Feb 152019

Today my friend Mary Ann Shinnick has a blog for us.


Placitas Horses

By Mary Ann Shinnick

Doranna and Patty have generously allowed me to do a “guest blog” this week.  I am Mary Ann Shinnick and have been active in horse rescue at Walkin N Circles Ranch since 2011.  As a Board member, I help coordinate our equine acquisitions through the New Mexico Livestock Board and often with owners who need to surrender their own horses for a variety of reasons.

I became aware of the current plight of the Placitas horses through an email sent to WNCR by the advocacy group “Placitas Wild”. This is a 501C3 organization which was formed to tackle the ongoing issue of what to do about the Placitas wild horses.  They are supported entirely by donations.

Where in the state can 71 horses be re-settled?  That’s the question that has members of Placitas Wild losing sleep.  They are beating the bushes to find safe places to move them to.  Their deadline was February 18, but the Pueblo of San Felipe has granted them an extension until March 18.

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Feb 012019

By Patty Wilber

Atti is going to show in all the ranch horse events* again this year, including Ranch Conformation, as well as Junior Working Cow Horse where she might just surprise some people. Or not.  That remains to be seen.

Perhaps weirdly, the class I have the hardest time preparing for is Ranch Conformation, where the horse just needs to lead around at a walk and trot and then stand “square” and stand still.

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Jan 252019

By Patty Wilber

I drove home from the college on Tuesday hoping that the “less than 0.1 inches of snow” was the correct forecast for our place and found we had about 3 or 4 inches and it was still snowing.

So much for my grand plan to ride four horses in my previously perfect arena.

It wasn’t that cold though, and it wasn’t windy, so as soon as the snow quit (around 4 pm), I headed out.

The sun was trying to come through and the lighting was so pretty, I took a few pictures before going to the arena with Atti in the hopes of exposing some sand!

Durango, Ellie and Indy.

View to the south.

She was so full of herself I decided to lunge her, which I never do!  She let off some steam and as a side benefit, churned up some sand, which will help the arena melt off.

This really started out to be a picture of the barn roof, but it was too far away. I included it because you can see the tracks in the arena that tomorrow, with sun, will help the arena melt off!

I tried working on Atti’s flying lead changes (because her snow rims kept her feet clear!), but my snow boots are too bulky for spurs, so we did transitions instead and then went out on the trail.

The snow on the barn roof was just so interesting!

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Jan 112019

By Patty Wilber

Last week I mentioned that we put snow rims on Durango.

This week I am here to tell you that I like them.

I only put the rims on the front feet as the hind feet seem way less prone to ball up.  This may have something to do with the weight distribution as the horse moves and is probably the same reason why some horses can do well with only front shoes on.

The snow rims have worked all week to keep Durango’s feet clear of snow while I have had to chip snow balls out of the hooves of some of the others after riding.

Durango’s feet after riding in the snow! It is kind of hard to see the structure of the snow rim.  The the inner black tube is it. It flexes when the horse walks and pops the snow out.

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Jan 042019

By Patty Wilber

Last year we had essentially no snow.  It even rained in December. 

This year has been much more like the “old days” (20 years ago when we first moved here).  Over this past Christmas week we got something like 18 inches of snow and New Year’s Day we got another foot or so.

“it is a lot of snow” say the dogs. Lani (L) and Coulson (R).

And it has been cold–below zero at night and teens and 20s and low 30s during the day.  Maybe low 40s by Saturday though–we do live in the Southwest after all, not the far North!! And then, sigh, there is a chance of snow Sunday.

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Dec 282018

By Patty Wilber

2018 seems like it got started, barely,
But 2019 will be here, yes verily,
The time fastly going might mean I am older,
But not so much older that I am beginning to moulder!

The highlights of ’18, they were aplenty
I bought two horses and didn’t sell any.
Our sweet island grandbaby, she has turned one.
M and E’s wedding in Homer was tons of fun.

January started with Atti’s worst show,
I am still scarred, if you want to know.
But she improved every week,
Now in great confidence, the World Show we will seek.

Dec. 25th, 2018. Atti (still 3 years old) has become so reliable that my daughter took her out on the trail with the baby.

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Dec 212018

By Patty Wilber

Christmas is just around the bend and the horses were just so excited to get their annual Christmas Hats pictures!

Lucy had a little panic attack when I tried to put the blonde braids on her.  “i am canadian! not swedish!” she said.

Durango and Penny threw theirs off at first, but I persisted!

LT and Indy’s first shots were inadequate so I had to redo them.

There are nine horses featured this year. Eight are Appaloosas and one is a Spanish Barb.  The answer is at the end!

Merry Christmas from the two good old guys: Durango-17ish (L), Comet-21  (R) and Mary Ann, who was once told she is very spry for her age (I think she is 29)!

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Dec 142018

By Patty Wilber

This week we had a lot going on in the house.

We got new floors in the bedrooms on Monday and Tuesday, and unexpectedly, a leaky faucet handle led to lack of water in the house for a week and a bunch of brand new piping.

Wait–isn’t that water supposed to be in that pipe? And isn’t that pipe supposed to connect to something? Well, as of Thursday night the floor is dry and the hose is hooked up!!

Um…there is a big hole in the wall. That we have not yet fixed!

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Dec 072018

By Patty Wilber

We have had a week of wintery weather, with more on the way. This is good news for our drought stricken state of affairs, which, surprising to me, is actually quite a bit worse right now, as compared to a year ago

All this cold and snow, however, is not so great for outdoor horse training, especially since it had been in the 40’s and 50’s up to now.

I am quite happy to be outside for hours if it is 25 F and sunny, but 15 F? at 9 am?  I just need another cup of coffee.

Monday 12/3/18. There is a ridge to the east of us, so the sun hasn’t quite made it to us yet. It was  15F. Looking west.

Later on Monday. Getting better, but by the time it reached 25 F, it was after 11 am, so not really enough time to get anything done before I had to head to town to teach one of my last microbio labs of the term.

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Nov 302018

By Patty Wilber

Based on advice in a Jack Brainard book (If I Were to Train a Horse, I think), I often use a running martingale when starting colts. It can give a little more leverage in order to prevent a wreck while a youngster is still learning how to respond to a bit, but doesn’t interfere with natural head carriage when all is going well.

The loop goes around the horse’s neck, the clip attaches to the cinch, and the reins go through the rings.

However, I have experienced a few glitches and came up with two very innovative (cough) ways to increase safety when using this tool.


Ellie, a three-year old filly owned by Judith Huchton modelling rein stoppers and the neck piece of the martingale tied to the saddle. She has eight rides, has been out on the trail and is just beginning to lope–both leads. She is a very sweet mare, (so far).

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