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Archive for the ‘wild horse’ Category

Global what???

It’s everywhere. That light, fluffy and deceptively alluring objectionable white stuff has covered my world and created once more a Winter Wonderland. Wonder, as in wondering why the heck am I not living where global warming is having a greater effect???

Over the course of the past week we’ve managed to collect at least 18″ of the dreadful four letter S word, with temps plummeting into the single digits here in the valley, lower still once you head into Little Canada (north county) where the wind blows.

This morning after feeding hungry horses and sheep, I grabbed my camera and took a few photos in the pre-dawn moments. Despite the cold, I was determined to capture the horror of my situation here and share it with you.

Darling’s mind has completely gone. Snow madness, I suspect. I came inside and found her editing a video she’d shot of herself riding Sandy out in the snow…she had her arms stretched out like she was an airplane as he jogged in circles.

“What the heck are you doing?” I demanded in my best mother voice.

“I figure this is the time to try riding with no hands; the landing’s got to be softer!”

Kids!

I am currently training a new horse for the Northwest Extreme Mustang Makeover!  If  you’d like to keep up with what Darling and I are doing on a more regular basis, please visit the Mustang Diaries.

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Blackmail…

Last week Darling and I drove down to Burns, Oregon, where I picked up my new Mustang Makeover competition horse.  It was lovely.  The sky was blue.  There was no mud.  Sure, it was a bit chilly, but it was better than the mud that oozes through the holes in a farm diva’s boots back home.

While there we took a drive with a friend up to the Steens Mountains where we were blessed to come upon a large herd of horses.  Wild horses.  No fences…just thousands and thousands of acres.   It was a desperate horsewife’s dream, to be surrounded by mustangs so close you could nearly touch them.  And yes, I do mean we were that close!  And yes, I do mean wild!  But we were quiet, not disruptive, and while the older stallions watched with suspicion from the top of the ridge, the younger horses stuck to their guns and continued to graze peacefully while we lustfully filled our cameras with images of this oh-so-amazing experience.

Back home, however, the skies are nothing like they were in Burns.  They are gray and dripping and dreary and threatening to snow on us.  They have created mud that sucks even my beloved muck boots from my feet when I go outside to work the horses.

Yesterday I was working with the new boy, Steve Holt!, and once finished I found I’d gained 20 lbs from the mud that was now caked on my jeans and sweatshirt.  I got the brainy idea that I should grab Darling’s little camera and video myself.  But when I played it back,  I looked stupid.  Not the normal embarrassing stupid that I normally look like…I haven’t got an issue with that…I was just totally dorky!  I couldn’t figure out how to delete the video, though, and wouldn’t you know that Darling found it?  And she’s threatening me with it!

“I’m  going to call it, The Stupid Things My Mother Does,” she said with an evil grin as she ran off with my embarrassing moments.   Some gratitude from the kid who gave me stretch marks, or who’s most embarrassing video of her I deleted for all eternity.  Now I’m wishing I’d kept it so that I had something to blackmail her with!

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with-stephanie-web

Quiet Storm and Stephanie

Last year about this time, Darling and I were preparing ourselves for the heartbreak of a lifetime…we’d sold Quiet Storm. Stephanie came to pick her up in early December. I think I cried more than Darling. The only saving grace of the day was, of all things, the snow. It was keeping my face just wet enough that it hid my tears. I cried for a month, quietly, silently, hiding from Darling so she wouldn’t see. Darling dealt with her grief through writing. Eventually, though, the pain eased and life went on…

Until Molalla. We were just a week from leaving when we received word from Stephanie that her income was dwindling and there just wasn’t enough money to care properly for Quiet Storm…and could I possibly take her back? Half elated, half dreading, I said yes. City Boy would not be happy, I knew, but what else could I do? Horses aren’t selling well right now, and Storm…she’s special. I couldn’t just let her slip away into just anyone’s hands, so home she came with 3 other mustangs which were here for gentling.

Quiet Storm hadn’t changed. She was still small, still the bottom of the pecking order, and still trying to walk on your toes. Darling and I saddled her up and we went for a ride, me on Jet, she on Quiet Storm. All went well.

As suspected, City Boy was less than thrilled over the turn of events. While he likes Storm, she made mustang #8 out in our tiny field. I made a half hearted promise to find her a new home while secretly longing for her to be able to stay with us forever…

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Is she not just the most adorable little pony you’ve seen?

I spent the summer playing with and gentling the other mustangs. What I didn’t do is put much effort into finding a home for our little mustang. Now and then I’d speak with someone about her, but things never worked out. Finally, in October, I decided I just needed to bite the bullet and let her go. Darling had her new horse, Dude, and in all honesty there just wasn’t room for her in the barn.

But you’ll never believe what happened next…


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How’s your knowledge of US Geography?

Mine, it would appear, is severely lacking. I could hardly get anything outside of the western states in place.  Who decided to have such teensie little states in the east, anyway?

Test your time. See how you do!

Click to Mix and Solve

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Seriously, though…

They tell me there’s such a thing as padded undies.  I need them.  Really.  I’ve been spending so much time in the saddle here this summer that City Boy is complaining about callouses in places that, well, one shouldn’t have them.  I have saddle sores.  My hiney is too tiny and my seat bones rub and pinch the skin between them and the saddle.

Last year I explained to all you women the importance of hips (they keep your pants up), and now I’m telling you that hinies with a bit of padding are a blessing in disguise.  Or at least in a pair of tight jeans.  I know, I know.  Some of you are out there asking yourselves, “Why the heck does she even get into the saddle, then, with such a problem?”  A wise woman, after all, would know her limitations.  She would eat a few more potato chips or steal a bit more candy from her children on Halloween.  Desperate times, after all, call for desperate measures.  My body, however, manages to store fat in other areas, leaving me with pants that roll down over the hips and callouses on my hiney.

Why, then, do I continue to torture myself with hour after hour of discomfort in the saddle?

I’ll let you be the judge of that…

Yup, some things are just worth self torture!  But I’m still going to look for padded undies…

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A Field of Daisies

A herd of domestic~turned~feral horses.

An idyllic scene greets your eyes. Tranquil.  Peaceful.  Picturesque.  The long, narrow valley filled with daisies in early June, the foothills of Mt. Baker creating the perfect backdrop.  A small herd a horses grazes peacefully.  The mares are fat with the spring grass, their foals napping in the mid morning sun.  Nothing at all to make you think things were out of place.

So why has Animal Control been called in?

This little herd, which looks so harmonious, has spent the winter fending for themselves.  Before the spring grass, it was the harsh, cold winter with nothing but snow and tree bark.  Rather than fat and shiny, they were starved, ribs and hips poking out from shaggy winter coats.  Two stallions, two mares, and their offspring were given freedom to roam not only the valley, but the hillside across the dangerously narrow, winding road without any regard for motorists or logging trucks that may be making their way up or down the mountain.

A palomino mare approaches cautiously, protecting her colt.

Typically in the wild, there will be one herd stallion who will chase away his offspring by their second year.   This keeps herds from inbreeding.  Young stallions band together in what are known as bachelor bands until they are able to steal a mare from an established herd and begin their own.  But in this situation, both stallions, ages six and seven, were born on the property and live a daily existence with the two mares.  They get along, so long as there’s not a mare in heat.  Once one of the mares is in season, the battles begin.  Rearing, striking, biting and kicking.  Battle scars mar both bodies.  Wounds have festered and sport proud flesh due to being left without treatment.

Wounds left to fester on the side of this stallion have created scar tissue.

The hooves of these horses are long.  The ground is not the hard desert rock that most wild horses travel across, so there is no natural wearing.  When they get too long, they chip and break off, sometimes leaving the hoof so short that the horse ends up lame.  Thankfully, these horses haven’t the need to travel 20 miles to find water, or they’d never make it.  In fact, aside from the summer grass, the only blessing to these horses is that there is a creek running through the property which gives them fresh, clean water to drink.

Stallions, aged seven and six,  run free with the mares.

Neighbors have complained for years.  They’ve seen the horses in winter.  They’ve slowed down for them as they’ve crossed the road.  But because there are stallions in the mix, finding suitable homes or rescues is difficult.  When a warrant is issued, the animal control officer (ACO) has just 24 hours to move the horses.  Because this particular band hasn’t been handled, capturing can be rather tricky.  On the first attempt, only two of the ten were caught and relocated.  Now the ACO is struggling to get her crew back together on a single day that works for everyone.  The crew being a band of volunteers with enough trailer space to haul two intact stallions, two yearlings, and two mare and foal pairs.

And so the little herd waits in the sun, unaware of their future, content in a field of daisies.

A curious stallion stands watch.

…to be continued.

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Okay, so maybe he didn’t really say so, but if he saw it, he’d want it. Wouldn’t you agree?

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