Meet the rest of them!

Patty Wilber
To the west, the Sandia Mountains rise up to 10,800 ft, practically from my back yard.  In winter, the sun sets into Tijeras Canyon and now, in June, it sets  farther north—almost over the highest point of mountain.  This is my backscape.  Sometimes watermelon clouds streak above as the sky blues into night; sometimes  rain curtains across the space,  down the mountain to the rincon where I live; sometimes the mountain  rests there, pinely green with patches of pale aspen near the crest; and often, surprisingly maybe, the mountain is quietly inconspicuous, as the familiar can be.  

As I ride, the large gives way to the immediate. Today, it was the prickly pear.  Some sported a single spiny pad with a voluptuous  flower, two or more inches across! The translucent yellow petals had red drawn out from the base and glowed like thin stained glass in the light.  A multitude of yellow stamens crowded the middle.  

What is it with these arid land plants and their ridiculously extravagant flowers, as if they had a surfeit of resources, here in the high desert?  Maybe, they just throw the one big party, and are frugal the rest of the year. By dusk they had closed up, hidden away. Must not be pollinated by moths….Nope—the web says: beetles and bees.  

The other thing today was WIND.  My ears are full of dirt and grit is clinging to my skin (it was on my teeth too, but I ate that).  It can’t all be beauty and poetry.  

So, to sum it all up, the landscape + the horses = all I could ask for!  

Penny going English at a show, April 2010

 Penny is 3 and an  Appaloosa .  Appaloosas were originally developed by the Nez Perce Indians in the NW US, near the Palouse River in Idaho. Perhaps 10% of their horses had the spotted coat pattern prized in Appaloosas today.  

So. Where are Penny’s spots you ask?  

Well!  There are none! She is what is called a “Non-Characteristic” Appy.  Had to pay extra to register her and so she could show with her spotty buddies.  

Appaloosas are supposed to have 3 of 4 things:  a coat pattern (spots); white sclera (white around the eyes—like people—colored iris and white sclera); mottled skin (often around the eyes, lips, and genitals); and striped hooves (except stripes on white hooves don’t count).  Penny has a vague stripe (only visible if the hoof is wet) on her one dark hoof and no other Appy characteristics!  Her dad has it all and her mom is just missing the spots….  

I am aiming Penny at all around performance.  Right now she can go in the mountains and pony Risa (i.e. Penny is ridden and Risa is led along behind), go English and western, and despite a complete lack of breeding for it, she “has some cow.”  She instinctively tracks (follows) cows.  

Horses with cow are easier to train to  do things like cutting (singling a single cow out of a herd), working cow horse (move one cow around in an arena),  roping, sorting (cows), penning (cows) or just plain ranch work. (Truthfully?  Penny will not be a cutter.  Cutters are real cowy.  The cowiest.)  

Risa is an Appaloosa with all the characteristics.  She is also 3, but she is a bit of a pessimistic worry wart, so hasn’t made it into the show pen, yet.  

Risa's "people eye"

The white on her hip is called a "blanket"

She is cutting bred, so, she could be good at cutting that single cow out of a herd.  However, due to her outlook on life, she hasn’t yet “been on” cows.  In other words, I haven’t tried to see if she can do what she was bred for!  I once attempted to practice with a burro.  I thought she might try to eat poor Leon….  

Eventually, her show career might include reining .  That involves running in circles, spinning like a top and sliding long distances (20 + feet) from a dead run.  She has some talent in that direction, I believe. In the meantime, she is learning riding basics and to pack tools for back country trail clearing.  

Other:    May was here in April and May and I started her (began her training) then.  She has returnd for two weeks while her mom is on vacation.  

Now that you know all the current residents, we will move on to exciting topics like hauling hay, working cows, and perhaps items of particular interest to you–let me know and I will see what I can do!

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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13 Responses to Meet the rest of them!

  1. Peggy says:

    I love this. it is so interesting and informative to a non horsey person.

  2. Patty says:

    Hi Peggy. Great! Thanks! I am trying for that! If there ends up being anything that make you say “Whaaat???” be sure to let me know.

    • BlogPatty says:

      Thanks Sharon!! You never know what I will pull out of my sleeve next! Fjords or something!

  3. Sharon says:

    Hi Patty – had no idea you were so poetic! I enjoy this blog. It’s particularly fun because I personally know the horses.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Enjoying this much. Your comments about “cow” in horses reminds me of the time I was talking to a non-horse-non-western person about King Ranch-bred horses and said something about “That line has a lot of cow in them.”

    The person rared back and said “That’s ridiculous! There’s no such thing as cow-horse hybrids!” (Person was also unwilling to believe that some horses were natural herders, even when told stories about the QH at a friend’s ranch who, when bored, would keep the cattle on the move, cut them into little bunches, put them back together, etc. “Horses don’t act like that,” said the non-horse-non-western person. Sigh. Person also believed the horse I had then–old gelding who’d been cut late after a lifetime as a gene source–was really “smiling” at her because he liked her. Snicker. There’s a reason his barn name was “Macho.”)

    I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

  5. Patty says:

    Hi Elizabeth–Thanks! I let out a big horsey snort when I read about Macho and horse cow-hybrids! Good thing I wasn’t drinking tea at the time or I’d be blow-drying the keyboard right now!

    I get my hubby to read these over and tell me what I need to define–I defined “ponying” at the last minute since he pointed out most would NOT know what that meant. I have another Blog (more of a training log blog and not nearly as focused as this one). My sister-in-law said–“sounds exciting but I have no idea what you are talking about!”

    It would be a kick to watch the horse sorting the cows on its own! Great stories! Thanks.

  6. Doranna says:

    Hi, Sharon–I’m glad you stopped by! Hi, Peggy & Elizabeth–I’m all chuckly-grinning that you’re enjoying this. 8)

    Patty, E. has the coolest blog called 80 Acres (I excuse myself from providing the link I should because the old first-generation netbook drives me crazy) about her Texas (Austin) prairie lands project. Wonderful piccies, flora an fauna ID, and land reports!

    And yes! We are done running for the day and now I’m going to READ and NAP and the dogs will feel pleased with themselves.

  7. BlogPatty says:

    I would like the 80 acres link! Am off to the Pecos in a few hours and will be back Sunday, so will look then. Patty/BlogPatty

  8. Joan says:

    Hi Patty!
    Wow, I really enjoyed reading this. I thought your descriptive prose to be wonderful and of course all the horsey stuff interesting and informative. Looking forward to this weeks article. Good for you~

    • Doranna says:

      Hi, Joan! Thanks for stopping by!

      As it happens, I’ve already seen this week’s article and I’m all happy-chortly, waiting for it to “hit the stands” 8)

  9. Patty says:

    Hi Joan–thanks! I am having fun with it; glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Linda says:

    I LOVE it and WILL be reading it! Thanks for EVERYTHING!

  11. Patty says:

    Thanks Linda!!! I will shoot you a link this Friday, too if you want! Sorry I will miss you today.

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