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


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 202018

By Patty Wilber

Chapter 10 of Callie’s Star is posted.  Chapter 11 will post 6/21

Early Post as I am going out of the range of cell phone and electricity.  Who hoo!

Over Memorial Day weekend, Penny ripped her nose on something overnight while we were on a Back Country Horsemen project.


She was in a pen with smooth wire on one side and electric on the other three.  She was with Indy and Cometa, who she lives with at home, but I swear Penny causes or gets in trouble when we travel, so from now on, she will be highlined in her own private section (because she has become grumpy with her neighbors and caused highline drama in the past). I guess she caught it on a splice on the smooth wire fence.

Anyway, instead of heading out with the crew, we loaded her up and went to Pecos. Fortunately the vet was open and $350 later, she was fixed up. Good thing we had a big halter we could fit above the gash!

“i think this will be better than just letting the flap fall off,” says Penny. “even if it is only a flesh wound.”

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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


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!


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


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 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 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


“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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May 102018

By Patty Wilber

Check out Chapter Three of Callie’s Star!


I had a diverse week.

On Sunday, we did drill team at 4 Winds Equestrian Center.  We are getting better! And it is fun.

Atti was supposed to participate, but we got there and she said, “omg!  there are horses everywhere!  i do not know any of them.  i don’t think they like me!”

She really couldn’t settle down in a short time frame, so, she got tied up until after drill team and then I rode her around and let her check everything out.  She is getting really good in places she is familiar with, but needs more experience handling new places!  I think we will have enough time to get her comfortable at the venue of our show this weekend in Colorado!

My new colt start, Kodak, came along for the ride.  She stayed in a pen and it was a big day for her!

Kodak saddled for the first time at my place. She is a little flighty, but based on her trailer loading–first time in gale force winds, worked on it two days later, and has done two more trips, getting right in like an old pro each time, I think she is pretty trainable. Plus, she loves to be petted, and drops her head and relaxes right into it so I expect her to settle down really well.

Monday, I went to the Manzanos with my friend Mary Ann, and my horse, Penny.

Penny is my easiest trail horse. No fuss, no muss, mostly.

We want to get a few rides in before the imminent forest closures due to the dry dry conditions we are once again experiencing in New Mexico.

The Manzanos  are in Severe Drought, but the main springs are still running and we found a new wet spot in a little canyon that heads west just at the start of the Cerro Blanco trail.

Then we rode on up Cerro Blanco and went south on the newly cleared section of the Crest Trail.  Wow.  How nice to have a trail de-brushed so well, and Back Country Horsemen did not do it.  The Rocky Mountain Youth Corps did! The Crest Trail is at about 9,000 feet and the views are really expansive!

Tuesday, I worked cows with Atti and LT.  I thought last week was a little better, but it sure is fun.  Kodak got to stand and watch.  She started off a bit upset but really settled in well and was very patient

I also looked at roan palomino yearling Quarter Horse filly. I am looking for a versatility ranch horse prospect, since Indy is out of the running. This girl is cute and based on my little video clip is looking like she will STOP!

Wednesday, I looked at a Smart Lena Boon yearling.  He was super friendly, but not quite what I am looking for.

I am not exactly sure what I am looking for, but I think I will know when I see it.  I am looking forward to a seeing some video of two 2 yr olds from Sunset Stock Horses in Canada. I had a horse from that program (Ali–All Round Sundown) that I trained for Whispering Spirit Ranch.  She placed at the world level in jr reining, jr trail (not ranch trail–regular trail) and we won a national championship in jr. western riding.  She was one of the easiest horses I have ever trained and I had 2018 or 2019 on my radar to look for a prospect from there, regardless of Indy’s status.

Thursday, I gave a lesson, rode Atti, thinking about our show adventure, (going to go well!), GOT ON KODAK, got my hair done, ponied LT off Indy on a nice trail ride and then worked with LT in the round pen.  Since she is back on the show docket, she is getting developmental exercises again.  She looks so effortless when she moves!  I rode in a halter so I would concentrate on leg cues rather than rein cues.  Have some work to do there…

Back to Kodak.  She has been with me for eight days and gets more settled each day.  Day 2 she spooked really hard, tore across her pen and jumped out.  That pretty much sums up her emotional state then. Today, I sat (lightly) on her and mounted from both sides.  She is really taking to the program!

Then I drove Atti to Belen, and we are leaving for Colorado in the morning!!  Who hoo!

It was a fun week and it should be a fine weekend as well! But we could sure use rain!