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. :)