Monday, December 26, 2011

Post Holiday Ride

The forecast said "rain after 10am."  I dashed through morning chores and grabbed Cartman.

He was a little surprised.

I might as well chew the rope.

At the parking area
 About this time Michelle called to see if I wanted to ride!  Well, yes, I do, come join us!

A little warm up

A little trotting, and killing some time while we waited.

I got on and rode around in the sand. 

I was SO PROUD!!!!

No, its not a mistake.

 So, in case your wondering, why two pictures of Cartman just standing there?
Well, I was so happy with him, that's why!

Anyone that's ever had a five year old TB might understand, and I imagine anyone with youngster of any breed could understand.  He stood still for almost 5 minutes.  No fussing, no fidgeting, no noodling around.  Stock still.  Now this might sound very silly, but if you've ever had a horse that won't stand you know what an accomplishment this can be!

At this poind Michelle pulled up with her truck and trailer and we rode for a while.  I, as usual, got so distracted with chatting that I completely forgot to take any more pictures. 

So, I'll leave you with a pictorial description of why I haven't ridden, until today, for two whole weeks!

On the left, christmas reindeer.  On the right?  Aliens? The Chupacabra?

Final product.

Almost done.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Riding in the rain, just riding in the rain!

I'm a little bummed, but really shouldn't complain.  December has been somewhat awesome this year, weather-wise.  It had to end sometime....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Christmas Present

I think we have a new addition to the Wren Loop Farm. 

Todd and I have usually kept two dogs around.  One for him, and one for me, although most of my dogs have ended up Todd's dogs in the end.  He is the "dog magnet".  My last true dog was Mack, a Border Collie/German Shepherd/ Husky mix with blue eyes and a learning impairment.  I adored him and he always stayed "my" dog despite Todd's pied piper-like draw for all other canines.

Mack passed away in 1999 from, of all things, food poisoning.  He found a huge cow bone when we were living in Arkansas and apparently the bone had some sort of anaerobic bovine bacteria that killed him a few days later, there was nothing to be done but supportive therapy.

I've tried several times to get my own dog since, but for whatever reason they always end up being Todd's.  The last one was the Standard Poodle that we still have, Nick.  Last week I spotted a German Shepherd cross on the adoptable pet page in the newspaper for the Humane Society.  It was a three month old female puppy.

On Wed. I told Todd about the puppy and got the standard response, "We don't need a second dog...." Hmmmf.  I knew he was right.  One dog is enough mess to clean up after in this wet climate.

I was a little surprised to get a phone call Friday at work from the dog pound.  Todd was there looking for the puppy.  I rushed through some work and raced over there to meet him and look at the puppy.

Unfortunately the puppies were under a Parvo watch.  A dog in the kennel  had died from Parvo and they had to quarantine the exposed puppies.  Sigh.  I did get to see the puppy and she was really cute.  Todd was not as smitten.  He thought she was way too hyper. 

He did want to show me a few adult dogs he'd scoped out in the regular kennels.

We walked along the rows of dogs,  lab crosses, pit bull crosses, pit bulls, several young Blue Heelers, a Husky cross.  It was deafening in the kennel area, the pit bulls and labs were just barking their heads off.  Not that I blame them, but I am really sensitive to loud noises and the incessant barking is like fingernails on the chalkboard to me. 

Then in the very last kennel one dog pressed up against the chain link fence, perfectly quiet.  He just looked at me, with one blue eye.

"I like this one."  I knelt down and talked to the dog.  He rubbed against the kennel and tried to squeeze through the chain to get as close as possible.

He looked like an Australian Shephed crossed with a German Shepherd. 

The next half hour was spent deliberating.  Did we really need a second dog?  Would the Shepherd  herding instinct be too strong?  Would he chew up everything and dig holes in the yard?  Would he run off???  Would he get along with horses??????

We went back out to talk with the lady at the desk and told her about the horses, and that we were a little concerned because the dog was already a year old and a herding type dog, that we might have trouble training him with the horses.  She had a great suggestion, that we do what they call a foster-to adopt.  We could take him home for a week or so and see if he would be able to adapt to our lifestyle.  Perfect!!!!

So, this afternoon we picked up our new addition.  Here are some photos from the afternoon and evening.  Do you think he's going to fit in here? 

Those are some BIG dogs!!!!

Meeting Dazzby

Doesn't he look like a farm dog?

What I found when I came in from doing chores tonight.

He immediately laid his head on my feet when I sat down.

One blue, one brown.

He's already learning to stay on his mat! 

Pinky update:

Thursday we got Pink's bar shoe reset.  Thanks to my farrier's efficiency and a little Acepromazine, it was a blessedly uneventful experience. 

This morning I decided to turn her out, it wasn't raining and some exercise will help circulation and healing.  Here are some morning farm photos.


Dazzby babysits

The boys were banished to the barn, so as not to get things to wound up.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fun in December

The weather the last few days has been wonderful!  On Dec. 1 it was sunny and blue sky.

I took off from work at noon and ran home to load Cartman up.  We drove into Longview and headed out to Willow Grove.  This is a county park that sits on the banks of the Columbia River.  There is a long sandy beach that goes for about 2 miles during low tide.  The river brings huge pieces of driftwood in and the scenery here changes daily.

One end of the park has a huge boat dock and there are usually a lot of trucks, trailer, boats and jet skis roaring around.  Fishermen also drive down onto the beach and park, placing their rods and reels in little holders stuck in the sand.  They can then sit in comfort in the truck and watch their lines.

I met up with Shawn and a nice couple from Oregon that had driven up to see Shawn work their young horse.  They were very friendly and we had a nice little ride down the beach.  The wife was riding a lovely bay mule and had just returned from a riding trip with her mule down to Arizona.  She took off with her mule and their LQ trailer and rode every day in 70 degree weather.  Ummm, that sounds like heaven.

But it was really beautiful in Wa this day and Cartman was being very well behaved, despite the excitement of being in a new place.  We even walked right out into the river and he didn't want to get out!

Saturday morning I slept in, then did barn chores until about noon.  By that time Todd and I were starving so we ran up to Vader to eat at our favorite restaurant, The Little Crane.   They have the best chef salad ever.  Todd had a lunch special that came with a sundae.  Yummm.  I actually finished it for him

After going to get a Pumkin Spice Latte (with and extra shot) and to the feed store for bedding, alfalfa, grain, and wood stove pellets.  I raced home, hooked up the trailer and grabbed Cartman.

We again headed into Longview  to the Merz Ranch.  Shawn had offered to help me with Cartman again and I was excited to watch some roping.  There were a bunch of horses, cowboy, and kids out there all enjoying a sunny crisp December day of riding and working cows.

Shawn had me take Cartman into the center of the arena on the lead line and stand.   I practiced an exercise that is basically  yielding the hindquarters and changing direction from the ground.  Cartman did pretty well, but he is still much more responsive for Shawn.  Sigh.  He did go over the small bridge for me and then stood still in the middle of the arena while horses, and the occasional cow raced past.  The sound of the rope did ellicit a flagged tail for a split second.  Then he settled right back down. 

After about 20 minutes I took him over to the side of the arena and saddled him up.  The ropers were warming up and I took the opportunity to do some arena work.  Circles, bending, halt, back, a nice forward trot, a very slow smooth Western Pleasure trot (that I can actually sit!!), then cantering both directions. 

It was really fun, I do love riding in a nice big arena and working on stuff like that.  Cartman was really fascinated by the cows and is much braver than I am with them.  We followed a few down to the chute and stood and watched the guys rope. 

After about 1/2 hour Shawn's Dad brought out the tractor and hooked it up to a roping dummy.  Now this thing is probably a lot scarier to many horses than an actual steer.  It is a big cow made of pipe that has back legs that move and a black plastic cows head that flips up to allow the rope to slide off.  It makes a big racket when that head flips up too. 

We watched for a while and then followed the dummy ourselves, from about 15 feet anyway!   It was a great time.  The goal is to expose Cartman to as much variety as I can, and this was a good one.

Cartman watches the cows being loaded into the roping chutes- on a loose rope!

The roping dummy hooked to the tractor.

We didn't get quite this close to it, but almost.

That fake cow goes both directions!

And, lastly an update on Pinky.  Friday night I went to bed about 11pm.  Todd works nights, so he had just gotten up a few hours earlier.  He stayed up to watch some TV.  About 11:30 he thought he heard thunder.  Hmmm, is the weather changing?  A few minutes later, thunder again.   He then saw Dazzby and Taj go blasting across the paddock.  Uhh, what are they doing?  At midnight?

He stepped out onto the front porch in time to see a black shadow racing by.  Loose horse.  He came into the bedroom, where I was just drifting off. 

"I think there is a horse out.  It looks like Pinky." 

I was up and out the door in record time.  It was Pinky, and she was trotting up and down the fence line, and she was sound.

I grabbed a halter and caught her, by this time Cartman had woken up and was whinnying pathetically from the barn.  I think he must be a really sound sleeper, because Taj or Dazzby would have been tearing the barn down if they'd been on babysitting duty that night!

This afternoon I did a bandage change and things are looking really good.  The pictures look a little yellow, but the wound is not really yellow and hopefully will be able to transition to going without a wrap in the next week.  I am planning on letting out into her paddock next weekend, if all goes well.  :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

I found a few old Pictures on my work computer!

Big sister Pinky at the track.  And  yes, that's me on the pony.
He's finally here!!!!

Cartman one day old
His first day was exhausting.  That's my mare Dazzby too.

Another Birthday picture