Jan 012021

By Patty Wilber



I was deep into colt starts with Birdie and Coco,
I ordered the trailer for trips to a go, go,
Breeze came to live here, with her scoliosis.
We are quite glad she does not have psychosis.


We had some nice weather, and we had some snow.
Clay worked with H, and dragged calves like a pro.
Coco and Birdie kept making progress.
COVID was just starting to pull toward the abyss.



March was a wild one; my courses went online.
I shut down my horse lessons, and tried not to whine.
We were “normal” on Thursday, and by Monday were not.
I have not since been to campus nor parked in the lot!
But I got to keep riding, which helped me stay sane,
And I got, Fancy, a new youngster to get on and to train!

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Dec 172020

By Patty Wilber

This week has been a bit wintery pre-winter (since winter officially begins 12/21).  It has been cold (for us). Some days were not above freezing, others were barely above.

There have been a few days without much riding, but mainly, it has been ok, so long as I was wearing the right number of layers– which means four or five, being the cold averse sort that I am!

Here is a little run through of some of the fun we had!

Cold ride in the canyon next door with Jordyn on LT and Maddie on Leo! Jordyn was a popsicle.  She says she is taking a vacation until it gets a little warmer! Not enough layers, obviously! LOL!

Kate on Amigo. Kate just moved to NM from S. Dakota, so, cold shmold for her!  Kate’s hands were even a little too warm! I rode Jack, who belongs to Sheryl L. My feet were a little chilled, but other than that, I was ok.  Facemasks actually felt nice–my nose did not get cold!

L to R: Breeze, Lucy, Sombra. Just a moment earlier LT (buckskin) and Cometa (light bay) were over there, too, and that was a lovely look, but as I came in to take the picture, those two got up and came over “whatcha doing?”. “Trying to take a picture of you all!”

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Dec 112020

By Patty Wilber

A friend of mine had two longhorn cows that needed branding.

Unfortunately, he had no cattle chute.

I figured it’d make a good blog, so I offered to help.

First, we had to get a cow into the trailer.

Longhorn in the field.

This entailed hand herding….foot herding…ground herding…whatever…moving the cows into a small pen and then into the trailer.  There were four angus cross yearlings and the two longhorns.  It took a few near misses before we got them all into the small pen and then a little patience to separate out a cow from the rest and convince her to step into the trailer.

Fortunately, the longhorns are both pretty tame, so, by blocking the escape avenue and just waiting, the target cow soon saw the “hole” (with some hay as an incentivizer) and went in. It was, surprisingly, easier than expected.

Once in, she had to be pushed up to the front of the trailer.

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Nov 272020

By Patty Wilber

LT is home for the holidays!

We people usually go to California for a yearly family reunion, which includes a Thanksgiving feast, a Friday hike, and a Saturday chow down on dim sum.  But we ruled out travel to my parent’s house due to Covid.

Well, this is 2017, so missing some of the youngest members of the family, who were not yet born, but hey it is sort of like a “Hannon Clan Stock Photo”. We do this every year. And this particular hike was actually pretty easy, as opposed to the other “easy” year that involved steep terrain, off trail, and 8 miles. A classic “Hannon Death March” or a Wilber “No Pain, No Fun” event.

Then, we were going to have Maegan and the girls in from Hawaii, but Covid went crazy in NM, and lots of other places, so we decided to play it extra safe this year and avoid the airport crowds. We Zoomed instead.

Jim and I did not give up on celebrating! We went whole turkey (cause we had already purchased much of the feast before we all elected to cancel). We made stuffed turkey, home made pumpkin pie and homemade crust(!), mashed potatoes, fruktsoppa (Swedish dried fruit holiday treat from Jim’s family recipe, except I did not add the one cup of sugar), dill dip, chips, orange cranberry sauce, no green bean casserole, (which was an oversight) and yes on Brussel sprouts that we got at the last minute. They were not as fun to make without my mother to suggest the Italian dressing option and my brother and I to join forces to defeat that heresy (garlic, sea salt and olive oil, thank-you).

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Oct 302020

By Patty Wilber

Mary Ann E., with unerring insight, wanted, before it got too late, to gallop around Hamilton Mesa in the Pecos Wilderness (like we did last year).

We went last Friday, and not a moment too soon, because the temperatures crashed and we got a lot of snow early this week!

The wild rose bushes were shutting down (the leaves are red, indicating degradation of the normal photosynthetic pigments), but I don’t think they were quite prepared!

LT loves to gallop, but she is busy freezing her heinie off in CO, so I took Lucy. Lucy was maybe not as keen on full out galloping and maybe really not as keen on leading while galloping, but I will give her B+/ A- for the day! 

We left from Walmart around 7am.  I left my truck trailer there and loaded Lucy in with Rosebud. My rig did not go unnoticed–two friends texted me pics when they went to Walmart!! Don’t mess with my stuff–I got people!

It was a lovely clear morning until we neared the town of Pecos where it looked like this! 

Fortunately, it was just some odd ball fog and we drove on up, up and out of it!

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Oct 162020

By Patty Wilber

It wouldn’t be fall without Elk Season in the Cruces Basin with the ever amazing Kingsbury hospitality.

This year, they hosted 11 humans and 13 equines at the unparalleled Hotel Kingsbury.

The site!

The hotel!

Amber and two mules, and me on Penny, Lucy packing. We are doing our share of moving material to and from camp!

Last year, Jim had a late season rifle tag and it was just Jim, Richard and me.  It was so cold while hunting that my water froze in my camel back hose!  This time, the weather was outstanding on every day but  Windy Sunday! And even Windy Sunday was not very cold. I mean, I was never tempted to put on my heavy gloves!

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Oct 072020

By Patty Wilber

The sun was just suffusing the sky with light when two cow elk stepped out of the golden-leaved aspen grove into the meadow above the East Tank.  They were 300 yards away and didn’t hear us.  The little herd of cattle did.  They skittered and plowed across the landscape with no grace and lots of noise.  For some reason the elk glanced up and then ignored the cows.

Those two elk moseyed across the meadow: graze, pause, look, walk, out of our range.

As we watched, two more appeared from the forest, but instead of heading across, they stopped to snack.  We crept one step at time, from tree to tree, until Richard, who had the only cow elk tag, moved ahead. Jim and I breathed slowly and held still.  The aspens we were in were sparse enough that we still had a good view.

The first two elk melted away into the trees on the far side of the meadow and the newest two, wary now, heads up and looking away from our position, circled in a high trot.  We thought they were going to leave, but they settled and went back to breakfast.  Richard sighted in.

Only one elk disappeared into the trees.

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Oct 022020

By Patty Wilber

On Wednesday, we went back to retrieve empty water containers and some gear for the trail crew that was working on Pine Shadow Trail at the southern end of the Manzano Mountain.

We drove in on 131 from Manzano, and if you check the map, you can see the road has a big switchback.  That area  is one lane+ and has some wash boarding  on which I was happier in 4WD, but it was not necessary.

The trail head has ample parking for horse trailers and four large horse pens–two are missing gates and the gated two have large chollas in them, but other than that they are servicable.

There is a good size stock tank that is dry, so bring water. There are shaded picnic tables and an outhouse.

The trail crew re-established the trail up to the Crest Trail, they said.  We only rode it to their camp, which was within the Wilderness boundary but not too far in, so I cannot tell you the trail conditions after that point.  I can tell you that it was essentially impassable to stock prior to their work.

Penny and Cometa, “here we go again!”

On the way in. Me on Penny, Cometa packing. Photo by Terri Gore!

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Sep 252020

By Patty Wilber

Spruce Spring is up on Spruce trail out of the Red Canyon Trail Head in the Manzano Mountains. The Spring periodically gets a little help from the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen.

In June 2017, (from my blog June is the Hottest Month) “The most interesting log we did was at Spruce Spring.  A dead aspen had fallen on the spring box and was stretched, in barkless recumbency, along the trail to the little water tank.  The tank was dry, but water was still pouring, clear and cold, out of the overflow of the spring box.

We were afraid the drain line to the storage tank had been broken by the tree, but when we cut the log and rolled it away, the hose at the little metal stock tank starting gushing water and the tank was full within minutes!  The tree had only pinched the line shut and as soon as the pressure was relieved, problem solved!”

In 2018, there was water in the spring box, but the inflow was so minimal that there was no outflow, and the stock tank was dryMary Ann and I tried to revive the flow into the spring box and had fun messing with it  (Spruce Spring in a Drought).

No luck.  We just had to wait for more moisture.

The spring ran fine in 2019.

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Sep 182020

By Patty Wilber

Last month I entered LT in Christy’s Virtual Trail Horse Competition in the Open division, but LT is up in Colorado with Jordyn, so this month, I entered Mary Ann Shinnick’s 3-yr-old Placitas Mustang, Sombra, in the Green Horse division and Mary Ann entered the Intermediate division on our 23-year-old Spanish Barb, Cometa.

There is a website (linked above) and a VCTR facebook page, but all the meat is on the website!

Unfortunately, my blog post is just a little late for people to make the September due date, but I would encourage anyone who likes trail riding and also likes a challenge to enter in the last two events! 

Why enter? Well, because it is fun!  And there are a lot of prizes. 

For the competition, you get to pick from a long list of obstacles, so as you are out on your regular trail rides, you can scout out places that fit in with the obstacle list.  Mary Ann Shinnick and I trail ride twice a week, so we took a couple days to figure out our locations from our choices right out of the house property.  Last time, I did all the videos while were on a camping trip at the Cruces Basin! 

You submit six different videos, so you can pick some really varied things to try out! 

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