Jun 232017
 

By Patty Wilber

It still snows in May, it starts to rain in July, leaving baking-dry-most-hours-of-daylight June as the hottest month of the year in my neck of the southwest.  Surely everyone knows this, I have have been known to pronounce, perhaps incredulously.

Except, it turns out, July is actually the hottest month.  Now I feel kinda stupid.

Date Average
Low
Average
High
Record
Low
Record
High
Average
Precipitation
Average
Snow
January 18° 42° -19° (1949) 66° (1950) 1.2″ NA
February 22° 47° -20° (1951) 69° (1986) 1.3″ NA
March 27° 53° -14° (1948) 75° (1989) 1.4″ NA
April 34° 62° 5° (1983) 83° (1981) 1″ NA
May 42° 72° 20° (1967) 92° (2000) 1.1″ NA
June 50° 82° 31° (1953) 99° (1981) 1″ NA
July 54° 85° 38° (1990) 100° (1980) 3″ NA
August 53° 81° 38° (1968) 95° (1972) 2.9″ NA
September 47° 74° 21° (1999) 92° (1958) 2″ NA
October 37° 65° 6° (1996) 85° (1957) 1.6″ NA
November 27° 52° -11° (1976) 74° (1980) 1.2″ NA
December 20° 44° -21° (1990) 65° (1980) 1.3″ NA

Never-the-less, it does rain a lot more in July, (There is data! See above!) and the thundercloud build-up in the afternoon can block the sun.  Rain can cool things off.  So, maybe the average LATE AFTERNOON temperature is higher in June.  According to this bit of  NOAA data (see below), THAT is true. The average (1981-2010) hourly temperatures on June 15th vs. July 15th  at the Albuquerque International Airport (the nearest station with hourly data) shows it IS hotter in June from 6 to 8 pm.  So.

Hour 15-Jun 15-Jul
18 85.2 84.8
19 82.6 81.9
20 79.2 79

This last week has been hitting high 90’s at my house (99 Tuesday. Huh–that might be a record…)  and over 100 in Albuquerque, which is actually pretty rare.

At least we are not as hot as Arizona!

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Jun 162017
 

By Patty Wilber

Back Country Horsemen is planning to pack supplies up the Bosque Trail in the Manzano Mountains for a trail crew on June 26th, but we haven’t travelled that path in many years. So, we needed to check it out.

Also, unfortunately, Bosque Trail, while less than one mile from the Cerro Blanco Trailhead is past the point where road gets steep, narrow and quite rutted. Our own personal BCH Road Scout (Cheryl) advised me to park near Cerro Blanco and ride to the Bosque Trail for the exploratory trip.

I was girding up for a solo adventure.  I have four-wheel drive now!  I am good with a map!  I have a big-ass knife! I was excited to play the brave, lone explorer. (Don’t tell anyone, but part of me was secretly a little nervous.)

But then my co-leader, Peter, was able to come along. Having an accomplice turned out to be really nice.

The road was ok up to the recommended parking area.  It got down to one lane and had some bad spots. I smacked the trailer hitch hard on one hole I misjudged (I have a bumper-pull three horse trailer). No obvious problems, and if there’d been some, I had help in the passenger seat!

We parked, saddled and rode up the road to the Bosque Trail trailhead.  The road was fairly deeply rutted in one section, but we concluded that we can drive up for the project, so long as it is dry.  If there is rain, the dirt ruts will turn to slick and sucking mud pits.  That could be bad, even with help!

Bosque Trail takes off from the campground, not from the trailhead parking area, (at least we did not see the trail at the trailhead parking area). Once we found the real starting spot, the way is obvious, but could use some lopping.  It heads up steeply for a at least a mile and is technical and rocky.  We had to stop to give the horses a breather at least twice and Squirt’s (the horse) butt muscles were twitching from the climb.  Even LT was happy to stop.

Squirt says: don’t look at my twitching butt!

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Jun 022017
 

By Patty Wilber

The wind howled down the mountain slopes, the ground was snow-wet and the trees fell down all around, all around this winter in the Pecos Wilderness!

Luckily, Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter, to the rescue (and a bunch of other people, too, but this post is all about US, not them)!

Yes, we cleared this!

Done! Keith, Siri, Chris, Melissa, Mary Ann, Linda, Kevin, Peter, Me, Jim. This was a fun “wreck” to clear and took about two hours with most of us busy! Photo by Siri!

 

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May 262017
 

By Patty Wilber

Jim and I went for a whirlwind trip to the Santa Barbara area this past weekend to visit Progeny #2 (Mark) and his better half (Erika).  We got in Friday morning around 10am, and pretty much went non-stop (except for the part on Saturday where I took a “less drowsy” dramamine at 3pm, had a glass of wine at 7pm and about passed out at 8pm…Alcohol and dramamine apparently don’t go well together.  It probably says that on the packaging somewhere…) until Sunday evening when we flew out at 7:30pm.

Friday, we went hiking, checked out a mission, hit a brew pub and played board games.

The hike went up a canyon with water and this gopher snake. Mark is a herp guy (as in herpetology) so of course he had to catch the snake!

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May 122017
 

By Patty Wilber

We called a range tech in the Magdalena Ranger District for info, scouted all over on roads off of Hwy 60 between Magdalena and Datil based on her input, and decided to camp in Sargent Canyon on FR 476, off of State Road 52 (goes right by the Very Large Array).  But then the weather looked questionable, so we revised to Monica Cabin (168 off 60 which becomes FR 549, go left on FR (not state road) 52) because those roads were not likely to turn into tire sucking mud pits in a big rain event.

Turns out, we had cool and dry weather, but it apparently rained and snowed and hailed practically every where else in the state (0.66 inches of rain at my house)!

There were five of us and we used three different methods of overnight equine restraint.

Marcia: A portable pen.  It is stored on the outside of her trailer for transport, and attaches to the side of her trailer.  Up in a flash!

Siri and Linda: High ties. A high tie is a flexible pole that swings out from the side of the trailer.   An equine can move around a little, and hay bags and water buckets can be secured to the trailer.

Zodi: i got this!

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Apr 212017
 

By Patty Wilber

BCH 101 was at the Edgewood Arena. Sandy and Peggy are enhancing the sign. Thanks Elisa for the picture!

Last Saturday (April 15th), the NM Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter held a BCH 101 clinic to go over some basics of BCHing.

Welcome and check in. Each participant chose a group and got a packet of information. Then the participants went and participated!

We had four stations.

1. Horse containment.
When we do an overnight project, equines need to be contained.  Typically, we use existing pens, highline, or set up portable electric-wire pens.  Animals can be hobbled to allow grazing time, as well.

Cheryl and Kit covered highlining, portable electric fencing and hobbling (since everyone already knows how to use existing pens)!

Because our containment instructors were stationed in the parking lot of the Edgewood Arena, they set up the highline between two trailers!

Kit, being supervised by her horse while supervising Cheryl, who was explaining how to put the metal doohickies on the rope to which you can tie the equine. This keeps the highline from having lots of knots. Hence, the doohickies are really called Knot Eliminators. Picture from Elisa.

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Apr 142017
 

By Patty Wilber

Recently, in the horse show world, there has been an explosion of Ranch Horse classes.  They are a lot of fun.  Here are some reasons.

1. You can wear chinks instead of chaps.  I love my chinks!  I had some custom made by Judith McCollum, and they are attractive, but even better is that you can walk around without having to fold up the bottom or trip over the fringe!

Chinks. Cheapest price for this pair was at Valley vet. $304.

Western pleasure type show chaps. See how long they are? They look nice when one is on the horse, but good luck walking around. These are from Walmart. 68 bucks. I had no idea Walmart had chaps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.You can enter all the ranch classes and never have to change your clothes.  That may seem silly, but I once was at a show where I had to have FIVE different outfits. I really don’t like to change my clothes, especially when we are talking midsummer in the windowless sweatbox tackroom of my stock trailer.

3. Lots of different types of horses, moving in a variety of ways, can be successful at the Ranch Horse classes.

The classes are Ranch Trail, Ranch Riding (a pattern class), Ranch Rail (ride around the arena at the different gaits, but not too slow), and Ranch Conformation (horse is judged on its build).  I have not yet tried Ranch Conformation, but for Appaloosas, it has to be after the riding classes, (and the horse has to have been in at least one of the riding classes), and I guess you just pull the saddle and get judged, sweat marks and all…

I have a video (thanks Siri K., my friend, not a phone app!) of Indy doing  a good job in a Walk-Trot Ranch Trail class at the New Mexico Buckskin’s show last Saturday.  I didn’t get video of the walk trot lope pattern, and we didn’t do a such good job on that one, so not sure I’d be showing it in public anyway!

Ranch Trail has different obstacles (e.g. throw a rope, drag a log, dismount, remount, ground tie) than “regular” trail classes and the patterns are not usually as tight.  The poles are sometimes natural logs instead of painted poles.

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Apr 072017
 

By Patty Wilber

Andy was here as a yearling and Shelley (his breeder and owner at the time) and I took him to the World Show 2015 in lunge line and hunter in hand.  He handled all the commotion and excitement like a seasoned veteran.  We had to up his grain to INCREASE his energy level for the show.  That’s how mellow he was!

He was sold to Zoe and now he is back here as a three-year old to begin his big boy training!

He came last Saturday, and I did a little ground work with him Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Mar 172017
 

By Patty Wilber

Last Friday, my camping “group” spent 14 hours scouting for horse-friendly campsites in the Magdalena Ranger District, NM.

We found a two and a half.

I tried to search by normal means–the Internet–and while the Forest Service website gives information such as number of camp spots and potable water for developed campsites, it does not say if there are horse pens and livestock water…which seems like basic info…

So, I called the ranger district and spoke to a super helpful Range Technician.  She was a fount of information on good non-campground spots with possible water, so, I picked a few and off we went, without the horses, to reconnoiter! Good thing we did not take a trailer. We would have still been out there, stuck.

We tried a spot called Monica’s Cabin, first.  There is a stream (which may be dry in May when we go), a metal water tank full of water and a nice area suitable for camping, in the oaks.  The horses could be high-lined or we could set up electric fence pens.   The road to get there is in very good shape. There are not a lot of trails but there are a number of forest roads that would make for good riding and it is right next to the Withington Wilderness Area.

That is Monica’s Cabin!

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Mar 102017
 

By Patty Wilber

Lone glove on a post, lost by someone at Galisteo Basin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wear gloves when I ride.

In the winter it is because my hands are always cold.

In the summer it is to prevent sun damage

On Back Country Horsemen rides it is because we might use our saws to cut and remove fallen trees off the trail.

One disadvantage is that gloves hinder effective manipulation of the photo feature of the phone!  None of my gloves have the touch friendly fingers! So, when riding and photographing (that is NOT the same as texting and driving, I swear!), I stuff the gloves in my vest pockets, the gullet of my saddle or in my pommel pack. Or drop them accidentally!

Kind of like saddle pads, I seem to have a LOT of gloves.


 

 

 

 

 

 

These are all winter-sh gloves.  The left-most pair was getting a little worn (note the duct tape–plugs the holes and extends the glove-life!). The next pair was a replacement for the first pair, but I seemed to have a lot of horses this winter for which I wanted more mobility of my digits in case of emergency.  Also, I wanted warmer.  The middle black pair didn’t seem very sturdy, but they are soft and warm and have made it through the season.  The last pair is not as warm but good to about 40 and not bulky.

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