Feb 152019
 

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

–Patty

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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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 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 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 022018
 

By Patty Wilber

I went to Golden Open Space last Friday with four friends.  There was water in the arroyo that is normally dry and we had some gold cottonwoods–which were not the source of the name!

The water.  We got nearly two inches of rain last week, which seems like a huge amount here considering that our annual precipitation is around 16 inches at my place and only 8 inches in Albuquerque. The amount that we had actually caused live water to be running down the arroyos at the open space.  If you live in a wet area, this excitement may seem ludicrous, but to use desert rats, any running water is a thing.  A big thing!

Siri on Tabooli riding along WATER!

I know our 2 inches was a mere dribble compared to the hurricane drenched states where 30 to 50 inches fell in a matter of days.  If that happened here, all the houses might literally wash away.  Our soil just could not handle it.

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Oct 262018
 

By Patty Wilber

Lucy!

Lucy got here in July and quickly wormed her way into my heart.

She is a rather calm sort.

This was ride 13.  Mary Ann and I spent a couple hours out on the trail near my house. Granted Lucy did not lead, but she didn’t spook at anything, either, and she does cover some ground with her walk, without being in a rush, like, say, LT. Lucy is way way way way way easier. Way.

The only thing that I don’t care for so far is that saddles like to ride forward on her, so I think, for the back country, I will get her a britchen.

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Oct 192018
 

By Patty Wilber

Three forests, six horses, one week!

Last Monday, we returned from our hunting trip in the Carson National Forest in the Cruces Basin Wilderness.  Indy and Cometa went on that.  It was Indy’s first hunting trip and because she had Cometa, our old and very level-headed Spanish Barb as her companion, she really did well.  I have considered selling her, since she is currently relegated to a walk-trot horse due to her bone chip, but, well, not yet.

The habitat consists of meadows, some big like in the picture below. and some small.  The trees are mostly aspen and spruce.  The aspen was turning and the gold leaves are so stunning!

Last Friday, Mary Ann Ende and I went to the Santa Fe National Forest in the Pecos Wilderness to get trash, already bagged by other trail volunteers, from an abandoned camp near Stewart Lake.

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Oct 122018
 

By Patty Wilber

Jim had an elk tag and I have a license that I can use for grouse, so we took Indy and Cometa and went to the Cruces Basin to try our luck. This year it was Camp Wilberry and not Camp Kingsbury and we did miss the camaraderie and amenities of the amazing Camp Kingsbury!

On Friday, we loaded up, left our place, and  after four hours of travel, arrived at the last turnoff to the trailhead.  There we discovered that the door to the camper had popped open, probably somewhere on the 25 miles of dirt road we had just driven, and virtually all our food, wine that we had put in metal water bottles, our brand new Jet Boil stove, our water purified and my very best milk crate from my days as a wildlife major at Humboldt State University had ejected out the back.

We were so hosed.

Well, when life gives you lemons you can give up or you can regroup.  We turned around, drove an hour back out and went first to Tres Piedras (no food store) and then the other way into Antonito in Colorado to restock.  We even found a small stove, but the store did not have the proper fuel canisters for the model they stocked…

We finally made the trailhead by 5:30 pm.  Indy and Cometa had a fine bonding experience, but they were ready to get out of the trailer! They stayed overnight tied to the trailer that was hooked to the truck and they did not wiggle or mess with each other.

We were ready to drink the new bottle of wine we bought.

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Sep 142018
 

By Patty Wilber

Callie’ Star Chapter 20 is posted.

+++++++++++

I have mentioned a few times that we have been having a long spell of dry weather in New Mexico.  Years.

We have had rains this monsoon season, so it seems like things have eased up some, but truthfully, we may be just getting adjusted to a new normal.  It has not been wet enough to turn the drought monitor map green.

The Forest Service has had reports that Spruce Spring in the Manzanos was not running. This is a developed spring, with a spring box and feeder hose the empties into a water tank.  Back Country horsemen packed in the current tank on Cheryl Nigg’s mule, Joker, many years ago, and we also fixed the spring in June 2017, when a tree had fallen on and crimped the feeder hose.

We were hoping the current problem was something like that, this go around.

Mary Ann and I left the Ponderosa Restaurant with our take-out hamburgers at 1:30 pm (Atti and I had played with cows in the morning, so this was the earliest I could go) and we headed to the Spruce Trail trailhead.

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Sep 072018
 

By Patty Wilber

For the last eon, the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen has gone to Beatty’s Cabin in the Pecos Wilderness over Labor Day. If you click here, you can check out five years of Labor Day blogs.  I am sure there are more.

But this year, we went to the Manzanos to work on the Ox Canyon Trail.

We stayed in the Ox Canyon Campground.

Pretty ! Jim and Terri set up an electric pen. We highlined.

Here is a link to a topo map.  This is not a very well known campground and it was perfect for our bunch of horse trailers.  I think three other parties drove through over the weekend and because we had sort of taken over, they moved on.  It is a a dry campground, in that there are no water spigots, but there are nice tables, fire rings, and a decent outhouse!  There are good places to highline stock and plenty of trailer parking.

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