her legs look good. She has a beautiful face and a really cute build. She is three and is here to get started.

Part two for Birdie was sort of spread around in the last three blogs.

But to recap, Birdie came in January and she had been handled, but not that much: Never had her feet picked up let alone trimmed (but, that is not to say her feet were in bad shape–they were, and are, actually, in really good shape), was hard to catch, didn’t tie, and was just a tad over reactive, which was why I used the buddy training to help her.  At the end of February I added magnesium (which is often calms horses, some) to her diet.

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Feb 282020
 

By Patty Wilber

I went to Clovis last week to Hight Performance Horses to visit H, work cows with Lucy, and drive one of my colt starts crazy (LOL) by taking her to a new location that was UNFAMILIAR! 

(H will come home in a few weeks since I have access to cows now!)

As I rode Lucy, Birdie was tied with one of my favorite knots, but when I finished riding, she was loose…The knot had not come undone and she had not broken the snap.  Apparently, she somehow gapped the bull snap and slipped free. She was wandering around and all the hardware was intact.

At least it was not my knot.

So, speaking of knots…

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Feb 212020
 

By Patty Wilber

Walkin N Circles, the horse rescue in Edgewood, NM, held their first fun show of the year last Saturday (2/15/20)  and despite the big snow earlier in the week, a fair number of people were able to get their horses demudded and their trailers out to come show.

I took some photos before I started judging trail and then I accidentally deleted all of them before I had uploaded them to google photos…

Fortunately Patty Shuert was there, hung out with me the whole time, helped keep my score sheets in order, and took a bunch of pictures!

It was chilly in the arena, so I was happy to have my heavy coat and a scarf. This is the second time in the past week I have seen pictures of my face. I would just like to point out that I am about 20 years younger in my mind than my chronological age. Of course, I would like to have fewer wrinkles and sags, but if I am going to spend big money, it is likely to be on horse stuff or travel and not a nip and a tuck!

I was worried that my trail pattern would be too easy, but it turned out to be just fine.

The hardest parts in order of difficulty, based on my recollection, not actual data, were the back through and the bridge.

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Feb 142020
 

By Patty Wilber

Well, here is a bit of a run down on things:

  • H is still with Clay Hight, at Hight Performance Horses, getting some cow experience.  He even did ranch work and dragged some calves to the fire for a branding last week.  It took him a bit to get used to the smoke, but apparently he did well.  Thanks, Clay!

I am going down there next weekend and The Hight’s will haul him to a Quarter horse show at the end of the month just for experience.  (I am sure after meeting H, the AQHA folks will all be wanting an App!  🙂 )

I am looking forward to bringing H home near the end of March. I have some cow access lined up, including a back-up plan.  Now, I just need the weather to cooperate (see below).

  • Coco is loping (she has 24 times under saddle; first lope step on ride 21.) I get to keep her until the end of the month and if the weather will, um, cooperate (see below), she ought to be going reasonably well by then, for a greenie.

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Feb 072020
 

By Patty Wilber

Well, it is still January, and unsurprisingly, it is still cold (whine), but this obviously has had no bearing on the manure producing ability of our equines.

Man, it is a lot of poo.  So, I have been contemplating new and novel (to us) ways to use all that s**t up.

Right now we compost it.  It has been difficult to find good tarps to cover the bins to keep moisture in so that composting actually occurs, versus horse apple mummification. It is pretty dry here in New Mexico, a lot of the time.

We had a roll of some sort of plastic-ish stuff (I know, plastic) that we used for years.  It was relatively long-lasting, but it did do what plastics do, and broke up into small pieces, some of which are still hanging around the place, not degrading.

Ok, we ran out of that, and tried big heavy duty tarps.  Fail.  They are also some sort of environmentally unfriendly plastic, but even worse, they fell apart within six months of use in the NM sun.  Now we have blue bits of those hanging around with tan bits of the other and they may make a nice archeological find for someone, one day.  “Hmm,” they will say, “These people sure liked to use plastic. No wonder their whole civilization collapsed.  But at least they were composting.”

So, we went to a more cloth-based heavy duty tarp, from Tractor Supply, at 100+ bucks each, and they seem to last through one composting cycle, and maybe will even make two, so still not very long-lived, but at least they don’t seem to fragment–just tear.

Composting manure and the tarp, too, to some extent, apparently.

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Jan 312020
 

By Patty Wilber

We have a new resident here at the place!

She is an nine-year-old bay mare with scoliosis and belongs to Mary Ann S.  The S might stand for “Soft Hearted”.

Here is what scoliosis might look like in a person.

The picture came off a pop up info panel when I googled “scoliosis”, so not sure how to cite it…

 

Here is what Breeze’s back looks like. You can see the curvature.

Breeze is kind of dirty (I brushed her prior to this “photo shoot”, I swear!) because she really, really likes to roll and she can roll all the way over, both directions!  Not all able bodied horses can do that.

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Jan 242020
 

By Patty Wilber

I have two young mares (both are four) that I am currently starting (Sombra, the nominal Spanish Boy, is waiting in the wings).  One is pretty laid back and has been handled regularly (Coco), and the other is LT’s half sister–same dad (Birdie).

As one might surmise by her relatives, Birdie is a bit of wild child.  She came in afraid of oh, practically everything, plus she is super “watchy” and notices when a blade of grass twitches.  And doesn’t like to stand still….  Oh boy!

On the plus side, she is very curious, likes people and catches on.

Weirdly, perhaps, she was easy to saddle right off the bat and is not particularly interested in full speed running or bucking.  That is very promising!

Bridling the first time…

I had her in the round pen and thought I’d just put a little snaffle bit on her so she could carry that around and get used to it.  Ha.  

Day 1. 

Me: I have a bit and bridle.  Here, let’s put it on!  Easy. 

Birdie: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? GET THAT WHATEVER IT IS AWAY FROM MY MOUTH!

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