Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Real Beauties

There are many times in my life that I've wished that I was independently wealthy.....

Today's horse market is in a pretty sad state. There are several very nice well trained horses in america going for dirt cheap. A friend of mine e-mailed the other day and reported that he witnessed a perfectly sound 12 year old quarter horse gelding - a dead broke kids horse - sell for $200 from his boarding barn. That's a sad commentary. With hay prices at an all time high and a glutted saturatation of the market, things are most likely not going to get better anytime soon. It's happening in other places of the world as well. Inflation of the necessities in life, (like fuel to get to work with) are becoming a real buggar to grapple with - and generally the hobby details in people's lives are the ones that are going to suffer (horses).

But, then again on a cheerier note: there's never been a better time to pick up some totally awesome stock at rock bottom prices. I'm not in the market for another horse, (Craig would be sent to the big house for murdering me if I brought another horse home, and I'm also in a state of being habitually flat ass broke with my finances....) - but it's fun to look around at what's out there.

When I happened on to Nadja's russian sale site, I fell head over heels for Saganeya. What a floating butterfly of a beauty! And a steal of a price too. I can remember 10 years ago when I first discovered this breed, a broodmare of this caliber could easily have garnered $30 to $50,000. With the market the way that it is, she is a bargain. Like most of the russian teke stables, they prove their broodstock on the race track. (So, she is race broke - which would translate into "green broke" for pleasure or trail riding.) But still a steal of a deal for a fantastic akhal teke mare. Since she is still a very young horse, there is still time for her to have another career opportunity.


3 year old filly

There are many other lovely horses available on the site and up for grabs as well. A few of my other favorites are listed below:

Mersedes 3 year old filly

Olimpiada 2 year old filly


3 year old colt

Pergenbek 10

10 year old stallion

Akderek 11 year old stallion

Sunday, September 11, 2011

North PAC Oregon 100

Yesterday we attended the North PAC/Oregon 100 near Brothers, OR. It was really a great experience for Tommy. He performed exceptionally well for such a young horse! I was very proud of him.

This was his very first real ride out at a distance event, and it was a very good one for him to start with. The country down near Brothers is non-technical with a lot of wide open flat sandy desert. You can see the whole ride pack in front of you, (and some other people coming up from the back), from a good long distance away. Unlike the forest rides, nobody will come out of the trees and surprise your horse and scare the hell out of them. But, there are other unexpected surprises in store on the desert rides - like giant herds of antelope that dart right by your horses! (Yes, it happened, and people had problems.) But overall it's a really great ride to attend. There are many competitive long distance riders who make this their first 100 mile experience, and it's some awesome terrain for that.

My goal at this ride was to just keep Tommy calm and have a good walking "training" ride. We started the very last behind everybody else at camp, because I wanted him to calmly walk out and not get rattled or nervous about anything. (There's nothing worse than having a young green horse start off on the wrong foot by letting them bounce around at the start of a ride and progressively get worse as they get older....) But as Tommy stood next to me and watched everybody else leave in a cloud of dust, you could just see the wheels working in his head - "Where are they going, and why are they leaving so fast....?" It was comical watching him trying to figure out what was going on.

After everybody else left camp and we headed out down the trail at a relaxed walk, there were some 25 milers (who unfortunately got lost and took the wrong loop), come up from behind us and pass us along the way. Much to my surprise, Tommy handled it very well. I fully expected him to get his adrenaline and blood pressure up and want to trot along behind them after they went by us. But he didn't. We would calmly stop along the shoulder of the trail and I'd let him watch them as they passed us at a speedy trot, and then get back onto the trail at a nice leiusurely walk. It was great. I never felt out of control at any time on him, which was a huge sigh of relief. Sometime you never know what a young green horse will do when they experience high speed trail traffic for the first time....some spook and run off, some buck..,ect. Tommy handled it exceptionally well.

We made it almost half way through the ride before we hit a problem. Unfortunately our ride was cut short due to some large lava rocks. We were walking along just fine when I felt him trip and go down in the hind end. I looked back along the trail to see some huge jagged lava rocks sticking up out of the dust. They had been covered completely up by the sand and trail dust and you really couldn't see them very well at all. We kept walking down the trail, but I could tell that he was a bit off from his back legs tripping. Luckily the vet check was only 2 to 3 miles down the trail, so we kept walking on to it. At the check I got off and told the vet what had happened. Ironically there was another rider that was there who pulled because of the same problem. I trotted Tommy out and he was a bit tender and gimpy, so we stood around and ate some hay and drank some water and waited for awhile. (This was also a very good experience for him, as I wasn't sure how he would handle eating and drinking along the trail....) He ate and drank very well, and he got to see some other people (who unfortunately were lost) come in to the check and leave.

After about 20 minutes passed there wasn't much improvement with his hind end gait, so I opted to call it a day. I usually take not being able to finish a ride very personally and with great disappointment - but there was no need for that here. Tommy had proven to me that he could be a very reliable mount and act calm and relaxed at these rides, and that is all that I could ever have asked for. It was kind-of an act of nature that took us (and some other riders) out, and nobody can plan for these unexpected types of things. But Tommy did very well tempermentally, so I was very happy with him. There is great hope for the future.

A picture that Craig snapped of us as we made our way out of ride camp. I love this flat open terrain. There's lots of room to get off of the trail and work on problems with your horse, if you encounter any. Luckily Tommy never gave me a reason to use the extra space to work on anything, as he was very well behaved. But it was there if we needed it...
A picture of us after the ride, nice and relaxed. I forgot the camera in the truck, so I didn't get any pictures going along the trail. At the Friday night ride meeting Charki the ride manager gave us a bit of green ribbon to put in his tail, so that people wouldn't ride up too close behind us. I know Tommy pretty well, but sometimes young horses will kick out of fear and it will come as a surprise to their riders. The green ribbon was a pre-cautionary measure available to let people know that I was on a new young horse and to keep their distance from us.
At about 1:00 p.m. Craig and I ate hot dogs with Alex Rivas at his trailer, (they were great - thanks Alex!) and we let Tommy rest and munch hay at camp for a few hours. Before we loaded him up into the trailer I trotted him out and he was greatly improved and sound by the time we headed for home. Overall it was a great experience for him, and I have no regrets about the ride. =:)

More Trail Photos

On Saturday the 3rd, we went for another trail ride again. This time it was with my parents and two of their friends from Ukiah, Jeff and MaryAnn. (They are the same people who owned the ranch where my mom's clinic was held a few months earlier.)
It was a beautiful day, and we rode along along the trail for roughly 10 - 12 miles.

A picture of Mary Ann and her Fjord x TB mare. Jeff is behind her on his Percheron x TB mare.

The pretty purple flowers were out again!

My mom was taking pictures, on Diamond.

She managed to get some good pictures of all of us at a lookout point. (I think that her camera picks up colors better than mine does.) I had my own camera out and was taking a picture of Dad, Jeff, and MaryAnn.

A picture my mom took of both of us.

Lots of pretty wild flowers along the trail!

I got to try out Craig's "new" old saddle on the trail ride Saturday. He wasn't feeling all too well that morning when we went, so he opted not to go. It turned out as being a somewhat long trail ride anyway, so I don't think that he minded missing it too much. (He's more of a one or two hour type of trail rider, and the all day trails are a bit too long).

We purchased this saddle online and it turned out as being a GREAT deal! It's an old Severe made by my grandfather and my uncle, both of which are deceased now. (So it has sentimental value - as well as collectibility value.) The tree was custom made and named after the fellow who order it, a.k.a. "the Bernard". The tree is extremely sound for it's age, and my dad re-wrapped the horn and put new stirrups on it - and it's ready to go!

I thought that it was a very comfortable saddle with the padded seat and it seemed to fit Tommy pretty good as well, which was surprising. I wasn't sure how close it would be to my own saddle, but it turned out pretty darned close. Nettie has just as high of withers as Tommy does, and the gullet clearance was great - so this saddle should work out very well for Craig when he rides her.

Now he won't be borrowing my saddle for parades and trails when we go, because he'll have his own. And I think that he'll totally love it! =:)


I've been running behind in the blog posting lately, so I'm playing catch-up and posting a few new entries today. There's lots of stuff that's been happening lately.....and it's all part of the summertime activities.

On Friday the 2nd, Craig and I went out to my parents and I got some practice in on the string cow again. Tommy is getting better about it, but he is still apprehensive and scared every time it gets turned on. But he'll get better about it, I just need to be patient with him.....

To make the learning session more interesting - I had the chance to ride big Grace! To be honest, I felt like a fish out of water on top of her. She is a total 180 degrees polar opposite from what I'm used to riding. Unlike Tommy, Grace has absolutely no fear whatsoever of the string cow - in fact a couple of times I thought that she was actually going to steam roll right into it when she turned! It was a weird feeling for me, because instead of constantly having to work to push a horse up to get closer to it, I had to use my legs (and the spurs) to actually keep Grace back off away from it. It was odd to have to do everything the complete opposite of what I'm used to doing....
Grace is also a big round power house of a stock horse, so I felt like I was riding a 747 coming in for a landing. (Quite the opposite of Mr. narrow rail butt Tommy.) The tack was different as well. I normally ride a long stirrup for distance, but on a cutting saddle the stirrups set up very high and short for a reason - to stay anchored on the horse when they turn. I had to get used to it in a very rapid fashion.

Big Grace working the cow. Notice how close she is to it? If you look at the older blog posts of me and Tommy, we are still working on getting half of the distance closer.

My free hand is way too high - (a very bad habit that I need to break). My other hand was clinging to the saddle horn for dear life.....

It was a very good experience for me to ride a seasoned cutting horse to see what it is supposed to feel like. A special thank you to my mom and Grace's owner Debbie Schuening for giving me the opportunity. I realize that Tommy and I have a long ways to go yet before he's anywhere near Grace's level - but hopefully in the future might be able to eventually get somewhere kind-of close.

Craig managed to get a cell phone video of Tommy and I practicing, and I put it on my Youtube channel: