May 102018
 

By Patty Wilber

Check out Chapter Three of Callie’s Star!

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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!

Apr 132018
 

By Patty Wilber

Our 6th annual spring trip was a blast. Last year we camped.  This year we glamped!

Riding in the evening at the Gillespie Ranch!

Mary Ann, Siri and I travelled in Siri’s Big Ass Trailer (the BAT–with fabulous living quarters) to the Gillespie Ranch near Mayhill, NM.

I took Atti.

We had to take the screens off the BAT so Atti would not eat them on the trip.  I borrowed a fly mask and we managed to tear that instead, so a new one is on order for Siri–cheaper than a new screen for the trailer!

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Mar 232018
 

By Patty Wilber

From last week: an astute epidemiologist and a disease ecologist that read the blog noted that since horses are dead end hosts for West Nile Virus, they cannot reinfect mosquitoes. Only birds can do that. Thus, vaccinating horses doesn’t create herd immunity for this disease; vaccination protects your animal but does not decrease transmission to other horses. The herd immunity concept does apply for many other diseases.  For West Nile, I guess we need flock immunity!

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Because it has been so warm and dry, The Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen were able to complete our first project of the year, a month earlier than usual.

We had a LOT of participation and we able to tackle Box Trail with one group while another group worked on Spruce Trail up to the snow and then Red Canyon as well.  All the trails had trees. Lots of trees.

The Box Crew started at Red Canyon.  Box Trail is the one mile link from the campground to Ox Canyon Trail.

This year we have started a mentorship program for new members and we billed Box as a fine introduction to BCH.  Not steep, not rocky and no water crossings this year since it has been so dry.  We also figured it would have a lot of down trees since it goes through an old (2006?  2008? I forget) burn area (all burned trees must fall on the trail) and because we did not get to it last year.

The project matched our billing very well, except the down trees were all before the burn area. We kept busy clearing big trees and small trees at what seemed like 200 yards intervals.  It was great practice for mounting, dismounting and having horses tied to trees for long stretches.

I took Penny, and she seemed to really enjoy sleeping during the numerous stops because when I would go get her to move on to the next down tree, she could barely wake up enough to unplant her feet!  This was partly why I took her instead of any of the others–she is very relaxed on the trail!

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Feb 162018
 

By Patty Wilber

I was listening to a Stuff You Should Know podcast called “The Wind Cries Typhoid Mary” and it mentioned the unsanitary conditions in New York City in the 1800’s.  They estimated the number of horses, determined the amount of poop/horse/day to be about 25 pounds, and concluded that more than SIX MILLION pounds of manure were deposited on the city streets EVERY DAY!

I found an extension site that estimated horses create 37 lbs of feces and 2.4 gallons of urine per day!

That made me think about input vs. output. If a horse that is not gaining or losing weight eats 20 pounds of hay and drinks 5-10 gallons of water (at 8.35 lbs/gallon), the horse is taking in between 60 and 100 lbs of material and excreting 25-37 lbs of poo and 20 lbs of pee for a total of 45 -67 lbs. The maximum input doesn’t quite match the maximum output, but that could be balanced by loss of water mass through breathing, sweating and normal evaporation on the skin.

Right now we have six horses x about 20 lbs  of food per day or 43,800 lbs per year.  At 25 lbs of  fecal output per horse per day x 365 days, we generate 54,750 lbs of manure  each year. Or if we go with 37 lbs of manure per horse per day, 81,o30 lbs!  Who needs a gym membership if you have horses!

So, what to do with all that waste?

First off, it has to to be picked up.  We have dirt pens and use plastic manure forks.  We do not have bedding to deal with.

Forks come with a handle and a head.  The heads break.  It is possible to buy replacement heads.

I recently bought two of this type of head from State Line Tack (6 bucks) and each one lasted approximately two days before snapping.

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Jan 122018
 

By Patty Wilber

In December, Jim and I went hiking in the Ojito Wilderness.  We accessed it via Cabezon Road and hiked the Hoodoo Trail (red dot and line)  over by Bernalillito Mesa.

The hoodoos are surreal, like being in a different dimension, but as far as horseback riding, it is a short trail.

So, Tuesday, us ladies in our big trucks (cuz we might be AARP age, but we are formidable, especially in a group) went on US 550 3.5 miles past San Ysidro to the gray road on the map. We went in the green gate and parked right there.  Then, we followed that gray road on horseback into the Ojito and saw a different side of it.

Marianne, Siri, Linda, and Lily.

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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 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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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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