Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pictures of What Play Looks Like

Happy New Year!!!!!!!

And Happy Birthday, Beautiful!!! You're 2!!
(All horses turn one year older January 1st)

Pictures of Beautiful at "play"--though it's true, too, that through "play" dominance is established. So, she's feeling good and challenging me. After all, she is turning 2 tomorrow--a big girl, right?

You're back for more?
Watch this!

Back in the stall for a little rest--you forgot to shut my door!
Okay, I'm rested. I've got some more entertainment for you!

Why ya down there taking pictures of me?
Time for a roll in the snow.

So, Beautiful has tapped into her "wild-side". Maybe the snow, maybe the herd being in the barn more, me being out there less, maybe all of the above--but she's concerned about establishing her place in the pecking order--as if she's in training for her eventual release with the others and she's showing off for them.

I was taking pictures most of the time, but I did eventually put the camera away and get down to business. I haltered her and worked on her bending away, backing, and leading forward. I tossed the rope around her and rubbed it all over. Then, I groomed her and went to stand in her stall--keeping her out for a while.

I think her behavior is so funny--part of her youth and wildness--but I take it seriously, too. After all, the farrier has to be underneath her, and unless she's under control, I'd not ask him to put himself at risk.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

She's Young and Feeling Good

Oh, my little Mustang got wild again. (It's her age--babies are full of it).

A month of doing what she wanted, when she wanted, and picking on the pony, made her too big for her britches.

Mama (me) went into her stall to groom her, and she gave a little warning kick out with her hind, then ran out of the stall in a hissy fit. She proceeded to run, bounce and jump around her enclosure--which is quite large now--like a snow bunny with hooves.

I must admit, I was impressed with her new found athletic abilities--the larger enclosure has done a lot to get her legs under her---maybe too much.

When I'd approach her, she'd rise up in front about a foot and strike at the air, then turn her butt, buck up, and run.

Wish I'd had my camera right then, but it was soon over. I closed off her stall to keep her from getting back into her food, and pushed her around the back end of the run. Eventually, the game wasn't so fun anymore, and she licked her lips and let me approach and halter her.

She's still a big baby. And I have to say, she's gorgeous--really something to watch.

I'll take out my camera again tomorrow and see if she wants to play. She has the farrier coming Friday, so I need to get her under control!

The picture I have is after it was over and she was back in her stall.

Oh, someone said they heard on the news that Spokane has gotten more snow than any other place in the U.S.

And, there was a headline this morning in the paper that the bad weather is driving people to SMOKE! Anyone got a cigarette?

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Snowy Desert (With Ice Underneath)

It's like the Sahara Desert, but with snow! Wind drifts blow snow, like sand, across our pasture. Winds were 40 mph today when we took this picture, and this was after Mother Nature deposited 8 more inches of snow from morning until noon. (She's got a wicked sense of humor this year!)

Coming home tonight, my husband lost sight of the road. The wind had blown so much snow onto it, it looked as if they were driving through the farm fields. He had to retrace it by memory. There were abandoned cars and trucks all along the route--and some being towed out.
Here we go, this is more like it....

Darn...a mirage.

Oh yeah, reality, more snow.

From the Spokesman--Weather Update
From Spokesman Review Click to follow link for full articles:
Today’s storm dumped 8 inches or more in the Spokane area and set a new all-time monthly record for Spokane.

Gusty winds blew over the region in the wake of heavy snow, closing Airport Drive between U.S. Highway 2 and Spokane International Airport.

Wind gusts of 52 mph in Pullman, 46 mph in Coeur d’Alene and 41 mph in Spokane were reported before nightfall. Winds were to subside later this evening.

Meanwhile, today’s snow storm shut down area libraries, City Hall and Community Colleges of Spokane early.

Temperatures above freezing in Spokane allowed for the heavy snow to get packed down by traffic and turn into a thick layer of slippery compacted snow and ice.

Another Horse Story.....

Heroic Rescue of Abandoned Horses

MCBRIDE, B.C. – Two frostbitten, emaciated horses were recovering inside a warm barn on Saturday thanks to volunteers who spent the week before Christmas digging the animals out of snow in the mountains of northeastern British Columbia.

Birgit Stutz said Saturday the rescuers cheered when they finally finished digging a half-mile escape route through the snow for the animals. The horses had been abandoned by a hunter.

Stutz said the horses eagerly accepted being bridled and seemed to know they were safe as volunteers led them on a seven-hour hike down the mountain in freezing temperatures Tuesday.

Stutz said about 40 or 50 people took part in the rescue over the course of a week.

“It was a big effort,” Stutz said.

Stutz said the horses were discovered on Dec. 15 by two local residents. They were above the tree line and had no shelter at first.

Logan Jeck and a friend stumbled across the horses while out looking for some snowmobiles left behind by tourists who had gotten stuck during a trip to the back country on the side of Mount Renshaw – about 750 miles northeast of Vancouver.

At first, the young men thought the most humane thing to do would be to shoot the emaciated horses to put them out of their misery.

“They went up to assess the situation and to decide whether they were going to shoot them or give them hay. They decided they had enough life in them so that’s when it all started,” Stutz said.

Over the course of a week. a growing number of residents trudged up the mountain with shovels in hand to dig an escape pathway through 6-foot-deep snow.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Late December Pictures & Coyote

We've had lots of coyote trouble this year--and the snow only makes them more desperate. My sister's dogs were attacked by coyotes, and we lost a cat to them. This one in the picture is making his way to our barn two days ago. I called out at him, but he just sat down and looked at me. I think he (or she) is hungry, don't you?

We love to take goofy pictures

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chosen By A Horse: A Memoir By Susan Richards

Click the link to read an excerpt.

Chosen by a Horse: A Memoir
This book was recommended to me by Joanne at Whole Latte Life. I ordered and received it a few weeks ago and read it in one day. It was one of those that captures and keeps your interest. At least, it captured mine. I couldn't put it down until it was done--having to take frequent blink breaks to keep my eyes moist.

Personally, I'm drawn to non-fiction, memoir--especially about women and horses. They're hard to find, (I showcased Kimberly Verhine's short-story The Blue Hour Before Sunrise this month)--if you know of any more--please comment on this blog post and share it with us.

Richard's memoir, Chosen By a Horse, captures her coming into her forties--a failed marriage, career changes, and coming to terms with having watched her mother die at a very young age and then being shifted around between family members. She has lived her life keeping people and relationships and love at arm's distance.

Unexpectedly, as she was not a person with a heart to rescue horses, per se, she finds herself responding to a call for just that--the rescue of a number of malnourished mares and foals. She adopts Lay Me Down, a gentle, trusting, permanently lame mare, and her baby, from the twenty the SPCA has rescued.

From that point forward she is stretched beyond her comfort zone, giving more and more of her love and devotion to an animal who may die and leave her grieving, as her mother had done when she was a young girl.

Through the experience, she also gathers up courage to give dating and the possibility of romanatic love another chance. Her memoir takes us through those first awkward, icky steps of the dating "game"--which she makes seem pretty funny. (You've got to feel a little sorry for whoever "Hank" really is--the allergic-to-all-animals-including-horses, hates-to-read-books, eats-your-dinner-before-you-do nightmare of a guy).

Whether or not you're a horse person, you'll probably love this book. It's mostly a book about taking chances after you've been hurt, and possibly and probably being hurt again and again, as part of really living.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas, Friends

Merry Christmas and thank you all for your friendship and support gentling my Mustang, Beautiful Girl.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your families.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowed In!

This is what lots of snow looks like here in Spokane. I don't know our exact count in a 24 hour period, but we were in line to beat the all time record--I bet we got 15" or more! We're going to get a lot more today--maybe over 2 feet before this is over--maybe 3!! (Does anyone know our exact count?) Update: Spokane International Airport had 19.4 inches of snow at daybreak, easily eclipsing the 24-hour snowfall record of 13 inches on Jan. 6 and 7, 1950.

Did I bring the snow with me when I moved here?? I've always LOVED snow--remembering back to the snow in Maine that began in October and didn't leave until April--so maybe it's me. (My apologies to those in Spokane who don't love snow as much as I do).

It's like a blizzard out there and the snow plows can't keep up. Of course, schools are closed and the kids are happy--SNOW DAY!!! They'll be pulling out the sleds and snowboards to go out and play with the other neighborhood kids!! Traffic can't run on our street--we're on a dirt road and rarely get plowed--so all the kids use the hill for sledding.

BTW: If you're snowed in with nothing better to do--check out some of the giveaways going on at my mom's blog Serenity Gate--and Two Appaloosas and a Mustang and maybe Andrea's site--Mustang Saga though she might done, you'll just have to check it out.

My little pine tree, all covered up!

There's the "scrawny little tree".

Back deck.

Barn--I'm a little worried about the snow load for that roof.

They say this snow is dry and light because of the low temps--I hope it doesn't stress the roof.

Here's the kid's trampoline and a couple of chairs we should have brought in before they got snow covered!

Here's some information from a Spokesman Review Article that ran today--follow the link to see the whole article and more pictures:

Memorable quotes from Jim Camden's Report--Go to their site to view whole article and more pictures of their training.

Asked how he chose the horses that will go--Lee Pinkerton says it had less to do with looks and more to do with their temperament:

“Pageantry is part of it,” Pinkerton said as he watched Border Patrol wranglers work the agency’s 16 mustangs in an indoor practice facility south of Colville. But these aren’t quarter horses or Clydesdales, and there’s no standard for the perfect mustang.....

That’s pretty much the point of having mustangs as part of the celebration, he added. “These horses are throwaways. They’re outcasts, just like many people who came to America were.”....

Just think of it, these are horses that were running wild two years ago, and next month we’re taking them to the most powerful city on Earth,” said Pinkerton, the assistant chief patrol agent of the Spokane District, who can wax poetic when talking about a program he helped start. “That’s a pretty short time to go from some of the wildest places in the country to a concrete jungle.”.....

Two years ago, Pinkerton and Dick Graham, patrol agent in charge of the Oroville station, were discussing what kind of horses the agency should buy to increase its horse patrols. All of the horses were from domestic stock at the time, and many were leased under contract.

“We said, ‘What breed best suits what we do?’ ” Graham recalled. They talked about Appaloosas, because that breed originated on the Palouse, which is part of the district. But they were expensive.

Then they considered the mustangs in BLM’s adopt-a-horse program. They were more affordable, at $125 to the BLM and $900 for the training, compared to about $3,000 for a domestically raised horse at the time. The mustangs also were rugged, with big bones and heavy feet, Graham said.

Joe McCraw, a senior patrol agent and wrangler at the Border Patrol’s Colville station, recalls his reaction when Pinkerton first suggested the mustangs.

“I thought he was crazy,” McCraw said this week while sitting atop a buckskin mustang named Zeus. He thought they might be wild and unpredictable. But after two years of working and riding them on rough terrain, he’s sold on mustangs for patrol work.....

Pinkerton jokes that the mustangs are more like pets than work horses. Ride a domesticated horse all day and take off its saddle, it will likely run away, glad to be shed of you; do the same with one of their mustangs and it will hang around and wait for you, he said.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Pictures

This one is for Joanne one of my favorite non-horse bloggers, who takes wonderful pictures of front doors all over New England, and has a giveaway going on right now that you don't want to miss(Barnes and Noble GC). I ran outside just for her, in the 5 degree cold, and snapped this shot. On closer inspection from the warmth of my home, I realized the wreath is crooked and part of the lights and poinsettas in the garland are falling off!

This scrawny little tree is a flowering plum (in the summer--in the winter it's a scrawny little tree). There weren't any trees here when we bought the property--so we planted about 20. It looks better at night when you can see the lights, but not the size of the tree!

Our dog, Maggie--Labrador Retriever, barn cat, and horse herder all wrapped into one.

Remember 42? She's the cat from the cruelty case here in Spokane. A woman hoarded 85 cats all sick and in horrible condition--some with broken bones. It was sad and sickening. Poor 42 still has a cough that acts up now and then, and as you know, she lost her little sister to a coyote. Now she's an inside cat who walks to the barn with me every morning.

She's a cutey--and has the personality of a dog.

This is the view of Mt. Spokane out my back door. We love it this time of year because it has snow on top.

The barn this morning--when we woke up it was 3 degrees. Yesterday Beautiful's automatic waterer froze and we spent the day fixing it. It's cold out there! (Beautiful's story continued below).

Here's my latest Beautiful story: She's trying to steal my husband. Yesterday, when I'd go to pet her, she'd put her ears back at me--like, no, I don't want you. Then, she'd walk over to my husband and nudge him. She did this several times all day when we were out fixing her waterer. Hmmmm....

Here's Cia taking her winter roll---washing off the dirt from the mud we'd had previously. The horses get cleaner and cleaner every day with this snow. Oh, and their manure is frozen in their stalls!! Yippee-three cheers for sub-zero weather!

Here are the horses in the snow storm from last week. You can barely make them out.

These are just DANGEROUS--dangerous, dangerous, dangerous. Need I say more? Someone stop me!!!

Never underestimate the simplicity of fake poinsettas. I buy them by the truckloads and stuff them into every vase in my home. Makes it look like I labored all day when really it took about 5 seconds to cram them in there.

Our Christmas tree. We always go with a fake one because I grew up with artificial and they're safe and clean. I burn a pine candle to get the pine scent. Some people don't like this--real trees are very important to them.

See the angel at the top of the tree? Years ago when I was teaching--I think I bought it 17 years ago--one of the ladies brought in those paper angels to sell. I bought two, and that one has topped our tree ever since. (It's ratty, but still in one piece).

My kids take turns putting it up there each year, and for the first time, my fourteen year old son was able to place it on the top without a step stool.

It's the little things that make Christmas special.