Saddle up and let's ride down the trail of tales or tails.

Monday, December 29, 2014


I walked into the pony pen to check on Pepper. He was lying down but got up when he heard my voice. He was bearing some weight on the lame foot by the time I got over to him. He walked off and seemed a little better. He wasn’t dragging the toe like he was two days ago and there seems to be a little flex in the joint. I observed him for a few minutes and decided I wouldn’t call the vet. Today is the day the vet is in Portales area and it costs less on a farm call.

I had started my truck to warm up since I was heading to town. As I was climbing in realized I had the good cane with me. Also, I coughed just a little and thought I really needed cough drops to take with me. This meant unlocking the house to go in and take care of these two items. Neither was drastic and I didn’t really ‘need’ to do it. But, I chose to.

As I came out my door, a white truck turned in with a man driving. As he got out of the truck he held up a bottle and said he was close and decided to run the Xterra by here rather than leaving it in town at our drop off. It was Ryan, Doc’s new vet. Since he was here I asked if he had just a few minutes to look at Pepper. He said yes. I gave him the health information from the last two days as we went to the pen.

Now, I want you to visualize just how prepared we were for this undertaking. We had neither halter nor means to catch and hold him while Ryan checked him out. And the only help he had was me – an old lady with cane.

We actually were able to make it work even though Pepper had other thoughts about the situation. As he cleaned the foot and found nothing he realized that Pepper was sensitive to pressure on the frog. He retrieved his hoof testers from the truck and found a tender spot. He dug it out and opened an abscess. He told me to pack it with Betadine and sugar and wrap for 24 hours.

Later in the day when I had both Tiffany and Jas here to help, they worked together, one holding the foot and the other cleaning, packing and wrapping. He actually seemed to walk a little better immediately although you could tell by the leg lift the hoof felt very different.

Yes, horse ‘band aids’ are like those of people – all colors.

Week later update: His foot is back to normal.





The wind was blowing out of the North with really heavy gusts. When I went up to do the nooners (special feed and medicine handouts) I took the camera. All the mares and geldings in their pens were tails to the wind. I got out the camera and took a picture with the intent of posting it to answer the question people continue to ask about the horses keeping warm in the cold weather. Answer to wind – turn your tail and wait it out.

As soon as I shut the camera off and put the lens cap on Patches came running out of the hay pen looking around as if she were upset. She headed for the space along the fence between Mattie and Golly, found her spot, and stopped. I got the message “Okay, I’m ready, take the picture”. So, I took another one. If you look closely, you will see Patches in the upper left of the top picture and in the middle along the fence in the bottom.

The two pictures were taken within a minute of each other.           




  This photo was taken at a Christmas Barn party several years ago and there is a story to this picture. It is of my husband, Ray, who was the Christmas Grinch.

   He would always refer to the helmets as ‘chicken hats’ and, of course, being the old cowboy (real deal believe me) he wouldn’t be caught in one of them.

  One of my students got the idea that we needed to make Ray his very own ‘chicken hat’ so we did. Spray painted a broken helmet bright pink and pasted pictures of chickens on it.

  This was wrapped very carefully and, when we had a lot of bystanders, it was presented to him.

  The old cowboy was a good sport about it and we all had a really good laugh.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I was actually challenged twice. The photos are ones that I took in black and white - no  photo shopping. It was a very interesting experience to look through the lens in black and white. Since that challenge I made myself check out other settings in the camera and am having a ball. I would challenge anyone to check out what their camera has to offer and do something different. Cell phones have a wide variety of applications that make it a different photo.

Monday, December 15, 2014


I think poor Butch had enough of this human by the end of the lesson today.

A new, little, annoying bee showed up after our first cold spells. It hovers just like the bot fly but tends to cozy up to the human rather than the horse. Picky being that I am I want them out of our space.

There was one close to Butch’s head and I was focused on it as it flew between his head and the wall. I figured I could hit it with my cap and do it in if it got just a little closer to the hard surface. Conditions came together and I hit. WHACK!!!!

My strike was sudden and loud and accurate. Neither Butch nor Goober was impressed with my accuracy and let all of us know with a loud ‘snort’ and body pull back. Thankfully both horses only took one sudden step back then their attention came right back to the riders.

Well, one time to spook the horse apparently was not enough for me. We were at the arena and riding was going well when a bee started circling mom who was not riding.

Again, me to the rescue. Cap in hand I waited for the right moment. That happened just as Butch and his rider were passing about 3 feet from me. A mighty swing and - WHAP!!!! Butch sucked to the side saying, “I don’t think so”.

When I talked to the rider later I found out she was paying close attention to the environment. From across the arena she saw my body language change to ‘bee battle mode’ and had a pretty good idea of what was going on and could happen.

She was able to prepare in case something sudden happened and Butch didn’t like it. She was able to ride through the spook with no problem at all.

I have to brag on my girl because when this girl started with me she had been on a run away horse and ended her ride very scared. Today she showed huge progress. Not only did the horse spook but she was in the English saddle for the first time.

I have to brag on Butch because when he came to me if either bug swats would have happened, he would have left the barn and in the arena taken off with the rider.


Friday, December 5, 2014


As the school rolls on realistically the time comes that I have to pull an old trusty horse out of service – this summer it was Drafty. By then they have such an impressive resume that when I look into my herd I don’t have a horse that can take their place. So, I begin to check out talents, and attitudes to see who needs to try what next – just like the students.
   This year I have noticed a change in Target to indicate that he is maybe maturing and just might be willing to try some different rider energies. I am always cautious when I introduce autistic and other – what I think of as broken energy – to the horses.
   Target was recently introduced to Tourette’s energy. Inside the barn during tack up he was somewhat uncomfortable with it. However, when we went to the arena, my rider did what he needed to and Target calmed down and they had a really good ride.

   When we returned to the barn, Target was in a relaxed mood and untack went without incident.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dan continually lets the volunteers and me know about his ‘steel trap’ mind that never forgets anything. He is so good to point out what we forget so …. When there is a water puddle in this location the pony tank overflowed. The reason – someone forgot. Also, this is the first fill after installing the new faucet so fill time has gone to 15 minutes instead of 2 hours. Which did you forget son?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


They are always good for a laugh.


Smudge was born here and has been very hit and miss as far as breaking/training. She has a very hot temper and gets mad quickly. We are in the ‘work on Smudge mode’ again. A volunteer has been working with her on her lunch hour to correct a problem with ‘body blocking’ that she does. She will move herself to push you out of her way and you can get hurt in the process. Meg is making progress with her on that.

   On this particular day, I decided to work on tying her up and letting her stand for a bit. In the past within about 3 minutes she is stressing, fidgeting and getting mad. On this day she surprised me and stood for 30 minutes with three 15 second demonstrations of impatience. She didn’t get mad. A lot of the time she looked like she was processing information and thinking about her situation. She never did cock a back foot and totally relax to the ‘whatever’ point but to me she looked comfortable.

  Notice the lead line across the top of her neck. When she raised her head and it tightened, she took her time and moved it off her neck rather than fighting it.