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

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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 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 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 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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Dec 062019
 

By Patty Wilber

On Thanksgiving, we left for the airport at 4 in the morning in a snowstorm and used four wheel drive all the way there!  A very unusual occurrence.  Our plane got de-iced and we took off pretty close to on time (the crew was a bit late due to the weather.)

We landed in Oakland, CA, took the BART train to near my folks house, and as soon as I could, I got my hands on baby Amara!

Who needs to take their coat off when they can hold the grandbaby! Maegan in the background!

Most of the rest of my photos of my amazing family are terrible, so I won’t post them, but Jim got a couple nice ones (like the one above and the one below).

Granddaughter Leilani age 2 (left) and my niece Avery age 1 (right). My brother (Mike) and sister-in-law (Tina), Avery’s parents. You can tell which kid lives in Hawaii and thinks it is cold!

The entire immediate family got to hang out, and I have to say that while we might be a little competitive, we might have a hard time making group decisions, and we might be a little weird, I sure think the world of all of them!

We got home Saturday night, very late, and Sunday I went down to check out the arena.  I found that it had transformed into a partial ice rink!  This is the first time that has happened.  I guess since we had an inch of rain the week before and then 10 or so inches of wet snow, which largely melted, but didn’t absorb, and cold overnight temperatures, we got ice–2 inches thick in some spots!

I didn’t even try to ride.  I got out the old blue tractor and dragged and plowed and got things pretty well churned up, except in the thickest spots. Then I dug some little drain canals to try to accelerate the drying out process.

That is a definite improvement, but not rideable.

On Monday it was mostly ice.  Tuesday had much less ice, and lots of water.  Koh-Doh did get to  practice ice water crossing, but most of our work was out on the roads.

Tuesday: Lots of water with ice underneath.

But, hey! We got to practice ice-water crossing!

On Wednesday, we were down to almost 100% water without the frozen base, so the pond/arena was rideable (with water wings)! Yay! And the predicted “wintery mix” did not materialize.  Yay! Again.

Thursday, it was still very wet but still improving and Mary Ann, Sombra, the dogs and I had some wet fun!

I did pull the trailer up to the house Wednesday, just in case the weather went bad, as I was planning ahead for my trip to Clovis today (Friday) to do some cow work with Lucy and H at Clay Hight’s!  It will be H’s first live go!

And so I will leave my arena to dry for a few more days and head southeast!

But…woke up to a horse not feeling great, so trip delayed at least for the moment.  Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

Nov 222019
 

By Patty Wilber

Last Friday I wanted to take Koh-Doh for his 20th day under saddle to the Sandia Mountains and do the Cienega Trail loop, but I had guys welding at the house and this was disconcerting to a couple of the horses, so I figured it was better not to take him on his first solo trailer ride with me to meet some new horses and do his first group trail ride. (I took Lucy.)

Every now and then I display good sense.

So, instead, on Saturday afternoon, we did ride 21. Mary Ann came over and she, Jim and I rode from our house to Ale Republic Brewery and had beer and snacks!

Koh-Doh loaded with his first “accessories”–cantle pack and a coat! He appears to be very bothered. Not.

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Nov 152019
 

By Patty Wilber

I have three geldings I am starting this autumn and they fall on a continuum of personality. It is fun to figure out how hard to push and when to go slower. That is something to consider everyday with colts, and generally, I tend to go slower rather than faster.

Coincidentally, I recently read “When Slow is Worse”  (thanks Barb K.) which discussed  the pitfalls of not moving quite fast enough in training (and thank goodness she was talking about A LOT slower than my pace).  Still, the article got me thinking about the differences between the three geldings.

H

I saw a cartoon on facebook (I couldn’t relocate it) that showed a glaring mare, a glaring stallion and a goofy gelding.  Now H (co-owned by me and Judith Huchton), at two, isn’t actually super goofy but he has a really chill attitude.

He is also responsive, smart, and has a ton of try. You just can’t beat this combination.  He has a high spot on the “Easiest Horses I Have Ever Started” list.  Now, with all that hype, I better make sure I help him live up to his potential in the show pen!!

At a show on 25 rides.

H (in the middle) “helping” put up the new panel. LT (left) waiting to give her two cents, and Lucy (right) inspecting the footing placement. So very thoughtful of all of them! I penned up three others that would have been on my side of the panel because six helpers would have just been too many!

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Nov 082019
 

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend was the end of the Back Country Horseman trail season.  We had nine riders and ten equines that rode out of Red Canyon trailhead in the Manzanos on Box Trail. I rode H and Lucy got to haul the tools. Cometa was the lead horse with Jim.

Lucy packing tools and H tooling along behind.

 We did a fair amount of lopping (not loping) and cleared a few small trees.  H got to practice standing tied to a tree.

Mr. Cool as a Cucumber.

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Nov 012019
 

By Patty Wilber

After our fun hunting trip, Lucy got a day off and then she convinced H that we should go to the NM Paint Palomino Buckskin Pinto All Breed Fall Color Round Up show at NM EXPO fairgrounds 10/27 and 28. It was a good choice as the weather was nice, the people were friendly, and it had a good set of ranch classes (but no cows, alas.)

Photo by Jo Ellen!

We had a fun crew of five riders (Mariah, Me, Nancy, Jo Ellen and Ryanne) sharing the tack room! I think I managed to hog up a little more than my allotted space, but everyone was kind about it!

I sure enjoyed the company!

Jo Ellen on Mocha,, Nancy on Moses and me on H. H is giving Moses the side eye for some reason!! Photo with Jo’s camera.

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