Archive for » October, 2013 «

Piglet

There once was a child spawned by goblins. She lived with a nice human family who loved her despite of, perhaps because of, the holes in her disguise. They happily overlooked the times she would attempt to bit their fingers off at the joint or burst their eardrums with a particularly spectacular screech. They were merely relieved that she was no longer projectile vomiting.

Communing

Communing

Her goblin heritage was especially evident in her ability to communicate with the animals. The Goblin Child had a cat as her familiar, they could often be seen meowing and purring during extended conversations. She would growl ferociously at the dog if she tried to retrieve her food bowl from the vicious Goblin Child. They traversed the house, a wild herd of animals wrecking havoc where ever they went. The poor unsuspecting parents were proud of their little changeling.

Her familiar

Her familiar

As The Goblin Child grew and began eating solid foods her goblin like tendencies became more apparent. She ate with the appetite of a horse, a large one, and ate in a rather unladylike manner. Her sweet loving parents had to yank their fingers back quickly when offering her a tasty morsel or risk having blood drawn. As the child rooted in her tray of food they were torn between tisking over her food matted hair and a certain pride for her healthy appetite.

Before too long they began discussing whether her features were undergoing a change. “Surely her nose was not formerly so snub?” questioned the doting father. ” I do believe she is getting a mite plump.” thought her patient, loving mother. As she snorted and grunted her way through yet another meal the alarm increased.

“Now darling” they gently chided, “you really must begin to develop some manners.”

Their darling child looked back at her devoted parents, skin glowing healthy and pink, and oinked at them before returning to rooting in her food.

Feedings

Feedings

“Oh, sweetness, that simply will not do!” her parents exclaimed distraught. “They say you are what you eat. If you continue to behave like this I fear you will become how you eat.”

The light of their lives gazed back at them blankly, her formerly large beautiful eyes appearing a bit beady, then oinked.

Her parents were greatly distressed, this had to be their fault somehow. Her mother had obviously not loved her enough, feared the poor beleaguered mother. It must be all her fault because she had resented having to get up with the poor, poor, child three times a night when she was only a year old, practically a new born.

“No,” said the gallant, loving father. “I must take full blame, it was I who offered her chocolate as her first taste of solid food. It obviously started a

rooting

rooting

lifelong trend. Forgive me my love,” he hung his head in shame.

They consoled themselves with the hope that it was just a trend, all children are messy eaters after all. They carried that hope with them

At the water trough

At the water trough

until that night when they changed their darling into her pajamas. As they changed her diaper before bed they noticed a protrusion from the child’s lower back. It looked almost like, no it couldn’t be, but it almost seemed like a tail. They cried themselves to sleep that night.

Sure enough, the next morning when they went to check on her instead of their little Goblin Child they found a piglet.

There is a bright side, it has worked rather well for them. They no longer have to try to keep her out of the dog food. It is considerably cheaper to feed a piglet than a child. Turns out it is even easier to house train a piglet than a Goblin Child.

 

Well it’s not quite a pig, but….

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Moving on

Thank you to everybody who offered their condolences on Nev. Sorry I didn’t get back to anybody, I really do hate to talk about it.

Now as an alternative to sitting around eating chocolate all day I have began looking at horses. It is cruel that my training tendencies were reawakened. I had been so content to plod, as much as Coyote ever plods, around bare back in a halter. Now I want to train. I want to drill and practice and work on collection, suppleness and softening. I once again became addicted to training, dressage and reining. Now here I am with an overly opinionated grouchy old gelding and a once great but now lame and completely out of shape mare.

My complete lack of an actual need for another horse makes it hard to say what I am looking for but I have decided there are two completely separate lists of requirements. Really I need two horses. A young project for me and an old quiet horse for the husband and child. Gaited keeps topping my list.

I want an Icelandic, I even found one that was perfect. (here) Twenty three I think and very quiet, even cheap, that is a pretty major requirement.Unfortunately she was in Connecticut, a definite deal breaker.

I found a Halflinger on Craigslist. I thought she could fill both needs. She’s green, I could have a project, but quiet and a good size for when the child gets old enough. I can’t picture a halflinger cutting or reining but I need to remind myself that I won’t be either. My mom keeps pointing out that I really want gaited and maybe should look for a foxtrotter.

So I did, there was nothing anywhere close, to us or my price range. On a whim I looked for a paso. They are a good size and gaited. I found one, old, quiet, cheap and close. She is even, almost, the same color as Coyote. So I called. CROSSING STREAMWe are thinking about it.

Never

I am going to have to do this eventually so I might as well get it over with.

A couple of weeks ago Nevel was hit by lightening. He was eating happily on their round bale in one of the lowest spots on the place out in the open surrounded by much taller trees, metal buildings and power lines. It didn’t make a difference. His life was short and sweet, I was glad to be blessed with him as long as I was.

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Muscling

When I commented in the last post about Nates muscling showing how poorly he had been ridden  my mom sent me a picture of her gelding Smoke and asked what I could tell by his muscling.

DSC_0241PICT0009

While I admire the nice side shot at a good angle, it is a bit hard to tell a whole lot with saddle and rider. Not that I am any kind of an expert anyway. But I definitely like his neck. Even if it is a bit cresty, but that is well known problem and completely lacking in relevance.He is reaching beautifully into the bit making his neck look even better muscled than it is, which is very nicely muscled. I understand he was mostly just mad about having to stand for silly games. The muscle is all on the top with a complete lack of development of the muscle on the bottom of the neck. If you look at Nate it is nearly the opposite, looking worse here in the picture than it was in real life, I hope, because he is fighting the draw reins.

But back to Smoke, I like him, it’s hard to be unbiased about a horse you know.  His neck is nicely set, coming high out of good withers. The shoulder angle is average not horribly steep but not a lot of slope. I just happen to know his back is nice and short, the way I like them at least, paired with a good long underline, making for that incredibly fast walk he can perform when he wants to. Front legs are straight with good short cannon bones, hind legs set pretty square under him. I happen to know that he goes soundly barefoot, so I’ll say his hooves are nice without being able to see them. All in all he’s a good horse with a quirky personality. Quiet but not and strongly opinionated. I had the pleasure? of starting him and he is definitely one of a kind. He has come a long way from that spoiled, incredibly ugly, rotten, little, orphaned colt the the big pretty boy he is now.

A picture of Nate

PICT0009Technically, I have pictures of Nate. Like on paper, back then cameras didn’t hook up to computers. Fortunately mom, probably dad really, had scanned one.  It is amazing looking back at old pictures. I was so young, nineteen maybe? I see the trusty old two horse in the background. It was a good trailer, nice and roomy. It rusted out years ago, fortunately not dropping the horse I was hauling onto the road when the floor detached. And of course Nate is gone.

It is good too though, that things change. I had draw reins on the poor boy. Today I wouldn’t be caught dead with draw reins, or martingales, definitely not tie downs. Any “training device” for that matter other than a light snaffle. For training that is. I would be happy to have a true bridle horse, although I would prefer to go briddleless. Right now I seem to do most of my ridding in a halter, due to laziness really.

The only thing worse than no trainer is a bad trainer. I wanted dressage lessons so badly, the barn I worked at wouldn’t take me seriously because I rode western. So I found this lady. She had Morgans too and traveled the open show circuit giving Morgans a bad name. She immediately put Nate in the draw reins and we trotted endless circles trying to get him to slow down. I did learn a little more about leg yields and the like, haunches in, and good stuff like that.

Now, one good dressage trainer (who took one look at the muscling in his neck and knew he had been ridden in draw reins) and two very good reining trainers later I would love to have him back to try again. I would lose all that stuff on his head and work a lot on flexing and giving to the bit. He worked nicely off your legs, I/we knew that much long before any lessons. Now having felt true collection I look at his nose braced and stuck in the air and cringe even more than I do at my legs stuck out in front of me.

He was a beautiful boy brave and willing. I rode him through downtown Omaha in the River City Round Up parade and down many tricky trails and he always gave his all, and then some. Granted he bashed my knee into a tree at a full gallop, miles from home of course. Leaped a creek at a bad crossing, under a railroad bridge nearly cracking my skull, we spent the rest of the day moving cattle any way. And got covered in blood when he stepped away from a gate, when I grabbed for the reins I drug my wrist across the barb wire slicing it open. Oh, can’t forget the time he went over backwards on my in front of everybody at the endurance ride. My personal favorite was the time he had a nervous breakdown and leaped the creek (different one) with a baby calf on the end of my rope, I dropped my coils and caught my hand in them dislocating every finger on that hand. Someone who thought that they were big and tough and could fix him hoped on. Nate leaped the creek again and kept going breaking the bit in half in his mouth when he jumped the wire gate on the other side.

The one thing all these wrecks have in common? A good, willing, if hot, horse and an ignorant rider. With good training none of that would have caused any problems. Do I know better now? Maybe, I sure hope so. I know I am not near as brave/stupid as I was then. For some reason everything hurts now. None of my recent horses have caused me serious bodily harm though. Maybe someday I will have the chance to try again at the training thing.

Nate

Because I’m not ready to write about other things, yet.

The other thing inspired me to call and check on my old horse Nate though. Years ago I sold him, someone had to go and he got to be the one. I had gotten him in high school, or to be more exact my mom did. I seem to get all my favorite horses that way, poor mom she will get to keep one of them someday.

We were trying a new farrier, a very nice lady who happened to mention that she had Morgans. One  for sale even. We were not in the market for a horse, so of course we went to look at him. Mom fell in love. He was a very recently gelded four year old. A rescue case back before it was cool. She had taken in him and his brother, Red. Before Jaime got them he had been caught up in a nasty divorce, left in his uncleaned stall, fought off with a pitch fork so he could be fed, what little feed he got. He had been covered in manure burns and hated people. Jaime did an excellent job with them, healing, gelding and training. He was going under saddle, barely, and mom decided we needed him.

He was a solid bay with not a drop of white on him. High headed and goose rumped. Aprox. 15HH he was a bit straight shouldered but with a nice short back and the most beautiful big boned legs and hard round gorgeous feet. He was always sound and had a crazy fast walk.

Upon arrival at our barn he made his studlyness very clear. Screaming and fighting over the fence, I’ll never forget the mare who came running back from the pasture leaving the rest of the horses to, um, “flirt” with him, then galloped back to her herd. Once turned out he proceeded to play herd stud, herding his mares and chasing off geldings and any owners who couldn’t stand up to him. He was well hated.

Mom started out riding him, I don’t remember switching, I do remember riding him out on the trails for the first time. He had somehow become my horse. How did that come about mom? We were both young and stupid, both very high strung and hot. Dad took over my sweet and slightly rotten, opinionated, old quarterhorse gelding.

Together Nate and I team-penned, a lot, tried endurance, dressage, a bit of jumping, mostly trail riding, I even brought him out west with me where we ranched, roped and played with cattle. I thought I had brought my little saddle seat bred gelding west, it wasn’t until years later that I discovered that I had brought my little western remount bred gelding back to his roots. I came out to work at Fort Robinson for the summer. He had ancestors who stood at stud at Fort Robinson when it was a remount station.

I got hurt on him, probably more than any other horse, possibly more than all other horses put together. Bashed my knee into a tree, black eye from his head, smashed my head into a metal railroad bridge, stitches in my wrist and so on.  I didn’t know near what I thought I did or he might have had a better chance of being a good horse. I didn’t care I loved him, even when I wanted to kill him.

Then I began to learn, started on real cowhorse stuff and younger horses not already ruined by teenage girls. I sold him to a young wife who just wanted to pleasure ride. I missed him but didn’t really think about him until years later when she called to say that they were going to sell him. The thought of my hot blooded Morgan in a western sale barn full of quarterhorses terrified me, I took him back. And immediately sold him to a nice older gentleman in Colorado. within months he was diagnosed with incurable cancer, I took Nate back. Gave him to a neighbor who needed a companion horse. Nate never had stopped thinking he was a stud, he drove off the guys gelding. That didn’t work either, I took him back again.

The Butler Farrier school had adds in the paper asking for free horses. They needed a nearly endless supply of horses to teach on and promised to give them a home. Nate had finally found his calling. He was turned out to pasture with a bunch of mustangs where he got to be the herd stud. His only job was to be shod. He had always been good with his feet.

After last week I finally called to see how he was doing, I had been thinking hard about him for the last year. They remembered him, even knew him by name. He was sorry to tell me that Nate had passed just about a year ago. They had found him laying in the pasture one morning. He probably thought I was insane for being so glad to hear it. But what better death can there be then to die happy and much missed, apparently he had been very good at his new job. He had lived a long life, often loved, often cursed. Ironic that he came from a farrier and ended with a farrier, and that his job was to be shod. This horse of the iron feet that never needed a shoe in his life.

I just wish I had a picture of him to put up.

Butlers have an excellent and informative blog, a must read for anyone who has a horse. Find it here.

More Blizzard

The hard thing about having a child is, well, having a child. They need watched and stuff. I’m not used to staying in the house. I am usually out doing the work, cows and what not. So when the weather cleared up and the guys headed out to try to find the cattle it was a little hard to stay home and watch the child. They set out on the four wheelers because the day before when my father in law tried to take hay to the cattle, with the pay loader, he got stuck. Which took considerable tractor power to pull out. That was the bunch he could reach, the roads were impassable and he couldn’t get near the others.

Sunday things cleared up and they went looking for a way to the cattle, again. When they got to that pasture it was empty. The trail was clear though. Through the fence and straight into a neighbors corn field. Bad for the corn, great for the cows. I finally got to venture out to take them wire to repair the fence. The highway was clear, the county roads passable but barely. On every side loose live cattle grazed the ditches and hay bales left in fields dead cows graced every fence corner.

As far as the father in law knew, last I heard, they had only lost one old cow, but that is a loose count. I think people will still be finding strays come weaning. I don’t know what made this storm so much worse. If it was all because the cattle are still out on summer pasture with out protection or if it was the rain before or maybe a lack of winter coats but I have never seen so many dead cows. Calves at calving in spring blizzards die all the time, just last spring everybody took bad losses, but not cows. Now it seems like there are dead cows every where. I have heard stories about how much worse it is not too far north and west of us, I can’t even imagine.

Chadrad, more pictures and stories

Blizzard

It’s only October. I’ve been decorating for fall, we aren’t supposed to be getting a blizzard.

Guests

We have company visiting, for the winter. I know I have heard it said that fish and guests go bad after three days but we are going to give it a try anyway.  Not everyone was happy to see them, but those who were upset will just have to learn to live with it. Maybe they will even become friends in time. You might recognize our visitors from the parade pictures from Festival and the reunion.