Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a bright and jolly Christmas and a very happy New Year! Looking forward to some new and exciting adventures in 2011. =:)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tommy's Toodling Along!

I'm very happy that Tommy has been making great progress in his training in the past few weeks. When the weather cooperates and isn't bombarding us with ice, or snow, or thawed out sloppy mud-bog conditions - we make some great headway on doing stuff! =:) My round pen has sand in it for drainage and thick grippy footing, and so far it is holding out really well. If it doesn't snow, we'll keep on pluggin' away at things!

Tommy has learned to be pretty stable and have good balance with the added weight he has to carry. We started out with doing a slow walk on Monday, and by today (Saturday), we did our first day of slow loping in both directions. I was thrilled!
"Are you sure you really want me to Go..?" "Yes Tommy...Go." It is really interesting to watch the myriad of feet positions that a young horse goes into when they are sticky and not sure what to do. It usually feels as weird as it looks. Bless his heart, he's getting the hang of moving out more freely and easily as we progress.

Motoring along at a nice relaxed jog.

This is my absolute FAVORITE picture that Craig has taken of the two of us! Both of us look like we should be in a pleasure class at a show somewhere.... =:) Nice and quiet and relaxed. Uber cool!

And the wee-bit faster endurance trot. Something I look forward to riding quite a bit in the future!

All done, good boy Tommy. I have a big "perma-grin" stuck to my face! He's such a nice kind-hearted fellow. We'll have more blog posts in the future as he progresses along under saddle.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Maestros Bardic Compadre" a classic champagne sport pony stallion painted in December 2010. He is Stacey Tumlinsons Bardigiano resin "Fabio". I painted this guy a unique color based off of Maestros Bardic Gold - a real silver champagne sport pony stallion, and Sweet Apples a stock horse mare, in the ICH registry.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winter Barn Blues Revisited

It's that time of year again. It never fails.... Around the last week of November the weather gets nasty and the ground turns into mud. THICK STICKY MUD.... ugh. It's one of those things that makes farm life much more challenging than it should be. Cleaning rounds go on double time - (as if there weren't enough things to keep up with around here.) And the horse stalls require twice as much mucking when moisture fills the air and instantly turns normally dry materials into slippery slop.

It's around this time of the year I start "dreaming" - fantasizing really.... of a new barn. Our little farm here as a shedrow of three Noble panel stalls and four outdoor matted pens. With only four acres of pasture land, the animals have to go into pens and stalls most of the time. They get daily turnout in the outdoor arena to tear around in - but even the arena has turned into a giant sloppy mess with all of the rain that has been pouring down lately.

On the upside, Craig and I are getting closer to paying our mortgage off, so we have been having small micro discussions of future barn plans. It might happen within another year or two......possibly. Yayyyhhhh!!!!

This is where my overactive imagination and day-dreaming comes into play. If money grew on trees and we became miraculously independently wealthy, our barn would look something like the one pictured below:
Woot! Raise the roof! That wistful thinking is such fun. Another somewhat less elaborate barn is pictured below, and I could settle for it too....
Of course, these bucko huge barns aren't complete without an appropriately sized indoor riding arena..... one of sheer engineering genius:

Stunning pieces of architecture. I'm sure they're somewhere around a cool million or so to build. No problem. Gotta go find those money tree seedlings and start planting.....

But seriously, some things are doable and affordable. I found these Dutch Masters stall door plans on the internet and thought that it was a really nice design. They are modest and attractive without being too over-the-top elaborate like some of the high dollar european designed ones. I liked them a lot.

Then there is the traditional wood framed rough cut rustic interiors like in the photo above. It's a warm and inviting look that I could easily fall in love with - but my ever leering fear and paranoia of a barn fire would cause great hesitation. I do love that old style look though....

And to make things even more interesting, how about a round barn? These are quirky and fascinating architectural wonders to behold. I stumbled upon a couple of them when looking at different barn plans on the internet. The timbers that constitute the ceilings on these things are unbelievable! Some are in a star shaped pattern to the top, and some are similar to a funnel effect. It's an amazing construction feat!

In a way, they somewhat remind me of a dairy barn.... especially the one with the bell shaped doorway.

And then there are always some funky barns floating around out there in the nooks of the big wide world. I liked this one pictured below, because it reminded me of an old cobblers building. Can't you imagine a blacksmith pounding on some iron horseshoes outside where those garbage cans are located? Kind of takes a person back to the middle ages a bit. This is an actual functioning barn (Rubel Pharms) and if you look closely there are some horses off to the left in the picture. I'm guessing this stable is probably located in europe or spain somewhere....

But amidst the daydreaming and trips into "la-la barn-o-land".... reality sets in, and I have to think reasonably about what is both feasible for our pocketbook and functionable for our location. I've perused the plans on this website quite frequently recently:
They have some good simple designs, depending on what size a person would like. I'm leaning towards the Monterrey 6 stall or the Hickock 8 stall plans. The barn pictured below would be more of our speed as well.

We will see what happens in the future. But for right now, we're stuck with dreaming our way out of the winter mud and slop. Sigh...... =:)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Fun Show

On Saturday the 30th, the Richland Riders club held their second annual Halloween fun show in Richland, Wa. It was an open show for everybody to get dressed up in costumes and have a blast at! The club also featured some special classes for the "strides" challenged riders, which I thought was a really great idea. Not many horse shows around our area have classes for everybody to participate in, so it was good to see everyone being included. There were around 30 entries for this fun little show, and it was great experience to practice at without a lot of excess pressure.

The Richland Riders club has some great grounds with a big outdoor arena, two round corrals, warm-up ring, trail course, barn rentals, lots of boarding runs, and plenty of trailer parking for competitors and boarders alike. If I lived in the Tri-Cities area, I would definitely want to ride here everyday! The show was really fun, and the clouds only spinkled a few tiny rain drops here and there. Nettie and I went as the wicked witch of the west and her big trusty yellow broomstick. =:)

I had ordered a black knit witches cape, but it didn't arrive in the mail in time before for the show. So, a red knit blanket had to fill in to keep me warm. It worked out pretty good on a chilly day.
We participated in the costume parade and costumed open showmanship. We came in second for our age category in the costume judge off. There was a lady with some REAL traditional mongolian trappings and garb that won the class. She had a very impressive gorgeous outfit.

Here we are getting ready for the english classes. I rode my old 1800's victorian english sidesaddle for the english pleasure, english equitation, and creepy command. I had to get rid of the knit blanket in order to ride, and put on a jacket because it was getting very cold. Also, the witches nose kept fogging up my glasses, so those had to get put away as well. =:)
A week before the show, I had called up Louise Beach to come and ride with me here. Louise is an ISSO certified sidesaddle instructor who lives in Pendleton. I had never met her before, and had hoped that it wasn't too forward of me to call her up and ask her to come. It was a really great day to meet her, and she helped me with some posture positioning in both of my sidesaddles for the english and western classes. I got to meet her gaited walking horse Bo, and she even let me borrow one of her handmade western riding habits that she had brought. (Ironically, we are about the same size, so her habit fit me great. What are the odds of that happening with someone you've never even met before?)

The show hostess was thrilled to have sidesaddlers participate at this show, and both Louise and I had a lot of fun riding alongside the normal astride competitors.
Nettie does great with the sidesaddle and is as honest and trustworthy as the day is long, but I am going to have to work harder on her headset. She is so used to getting ridden in a bosal everywhere that she forgets to collect up and tuck her nose in. This is something that we are going to work on for the future. Lots more practice...
But, we ended up doing great with the western pleasure, western equitation, and pumpkin patterns. And, we WON the rotten egg on a spoon race - sidesaddle no less! We managed to pick up a lope and hold onto the egg for a half a lap before we dropped it. Nettie and I won a bridle rack for being the last ones to bumble our egg into the dirt. We were really close to winning the ride a buck, but lost our dollar when the judge asked us to do a hand gallop! What a hoot. Imagine a bunch of 4-H kids and Nettie and I tearing around the arena bareback at a wild gallop madly clinging to the dollar bills clinched under our butts.... It was great!!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall Soay Ram Photos

Our Soay herdsire Grande Ronde Arne, in fall 2010. I just turned him in with the ewes and he is starting to grow his breeding mane out. It will eventually reach down to his knees, like it did last year. Love those thick long manes!
Arne's a good looking fellow with his full curl and deep ruddish mouflon colors. =:)

Arne's son - Mayfields Jumpin Jehosephat. Jumpin Joe will have some great horns when he gets older. Even wider set than his father! He'll make a really awesome herdsire for someone's starter flock.

Jumpin Joe is going to be a handsome guy! I can't wait to see how he looks when he's fully matured. I think that he'll make a spectacular ram.

Mayfields Routan, another son of Arne. Rootie is a dark mahogany mouflon Soay ram with wide horns as well. This guy would be another one that would make a great herdsire for a flock. He's a pretty dark color too...

Rootie and his buddy Mayfields Loompah. You can see how much wider Rootie's horns are compared to Loompah's. They are the same age from our lamb crop this year.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oregon 100 2010

On Friday we finished packing up the trailer and headed out for the Oregon 100 desert ride near Brothers, OR. We rolled into camp at around 7:00 p.m. and settled in for the night. As usual, I could only get about an hours worth of sleep. (I always lay awake thinking about what could go wrong the next day.) But, things went spectacularly at this ride! I love the desert, and this ride didn't disappoint. The scenery here is like being back in the old west, riding the range like a cowboy - free as a bird. My kind of heaven!

For the first time, my young fellow did a 50 miler. Being just five years old, I knew I was pushing it with Ox. But, we went slowly..... and I do mean VERY slowly..... and he did great. This was a really good ride for his first time 50. Not technically difficult with lots of flat land and sandy footing. In fact - we left the hoof boots back in the truck. There was no need for them to get used. Ox did the whole ride barefoot, and he wasn't alone. There were other people at the ride who were hoofin' it free as the breeze as well. What a fabulous place for a barefoot horse!

Unfortunately with sand, there also comes some perils as well. Some folks were having lameness issues from trying to go too fast in the deep sandy stuff. Lots of lameness pulls at the checks. Ox and I were 30 miles into the second loop when he started getting a bit stiff in the hind end. I could feel him slump a little bit every two or three miles at the trot, so we slowed down to a walk and kept that pace for the rest of the ride. It was the slowest I've ever traveled at an endurance ride, but we were going to finish it in good shape. Come hell or high water, we were going to finish! And this is why.....

Earlier in the year one of the vets, (not sure which one it was) pulled us at Prineville. And nobody said a peep about it. I would've appreciated being clued in by someone who thought we were "off" somewhere. But there wasn't the slightest indication that anything was wrong. As far as I could tell, we were doing good - Ox felt great, and I was happy with how the ride went. But, there must've been something going on that I didn't see. Because when the results came in two months later, (yes, unbelievabley it took the management two months to get their paperwork in....) I seen that we had been pulled. Argh!!!!

So, at this ride I definitely wanted to finish in good shape, and asked every vet if we were fit to continue or if something looked wrong. All of them said we were good to go, so I'm considering us to have a completion at this one.

Nice soft sandy tracks. Loved it!!!!!
Vet check on the second loop.

Ox beugarded the hay pile at the check. People would come over and get a flake or two and take it to their horses by the crew bags and chairs. I had been sitting in the saddle for a long time, so I stood for 45 minutes and let him eat wherever he wanted to. He seems to enjoy it when he's in charge of the hay pile...

R.G. "Dick" Root and the amazing Rocky. I love Dick's big horse, and cheer for him every time I see him at a ride. Dick is a veterinarian and knows how to get the most out of his great big fellow. Rocky is huge, and Dick is around my height and generally has to use a stock tank or a step stool just to get on the big boy. But once they get going - look out! Rocky hums along at a big thundering roll. It's hard to believe that this huge drafty fellow is a major competitor against arabs. Go Rocky go!

On the third loop, the trail took us through these cool old cattle corrals. There was a stock tank on the far side of it, and Ox and I stopped to admire the pens. It looked like they had been there for several years and had seen lots of cattle use. Very cool.

There was also this lone bull out on the range. I swear that the cowboy in me came out in full force when I seen this guy grazing out there alone. It was just a perfect moment. I could've stayed out there admiring him and the sagebrush scenery forever.

All done! =:) We finished at dusk. What a great ride. I was thrilled with how Ox did, and I hope that we can accomplish another couple of 50 milers next year. This ride gave me great hope for the future.

Westward Ho Parade 2010

This year was the big 100th anniversary of the Pendleton Round-Up, and Craig and I decided to ride through the Westward Ho parade. My Mom opted to not to take a chance on it with Dollar, and I can't blame her a bit for that. This is a huge parade that works best with very gentle and very broke horses. You never know what can happen here....

The Westward Ho is one of the oldest and biggest non-motorized parades in the nation. I like this parade a lot better than the previous Dress-Up parade because cars, 4-wheelers, and motorcycles are not allowed. You can ride a horse, ride in a buggy or a wagon, or walk - just like the old days. The crowd seems to like this parade much better as well, and there is a huge turnout of spectators that line the streets of Pendleton to watch it.

We had a long wait for the parade to start, roughly an hour and a half of standing in line. You can see in the picture above, entrants were backed up for 1/2 a mile waiting to go through. It was a huge parade this year - since it was the centennial - and Craig and I were entry number 161. There were folks behind us in line too, so I'm guessing there were over 200 entries that participated.
Craig was all smiles and ready to go! He has the brokest horse that we own, (Dee) who has been though this parade a zillion times, and I was riding Nettie who has been through the Dress Up parade once. Both horses did exceptionally well. Unfortunately there was a wagon lined up behind us that had some issues halfway through the parade and almost became a wreck. But we were able to get out of the way without a problem. Sometimes these parades get a bit western - (and not in a good way), and it's best to be astride calm headed horses.

A photo that my mom took of us. Thanks mom! The Eastern Oregonian also took a picture of us going through downtown side by side. I rode Nettie sidesaddle again with the bosal. She did wonderfully.

Craig and Dee. He had a lot of fun and looked sharp. After the parade went through downtown, there was a serpentine of the entrants that went into the Round-Up arena for a big picture of everybody. We opted to not do this, because we had to get home and pack for an endurance ride coming up. But, if we had more time we would've been in the big group parde photo. It was a fun time and we got to see a lot of familiar faces. =:)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

WEG - Let The Games Begin!

It's fairly exciting to have the World Equestrian Games on our own home turf in the United States. The endurance ride is sure to be thrilling! I cannot afford to go and watch, but I'm betting my nickels between the American team and the United Arab Emirates to win. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the royal family blows the competition away....these people don't fool around! While most folks in our country long trot their horses over 100 mile stretches, the UAE competitors do it at a lope - in 100+ degree temperatures! They've got some damned tough horses to contend with.

(Turn the speakers down if you're not into native music...)

I was perusing Monica's blog this morning, and she has some neat entries about WEG.

Can't wait to watch NBC!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cheezburgz Kitties

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Muddy Frog Water Parade

On Saturday morning the 21st, my mom and I took part in the Muddy Frog Water parade in Milton-Freewater, OR. It is a really fun little parade with a fair amount of horse entries for the festival. The parade winds roughly 10 blocks through the old part of downtown main street.

My mom was riding her two year old gelding Dollar, and I was riding Nettie sidesaddle. We were officially the "Palomino Riders" for the parade. Dollar did really well for being a two year old green colt! Nettie was fairly calm and patient for the most part, so it helped Dollar to relax and take things in stride. He was great, and I was very impressed with him for making it through a parade - being it's his first, and he's only a two year old..!!

Mom and I with smiles.
Nettie was looking less than thrilled... She has been through the Round-Up parade before, so she knows what's in store for her.

We decided to get a little bit floral for the parade. It was a nice touch for that long ol' mustang mane to get some pretty flowers put in it.

Both my mom and I had a really great time, and hopefully we'll be ready to do the Round-Up Centennial parade this year. Pendleton is celebrating it's 100th anniversary of the rodeo, so the parade coming up next month is gonna be a big one! The Muddy Frog Water was a great warm up for what's ahead next. =:)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Spit N' Polish

On a whim, I entered the Union County Fair Open Horse show today. It had a sidesaddle class - so I was sold on going to it. (Even if I got there to enter just that class alone, I was going.) But, I figured if we were making the trip over the mountain to LaGrande, might as well do a few more classes when we got there as well...

There's been a really low number of schooling and practice shows in our area this year. Hardly any at all. I haven't been to a horse show in a few years, so I wasn't quite too sure how things would go today. (I would've preferred to get more practice in at some smaller schooling shows before going to an open show, but there just aren't any around.) But, it proved to be a useful tool to get my horses used to public places and experience new things. The carnival was setup and there was lots of noises and commotion and strange horses and running children..... But my two little backyard troopers took things in stride. I was quite proud of the girls! Suzette has only been to one schooling show as a baby yearling, and Nettie the mustang has never been to a show in her entire life. Fun stuff!

All in all, everything went really well and we came home with a few ribbons for our efforts.

Suzette winning 1st place in light breed mares 4 yrs. and older.

The judge thought that she was cute, and we did okay with our showmanship. We entered the green horse and green rider showmanship halter classes and got two third places. I messed up the pattern just a little bit on the green rider, and Suzette wasn't quite as polished on her haunch turns for the green horse class. But, we did our best.
Walking the pattern. For a young horse she did really well and stayed very calm, something we've worked diligently on no matter where we go. I'm guessing that by the next show we'll probably be doing some saddle classes together, hopefully.
Nettie and I in the sidesaddle class. The judge loved it. She had never had anybody in a sidesaddle class before, so we gave it a go. Nettie nailed both loping leads too! Woot!!!! God, was I ever proud of her for that... We were sporting the old single post 1905 western Congle, made in Portland, OR. The seat's a bit beat-up on it, but it's still sound enough to ride in.

We had lots of questions from fellow showers about the saddle, and if it was a hard thing to ride. My reply was - it just takes practice.

Folks have gotta love the sidesaddle classes and support them, or else they will be dropped from shows. I was really surprised to see it listed at his show, and I went specifically just to ride in that class. Come hell or high water, I was going to be there to ride it!

Nettie doesn't have the greatest headset for sidesaddle, but she's learning. I just need to keep at it with her. It's hard to keep her squeezed with the leg to round her frame up to get the head down when there's nothing on the other side to squeeze with..... But she's improving every time we ride aside, and that's what matters.
Our blue ribbon. Not too bad for a scrubby little rangebred mustang! It's hard to believe that I use this horse for endurance too. Today was the first time that she's ever had a curb bit in her mouth, and she handled it very well. I usually just ride with a bosal everywhere.
Next was green horse and green rider english pleasure, and we gave it a go. There were five entries in the first class and four in the next, and we placed second both times. I really need to work on my posture when I'm riding english. It's pretty obvious from the photos that I always look like I'm riding western no matter what.......something I need to work further on in the future.
But sometimes riding in a western position isn't always a bad thing.....

This was a funny shot above. The judge asked us to halt from a canter, and Nettie did a sliding stop like a reining horse! I had to laugh. It was a hoot. Craig was giggling too. It's probably a good thing that I had my feet forward and toes out, or I would've been eating an english mane sandwich.
Our second place english ribbons.
Last, we entered the green horse and green rider western pleasure classes. Our first class we did great in, winning a first place out of six entries. But, in the last class Nettie was getting hot and tired and bumbled her leads a little bit. We got a fourth place. She let me know that it was time to pack the trailer and head on home.
Overall, a very fun day!