Feb 192021
 

By Patty Wilber

After the first part of the storm.

On Saturday 2/13 in the afternoon, it was 50 degrees F, and I rode Joey and pushed some cows while Heidi rode Lucy so Joey had a mentor (and she practiced other stuff on Lucy). Then, I had a fine time working my two yearling bovines with Lucy out in the pasture. She had some fun moves! We also practiced slides-getting up to about 10 feet semi consistently…

When I was done, Heidi noted that I’d lost a bell boot off Lucy. Heidi offered to cool out Lucy and they spent a good long time searching for that thing! It is black. Looks a lot like dried cow manure. It is still missing, but Lucy appreciated the cool out. (Thanks, Heidi!).

Then it was Landon’s turn. He was very focused and cadenced and long-strided! This was wonderful, all by itself, but even more impressive because the wind got colder and colder and began to really whip across the plain as the edge of the Polar Vortex event started moving in. He rode the same the whole ride!

Heidi helped me untack and get ready to go. To load, I held the heavy trailer door against the wind and she led them in. Then we went to see the baby lambs. They are just a few days old and are, of course, darling. One of them may well end up in my freezer at the end of the year, as have two previous Tucker lambs.

You know, I am perfectly fine not having a close personal relationship with my dinner meat. I will avoid socializing with them as they get closer to market weight.

The lambs had a heat lamp and were possibly headed into the house for the Polarized night.

I drove Heidi back up to the house and, disaster was barely averted, by sheer luck. I grazed a (marked and covered) major water outlet with the trailer. I was blabbing to Heidi and did not even see it. If I had busted it….just as the Big Freeze was blowing in…. I shudder to think. Whew.

When I got home to our place, in a rincon, at the base of the Sandia Mountains, there was very little wind and it was not yet so cold. Only twenty miles from the Tucker’s, but what a difference!

In February 2011, we had a longer Polar Event with temperatures as low as -25 F.  There was snow but not a lot of wind. No horses were blanketed and none were cold.

Horses have a counter current circulation system in their legs, so as the colder blood returns from the legs to the body, it goes right by the hot blood coming down. This helps warm the returning blood. Dry horses, out of the wind, with a good winter coat and adequate feed can withstand very cold conditions  (-30 to -40 F), according to Heather Scott Thomas.   

This time, snow, along with strong winds were forecast, which had me a little concerned.

Jim had topped off all the water including the 500 gallon stock tanks, and by 8pm the temperature was falling, as was the snow.

Three horses were blanketed (two are always blanketed for show coat purposes and I just felt better blanketing the third, although I suspect he would have been fine).

I fed extra hay for the night, but while we have shelters, we do not have stalls, so everyone was “out”.

In the morning it was 3.4 degrees F (slightly warmer than predicted), and we had 5 inches of snow.

The horses were, as usual, NOT under shelter. They were standing in the falling snow with snow sprinkles on their backs. I think it is so amazing that in 3 degree weather, the horse’s coat is so insulative that snow just an inch from the horse’s warm skin does not melt because so little heat is escaping! No wonder they can withstand such cold temps!

No one was shivering!

And, in another interesting bit of physics, NONE of the water tanks were frozen, despite hours at sub freezing temperatures.

Mushy snow insulation on the water tank. You can see the nose holes!

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Feb 122021
 

By Patty Wilber

On our way home from the 2020 Appaloosa World Show, Shelley said we should stop at a metal art shop.  Good choice!  I bought the Pink Flamingo! (You never need a reason to buy a pink flamingo.)

I am quite enamored of the Pink Flamingo, so, what the heck, I bought shirt to match!

Last weekend, The New Mexico Buckskin Horse Association had a shaggy show and I had the chance to use it.  It is a fun shirt to wear! It made people smile!

Lucy and me in the pink flamingo shirt with a horse head coming out of my buttock! Photo from the NMBHA Facebook page. I think Craze took it, but am not sure.

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Feb 052021
 

By Patty Wilber

I just spent five days training at No Where But Up Performance Horses with Cody Crow, Garret Ashby and Emily Dahl.

I stayed with Emily and Kara (so I literally spent five days at the barn).

I am here to tell you that this is the kindest group of people, ever, and it is also the most outrageously amazing facility, ever. (Lap of luxury… someone fed, cleaned and even put blankets on and off my horses!)

I went to visit H and I took Lucy, Joey and Landon.

Hanging out in the indoor waiting to be ridden, Thursday night. L to R Landon, Joey, Lucy. Landon and Lucy took the opportunity to dig holes. I hobbled Lucy. Joey behaved.

So, after going to the Appaloosa World with NWBU and H in 2020, and since he did not sell, it was clear that he should go again, and that Lucy should as well. Since I am teaching online through at least the summer, and maybe even into Fall 2021, I figured this was the year to go all in. 

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Jan 282021
 

By Patty Wilber

Over the past two weeks I have received a few surprise prizes!

The first was a gift card to Tractor Supply, a thank-you note, and mileage reimbursement (300 bucks!) from the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen.  I had the highest number of volunteer trail hours in the club this year (97), for the first time ever!

We did a good job working trails (in the Pecos Wilderness, Dockweiler was cleared from Cave Creek to Rito Perro for the first time in a while!), while maintaining safe conditions!

I did not think to take pictures of those prizes, but here is a picture on Dockweiler from our Memorial Day 2020 project.

Dockweiler trail in the Pecos Wilderness.

The second was a random draw prize from the NM Paint Horse Club that included a thank-you note and a nice lead rope! Yes, 50 years in 2017, so 54 years in 2021!

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Jan 152021
 

By Patty Wilber

Well, seeing family for Christmas was not an option, so I decided to book a little social distanced camping trip to Ride Out Ranch in Florence AZ, where it was warmer than the East Mountains! We talked our friends the Shuerts into coming with!

It was over 400 miles away, so a bit of a drive, and I did take us down the Salt River Canyon on Hwy 60, which is rather steep and winding and you can only go about 30 mph, but hey we made it without burning our brakes. (We came back via Payson which did have its six and seven percent grade spots and runaway truck lanes, but the road was not nearly as serpentine and was 55 mph plus, so an easier trip!)

Jim and Cometa. View from our camping area!

We chose the primitive camp area at Ride Out because they said we would be the only ones camping there. It was a very good choice! There was lots of space and fantastic views. The only amenities were horse stalls and water.  I had expected a porta-potty, too, but nope.  Good thing we brought our own! 

Our hosts double checked our time of arrival with us while we were on the road and met us at the gate to help get us settled.  They sent us some GPS trail tracks and gave us some advice about where to ride.  They had one impromptu organized ride that we did not attend, but we were invited.  Other than that, we were pretty much on our own, which is what we had wanted!  

The pens were sturdy and had a shade cover! And we had them all to ourselves! The ranch did provide the wheelbarrow and rake.

The first afternoon we rode down into the Box O Wash (corrected from Donnelly Wash–blaming Maps.me’s names) which was just below our camp area.  We were a bit goggle-eyed over the huge saguaros!  Saguaros can grow to 40-60 feet and some are thought to be 200 years old.  They do not get their first arms until they are 50-100!  (It depends on rainfall.) You can see the ones behind Jim in the picture above have arms! OLD!

We rode about four miles and we took the dogs, who had a bit of a learning curve…there are a LOT of spiny plants in this part of Arizona and they stick to dogs. 

The saguaros…just wow.

I finally tried out my Equilab App on my phone that my friend Patty recommended.  She ran hers and I ran mine. Our paths recorded LOOKED very similar, but her mileage was 3.9 miles and mine was 0.3.  Clearly I screwed up somewhere!

The next day we rode across Cochrane (a good gravel road) Drive toward the rocks called The Boulders.  There are no marked trails but there are some two tracks and some cattle trails.  I forgot to activate the Equilab, but Patty did and Bill had his GPS.  We made a nice loop of about eight miles.  There were more fantastic saguaros and some fun rock formations.

This area has a fair number of off road vehicles (often driven by retirees, we were told) but we only saw four and only two saw us. They really were piloted slowly and by people that looked even older than us. (It was a Friday.) The dogs stayed in camp.

Patty and Bill S., and Jim near some interesting rocks. Lots of (very cool no matter how many I saw) saguaros.

This was one of our favorite saguaros!

That evening we hung out around a propane campfire (wood is allowed only in fire pits) and watched an amazing sunset!

I messed with Equilab (and everyone made fun of me for my incompetence, just saying) and also my Maps.me (another phone app mapping program).  The Maps.me indicated that we could ride down Donnelly Wash (which was really Box O Wash….again, clearly Maps.me is at fault for this name error…probably…pretty sure…) all the way to the Gila River, and it would be about eight miles one way.  So, on Saturday, that is what we did!

There were a few javelina hunters, and a few vehicles, so we were not in the wilderness, but it is a very big wash and we had no problems staying out of each other’s ways.

Me and Penny heading down the wash. On the way back I let Penny run– and then asked her to go faster than she actually wanted to. That was a lot of fun!

Me, Patty S. and Bill at the Gila River! The horses were happy to get a drink! Later we were joined by a white cow.

My Equilab recorded 14 miles but Patty’s recorded 16 as did Bill’s GPS.  Equilab was not happy that I put my phone on airplane mode and it estimated (by drawing a straight line) some of our route, thereby underestimating.  But I did canter for two minutes and trotted for seven on the day!  Whew.  So fast.  LOL.

On Sunday, we went back into the wash but we went up instead of down.  We were planning on a shorter ride so we took the dogs.  Lani and Coulson thought they were going to have fun chasing after a jackrabbit but Lani plowed into some cholla while her brain was occupied with RABBIT RABBIT RABBIT.   It was not a pretty sight.  Good thing she had Jim and my leatherman to save her.  Coulson might be smarter or at least less single-minded. Fortunately, Lani was able to continue the ride, and paid a lot more attention to where she was going.

We climbed out of the wash onto the flatland to the west, and we wanted to make a loop.  We got fairly far, but we were not finding a route down.  Jim wanted to plunge down the steep sides.  That did not look good to me.  I figured that if the cows hadn’t gone that way, we should not either.  Eventually we did find a good cow trail down and we made a nice loop of about four miles.  I did not put my phone on airplane mode and Patty’s EquiLab mileage and mine MATCHED!!

Then we finished packing up and headed home, back to winter.  It had snowed a few inches while were gone. 

But, of course, we do need the moisture!

 

Jan 062021
 

By Patty Wilber

This will be an early post because we are heading south for a few days of trailer camping and trail riding in the Arizona desert where the temperatures are expected to be in the high 60’s and low 70’s. That will be nice!

Last year, I started off with a bunch of colt starts.  This January, I am stacked with four year old geldings.

Sombra, owned by Mary Ann.

You already know him. 14.1 gray mustang.  What you might not have known is that he has a Napoleon Complex and envisions himself as the herd boss.  Sorry, dude, 24-year-old Cometa still has that rank.  Granted, Cometa did obtain that rank at three when he was running 8,000 acres with a gelding band, and he kept it when he came here 21 years ago…He charged the older gelding we had, with teeth bared.  The older gelding hid behind the pony mare he was allegedly defending and stayed back there pretty much ever after.  

But back to Sombra.  Every time I get a new gelding, Sombra tries to dominate, over the gates   We have double latches and hinge fail-safes (baling twine) so that if a gate lifts off the hinges, the gate does not fall.

Sombra does not seem to have completely cowed the mares, except, oddly, Penny.  Penny talks a big game with the other girls and has totally bamboozled them, but if anyone actually tried standing up to her a few times in a row, she would back down.  Sombra is nothing if not persistent, so I guess he wore her down! They generally like each other, though.

One other thing about Sombra, besides his small-gelding-complex, is his Fabio hair.  He has enough mane for four horses (or 12 Appaloosas). When I was a kid (before I had horses) I thought this split down the middle, full mane on both sides, was normal! NOT!

Sombra has the hair!

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Jan 012021
 

By Patty Wilber

2020

January

I was deep into colt starts with Birdie and Coco,
I ordered the trailer for trips to a go, go,
Breeze came to live here, with her scoliosis.
We are quite glad she does not have psychosis.

February 

We had some nice weather, and we had some snow.
Clay worked with H, and dragged calves like a pro.
Coco and Birdie kept making progress.
COVID was just starting to pull toward the abyss.

 

March

March was a wild one; my courses went online.
I shut down my horse lessons, and tried not to whine.
We were “normal” on Thursday, and by Monday were not.
I have not since been to campus nor parked in the lot!
But I got to keep riding, which helped me stay sane,
And I got, Fancy, a new youngster to get on and to train!

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Dec 172020
 

By Patty Wilber

This week has been a bit wintery pre-winter (since winter officially begins 12/21).  It has been cold (for us). Some days were not above freezing, others were barely above.

There have been a few days without much riding, but mainly, it has been ok, so long as I was wearing the right number of layers– which means four or five, being the cold averse sort that I am!

Here is a little run through of some of the fun we had!

Cold ride in the canyon next door with Jordyn on LT and Maddie on Leo! Jordyn was a popsicle.  She says she is taking a vacation until it gets a little warmer! Not enough layers, obviously! LOL!

Kate on Amigo. Kate just moved to NM from S. Dakota, so, cold shmold for her!  Kate’s hands were even a little too warm! I rode Jack, who belongs to Sheryl L. My feet were a little chilled, but other than that, I was ok.  Facemasks actually felt nice–my nose did not get cold!

L to R: Breeze, Lucy, Sombra. Just a moment earlier LT (buckskin) and Cometa (light bay) were over there, too, and that was a lovely look, but as I came in to take the picture, those two got up and came over “whatcha doing?”. “Trying to take a picture of you all!”

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