Oct 192017
 

By Patty Wilber

Mike Bertin asked me to ride Sandy, a Paso Fino cross, in a Larry Whitesell gaited horse clinic that was  held at Four Winds Equestrian Center this past weekend. He even footed the bill! Elisa Bohannon rode too, with Effie (who belongs to Elisa now) and Dancer (still Mike and Carolyn’s).

Dancer (the horse) framing MIke and Taffy. Photo by Elisa.

Mike and Cody.

I rode rescue Tennessee Walking Horses in high school for a lady in my home town (I got to ride about 50 different horses, and train my first horse from the ground up there, so that was amazing), but all the horses were flat shod and every one of them was naturally gaited.  That was a few (like 38) years ago, so I was really looking forward to this clinic to learn more about gaited horses (in the modern era).

Me (16) with my cousin Amy and Mardi Gras, a 4 yr old Tennessee Walker.

Unfortunately, Larry had a medical emergency and was not able to come. We are wishing him the best.

Cody Harrison, more of a dressage and hunter-jumper guy, was the replacement.  Cody did a really good job.  He was clear in his explanations and very easy to follow, but the focus was not on gaited horses.  Bummer.

I did not really like the format, we only left the walk for about one (I literally mean one) minute the whole three days, and we did a bunch of exercises I am familiar with…

Perhaps inexplicably, I, nevertheless, really enjoyed the clinic. I liked spending time with Mike and Elisa.

Sandy, me, Elisa and Dancer.

Elisa and Effie

 I enjoyed the other participants (my friend Siri was there, too!) and the Four Winds folks (I will be back to give my own lessons out there Oct. 29th).

Siri. Dancing!?

I even learned some things that I have been applying.  Sandy, who can be a bit tense, got markedly softer over the three days, and he caught the eye of a prospective buyer!

The format was this:

  • Day 1 am: Three hours of ground work with the whole crew of 14 participants.
  • Day 1 pm: One hour in a group lesson with five other people, including Mike and Elisa.  It was nice to be in the same group with them.
  • Day 2 and 3 am: One hour in a group lesson with our team of five.
  • Day 2 and 3 pm: Another one hour lesson with our team of five.

To me, that was not enough learning time for the money. However, it did give me an opportunity to ride my own horses (Penny and Atti) in the slack time and also to eat too much, socialize, and watch some of the other group lessons.

Here are some things I learned:

  1. For a horse that is stiff in the poll and won’t lower his head when doing ground work, sticking your fingers in his mouth can cause him to unclench his jaw, relax the muscles in his face, which can relax the poll, and down comes the head.
  2. Head to the fence!  We did a shoulder-fore exercise (check out his nice article) on the ground where the horse’s head is bent to the inside and the bend-side hind leg reaches up farther under the horse. In the clinic, we did the opposite of this by bending the horse’s head toward the fence. Then, we did a circle with nice bend, working on that hind leg reaching up under. Cody, the clinician, next told us, “Head to the fence”, so at least four out of five of the class took our horses perpendicular to the fence and stopped! What he really wanted us to do was the reverse shoulder-fore exercise with our horses heads bend toward the rail!  We had good laugh!

    Elisa and Dancer, bending.

  3. All that walking and soft bending really did help Sandy relax and lighten up.  I am not known to be a trainer in a rush, but adding more of these slow and easy bending activities, with more purpose and softness, to my warm-ups seems like a good fit for me. So, I have used them all week on the two 2yr olds I have right now.
  4. It is fun to go to clinics with people and horses I know!  (Well, I already knew that!) All five of the horses Mike trailered in have spent time here! Of course there are blogs.  Awesome EffieSunny, Choctaw PonyTaffy in the PecosDancing in the Caja.

Goofy faces!

Yes, we had fun!

 

 

Oct 132017
 

By Patty Wilber

THE GREAT GROUSE ADVENTURE

in which

PATTY BAGS TWO GROUSE

and

PENNY PACKS TENT POLES

Well!  I am finally a “real” hunter!  I brought home two spruce grouse and I did it with two shots of Jim’s 20 ga shot gun.  I am a fan of the 20 ga shot gun.  It is light (under 5 pounds), thus easy to tote around the wilderness. Since I was shooting shot, which has a spray, I hit every time. I have not a clue about the “choke” on the gun and it is late already, so I am not going to try to figure it out, but the pictures below give an idea of the pattern the pellets make.

I got one from about 15 yards (on the ground) and on from about 25 yards (in a tree) and did not have a “shot” at an on-the-wing bird, for the trifecta. We had green chile grouse enchiladas Thursday pm and they were delicious. (Thanks Kay Coen for that cooking idea!)

Me and my first grouse!

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Sep 292017
 

By Patty Wilber

We got a new rescue in about two weeks ago.  I didn’t rescue her.  Walkin ‘N Circles did.  She was feral and captured out near Budaghers.  She came to the rescue with another mare and both had foals at their sides.

The foals were weaned at the beginning of September, and so it was time for the mares to get some attention of their own.   Unfortunately, Onxy would not let anyone within 20 feet of her. I offered to halter break one of the foals (that would be easy, I thought!), but no!  “Take the scardy-est one,” they said.

Onxy came here the middle of September.

At Walkin ‘N Circles, we had to set up a chute and “guide” her into the trailer.

Onxy says: “this can’t be good…” “It will be great,” I told her.

When we let her out at my house, she very cooperatively walked right into the “mustang pen” we had set up when we got Slim (the cryptorchid-not-a-gelding mustang–well now he is a gelding!)

True to form, she would not let anyone within 2o feet of her, except other horses, and they mostly were trying to bite her (across the fences).

“hi! i am cometa! i will bite u so u know i am the BOSS!!”

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Sep 152017
 

By Patty Wilber

No, really!  I am NOT kidding.  Dexter is a very fine trail horse and we cannot seem to get him sold.

Me and Dexter in the Manzanos last weekend. Picture by Terri Gore.

Ok, there was that one guy that texted two weeks ago.  He didn’t want to come see the horse.  He wanted to pick him up. Prospective Buyer (PB) didn’t ask me one single question about Dexter and when I inquired as to what he was planning to use the boy for, he did not answer.

He gave me the creeps, actually, and I told PB I’d contact the owner and get back to him and I told the Spouse that I would not meet this PB alone.

Then I thought some more, and decided PB unsettled my gut enough that I wouldn’t even tell him where we lived and we (me and the body guard Spouse) would only meet PB at a public arena.

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Sep 012017
 

By Patty Wilber

In 2013, the Jaroso Fire in the Pecos Wilderness was 100% contained on August 5th.  On Labor Day, 2013, the Back Country Horsemen rode through the burn area on the way to our annual trip to Beatty’s Cabin. This year’s post is from our Supply Run the weekend before Labor Day. So, first the fire scar blogs and photos and then the supply run .

2013: Burn n Bridge.  This is the funniest of the three, I think. It features Longshot and his non-compliant pack string ways.  Longshot (now 7) was my lead horse for 2016.

2014: Bridge Club.  This one features a bridge that we worked on.

2015: Beatty’s Cabin, 2015. Lots of linseed oil in this one!

2016: Jaroso Fire Scar 2013-2016 Labor Day.  The 2017 blog has a LOT of overlap with the 2016 blog.

Labor Day weekend, 2013.  The fire was contained in August due to work of the fire crews and help from mother nature in the form of a lot of rain. The amount of regrowth that occurred in a month was amazing! Bracken fern seems to be prevalent.

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The lone aspen.

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IMG_2908

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Aug 182017
 

By Patty Wilber

I went to a polo game while in Hawaii!  I had never been to a polo game.

It turns out all sorts of people, not just the horsey type, will come tailgate and hang out at a polo match!   At $12 per head.  Businesses also sponsor tables.  Too bad we couldn’t harness such interest for cow horse events.  Maybe if we have tents with tables, serve champagne and…add a tropical beach!

Polo has four players per team and each has a position, but if you are new to polo, it is not super obvious what the positions do.  The object of the game is to hit a ball through the goal.  If that occurs, the game restarts at the center and the teams switch which goal they are attacking.

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Aug 042017
 

By Patty Wilber

Ok, so at pushing 56, maybe I am no longer a girl, but “A Woman and her Tractor” sounded too staid, “Me and my Tractor” too plain, and “The Old Lady and her Tractor”… well, I am not THAT old!

We have had the tractor a few years now, and I confess, I get a big kick out of being a tractor operator! Unfortunately, my tractor-ness does not extend to tractor maintenance, so I am not a true tractor aficionado.  I have, however, come really close to tipping the thing over with a loaded bucket and have gotten it stuck (and unstuck), so that does give me some tractor creds!

I have been moving crusher fines to fill in some mud holes, and digging out the culvert after our 1.6 inches of rain event, so here are some tractor shots.

This is the “dump and smooth”. Unfortunately, if crusher fines do not have a chance to sit and pack, big rains wash them down hill. These got somewhat rearranged about two days after I put them in.

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Jul 212017
 

By Patty Wilber

Last Sunday, the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen (BCH) helped pack out a folding toilet, a propane tank and other materials that helped make Kevin Balciar’s volunteer trail crew happier on their 10 day stint working on Rito Los Esteros (#226) and Skyline (#251) trails in the Pecos Wilderness.

It was a tough job (really it was just fun), but someone had to do it.

Jim and I spent the night at Iron Gate campground.  In the past, BCH had avoided Iron Gate because the four miles of dirt road was a steep  trailer eater, full of deep ruts and hitch-cracking, axle-snapping holes.  It was repaired, and while still steep (we would not have got our camper and loaded three horse trailer out in the rain without 4WD), it only had two big holes and the surface was solid and not terribly slick, even with water streaming down it.

To begin the day, we had to get an early start to meet Richard, Amber and Peter who had ridden in Saturday and overnighted with Kevin’s group, so we rode out of Iron Gate at 7:10 am.

The route leaves Iron Gate and heads south on trail 249 then right on 250 to Mora Flats.

I do not know if we are on 249 or 250 in this picture. Trail 249 starts from Iron Gate camp ground and joins 250 which stays high for a while then drops down to the top of this valley that you can see to our right. The trail (240) then heads back south and is down there somewhere.

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Jul 142017
 

By Patty Wilber

I just got a horse in to start under saddle.  He is a three year old Appaloosa, with no spots, from John and Judith Huchton.  He came last Sunday and they said he had a “big personality”, which is horse people code for “giant (but hopefully endearing) pest”.

I think they are right. I got all these pictures by Thursday!

Gunner: “u said we are done so i think it is time to take these boots off.”  He gave a try at the second boot, but it didn’t release immediately, so he went for the tarp.

“this tarp was bored sitting on the barrel” says Gunner, “so i moved it for u. i tried to cover up that boot someone left on the ground.”

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