Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice Ice baby

We had some freezing rain fall that then changed to sleet last night. It was hitting the bedroom window making that tappity tap noise. I really expected it to be a lose worse when I headed out this morning to check the horses. But it was bright, sunny, and although it was only about 23 to 26 degrees, it felt like it was in the 40's. I unblanketed the horses, and Hank enjoyed a good roll in the mud. Here are a few photos from today

Icy fence post.

Glad I did not want or need to go anywhere, as that driveway was pretty much solid sleet / ice.

You can see the ice around the edge of the trough after I broke it, and scooped it out as Rockhe gets a drink

Gambler with not as much ice on him as expected, since the othr horses are mean, and would not share shelter with him last night.

Monday, January 26, 2009

No T-shirt weather THIS week

Now I told y'all that the weather would likely change. That is just how it works here in No. Texas. Every winter, we will get those teaser days, that are warm, sunny, and perfect, to remind us, that spring and summer is just around the corner. But I ask WHY do we never get some of that cold weather in the middle of July or Aug., when we are sweltering in triple digits, wondering if it will ever end, and if we will ever feel that cold wind again.

So, this week has started off with more typical winter weather. They are expecting that we will have some freezing rain/ ice/ yucky cold stuff falling in our area. Just four days ago it was 80 degrees. Today it never broke freezing here at our place, with a wind chill in the 20's at times. We had a cold fog all across the area.

Now I try to just let the horses be horses, but now that our numbers are back to five, I will admit I fret about the fact I only have 4 shelter/stall areas. Two 12x12 off the side of the barn, and one large 20x12 that two, even three can stand in. But it seems they get cranky with each other, and will not allow another to stand with them, out of the weather. So I put up a divider in the large stall, splitting in to two, and Hank gets one side, and Gambler the other. Then I gave Flag one of the 12x12's, and Rockhe and Toby are to share the last. But when I went out, Toby was in the rain, Rockhe was bone dry. Toby had a tiny shiver starting, so I put one of the canvas blankets on him. Hank, Gambler and Flag already had their jammies on. I know, I know, you who don't blanket can laugh. But it makes ME fel better. :-) They were all toasty warm when I checked on them before bed time. By tomorrow evening, I bet Toby will have ice hanging in his mane.

I am glad I got in a ride Sunday. It was almost 50 degrees, and I took Flag out to the trails. When we were all done, we had ridden 21.6 miles. He never got tired, and was cheerful, and just a joy to ride. He would love to go as fast as he could if he had a choice in the matter. But we kept it controlled. Hardly anyone else out on the trails, and they missed a great day. Especially since this wintery mix has moved in.

No photos today. I'll try to get some if we get the ice storm. Hope I don't have to go to town. With the news telling us all about the "ice storm", I bet Wal-Mart is out of bottled water, bread, and milk. 9if you live where storms blow through, this will make sense!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter riding in T shirts

The weather in No. Texas has been kind to us. We got in 3 or 4 days of riding in a row the end of last week, in to the weekend. There was a "virtual endurance ride" through the on line It is kind of a fun concept. Ride your horses, on your local trails, but carry your GPS. Then, when you get back home, download your ride info tracks into a site called . It then makes a little map where you rode, and tells the time you started, stopped, and time on trail etc. Anyway, you then fill out an on line "vet card", with mileage. At the end of the ride, which this time was 4 day, we get to compare who rode the most miles. Some used multiple horses. I just rode Hank, as hubby rode Flag. We logged just shy of 40 miles, in three days of riding. I think we finished in 5th place. Although those with higher mileages used multiple horses to do so. Hank was feeling like he was back to normal.

a small issue we have had, is that Hank had a bump just off his spine. Maybe an old tick bite. He had a small rise to it, and the saddle pad was rubbing it. We finally went to the vet, to have it looked at, along with his eye, which was running again. They injected the bump, and said it should go down. He is getting medication in the eye again. It seems like this will be something we will have to deal with constantly. after strong winds it really flares up.

Flag is doing well here at his new home. He has learned to eat beet pulp mashes, and I think we finally found a horse cookie / treat he likes. They are carrot flavored. He turns up his nose at all the others we have tried. When we go to ride, and load him in the trailer, he jumps in like he has been going places all his life. When in reality we thought he had only really been trailered once as a weanling when he was moved from Montana to California. I think he just likes to go to the trails. Hank is still looking at Flag with disgust. I am sure he is wondering WHY he is here. I keep telling him he is still our number one boy.

Going to enjoy some almost 80 degree weather tomorrow, before our next cold front blows in, and takes us back to temps near freezing. Enjoy it while we can!

Only one photo this time, or an Armadillo we saw while riding. They are such funny little critters, that will jump straight up in the air when scared.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cranky Hank

I think Hank is jealous of Flag. I try to pay attention to Hank first when I head out, but then of course I go fuss with the new guy, and I see Hank watching. Now mind you, Hank is not one of those horses who thrives on attention. That is Toby. He LOVES attention. Hank tolerates it, and loves cookies. I do not kid myself that he loves "me". But, he has taken a rather harsh opinion of Flag, and will go so far to charge the fence and try to bite Flag over the top of it when given a chance. Lots of pinned ears, neck snaking out, and looking very ugly towards the pinto. And at feeding time, as I mix their buckets of "mash", Hank gets extra worked up, glancing towards Flags corral, and getting nasty. But, I hope as we ride the horses together more, Hank will change his opinion of him, and decide he is OK, and will get along with him better. But I am not turning them out together yet. So far, Gambler spent time with Flag, and that went well. But I will keep doing slow introductions one at a time, in the 1 acre field, under supervision.

Had a couple more fun rides with the horses. Did 13 miles Sunday, and 10 miles today. Need to get new shoes on Flag, and we can increase the mileage. Hubby is having SO much fun on him. His easy, go down the trail trot is about 9 to 9.5mph. But he would really prefer to go about 10.5 to 11mph. Have not got to clock the speed of his BIG trot. I'll do a little schooling on him this week while hubby works. Just need to fine tune standing still while we get on, and see if we can get his gaits to rate at the speed WE want. And we are stil playing with what bridle will be best to ride him in. Today was a hackamore that he did pretty well in. I have trouble geting rid of bits, as I always say "I might need that some day", and now I can indeed, try some of these with Flag. He has a go, but we want to make sure we always have a WHOA too.

And now...the photos

Gambler and Flag loose in the small field.

Hank is getting tubby. I have caught him falling asleep with his head buried in the round bale

Flag saw the first "trail cattle" today. A bit unsure, but was really good as they would suddenly stand up from their naps.

Hubby and Flag going "off trail" fr a bit of fun

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The new sports car

Flag had a bath today, so now y'all can "meet" him. He is a handsome guy. 15 hands, true black and white. Mostly Egyptian Arab, born in Montana.

We trailered over to the trails today, for our first ride since Flags arrival. He and hubby led the way. Flag likes to go. Trying to school him to walk nice and quiet is not what he needs right now. That will come later. He needed to stretch his legs, and move out. It is often difficult to decide if a horse is one that is uppity and nervous and wants to go because of manners, pain related to tack/saddle fit etc., or just one of those who has a high energy level, and needs to work. Right now, Flag seems to just need to work. After we moved out for 1-2 miles, he came down to a nice walk. Hank, who has an awesome walk, was kind of pokey today, and watched as Flag left him in the dust. Thankfully, Flag is not unfit, and is probably ready to go do an endurance ride already. He had been worked in the hills in So. CA, so is no stranger to good work outs.

Hubby had a ton of fun riding him, as the horse is kind of like driving a sports car. Point him where you want to go, and be ready for him to do it quick! He is very handy and athletic. Seems to not fear anything, and had no issues with different footing etc. I am hopeful that they will indeed be a very good match. So far, so good. Don't think hubby has had this much fun riding in a long time. Maybe since he lost his mare about a decade ago. We get to go again tomorrow, while the weather is nice!

Heading down the trail!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wave to Flag

With the recent riding, we have realized that Gambler is just not going to be able to do the longer rides like he used to do. He had hard endurance miles before we got him, with some fast 50's and 100 mile rides. He has been sound, but his hocks give him some trouble, and then he trips a bunch, as he shifts he weight off the hind legs some, on to the front. He is 17 this year, and it is not fair to ask him to continue with the riding we would like to do. So, we started looking again for a new horse for the hubby to ride. I had mentioned this to my good friend out in CA, and she suggested we come take one of hers home to use, as she has many, and some need "jobs" where they get used to their full potential. Not sure she realized that we were going to hop in the rig, and head west with the trailer while we were both available to do so. The drive is 1400 miles, and by tag team driving, we could do it with few stops. So, on Friday evening, around 6PM, we headed west. I prefer the northern route along I-40. I know all the stops, truck stops, rest areas, and good places to eat. The radar and weather reports showed some mild weather for the next few days. I usually make this drive alone, and this was the first time hubby got to do the trip with me. SO nice to have him doing some driving, and 26 hours later, we pulled in the driveway at my friends place. After diner, we headed to bed, so we could get up and check out the horses, and see if one would work well for us. We had about 4 to choose from.

Now, I was bad, and forgot to take photos during the visit of the different horses, or our trail ride. Bad me...Oops.

We looked at the horses, groomed, and checked ground manners, personality, then lunged them. We decided to take two fr a trail ride. Dash, a chestnut mare is one I remember from when she was born. Bred very well for doing endurance, with some old, awesome blood lines. Her mom was difficult at times, but tough as nails, and her sire I also know, and is very sweet, and also a proven endurance horse. The other, Flag, is a mostly pure Arab gelding, that is black and white pinto. I remember him as a yearling. Bred in Montana, he is related to the horse I did the driving event with in October.

These two are different as can be. Dash was laid back, a tad green, but very willing. Had to motivate her to move along. Flag just wants to go, go, go. Very upright, almost "parade horse" like. Well broke, but somewhat tense and excited. We each rode both, swapping 1/2 way through the ride. I'd take either of them home. My worries with the mare were related to her being in the pasture with 4 geldings. Usually not the best mix to have just one mare with a group of boys. Kicking and fussing usually get someone hurt. Also, we found out she was just coming 5, and I'd prefer to have something not that young, as she still needs to grow up some more. So, after little discussion, Flag was heading t live with us in Texas. We decided to sleep some, and get up before sun up, and head home. The northern route along 40 was having some weather, so we had to take I-10. I really hate this drive. Unattractive, boring, and not as many good places to stop. Because the last time Flag had been hauled was 8 years ago when he came down from Montana, we decided not to unload him, and just stop once and awhile for 30 min, to an hour and let him stand and rest. he really was a good boy, loaded right in the trailer, and only had a pawing fit the first 15 - 30 min. It got chilly, and we got a day sheet on him. The trip home was longer, and about 30 hours later, we arrived. He was glad to get out of the trailer, and see he had horses at his new location. They of course were very curious, and came to the fence to check him out. Hank was jealous, and pinned his ears at him, and wanted to bite him. We will intro him into the herd slow, with each one getting one and one time starting in a few days. Meanwhile, he is in the 30x30 pen. Looking forward to getting out on the trail with hubby able to ride further / faster than he had been with Gambler. Gambler will have a home here, and get light riding, just not like we used to do with him.

Here are photos from the trip. I was not very good at getting photos of Flag, but amused myself shooting out the window as hubby drove along. Oh, and stereos with Ipod hook ups ROCK!!!

In Parts of NM, and AZ along I-40 we had areas with a bunch of snow from a recent storm. But roads were dry and clear

Heading into the High Desert, North of L.A. with the snow covered mountians in the background

Sunrise over the wind-farm in Palm Springs CA

The AZ desert and some Saguero catus.

Modern travel technology.
*Garmin Nuvi GPS to help find our way, and to find foof, fuel etc. (hiding behind horse hanging from mirror, which Hank won at a ride, and I keep in truck)
*Laptop with wireless aircard to be ab le to go on line as we travel down the road.
*Stero with USB to be able to play Ipod. No more CD's scattered everywhere!
*Radar detector (not shown) Great reminder when it goes off to "check my speed".

We had Flag riding backwards. More comfy, and easier for us to feed and water without unloading him.

Flag meeting "The Boys" after being unloaded from the trailer.

Flag going for a little walk in the pasture after arrival. He is a handsome boy. Many more photos and blogs to follow, as he and hubby start to get to know each other, and he becomes part of our horse family