Monday, May 28, 2012

Mama's Helper

Luna is obsessed with the wheelbarrow.

I went in to scoop some poop the other day and she insisted on coming along.

You put your left hoof on the wheelbarrow handle, and you shake it all about....

Who me? I didn't do that.  No, I'm not cleaning that up!

By the way, Luna's pinned back ear look always cracks me up. She gives that to me on the longe line when she doesn't want to go to the left and tries to turn around on me. She can be such a teenager!

Luna also loves to play in the water. I noticed her trough was pretty muddied up the other day, I think she got a leg in it. And she dumped the muck bucket of water from a corral at the ranch. To try to help her need to be playful, I had an idea.

Ranch Boy and I got a Jolly Ball at the feed store. Well, she looked interested.....

But then something more interesting on the other side of the fence caught her eye.

What could it be?

Oh, of course! Pets and loves from Ranch Boy's daughter and her new Palomino pony, Misty.

Aw shucks. The ball has sat in the pasture untouched so far. I thought for sure she'd pick it up by the handle and play with it. We shall see.....

I hope you all had a great weekend!!

Ranch Girl

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Luna's First Boo-Boo

What is it with my luck with new horses?  You might remember this post about Loretta going through one of the ranch gates, that was on my first official day of owning her!

Today when I got home from work, I decided to bring Luna to the ranch for a workout. Between foul weather and late hours for me, I haven't had her out since Sunday. Even today was spotty with sun breaks then dark clouds rolling in and dropping showers for fifteen minutes off and on.

Of course, the minute I took Luna out (in the sun) and started walking her down to the ranch, the dark clouds rolled in.  On the way we passed a CAT working on smoothing the dirt road, and a huge dump truck and trailer that hauled in the CAT. Other than just "looking" at them with perked ears, she handled all that very well!

I decided to put Luna in the arena while I got out her grooming and longing equipment. She didn't run around like I wanted her to, she kind of stood by the gate. I was moving some wooden poles from the center to the side of the arena and she began to run and buck. Howdy the colt was running in his corral across the dirt driveway from the arena. I went to the barn  to get the line and groom tote. The weather was changing and she was whinnying a bit anxiously at My Boy, who she could see and hear far, far away across another horse field.

It had gotten a little breezy and was starting to pelt some rain. Luna was running a bit more and as I was coming back from the barn I looked down to the far corner just in time to catch her up on the wooden fence. The fence is a bit low along this side of the arena and in this corner. In fact, I've seen larger horses standing next to it and have been a bit worried they could almost hop right over! I am not sure what she did, but she almost looked like she had tried to jump it, or perhaps was running to the corner too fast and could not quite stop. Whatever she did, she extracted herself without much fuss. She appears to be fine, other than a superficial skin scrape long the lower chest/upper leg.

I found it ironic that she would try to jump a fence when I led her over ground rails on Sunday and she banged and stepped on every one of them.....a hunter-jumper I don't think she'll be! Quite honestly, if she'd approached that fence straight-on and been determined enough, she might have been able to get over it. I don't want to think about that, though!

I caught her and she was still pretty hyped up and a little warm (despite the rain it was a bit muggy.) I walked her around to cool her out and make sure she was okay, then took her over to the hitch rail to to put medicine on the scrape, then took her to a grassy area to graze for a bit. I decided to skip the longing workout as she'd ran around a lot and I wanted to make sure she didn't have any sore bumps and bruises.


After we walked back home I put her in the pasture to take some photos of her, the ones that are accompanying this post. She was being awfully sweet following me around, being the love bug that she is.

I feel like I am finally starting to get to know her (tomorrow is only two weeks that I've owned her!)

However, Lordy it's scary to think of all the troubles babies (both human and animal) can get themselves into as they grow up. Hopefully I'll be lucky with this girl and we'll stay out of any major trouble. I am hoping that this 3-day weekend we'll have some decent weather so that I can get some more work done with my little "wild" pony!!

Thinking of you, your lost loved ones, and our brave veterans this Memorial Day weekend!

Ranch Girl

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Weekend Stinker

I had a very busy yet productive weekend! On Sunday I rode one of the new ranch horses on the trail. He is a "handsome is as handsome does" kind of fella. Of course in his defense, this photo does not do him any justice.

Jess is an older, dark brown Quarter Horse gelding whom is lacking in the handsome department. However, he has proven to be quite worthy on the trail and in the arena, this mellow fellow just knows his job!

On Sunday, Ranch Boy and I walked My Boy and Luna over to the ranch, as I planned to ride My Boy on a trail ride. I didn't want to leave Luna alone at home because the 35 ranch horses, which normally neighbor our pasture, were also at the ranch, meaning Miss Luna would have no horses in sight! Eventually I will have Ranch Boy take MB down the road and I will stay home and watch Luna to make sure she doesn't panic and get through the fence or something.

Another fabulous I-Phone shot....I caught the bars right across her eyes. Brilliant, Ranch Girl!

I put My Boy in the corral next to the colt Howdy, then Luna in a panel pen next to My Boy. It was full of grass and weeds and she did a good job "weed eating" it for me!

A few hours later I took My Boy out to get ready for our ride. Luna looked concerned for a moment as we walked away, but was then fine and didn't even whinny. She could see plenty of other horses in the corral to the left of her, so that was good.

My Boy was great while I tacked him up. The Arab/Appy/TB gelding next to him on the hitch rail was anxiously fussing the whole time, swinging his hiney into My Boy, and MB just stood there without a care in the world. It is one thing he is pretty 100% perfect for (being tied, groomed, and tacked up.) I thought it was going to be a great ride.

But it wasn't. We rode in the middle of a large group or horses, and behind a pony mare that he knows and has been ridden with before, but perhaps was a little "too interested" in. He shook his head and pranced every time the mare got too far ahead of him on the trail. Generally, it was not a pleasurable ride, but none of the behaviors were anything that I haven't seen from him from time to time on the trail, nor were they unmanageable. I would have liked to school him more on the trail but with the nature of the ride (it was all younger children) I could not do that. But when we got home.....let's just say while the other 19 horses were being un-tacked and put away, My Boy got put on the longe line and got his hiney worked! That is part of the problem. He is over-fed and under-worked right now. The horse gets fat on air, I swear! He is carrying too much weight (you can see how soft he is on the hiney in the above photo, even though he is resting a leg.)

Another issue is the head-shake, or as Ranch Boy calls it, his "tic." It started several years ago and seems to be worse in the spring. He is easily irritated by flies, but it isn't always flies. It almost seems like a nervous system issue...perhaps a photo-sensitivity reaction that I have heard horses can get. Maybe he is developing an eye condition. I am not sure. It is a vertical head jerk, a quick nose towards the chest kind of thing. At this point it doesn't interfere with his comfort level, even when being ridden. But it could, down the line.

Secondly, the weight issue is probably not helping his arthritis. He is not any more "off" in the hind than he's been since I've had him, but as he ages, it certainly can't be getting better. I'm going to add MSM to his joint supplement. Sometimes I wonder if his head-jerking isn't a reaction to a bit of pain, too. I'll never know 100% I can just try to keep him comfortable and usable.

I do know that the majority of the time he is a such good boy in so many ways, but at times needs a refresher course in respect. This is true of any horse, whether they are 18 year old like MB, or just 2 years old like Luna!

So that is the update on My Boy. Our weather has changed a bit so I am not sure I will be getting much done with my horses this week....but I am hoping the arena stays safe enough to do some more work!

Ranch Girl

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Friday!

It's been a busy week at the ranch! I have been getting in a lot of play time with my new filly.

I am realizing that not having a round pen is not ideal when you have a young horse. I have access to a huge arena, but this has posed some challenges we will have to work through.

I have used a smaller corral on the ranch but am not fond of the footing (and it is square shaped) to really use as I would a round pen.

Anyhoo, we'll sort it out.

She looks so little under saddle!

Luna even got to wear her saddle yesterday! She kept turning to look at it and of course my cinch, even my smaller that I'd gotten for Loretta, was way toooo big on her!

Luna let's me fly spray her with no problem. She is a bit picky about lifting her hind feet, so that is something we will work on.

The only other thing I had to figure out was feeding time. I have to go through Luna's pasture to get to My Boy's pasture. I use a wheelbarrow to haul the hay. Even when I drop Luna's hay for her first, she follows me and the wheelbarrow all the way to his, insisting that it is HER hay or that I have SOMETHING yummier in the bottom that must belong to her! Now this is a horse that doesn't easily leave your space (something I am not use to.) It is a bit of a pain to manage My Boy's gate and the rickety old wheelbarrow and a pushy little roany pony. I can't throw My Boy's hay over the fence because it's been ghastly windy every day and it just blows back into me and the fence. I think to help manage this (trying to chase her away did not really work) I will just split her dinner grain into a morning and evening portion, as I do not have this problem at the evening feeding as she is busy eating her grain out of her feed tub.

 Yes, food is my life right now. I'm a growin' girl!

Some of you have asked about My Boy. He is as fat and happy as ever and I will do a post about him soon. After getting out for a few rides he's been a bit neglected since Luna arrived. I hope to get him out next week and give him some special time, too! I saw a great Clinton Anderson episode where he was working with a young, hard to catch, disrespectful colt that reminded me of My Boy with some of his catching and pasture behaviors. I loved the round pen work that Clinton did with this colt!

One last thing before the weekend, I have created a Mustang lover's necklace! My sister is my first customer and is ordering two of them. Here is a photo:

Please contact me if you would like to order one!

Have a rockin' weekend, everyone!

Ranch Girl

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This Mama Has A New Baby!

Yep, I became a "mama" again this weekend!

My new little roany pony arrived on Friday afternoon.

Lovely photo of Luna and I courtesy of Mustang Diaries.

I got this Mustang from Tracey over at The Mustang Diaries. Most of you know my story about Loretta. I did not intend to get another horse to replace her but the day she left, Bad Reputation kind of fell into my lap. So since she found me and I could not resist her.....well, the rest is obvious.

I love the name "Bad Reputation" but have nicknamed her Luna. It is sticking for now. You can read more about Luna by clicking here. Or, you can stay tuned and I will try to do a few posts with some of her history. Briefly, Luna was rounded up with her dam as 1-3 month old, and spent a year in the BLM corrals in Oregon waiting to be adopted. Tracey fell for her about a year ago when she was adopting another filly. She's had Luna for a year and really enjoyed the filly's easygoing "whatever" attitude. She has had about half a dozen rides under saddle, but just about two years old so I probably won't worry too much about heavy riding until next summer.

I am keeping her in the front pasture, separate from My Boy. They had a meeting over the gate that included some squealing and kicking out but seem to be "over the fence friends now." I think he's a bit confused as to how this horse LOOKS like Loretta, but doesn't seem to be Loretta!

On Saturday I brought her out and groomed her. I bug-sprayed her as they are biting something awful right now. Then I hand-grazed her in the yard.

Sunday I walked her down to the ranch (around a 3 minute walk.) I tied her up there and groomed her, I'd put some leave-in spray in her tail and I got that and her mane combed out nice. She is going to have a tail to die for! And hopefully a nice long mane, too. I have always wanted a horse with a long mane. We picked all 4 hooves.


No mom I will NOT put my ears forward!!

Then we went into the arena to try a little longing on the 14 ft. line. Now when I went to see Luna she'd been boarded at a stable and had been working in a nice walled and covered round pen.

 Working in the round pen the day Ranch Boy, Paint Girl, her OH, and I went to meet Luna for the first time.

Although she moved out on the line well, not having boundaries was hard.  Our arena is huge! I tried to stay in a corner so she at least had the fence on two sides. But she got going too fast and at one point slid down on her side.

We got going again and then she felt frisky and tried to jump and go straight after making a corner. I got to wrangle my Mustang! I am proud of the fact that I have never let go of a horse when they have run off on the line. My Boy and Loretta have both done the rodeo with me hanging on for life to the end of the longe line before I regained control.

After she settled down we did some walking, stopping, and backing up. She could care less about the carrot stick being rubbed and swung all over and under her body. I let her loose after and she rolled then stood by the gate.

There is another corral near the barn that is smaller and although not round, I think it will work better to work on line-longing in a smaller space until she gets the hang of it.

We walked back home for some more hand-grazing. I turned her out then I hauled the hose out to water My Boy and she wouldn't leave me alone. She followed me all over the pasture.

I'm just trying to help, mom!!

I am so excited to continue getting to know this girl! I will keep you posted on our journey!

Thank you Tracey, for bringing Luna into my life, to my sister Paint Girl for answer all my questions, and to Ranch Boy for his continued support of my horsey habit!

I hope all of the mothers out there had a wonderful Mom's day!
Ranch Girl

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dangers In The Horse Field

Dear Mama,

Please keep a close eye on me. There are a lot of dangers in that horse field.

For example, this big yellow guy, Vegas. He could stomp on me.

Or even this shaggy thing, she's not that big but she could chase me a round or two.

Mama, I love you dearly and I know you are doing the best you can with what you've got. But seriously, you couldn't have chose a worse place for me to be born and raised.

It's like the hood 'round here, ya know?

At least I have this great thing called camouflage on my side.

See mama? See how well I can hide?

Arghhhh!! It's Godzilla!! Run for your life!!!!

Oh. He's not so bad. He just wanted to get a shot of these legs. They are awesome, aren't they? They are my saving grace. 

I work out, ya know.
I'm okay, mama! I love you! Thank you for flapping around in the dirt and makin' a fuss and protecting me all of the time.

You are the bestest mama ever.

Love Always,

Your son B.K. (Baby Killdeer.)

**Note from Ranch Girl**
I never knew what a killdeer was until about a year in a half ago. I worked at a school in the city and a pair of killdeer found a nice bark dust bed in the middle of our paved playground to lay her eggs. We set up stakes and flags around the perimeter and watched the mama and papa birds protect that nest. Every day at recess we prayed that no playground balls would roll in there and that children would heed our warnings to stay out. A week or two passed and then one Monday.....our facilities manager had some bad news. The crows that had been pestering those poor birds finally got to the eggs. We were all very sad. We weren't 100% sure this is what happened. Now that I know more about killdeer, I am hoping those babies just hatched and ran away on those long little legs to safety!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Finally, Some Pony Time!

Finally. A busy weekend of riding! First, a trail ride on Saturday. I rode one of the new horses at the ranch, Jess. He is a Quarter Horse gelding. It was the first time he's been on the trail since he moved to the ranch a few months ago. In fact, it was the first day he'd been ridden since he got here! One of the wranglers rode him in the arena a bit beforehand and he didn't do anything too I Cowgirl-ed Up and took him out on a 20 horse ride! Other than tail-gaiting the mare ahead of him a bit, he actually was very good. It was a sunny yet crisp windy day (don't we love how horses can get on days like that?) but he didn't spook at nary a thing! This horse came from a trustworthy source and has been used for a trail horse and lessons with kids so we figured he was a good boy and he proved himself worthy.

Sunday- trail ride number two. We had 11 riders and this time I took My Boy. We played caboose and he too was a tail-gaiter. He got a few threatening tail swishes from Miss Daisy in front of him.  When we got back to the arena we let the riders do a trot and then try a lope down the arena rail.  I got to demonstrate how to do this on My Boy. We hadn't loped yet this season and he embarrassed me by being a bit of a stinker, shaking his head and bouncing a bit. It was not a pretty lope down the rail (which he is very capable of doing.) I didn't get a chance to work on it again since we were helping other riders. So I put him in a ranch corral for the night so that I could get him out to the arena after work on Monday.

Monday was sunny and warm again. I saddled My Boy up and longed him out, watching him under saddle at the lope. He moved nicely on the longe line, other than his head shake (seems to come on every spring now, due to photo sensitivity or perhaps allergies?) He looked fine, so I got up and we walked around a bit then went right into the lope.

We turned the ranch horses out for some green grass tonight. Mary looks like she might have a foal this year, but she just wintered well!

We worked both directions and he did well, not much silliness and I got him loping rather slowly on a loose rein. I worked on relaxing, sitting down in the saddle, and breathing. Our arena is huge and so I just used one end. I felt he turned sharply and leaned when going around corners but we'll work on this. I was just happy to have a good ride. I really worked hard at loping him comfortably last summer and I wanted to be sure we were off on the right foot this year!!

I had a fabulous weekend, I think spring is really here to stay! I am excited to have spent three days in a row in the saddle.

Darn jobs, they just get in the way of our pony time, don't they?

Ranch Girl

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When One Barn Door Closes.....

Another one opens.

Literally, the day that Loretta left me, another pony kind of fell into my lap.

You might know (and if not, you should know!) Tracey over at the Mustang Diaries blog. She has been a local blogger, trail riding, and Mustang friend of mine and my sister's for several years. I enjoy her photography, her talented and witty writing, her gentle spirit with horses- her work with Mustangs in particular.

She just came along and had this little bay roany pony for me.

Call me crazy.

I don't care.

So yes, I have a thing for roans, but that is pure coincidence.

Last Sunday my sister Paint Girl, her Other Half, Ranch Boy, and I went to see this new little mare with a Bad Reputation.

She impressed us with her calm demeanor and sweet disposition. I can tell this is a mare that is going to enjoy having her person as much as her person is going to enjoy having her.  She is exactly what I was looking for.

So, I have been busy at the ranch. My Boy moved out of Loretta's pasture into the back pasture, so I've been scooping poop and raking, raking, raking to get the new one cleaned up for the new girl on the block.

I even found some time to get in a trail ride with Ranch Boy! Here is the goofy shot I took of him. I mostly wanted to capture the yellow balsam root flowers that are blooming. The big yellow horse, Vegas, was a bit annoyed, I'm afraid.

In case you were wondering, I have heard that Loretta is doing well with her previous owner and I will keep you updated on her progress!

I will post more about the new girly after she arrives and I can get some new photos.

Oh, I am having a sale in my Etsy shop, 15% off everything through Friday! I will be closing the shop for the weekend. Use coupon code May15 at checkout!!

Ranch Girl