I hear there's a unicorn club out there. You know, those of you with white horses with LOTS of hair that like to flaunt they have LOTS of hair - and love to shake that hair at stuff that gets in their way? I am submitting this picture to see what you all think. Does this "blue roan pinto mare" have enough to get us in this elite club?
Hopefully you can tell mane from snow...
What a great day for a ride - and Beel opted for the mountain to do a snow check; can't blame him for being tired of 'town' scenery.
This is definitely much better - and nice and dry.
Anyone who recognizes this as a mobile couch is so right. For the last seven years, we had sent the horses to a special mountain area for 5 - 6 months, to run wild like their ancestors. They always came back trim and fit from running the mountain and fending for themselves. This winter, that property had been sold, so the horses had to spend all winter at home, dry-lotted and dependent on us for food and care. We usually have a notoriously cold, snowy and windy winter, so I tried to get them prepped with lots of hay, beet pulp and a top dressing of complete feed. Well, about six weeks ago, I realized that between the milder weather we have had, lack of mountain climbing, and all that TLC, under all that gorgeous winter hair - we had some fat horses! So, they are on a weight loss program as we speak. Everything has been cut back - gradually - and both boys look pretty darn good ... and then there is Jesse. She's trying hard to lose a few pounds, but we all know how that sometimes doesn't work, so an exercise program has been added. She gets 'road work' nearly every day and I can tell by her stride that things are improving - but you sure couldn't tell by her looks. Gotta say - she sure is a comfortable bareback ride!!!! (however, I can't get my feet down under my hips where they belong because someone is too wide).
There's a trail here somewhere; you can sort of see it. What you can't see is how much the trail drops below the snow line. Jesse's thinking it over.
After some decision making, the outrider trail seems negotiable, until we come to this downed tree, and this is after Beel has broken some branches off. More stubs come off and Ranger says it's OK to cross, as long as you go all the way across. However, Mr. Beel wanted him to stop a-straddle of the tree to make remounting a little easier. Say What!?! No, no, no. You must CROSS the tree, not stand over it. So, a short training session later, Ranger dutifully straddles the tree and let's Beel climb aboard.
Now Miss Jesse has patiently watched all this as an observer, so when I ask her to cross the tree, she nicely 'parks' herself straddled the tree, because this must be what we are supposed to do. Only problem, I am already on her back! A nice pat and a giggle, and she walks off like a champ.
Shortly after the tree, we decided the trail was too chancy, so we headed cross country (who doesn't like bush-whacking?) through the timber and - hopefully - not as deep snow patches.
Now Ranger is a high desert Mustang, having been born and spent the first eight years of his life on the lava flats of northern Nevada, so he knows you never pass up a water source, be it a stream, lake, or ... snowfield. That boy turns into a snow shovel, scooping snow as fast as he can walk.
After climbing back up the slope, we had to practice Obstacle 101 for a few.
On the way back to the highway, Beel and Ranger did their impression of 'Dead Cowboy Riding'. It was just a really fun day.
As we got to the highway, Jesse did her best 'pretty please' to NOT go home yet, so we rode through town, a bigger challenge than expected when we got to the turnoff and discovered some tree work going on with a large chainsaw - right next to the road. They showed their brave side and sidled right by with just a twitch of the ears.
Hey, there's the Post Office; let's get the mail. Not many towns let you park your horse out front of the Post Office. While there, we even visited with several neighbors who stopped in; and a couple horses we know got lots of pats and hugs - almost as good as carrots.
Modern day Pony Express - life in a small town is G O O D!
Last night I was loading the wood stove for the night. The stove had gone out during the day, so it took an extra couple minutes kneeling in front of it after filling it with paper and wood. When the fire was burning well, I stood up.
Spring: A device made of an elastic material that when deflected returns to its original shape.
Spring: A fissure in the dirt or rock through which ground water seeps or flows to the surface.
Spring: To leap up or forward in a rapid, unexpected fashion.
Spring: The period from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice. The period when most people start looking forward to warm weather, but WE wander around worrying about when the next huge snowstorm will hit.
Maybe they call it spring because snow leaps at us in an unexpected fashion, the weather snaps back to sunny, and water pours out of the mud.
Happy "Waiting for the Other Shoe To Drop" season!
Yesterday, GunDiva, RCC and I spent the day at the Rocky Mt. Horse Expo at the Denver Stockyards. It was a beautiful day outside (and of course, we were inside!) and a lot of fun to be walking and talking horses with a couple of my 'kids'. We were sorely saddened to not find a lot of horse related 'gear' at the show; a lot of jewelry, clothes, lots of artwork, foods, etc.; but a good reason for me to go in the past was the fact you could get needed supplies for a reasonable cost. What? No wormer - non, nada; even asked! Nope. Well, how about sheets, blankets, whatever you want to call them? I wanted to do some comparison shopping between styles and brands; you know, get my hands on them before ordering something inappropriate. Nada again! We found a couple, literally, on consignment. Also wanted to pick up some mane and tail detangler. Well, guess not this year. Not sure what happened. I guess human products sell so much better at these things.
The good news: we sat through a couple of Julie Goodnight's talks (of Julie Goodnight, Horsemaster fame) and it was more eye-opening to me than I expected. As you may know, I have had both hips replaced, but before that I had continued riding, developing some not-so-good horse postures, which in turn created a lot of BAD muscle memory. I have been struggling to change that on the ground; now it's time to change than in the saddle. It was great watching her in the arena work with a couple of already good riders, teaching them a couple of tricks to make riding easier for them and their horses. What was really neat was seeing the difference in the way their horses moved with the difference in how they were balanced.
I think the one thing that I really took away from her first presentation, basically riding in better balance, was the simple technique of how to 'sit on your pockets' and how that gets your feet under you for better balance, rather than being forced into a leaning forward position. So easy; standing in your stirrups, scunch forward toward the pommel, then just sit down and let your pelvis 'roll' toward the cantle, so you end up 'sitting on your pockets'; essentially sitting on your seatbones instead of your pelvic bone. If your stirrups are the right length, it will drop your legs into the correct position. Also, apparently most of us ride with the wrong length stirrups for whatever discipline we ride; and yes, that changes with the discipline. Some of you probably already know this, but since I only ride wilderness trails, I thought you always used the same length (except jockeys, of course, who are just crazy, anyway!) I had already shortened my stirrups and found that better. Bless her heart, though, the best was when she said NOBODY rides in the perfect position all the time. We all fall into habits and create bad muscle memories, and what we need to do is have someone look at us or look at pictures of ourselves from time to time, then make our brain help us to over-ride those muscle memories to make new ones. She told a funny story of the horror she felt when she saw a picture of herself in a magazine and realized she had fallen into the very familiar 'cowboy slump', which tends to hit riders who spend many hours in the saddle. She is now more conscious of her posture.
Julie does such a good job of also entertaining at these events, that you pick up all kinds of tidbits from her anecdotes. I like her "HorseMaster" RFDTV series, but her personality just doesn't come through like when you see her in person. GunDiva is part of her Colorado horse crew when she films here, and had told me about this. I had just never noticed, but it was so obvious yesterday. We all decided to stay and watch the second half of her talk in the afternoon, where I picked up lots of 'tidbits' to use on the horses this summer. So, look out herd, here I come!
A couple of days ago, things looked like this: lots of frozen fog on the trees, houses, horses ...
... and the horses looked like this: extra fuzzy (can you say 'brown bear'?)
That was when the temp high for the day was 24*. Yesterday, the high was 54* and we brushed buckets full of hair off the horses. Today, the temp was somewhere in-between, but the sun was bright and the breeze was small - so we went for a stroll around the neighborhood.
Still some icy patches on the road; each of the horses had some slide time, but they are all well balanced and barefoot, so they even seemed to have fun. Bill is on Ranger, leading Jesse.
The blue sky was wonderful to see and the air was so fresh ....
We've hit the southern section of the two mile loop, so a lot more dry dirt ....
The last section is paved, which is where we like to 'file' the horses' feet. We did a good foot check when we got back. Everyone's hooves looked great - except for very long hoof walls. Their feet are so darn hard, Bill couldn't even make much headway with the file! I guess that means we will just have to ride them more to wear them down. Darn!!!!
See, Juanita has the routine at feeding time. No exceptions. The horses line up at their bowls, and then the dishing out of bowl food starts. Beet pulp covered with a handful of the supplement du jour.
When Washoe sees Juanita coming with the food, he runs, he bucks, he goes back to his bowl and waits.
When Jesse sees Juanita coming with the food, she pins her ears back to make sure Washoe stays away from HER bowl, and waits.
When Ranger sees Juanita coming with the food, he ambles. Slowly and with great deliberation, he heads to HIS bowl.
The other horses get HUGELY FRUSTRATED by his lack of enthusiasm, as it forces them to wait FAR TOO LONG for their meal.
This morning, I was adding water to the tank and Ranger was watching me closely. Juanita crossed the street with the food, and both other horses ran to their bowls. Ranger stood about halfway between the water tank and the feeders, apparently undecided as to where he wanted to go first. Jesse looked back from her bowl and saw Ranger just standing. She left her bowl, got behind Ranger, dropped her head and PUSHED his @$$ over to his food bowl.
A member of my adoring public requested some art. (shadowlake, your check is in the mail)
Years ago, when I married Juanita, we let the kids choose the day's activities. We got married at the courthouse, then went to the zoo in Denver, and then ended up going to dinner at "Casa Bonita".
Casa Bonita is an... interesting restaurant. Strolling mariachis, skits involving outlaws, pirates and cliff-divers. Caves, character artists, arcade games. And what I have described as the planet's worst Mexican food. Okay, last night the food wasn't that bad.
Yup. That's right. They got married IN Casa Bonita.
The bride and groom's mothers had t-shirts that said Bride's Mom, and Groom's Mom and all of the siblings, that claimed they couldn't make it to a mid-week wedding, showed up in shirts with "Wedding Crasher" printed on the back.
Time to head for the ceremony ...(and yes, he wore the ball and chain all evening)
Juanita in here: Bill sort of forgot his t-shirt said 'Ring Security'. Of course, he had the rings in his shirt pocket. He also kept saving the marriage license from the honey spills during dinner, prior to the wedding.
The honey bottle was trying to be 'helpful' by 'popping its top'!
Notice the Bride's bouquet is a flashing butterfly.
They chose to get married in front of the Puppet Theater stage; letting her daughter 'perform' the ceremony. Colorado is a self-marriage state, so you don't need a true officiant, just lots of people signing the certificate in lots of places, so both moms got to be the witnesses.
It really was a lot of fun, which was their objective ... and I can guarantee nobody there is going to forget this wedding anytime in the near future.