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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.


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


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


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.

Our Life, In Pictures

Because it has become apparent that I am never going to write anything.


Self Image

It’s a very important thing, occasionally a bit delusional.

This is how I see myself when riding Nevel:

Dressage-grey-trotOr at the very least:images

It is interesting that I seem to want to be doing dressage when I ride western, I guess I need to be doing western dressage. So maybe I can picture us like this:weiskopf1And very soon we will be doing this:Frances-Carbonnel-Fino-300x240

I was so excited when my husband showed up the other day and obliged me with some pictures so I could see just how graceful Nev and I looked together. Imagine my distress and dismay when I discovered I looked like this:

In my defense I was trying to lower my center of gravity in hopes of being less likely to fall off with the green horse, open space, semi and pay-loader stuff going on. It is a little sad to discover it working so very well. Apparently the helmet doesn’t automatically make me elegant and graceful like all the enlish riding people always look. Maybe I should get a pair or breeches? No,bad idea. Diet time.

Nev is still pretty at least.

The End

The End

Date Night!

We very seldom go out, just the two of us. Finding a sitter is such a hassle. But this was a big deal, a rare chance not to be missed. Marty Stuart was coming, if not to town, close enough to count.

Fortunately my equally Marty Stuart loving husbands very young sister isn’t old enough to share our love and agreed to babysit, on a weeknight even. We promised her we should be back by ten, easy. We weren’t. Then we kept her up even later telling her what a great concert she had missed. I think she thinks us old folks are crazy.

We got there before the seats filled up too bad and sat five rows back in the center. Perfect seats. They opened with some of his hits. The whole band took a turn singing. They were all great. Watching a concert with my brilliant husband is more than listening to music, I get to learn the history behind it. My favorite piece of trivia this time was that the base player, who also played an upright base, so awesome, was the lead singer of Exile when they recorded my favorite song of theirs, Keep it in the Middle of the Road.

They played the upright base, the mandolin and of course  guitars. The instrumentals were spectacular. Then they slowed it down and closed with some good old Gospels. They came down for a meet and greet after the show and we wanted to stay so bad but it was already after nine and we had a good hours drive back to pick up the child we had promised to retrieve by ten so we very reluctantly headed home.

So, We Had A Little Storm

Just a little one, mostly wind a bit of rain. We laughed together at the weather radio, they said a few times that anyone outside in the path of the storm WOULD be injured.  We heard rumors that some corn fields up on the highway got hailed pretty good and thought we would drive past to see them when we headed to town for milk. That’s big excitement out here in the middle of no where.

Imagine our surprise when we got a call asking my computer guy husband to put a note on the school web sight that there would be no school Tuesday. “Why?” he asked. Well apparently there was a storm and anything outside in its path was injured. It ripped the roof right off the school auditorium.

I immediately texted a friend who lives in the path this storm took. She responded that no they had not come through alright. They got six inches of rain and three inches of hail, and hauled a horse to the vet who tried to jump a fence in the storm. He didn’t clear it and needed stitches the length of his belly.

Everything in the storms path was destroyed. Trees were stripped bare, grass was pounded into a pulp. Water stood in fields and had washed over the roads. The corn field had been hailed alright all that was left was stalks and ears, they looked like sticks stuck in the ground.

See more here, here, and here.