Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rushcreek Filly Inbound!

This statement is slightly tongue in cheek, but did you know that Nebraska is not the hot spot to be? I generally knew that it had a lot of land and not so many people, but after failing to convince five professional horse haulers that they wanted to bring my other filly, Rushcreek Aurora, from Nebraska to northern California, for a healthy price, I really started to wonder. My only other experience with shipping horses so far in life was quite easily convincing the first hauler I called in late 2010 to bring me a pregnant mare from Utah, in mid January. Nebraska in April didn't sound so hard! I called said hauler first off on this go round, but he gave me a *theoretical quote* and then never called me back, which was a bit of an ominous start.

But I'm so cute, don't you want to give me a ride Mr. Shipper Guy?
 Sure enough I struck out over and over with the haulers and honestly was reevaluating my decision to buy an extremely young filly that I'd never met who happened to live (literally) 1,500 miles away. I mean, as Funder would say, it had seemed like a good idea at the time... 
 This is a fine time for her to enter the story, actually, as she was ultimately my saving grace. As I ranted to her on Facebook about these so-and-so's who couldn't be bothered to tour the balmy environs of Nebraska in April, she calmly recommended Lightstar Horse Transportation out of Gilroy, CA, who had hauled her mighty steed Dixie to Reno some years ago. I googled, I dialed, and in 5 minutes I had a box stall booked on an insured luxury semi headed this way in approximately 3 weeks, for no more cost than the useless theoretical quote that I'd started with!

Thanks Funder and Lightstar, for turning this from a major bummer back to a Yay, We're getting a new filly!! She is being picked up right about Sheza's 3rd birthday and should be here within 3-4 days of pick-up.

Here's a pic of her from Nebraska the other day :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throw back Thursday: Jake and Pretty Lady

I started doing this "Throw Back Thursday" thing on Facebook and have dredged up some neat horse photos and memories. Seems only fair it makes it's way on over to here! So here's the first.

I'm probably about 13 in the photo below. When we moved to CA in 1997 I was delighted to discover our neighbor had a ranch. More importantly than that, he had an old grey Arab mare of uncertain descent, with an undeniable hay belly and the somewhat fitting name "Pretty Lady," which rolled out of the even older rancher's mouth in just such a way as I'll never forget. I had a very special relationship with that old guy, "Jake" as we knew him, of Jacob's Ranch Road. He and I drove to the local inn and picked up the compost scraps from the inn to feed his livestock regularly, "fixed" fence with baling twine, and took in the inevitable death of the many inbred ranch cats with laconic monosyllables. He discovered somehow early on that peaches were my favorite fruit and every day after chores we'd head for the cool old ranch house, which was ancient and full of old newspaper clippings, photos, book, bits of old tack and who knows what. Jake would pop open two cans of peach halves and we'd sit at the table and savor our treat, sometimes sharing stories but often just sitting in peaceful silence. He called me "Young Lady." That makes me smile right now, typing it. 
When I wasn't with Jake himself, I was out in his pastures messing with his horse. Pretty Lady and I did all sort of silly things, like racing airplanes taking off at the county airport, which prompted a concerned letter to the editor in the local rag. We trotted for miles on logging roads along the river, and rode to our buddies house and convinced her to come out on her horse sometimes too. It felt special, I felt special, and this horse was special. 

I simply can't encapsulate all that those young years with Jake and Pretty Lady meant to me here, but here's a little start. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


The horse is fit. The hooves are looking good. The tack is clean and there are spares uncountable of nearly everything. The truck is tuned up, the tires are checked. Entry is in, border crossing paperwork in order, trailer cleaned out...and now we are in the beginning of a solid week of rain forecast, with my first AERC 50 miler of the season approaching in 9 days. I'm not worried about being rained out, no, more likely snow if anything, but I am fairly certain I may gnaw all my fingernails off from excitement in the following rainy days! My knuckles may be a little bloody from all the knocking on wood hoping we get there safe and sound, for that matter. Oh boy, oh boy! 

To distract myself, and anyone else who needs! 

one of our persistent roses, blooming from now until late fall
3 weeks until Sheza's third birthday! 
Scrappy rocks poo as war paint...he does have a particularly apt barn name, anyway!!
Scrap and Rambo have been playing warrior games galloping the fence lines showing off for three days. These boys are ready for work! Scrap is tapering for the 50 and Rambo heads off to training with Sheza and I in a few weeks. 
 Rambo looking like a real boy! Err man..err gelding..

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Welcoming Spring with Shampoo

The weather has been gorgeous, the grass is finally green and lush, and the horses are shedding like crazy. Rambo has been here just over two months now and is losing his more red winter coat fast and furiously, but not thoroughly, yet. He is a sort of patchy toasted almond brown right now, but with all that shedding I also discovered that he has a definite dorsal stripe down his spine, like my other mystery craigslist bay Arab gelding, Blaze. They are from the same area, too, and built similarly. A friend has another little bay of similar build from the same area as well and we are working on a conspiracy theory that they are from the same breeder, yet to be discovered. We'll probably never know, but what fun to speculate! And how odd that Rambo has a matching dorsal stripe, really. Did I get a photo of said stripe for this post? Completely forgot, of course, but here's some other photos instead!

Rambo out on Sheza's hill

spring in the asian pear tree
Scrappy is resting up for his first AERC 50 of the season in 2 weeks and Blaze had a cut on his heel bulb so I was giving him a week off, and I found myself in the unique position of owning 6 horses and having nothing to ride. The rest are too young or too old or too green! Ah well, there's certainly always something to be done, and preferably with the ponies on a gorgeous Saturday.

My eye fell on the patchy coat of Rambo this fine morning and I decided to pull him for a thorough shampoo bath, de-worming, and hoof trim. I actually thought ahead this time and did the bath *before* the trim, so that his hooves were soaking up the moisture on the mats for the duration, making my trimming job at the end so much easier. 

I must do a little fist pump here, because he walked away from that trim landing so obviously heel first and better than before it! Woot! Hooves are fun :-)
the right, scarred flank, looking pretty booty-licious now! The scar is hidden in that line of soap/shadow just behind his stifle
Rambo drank from the hose and proved pretty much unflappable for the thorough scrubbing, his only anxiety being about the water running down his hind legs and that was very mild and given up when he realized moving away and lifting them in protest did him absolutely no good and standing quietly for it actually earned him a cookie. Turns out, Rambo will do or tolerate most anything for a cookie! And a mash chaser doesn't hurt ;-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mare Maintenance and Cautious Scrappy

Though retired, Desire still requires quite the maintenance for her royal self. She grows hoof at an alarming rate, dreadlocks mane simply by turning her head, and doesn't roll enough to properly shed herself out. I don't begrudge her any of this, because it keeps us interacting often when, with busy life and riding horses and growing foals, she might otherwise slip below the radar a bit as the pasture horse. If you're shocked by that, you just don't have enough animals yet ;-)
Anyway Desire came out for a spa day and Sheza is generally that kid jumping up and down with her hand raised "PICK ME PICK ME!" when she sees me with a halter, so she joined us as well. If nothing else, standing bored in the cross ties is a fine exercise for an impatient red thing. And when she got too bored, I started leaning on her back and jumping around, to keep it more interesting.  You can see by her ears that she was questioning my sanity a bit, but fortunately she is still paralyzed by itches against all odds. Any concern over my actions, when treated with butt scratches, was instantly cured. 

I had plans to try Renegade Vipers on Blaze on the 6 mile horse camp loop this a.m., while simultaneously babysitting fellow blogger Mel on her 4 yr old project. This morning I got Blaze all tidied up to go but when picking out his hooves I noticed that he had an abrasion and bit of a soft spot on his left hind heel bulb. Since he goes bare in the hinds and there is no way to protect that spot I decided to have him sit this one out, since there is no point turning a nothing into a something. We rode on very rocky trails at Whiskeytown this past Saturday and that spot no doubt came about from that. This is my ultimate legitimization for having multiple solid riding horses put into action, as I was able to let Blaze have his day and pull Scrappy out to babysit instead.

Scrappy has a new Hi-Tie, and thought M maybe had Scrappy food in her boot bucket, too

Spring trails <3
 silly wabbit

A nice quiet moment thinking about creek crossings..
Tig did a couple nice ones under saddle today
 Scrappy was comically determined to keep himself out of Tig's bubble today, after being cannon-balled into by a mare on our long ride Sunday. He has shown himself to be a horse that absolutely remembers things from one ride to another. Never let the sleepy geldings fool ya, they are clever self preservationists under it all! I certainly don't mind being along for "old lady" ride, as M likes to say!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sharing the Trails: Lake Oroville Ride

After a great day exploring the Whiskeytown trails with T and A on Saturday, they made the haul down on Sunday to ride the Lake Oroville trails with me for their first time. Fellow endurance blogger Mel joined us, too! Riding buddies N and Willow were at the trail head too, but did their own ride.

M and Farley, ready for action

my sweet rides ;)
 Tera on Jazz (Morgan) and junior Alex on Nikki (Arabian)
 Booty power
 M and T stepping out
 M is very flexible--she forgot her saddle and just used whatever spare T had along! 
 "and the fish was thiiiiissssss big!"
 great footing on the trails
 Farley is so experienced that she self sponges
 T and M, finishing the horse camp loop

 Scrappy is loving his minimalist mechanical hack and head collar. He hates extra gear on his face so this is the answer of the hour! He will also be on this head collar on his hie-tie which I hope to get installed before our first ride in a few weeks! 
 We had a few minor rider snafus but the horses overall did great and we got 18 warm miles in. Scrappy shifted steadily between a fearless leader working hard at a 9 mph trot/canter to stay in front of the 3 speedies, and a self possessed caboose, watching the faster horses trot out of sight. He did one fabulous jump sideways when a creepy guy with a bike and trailer appeared and then wordlessly disappeared into the bushes, but who can blame him! That's shady behavior, and Scrappy never approves of that.

"No really, are we there yet guys?"
 "Ahh, we're there!"
What a great weekend of riding with friends. I am more fired up than ever for the start of my 2014 AERC season and wish happy, sound trails to you all!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Whiskeytown Day Ride Adventure

Blaze and I skeedaddled the 2 1/2 hrs north to Whiskeytown Lake area and joined a local friend and her riding student for some hilly, rocky, lovely miles. Her student is going to be riding her first LD at the Whiskeytown Chaser endurance ride coming up in just a few weeks! She is a great little rider and I have a sneaky feeling she'll be hooked after one ride.

heading out

 lots of great water crossings
 Ermahgawd!! It was the Whiskeytown Chaser ride manager coming down the trail measuring that got all three Arabs looking here
 trotting out on some great footing

 Tera convinces her new greenie that water crossings are FUN
 Blaze leading out
 back along roads we recognize from doing the Chaser in '11 and '12

 Adventure buds!
 We got a solid 10 miles done in the heat of the day, with some decent hills and technical footing thrown in, and10 mph trot sets on the friendlier stuff. Blaze's feet were looking fabulous and I knew he'd be motivated on new trail with new horses, so I put him back in front Renegades this time to see if he really did trip and go that badly in them. Yep, that's how much I hate using Easyboots ;-)  He didn't, in fact, get clumsier, which may be leftover from riding him barefoot so much lately which clearly got him more attentive and better with his feet? He giraffed a bit when we trotted out but even then was pretty clean with his size 2 clodhoppers. I guess from here on I will just swap bare and Renny booted, on the theory that riding him bare intermittently, where he has to pay attention to rocks and not blindly blunder on, will keep him slicker footed wearing the bulkier boots.

back to the rigs
 He peed! he ate! he drank! He could have used some electrolytes, too, but overall my little ole fella did great :) 
We got home in the dark even with the deliciously drawn out evenings, and it was totally worth it. What a great day!