Saturday, March 31, 2012

Good Boy, Ben! Good Boy, Paj!

Bob's Clyde Ben is one smart cookie.  David free-lunged him yesterday, and Ben remembered his vocal commands from last summer.  Ben came to the ranch in May.  We lightly worked him on lunging and some trail-type riding, and stopped when he became ill in August.  By the time he was ready to go back to work, we were in the throes of winter.  To have him get back in the lunge pen after all that time off, remember "walk", "trot", "canter" and "ho", and actually do it, is remarkable! 

You can see David use a little body language to help out with the canter depart, but all the other transitions are spot on!  Good boy, Ben.  Good job, Dave.

Paj and I used the lunge pen today too.  With record heat and a hairy beast, we had a short workout, then worked on our stretchy free-walk-on-a-long-rein.  I like to use the lunge pen for the free walk, 'cause you don't have to think about where you're going on that long rein.  It probably seems odd to folks that you have to work on a "free" walk, but yeah, you do.

Big hug, Paj!

Thanks, Coach!

Enjoy the day, buddy.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The New Kids on the Block

This is our neighbor Kate.  Kate and her husband Mike raise alpacas.  They are big-hearted folks, and when they heard about two llamas that needed rescuing, they didn't hesitate.  But then they learned that the llamas had a special friend - a horse!  Mike and Kate have never had a horse, but the three were inseparable, so they said yes to the horse too!

Mia is a 7 year old mustang/quarter horse cross.  She is sweet and mellow in spite of her abusive past.  David and I get to provide advise and loving!  We are pretty excited.

The young llama is the most at risk.  She is skin and bones.  Kate is an expert alpaca owner, and the little one couldn't be in better hands.  This is one very lucky trio.  We are lucky too to have such good neighbors.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blame David

At the beginning of the month, I whined about how March is Colorado's snowiest month.  Well, this year we are having the driest March on record!  The days are warm and dry, and the riding surface is completely thawed out.  I've started Paj back to work.  So far, this is the easiest transition he's ever made from winter pasture puff to dressage horse.  I am thrilled with him.   

Since we're getting some regular work on the horses, David is putting the little railing for the arena back up.  

We take it down for the winter because it's in one of the pastures, and we don't want any of the horses blundering into it if it's under snow.  So is this like washing your car and making it rain?  If David puts the arena up, will we get 3' of snow? 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Horse Ladies who Blog and Brunch

It was as warm as a summer day for the blog ladies get-together.  Cyndi from Living a Dream brought a fruit salad and fresh carrots, one for each horse.

Becky of Once Upon an Equine made blueberry bars.  I baked a frittata.  It was all delish, as Lori of The Skoog Farm Journal would say.  Is it weird that I photographed the horse's carrots instead of the human food?  Don't answer that. 

After brunch and a good talk, we moseyed on down to the barn.  David and Boomer took us for a drive, and Cyndi drove us home.

That's Cyndi with the lines, and Becky in the back.
You can barely see Becky, so here's a closer shot -

It was a lovely day!

*something bad has happened to my camera's exposure.  I will try to fix that before the next post.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good Boy, Pippin!

If you follow Living a Dream, you know the lovely Hafflingers Pippin and Doc.  Well, this weekend Pippin took his Mrs. Owner and "that guy who always hangs around her" to a driving clinic.  I watched the Friday session, in which Pippin was a long-lining star!  Not only was he just plain adorable, but he was also completely business-like.  He paid absolutely no attention to the spectators, the other horses passing by the door, or the lady driving a Gator in the arena.  He willingly did everything asked of him, and he worked hard.  Good boy, Pippin!  Good job on all your hard work, Mrs. Owner!

Back at the ranch, our footing is unfrozen, at least for the time being.  David rode Boomer, and I gave Paj a light work.  It's so nice to have warm weather.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


At daybreak, we had a Great Horned Owl perched on our chimney.  We listened to his soft who-who-who-who all through the morning barn chores.  After he flew off, I wandered up to the house to see what he was after. 

On the side of our house, seemingly overnight, we had
an extensive
Vole Villa!

Please come back, oh Great Horned Owl.  Bring the family.  Bring the coyote pack too.  Have a big ole Vole Fest.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Brothers

My brothers are swimming in creativity.  Me?  Not so much.

My brother Joe is a retired journalist, and has just published his third book.

Here's the description, copied from the Kindle site -

"Most Americans have never seen a photograph of a Revolutionary War soldier. Probably most wouldn’t believe any such photos exist. This book proves they do – with images that are clear, telling portraits of men who fought for freedom more than 225 years ago. And their stories are riveting.

Joseph M. Bauman, a retired newspaper reporter, collected original daguerreotype images of Revolutionary War veterans for more than three decades and spent even more years researching them. He found eight, all of them fully identified and documented.

The images are exceptionally rare because few of the Patriots of 1775-'83 lived until the dawn of practical photography in the early 1840s; far fewer were daguerreotyped; many, probably most, of such daguerreotypes never carried identification; and finally, the ravages of time have claimed the vast majority of portraits from the 1840s and ‘50s. These eight are the world’s largest collection of camera-original, fully-identified photographs of veterans of the War for Independence – the war that established the United States.

Digging through myriad sources -- 18th and 19th century battle accounts, muster rolls, genealogical records, pension files, letters, period newspapers, town and county histories -- the author was able to flesh out the stories of these veterans. Once forgotten, now they are brought back, lively and engaging, virtues and flaws intact. They include a shoemaker, two ministers, a doctor who later managed a vast mercantile empire, a tavern-keeper, a settler of the Ohio frontier, a blacksmith and the captain of a coastal vessel.

They suffered, starved and fought through the Revolution, and their experiences are thrilling -- from watching the beginning of the Boston Tea Party, to undergoing capture as a prisoner of war, to fighting in the Monmouth, Quaker Hill, Charleston, Bennington and Yorktown battles, to witnessing the final British surrender. As amazing as their stories are, the daguerreotype portraits are even more transfixing.

Look at the strong, intelligent face of Dr. Eneas Munson, stare into his clear eyes: here is a man who risked his life in battle as a teenaged medic, and who saw and heard, up close, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the heavyset genius General Henry Knox. This is a thoroughly-researched, superbly-written and well-illustrated book. The stories and illustrations make a distant era become immediate and vital."

Wow!  Way to go, Joe!  
To visit the Kindle site, click here.

My brother Tom and sister-in-law Pat make custom jewelry.  One of the places that carries their work is the Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC.  The Center has chosen one of Tom and Pat's pieces for the cover of their brochure.
That's their work on the left!

To visit their gallery, click here.  Way to go, Tom and Pat!

So where's my creative side?  Ummm.  Ummm.  Well, currently, I'm trying to draw a sheep.  I can't draw.  At all.  But The Crazy Sheep Lady has challenged her readers to draw a sheep (click here), and one of my blog favs, Lori from The Skoog Farm Journal (click here), is coaching us, so I'm game.  

My inspiration is this fabulous photo of The Crazy Sheep Lady's Jester.  Isn't he handsome?

Sadly, my sheep drawing looks like my very fat Callie cat.  With horns.  So I guess you could say that the creative/artistic gene missed me.  That's okay - the obsessive horse gene skipped my brothers!  How awful for them. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Freezing Drizzle

We started the day at 25 degrees with freezing drizzle and wind.  The boys were locked in their stalls with the top doors open this morning - a room with a view.  The barn overhang kept them warm and dry.  Boomer and Reggie would have done nicely with their doors open, but Paj and Ben would stand at the end of their runs, gazing longingly at the pasture while getting soaked.  It's one for all and all for one around here, so in they stayed.  We've warmed up to a balmy 27, the drizzle has stopped, and they are back outside, harassing each other.  After every lock-up, they must harass each other.

Scenes from a drizzly day

Ponderosa pine


Sunflower seed head

And again

I know that Spring is coming.  We've had a couple of beautiful days this week, I found a ladybug, and I saw a bluebird!  Sure signs of Spring.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Welcome, March

Did you know that March is Colorado's "snowiest" month?  Yes indeedy, it is.  And here comes more snow, just as we were starting to see bare patches amongst the snow-covered ground.  I'm not sure how much to expect (somewhere between 1 inch and 9 inches, depending on the source) but we're ready!