Thursday, October 18, 2018

Trail Riding During Hunting Season

Rustler's Gulch
October 2018

Last week, I posted to my friends that I'd be riding at Rustler's Gulch if anyone wanted to join me.  A few of them answered back quickly that I better be careful, because it's hunting season.

Yikes!!  What to do?

I had images of people shooting from every tree.  I had images of getting shot.  I had images of my horse getting shot. But I told the girls who said they'd like to go with me to give me a little time to research.  (This is my year of looking at challenges and not automatically saying NO.)

One of my friends found this wonderful article from TrailMeister.  The gentleman who started TrailMeister, Robert Eversole, lives in our area.  He's a wealth of information.   I highly recommend reading this: Hunting Season Safety: Five Tips To Stay Safe On Horse Trails During the Hunt.

Tip #1 Be Bright!

Tip #2 Make Some Noise!

I tied a cowbell to my saddle horn and it made some tinkling sounds during the whole four hour trip.  But whenever we were hidden in brush, I picked it up and rang it loud and proud.

(Leah did not look terribly excited about it, but she didn't complain much.  By the end of the trip, she seemed to have figured out what I was doing, and looked happy at my ringing.  Oh, that keeps us from being Cougar dinner.  Ring away!)

*Backtrack: I also spent about 2 minutes that morning, before we left, walking up and down the aisles of the barn ringing the bells to desensitize Leah and Penny while they were eating their breakfast.

Tip #3 Be Knowledgable

I spoke to a lot of people beforehand, and everyone who knew that area said it was hunted only by special permit or invitation.  They said that on a Wednesday mid-morning, it would be even less busy.

They were right.  We didn't run into one hunter until we were leaving at 4:30 pm.  Turns out, hunters prefer morning and evening.

#4 Be Prepared

Part of preparation is making sure your horse is desensitized to the sound of gun shot.  At our house, we have our own shooting range, so that was NOT a problem.  Our neighbors all have shooting ranges, too.  Every day, you will hear gun shot within ten acres of us.  My horses are all used to it.  Tumbleweed was a bit scared at first, but even he is deaf to gunshot now.

#5 Be Friendly to the hunters.

As we left, we ran into hunters who were just starting out.  They asked us if we'd seen deer.  We told them no.  In fact, I think we had scared every living thing in Rustler's Gulch clear to Canada, with all that bell ringing and talking and laughing!

So, don't miss out on an opportunity to ride during hunting season.  Just be extra cautious and prepared for what you'll meet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

His Highness, Tumbleweed, Is FIVE months

Born May 16, 2018

Five Month Birthday

Lately, I've been calling Tumbleweed, Tum-Tum, as you can see he is getting a bit roly-poly, and I love to pet his tum-tum.  I also call him "T", "Baby", "Boy", and on the blog, "His highness."  He has earned that nickname.  Being adopted by Foxy put him at the top of the herd.  No one can boss the boy around, except Big Mama.  Poor Penny has to put up with his antics and just grin and bear it.  When he gets bossy, he's "his highness."

But Big Mama does put him in his place at times. (As I have to do, too.)

The boy loves to throw his shoulder around.

But Foxy puts a quick stop to any of that nonsense.

And boy runs away.

Tumbleweed loves to run and play in the pasture.

He loves to eat his NW Mare and Foal.  He gets 2 pounds for breakfast and 2 pounds for dinner--with a squirt of DAC oil, and a sprinkle of DAC minerals.

He also gets all he can eat hay, which varies from day to day.  Some days, he eats 5 flakes of hay--other days, 3.  A lot of that has to do with what he's eating in the pasture.  There is usually a round bale available, and it's hard to know how much he's eating.  In the barn, however, I feed from small square bales, and he gets a morning and evening feeding, in his stall, every day.  It's probably safe to guess 5 flakes of grass per day.

As soon as we get our first big freeze, he'll be getting wormed. I'm planning to have him gelded around February.  He also has another farrier appointment coming up, October 20th, in four days.  I have been picking up his feet every day, but I need to increase the time they're being held.  Crash course!

My philosophy with his training has been to only work on things as we go about our daily life--the things he needs to know how to do--lead, stand for grooming, pick up feet, move hind and front quarters, and respect my space.  We've done the obstacle work, which he accomplished with ease, but that's about the extent of it.  Mostly, I just wanted to give him time to integrate with Foxy Mama and build confidence.  In the next few months, I'll be asking more of him AWAY from Foxy Mama.  I hope to even start loading him away from home.  I also need to work on his standing tied, which I've been lax about.  At first, I'll do that with Foxy standing tied beside him.

Five months is still very young, but you can see a big difference in his mental maturity from 3 1/2 months.  He is also becoming more people oriented, and has a wonderful teacher in Foxy.  She is an in your pocket mare--and I'm hoping that will rub off on him.  It seems to be.

Here he is coming in for the day.  They kind of know the routine.  Eat.  Get turned out for day.  Get brought in.  Eat.  Simple. 

Having had him integrate with Foxy at such a young age has given me the experience of having a mare and foal.  I was able to bond with him from his first week of life, and now I'm able to see all of this horse to horse training--and love--and protection.  It's truly wonderful.  It is the closest I may ever come to breeding and raising one myself.  Thank you, Shirley!  I'm very blessed to have this boy. 

Happy FIVE month birthday to Tumbleweed--and Drifter, too!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Anniversaries Through the Years

My husband and I just celebrated our sixteenth anniversary (practically newlyweds, I know) and I thought it would be fun to try and find pictures of us throughout the years to compare.  

We were married in beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho in 2002, and we try to go back every year to relive it.  There have been years where we couldn't do that--a family reunion in '16, a European trip in '05, a trip to Lake Louise in '15 (although we did stop at Sandpoint on our way back).  But there were pictures taken at those locations which I included.  

I can't adequately describe the way it feels to be married to someone whom you get and they get you.  I wish it for everyone.  My husband loves every weird inch of me, and I him.  I look back at the pictures and see how goofy we look, but it didn't seem so at the time.  He always made me feel like I was straight from the pages of Vogue.  I would tell him he had love goggles on, and he would say the same to me.  My love goggles must still be on, because I think he's more handsome now than he EVER was before.

So, for your entertainment, here we are through the years...

2018 (This statue of liberty is in Sandpoint, Id on Lake Pend O'reille.




2014 (this was on the pend O'reille river. We were on our boat and drove it onto the lake.)



2011 (I had to photoshop us together in this one. Apparently, we didn't know how to take a photo together.)

2010 (Someone took this one for us--a stranger who was there.)

2009 (another photoshop year. Mike stood by the statue, then I stood by the statue, then I put them together.)







Friday, October 12, 2018

Don't Mess With the Queen Mother and Her Little Prince, Ladies!

We introduced Penny to Foxy Mama and Tumbleweed yesterday, and it was fascinating to watch.  Foxy Mama is as protective of Tumbleweed as any natural dam would be.  And, as I told Shirley, you don't mess with BIG mama's baby!

Well and good, but further shuffling was needed...

After that, Penny was exiled to the furthest reaches of the pasture, where Tumbleweed quickly joined her.

Penny was really trying to be good and accept the grasshopper as her better--something she did NOT want to do, but then this happened.

Looks harmless enough, right?

Not so much though.  Tumbleweed walked around Penny and started eating hay on the other side of the feeder, and Penny didn't move out of his way.  Foxy saw that as some sort of disrespect, and she moved Tumbleweed aside and went after Penny--butt to butt-kicking.  Penny lost the kicking match and ran away with Foxy and Tumbleweed hot on her hooves.

It happened seemingly out of the blue, so I only caught the tail end.

After that last fight, Penny was exiled to the equine Isle of Elba for the remainder of the day, while Tumbleweed jetted around like the little PRINCE that he is.  Big Mama, Foxy Mama, is also the QUEEN MOTHER of our herd and no one messes with her baby.

Except people.  People are okay.


In other news, I got a ride in to Hog Lake and found Autumn.  There were parts of the trail that I had never been on, and turned out to be very steep and rocky.  But we survived and got a few pictures together with the fall foliage.

Those pictures show the varied terrain.  Here is a video of the trail we were on that became treacherous.  As you can see, it started out very mild, but eventually, it became a "put down the camera and hold my beer" kind of trail. Narrow.  Rock.  Extremely steep.  So steep, if you were walking it, you'd be on all fours.  Oh, and a drop off. 

The only good thing I can say about moments like that, is that your horse looks at ALL future trails as EASY.

Future Leah: Yeah, this trail sucks, but at least it's not that damned Hog Lake trail where I lost my footing and scared the bejeezus out of mom and me!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Nothing But Time

The Breathing (excerpt)

What is time,
but a rotation under the sun,
a perception of what has been,
a perception of moving
toward what is to come.

I have nothing but time on my hands.  Therefore, I've decided to take lessons with Beautiful Girl and my old trainer, Regina.  My only goal for her is relaxation and partnership.  I have no plans to ride her in saddle.  

How did I come to this decision?  

I've been thinking about it a lot since our accident, and she was wound up tight that day.  I've thought about a lot of things, actually.  Years ago, my T-Touch practictioner was coming here to the house to give me private lessons.  When she pulled up the first time and saw Bee, she commented that I really needed to work on her.  She was hyper-vigilant.  Hyper-alert. Reactionary.  I told her she was a mustang.  She said it didn't matter.  

But I never fully got to the heart of her reactionary mind--the traumatized--over-reactive part.  And, I want to.  I'm waiting to hear back from Regina, and I'll let  you know how that goes.

In the meantime, there has been some major "getting to know you" through the fence with Tumbleweed and the rest of the herd.  They sure seem to like him.

Thursday, we'll introduce a new horse to their mix.  Any suggestions about which should be first?