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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Oct 042018
 

By Patty Wilber

(Thanks Lori for the blog idea!)

In a standard trail class, when there is a bridge, the usual thing to do is walk over it, long ways.

In training, however, there is so much more that can be done with a bridge!

1. Walk across the bridge short ways.  This is often the first direction I do a bridge with a young horse because it usually it easier for them to accomplish.

2. Walk up on it and stop. This can help a horse think and also gain patience and balance, which may seem odd, but it is pretty common for a young horse to fidget and fall off the side.

I was by myself when I was taking the pictures, so Atti had to perform riderless! Atti says “um, what are we doing??”

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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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Aug 032018
 

By Patty Wilber

Ch 17 of Callie’s Star  is languishing, but not forgotten.

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We are still very dry in New Mexico, but we have gotten some

monsoonal rains, humidity is no longer in the single digits, the forests reopened, and so Back Country Horsemen got go to work!

We packed a trail crew into Horse Thief meadow.

I was planning to take Atti and let her be a big girl pony horse, but she pulled a shoe, so I took Penny.

Good thing, because we had a loose mule come barreling at us on a steep and narrow section of the trail, and while Penny didn’t love it, she didn’t come unglued, either.  Atti might have been ok, but that would have been a lot to ask of a three-year old.

“this wasn’t my fault,” says Leo. “i was tired. i needed a rest. and then everyone wanted me to go, and i just went the wrong way. a little fast.”

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Jul 272018
 

Chapter 17 of Callie’s Star coming soon!!

By Patty Wilber

I like starting horses.  At least I think I like it.

I have a had a bunch of easy ones over the years and a few rough ones more recently, and it made me question myself.

Question marks! https://pixabay.com/en/road-sign-attention-right-of-way-63983/

Maybe I have lost my touch?

Maybe I have lost my nerve?

Maybe I am too old?

Maybe maybe maybe.

I was worrying that I was progressing too slowly.

So, finally, I went back and looked at my notes from 10-ish years ago.

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Jul 062018
 

Chapter 13 Callie’s Star is posted

By Guest Blogger Kathy Davies (with rebuttals by Patty Wilber)

Kathy and Patty at Ghost Ranch

FYI, I am Patty’s younger, horse-clueless sister, here for a week-long visit.

Patty offered a riding experience.

The “lesson” started with grooming, so that went smoothly.  We brushed Cometa and Penny, while Patty saddled Atti.  Then Patty asked Maryanne (my 10 yr old daughter) to take Cometa out to the arena, with strict instructions: “Do not let him eat!”  Maryanne did not let him eat, and I told him repeatedly, “DO NOT eat!” Maryanne did a great job, and we held him in the middle of the arena, far from any tempting grass.

(Patty says: I am pretty sure I saw him eat once, but we will let that go.)

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Jun 182018
 

By Patty Wilber

To get every chapter as soon as they post, you can subscribe to the site!  If you missed any of the past Chapters, the links are all here. Thanks for reading!

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9

CHAPTER TEN-ON THE WAY TO THE RIDGE

Callie shivered with excitement. Today was the ride to the ridge, and only one week until her birthday, AND then the round-up.  The round-up had come up, but her going had not, and she hadn’t summoned enough courage to ask. Maybe tonight, but first, the Ride to The Ridge, capitalized, in her mind.

She felt like an explorer at the start of an important expedition. Perhaps they would discover the Outlaw in a secret valley!

Callie pulled a blue plaid shirt out of the closet and went to the old oak dresser to get a pair of jeans. She paused to study the picture of the mare and colt on the dresser and then the one on the wall. Hers was a little more worn. She used to run her finger over the horses, as if she were grooming them. Her mother saw her one evening and Callie had said, “I wish they were mine!”

Her mother had said, “There is no place to keep them, and horse pictures are much safer.”

“One day,“ Callie had declared, “I will have my own!”

“Just be careful.”  Her mother had replied.

“I will,” said Callie, out loud, back to the present. “I have been.” She reached out and touched picture then snapped the white pearled buttons on her blue plaid shirt and stepped into her jeans.

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Jun 152018
 

By Patty Wilber

Two shows in one week!  One in Oklahoma!

Jordyn and Slick getting ready for AQHA Youth Ranch Versatility Trail in green (and really humid and awfully hot) Oklahoma.

We had an New Mexico Appaloosa Club Appaloosa and All Breed show over the weekend, and Judith Huchtons’s Atti (She Has Attitude) took a long while to adjust to the new venue.  I have boot scabs from where my boot rubbed my left calf during the extensive settling in period to prove it, and I think I was more worn out that she was.  But, she got there and we had a really nice go in Junior Trail, earning 1.5 national points.

On Sunday, I had hoped she would be more relaxed, but she was refreshed and while she did complete all her pattern classes correctly and without refusing (improvement from Colorado!), I did not have the softness of Saturday.  Also, she was the only junior Appaloosa entered, so we did not get any points, but we had fun riding with the quarter horses: Natalie and her amazing gelding and Taylor and her two youngsters.

Next year, I will hopefully have two junior Appaloosa mares (Lucy-my new 2-yr old–coming SOON from Canada, and Atti) so they can compete against each other in most of the ranch classes!

Atti

Lucy (Qwhizenart)

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