Dec 062019
 

By Patty Wilber

On Thanksgiving, we left for the airport at 4 in the morning in a snowstorm and used four wheel drive all the way there!  A very unusual occurrence.  Our plane got de-iced and we took off pretty close to on time (the crew was a bit late due to the weather.)

We landed in Oakland, CA, took the BART train to near my folks house, and as soon as I could, I got my hands on baby Amara!

Who needs to take their coat off when they can hold the grandbaby! Maegan in the background!

Most of the rest of my photos of my amazing family are terrible, so I won’t post them, but Jim got a couple nice ones (like the one above and the one below).

Granddaughter Leilani age 2 (left) and my niece Avery age 1 (right). My brother (Mike) and sister-in-law (Tina), Avery’s parents. You can tell which kid lives in Hawaii and thinks it is cold!

The entire immediate family got to hang out, and I have to say that while we might be a little competitive, we might have a hard time making group decisions, and we might be a little weird, I sure think the world of all of them!

We got home Saturday night, very late, and Sunday I went down to check out the arena.  I found that it had transformed into a partial ice rink!  This is the first time that has happened.  I guess since we had an inch of rain the week before and then 10 or so inches of wet snow, which largely melted, but didn’t absorb, and cold overnight temperatures, we got ice–2 inches thick in some spots!

I didn’t even try to ride.  I got out the old blue tractor and dragged and plowed and got things pretty well churned up, except in the thickest spots. Then I dug some little drain canals to try to accelerate the drying out process.

That is a definite improvement, but not rideable.

On Monday it was mostly ice.  Tuesday had much less ice, and lots of water.  Koh-Doh did get to  practice ice water crossing, but most of our work was out on the roads.

Tuesday: Lots of water with ice underneath.

But, hey! We got to practice ice-water crossing!

On Wednesday, we were down to almost 100% water without the frozen base, so the pond/arena was rideable (with water wings)! Yay! And the predicted “wintery mix” did not materialize.  Yay! Again.

Thursday, it was still very wet but still improving and Mary Ann, Sombra, the dogs and I had some wet fun!

I did pull the trailer up to the house Wednesday, just in case the weather went bad, as I was planning ahead for my trip to Clovis today (Friday) to do some cow work with Lucy and H at Clay Hight’s!  It will be H’s first live go!

And so I will leave my arena to dry for a few more days and head southeast!

But…woke up to a horse not feeling great, so trip delayed at least for the moment.  Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

Nov 152019
 

By Patty Wilber

I have three geldings I am starting this autumn and they fall on a continuum of personality. It is fun to figure out how hard to push and when to go slower. That is something to consider everyday with colts, and generally, I tend to go slower rather than faster.

Coincidentally, I recently read “When Slow is Worse”  (thanks Barb K.) which discussed  the pitfalls of not moving quite fast enough in training (and thank goodness she was talking about A LOT slower than my pace).  Still, the article got me thinking about the differences between the three geldings.

H

I saw a cartoon on facebook (I couldn’t relocate it) that showed a glaring mare, a glaring stallion and a goofy gelding.  Now H (co-owned by me and Judith Huchton), at two, isn’t actually super goofy but he has a really chill attitude.

He is also responsive, smart, and has a ton of try. You just can’t beat this combination.  He has a high spot on the “Easiest Horses I Have Ever Started” list.  Now, with all that hype, I better make sure I help him live up to his potential in the show pen!!

At a show on 25 rides.

H (in the middle) “helping” put up the new panel. LT (left) waiting to give her two cents, and Lucy (right) inspecting the footing placement. So very thoughtful of all of them! I penned up three others that would have been on my side of the panel because six helpers would have just been too many!

Continue reading »

Nov 082019
 

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend was the end of the Back Country Horseman trail season.  We had nine riders and ten equines that rode out of Red Canyon trailhead in the Manzanos on Box Trail. I rode H and Lucy got to haul the tools. Cometa was the lead horse with Jim.

Lucy packing tools and H tooling along behind.

 We did a fair amount of lopping (not loping) and cleared a few small trees.  H got to practice standing tied to a tree.

Mr. Cool as a Cucumber.

Continue reading »

Nov 012019
 

By Patty Wilber

After our fun hunting trip, Lucy got a day off and then she convinced H that we should go to the NM Paint Palomino Buckskin Pinto All Breed Fall Color Round Up show at NM EXPO fairgrounds 10/27 and 28. It was a good choice as the weather was nice, the people were friendly, and it had a good set of ranch classes (but no cows, alas.)

Photo by Jo Ellen!

We had a fun crew of five riders (Mariah, Me, Nancy, Jo Ellen and Ryanne) sharing the tack room! I think I managed to hog up a little more than my allotted space, but everyone was kind about it!

I sure enjoyed the company!

Jo Ellen on Mocha,, Nancy on Moses and me on H. H is giving Moses the side eye for some reason!! Photo with Jo’s camera.

Continue reading »

Oct 172019
 

By Patty Wilber

My life seems to be a little like living on a hamster wheel (thanks Terri for that image) and of course it is no one’s fault but my own.

Last weekend was no exception, but it did involve Mountain Magic.

On Friday I worked with one of my colt starts (Koh-Doh) and then loaded Penny and another colt start (Sombra) and drove to Albuquerque Trail trailhead in the Manzano Mountains to meet my friends (and meet new friends) with whom I don’t ride nearly enough (because I must keep the hamster wheel rotating).

This area of the Manzanos has maples that turn a lovely red in the fall. The trees arch over the trail and at times it felt as though we were riding in a movie like Lord of the Rings!

This was a bit magical! Siri in the corner, then  Sandy, then Marilyn at the head of the line.

Continue reading »

Oct 112019
 

By Patty Wilber

I started working with cutting horse trainer Ed Krauss in the Fall of 2016 and I pretty much enjoyed every minute of it.

Ed helping me with Indy. Indy had a bone chip in her hock which ended her show career. She is with some friends and we are hoping she has a foal in 2021. Photo by Janet Cochran.

Ed and I didn’t talk much about our personal lives, but we liked to swap horse stories and talk politics.

I lean left and Ed leaned right, and we enjoyed discussing the current state of political affairs. Maybe not unlike Ellen Degeneres and George Bush, we did not have to agree to be friends. But because we could talk, we also found plenty of areas where we actually did agree.

Of course, though, we always came back to horses. 

Continue reading »

Oct 042019
 

By Patty Wilber

Every once in a while something comes up that is more interesting than horses. Like grandbabies!

But don’t forget the Jicarilla Mustang Heritage Alliance Fundraiser tomorrow night at 6pm at the Edgewood Community Center!  Silent auction!  Door Prizes! Food! Info on mustangs and a talk by me!

Still in the hospital. About 14 hours old

Amara Kolea Ruggles was born 9/26/19, just after midnight, and we were in Hawaii less than 24 hours later to meet her.  The timing was just lucky–she was due 9/18 and we thought we’d be visiting a baby that was a couple of weeks old!

When Maegan and Mark were born, I was sore and tired afterwards.  Maegan, in contrast, is apparently super woman, and was raring to go as soon as we left the hospital 12/27 in the afternoon. (Yes, that is still less than 24 hours after Amara was born!)

During our four day (9/27 to 10/1) stay, we went to an Octoberfest, where big sister Leilani got her face painted.  She was fascinated by the face painters and held very still while hers was being done!

We went out to dinner twice and saw a polo match.  Two year old Leilani loves horses! Yay!

Continue reading »

Sep 262019
 

By Patty Wilber

Don’t forget the fund raiser for the Jicarilla Mustang Heritage Alliance.  We are hoping for RSVPs so we know how much food to buy! Blog on down below.

I went to the Pecos Wilderness last Friday with the Back County Horsemen (and so very unfortunately had to miss a faculty meeting to do so). It was one of those stunning late summer/early fall days.  Very clear, a bit breezy, and the perfect temperature.  I wore a windbreaker and a silk scarf for “warmth”. The aspens are not yet beginning to turn to their golden yellow, but the air and the light have an end of summer feel.

Richard and Peter in the foreground. Top of the climb out of Jack’s Creek. We went left (toward me, the picture taker) to the junction of Rito Perro and Dockweiler. I haven’t been over there in a while!

Continue reading »

Sep 192019
 

By Patty Wilber

So, Spring is usually the time we think of for new beginnings, with longer days and sprouting greenery, but from my horse training point of view, Fall is a new start.  Fall for me is colt starting.

Yes, the title is the “End of the show season” and maybe, given, my thought processes right now, I should go up there and change it to some “Start” type of topic…

Anyway, so I have three colt starts lined up for the fall. H is coming along, I have a new comer arriving Saturday, and there is Mary Ann S.’s Sombra, the two-year old mustang, who wore a saddle pad, tied on with a polo wrap, (yes he looked silly, but he was calm about it!)  and put one foot into the trailer on Thursday!

Fall is also a good time to start thinking about the next year’s show season, and with H, Lucy and a new senior (= over five, not elderly) horse in the barn, there is a lot to look forward towards!

But what about Atti? What about the World Show?

Well, despite our successes at Red Hot and in Colorado, the hard truth is that Atti really needs another year under her cinch to be in contention at the World Show, and given that, Judith and I concurred that the cost/benefit of keeping Atti in training for another year vs. offering her for sale tilted in favor of sale.

I am not crying. YOU are crying.

(Thanks Jeanne--I stole that from your FB post.)

Atti has been a horse that taught me a whole bunch (including more patience and boy has she been humbling!). But, she now has a list of abilities that is longer than many horses, and it even includes things that were once unthinkable to her.  She is only four!

I am really proud of how brave and giving she has become (and sweeter at the barn, too!). 

She is solid around bovines and even won a cutting class (without really being a true cutter, but hey! We didn’t lose our cow!). I have gone down the fence with her in the show ring in Working Cow Horse, and I have a feeling she’d make a really good team roping horse.

Photo by Ava Charlin

Continue reading »