Feb 172017

By Patty Wilber

The title was supposed to be “Indy’s Big Weekend”, but then Wednesday happened…


I have been pondering how best to utilize my time and money for my own horse fun, and I finally came to the decision that for 2017 I will concentrate on getting Indy moving along. She is three this year, and we won’t be in a hurry, so I don’t expect her to be finished until she is about five, but she seems to want to work and has some qualities that will make her a stronger versatility prospect than LT.

So, on Saturday, I took Indy as my lead horse to the Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter’s first training ride at the Four Hills area near Albuquerque.  I also took the Walkin N Circles rescue mare, Eva, as the pony horse. Unfortunately, I had a smear on my camera lens so we have a left handed fog on all the photos.

Ginny on Quinault! Quinault was here last year for a tune up.

Mary Ann on Tulip ponying Shorty.

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Feb 102017

By Patty Wilber

Doranna did some behind the scenes blog moving last week and got everything up and running for this week.  I am happy to be back this week and have this spot to spout! 🙂


You must love horses if your house is full of horse stuff. As it should be.  I mean what other kind of stuff is there??

Here is a smattering of our “collection.”

A horse light switch! This is not the only one…









Dala horses. We have lots of Dala horses. Dala horses apparently date from the 17th century but went global when they were shown at the World Exhibition in New York in 1939. They have the double benefit of being horse-y AND Swedish.  When Jim I got engaged, we went to meet his parents, and they asked if I played golf (no…).  Then they asked if I was Swedish.  Yes, on my mom’s side.  Sigh of relief by them.

The traditional Dala horse. I got the orange one when I was about three years old. I think it was from a Dutch family that lived in the apartment next to ours.

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Jan 272017

By Patty Wilber

Cold, wind, too dark, snow, rain, arena, heat, chance of rain, or on the trail…

Well!  That pretty much covers it.  Unless we are living on the dry side of a tropical island, might as well put the old nag up for sale!

That’s not tropical! This was summer (Jan 16) in Chile and the snow was not slick…It was still awfully steep and nerve wracking!

Everyone has preferences and comfort zones, and from the training pen, I have heard all of these “I can’ts” (and have even used some of the myself when I really just wanted a “reason” not to go outside.)

Sometimes the “I can’t” has legitimacy, but sometimes it is a way to excuse ourselves from the lack of progress or fitness of our mounts.

Too cold.  It is winter, as you might have noticed.  It can be cold here (but not always) and if you add in wind, it might be 30 but feel  like 10F! 25F seems like a good lower limit…if it is sunny and there is little wind (you know, because of wind chill, not the wind itself!).  If it is cloudy, it’d be nice if it were a little warmer.  I really do not like to be cold.

How cold is too cold to ride outside for you?

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Jan 202017

By Patty Wilber

This time last year we were just back from our crazy adventure in Chile, and we had at least made our Christmas cards.  This year we didn’t venture so far afield and we have not gotten around to making any cards…maybe by Valentine’s day.

We did go to the Half Moon Ranch, in the Dragoon Mountains though, and I have to say, it was a true break from real life! Miriam found it and seven adults, one wee human, nine horses and two dogs went along. We ate way too much–we divvied up dinner and breakfast preparations and had really good meals–, and we drank, rode, hiked and played games!

Miriam, Justin and Ruby!

Here is the link if you want to rent it yourself (which you might after seeing the place!) This text in the link says only six horses allowed, but we’d read eight (and brought in one extra, in case you are counting).  There was actually space for two or three more, if they liked each other.

We loaded way too much stuff (because there was room), fueled up our “new” (2004) truck, and hit the road on Wednesday.  It was over 400 miles, so it took nearly seven hours to get there, but how fortunate we are to have the truck and trailer, horses that can be ridden under all sorts of conditions, the time and the money to make such a trip.

The ranch house was comfortable! The canyon was lovely, and there plenty of riding and hiking (and eating) opportunities to keep us busy!

View from the back porch!

The corrals were ok. Plenty big enough, but not great fencing.

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Jan 112017

By Patty Wilber

Why do horses lie in the mud?

That is a rhetorical question, although I suppose there may be a real answer.

It was a rainy December at our place.  This is the second year (of 20 that we have lived here) that the precipitation was not snow in December.  The other year was 2015.  I wanted to cut and paste a graph of the temperatures for the month, but the best I could find in my 30 minute inexhaustive search was this link on Accuweather showing the actual December temperatures in 2016 compared to the historical average. Mostly, it was warmer. (Surprise, surprise!)

So, with rain, we get mud.  And for whatever reason, horses like to roll in, lie in and get covered in mud. I read some article suggesting that in winter one should not brush that stuff off!  (Or ride your horse in winter at all, which may give a clue to the nature of that writer.)  But, if you don’t curry it off, isn’t the loft of the coat compromised and won’t they be colder despite the mud layer?  Anyway!

I also looked up mud and horses on the Internet to find out why horses like to lie in the stuff in winter (it is not to keep the bugs off–there are no bugs) and found that some authors thought that muddy ground prevents horses from lying down.  Apparently, our mud is not muddy enough to deter reclining. Nothing that I came across had an explanation for why the horses pick the wet, not the dry, spots for their siesta-ing.

Indy (bay): “the mud is warm. i like the soft  feel on my legs.” Me: “I dispute the warmness of the wet stuff.  Surely with evaporation it is cooler than the dry areas!”  Indy: “huh?” Me: “There is a drier spot up a bit! If you laid there I would not have to chip the chunks off you!”

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Jan 062017

By Patty Wilber

The trot.  The trot is a two beat, diagonal gait. The right front and left hind move together and the left front and right hind are a pair.  The trot is generally intermediate in speed between the walk and the lope/canter, and horses usually choose walk, trot, then lope/canter if they asked to speed up.

(Lope and canter are both three beat gaits with the lope the slower, western version and canter the faster English version.)

 Height and stride length are related, but skeletal structure, musculature,  and connective tissue flexibility have a big impact as well.  Here is a nicely trained horse with a skeleton painted on it.

For a nice discussion of form and function–well, I couldn’t find the one I wanted–it showed all sorts of conformations and then what that conformation could do well–like how jumpers could curl up their front legs and extend.  I think there was something about gaited horses and reiners, too…Maybe in America’s Horse? So you are on your own for that.

Now on to the amateur filming hour done like this.  Me: “Hey, _________ (insert horse name)! Let’s go to the round pen and get some trot video real quick.” Horse: “do i get to warm up?  will u at least brush me?”  Me, mumbling: “What do you mean warm up?  It is just trotting! And ok I will try to knock the big chunks off.”  Horse, tossing its mane (or head for the mane deficient): “fine.”

Once in the round pen, said horses quickly figured out that I was not paying close attention as I was trying to video and keep them moving at the same time.   Lucky you can cut out the bad stuff and slowing the motion down 4X means a short clip of 7 seconds turns into 28. which is more than enough!

I might have to do a video on bad lunging technique.  LOL!

So, here are some trotters, in slow motion.

Mojo.  Fjord.  14.05 hands. Fourteen years old. Fjords are pretty blocky but they are nice movers!

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Dec 302016

By Patty Wilber

Two thousand sixteen was a good horsey year.
Not a one of my charges put me on my ear!
I had some good colt starts with minimal drama,
and ended this year with the fun mustang, Mama.

We have a good group that lives here full-time,
and we wouldn’t even trade them for a truck load of dimes.
There’s Mojo the Fjord that belongs to the Shinnick’s.
I didn’t want boarders, but if they left I’d be heart-sick.

Roger on Mojo and Mary Ann on Cometa

We’ve got the old man, a real Spanish Barb,
he’s coming on 20 and is a bit of a lard
butt he’s calm and and he’s steady as he’s always been.
Mary Ann rides him, but it won’t keep him thin!

Cometa, summer 2016

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Dec 232016

By Patty Wilber

I chose Merry Christmas as the title because we happen to celebrate Christmas and because I put Christmasy head gear on the long suffering equines, but HAPPY HOLIDAYS, too, since we have Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanza and probably some other big holidays I know nothing about this time of year.  I did a little looking and the timing seems to be related, primarily, to the solstice.

The horses were all very tolerant, if not exactly ecstatic, about my Christmas Head Gear Efforts.

“HEY!! look! pat h. has her puppy named jax out!”

Cometa: “we are standing here with these silly hats on and, i, for one, would rather be taking a nap! let’s get this done!”

“10-4, boss!” (L to R) Penny: “Merry Christmas!” Cometa: “i seem to be wearing swedish girl’s hair and a santa cap…happy santa lucia day?” LT: “i have gloves on my ears. what’s that mean?” and Indy, “i have mini reindeer horns AND a tiny santa hat…over one ear. this is fun! happy happy holidays! ‘holiday’ originated from ‘holy day’, so that works, right?” Everyone looks at Indy (after the photo was snapped), “how’d u know that? u are the baby!”

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Dec 162016

By Patty Wilber

Mary Ann and Roger, whose horse Mojo, the Fjord, lives here and who lease Cometa, do a lot of work at Walkin in Circles, a horse rescue.  We got to talking about how to decide when a horse needs to be euthanized.


Christmas and Hawaii 286

Mary Ann at Walkin in Circles with Rudy and a horse whose name I have forgotten. Gasp.

Roger and Mary Ann riding Mojo and Cometa.

That conversation triggered the memory of Gilda Radner’s character Emily Litella and the “Youth in Asia” skit!  I could not find a link to it so I contacted my brilliant niece who (I hope I got this right…) manages the Saturday Night Live youTube channel, and she confirmed that the skit was not available to view.  BUT then my equally brilliant spouse suggested finding the script.  Here is the link to the script I found. I didn’t verify that this version is 100% correct. I copied and pasted what I found, below (which is not nearly as funny as the live skit…)

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Dec 092016

By Patty Wilber

What is the best way to sell a horse?

The obvious stuff is to tell everyone you know, advertise on reputable and appropriate sites, have a nice photograph or two and a video, and choose the right price.

I think the two hardest parts from the above list of five are finding the right place to find the right buyer pool and picking the correct the price.

Too high…that is easy to figure out, but too low can also deter lookers.

I read a story a long time ago (most details have leaked from my brain) about a horse blanket company.  They allegedly made some of the best blankets in the country, and they were really inexpensive. Sales were not that great.  So, they increased the price by some fantastic amount, and blankets shot out the door! Apparently, people felt the lower price was so low that the blankets couldn’t possibly be good.  The higher price was more in line with perceived  quality.

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