May 312019
 

By Patty Wilber

The Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen was tasked with rebuilding the bridges at Stewart Lake and No Name (a little lake).  

Our president, Mary Ann, and myself, took on the job of chief worry warts! We had to pack 24 lumber pieces that were 3″ x 8″ x 6′.  Each animal would be loaded with 150 to 200 pounds on a 7 mile mountain trail, finishing at over 10,000 feet, with the usual mountain trail hazards, plus possible snow.  We thought there was a lot to worry about.  I mean, someone has to do it! Continue reading »

May 242019
 

By Patty Wilber

My mom always wanted me to play tennis. She said it would be a good social activity as I aged. (Plus, she loved it!)

Last Friday, I had the privilege to ride with three other Back Country Horsewomen on our foray to Spruce Spring in the Manzano Mountains. Our combined ages add up to something around 235.  Turns out horseback riding and wielding a two-man saw in the Wilderness is a viable social activity for the “older” broad. He! 

Mary Ann, Victoria, Me, Patty S. Photo by Patty S.

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May 102019
 

By Patty Wilber

(If you missed the post above this, Saving Benjy, By Doranna, I encourage you to get a tissue and have a read.)

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We have had a decent snow pack and a wet spring, so far!

The runoff on the Rio Grande (do not say Rio Grande River–it’s redundant) and its major tributaries (the Chama and the Pecos rivers)  is over 100% of the 30 year running average and is the highest since 2005!

In startling contrast, runoff on the Pecos last year was a whopping ZERO% of average.

The Drought Monitor shows a much damper picture this year as well.

This year.

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May 032019
 

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend was our first official Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter, work project of the year: Box Trail to Ox Canyon Trail in the Manzano Mountains.

Amber was the project lead and she packed the tools, so Jim and I brought only two horses: Lucy and Cometa.

Lucy. (She makes me smile!)

This is an easy trail, so I figured it would be a good first large group ride for Lucy.

I forgot one little detail.  The stream.  For the last few years, our snowpack has been so sparse that the creek in Red Canyon has been dry. 

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Apr 192019
 

By Patty Wilber

High AF is, as of 4/1/19, a gelding.  Judith Huchton and I, who are partners on him, are excited to meet him in person, but for now, as a two year old, he is still enjoying the wide open spaces with Heather McLevin at Thunderstruck Ranch in Alberta, Canada.  Thunderstuck Ranch was the high point breeder of the 2018 World Appaloosa Show.  We have high (hahaha) hopes for him. I plan to go get him from Montana in mid-July.

In the video:  This was his first day out after being gelded.  He is the one with the big white Appaloosa blanket!

Atti, who belongs to Judith, sprained her front leg almost two weeks ago, and is slated for a few more weeks of rest.  It was a relatively minor injury that she got while out playing in the big lot.  It is putting a crimp in our show plans, however, and we will miss the May show in Colorado.  Also, she had started working cattle like a bit of a cow horse, she can pony the new horses, is great on the trail, and I was even going to let her give a lesson (and she is only four) so, quadruple bummer. We expect a full recovery and hope to to be back in the show ring in June!

Atti says: i went down to my birth home for stall rest. i can’t wait to get back to my second home so i can keep everyone on their toes. Me: we miss your pesty self! Lots!

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Apr 122019
 

By Patty Wilber

Shameless self-promotion:

I am excited to announce that I will be giving a clinic called Practical Trail June 22 and 23 at the Trout Stalker Ranch in Chama, NM!  We will work on horsemanship skills, play in the horse playground, and apply that to actual trails!   Here is the link if you want to register.  Only $300 for the all inclusive weekend!

Slots are limited.  We have a cap of 12 riders and it is filling up fast!

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Introductory Water Crossing

Penny was the mentor horse.  She was a polite and confidence boosting mentor, and did not bring out her Boss Mare persona!

I got to be the leader for our 18 rider, 20 equine and one hiker Back Country Horsemen training ride starting at the Golden Open Space and continuing to a stretch of live water in the San Pedro Creek Canyon on BLM land.

Running water in NM is a bit of a scarce commodity, so even though this is a small bit, it is still exciting. We had four horses  that wanted some practice (well their riders wanted them to have practice), so we sent most of the group on to see a small pond and kept the four, along with me on Penny and Jim on Cometa, at the practice spot.

This water was shallow, there was no step down into it, and it was not especially muddy, so it was an ideal spot for Water Crossing 101. 

  • First. The riders asked their horses to cross by following Penny and Cometa.  Two of the four in our “needs practice” group, hesitated then went across at their rider’s request.  They came back and then I had them walk up and down the creek bed until they were comfortable.  Bruce’s beautiful Arabian picked his feet up extra high for a good 50 yards before he got used to the feel of the water on his legs and Ginny’s Fresian seemed to take it all in stride right away!

          Two of our four declined to cross. “not right now,” they said.  “our hooves might get muddy.”  

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Mar 222019
 

By Awesome Guest Blogger Phoebe Bechtolt.

Patty Wilber and Doranna Durgin put their two cents in here, there, and everywhere.

In many western states there are still wild, free roaming horses. Managing the needs of horses in conjunction with the needs of the land is not always easy or simple.

The Jicarilla Mustang Heritage Alliance (JMHA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in northern New Mexico.  Its members work primarily on behalf of the Forest Service Mustangs of the Jicarilla Wild Horse Territory, especially those animals that have been placed in federal holding facilities.  Barb Kiiper, the Executive Director says, “I started the non-profit…to be part of solution for the abundance of mustangs that are being removed from public lands in New Mexico.”

JMHA’s vision statement is “Connecting Mustangs With Humans”.

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Feb 222019
 

By Patty Wilber

I have my own arena and round pen (with good footing, even in bad weather), but it is nice to visit other facilities for a change of pace and to see how the horses handle new environments.

Public arenas: There are two nice outdoor arenas and a really fancy indoor arena that are nearby.

Vista Sandia Arena, Bernalillo County 
11809 Pino Ave.
Albuquerque, NM 87122

The big fenced arena at Sandia Vista Equestrian Park, looking NE, toward Sandia Peak, covered in clouds.

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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!

Continue reading »