Monday, December 19, 2011

Worst Trail Ride Ever Give-away

I've had a lot of worst trail rides.  Mostly, though, they're amazing, but any time you put horses and humans together in the wilderness things are going to happen.  Just ask the Bionic Cowgirl - her last worst trail ride involved a plate and nine screws in her right arm.

I have a whole list of worst ride stories.  I could tell you about the time my Barn Boss' horse went to noon on me, or about the time that I did a Hollywood-style dismount, or about the time we had to AirLife a guest out of the forest.  I don't know anyone who has been around horses who doesn't have a worst ride story.

With that in mind, I thought we'd do a little contest for Julie Goodnight's new book, GOODNIGHT'S GUIDE TO GREAT TRAIL RIDING.
Read about how Estes darn nearly broke my leg in half with a gate.

All you have to do to enter is to write a blog post (or two) about your worst trail ride and link up. The contest will run from now until Friday, December 23 at 11:59 pm MST.  The winner will receive an autographed copy of Julie's new book (Julie's autograph, not mine).

Note: Bionic Cowgirl, you are NOT eligible for this give-away.  Neither are you, Beel.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Those Old Westerns

A friend of mine from the Writers' Police Academy sent me this; I thought you'd appreciate it.


Those Old Westerns

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Talked to Mom today, who talked to Ida, Estes' "other mother".

My baby girl is doing okay out on fat pasture, which makes me very happy, because we got her moved down just before the weather went to crap.  However, she spent the first two days she was with her old herd, hollering and looking for Mom's herd.  It's the first time since I bought her that we've broken up Mom's herd for the winter and it was distressing for her.  That makes me very sad.

She's settled in to her old herd again and has stopped calling for Ranger, Jesse, and Washoe.  But it still makes me sad, in a my-kid's-gone-to-kindergarten kind of way.


In happier news, remember this:

It's been released!  Heidi got her copies the other day.  I can't wait to read it.  Anyone who is interested in buying it can go here to order it.  And, if you order it by a certain date (I honestly don't remember what the date is), Julie will inscribe and autograph it for you.

I'm a little nervous to read my contribution, because Heidi just asked us for some trail riding horror stories.  So I shared the story of when Estes about broke my leg in a gate.  Since I just jotted it down, I have no recollection of what I said, other than Estes about broke my leg.  I hope she or Julie polished it up pretty-like and I don't sound like a total idiot. :)

Heidi asked for trail riding horror stories too early - if she had waited a few months, Mom would have had a doozy to contribute.  Nothing like getting kicked, shattering your elbow and having to ride out as a contribution to a trail riding book.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sooooooo Glad...

...that Queen Estes is at fat pasture.  We took her down on the last nice day we had, after a beautiful ride.  I have lots of pictures that I want to post, but my computer died and I'm using a work "loaner" that sucks big ole hairy donkey balls.  Sometimes the 'e' key works.  But I spend a lot of time going back and adding in the effing 'e's.

Anyway, I have about 18 inches worth of reasons why I'm glad Little Miss Estes is down in the lowlands.  It's single digits up the hill and the snow is falling, falling, falling.  She doesn't have nearly enough fat on her bones to handle the kind of weather Mom and Bill are having.

As soon as I get my new computer, I'll get pictures up.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Murphy Kicked Me Square In The Arse!

Cold. Nasty.  Not even Queen Estes wanted to be out.
The last few Sundays it's been really cold and nasty and I've had no desire to ride in it, so when I called Mom last night and asked her what the weather forecast was going to be like, I wasn't surprised when she said, "it's supposed to be sunny and fifty".  Why wasn't I surprised?  Because that's what they always say.  We agreed we'd play it by ear today.

Only, when RCC got ready to go to work this morning, I figured the weatherman had lied again and told him to take my car.  He's spending close to $300/mo on diesel for the truck, I thought the weather would be horrible up the hill (based on, oh, every Sunday since October 1st), so he might as well take my car and get 30 mpg instead of the 18-20 he gets in the truck.

I call Mom to let her know that I wouldn't be coming up to ride and she tells me, " it's 48 and there's no wind.  The sun is out."

Are you kidding me?  The weatherman was actually right?

So, here I sit, playing on the computer when I could be up riding in beautiful weather, just because I didn't believe what the weatherman said.

Thanks a lot Murphy.

You're a dick.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Aunt GunDiva and Her Horse

The things Queen Estes and I do for our nieces, I tell you.  I had planned to ride today when I went up to the lodge to help Nebalee make tamales, but after I talked to Mom this morning, I changed that plan.  It was COLD and WINDY (you know, like living in Wyoming), so I put on sweats instead of jeans to go work at the lodge.

RCC and I walked into the lodge and Asset came running out of the Owl Cove yelling (that's pretty much her only volume, BTW), "Aunt GunDiva, Aunt GunDiva!  We're going for a ride!"

Um.  Crap.  I had no intention of riding.  Did I mention it was cold?  And that it was windy?  Before I could tell her no, she ran off and announced to everyone that we were going for a ride.  By the time I'd put my stuff down, she had her helmet on and was ready to go.  Well, Asset ready.  Which means a helmet, but no shoes or coat.

I came up with a quick plan to just take her over to the pen, grab Estes, plop Asset up on Estes' back and walk her over to the lodge.  Hey, that counts as a ride for a three year old, right?

I grab Estee's halter, take Asset across the street with me and turn around to find Auto Bot standing at the fence with her helmet on.  Double crap.

Change of plans.  Again.

Fine, we'll go for a ride.  A short ride.  Around the block.


Really cold.  And windy.

Asset's getting too big to ride up front comfortably, so we had to switch.

Did I mention it was cold?  And windy?
Ok, in all honesty, Estes put out plenty of heat, so I was pretty comfortable except for the exposed skin of my face. 

But really, the things we do to keep our horse-crazed nieces happy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I haven't had any horse time and it's showing.

Now Mom and I are talking about moving Queen Estes down to fat pasture, if Ida has room for her.  She's holding her own - weight-wise - but not gaining any and the cold hasn't even truly hit.  She would benefit greatly from being on fat pasture with her old herd and she'd be closer too!

I'm feeling the pinch, though.  If we do take Estes to fat pasture, we'll have to move her this upcoming weekend, which means I have very limited days to ride.  Tuesday and possibly Friday.  Not much time at all.

The bonus of taking Her Highness to fat pasture, besides the obvious, is that I'll get to see the babies.  Who aren't really babies any more - they're almost three-year olds.
Digger and Dakota at a year (two springs ago)

Dakota last spring -isn't she beautiful?
I do want those fillies something fierce.  They are smart and agile, though a bit bigger than Estes and I've placed them both on my PowerBall list - you know, the list you keep for when you win the PowerBall?  Yep, they're at the top of my list, right under "buy lots of property".

My plan for the winter is to get caught up on all the blog posts I didn't get done this summer.  I've got lots of pictures and took a lot of really good rides, but never sat down long enough to spit them out.

In other semi-fantastic news: Heidi Nyland Melocco, released the cover of Julie Goodnight's next book...

I'm feeling a give-away coming on.  I'm not sure when the book will be released, but Heidi will notify those of us whose less-than-perfect trail rides ended up in the book when there's a release date.  Let's just say that Estes was not always the perfect-for-me horse.  But, damn, I love that mare. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Been A While

Not just for posting, but for seeing my mare.  In fact, it's been long enough that when I went out to see her the other day, this is what I saw...

She didn't even twitch an ear when I called her name.  Normally, her ears perk up and she looks for me when I step out of the Lodge and give her a holler.

So I climbed into the pen to get my hands on her.
I don't see you
The hay wasn't that interesting.  Trust me - I was out there WELL after feeding time - she should have at least acknowledged my presence, right?  Well, this is Queen Estes we're talking about.  She went about ignoring me until I backed her out of the feeder and made her interact with me on some level.

When I let her back into the feeder, she had a slightly better attitude...
There!  You happy? I unpinned my ears and will listen now.  Sheesh!
Guess I'd better make an effort to get her out of the pen this weekend.  At least the weather will be nice enough to go for a ride without the risk of frostbite.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Woo Hoo!

I opened my Facebook today and had a message waiting:
You're named --with your trail stories that you sent me in the spring-- in the Julie Goodnight/Heidi Nyland Melocco trail riding book published by AIM Media.

That was a nice surprise.  I had almost forgotten that I'd shared a story with Heidi back in the spring.  I have no idea what the book is titled or when it will be released, but it's still a cool bit of news today :)

I might have to do a give-away once it's released.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Make Like A Boy Scout

...and be prepared!

Mom's accident yesterday drove home the point that you must be prepared for an emergency at any time.  Being prepared doesn't mean just packing a cell phone and first aid kit.

Being prepared means knowing exactly what to do in an emergency.  And that does not necessarily always include calling 9-1-1.  It takes time for emergency responders to get to where you are - IF you have cell service and can direct them to your location.

*RANT* Cell phones have made us more dependent on other people, therefore less independent.  If we get a flat tire, we no longer change it ourselves, we call AAA or someone to come fix it.  If we break down on the side of the road, we don't even bother to see what the problem is, we just call a tow truck.  That kind of thinking - that we can just call for help - has made us helpless.

*stepping off soapbox*

1.  In an emergency, Do. Not. Panic.

2.  Take stock of the situation, make a plan.  It doesn't have to be elaborate, it can be as simple as, "let's take a look at that injury." The plan being to look at the injury and treat it.  The next step would be to figure out how to get out of the back country.  Do you send someone for help and wait for SAR to come find you?  Do you load everyone back up on their horses and ride out?  Have a plan in place, even if it's a half-assed thrown together one.  Having a plan helps keep panic at bay.

3.  Know how to use your first aid kit.  Too many times, people buy one off the shelves, throw it in their saddlebags and never think of it again.  You need to know what is in the kit and how to use everything in it.  Take a first aid course.  Keep current on it.  Most first aid techniques and equipment can be applied to both humans and horses.  If you're human fist aid certified, you will certainly know that if your horse is bleeding, direct pressure will stop the bleeding.

Most professionals will advise you to file a plan with somebody, letting them know exactly where you're going, how long you'll be gone, etc.  It's a great idea.  However, the way we ride - exploring - makes it hard to tell people exactly where we're going.  We do let people know when to expect us back.  If we're not back by that time, send someone a looking.

Thank God Bill was with Mom yesterday.  They had a first aid kit.  He knows what's in it and how to use it.  He's up-to-date on his first aid skills.  They were in a rugged area - no helicopter could have flown in, they had no cell phones with them (why would they, when there's no service), and it would have taken longer to send someone to the trail head, call for help and lead the responders back.  Riding out was the most expedient option.

Had he (or the person they were riding with) panicked, it would have been a whole different ball game.

Friday, September 23, 2011


It's been almost a month since Estes colicked ... she's still pretty weak and not putting on any weight.  She's still pooping sand and uncomfortable off and on during the day.

She's been on beet pulp all summer, Mom has added senior feed to the aminos that she was already feeding and the horses are now on free-feed hay.  I'm taking Estes out for short rides only once a week (when I'm up there).  The vet told us it could take a month for all of the sand to clear, but I think it's going to take a little longer.  The psyllium seems to make her more comfortable, but she doesn't pass much sand with it.  The sand moves better when she's not on the psyllium, but she's more uncomfortable.

So...I know she was on death's door, but does anyone have any idea how long it will take her to start feeling more like herself?  Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Three Ride Day

Ride 1
Queen Estes still isn't feeling the best, but after a couple of weeks of lounging around the pen, she had to get out.  She was not at all up to doing the ride we had planned, but I had to take her out for a short ride.  I decided I'd just take her around the Ski Road loop, about two miles, at a walk to just stretch her legs out.  Maybe walk off some of the soreness from standing around eating for two weeks.

I threw a bareback pad on and headed out at a walk.  She did great for the first block or so and then she must have decided the soreness was gone and started really stepping it up.  By the time we actually got to Ski Road, I had to work to keep her to a walk.  We turned the corner and I let her move into a trot.  Three, four strides at most and she broke into a canter.  I gave it about two second's worth of thought and let her go.  Sometimes you just gotta run.  We were halfway up the hill before I realized that we were cantering.  Bareback.  And I wasn't even freaking out about it.  I was actually having a good time.

It wasn't very long, maybe only a quarter of mile, and she was really building a good head of steam before I started to bring her back down to a walk.  After being stagnant for so long, the last thing I wanted to do was lame her up.

The ride was fabulous, even if it only lasted fifteen minutes.

Ride 2
I invited The Little Bastard El Poquito Diablo and his girlfriend up for a ride.  I figure it's only fair that I get to torture him, after months of him kicking my ass in the gym.  I was determined to make him hurt, I'll admit it.  I stuck him up on a big ole horse, Gem, and planned to take him on a couple of tough trails.  The Bionic Cowgirl actually expressed concern that I might be leading El Poquito Diablo and his girlfriend through some trails that weren't appropriate for beginner riders.  She was so right.  I counted on the fact that if El Poquito Diablo could compete as a National Gymnast for most of his life, he could stay on top of a horse for two hours.

Coming across the Willow Tree Trail

Gem hasn't lost him yet.

Top of the trail

Looking back over the beaver ponds/dams

Peek-a-boo...I see Gem

Duck, El Poquito Diablo!

It was nice of Mom to worry, but he managed to follow the first rule of horseback riding: Keep the horse between you and the ground.  Bill, however, failed that rule not once, but twice.  Yep, fell clean off of his scary, fire breathing mustang.

Ride 3
As we rode back into the yard, we could see Mom grooming her two grays.  I'd told her that I'd go out with her after I got back from the big ride.  We hung out and chatted a bit while I waited for my ibuprofen to kick in, bid El Poquito Diablo and his girlfriend goodbye and then headed out for our ride.

My knees were on fire, so we settled on a short ride.  One just long enough to get them limbered up and out of the pen for a while.  Washoe behaved himself beautifully - mostly because I kept him moving along quickly enough that he didn't have time to even think about eating or being a gooberhead.

By the time Mom and I went out, I was pretty much camera'd out, so I only managed to snag one good one of her.

We got back just as it started spitting rain.  Talk about perfect timing!

Three rides in one day, on three different horses, yeah, my knees are telling me about it.  But my heart is happy.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Ride

For Estes' first ride post-colic, we just went for a short jaunt up the hill with the Bionic Cowgirl, Autobot and Kyzzer.  While I was looking forward to a ride, it was probably best that we went for a meander.  Autobot rode the fire-breathing mustang, who didn't look nearly as embarrassed to haul her around as he is hauling Beel around.

Next week it'll be back to riding as usual.  No more meandering.  Next week, we ride!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One Week Ago

This time last week, I was calling my boss to let her know I wasn't going to be in to work, because Her Highness had colicked.

One week ago, I was getting set to get up with Estes every two hours to check on her.  Despite being tubed and the banamine she'd been given, she wasn't showing much improvement.  No pee.  No poop.  No drinking.  Things were looking bad. 

One week ago, I was steeling myself to make the decision that no animal owner wants to make.

Tomorrow will be one week since she was given a reprieve.  The short-acting opiates the vet gave her controlled her pain enough for the muscles to relax and for things to start moving again.

Tomorrow, we celebrate by going for a ride.

Yep, I think that's the perfect celebration.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

By Royal Decree:
From this point forward, Her Highness, Queen Estes
Peasant!  You dare take my picture?!
Will now be fed her full meal
That's right, Peasant Woman, bow down before me.
And not rationed like a commoner!

(Or so she demands.  Not happening, but I am more than thrilled to see that she's got her attitude back.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Governor Called...

...and ordered a stay of execution for Queen Estes.

She was much, much worse this morning despite the four a.m. pooping episode.  I called the vet, told him it was time to put her down.  Took just over an hour for him to get up here and she looked even worse by the time he got here.  He tranquilized her, gave her more banamine and we discussed treatment options, none of which were feasible.  Mom and I agreed it wouldn't kill her (pardon the pun) for her to have a "last meal" since the plan was to put her down, we just had to iron out the logistics, so Mom threw her a handful of hay.

At the lodge, we got the numbers for local disposal services, decided to tube her one. last. time.

We bundled up, because it was raining cats and dogs, and headed back over to the pen.  And there stood my horse: eyes bright, ears forward, looking for more food.

She's still not moving much poop and what she is moving is laden with sand, but it looks like she's stepped off of the banana peels she had three of her hooves on.

We loaded her in the trailer and took her for a twenty minute ride hoping to shake some of the poop loose.  She didn't poop in the trailer, but she sure was excited to get back to the lodge and trotted her way back to the pen, announcing *loudly* her return home.

If I didn't know that she'd literally been at death's door two hours ago, I would have never guessed.

I'm more than just cautiously optimistic at this point, I'm full-on optimistic that she'll pull through.

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers.

We Have Poop

Hardly enough to write home about, but about fifteen minutes ago Queen Estes managed to poop a very small quantity.  Looks much more normal than the kitty litter yesterday.

Her belly's still grossly distended, but I can hear gut sounds just standing next to her.  The vet said she had large colon distension, which indicates a blockage.  I'm worried that we're moving stuff through her, only to add to the blockage in her large colon.

She'd been down and rolled during my three hour nap; I hope she stretched out and slept a little too.

Her second dose of banamine is wearing off and I didn't have the forethought to ask Compass for the vial so I could give her another dose if she needed it.  Instead, I managed to get half a dose of Bute down her - who knows if it will help her discomfort or not, but it made me feel better to do some sort of pain management.

I'm terribly worried about dehydration - she hasn't had anything to drink since I came up yesterday at 1:00 pm.  I offer it and she looks at me with the most pathetic eyes.  I'd love to give her IV fluids with some electrolytes, but at 4:00 am, none of the vet places are open.  Not that I know how to set an IV in a horse, but I bet that it's awfully similar to doing so in a human, which I can do.

Off to bed for another couple of hours before my next trip to the pen.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Call

Today, I call the dreaded call..."GunDiva, Estes is colicking, better get up here."

We don't panic about much up here.  Not much at all; not even a little bout of colic.  For Bill to make that call, Estes had to be in a bad way.  She was and she is.  This is what her poop looked like, right before she stopped pooping.
Wet kitty litter.  That's what it looks like.

Vet came, tubed her, gave her a ton of metamucil and some drugs.  Compass had already given her banamine.  The vibe I got from the vet was that he didn't think she'd make it through the night (not that he said that).  I don't know.  I was cautiously optimistic earlier today, but as the sun goes down and she's refusing water and not pooping, my spirits are flagging a bit.

Mom's posted about it over on her blog.

I'll post more, when I have more news.  Until then, I'm off to stand vigil over the equine love of my life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Around the Block with Asset

Yesterday I went up the hill for a quick ride.  I wasn't able to ride last week, so Queen Estes was getting antsy about not working.

Asset, until a year or so ago, was afeered of horses.  I managed to get her to just sit on Estes on Mother's Day last year - since then she's decided that Estes is a pretty good horse.  I'm kinda partial to her as well.

Asset was so excited about going to see the horses that she "helped" me with my boots.  By picking them up and dropping them repeatedly in my lap while I was talking to Nebalee.  I'm sure poor Asset thought I was taking for-ev-ah getting my boots on, but she managed to keep herself in check long enough for me to finish up with Nebalee.

I took Asset over to the pen with me and told her she had to stay outside while I went in and caught Estes.  Jesse hasn't been out in a while either and is getting stir-crazy.  I didn't want to try to keep an eye on a three year-old with two squirrely mares.  For once, Asset stood patiently outside the pen while I took Estes out of the pen.  Asset was so excited, that I just plopped her up on Estes' back and told her to hold onto the mane.

That mare of mine was so wonderful.  She walked slowly and carefully beside me back to the Lodge.  Asset grinned the whole way.

Asset then helped me groom Estes.  Let me tell you...Estes' front legs have never gotten so much attention before.

I threw on a pad and a bareback pad, as Estes has dropped a bunch of weight recently and her top line looks like crap.  It makes for very uncomfortable riding without padding. (Don't worry, we're addressing it.  Her weight loss happens every year.)

I had promised Asset I'd let her ride around the block with me, so I sent her into the Lodge to get a helmet on and mounted up on Estes.  Estee got so excited that we were going to go out - and I'm sure she thought she was done having to behave with the chillin - that she almost spun out from under me when I mounted.  I got her back under control and told Nebalee to lift Asset up to me.  Estee was dancing in place, obviously wanting to GO, but when she saw Nebalee pick up Asset, she let out a sigh, squared up and contained herself.

You can tell she's not super excited about the prospect of hauling a kid around, but she's getting soft in her old age.

I love my mare.

When we were done playing nice aunt and her horsie, Estee and I went out on the mountain for a quick ride with Bill and Ranger.  And by quick, I mean at one point I heard Bill behind me holler, "I don't really enjoy loping!"  And that would be because Ranger lopes like a porpoise, up and down with very little forward movement.

Last time Estee and I went out, I couldn't move her into a canter, she just kept stretching out that long, beautiful Morgan gait while Bill and Ranger galloped to catch up.  Yesterday, we went from a stand-still to a canter in about a stride and a half.  Guess she really, really wanted to get out of the pen.

Just in case you missed it earlier: I love my mare.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Horse Master 2011

Julie Goodnight, Heidi (Producer/Director), Cheryl (Wardrobe Wrangler), Petra (Cast Member, adopted Crew Member), Sharon (Key Grip), me (Grip), Lucy (Assistant Instructor) and Steve (Videographer)

Last week before High Country Rendezvous, I had the privilege of working with the Horse Master with Julie Goodnight crew again.  It was like a family reunioun to see everyone again.  Last year, Heidi tried to kill us by shooting eight episodes in four days.  Since she failed in her mission to kill us last year, she upped the ante to ten episodes and a DVD in four days this year.

We were completely blessed last year - pretty much everything went perfectly and we finished up early every day.  This year.  Not so much.  We actually cheered when we had a "short" day - only 11.5 hours.  However, we got some great episodes.

This is Christy and Jessie - their episode is about trail obstacles, specifically gate opening/closing, but the biting flies were so bad that they took a dip in the pond to chase off the flies.

Francine and Hero with Julie and Dale Myler - a bitting episode to help Francine with her reining horse.

Heidi, besides being the Director/Producer for Horse Master is also an accomplished equine photographer and owns The Whole Picture.

Joli and her horse Katrina - Katrina had a bit of an issue with canter departure.

Julie and Dually taking a dip in the pond to hide from the flies.  All I could think was, "Ugh, I hate the feeling of wet jeans".  Good thing it was Julie, not me.

Petra and her horse Maximus - the coolest thing about them is that Petra has trained Maximus by herself, using all of Julie's methods.  Maximus was a delight and so wonderfully trained - Petra's done an amazing job with him.

This is Chaco - he and I had a little equine love affair.  Beel Bill called me an equi-slut for cheating on Estes while I was away at Horse Master.  Whatever.  Even Estes would fall in love with this seven year-old BLM mustang.  Thursday was a rough day; we were all exhausted and I had reached the breaking point.  Chaco gave me all sorts of horsey hugs and greatly improved my mood.

Rachel and Rooster - one of the two bitting episodes with Dale Myler.  Rooster's a young 'un, four years old, and Rachel's hoping to run barrels on him in the future.  He just needed some help to relax.

Our daily rain delay.  This did not help shorten our days at all.  We did get pretty good at tearing down and setting up between rain storms.

Tony and Chaco - this episode was supposed to be about a spooky horse, but Chaco was anything but spooky.  So much for a fire-breathing scary mustang.  He did have some basic skills to learn that a dead-broke horse like he is should have.  Being a mustang, he picked it up quickly.

We also taped four episodes of colt-starting, but I was far too enthralled with the process to think to take any pictures.  The colt-starting episodes will be turned into part of Julie's "From the Ground" DVD series (a lot more goes into the DVD than what will be seen on the TV show).  Sadly, I had to leave for RomCon before I got to see help with the final episode - teaching cues.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Goat Trail

I was going to wait to post about the Goat Trail, but Beel managed to get the video uploaded, so I thought I'd share the scariest part of the ride.  Pics will follow when I return.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Getting Dressed

Okay, Estee, we're gonna try a saddle today...

Let's get the bird poop off...

Let's see...yeah, first the saddle pad...

Oof...this saddle business is so foreign...



Wait...these straps...I know I'm supposed to do something with them...

Oh, that's right, we have to tie the saddle on...

Good thing my hands know what to do...thank God for muscle memory...

Whew!  All saddled up!

And I even managed to get in the saddle.

I've got some great pictures from our ride up the Goat Trail today, but those are going to have to wait until I get back from HorseMaster.  It's that time again, time for me to load up and head down to southern Colorado to work as a crew member for Julie Goodnight's TV show.  It's a blast, but I'll be super busy and wireless is spotty down there. As soon as I return from HorseMaster, I head up the hill to the Lodge for the High Country Rendezvous.

Ride safe and hug your horses; I'll see y'all after HCR.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Willow Tree Trail

On Saturday, Beel Bill and I went for a ride on one of my favorite trails.  We don't ride it often, which makes it a huge treat.  It's what I would consider an "extreme" trail in that there are parts of it that you can't see and you absolutely must trust your horse to pick its footing properly.  This is not a competition trail, with one obstacle then another that you're scored on.  At several points, your horse is picking its way over downed branches and water while you're pushing tree limbs out of the way (or, if you're me, using the Flip camera to protect your face).

This is the same trail that many years ago Estes' daughter Meeker refused to take.  That was the last time I ever attempted to take a dude string along that trail - I had nightmares of what could have happened if the critter hadn't made noise until we were halfway in the willows.  I don't know if Compass' new wranglers even know the trail exists.  We talked about taking it for HCR last year because we knew that everyone could ride; in the end, because Baggins was being such a jerk for Rachel, we bypassed it. (<--- That didn't come out the way I meant it to.  Baggis was being a jerk; I wasn't sure how he'd handle the close quarters.  Has nothing to do with Rachel's riding ability.  She doesn't give herself enough credit in her ability.)

I had my sights set on doing the Willow Tree trail this year and spent the last week working up my courage to do it bareback.  I knew Beel Bill would be up for it - heck, he wants me to do the Goat trail bareback - so off we went.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Queen Estes Says

I'm busy putting together a video of the ride we took on Saturday, so Queen Estes agreed to help me out while I'm working on the video.

Mom - GunDiva - came up for a ride on Saturday, but the Bionic Cowgirl had borrowed my pretty purple halter for Jesse.  Oh, you should have heard Mom holler about that!  I thought we'd just get a spa day instead of a ride, but Mom came up with something else to catch me with...

"Really Mom?!  Ashinator's barrel rein?  I look like a dog on a leash. Really?!"

"Psst.  You there, Asset.  Yeah, you.  Come cut me loose."

Ugh.  I'm so embarrassed.

Mom did say that she would only do this with a well-mannered horse that she could trust to stand still.  I think she was trying to flatter me so I'd forget that she tied me up like a dog.  And Beel was standing next to the rail with the little silver flashing box (really, I don't know why Ranger freaks out about it).