Jun 052020

By Patty Wilber

Here we are with good weather and no in-person horse shows, so virtual shows have taken off.

Sounds great--get the info, pay some money, video your go in the comfort of your own (or a nearby) arena. No long drives, no all day commitment.


I did my first video class (Ranch Pleasure, a pattern class) with the NM Paint Club show.  

It was in the comfort of my own arena, but did NOT turn out to be one and done.

Oh no! There were bobbles! We can’t have bobbles! They had to be refilmed. And since I entered four horses, that took a while.

So, when I got to my second virtual show, The Virtual Red Hot Ranch Horse Challenge, I was semi-prepared.

The first class I tackled was Open Ranch Trail, and I cut the number of horses I was showing from four to two.  I learned that two were going to be plenty.

I authored the open Ranch Trail pattern for this show, but, for whatever reason, did not make it with my personal (smallish) arena in mind. I did manage to get it to fit.

The first day of filming was less than ideal. My biggest challenge was the lope over logs.

I put the logs outside the arena, in a “chute” I have, but because one log was also needed for a sidepass, and I have a railroad tie perimeter, I had to put that first log pretty close to the start of the loping area where the railroad tie was not very high…

So, that left only a few lope strides before the first log.

I also put the two logs down at random. I did not measure the distance between them. By golly, a ranch horse should not need to have a walked off distance between logs, especially two logs over 30 feet apart!  They should adjust their stride. I mean, really!

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May 292020

By Patty Wilber

We have had two BCH projects in the past two weeks.  One out of Red Canyon Campground in the Manzanos and one out of Panchuela in the Pecos.

In both cases, we got access behind locked gates, which was nice for us, and the trails!

In the Manzanos, we had 15 people, so we broke into three teams of five and did Box and some of Ox, Red Canyon, Spruce and the connecting part of the Crest Trail between Red and Spruce.

The Manzanos did not have gobs of down trees, so good deal, one fell swoop…or maybe that’s three fell swoops, but we got a lot done while in the appropriate group size, and yes we wore masks. 

Masked crew in the Manzanos: L Marianne, front Bruce, center back Victoria, R Jim. I took the picture!

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May 222020

By Patty Wilber

Last Friday, I went to Oak Flats with Linda and her ex-racehorse, Star.

Linda and I had a fine time galloping around.  LT is the best for that–ready to go but super easy to slow down, as well.  She is 10 now and is aging well!! Star, being an ex-racehorse, also enjoys getting a move on!

The trails there are well marked and Linda has a nice map.  I have a really old map, which I did not bring, but next time I will to compare the old map to the new one.  I also might buy one of the new ones The Trails of Cedro Peak & Otero Canyon ($7 maybe) at the Sandia Ranger Station, in Tijeras.

Oak Flats is being thinned with a masticator to reduce fire danger and allow increased habitat diversity.  We saw the very large and noisy masticator.  We could not get close enough, safely, to see the actual operation, but we saw the aftermath! The horses were unfazed, which was nice. 


LT inspecting the work of the masticator. I took a video of the sound–I took a video to capture the sound–but decided the commercial video was way more exciting! 

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May 152020

By Patty Wilber

Dr. Dixon came by on Thursday to give Spring shots, check and “float” (=file down) the horse’s teeth, and check the geldings….uh…undercarriage.

Is anything in there?

And I just realized I failed to get blood drawn for Coggins tests for Lucy and H that just might get to go out of state to a show or two later this summer….drat.

(In the meantime, don’t forget the Virtual Red Hot Ranch Horse Show.  I have not signed up yet–going to finish up my Ranch Pleasure classes for the virtual all breed NM Paint Club sponsored show and then move on to the Red Hot!)

Yep, I can give my own spring shots, but turns out if the Doc is coming anyway, his shot prices actually beat the cost of what I would spend at the feed store, soooo, go for it. Side note: Sombra, who was barely handable and was quite freaked out for his shots last year, was like an old pro this go round!

Now, back to our scheduled topic after all that wandering about.

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May 082020

By Patty Wilber

The two items in the title do not necessarily go together, but maybe….!

First: The Virtual Show. Ok, since we cannot have the real Red Hot Ranch Horse Challenge, we thought we would have a Virtual Red Hot Ranch Horse Show.

Yes, like this show, only by video and also no cattle, so exactly like this, only different!!

Actually, Christy is the one that thought we should have the show and she has done 98% of the work.  I have helped her by saying things like, “Great!” or  “Sounds good!” and every so often I give a suggestion, and oh, I did make one pattern.

All the details can be found on a new Facebook page Christy has built called Virtual Red Hot Ranch Horse Show!  Check it out!  We have two very good judges (Cindy Chilton Moore and Delena Doyle) and there will be payback money!  Get your videographers lined up and prepare to “come” join us!! 

If some trial runs of the W/T trail class goes well with Sombra, he might just get to enter!!


Sombra, the Placitas Mustang, who belongs to Mary Ann Shinnick, came here last July as an unhandled two-year-old.  We did a lot of work to help him become used to being a domestic horse instead of a wild one, and I had him about ready to saddle start at the end of last year.  But between the bad weather and some other colt starts, he got bumped back.  The extra time allowed him to mature a little bit as well.


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May 012020

By Patty Wilber

Before we get into the woodrats, here are the results from last week’s “You be the Judge” in which Lucy, H, LT and Penny all did the same “ranch riding” type pattern.  Fifteen people, some horse folks and some not, judged via Survey Monkey.

Lucy got six first place votes but also four last place votes, giving her a total of 43 points.

H got four first place votes but only one last place vote and thus he edged out Lucy with 45.5 points!

H, who is not a minature horse, next to the new trailer, which, by the way, had a brake problem and is in the shop (under warranty).

LT, despite her lead change error, got three first places and also three last places, for third.

Penny also got two first place votes but, alas, was placed last six times (sorry Penny!) for fourth.

Thanks for playing!

Here is H’s winning go!


Woodrats are common in New Mexico and we have plenty on the 30 acres across the street. We also have had woodrats in our hay barn but we have never, until recently, have had woodrats in the truck!

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Apr 242020

By Patty Wilber

Well, since we cannot go to actual horse shows, various associations are running virtual shows.  This made me think of that column that was in…Western Horseman…? Called “You be the Judge”?…I don’t really know if that was the right magazine or the right title, but it was a column on conformation.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to have a “You be the Judge” event right here for Ranch Riding.  Unfortunately, since we are social distancing and I just thought of this, I am the only entrant.  But I do have four Appaloosas that can compete–or at least three.  On Monday, I worked with one of them, and it did not result in anything I would want anyone to actually see. I won’t reveal the identity of said horse to avoid biasing you all, the judges.  

So, here is the scoop.  

  1. I made the pattern. (short–about 1.5 minutes per run so you can whiz through.)
  2. The older horses (Penny and LT) were ridden one handed and the junior horses (H and Lucy) were ridden two handed, as per normal show standards.  
  3. The dogs are just there for decoration.
  4. If you don’t know rules for ranch riding, that’s ok, you can still play.  Just rank the horses from first place to last place as you see fit.
  5. There is no actual judge here, so the “winner” will be the crowd favorite.  You should be able to see the cumulative current results after you enter your scores.
  6. Your responses are anonymous.
  7. This my first try at Survey Monkey, and it did not feel very intuitive to me, so this whole survey thing might just be a fail and all you will get to do is see four videos.

Here is the pattern. It turns out that I didn’t like the walk in followed by the half circle part–it was hard to make that feel smooth. 

Here are the goes in the order they were taken.  They were filmed by Jim. He used his knowledge of cinematography gleaned from the Making of Game of Thrones to get these very uniform runs!

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Apr 172020

By Patty Wilber

We had one heck of a snowstorm on Monday, and by Thursday, you could hardly tell!

Monday: We woke up (left) to SNOW and by the afternoon…still snowing (right).

Tuesday:  In the morning it was still very snowy!  By the afternoon, it had warmed up and the snow was greatly reduced.  It was astonishing!


Tuesday had some other interesting sights.

The arena melted right off Tuesday, but the meadow did not clear until Wednesday!

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Apr 102020

By Patty Wilber

I ordered my new Trails West Santa Fe trailer from J and B trailer in January and expected it to be here at the end of April.  Then  the SARS-COV-2 virus started running amok around the country, and I figured I would have to wait until fall, but the trailer got here last week!  It got bumped up in the production line, which was super lucky because right after this run, the factory shut down!

It has a side tack and “sleeping space”.

The “sleeping space” has a nice big window on the side and a screen door that rolls in. All the windows in the sleeping space open and it has a camper vent on top, as well.

We had to have a new hitch put in the truck and it was a little odd (but welcome) when Jim was greeted at the locked J&B Trailer gate by a guy in a mask and gloves (and regular clothes, too–he was not a streaker!) to take the truck.

We got the trailer home! I am afraid to drive it!  It is too pretty and I also need to learn to back it up. I can back up my bumper pull, no problem, but now I will need to learn to use my mirrors! 

I understand that learning new things helps stave off Alzheimer’s.  So, between all new technology I am mastering to teach and work from home (Skype, Zoom, Collaborate Ultra, Web Ex) and backing up and hitching up a gooseneck, I should be Alzheimer’s free for decades. 

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Apr 032020

By Patty Wilber

This Placitas Mustang cutie looked pretty Spanish, and I own one actual Spanish Barb, so I convinced his owner, Mary Ann, to go for Spanish Barb registration.

Sombra, Placitas Mustang.

So, we measured him and took pictures and Mary Ann sent money. They thought he looked fairly Spanish!  They asked for more pictures and a DNA test. 

His DNA came back grouped with the Mountain Pleasure Horses.  Bummer, we thought.

But, no!  Those are Spanish!

Cool!  More pictures requested.  A long time passed, and after all that…

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