Sunday, September 27, 2009

Maddie Makes Good (almost)

Pat and Rusty and Maddie and I loaded up this morning for a KVTR casual ride up Robinson Canyon, west of E-burg. We used my new-to-me trailer, a Classic 3-horse with "Rumber" floor (no mats, no rust, no rot!), to make up for all the times this summer that Pat volunteered to do the hauling. The area we rode in is all within the L. T. Murray Elk Preserve, so no motorized vehicles allowed beyond the parking area.
Leaving the trailers (there were eight riders) there was a pretty substantial hill for the first quarter mile or so, so Maddie was pretty settled when we reached the real trail.
This was the first real trail ride off the ranch since the poker ride in May. There was no jigging today like she did then. She kept up well, but didn't crowd the horses in front of her, only once looked askance at something unseen is the woods, and generally earned herself an A+ for the first two-thirds of the outing.
This little palomino gelding is only four, like Maddie, but has a few more miles on him. He did really well.
This little Paint filly is only three, and this was her first time out with a bunch of other horses. She also did really well.
Have I mentioned how much I love being in the trees?!
Our lead rider, 70-something John, brought us up to this "lookout." I got these two photos from Maddie's back, but the gal I asked to take one of the two of us with the view behind must have pushed the wrong button, because although she "took" at least 5 or 6 shots, both of us and of the whole group, there were none on the camera when I got home. :-(
Starting back down, we came to this wide meadow, that John called "the pig farm." Don't know why pigs particularly, but it's the site of an old homestead. If you look closely (or em-big-en the photo) you'll see the side of a stone cold-cellar right under the pair of trees to the right of John's black helmet. At the right of the photo (not visible in this shot) is a stone retaining wall, which must have been the site of either the house or barn. We had to watch carefully, because there were a few odd pieces of rusty old farm implements hidden in the yellow grass. Someone had, at one point, gone to the trouble of collecting all of the farmstead's old barb-wire fencing, and stowing it out of the way. That's the worst kind of trail surprise to trip over.
Here's the view from across the meadow.
We took a twenty minute break here. Maddie stood nice and quiet. Another A+ moment.
Unfortunately, after the break, she must have felt well-rested, because I got a little bit of rushing (though not quite to the point of jigging). We finally got settled back down, when we came to THE STREAM!
All of about 10 inches wide--which makes it dangerous because they want to leap across it--it took a few minutes for all three of the greenies to get across, then less to go back, but on the third schooling, Maddie started to jump and I checked her back--at which time she half reared, and hopped across on her back legs! I twisted a little in my back, so in the spirit of self-preservation, we called it good, and the group continued on it's way. Her A+ slipped to an A-, but I was still happy with her general behavior.
The second stream crossing!
This time it was down in a little draw, and about 8 feet of muddy slop! The palomino chugged right across, but the little Paint took a few minutes. Because there wasn't much room in this spot, Maddie and I waited for her, along with one of the more seasoned horses. When it was our turn, Maddie went right to the edge, but would have NOTHING to do with getting her pretty feet dirty!
After several minutes of trying to ride her across, with her whirling away at the last minute, each approach, my back was starting to twinge, and my courage was rapidly diminishing. So, discretion being the better part of valor, I climbed down and we tried leading her across.
It's worth noting that last year, at this same creek (though perhaps not the same place) a rider who was trying to lead her horse across, got landed on by same, when he leapt the menace. She had to be air-lifted out, and has several pins and a plate in her leg now, to show for it. So I was careful not to be in front of Maddie. But I had brought just a regular web halter and 10 foot barn lead rope, instead of my trainer's rope halter with it's 15 foot lead (including popper). And because of the little dip in the trail, it was awkward to maneuver without getting in the way.
We tried leading her from another horse.
We tried taking all of the other horses down the trail out of sight (this almost worked--at least she thought about it harder).
We tried pushing her from behind with a sturdy cow pony.
We tried snubbing her to another sturdy horse.
We thought about putting Barry's lariat on her, to give us more lead leeway, but he was hesitant, so he just used the coils to push her butt from behind--almost worked, but I think he didn't want to really get after someone else's horse.
She would get right to the edge, maybe even get her fronts into the mud a few inches, then she literally sat down and whipped away to the rear.
After nearly twenty minutes, I was frustrated, embarrassed, and dripping sweat. And exhausted.
At one point, early on, I had unsnapped my training reins, because they are too short to hook over the horn (and give her any head stretching room), and had slid up her neck to the point that they were threatening to get tangled up in her feet. So I got behind her with them (snaps in my hand) and just started thwacking her. Hard. The gal in front, with the leadrope snubbed to her saddle horn, kept the pressure forward. Maddie sat down again, but with the steady pull forward, she started to slide down into the quagmire.She leapt up again, but couldn't turn, so suddenly...
...she was on the other side.
We had held up the group now for half an hour, and I was too tired to even think about "schooling" the obstacle again. And I still had to get back on.
I walked Maddie up the trail to where everyone else was waiting. There were no convenient rocks or stumps to use as a mounting blocks, so I put her down hill from me a bit, Pat held her head (and gave me a little shove), and, by golly, I was back on.
A bit farther down the draw we approached another spot, that in the spring would have had water, but at this time of the year was dry. But Maddie was suspicious. Pat and Rusty led the way. Maddie snuggled right up to Rusty's shoulder and scooted through.

Maddie was quiet (pooped?) the rest of the way down to the trailers.
Much of the mud on her hindquarters was brushed off in the tall grass at the top of the last hill. But I think you can get the idea.
Her Simple Boots stuck with her through it all.
Maddie's A+ ride had tanked, to maybe a C+ (if I feel generous).
Does she look suitably ashamed of herself?
To her credit, she did load well for the ride home.
"Get me outta here!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Heavenly Doggie Daycare

Heaven has a new puppy care-giver.
Our dear friend Lucille no doubt was greeted at the pearly gates by our Aussie "Chewy" where they can now both walk without pain.Rest In Peace, Lucille.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mah Twailer Twip to Towhn, by Jackson

O boy!
Mama Misty an me, Jackson, weez goin onna adventur!
Whas dat over dere?
Itz mah sisters and cuzins.
Hi der gurls! Mama Misty an me, Jackson, weez goin onna adventur!
You wantz me to go where?
Oh. Dats Auntie Laurie's new-to-her horsie twailer!!Mah Mama Misty left me a trail crums to follo.
Smells hokay.
Wher duz mah feets go agin?Auntie Laurie sez dat littl baby steps iz hokay fur a littl spottie baby horsie.Buts Im feelin a littl insecur here!
So Auntie Laurie letz me bak ups a bitz, to gets mah bak feetz bak on solud groun.
Wups! Now mah frun feetz seems ta be on da edge of da wurld!

Auntie Laurie helps me ajust mah toe-hold.
Dats bettr!
A littl xtra perswayshun to gets dat furstest bak foots up into da twailer rite dis time.
One las foots, an Im in!
An Auntie Laurie clozez da doors an weez off to towhn.
Mama Misty an me, Jackson, weez goin onna adventur!

A littl fresh air (da hay fuds is up by da furst windo).

By-by, Uncl Al.
An wees off ta towhn.
Now, Iz been to da vets clinik now tree timz in mah tree ana haf munths, an all tree timz, everybodie dere just thinks Im a kutie patootie. An I meets anudder new vet doctur, but Dr. Mark iz Auntie Laurie's favorit--he furst wurkded wit mah Mama Misty bak wen mah big brudder Eddie, Auntie Laurie's furstest baby horsie, wuz bornded.
An Iz so goodz, an I letz Dr. Mark poke at mah spotted baby boo boo butt, an he sez dere nuttin dere to really worry aboud, dat deres no infecion, jus a littl contuzion. An itll jus take sum mor times, witch I gots lots uv whil Im buzy growin up. Dr. Mark says its gud dat da boo boo iz up hi in mah butt musculs, an not down by my tenduns, an da wurstest I mite hav iz a littl pucker or maybe a littl dimpl on mah kewt littl spotted butt when it finly getz all heelded ups.
But maybe nots, cuz I iz all yung an healty an all.

After Dr. Mark finushed checkin out my spotted baby boo boo butt, he sent a vet teckie ladie out tah help Auntie Laurie lode Mama Misty and me bak in the twailer. But Auntie Laurie tol the vet tekie ladie dat she wanted to try again to lode us all by herselves agin. So we follered hers to da bak of da twailer, an Mama Misty walks right in, an Auntie Laurie goes up to ty her hed up by da hay fuds, an while she's standin dere at the end of mah ropes, I jus lookded arown at the sitiation, an decided to lode my littl spottie selves in to the twailer.
So I did!
I jus walkded up in dere nex to my Mama Misty lik I been doin it all my lifes, witch, if ya think aboud it, I have!

An we all wentz home to Uncle RT, who missded me bunches, an even playded wit me when we gotz home.

An I tolded hims all aboud Mama Misty and me, Jackson, goin onna adventur to towhn!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Silly Sunday & BooBoo Baby Butt Update

Well, this is an experiment.
That's why Silly Sunday Shorts are coming to (all three of) you on Tuesday.
But I've been experimenting with something new I can do with Picasa, Google's free photo editing software. And besides, I have been working hard on all those projects I used to have eight days to complete....and now only have one!
(Music is Jackson Browne's Nino.)

What I think is cute is that RT is becoming more active in playing with Jackson, perhaps because of the cooler weather, or perhaps just because Jackson is hard to ignore.
In the end, they're getting to be pretty good buddies.
As for the proverbial horse's petooty, Jackson's rear-end seems to be resolving itself. From a distance, and with the optical distraction of his markings, you don't really notice the swelling anymore, unless you're looking for it. I can still feel it, and it actually seems to be more tender than at first--maybe the underlying bruised tissues are now closer to the surface.And a little contusion has developed. Not sure if this is indicative of the original wound, or an issue of skin stretched too far for two weeks now. After getting these photos, I smeared it with Desitin (yes, the diaper rash goo). If it were a brand new injury, I would start with Nolvasan, for it's anti-biotic qualities (and I like the fact that it's water-based and the wound can breathe). But because this is an old injury, and presumably well past the infection stage, I have found that Desitin is a wonderful skin repair treatment.Now he has a problem on his other side: Tell me again why I have horses with so much white in their coats!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Travelogue: Washington Wanderings

If you're looking for a horsie post, you can skip this one (though there are two rather large equines towards the end). I'll be back tomorrow with some silly Sunday videos.

Al and I went away for sort of a mini-second-honeymoon last weekend. It started out as a trip to see Jackson Browne in concert, and ended up being a very pleasant meander through south-central Washington. We left Ellensburg about noon, after determining that Jackson's (the colt, not the singer/songwriter) butt swelling was somewhat benign. We headed south through Yakima and turned south-west at Toppenish on Highway 97.
After leaving the wheat fields of the Goldendale plateau, and the main road, we came over this hill....
...into the Klickitat River valley. TREES! First some sort of oak, reminiscent of the live oaks of central California. Then a nice mix of pines and firs as we moved farther up the foothills of the Cascade range.
This was a fairly open area.
A little ways further and we discovered the valley had become somewhat of a canyon.
(Hey! Who's that under the tree, and what's he shooting?)
(Oh, just some gal taking pictures of the canyon.)
Then suddenly, the road emptied out into this plain and gave us our first really good shot of Mount Adams to the west.
And Mount Hood off to the south.
Quaint little motel/inn in Trout Lake, at the base of Mount Adams, where we stayed Friday night.
Each room has it's own special bear.
The morning view out our window--better than any motel I've ever stayed in before!
Our porch, with guest.
Our gracious host, Dave, and his daughter, Sarah (who makes killer sweet potato waffles for the continental breakfast).
The next day we wandered south toward the Columbia River gorge.
We're getting closer to Oregon: Mt. Hood over the rooftops of White Swan.
We stopped at a rest stop overlooking the River.
Can you say "The Bridges of Klickitat County"?
This old tree caught my eye.
On it's other side a sign that says:
"I am approx. 300 years old."
We putzed around the rest stop for about an hour, hoping to catch a train on it's way through one of the tunnels on either side of (and directly under) us.
No trains, but Al caught this guy swooping through.
(If you en-big-gin the photo, you'll see that his head is red and featherless--some sort of vulture?)
We had to settle for a train on the opposite side of the river.
This fellow was biking from Astoria, on the Oregon coast, to Green Bay, Wisconsin! When Al said he'd always wanted to do something like that on his bike, but figured he'd missed his youthful chance, the fellow reported that he is 54 years old!! We had passed him before the rest stop, and he passed us again when we arrived in Lyle, but I never got a decent shot of him riding.
We took the time to explore the "Old Hwy 8" route that went above the River.
We passed this cute carriage, pulled by two monstrous draft mules.
The only photo I got from the front--a quarter mile later I wished I had stopped.
Coming back down to the water,
we spotted this humongous kite! (The handler is down on the sand bar, behind the bluff overlooking the River.)
The highway bridge at the confluence of the Klickitat River and the Columbia.
(There's that cute photographer guy again!)
The little railroad hotel that we stayed in after the concert on Saturday night was a bit of a disappointment: a cute concept, but it couldn't seem to decide if it wanted to be a posh gourmet hideaway, or an out-of-the-way bed and breakfast. It was so unremarkable, we didn't even take any pictures.

Leaving town the next morning, heading north-east up the lower end of Klickitat River.
Whose that sharing the roadway? This little herd of deer, two does and their three fawns, still with spots, were coming down the hill towards the river. They had steep basalt cliffs to their right, and a drop off worthy of a guardrail to their left. They could have scrambled out either direction, but it would have been difficult.

What do we do, mama deerest?
Should we jump over the side here?
No, I think we're okay going a little farther.
Here's our regular path to the river, kids.
Thanks for waiting, humans.

It was nice to be able to just turn off the engine and wait for this group to pass. How pleasant, not being in a hurry to get anywhere!

Back over to the dry side of the state!Al and I were in denial about heading home, so we made a brief side trip...
We visited this State Park at the site of an early military post.
A replica of an old log barracks. I love the symmetry.
Well, we couldn't stall any longer; it was time to head for home (and a waiting puppy dog).
One thing that grows well in the lower Yakima Valley is hops (for brewing). Very few people would know what this crop was, suspended from guy wires....
Dropping down into the green of the Kittitas Valley.
Mount Stuart just visible through the haze (from recent brush fires).
They're here!
Al gets mobbed.

Happy puppy!

Good to be home!