Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Little Bling for Estes

I had such a good time on my five minute ride yesterday that I just posted a quick video in which it was almost impossible to see her new bling.  RCC got some great pictures and I have to share them before we get to the bling.  What I love, Love, LOVE about our horses is that they've been out to pasture for two months and we were able to just hop right back up on them without any round penning or lounging.

I love this picture - love the way the sun's coming through the trees.

My favorite picture of Bill and Ranger.

She's furred up a little bit.  I thought I'd be able to bury my fingers in her hair, but it just stuck straight up when I tried.

Terrible picture of me; great picture of her new bling.  I think it fits her perfectly.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh Happiness!

I just had to try out Estes' new headstall.  Lucky for me, the horses are in a pasture just fifteen minutes away from the lodge and Mom and Bill always take treats when they visit, so they eagerly look forward to cars driving up the road toward the pasture.

I set up her bridle at the lodge where it was warm, using Ashee's as a measurement guide so that I wouldn't have to fiddle fart around with it out in the cold.  In order to keep it warm, I hung it around my neck like a necklace and buttoned my duster up over it.  Forgot to get a picture of me wearing my horse's bling, but you can see me take it off in the video to put on Estes.

Bill and I went for a very short ride, but I could have spent hours wandering through the pasture.  RockCrawlinChef and Mom went with us and acted as camerapeople and we thought it might be - you know - rude to ride off and leave them behind.

There's kind of a bobble with getting me mounted up on Estes.  Bill apparently really wanted me to kick him in the head, but we got that straightened out and when he boosted me up, he practically threw me over her back.  Thank goodness the batteries were low in the Flip so it turned off before Mom could see me hanging off the wrong side of my horse.

So, here's 1:54 of happiness...

Still pics tomorrow.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Estee's Christmas Present

Mom and Bill got me, well, Estes, a new headstall for Christmas.  It's beautiful; the perfect balance between tough girl and pretty.  It's got bling in the form of BBs, not flashy stones.  And the leather is not dainty; it's good, sturdy leather.

I've been using Ashinator's headstall when I can get away with it (she keeps catching me at it, darn it!) and it's obvious that Estes prefers that one over her own.  Since she's so light and doesn't try to rub off her bridle, I don't feel the need to use a traditional bridle with her.

She's currently in a pasture that is fairly easy to reach, so when I go up to the lodge on Wednesday, I have every intention of trying out her Christmas present, even if it's only a quick trip around the fence line and through the trees.

Pictures in a few days...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Love and hugs from Queen Estes and GunDiva

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Remember Us?

Way back in April, I met Estes' Grandbabies, two adorable fillies, who are amazing critters.  They were so playful and sweet that I instantly fell in love.  I didn't get to see them all summer long, as they were off being horses and I was busy riding, but Mom snagged this picture of them just a couple of weeks ago.  Aren't they gorgeous?

Ida's got someone who is looking to buy them, which is the whole point of her breeding, but it makes me sad, because I want them both something fierce.  But with no place to keep them and absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of how to start them properly, it wasn't going to happen anyway.

But a girl can dream.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quick Horse Update

I haven't been out to see the horses in their temporary pasture and am dependent on Mom and Bill for my updates.  Lucky for me, I was able to catch up with them in Las Vegas and get at least a verbal update.  I don't know if they got pictures last week when they visited, but they assured me that the horses are all doing well and have "fuzzied up".  According to Mom, they've got twice the fuzzies they had when we turned them out and are fat and sassy.

Like you, I wish we had pictures, but we'll have to wait until Mom and Bill are back from the NFR in a couple of days.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day After Turnout

Since Mom and Bill turned out the horses at a pasture other than their usual one, they went back the next day to check on them.  Mostly to check to see if Jesse had hopped over the little fence to take the horses back to the lodge.

They'd settled in, but were still happy to eat the treats Mom took them :)

In a few weeks, Ida'll move them down to their permanent winter pasture.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Well, Now What?

With the horses gone for the winter, probably the only thing I'll be climbing up on are extra tall bar stools.  But I'm not much of a drinker, so I won't be bellying up to the bar.

With winter here and no ride time, I'll have time to do some reviews.  CSN Stores has added me to their list of preferred bloggers (woohoo!).  Last time I did a review, I got to try out some cool boots, which I passed on to my mom because I managed to screw up the UK to US size chart.

I don't know that I'll find anything horse-related, as their pet section is mostly for indoor pets, but I do love wasting my day looking through all of the cool things they have.  I've had positive experiences with them in the past and am looking forward to working with them again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winter Turnout

Turnout is always a bittersweet day.  It's good for the horses to be turned out for the winter.  There's something about pretending to run free for a few months during the harshest part of winter that is just so good for the Mustangs' souls.  During the time they are out, they will be without humans to take care of them - they go back to their wild roots.  Mom and Bill hike in to see them every week or so, but other than a few treats, they don't take any food to the horses.  Foraging for food and water (don't worry, their pasture has three rivers crossing it) is completely on the horses.

This will be Eli's first winter as a wild horse since Compass caught him several years ago.  We've given him time to herd up with our herd and shortly, we'll be combining them with Ida's herd next month, so they'll be a healthy sized herd.  Safety in numbers and all that.  Last year, there was an issue with a mountain lion, so Ida brought them all down into her town pastures in early spring.  This year, the herd will be big enough (and without a mini - poor Tigger) that they shouldn't have any predator problems.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Last Ride of the Year

First things first...
Mrs Mom and Meg, this one's for you...

T!nK gladly rode Eli in your absence :)

Even though I *hate* this canned Flip video music, I got lots of positive responses on it, so here it is - again - on our last ride of the year.

*Sniff, sniff*

When Washoe the Wonder Idiot "crossed" the stream that he drinks from every. single. day he kinda broke Momma Fargo. I didn't get it on film, so it never really happened, and I can hold onto my record of never losing a guest on a ride.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thwarted Ride

Last week, Mrs Mom posted a video showing hoof movement in shod horses.  I wanted to see what the hoof movement looked like in barefooters like our horses, so I called up to the lodge and made a plan with Mom and Bill to go out on Sunday, which was supposed to be a beautiful day to ride.

Knowing that I'd have to get up and down from Estes to get the shots I wanted, I decided that it wouldn't kill her to go out in a saddle (it doesn't fit well, which is why I haven't used it more than once this summer).  The whole way up to the lodge I watched the clouds build behind Long's Peak, and hoped that they wouldn't break over the mountains.  I really, really wanted to get the video of the horses' feet up on our mountains.

I knew that we'd be riding on borrowed time, but pulled Estes' saddle out anyway, ready to get whatever shots we could.

How pathetic is this...

Yes, that's dust on my saddle.  I guess that's what happens when you don't pull your saddle out to use for over four months.

In the time it took me to pull my saddle and go pull Estes from the pen, this is what moved in...

I still wasn't ready to give up on our ride yet, until I got Estes tied to the rail and she gave me this look...

That is a cranky mare.  Suddenly, between the snow beginning to blast us and the thought of riding a cranky mare, my need to get the video of her barefeets wasn't so great any more.  I got over it, turned her back to the pen, moaned and groaned about missing my chance, and went home.

I kid you not.  I get out of the canyon, back into cell phone range, and call Mom to let her know I'm down (old habits are hard to break - have to call before we enter the canyon and when we exit the canyon) and she tells me the storm has blown over and there's nothing but clear blue sky.

Stupid Colorado weather.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

8:12 of Relaxation

Compass and I went out for a ride on Saturday and I took along my Flip.  There was a request for more videos a couple of posts back, so I took the request to heart.  Our ride time is getting short - we're looking to send the horses to winter pasture in three weeks.  We've gotta get all the ride time in we can!

Please forgive the corny Flip music; I tried to embed Templeton Thompson's GIRLS & HORSES, but it wasn't playing nice.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thrush? In Colorado?

When Mrs Mom suggested that maybe Estes had deep tissue thrush, I was confused as I've always been told that Colorado's too dry for thrush.  I mean, we worried about it when it was damp for extended periods of time, but not day-to-day.  Mom picked out Estes' club foot and treated it for thrush for a couple of weeks and Estes quit gimping.  Huh.  Thrush in Colorado.

I always thought of thrush (when I thought of it) as primarily attacking soft tissue, like the frog and surrounding tissues, but never thought about it attacking the sole.  Holy cow was I surprised when Mr Mrs Mom took the hoof knife to Estes' sole and found all sorts of thrush.  In fact, her sole looked like marble and her frog was a disaster, even after the two weeks' worth of treatment.

Here's a video of Mr Mrs Mom working on Estes' gimpy foot.  It's long and there's lots of chatter in the background, but you can very clearly see the marbling in her sole from the thrush.

Did you notice that he didn't use a traditional farrier's hold?  I love the way he held her hoof and it's much easier for me, too.

We'd ridden pretty hard before her trim and she was a little sore, which you can see at the end of the video, but it's nothing like her gimpy video.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Little Video

Mom and Bill, Mrs Mom and BrownEyed Cowgirls all already have multiple posts up about their visit last weekend.  I'm feeling like such a dang slacker!

To ease my guilt feelings until I have time to sit and compose a post, here's a little video montage of our ride.

The video of the hunters putting their kill up on Eli is a bit jumpy because Ranger did. not. like. it.

Yeah, dead thing on the back of his new herdmate was just too much.  He was pretty good, but wanted to get outta there.

Really, more to come in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The pond on June 10 this year.  Wasn't it gorgeous?  The frogs were singing when I took this picture.  I love to listen to the frogs :)

The pond on October 17.  No frogs singing, but still absolutely beautiful.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was still water in it.  I fully expected it to be completely dried up like it was last year at this time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ornery Estes

Estes has developed a bad habit, one that is totally and completely my fault.  Because she's been gimped up most of the summer, I've only been taking her out for short rides.  As a result, she's become quite barn sour - always in a hurry to get home.  Last week, she and Monster went rounds about her behavior.

Yesterday, Monster and Mom went out and Estes had a temper tantrum.  Monster handled her beautifully according to Mom.  When she got charge-y, he stopped her and made her stand still.  He turned her away from home and made her stand.  He put her behind Mom and Jesse.  You name it, he tried everything in his power to calm her down.  Unfortunately, a twenty year-old horse with a lot of experience isn't much match for a fifteen year-old boy with less than a month of experience and Monster ate dirt yesterday.  His pride is hurt more than his body.  And she really, really hurt his feelings by dumping him.  He's not thinking much about their "bond" right now.

As a result, I had plans on riding her long and hard today to run off some of that excess energy.  Plans changed; after getting out on the mountain, I decided that a long, slooooowww walk was more what she needed.

A big hug for my standing-still-like-a-good-girl mare...

Just before the big tempter tantrum...

...and one very pissed off mare...

...and now we piaffe (Estes two-step)...

"Mom, I am so mad at you!"

...and passage (quickly on the way to pissmeoff)...

...ultimately, I won and she came back like a good girl.

A roll well-earned...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Favorite Equipment

I've been asked on occasion why I choose to use some of the equipment I do, mainly about the length of my reins and my use of quick-clips to attach them to the bridle.

First, the length of my reins.  I use l-o-n-g reins.  Long enough that when I've got them crossed over Estee's neck they still almost drag the ground.  A lot of people see them as trip hazards, and I'll agree that if they were to drag the ground they'd be trip hazards.  The reason I use them is so that when I'm leading out a ride, I can park my lead horse at the front of the line, dismount, play out the reins and help whichever guest needs help all while keeping contact with my horse.  If I had short reins and had to keep my lead horse next to me when I went back to help the guest, I'd lose control of the line.  A parked lead horse keeps the others from wandering off.

What about the quick-clips to attach them to the bridle?  Monster demonstrated it perfectly on Sunday when he had to lead Estes back to the yard.  He was able to leave the lead rope behind.  When riding bareback, there's no place to attach the lead rope unless you leave it clipped to the halter and tie it around the horse's neck.  It gets cumbersome.  When Monster made the decision to lead Estes back to the yard, he was able to quickly disconnect the reins from the bridle and clip one end to the halter and lead her back without putting pressure on her mouth.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Out of Order

I posted about my ride on Sunday with Monster and then realized that I never posted about his first ride on Estes.

Monster and Estes share a special bond that came from out of nowhere.  Estes decided she loved Monster and he became her human, not-so-subtly removing me from the "favorite human" standing.

Monster's not really a horse guy.  He's a skater dude.  He had no interest in horses until Estes chose him as her human.  He'd probably ridden less than fivetimes his entire life and hasn't enjoyed it much, so imagine my surprise when he told me he wanted to ride Estes.  Estes is not a beginner's horse.  Not even close to being a beginner's horse.  In fact, I was terrified to ride her and then I fell in love with her.  Ashinator is my horse girl and she has no desire to ride Estes.

I was worried about Monster riding Estes due to both his lack of experience and her tendency to be rather mare-ish.  But then I watched them together and realized that she wasn't going to do anything to hurt him, so I grabbed Ranger and we got ready to go.

I don't know if it's because of the extraordinary balance he has to have to skate or if he's just a natural rider.  We went around the block and called it a day.  But the riding bug had bitten Monster.  He's gained a lot of confidence in just a short period of time.  The second time he rode, he rode in just a halter and lead rope (which I haven't been brave enough to try yet).  The third time, he and Bill trotted more than half a mile.  Sunday's ride was only the fourth or fifth time he's been up on Estes and he decided to tackle the trail. 

And he's done it all bareback!

He spent the beginning of the ride asking when he would be able to canter on her.  I told him that he'd have to wait until he got a little bit more experience under his belt before he could attempt a canter - so he agreed to wait until next summer.

We'll see what new goal he sets for himself next weekend when he's working.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Ride

Monster spend the weekend working at the lodge and wanted to go out for a short ride before we came home today.  For the first time, he agreed to go out on the mountain instead of just riding around town.  Since he wanted to ride Estes, I chose to take Compass' horse, Eli.  Compass is off at Meeker, acting as camp cook until Tuesday, when she'll head down to Arizona to drive a team until November.  In the meantime, Eli has joined our herd and she's been telling me all summer I should ride him, so I did.

The weather was less than appealing on the way up...

And it didn't get any better the higher I got...

But the colors were amazing...

I grabbed Eli (isn't he a handsome boy?) and away we went...

Monster hamming it up for the camera...(and Bill riding drag)

Monster lead out for a while and on the way home Estes decided to act up.  This picture was just moments before Monster and Estes had a Come-to-Jesus meeting.  Monster's an intuitive horseman...he doesn't see it, but he's got great instincts for dealing with her.  She wanted to go home at her own pace; Monster said no.  She said yes; Monster said, no and we're going to turn away from home.  She said, yeah, well, take this and executed a perfect roll-back.  Monster said, oh, hell, no and made her stand quietly while he dismounted.

The minute his feet hit the ground and he transferred her reins to her halter to lead her home, you could see her deflate...oops, I screwed up.

 He spent the whole walk back giving her what-for and she listened intently.

Is this a sorry horse or what?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mrs Mom's A'Comin' to Colorado!

Yes, you heard that right.  Mrs Mom and her DH are bringing their expertise to Colorado to help fix Estee's feetsies.  How lucky am I?

I think we've got Estee's thrush under control and she's not limping as much.  You have to look for it to see it now (otherwise I never would have taken her out for a canter) and she's back to her normal mare-ish self.  Now it's time to take care of that club foot. 

Rather than try to figure out how to do it via phone calls, pictures and videos, Mrs Mom and DH are coming out here to teach us how to take care of her feet ourselves.  We missed them at HCR, but we'll still get to meet them for realzies.  I can't wait!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Did It!!!

Back in June, I took my first canter on Estes in a saddle.  I've been whining off and on about not having an arena to learn new things in, because, basically I'm a chicken and don't want to get hurt trying new things riding in the mountains.  After my ride with Compass in June I decided that my summer goal was going to be to ride Estes bareback at the canter.  Summer's technically over, but we haven't taken the horses down to winter pasture yet, so I'm going to continue to think of it as summer, okay?

Our first attempt was a bust.  I started at a trot, cued up for a canter and Estes moved into her nice Morgan shuffle, so I cued up for a canter again and she just shuffled faster.  Bill attempted video, but watch it at your own risk.  In his own words, "it's the planet's most nauseating video".

I pretty much gave up after the aborted attempt.  I was ready, but she was not.  However, I thought I'd give it another go and we had success!!!!!  This video's not quite as nauseating as the first, but don't play it full screen, you'll regret it.

We did it!  Estes was so happy to be allowed to stretch her legs out that we did it again.  She would have kept going, but I thought better of it.  Okay, honestly, my butt thought better of it.  Even with a bareback pad, it hurt when I got out of position and whacked my seat bones on her back.

We've still got some time before winter pasture and we'll be doing this again!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunday's Ride

I've already posted the pictures of Sunday's ride, but thought I'd write just a little bit about it.

Estes has been on injured reserve since the HCR ride.  She developed some deep tissue thrush (that's what I'm assuming it is - I'm not a vet and can't diagnose) and hasn't been rideable.  Well, actually, she probably has been rideable, but we took some time to treat her.

She seemed to be feeling better and was definitely getting sick of being left behind so I decided to give her some Bute to take the edge off so that I could take her out to stretch out a little bit.  I'd just Buted her when Compass called to see if I would join her on a two-hour ride.  Heck, why not?  I threw Bill's bareback pad on to keep my jeans clean-ish and bridled up.

Estes was eager to go and quite the handful while I was waiting for Compass' guests to get mounted up.  Estes was beside herself that we had to travel at "dude speed" when she wanted to go. Even though Compass had invited us for a two-hour, I had to get back into town, so I went out with her and planned to break away from the group when it was time for me to head back.

I finally got Estes settled into dude speed and chatted with the guests who were not having nearly as good a time as we were.  Unfortunately, the female of the couple wasn't into the ride and was not having a good time.  Her husband, on the other hand, was having a ball and feeling guilty about it, it seemed.

Before I knew it, I was at my turn back point and broke away from the group.  I felt Estes sigh in relief as she picked up a quick trot along a sandy stretch of trail.  I was as anxious as she was to move and let her stretch out a bit.  I considered moving her up into a canter, but wasn't feeling very balanced myself and decided to stay at a trot.

It felt wonderful!  Her gimpiness felt like it was gone, but I'll chalk that up to the Bute making her more comfortable.  We sought out a few aspen groves on our way back, breaking trail in the process, and picked our way between the beautiful trees.

I rode a bit harder than I had intended and was sore for two days to prove it.  Estes, however, would have been much happier if we'd stayed out another couple of hours.

As excited as I am to be going to the WPA, I'm sad that it will be another week before I can get up go for another ride.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall Colors

It seems like summer just got started and here it is all over, as evidenced by the gold on the mountain.

When the gold hits the trees, it's time to break out the orange...

There are hunters a foot and the only protection we have is our ability to don the hideous orange.  Orange might not be my color, but alive is and I want to stay that way.

After our beautiful ride, Estes even got in on the orange action with a little Betadine soak...