Sunday, September 27, 2009


Greek style vase with crystaline shades made at Whimsey Pottery in early 2009. I had a mesopotamian theme in mind - hence the name "Mezo-Tek".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time To Start

The past week has been a good time to start another youngster - this time the teke/arab filly Suzette. These are some photos of our third ride. I began fiddling with our other colt Octopelle earlier in the year - but it has been off and on type of working. Just when I get ready to do some riding, there is inevitably something else that gets in the way and needs more serious attention. But, now this fall is a good time to spend some long hours in the saddle. I'm not as busy with projects, and the weather has been lovely - in the low 90's during the day. Perfect for getting outside and doing some stuff. Here is Suzette moving out in a nice relaxed trot. She has a nice "teke-like" way of going and her arab half makes her cute as a little bugs ear!
Learning to go left and right at the trot.
I really like this photo. Craig took it from a lower level, and boy does she ever look "teke-ish"! I've noticed that the purebreds and a lot of the half-breds tend to step up underneath themselves when they travel.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Soays and Barbados Sheep

Grande Ronde Arne #OR3530-0006. Sound Soays Uma x Greener Pastures Finale. Arne is our young herdsire mouflon Soay ram that I purchased in late July 09' from Jeanine Rachau of LaGrande. He shows a lot of great promise, and is out of two very impressive Soay parents. He will develop full curls to his horns and a thick neck mane as he matures.

I've wanted sheep for the past 6 years, but hadn't found a breed that was low in maintenance that I actually liked. My cattle are getting very old and won't be around for too much longer, so I convinced my husband that we needed a different source of meat for the freezer that wouldn't eat very much. There's nothing like fresh lamb kabobs on the BBQ in the summertime and some nice chops in the winter....yum!

So far, these guys have really been a joy to have around. They are cute and small, don't eat much, they don't require shearing - as they are a wild "hair" sheep that sheds out, and there is no tail docking. Overall, they are a really great little sheep for a small farm.

The Soay ewes. Antares #SOA10716 the white faced one with greyish looking coat looking at the camera. Luna #SOA10540 the horned regular reddish mouflon to the left. Glitter #SOA10719 the dark mahogany horned mouflon hiding in the back. The other two polled ewes who are meshed together to the right are Brook #SOA10541 and Opal #SOA10537. (Arne is the little bitty spud in the other pen looking at the ewes towards the back of the group.)

Many thanks to Jon and Barbara Flug of Peony Creek Soays in Tonasket, Wa. for letting me add these five lovely ewes to our little flock.

There are also two bigger blackbelly Barbados hair ewes that are part of our flock as well - (the tan looking ones to the left). We purchased them locally for Arne before we knew we were getting any registered Soays for him. (I figured that I'd never find anybody who would sell me Soays immediately to go with the ram, so we settled for some Barbados ewes until we could find some Soays available in the future.) The lambs from these ewes will be bigger bodied and great for the freezer. The african Barbados are less rare in america and more gentler than the wild Soays are, as you can tell from the picture of this sweetheart heading straight for the camera.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Mamishi Gul", Orange Flower. Sculpted by Andrea Kessler and painted by me in early 2009.


A few months ago, Lyn Busacca and I came up with an idea. I've done lots of awards for registries, shows, and european events for Tekes in the past. Lyn writes some lovely and well thought out columns for the Friends of The Akhal Teke section in the Equine Journal. She mentioned something to me in one of her e-mails about wanting to sponsor a year end overall type of open award, and would I do it. Well..... needless to say, I ran with the idea! I felt that it was high time someone came up with an open award that any Teke owner and lover had the chance to win. Thanks to Lyn, the FOTATA - "Friends of the Akhal Teke Award", was born.

I've been a member of two different Teke registries over the years, in just the short time that I've been affiliated with the breed. And both organizations were useless. No communications, botched paperwork, shady bank accounts, and giving absolutely nothing back to the members in return for the dues they pay each year. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? I'd had enough of their cold ways. The FOTATA is the only welcoming and faithfully done award that I will complete in the future. In this way, I can actually feel pretty good about helping and making a small difference without the political mess associated with a registry.

This year's award is a huge plate that I designed. But, in the future if I can afford to get something cast for a reasonable amount, the prize might turn into a bronze. I want people to be proud of winning something that they've worked hard for. Not just a silly little slip of paper saying, "great job". This is a noble and rare breed of horse, and their riders and the horses themselves deserve better than that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More 2009 Ride Photos

Coming across the finish line at Renegade Rendezvous in early July 2009. This was one of the toughest and most technically challenging rides that I've ever been to. We did a 50 miler that seemed to drag on forever. It was very hot - around 100+ degrees even in the shade at the top of the mountain. Also, the challenging elevation climbs and descents were taking a toll on many animals and people in the heat. Nettie isn't all that great of a mountain horse, so I was really proud of her for doing as well as she did. We came in 13th. There were a lot of people having trouble with heat stroke issues and keeping easy boots on their horses with the constant climbing and jutting rocks.
The start of Renegade. There is a "black hole" of a creek crossing at the immediate start of the race. The lady on the arab behind me couldn't get her horse to cross it, so we led the way. The one thing that I will say about my scrubby little horse, is that she never acts stupid or refuses to go through most stuff that other horses think is scary. When we were camped out the night before, Craig and I watched several people having trouble practicing crossing the creek. It was quite entertaining. Nothing like dinner with a show. =:)

1st Day of Klikitat Trek in June of 2009. My hard earned completion prize from the Prineville ride was out in full effect - (the blue rump rug). I kept telling myself I'd get a professionally made one eventually, and I finally had the chance to win one. Here we are starting out in the morning and heading to the trail head to warm up. We did two 30 milers in 2 days again, just like last year.

I braided Nettie's mane the night before when we arrived, and she was the "talk" of the camp. Everybody seemed to really like her russian mat, and we got lots of nice compliments at the vet checks and around the campfire. It was a good tactic to disipate the heat off her neck and make sponging a bit easier.

Headed out on our second loop on the 2nd day of Klikitat. We came in tenth the first day and second on the 2nd day. Craig bought me a handy sponge bag and a water bottle. What a good guy he is. He was my official photographer, and enjoyed watching re-runs of Seinfeld on the T.V. in the trailer while he waited. What a priceless fellow that I married...

A Gripe, or Rant, or Just Plain Feeling Sorry For Myself...

I'm allowed to let off steam on my own blog, right? Or feel sorry for myself, or go kick a can around in the driveway..... yeah, good grief. I'm 10 going on 30....

Here it is: I still haven’t convinced my husband yet to travel over to Idaho to attend the multi-day endurance races. (We are not that far away from the border.) He thinks that it is a universe far, far, away that we’ll get sucked into the nexus of oblivion and never return from. I agree that any horse related activity in today’s economy can be expensive – and money is generally a good thing to have to enjoy events with – but, should we honestly stop living and cut out all of the fun in our lives? Personally, endurance is the greatest joy of my life at the moment and nothing else compares. I believe that I’m only here on this earth for one time, so I’m going to plan on enjoying things a bit while I’m here. Love my husband to death, but he can be a real buzz-kill sometimes. But maybe he's getting tired of camping out? I dunno, I'll have to ask him...

On the other hand I have also had to come to terms with the fact that my little studio hobby painting business will not support the feed bills of the animals plus any extra-cirricular activities that I want to run off and do. So there it is. A grim reality staring me in the face. I have to give in and mumble and grumble to myself in silence. Craig is right, that I need to pull in more dough to go out and play with. Damnit, I hate when he's right.

I guess that I'm amidst a sea of other horsie folks out there in this economically challenging time; I can wish in one hand and crapola in the other and see which one fills up faster...... =:) Someday I will get over to Idaho to enjoy the Teeter's week long distance rides. Someday, oh yes, someday it will happen......

Ride Photos 2009

Warming up at Prineville 2009. What a great ride this was! I love the high desert country, and this race suited Nettie to a "T". We did a 50 miler at this one. The thing that I enjoy the most about the Prineville ride is that Cole Still has posted the trail with mile markers - to let riders know how far they have gone, and how far it is to the vet check. It's the only ride that I've ever been to that has this feature. You'll also notice that I've fashioned a home-made rump rug out of a little old saddle blanket that I pulled out of storage. (I will get my own professional one soon....) Craig bought me a new "used" endurance saddle for my birthday in December, and I'm happy as a clam snuggled into it. I also recieved a new lightweight sport helmet for Christmas from my parents, so no more of that heavy sweat-laden floral lid to deal with. Things are coming together....
The pastel colors of the desert in the morning are hard to beat, and the sweet smell of the sagebrush is intoxicating. I had a great time, and will definitely return to this ride in the future.

Bounty From The Coop 2009

With over 200 chickens on our farm, we get a pretty good amount of eggs in the little basket in the morning and night. (I generally have to collect from the coops twice a day.) Most of the eggs are purchased by local folks in Pendleton who crave our farm fresh eggs. The organic farmyard raised birds have a much better tasting deep golden yolked egg that is far superior to anything that is available in the stores. They taste much better and are a lot healthier for people without any added chemicals and horomones.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Ride Photos 2008

The Klikitat Trek ride in June 2008. Nettie and I did two 30 mile rides on both days. Nettie really enjoys the Klikitat rides, and we usually do fairly well there - being in the top ten most of the time. I'm still using my western saddle here, but have moved her into a little hackamore. Still got that silly helmet here too...
Vet check on the 1st day.

Talking with the ride hostess Marilyn Milestone before going out on the trail on the second day. What a fun lady Marilyn is - and she puts on a heck of a great ride! I borrowed one of the tack tent lady's professional rump rugs to use in the morning. It was an invaluable item to have on the ride. I realized later on that I absolutely had to have one of my own....
Two wonderful people that I met at Klikitat in 08' were Cathy Leddy of Cascade Gold Akhal Tekes and Wendy Connell. Cathy rode her highbred gelding Galen and Wendy was on her Nez Perce mare Alpowa. They rode together in the 50 miler on Saturday. I sat and chatted with both of them after they got back from their ride. It was nice to meet other Akhal Teke afficionados. =:)

Some other Teke folks that I met were Emery Rhodes and his friend Terry. Emery purchased two purebred geldings from Tito's ranch in Texas. I had seen them previously at the Home on The Range ride, but hadn't gotten a chance to meet them or talk to them there. At Klikitat I got to talk with them briefly. The horses were both very lovely, and Emery said that he spent a lot of time working with them on natural horsemanship training.

Ride Photos 2008

Our first race at the Home On The Range ride in the spring of 2008. The weather near Moses Lake in early spring is very chilly, and the horses were fresh going to their first race of the season. Nettie and I did a 25 miler, and it was really wonderful for our first endurance experience. I hope that Gail can put this ride on again in the future.
Warming up and getting ready for the start. I didn't have an endurance saddle yet at the time, so I used my western saddle. I also didn't have a lightweight helmet yet either - so my thick old jumping lid with the bright floral covering had to work. I got more funny comments over that helmet...
Early spring winds..... The horses were getting over their winter whoolies and were rearing to go! Craig and I camped inside our trailer at night and felt like we were going to freeze to death. We were sleeping with with our clothes and coats on as well as a huge comforter on top, and awoke to a layer of frost on the ceiling of the trailer. It snowed just a little during the race too. It was really cold up there!
End of the race. I loosened the cinch and walked Nettie across the finish line. It was a great first ride. =:)

End Of The Season

The 2009 endurance season has come to a close for me and my little horse Sagebrush Nettie (AERC#H42993). Most northwest folks still have a few more races left in the season over in Idaho to attend, but my distance gear is hung-up for the year. Nettie is enjoying a nice break until December - after which we will once again resume conditioning.

What a fun year it was! One of my greatest enjoyments in life is endurance riding. When I was a kid I used to gallop my little shetland pony everywhere - even places where I shouldn't have been. Never did sit still on a horse for very long. I've dabbled a little bit in a few horseback activities throughout my life, (jumping, cutting, ranch sorting, trail, etc.) but have never found anything that I have enjoyed more than endurance riding. Being in the saddle for long hours at a time and getting to know your horse inside and out, with every emotion and trial and tribulation along the way. What a sport! It takes a tough animal to carry a person 50/75/100 miles in a day at a fast clip and stay sound and fit enough to continue going on.

When I'm in a race, my mind thinks back to the time when people actually had to use their horses for transportation. Today's big fat grotesque barrel-backed pony-footed halter horses wouldn't stand a bit of a chance hauling their riders over such distances without having serious break downs. In the 1800's, it probably would've ended with the scene of a smoking gun, a dead horse along the trail, and the cowboy packing his gear back into town to find a more suitable animal at the livery stable. Weaknesses were not tolerated for very long when people depended on their horses for transport.

I study a lot of other horses when I'm at the races, and it is very surprising to see which ones hold-up for a lifetime of hard use and which ones don't. I try to talk to as many folks as I can to find out how many miles their horses have under their belts. Two very memorable guys that I've chatted with own geldings that nobody would ever dream of in a million years as having such a successful career in distance riding.
One is a peruvian paso that was a flunkie at the trainers. He had been to several stables, and every professional that rode him said he was a total flop. Never would amount to anything and probably only be good for 10 minute trail riding. When I seen the horse at a race with his owner, I remember him as an ill-built short little 14 hh horse that required extra gimmicks for cooling. But...... when I engaged his owner in conversation about his horse, I found out that he had rode over 5,000 miles in cometitive distance events over the last couple of years. That little gelding was packing over 300 pounds worth of rider and gear every time he went out, and was still going strong at 10 years of age. Even though most of his physical traits were less than appealing to look at, he had some of the best feet I've ever seen on a horse. I imagine that the next time I see the little guy, he will be crossing the 10,000 mile marker with his rider.

The other horse that comes to mind is a bit of anomaly to me. He's a huge 16hh+ draft-cross gelding owned by a veterinarian who loves to compete. His owner always jokes - "Give me a fall day that's below 40 degrees, and every arab out here will be in serious trouble." I absolutely love it! Whenever I see that great big sucker out on the trail, I root for him every time. In the 2009 season, the big gelding accumulated more than 500 miles. That's fairly impressive for such an unconventionally giant type of distance animal. He is definitely one of my favorite horses competing in endurance. I always try to talk with his owner to see how the gelding is doing when I see him at the races.

I guess I have a soft spot for "non-arab" four legged competitors in endurance. The sport has been saturated with arabians for so long, that I find it refreshing to see other breeds/types out there competing. I always pull for them, and happy to see them out there doing a great job.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bounty From The Garden 2009

Some of the veggies that I collected for dinner tonight. Craig and I are trying to eat healthier, and some home grown garden variety is a great way to start. We collect about this much every week.
The pumpkin and squash garden in back near the horse pens. I grew a few ears of corn in there for the chickens too. The corn didn't get very tall, but the birds won't mind.

The garden by the house. It needs weeded desperately, but I've got plenty of other things keeping me pre-occupied rather than doing that. =:) It's a good sized garden for two people.


Well, here I am. Never thought that I'd get dragged into the 21st century technology as a blogger. A website yes - but blogging no. Nevertheless.....
A friend recently asked me what I had been up to - and my old standby reply leapt out, "not much". I guess that I should probably have more to say than that..... so here goes:

My name is Shannon Mayfield. I'm a happily married 30 year old female living on the outskirts of Pendleton, Or. (in the Mission area, to be exact). My husband and I have a little 5 acre farm that we raise poultry, livestock, and vegetables on. It's a lot of work keeping a farm up and operating smoothly, but it's a very rewarding venture as well. Craig, (my husband) owns and operates the local Harley aftermarket motorcycle shop in town, where he spends most of his time being very busy. Our business in Pendleton is not a big dealership operation by any stretch, but it's a nice cozy little laid-back place for the local bike riders to get their machines worked on. (I'll have more to say about the business later on.)

Our farm currently consists of: 8 horses, 1 pony, 2 cows, 225 chickens, 6 turkeys, 9 pigeons, 4 grey partridge, 1 goat, 3 sheep, 4 barn cats, 2 beagles, and 2 indoor housecats. As you've probably guessed, this is enough to keep me buried in work each day. If I'm not feeding something, I'm generally cleaning something up around here. Our farm is quaint and peaceful for the most part, except for when the roosters begin crowing in the morning. Then it gets a little bit loud for an hour or two. We have two small vegetable gardens, and some "bird and bee" flower garden areas around here as well.

Four of our horses are youngsters and need saddle training/breaking, which I will post about later on. My current endurance horse will get discussed later, as well as the rest of the four legged equine troop. Our sheep project is a fledgling operation that I've just begun to build upon - and it's been a lot of fun so far. Our little chicken hatchery is in a constant state of experimentation with me at the helm as well. I'm always looking to improve certain strains of exotic fowl to the best of my abilities. There are a few different breeds of birds that we have that are on the critically endangered list, and are very rare on American soil. I will post more about those later on, too.

My parents and grandparents live a short distance away in Helix, OR. I was raised there in a small town of roughly 150 inhabitants. I went through every grade in the same big long school building. My parents have a farm there too, and that is where I attained my two 4-H cows that are still alive and well today. (The cows are roughly 25 years old now, and I've pampered them shamelessly over the years).

As well as having a farm with lots of animals, I'm an avid painter and sculptor in the model horse hobby. It's a good little tight-knit community and more lucerative than what most people think it would be. Most of my mentors in the hobby are bio-mechanical whizzes who have gone onto sculpting gorgeous bronzes for art galleries and institutions nationwide. I feel very humbled and incredibly blessed to learn from such great artists. I will post more about that later too.

Well, I think that's probably about it for now. Until next time.... =:)