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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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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Sep 112020
 

By Patty Wilber

There was a tiny little Back Country Horseman project last weekend with a whopping five human participants and six equine. We rode about 30 miles and cleared about 30 trees (mostly small “draggers”, in that you can just drag them off the trail).

The small crew gave me an opening to take Shirley Wilson’s Black Jack, a four year old horse with 40 rides or so; 2 months under saddle, and put some training miles on him while still getting the BCH job done.

The first order of business was to get there Friday in order to work on water crossing. There are creeks and bogs and rivulets and wet spots all over the trails we would be working and I wanted Black Jack to be able to keep up and be comfortable. Because he is quite sensible, and both Penny and Cometa are usually solid mentor horses, I was confident BJ would be fine.

There is a good water crossing 50 feet from our normal camp spot, so after we got camp settled, off we went.

Black Jack was interested in letting his nose check out the water very quickly, but he was not so sure about giving the same privilege to his feet!

“interesting!” said BJ when he got to the edge, “but i am good right here.”

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Sep 042020
 

By Patty Wilber

I have these two youngsters in the barn and I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying them.

Sombra, the Placitas Mustang, is owned by Mary Ann Shinnick.  She picked him out last year and he arrived in July 2019 as an unhandled (uncatchable), but friendly two year old.  He is now, yes, three, and has been under saddle since April 2020. 

He was SUPPOSED to be a “rescue and sell” project, but we have all kind of fallen for him, and since he has turned out to be a super solid citizen, he gets to stay for the foreseeable future! 

Mary Ann and Sombra. Sombra has even more mane on the other side, by the way. He has enough mane and tail for three ordinary horses and fourteen more sparsely haired Appaloosas like Lucy!

I am probably, maybe, I think so, going to enter him in Christy Harding’s Virtual Trail Challenge in the Green Horse division. Mary Ann will probably, maybe, I think so, ride our old faithful Spanish Barb, Cometa, in the Intermediate division. Entries are due by the 16th or something!

That is not me on him. The rider shall remain nameless, and also claimed they needed to dress up more if I was going to be taking photos all over the place. I am pretty proud of the two of them!

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Aug 212020
 

By Patty Wilber

So, as you may know, Judith and I have this three-year old named H, and he is a pretty cool dude.  So cool, in fact, that I think he could make money as an Open Reined Cow Horse, as well as excelling at all the Ranch Horse Events, and then going on to be an outstanding Non-Pro horse.

Me and H last October, H was barely started (26 rides) but went to a show anyway, and placed.

Because of my high opinion of H’s cow horse talents, and the fact that he is a co-owned prospect (as in we plan to sell him), we made the decision to send him to Cody Crow’s No Where But Up Performance Horses in Colorado.

Let’s face it, I can get H on cows once a week, at best, in a smallish arena, and yes, he is making progress, but Cody can have him on cows every day if he chooses, in a full size indoor, super size outdoor, a round pen or in a cutting pen. 

Plus, I like Cody’s philosophy and approach, and he is successful at the bigger venues where I believe H will shine.

After getting that choice made (and not lightly), the next step was to drive 500 miles with H and Lucy (who went so I could get some coaching on cows with her– I REALLY MISS having a nearby coach!!).

Got all my stuff together and pulled out Friday morning.  I noticed that the heat gauge on my truck was acting a little wonky right off the bat, but then it seemed to go back to behaving….so I kept driving, but when I got to the big hills on I25 just before Pecos, it was clear things were not working right. 

I stopped and assessed.  The radiator seemed ok– no leaking, normal fluid levels.  No mechanic shops were open, yet, but the Napa Auto Parts woman gave me some tips and a gas station guy did, also.  Finally, I called my mechanic at American Diesel, thinking maybe I had a faulty temperature sensor, and he said to bring it in and he would see if he could get me fixed up and on the road. I headed home.

Broken truck.  Making it to the border looking dim.

On the way back south, I called my friend Richard who was laying low due to an eye issue, so I figured I’d regale him with my tale of woe.  He listened and then out of the blue offered me their truck, so I said, “OK!”

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Aug 132020
 

By Patty Wilber

Thursday, Lucy gave her first lesson her first ever time in a dressage saddle.

Of course, she was fine, except we did have to use a crop to get her to move forward a bit.

My friend Kathleen enjoyed riding her!

They walked and trotted.

They worked some cones. And they did some games with the bridge.

Lucy says, “i can’t believe she asked me to practically fall off the bridge like that.” “Um,” I say, “Pretty sure that one is on you, Luc!”

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Aug 072020
 

By Patty Wilber

I am not going to deny that I was a little choked up last Saturday. LT went to college!

She will be on the Ranch Horse Team at CSU with Jordyn. She even got a scholarship (because Jordyn is paying for her expenses!)

Jordyn and LT about to load up.

She almost got a room (stall/run) to herself, but I thought she would be happier in a pasture with pals. She went to rush week and got accepted to the Tri Beta Sorority (3…B…for buckskin). (It was the Di Beta before she showed up).

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Jul 102020
 

By Patty Wilber

I rode with with my usual Friday group, and we now, after lo, these many years, have an official name: No, were are not “The Covid 5”.  We are “The Flat Stirrup Crew”. 

Yes, the stirrup was literally flattened! Siri says it gives a whole a new perspective on collapsible gear! Photos by Patty S.

We are not exactly sure how this occurred.  Either Siri’s horse laid down while no one was looking or he squashed it against the rather small tree to which he was tied at Pecos Baldy Lake.

Surely, I thought, we could fix it.  

The metal was unfortunately sturdy, even in the flattened state, so we resorted to the only tools we could find.  Rocks.

We hammered, and stuck rocks inside, and used rocks for leverage, and by golly…

We fixed it!

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