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.
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!
This blog is largely a rerun of last year’s May post on Indy’s color, until the last two pictures.
“The expression of Leopard Complex (LP gene) includes several components: mottled skin around the muzzle, anus, genitalia, and eyes, and progressive roaning of pigmented coat areas with age. (My underlining.) White spotting may also be present, with pigmented leopard spots tending to occur on the white spotting background of heterozygous horses. The mutation is an incomplete dominant and expression of Leopard Complex is variable ranging from absent to extreme white patterning.” (UC Davis genetic testing site.)
Indy has an Appaloosa with spots father and a quarter horse mother. When I bought her, I didn’t look too closely (because color wasn’t why I bought her), and I didn’t think she had inherited any Appaloosa color genes from her father. Her mom being a solid colored quarter horse, didn’t have any Appaloosa genes to donate!
Indy at about nine months old. Dark bay, Dec. 2014.
But then she shed her winter coat and became a roan! Thus, she did get one copy of the LP gene–from her dad!! One copy is fun–a horse of a different color every season and every year! I happy with only one LP gene copy though. Horses with two copies of the LP gene may have “Congenital Stationary Night Blindness (CSNB) which is the inability to see in low to no-light conditions.” (UC Davis genetic testing site.)
She Has Attitude, a.k.a. Atti, went to her first Appaloosa show, in Colorado, last weekend. I confess I was a little nervous, because not that long ago, I was certain she would not be ready. Even as we left, I was still not positive.
It was a nine hour drive and she handled it really well. I rode her around after we got there to help her get used to the new place. I have learned that most of her bad behavior (refusing to go, threatening to rear, no left turn) is largely due to fear, so she absolutely had to be ridden in the arena where she was going to be shown. It took a lot of slow easy work to get her moving comfortably with all steering in working order.
Saturday morning was All Breed Boxing. She did the dry work pattern without complaining and she worked her cow at the level she is at. We did lose our cow, and then I thought, “Well, hey! Appaloosa rules for Working Cow Horse say I can call for a new cow within 30 seconds! I will just try it.” So I called for a new cow, surprising the judges, and they acquiesced. This one wouldn’t move at all, but we still had fun. And we won! We were also the only contestants.
On Sunday, we did drill team at 4 Winds Equestrian Center. We are getting better! And it is fun.
Atti was supposed to participate, but we got there and she said, “omg! there are horses everywhere! i do not know any of them. i don’t think they like me!”
She really couldn’t settle down in a short time frame, so, she got tied up until after drill team and then I rode her around and let her check everything out. She is getting really good in places she is familiar with, but needs more experience handling new places! I think we will have enough time to get her comfortable at the venue of our show this weekend in Colorado!
My new colt start, Kodak, came along for the ride. She stayed in a pen and it was a big day for her!
Kodak saddled for the first time at my place. She is a little flighty, but based on her trailer loading–first time in gale force winds, worked on it two days later, and has done two more trips, getting right in like an old pro each time, I think she is pretty trainable. Plus, she loves to be petted, and drops her head and relaxes right into it so I expect her to settle down really well.
Monday, I went to the Manzanos with my friend Mary Ann, and my horse, Penny.
Penny is my easiest trail horse. No fuss, no muss, mostly.
We want to get a few rides in before the imminent forest closures due to the dry dry conditions we are once again experiencing in New Mexico.
The Manzanos are in Severe Drought, but the main springs are still running and we found a new wet spot in a little canyon that heads west just at the start of the Cerro Blanco trail.
Then we rode on up Cerro Blanco and went south on the newly cleared section of the Crest Trail. Wow. How nice to have a trail de-brushed so well, and Back Country Horsemen did not do it. The Rocky Mountain Youth Corps did! The Crest Trail is at about 9,000 feet and the views are really expansive!
Tuesday, I worked cows with Atti and LT. I thought last week was a little better, but it sure is fun. Kodak got to stand and watch. She started off a bit upset but really settled in well and was very patient
I also looked at roan palomino yearling Quarter Horse filly. I am looking for a versatility ranch horse prospect, since Indy is out of the running. This girl is cute and based on my little video clip is looking like she will STOP!
Wednesday, I looked at a Smart Lena Boon yearling. He was super friendly, but not quite what I am looking for.
I am not exactly sure what I am looking for, but I think I will know when I see it. I am looking forward to a seeing some video of two 2 yr olds from Sunset Stock Horses in Canada. I had a horse from that program (Ali–All Round Sundown) that I trained for Whispering Spirit Ranch. She placed at the world level in jr reining, jr trail (not ranch trail–regular trail) and we won a national championship in jr. western riding. She was one of the easiest horses I have ever trained and I had 2018 or 2019 on my radar to look for a prospect from there, regardless of Indy’s status.
Thursday, I gave a lesson, rode Atti, thinking about our show adventure, (going to go well!), GOT ON KODAK, got my hair done, ponied LT off Indy on a nice trail ride and then worked with LT in the round pen. Since she is back on the show docket, she is getting developmental exercises again. She looks so effortless when she moves! I rode in a halter so I would concentrate on leg cues rather than rein cues. Have some work to do there…
Back to Kodak. She has been with me for eight days and gets more settled each day. Day 2 she spooked really hard, tore across her pen and jumped out. That pretty much sums up her emotional state then. Today, I sat (lightly) on her and mounted from both sides. She is really taking to the program!
Then I drove Atti to Belen, and we are leaving for Colorado in the morning!! Who hoo!
It was a fun week and it should be a fine weekend as well! But we could sure use rain!
We had to take the screens off the BAT so Atti would not eat them on the trip. I borrowed a fly mask and we managed to tear that instead, so a new one is on order for Siri–cheaper than a new screen for the trailer!
From last week: an astute epidemiologist and a disease ecologist that read the blog noted that since horses are dead end hosts for West Nile Virus, they cannot reinfect mosquitoes. Only birds can do that. Thus, vaccinating horses doesn’t create herd immunity for this disease; vaccination protects your animal but does not decrease transmission to other horses. The herd immunity concept does apply for many other diseases. For West Nile, I guess we need flock immunity!
Because it has been so warm and dry, The Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen were able to complete our first project of the year, a month earlier than usual.
We had a LOT of participation and we able to tackle Box Trail with one group while another group worked on Spruce Trail up to the snow and then Red Canyon as well. All the trails had trees. Lots of trees.
The Box Crew started at Red Canyon. Box Trail is the one mile link from the campground to Ox Canyon Trail.
This year we have started a mentorship program for new members and we billed Box as a fine introduction to BCH. Not steep, not rocky and no water crossings this year since it has been so dry. We also figured it would have a lot of down trees since it goes through an old (2006? 2008? I forget) burn area (all burned trees must fall on the trail) and because we did not get to it last year.
The project matched our billing very well, except the down trees were all before the burn area. We kept busy clearing big trees and small trees at what seemed like 200 yards intervals. It was great practice for mounting, dismounting and having horses tied to trees for long stretches.
I took Penny, and she seemed to really enjoy sleeping during the numerous stops because when I would go get her to move on to the next down tree, she could barely wake up enough to unplant her feet! This was partly why I took her instead of any of the others–she is very relaxed on the trail!
Judith and John Huchton’s Ms. Atti and Indy had some fun last weekend.
On Friday, we hauled down to Peralta to work cows with Ed Krause. Both horses perk their ears when the cows come into the arena. Indy wants to be more aggressive, which can be fun. Atti is more level headed and doesn’t tuck her butt up under her if the cow behaves unexpectedly. Both are making progress.
I am going to start using the flag here at home a lot more often to see if we can increase our rate of progress. I would really like one of those programmable flags so I could just follow it and not have to mess with the controller in my hand while trying to manage the reins. Perhaps an upgrade is in my future!
The flag is on a string and the horses will track it back and forth. A remote controller in the hand moves the flag–unless you have a programmable machine that will run the flag on a pattern for you…I want that right now.
On Saturday, those two horses, plus Cometa, me and Jim, joined the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen for a ride in the Galisteo Basin Preserve. We had 19 equine and 16 riders.
Photo by Elisa Bohannon. Indy is the last horse in this picture. Three of us are not in the shot.
I often like to be at the end of the line if I am on a young horse to try to keep out of trouble. This was Atti’s second trail ride with horses she didn’t know and I wanted to keep her comfortable. Turns out I need not have worried. When the horse ahead of her gave a wild spook and later a big buck, Atti barely even raised her head. And as we walked, she poked along back there, not seeming to care that her slow old walk didn’t keep her caught up. We worked on increasing her walking pace, but I often had to suggest that she go ahead and jog to keep up. That is a a much nicer problem than a herd bound horse that coils up in panic if the animals ahead of it get two horse lengths away.Continue reading »
I am happy to report that the backing therapy (getting off and backing her up if she sulls up and threatens to rear) has made a big change in Ms. Attitude’s, well, attitude. She might still try to pull a thing or two, but I swear she has learned the phrase, “Don’t make me get off!”, because if I get off, she will be backing up, with alacrity.
The backing seems to really make her think and it doesn’t scare her. I do not think this would have worked on LT or would work on Indy. I think they would both take it very personally and fall apart.
Indy is dong well, too. She is getting sharper and smoother on her transitions and she is stopping. Boy, we have a long way to go, though, since we lost a lot of last year.
I took them both to Ed Krause’s work with cows last Saturday.
This was doubly fun because Leah and Janet were both there. Janet took some pictures of me and I took some of her, too. We were there from 10 to 2. Things haven’t changed, as Janet mentioned, from when we were kids (and didn’t know each other). We still don’t want to get off our horses!