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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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 082019
 

By Patty Wilber

I might have a few parts that are a bit on the worn side.

The soccerized knees. The shoulders that have been yanked by horses on the lunge line or that  have broken a fall or two.  The stiffening back.

Geez!  The creak of age!

As one gets older, muscles tend to change from the larger, bulker white fast-twitch muscle type II to red slow twitch fibers type I that are more suited to endurance.

In one study of pectoral muscle in women, after age 40, the the fast (type II) muscles decreased in size, but not number.  After 60, there were significantly fewer type II fibers. Those fibers are associated with bursts of strength.

Total volume of type I muscle fibers did not change with age.  However, those red fibers were fewer in number, but larger.

As one gets older, sometimes people stop moving various parts and those parts get stiffer and stiffer.

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Feb 012019
 

By Patty Wilber

Atti is going to show in all the ranch horse events* again this year, including Ranch Conformation, as well as Junior Working Cow Horse where she might just surprise some people. Or not.  That remains to be seen.

Perhaps weirdly, the class I have the hardest time preparing for is Ranch Conformation, where the horse just needs to lead around at a walk and trot and then stand “square” and stand still.

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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!

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Jan 182019
 

By Patty Wilber

I am not a Lady Long Rider, and after 2.5 minutes of consideration, I don’t want to be one, either.

But, I sure enjoyed Bernice Ende’s Lady Long Rider book tour talk, and had the added luck of lunch with her and her sister (my dear friend Mary Ann) last week. Click the above link go to her website!

Last year, I bought one of Bernice’s old Tucker saddles with 10,000+ Bernice miles on it, so I have a little piece of Lady Long Rider History right in my tack room. I have a greater appreciation for the stories the saddle experienced after spending some time with Bernice!

The saddle fits Penny and Indy pretty well, and I like it for them for Back Country Horsemen projects.

This year, I bought Bernice’s book (less costly than a saddle), and I think it is a book that anyone who has ridden a trail would enjoy.  Click here to order and sign up for blog alerts.

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Jan 112019
 

By Patty Wilber

Last week I mentioned that we put snow rims on Durango.

This week I am here to tell you that I like them.

I only put the rims on the front feet as the hind feet seem way less prone to ball up.  This may have something to do with the weight distribution as the horse moves and is probably the same reason why some horses can do well with only front shoes on.

The snow rims have worked all week to keep Durango’s feet clear of snow while I have had to chip snow balls out of the hooves of some of the others after riding.

Durango’s feet after riding in the snow! It is kind of hard to see the structure of the snow rim.  The the inner black tube is it. It flexes when the horse walks and pops the snow out.

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Dec 072018
 

By Patty Wilber

We have had a week of wintery weather, with more on the way. This is good news for our drought stricken state of affairs, which, surprising to me, is actually quite a bit worse right now, as compared to a year ago

All this cold and snow, however, is not so great for outdoor horse training, especially since it had been in the 40’s and 50’s up to now.

I am quite happy to be outside for hours if it is 25 F and sunny, but 15 F? at 9 am?  I just need another cup of coffee.

Monday 12/3/18. There is a ridge to the east of us, so the sun hasn’t quite made it to us yet. It was  15F. Looking west.

Later on Monday. Getting better, but by the time it reached 25 F, it was after 11 am, so not really enough time to get anything done before I had to head to town to teach one of my last microbio labs of the term.

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Nov 302018
 

By Patty Wilber

Based on advice in a Jack Brainard book (If I Were to Train a Horse, I think), I often use a running martingale when starting colts. It can give a little more leverage in order to prevent a wreck while a youngster is still learning how to respond to a bit, but doesn’t interfere with natural head carriage when all is going well.

The loop goes around the horse’s neck, the clip attaches to the cinch, and the reins go through the rings.

However, I have experienced a few glitches and came up with two very innovative (cough) ways to increase safety when using this tool.

 

Ellie, a three-year old filly owned by Judith Huchton modelling rein stoppers and the neck piece of the martingale tied to the saddle. She has eight rides, has been out on the trail and is just beginning to lope–both leads. She is a very sweet mare, (so far).

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