Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Equine Cushing’s Syndrome/Disease

Cushing’s Disease or Syndrome is caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland. It can be found in both sexes, and according to one article I found is most common is Morgan’s and ponies. There are groups that discuss Cushing’s with various vets that can help you with suggestions if your horse is struck with this disease. One of the members there told me that it was more common in Arabians, so I guess it depends on what you read and what their research has told them.

Some horses with the disease are also Insulin Resistant, and can develop severe Laminitis. The first tell tale signs are a long curly coat that does not shed out in the spring, a sway back, and a large hay belly. Their metabolism is affected as well as their ability to cycle properly, and thus it is difficult for a mare to settle. These are what you will find in any documentation you may read. What follows is from my own experience so while this has been true for our mares it is not necessarily true for all equines stricken with the disease.

Sarashea, our first mare was our first experience with Cushing’s. She was Rudy’s horse before she was ours, and he said since he first met her she had an excessive coat. She had, had one foal but hadn’t been bred since. She also had arthritis in her back end, which is not uncommon in Arabian/QH crosses. When I met her she was full of vim, and plenty of vigor. I wanted to breed her someday, but it was a few years later when we started breeding. Although a half-Arabian, she was a Serinosk daughter, a much desirable bloodline. I doubt that at this time there are any breeding daughters of Serinosk so I doubt I will ever have a horse that close.

Sara was always very healthy, and so we had no reason to think there was anything wrong, and less reason to have a vet check her out. We knew nothing about Cushing’s nor had we ever heard of it. It wasn’t until we were having Marina checked for AI that we were told that she was a Cushing’s mare. The vet also told us that it was doubtful that she could ever be bred. He didn’t say much else, and didn’t seem to be concerned about it so we weren’t either.

We moved from the coast to Auberry outside of Fresno, and the vet there asked about Sara being a Cushing’s mare, we said yes she was. Like I said we were terribly ignorant at this point. She did tell us that later she would probably founder, and end up with Laminitis. The only thing we could do was to give her Bute when she foundered, and watch her. By this time we were not riding her much anymore because it seemed to be a bit much for her no matter that she loved it, and had an uneven gate because of her arthritis. We did however let her out with the girls so she could run in the pasture. No exercise is never a good thing, that much we did know. She foundered as predicted, and we got her through it only to have her founder again. That’s when Rudy said enough was enough, and we put her down. He couldn’t stand to see her in such pain.

The first year after we moved to New Mexico none of our mares settled, but the next year the mares we bred settled except for Marina. We tried breeding her again, and again we had no luck even though she did not come back in season. We thought she had settled because her belly grew and she became less active. When her due date came and went we thought perhaps she thought she was pregnant because she was next to Sadie, and Sadie was definitely pregnant. That winter she started having problems with her feet, and her coat was way too long, that’s when we had Warren our vet, check her out. I started looking on the Internet for information, and I found a chat group just for Cushing’s horses. I learned a lot from them, but Marina only showed signs of a long coat, and lethargy. When the tests came back they showed that while she was not IR she did have Cushing’s. I had already started her on Chaste Berries, which has shown improvement in some horses, but when that didn’t seem to work we put her on Thyro-L as Warren suggested.

As you might guess Thyro-L is used for horses that have a Thyroid condition. It is also used on Cushing’s horses since the tumor affects the Pituitary gland’s ability to produce hormones. She did improve. Her lethargy was gone, her feet weren’t bothering her, and she began shedding out. She did not however start cycling. Even though people on the chat group were appalled that I would even consider breeding her, I was not about to not have a foal to replace her if we had to stop breeding her. She was only 15, and had a lot of babies still in her. I also spoke with a research veterinarian friend of mine, and she said as long as she is healthy, she could see no reason not to breed her. Warren seemed to think that it was all right, and since we think of him as all knowing (well not quite), I couldn’t accept never again. He then put her on Pergoloid a medication that was developed, and given to Parkinson’s patients. Why it works on Cushing’s I have no clue, but she came into season, shamelessly teased poor Ibn till he was crazy, and settled first time round.

It seemed after she took, she got a new lease on life, and was once again our Marina. She had a beautiful filly (as usual), and has continued to be healthy, and happy if a bit more spoiled. She has to have her Thyro-L every day, and since it’s a fine powder, of course I give it to her with pellets (Safe Performance), and she can’t get it fast enough. I continue to feed her supplements with low sugar even though she is not IR just because. Arabians have more than enough energy with out giving them more sugar or starch. We don’t need it, and neither do they. My veterinarian friend said that some studies show that some Cushing’s mares do better when kept pregnant. She also suggested that this might be because  while pregnant, they do not have the hormonal fluxuations of having a regular cycle.

If you ever have a horse with Cushing’s, read all you can, and do what seems to work for your horse. Every horse is different, and they react differently to different diseases just like we do. Once you get your horse stabilized there is no reason not to breed them if they are healthy, and strong enough. Even now they are developing new medications to help your horse continue to live a long, and healthy life. Be proactive, if we had researched more maybe we could have bred Sara or at least given her a longer, and happier, pain free life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

AB Marina

I got an email yesterday with the description “Krystie’s Boo-Boo”, and two pictures. She did a good job of it I must say. I told Sherry that she must have been jealous of Sierra, and just had to have stitches of her own. 

Krystal is Marina’s third foal. We bought Marina, and Moraddinn in Buckeye at an auction. She was small for her age (a year and a half), but her personality said Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. When she was little we used to call her little Miss Priss, because every time she didn’t want to do something, she would push out her lower lip in a perfect pout. There are many stories I could tell about her early school days, but the best one is the day Rudy was working her, and she really didn’t want to do what he was asking. She decided to throw a temper tantrum, tripped herself up, and ended up with Rudy still on her back on the ground. I’ve never seen a horse so surprised in my life. She totally didn’t know what to do. She looked at Rudy as if to say what happened? When she got up she had this very sheepish look on her face, and was totally embarrassed. Needless to say after that the lesson went very well.

Then there was the time that the cinch broke on Rudy, and he slowly slid to the ground. Good girl that she is she simply stopped, and looked at him as if to say, what the hay are you doing down there. You don’t belong there. That’s our Marina, while she may be a pistol, she always does the right thing. She is the most well behaved, and well trained horse we have. She loves to be ridden, so much so that she gets all excited, and it’s twenty minutes of bouncing around until she calms down enough to only do one thing at a time when you ask her to, and not before. You have to understand that’s after we have chased her in the arena, and she has done dozens of circles at a full gallop. Then she’s absolutely perfect on the trail.

Both her, and Moraddinn share a common sire (Marina), and grandsire (Moraddinn), named Marax. While I have looked I haven’t been able to find out anything about him. At one time I did find a half-sister of Marina’s up in Michigan I believe.  She has other notable Arabians in her pedigree as well, MS Santana, Bask, Ghzi, Abu Farwa, Arax, Nagasaki, and Witraz to name a few. Those at least are names that I recognize. While I have learned a lot about bloodlines I am far from being knowledgeable.

When we first got the kids Rudy was worried not knowing how Sara would react to trespassers in her territory. She couldn’t be put into pasture with other horses because she was such a dominant mare. Now here we are bringing home two little twirps. I told Rudy she would be fine, and indeed she was. She was so funny, she actually adopted them as if they were her own. We only had a little more than an acre, but the whole back was fenced so we bought some corral panels, and made two stalls inside the pasture. Every night Sara would stand guard over the two babies daring anyone to come near. Those were her kids, and she would defend them with her life.

Rudy often says that Sara taught Marina everything she knew so she would be the next in line, and so she did. Marana’s personality is so similar to Sara’s she could almost be Sara. She is just as good under saddle. Small and powerful, she can turn on a dime, and go on forever. Unfortunately she also shares one other thing in common with Sara, she too has Cushing’s.

When we moved to California one of the vets we used commented on Sara being a Cushing’s mare. I of course had never heard of it, and neither had Rudy.  The tell tale sign was her coat which could get as long as 3” to 4”. It got to the point that I had to clipper her every summer. She also had the sway back, and the hay belly. This was in the late ninety’s. When we moved to Auberry the vet there basically told us there really was nothing that could be done for her except to give her pain medication, which we did in the form of Yucca. It seemed to help her some. When she started to founder that was it, we had to put her down. Rudy couldn’t bear to see her suffer. If we had known then what we know now, not only would we have babies from her, but also she would have had a pain free life, and a much longer one.

The first year in New Mexico we couldn’t get anyone in foal, not even Sadie who is a little hussy, and takes first time every time. It came to the point that Marina wouldn’t even come into season, and then one winter her coat was exceptionally long, and we knew, she had Cushing’s. She started to have problems with her feet so we called in Warren to confirm her diagnosis, which he did with a blood test. We were heart broken, but in the meantime I had done some research, and added Chaste Berries to her diet. I didn’t really see any change so Warren started her on Thyro-L. We finally saw improvement, but she still didn’t come into season. We added Pergaloid to the Thyro-L, and that did the trick, Marina was in season in no time teasing Ibn shamelessly. We bred her, and continued the Pergaloid up to her last three months as it can inhibit lactation. Krystal is the result of that breeding. We have not had to go back to the Pergaloid, and she is cycling normally. We will breed her again this summer, and keep her bred. It seems that some mares do much better if you continue to breed them, possibly because they don’t have the hormonal ups, and down of regular cycles. I don’t know, and I don’t care, as long as she is healthy, and pain free I am happy. Besides she produces wonderful babies.

Like her, Marina’s babies are small, and powerful. They are also super sweet. Aulina (her second foal) is in Gilbert, Arizona. Her owner has been working her, and hopes to show her in Scottsdale. That would be wonderful, not only for our ranch, but for Marina, and her adoptive mother Sarashea. I can’t think of a better legacy for Sara than to have her granddaughter (in heart) showing in one of the most prestigious shows in the US. I can almost feel her smiling down at us with an approving look on her face, saying job well done.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Star Magic Jeriel

Jeri is our Senior Stallion by virtue of age. About 2003 Jeri, who was sold in vitro by Sandy Warren, came back to Warren Park Stud. His owner had health issues, and when she came to the point where she was unable to ride, and care for him any longer, she gave him back to Sandy. The moment I laid eyes on him, I was in love. We already had one stallion (Ibn) but there was something about Jeri that spoke to me. He had some offspring, but was mainly a companion to his owner. I took many pictures of him and his first colt from Sandy’s farm. I always planned on breeding him to one of our mares, but as it would happen, we moved before I was able to do so. Still I had hopes of someday breeding one of our mares to him.

About a year later when I was talking to Sandy she informed me that they decided to sell one of their stallions, Jeri. It saddened me because now my chance would be gone for good. Rudy and I talked about it, and I thought that was one more idea shot down. The next thing I know, Rudy is calling Sandy to find out how much she wants for Jeri. We were still struggling, but with tax money we could just buy him. I was ecstatic. One of the things that always gets us in trouble is that when there is something I want Rudy finds a way to get it. We are poor but we have a beautiful herd of horses.

 When he got here Jeri’s mane & tail were matted, and his coat was extremely fine (something you look for in an Arabian, but not at 7,000’). His feet were newly trimmed, and I swear he was just as excited to be here as we were to have him. We let him settle in before we started messing with him, but as soon as I could, I got my mane, and tail brush out. When he was done he was absolutely stunning in my eyes. I wanted to start riding him, and I did once, but as usual with only weekends to be with the horses that never happened again. He froze his first winter here, having a winter coat more similar to our horse’s summer coat. I felt so bad for him, and wouldn’t you know it, we had lots of snow that year too.

We bred him first with Sadie. Sadie is as refined as Jeri is. The resulting colt would be small, but we were hoping that some of those tall Aulrab genes would kick in. That didn’t exactly happen, but what I did notice is that when bred with a hot mare, Jeri seems to produce a quieter, and softer colt. This is good news as I have three mares that are more than a little hot. They have mellowed as they have matured, still they are not as mellow as some of our other mares. Two of them are of substantial size so if he can manage it (I’m sure he will find a way), I want to breed him to at least one of them this spring.

Besides being an Aulrab grandson with a line to Bint Lebnaniah of Pico, Jeri has an illustrious sire, Lewisfield Magic+/, son of Indian Magic imported from Crabbet Stud in England. He is 85.61% Crabbet/Blunt, and 90.48% GSB (including Crabbet). He is by far the highest percentage Crabbet horse we own. Where Ibn exudes power, and athleticism, Jeri is all grace and beauty. At nearly 23 whenever we have visitors, they are amazed at both his age, and his beauty.  Jeri neither looks nor acts his age especially when it comes to the girls. Maybe this year I’ll be able to ride him some. Lord only knows what this year will bring, and He isn’t telling anyone least of all me. He so loves His little surprises. Hopefully (for a change) they will be good ones this year. I don’t think we can take any more like the ones from last year.  Who knows maybe this year He will include a miracle or two. We could surely use some, so here’s to hope.
photo by Linda Sherrill

Friday, January 21, 2011

Uneventful Day (?)

I awoke to a beautiful day if you like it at 25 degrees, and foggy with a sort of sleet mist that froze the moment it hit the ground. Having grown up in the desert I find the fog both eerie and beautiful. It’s also scary driving down the freeway when you can’t see beyond the end of your car. After living in California for nearly 10 years the fog out here is not in the least bit scary so I can enjoy the beauty of it.

I also awoke to a funny smell in the house.  After I gave the inside dogs their freedom and raced them to the door so they could go outside, I looked at the pellet stove to see if it needed more pellets. The house was still warm, and I wanted to keep it that way for a while so I put in some more pellets, but something wasn’t quite right. The fire was fine I caught it just before it died out having run out of pellets. I cleaned out the box of ash, but the fan wouldn’t come on again. I fiddled with it for a while before I came to the conclusion that the funny smell was the smell of a burned out motor. Yes the fan died. Of course there is a special tool you need to take it all apart, and even if I managed to get the motor out, the only place to get parts is in Alamogordo. The stove is so old they probably wouldn’t have the parts anymore, and I have no clue how to fix it anyway. The only repairman we had in town closed down his business years ago. Oh well worse things could have happened.

I turned on the little space heater we have, and tried starting a fire in the computer room. I didn’t take the time to do it right, and I had to take my shower, and feed so I left it alone. It was still nice in the house as I said, and my wood supply is down so I elected not to start the fire till I really needed to.  Looking at the temperature outside I dressed warmly and went first to let the chickens out. Yes the truck had a sheet of ice on it, so I started it first, released the chickens from their house, which they then refused to come out of. Who says chickens are dumb. I was the dumb one out in the freezing sleet slipping on the icy gravel.

Down to the barn I go, at least the barn water wasn’t frozen. My new setup was doing quite well. Of course the insulation tubing I placed on the upper line didn’t hurt either. The horses were starving (of course), so I rushed having taken too much time with my heating issues. Thank goodness we are having a mild winter. There was no wind so I was able to feed quickly without also having to freeze to death. I accept all gifts from God no matter how small they may seem to someone else. No wind is a great gift as far as I’m concerned.

I came back to the house with nothing more serious than Lightning chasing Sadie from the hay. I yelled at her appropriately, and made sure that Sadie would get her proper share. At nearly 22 Sadie no longer fights for her place in the herd. She makes the motions, laying back her ears, and bearing her teeth, but she backs down every time. Lightning, on the other hand, just turning four this year, is feeling more dominant. It’s time to take her out of pasture and start working her before she begins to think she is the alpha mare. Of course ten minutes in the arena with Marina would cure that problem, but without Rudy here it’s hard for me to move the mares around a lot. Then again, once Sadie’s feet are the proper length again she goes back in her stall, and I don’t have an extra.

Once at the house I fed the rest of the animals and proceeded to feed myself. I had gotten a late start because of the stove so by the time I ate, and talked with Rudy the day was half over. By this time I am puttered, so I lay down for a bit. When I awoke the fog had finally lifted, and if it hadn’t been so cold it would have been a beautiful day. It only got up to 37 degrees, which for me is not a good thing. My body just doesn’t like the cold. I went to town, ran some errands (including getting another space heater), and it was time to feed again. Not a bad day, only one thing broke after all. Granted it is kind of important, but I can survive with out the pellet stove.

I thought I had gotten by without much excitement for the day when I couldn’t find Bear. Normally he is constantly underfoot eating hay. Yes, our dogs all eat hay both undigested and digested. Finally I looked out and saw him chewing something across from the barn water main. Ok at least I knew where he was. As I pulled the truck out of the barn, I saw what he had been chewing. He brought his treasure over to the barn by the RV. It was a deer’s head, great. That means that tomorrow I get to go out and find the rest of the Doe’s body, or at least make sure it’s not close to the house. I don’t know what I’ll do with it since I won’t be able to lift it into the truck by myself, but I still have to try to find it. I’m sure Bree is the one who found the carcass, and probably brought it up to the house. She brings all kinds of stuff from I don’t know where, and probably don’t want to know where. That would also explain why Pena wasn’t hungry this morning as she was with mom, and probably had some semi-fresh meat for breakfast.

I throw the head into the truck bed (boy does it stink), and proceed to feed the last of the horses. The pasture horses didn’t finish their breakfast, and the barrel I have over the water pipe is on its side by the trees. I just filled the tank the day before yesterday, and they should not have gone through an entire tank in that amount of time. This means that the deer are helping themselves to our water. It has been a very dry winter so this actually makes sense. I feed the girls, and go back to the barn for the hose. It’s a good thing I put on that extra valve so they couldn’t turn the water on and dry the pump. I look to see if they (Lightning) tried to turn on the water. My other little idea worked. I put a U shaped double threaded clamp through the hole on the handle, locking the line closed. The crazy part is not that it worked, but that it almost didn’t. They had gotten the bolt off one end. Our horses are way too smart. I realize that they have nimble little noses, but this is too much. It’s bad enough that we have stud chains on all the gates, but now even bolts are not enough to keep them out of trouble. I guess I’ll have to check the water every day.

Still and all, it wasn’t that eventful of a day. No one got hurt (except the doe), and there are more disastrous things that could have happened. I can thank God for one more semi-quiet day. The wind has come up again. I can hear it blowing through the trees in heavy gusts. I have closed the garage door so the outside dogs won’t be so cold, and I’m preparing to go to bed. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer so maybe, just maybe, after I get hay I can ride. That would be a wonderful thing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gone Again


Rudy was home for two days this time one of which was nice enough to ride together, but he wanted to putz with his truck so we didn’t ride. Spending time with him is far more important than riding so that will have to wait for another day. He did take a look at my pipe repair. I had told him that we now had turn off valves for each line, and he wanted to see what I had done since he couldn’t figure out how I managed it. His response was that it was innovative and creative. I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad so I asked if it met his approval. He gave me his seal of approval (YES!). When we first embarked on this owner operator big rig adventure his greatest concern (besides something terrible happening to me out in the middle of nowhere) was whether or not I would be able to do the things that would need to be done around the ranch.   Of course I said I could, but he had his doubts. So far I have been able to do most everything, and God willing I will be able to continue to do so.

Today was a day for running errands. It was not really that cold, but it was windy as all get out. Since I had to go into town I stopped by to see Sherry, Krystal’s new owner.  Krystal is Marina’s filly from last summer. She looks just like her dam except that I think her head will be shorter. This is Marina’s second filly by Ibn. Aulina looks just like her dam, but Krystal seems to have a little of Ibn in her. As strong as the Aulrab line is, Marina’s line seems to be stronger. Sherry had also told me how to determine how tall the babies might be once they mature so I wanted to give her my results with measuring Sierra (Little Big Man). She came out with about 14.2 hands for Krystal (which is about right), and I came out with 15 hands for Sierra. Rudy of course begs to differ as he is sure Sierra will top out at 16 hands. I had read that if you measure from the elbow to the hock, and double it when they are about 6 months old, you will get an approximation of where they will top out. Sherry said that for the most part they reach about 85% of their growth by 6 months. Calculating both ways I came out about 15 hands. These lines do mature slower than even most Arabians so it is actually reasonable that Rudy could be correct. We’ll just have to wait and see.

The next few days are supposed to be cold but clear, and NOT windy. Of course the weather for today said that the wind wasn’t supposed to come up till after noon, and that didn’t happen, but we can hope. If my body doesn’t crap out the way it did last week when it was cold, I hope to get some riding in. I haven’t ridden Ibn for at least two weeks, and I’m supposed to ride him five miles every other day until February. We’ll just have to play catch up. I also have a couple of projects to do. I need a frame for the painting I did a couple of months ago, and I have a beautiful piece of knotted wood (2” x 4”) that I want to make into a jewelry hanger. There are pictures I want to take, and I really need to start another painting. I need to find a way to make money from home, and my artwork is the only other thing I can do. As far as I can tell the “work at home and make tons of money” jobs are all just scams. I can paint, I can work with wood, and I can make jewelry. Now all I have to do is find a way to sell them. I’m starting with the local feed store.  I have paintings to sell only I haven’t figured out how to take descent pictures of them especially when they are under glass. There’s always a glare I can’t seem to get rid of.

I have tons of pictures for paintings so subject matter isn’t that much of a problem. Unfortunately, I’m not a great traveler so my subject matter is somewhat limited. I tried to get Rudy to take pics of his travels, but all I got was a couple of pics from inside the truck. I’m the “want to be photographer” so I can’t really get on him for that. I wish I could get money for my pictures as some of them are really good, but my interests are landscapes not people, and photography is a really hard industry to get into. Besides there are tons of photographers out there who are really good, and I’m strictly an armature. None of my artwork is good enough to garner big price tags, but that’s all right. If I can make enough money to subsidize my husband’s income, I will be happy. I have no illusions of grandeur when it comes to my talents such as they are. It is the joy I find in the things that surround me that I want to share.  It’s the same with the horses. No one can create a great horse.  What we can do is nurture a horse to be all it was created to be, just as we can strive individually to be all that we can be. If I can accomplish that, my life will have meaning, and it will be a good thing.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ibn Aulrab - Aulrab (by Aurab) x Haapey Pico (by Haat Shaat)

photo by Carol Mingst

When we moved to Auberry, California we had already bred Marina to Ravens Jafar. We traded Moraddinn for Sadie who was also in foal to Smoking Hot NRG. By this time we had decided that we were going to start breeding, but stud fees are high (at least for us), so we hadn’t really figured out how we were going to be able to afford it. Unbeknownst to me, Rudy had seen an Arabian farm close to one of the places we had looked at before buying the property in Auberry. The summer was spent building fence lines and turning an old carport into four stalls. One day he came home with a video. He said he was looking for another mare for me, but this was no mare on the video. Sandy, who later became a close friend, had no mares she was willing to let go of, but she knew of a young stallion she bred who was for sale. On the video was a beautiful flaxen chestnut stallion. It was love at first sight for both of us. Also on the video was his first foal. Left with his babysitter pony mare Ibn at a little more than a year old left his mark. Trotting along this black pony mare was a half-Arabian colt. He looked more like an Arabian in miniature than a half Arabian. We knew if he could produce that kind of foal with a pony mare he would be a wonderful producing stallion.

Long story short, we went to see him, and knew he was the stallion for us. Earl had four yearlings in a pasture that were simply adorable with the disposition we were looking for. I went into the pasture, and it reminded me of the photos you see of someone being surrounded by kids wanting hugs. Four legged kids all wanting pets, and attentions, curious to see who this new human was surrounded me. Ibn himself was in pasture with a pregnant mare. He was so gentlemanly, trying to woo her (obviously she wasn’t interested) without being aggressive. I had never been around a stallion, and this, my first experience was delightful.

We had a lot to learn about this unique playful child, and child he was. Sandy warned us that the Aulrab lines developed slowly, but with Ibn that was an understatement. Earl told us that he was green broke, but when Rudy put a saddle on him he acted as though he had no clue what to do. Knowing Ibn as I do now it all could have been an act to get out of being ridden, but we’ll never really know. Rudy didn’t have a lot of time, but he tried to teach Ibn the basics. Ibn for his part had no interest at all in learning how to be a proper show horse. I call him my gentleman stallion. As far as he’s concerned his job is to look good for the girls, and get nookie.  One of his other jobs was to pester me whenever I was in the stall cleaning up his messes. I constantly had bruises on my arms. He would tip toe in back of me, and grab my arm with his lips. Half the time I would even feel it except as a gentle brush. Later Rudy would ask me where I had gotten that bruise and I would reply I had been cleaning Ibn’s stall. He would put Rudy’s whole hand in his mouth and slobber all over it without ever hurting him. He was great with the babies too. We would let the two little girls roam the property and they would inevitably go visit Ibn. He loved it and would gently caress them as if they were the most precious children on earth even though they weren’t his.

His breeding was unique as well. His dam was a Hearst mare, the Pico line is well known in California. I have articles on the Hearst horses as well as a magazine that featured the horses of San Simon. How we lucked out in finding a stallion with such a prestigious heritage when we could actually afford it is beyond me. I will be forever grateful that Ibn came into our lives.

When it came to breeding we had to call Sandy. Yes we bred Marina, but that was by AI. The vet gave her a happy shot, stuck a thing up her (ultrasound) to check where she was at, and when the time was right, he put goodies inside her. Eighteen days later he gave her another happy shot and checked to see how everything was. Easy.

We had helped Dick our landlord for a while in Castroville when he bred his stallion, but Ghost was such a good boy (and older, and more practiced) that all he did was have me hold the lead with the mare, he brought Ghost around, and that was that, simple.  Our mares (Marina mostly) were a little different, and we had no idea how Ibn would be when held with a lead instead of pasture breeding. Better to be safe than sorry. We talked to Sandy and built a teasing stall. The first time Rudy put Ibn in the little teasing stall, and I brought him Marina for teasing, yee gads! Marina wasn’t quite ready. Marina (as we now know) has a very small window of maybe one, or if we’re lucky two days when she’s receptive, at which time she squirts and stands perfectly still. Any other time it’s Kill! Kill! Kill! You want to know what’s funny? Watch a very fertile young stallion squirm, and to try to squeeze himself into a corner, and become invisible when Marina’s not quite ready. It’s a love hate relationship. He loves her, and she hates him, unless she primed and ready. After breeding Marina to Ibn the other mares were easy. I handled the mares, and Rudy handled Ibn. He’s a little bit of a handful the first of the season, but after that he’s very good.

Still, what to do with this gorgeous stallion who produces fantastic babies, and has no interest in doing anything else. We tried sending him to a trainer, for which we paid big bucks to have Ibn learn what to do with an extremely severe bit in his mouth. We took him to a show in Paso Robles, and Rudy of course used a normal bit. I don’t think in all the time Rudy had been showing that he was ever so embarrassed as he was at that show. Ibn did everything he could to try to get out of having to do what he was supposed to do. He even tried kicking Rudy out of the saddle. Rudy was just about ready to excuse himself from the ring when Ibn finally gave in, and started behaving himself.  Ibn is the sweetest stallion in the world, he produces foals of extreme quality, and he is just plain lazy. There is no other way to say it. Actually he reminds me of my father. It’s not that he can’t do something, he would just prefer not to. I’m still trying to find something he likes to do, besides wooing the ladies that is. He’s perfectly balanced, extremely athletic, has a wonderful personality, is great with babies, but if we can’t get him out in the public for people to see him, it’s really hard to convince them that he’s a great catch.

Once he decides that he’s not going to get out of doing what he’s supposed to do, riding Ibn is sheer joy. I’m not fond of English, but posting on him is effortless. Putting him into a canter from the trot is so smooth that you can hardly feel it. I swear I could carry a glass of champagne in one hand and never spill so much as a drop he is so smooth. Even when I got him to jump (granted it was low on the ground as it was the first time I ever tried to jump with him) it was easy. Remember I can never get the timing right, so I just let him decide when he was going to jump, and I felt as though we were truly one being gliding in the air. It felt the way I always thought it should feel to jump. If I can get him to like it, I want to try to do more of it, only with the jumps as high as they are supposed to be. I don’t want to show him in jumping, I just want the thrill of flying through the air with him. I’ve often told Rudy that I think the real problem is that we’ve never ridden him consistently so he’s never found the joy in being ridden that is paramount in finding his true talent. With the cold weather I’ve been having pain issues as well as water issues so I haven’t ridden him in a couple of weeks, but we are going to start working again if it kills me. I love riding, and I want him to love it too. He is too great a stallion to not have his day in the spotlight. I just have to convince him of that. One day he will figure it out, and he will discover that there is more to life than getting nookie, and then others will discover what a great stallion he is.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

AB Moraddinn - My First Horse

Six months after we were married, the company I worked for decided to move their corporate offices to Phoenix, a city I swore I would never live in. There were rumors of course long before that the company would move to either Phoenix or somewhere in California. I warned Rudy of this, and we decided if given the chance we would move wherever. I being very insecure did not relish the idea of looking for another job (I was terrified in point of fact). When the time came I convinced my boss that if I took on Fixed Assets as well as being the Accounts Payable supervisor, it would justify an increase in salary making the move possible for us, and profitable for the company.  Yeah they got the better end of the deal, but I avoided the dreaded job search, and I continued to work for a company I liked.  While I recognized that ultimately it was all about money we were an environmental company, and I liked that. In addition I liked the Chairman (Chester who everyone else was terrified of), George (our CEO), and most of all Slivy (then controller).

Chester is a tycoon or shall I say typhoon. He is one of those men that everyone is aware of the moment he enters the room. There is a magnetism that some people have that puts them apart from everyone else. That is Chester. I adored his over 6’ tall son who I swore I would adopt if given the chance. I came up to his waist, but for all his stature he was at the time I knew him one of the sweetest kids (ok, maybe not a kid, he was going for his MBA after all). It didn’t matter that I was a nobody and they were wealthier than I could ever dream of being, to me they were my friends, not in a social sense (I’m not stupid you know), but in the sense that co-workers become friends for the period of time their worlds intertwine.

Slivy one can compare to an Opra Winfrey. She had a poor background, and rose to the top of every industry she worked in. She had several degrees including that of an RN. Each time she got as far as she could in a particular field, she tried another one, and rose to the top yet again. A truly kind and gentle spirit, I consider myself lucky to have known her. I suppose she still lives in Tucson, where she finally settled down. It is a rare combination to find such an astute business mind with the qualities of a truly caring, and loving individual. That is Slivy.

Phoenix offered us many opportunities. Rudy for instance, went back to school, and got his teaching certificate. Years of doing hair, and training horses, were beginning to take its toll on his body. Also, he did not relish the idea of starting over building a new clientele. Teaching for him was an exciting career move. I got back into Fixed Assets, and the General Ledger, we had 1.19 acres of land between Buckeye and Goodyear, and we had Sarashea. Yes, life was good.

Like many young girls when I saw National Velvet, and Pie, I dreamed of jumping. Let me give you a word of advise mid forties is not the best time to learn to jump, unless you have lots of riding experience to begin with or are a little daft like me. Rudy knew I wanted to learn to jump so when he saw a flier for an auction near us, we looked for my first horse. All the horses were in stalls so the most we could see were their heads. There were two gray geldings stalled next to each other that caught our eye. One was a Khemosabi grandson, and one an Aladdinn grandson. I had no clue who these stallions were, but Rudy had trained decedents of both. He was partial to the Khemosabi grandson, and I of course wanted Moraddinn. We found someone working there and he took the Khemosabi colt out for us. I looked at the horse, and in my mind I thought no, he’s not that good of a horse. The only thing I had to draw on was my artistic sense of balance. I knew nothing of length, or free moving shoulder, properly angled hip, short back, all those things I learned about later, all I knew was that he didn’t look right. Thankfully that sense of what looks right held me in good stead because Rudy took one look, and asked to see Moraddinn (yes!). Even at not quite two Moraddinn was tall and straight. He was a little long waisted, but I just knew he would be able to jump.

Moraddinn was skinny as a rail, but not because of neglect. I swear his stomach was like a deep dark black hole. No matter what we put in it, it just disappeared into nothingness. He was a growing boy, and I do mean growing.  At the time I was 5’6”, and had only ridden Quarter Horses (save Sara), so a tall horse didn’t bother me. I had ridden tall, medium, and short horses, and it really made no difference, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking tall horse, good jumper. Ok, I have already said I was very ignorant when it came to horses, and am only slightly less so now.

Back to Moraddinn. By the time Moraddinn was ready to ride I was ready to ride him (remember that 25 year expanse of time with no riding whatsoever?). When Rudy felt he was safe, I began riding him with Rudy coaching me. It really was great because it was the first time I had ever ridden a green horse, and I was the one who was going to have to teach him what I wanted him to do. In a way we learned together. We learned how to understand one another.  I learned what he could, and could not do. For instance he had a straight neck, and I do mean straight. That combined with his longer back made him less flexible, and quick than for instance Marina, who naturally arches her neck, and collects herself. Moraddinn was a totally different story. He was not only stiff, but a klutz as well. It wasn’t his fault, he just wouldn’t stop growing, and of course his growth wasn’t exactly even all the time. I spent hours working on flexing exercises. We put special shoes on him so he wouldn’t forge so badly. I tried numerous bits to get him to properly collect finally deciding on a Pellum, and a Kimberwick.

We went to one show in Phoenix, a Paint show actually, and I rode western. It was all I knew then. The first class I think I got like 6th place, but with each class we did better, and I finally got a blue. Boy was I impressed. Mind you I was terrified the whole time, but we managed to do quite well. I was very proud of my boy.

It wasn’t until we got to California that I learned to ride English. First Rudy found me an old military saddle to learn on. Oh how I loved that saddle, unfortunately you can’t show in an old military saddle. They are so picky about things like that. It’s a horse show not a people show after all (one of my favorite gripes). Anyway, I did finally get a real English saddle, but I had to give up my military saddle to get it. Oh well you can’t have everything. I showed in practice shows in Gilroy and finally worked up to getting a blue.

Still I hadn’t tried jumping. One day Rudy came home with wood to make some jumps. I was going to learn how to jump, finally! Marina loved it, Moraddinn not so much. I’ve never fallen off a horse, at least not until I got Moraddinn. Rudy told me “you aren’t a real horseman unless you have fallen off a horse”. Pooh on that, but yes I finally did, twice. I worked hard at jumping, and it wasn’t because Moraddinn couldn’t do it, he could. He was racing around our pasture one day when he took a turn too wide. The only choice he had was to jump our fence, our 5’ fence, and he cleared it easily. The problem was me. I wasn’t really comfortable in the English saddle even though by then I had been riding English for a couple of years. Still, that really wasn’t the problem. I just couldn’t figure out how to set him up for the jump. I couldn’t get the timing right. When we moved to Auberry we didn’t have a flat area for jumping so I sorta just stopped trying, thank you Lord.

It was in Auberry that we finally got into breeding thanks to Sandy, and we decided to try to sell Moraddinn or trade him for a mare. One day a lady called, and sent us a picture of a gray mare in foal that they were interested in trading for Moraddinn. They were endurance people, and Sadie just wasn’t an endurance horse. She was too hot for one thing. We traded videos, and then found a place halfway between the two of us to trade horses. Moraddinn was nine by this time, and a whopping 15.2 hands (I told you he was a growing boy). Lynn oo’d and ah’d over Moraddinn, and I did the same over Sadie. It was the best thing for both horses, and people. I loved riding Sadie who is a great brood mare, and Moraddinn found his calling. He and Lynn are devoted to each other, and he has excelled in endurance. She told me that one day she was riding with a veterinary friend of hers, and he commented that Moraddinn was perfectly built for endurance. He could canter for miles, and his trot was the most efficient trot for endurance that he had ever seen.

I still hear from Lynn, and she always sends me a pic. I love Moraddinn, he was my very first horse after all, but he’s where he belongs. He taught me the most important lesson of all. Regardless of what you want a horse to do, they will only excel in the discipline they are meant to do. Every horse is different, and you must treat each according to his or her individual talent, and temperament. You must find what they love to do, not what you want them to do. For Moraddinn it’s Endurance, for me it’s breeding. We are both where we belong.

AB Moraddinn 11-26-10

Monday, January 10, 2011

Here we go again!

We were blessed with a few fine days of warm weather. Coincidently, Rudy also got a load coming through Capitan again. I had him home for one more night. Now Rudy, and I are like two peas in a pod, howsoever, when it comes to giving directions, I do not necessarily understand what he is trying to tell me. So it was with the generator. No, it was not missing after all. In point of fact, there was nothing at all wrong with the generator except for the fact that towards the wall was full on, not off for the choke, and fuel. Oh well, at least now I know which direction to pull all the levers. While he was here he also managed to get Ser-Haats & Ibn’s waterier working better. Now I get to go on line, and try to find the valve I need to properly fix it. That’s the easy part, the fixing is the hard part. Luckily I don’t have to cross that bridge quite yet.

Now I don’t like to have a list of honey do’s when Rudy comes home because what little time we have together is so precious, however I did have a couple of quick ones for him this time. I couldn’t get the miter saw to move so I could make frames. I also needed to know which tool to use to cut a ledge for the frame. Lastly, I needed to know which saw to use to cut wood now that he brought the converter home. The miter saw took a bit of muscle and a lot of WD-40. I tried, but even he had to use a bit of brawn to get all the dirt and debris out so it would move again. He showed me what to use (please don’t ask me what it’s called) to cut a square edge to put the painting in the frame, and what to use for cutting wood. I’m sorry, I have put on a lot of muscle since I met Rudy, but there’s no way on God’s green earth that I can manage his chain saw. Besides, Lord knows if it will even work. He hasn’t used it since we moved here.

That took care of the honey do’s, and thanks to the warmer weather, the water line to the barn thawed. What fun that revealed yet another water leak. God is so good to me for providing all these wonderful opportunities to learn more skills. I convinced Rudy not to worry about it, so instead he set up the TV Mom & Dad sent him for Christmas in the truck. It came just before he came home.

Back to the barn water main. After my chores, I went down to the Mercantile to get the valve I needed to add to the maze of pipes that go from the main line to the barn, and the pasture. I had plenty of connectors, primer, glue, and pipe. Oh, and I forgot (halfway home of course) some insulation foam to help keep the pipes from freezing again. By this time I’m a mite tired having forgotten to take my supplements that off set the medication that puts me to sleep. Ever tried running a ranch when you’re sleeping all the time? It’s not easy let me tell you. I have plenty of time to fix the line, and then run into Ruidoso to get the wood pellets that Wal-Mart owes me so I won’t freeze. I lay down for just a moment or two, and an hour and a half later or so, I wake up, realize what time it is, gather all my paraphernalia, and head to the barn. Did I also mention that God gives me plenty of opportunities to learn humility?

I put in the valve, which leaks, and tear apart my jimmy rigging from the last time the pipe leaked. Well that won’t work. First of all I put the valve in the wrong place, humility lesson number one. Then I realize that there is no way I can replace the T that is cracked, and repair the pipe the way I envisioned. This is going to take more than the allotted 20 minutes it was going to take me, humility lesson number two. I turn on the water and find that all the joints leak, and the whole thing has to be re-designed. I jimmy rig everything again using lots of glue, and vet wrap. Oh didn’t you know that vet wrap is a Plummer’s best friend? Well it’s this Plummer’s best friend, in fact since I bought like six rolls, I only have one left, and none of it was used on the horses. Now not only do I have to buy two new valves, make sure I have enough connectors, T’s, and corner connectors, I also have to buy more vet wrap, glue, and no I don’t have enough time to go to Wal-Mart to get my wood pellets. I guess I get to spend the evening in the computer room where we have a wood stove for heat. Either that or freeze. Now you know why I wanted the converter so I could cut wood using the gator for electricity. The computer room, was an add on with no heat. Remember this is rural America. I also have to remember to get new blades for the saw and hack saw.

I was doing so well with everything, and I was so proud of myself for figuring all these things out by myself. I guess I was due to screw up royally. I did get things going enough to water everyone, which buys me enough time to start this project over again. Tomorrow is supposed to be another beautiful day before another storm works it’s way through to our neighborhood, and if I’m really lucky I will have time to play with the babies. I haven’t played with them for it seems like forever now, and they are acting standoffish. Sierra is particularly upset with me since I let those terrible people do all those bad things to him. I needed to change his halter, and lets say we had a difference of opinion as to who was in charge. He wanted nothing to do with me even going near his head. I can’t really blame him, I remember how I felt when my doctor told me something I didn’t like. It was not pretty, and I was not nice. Round, and round in circles we went, he even reared on me (for the last time I might add, he didn’t like the repercussions of that at all). Finally I had to resort to the, behave or your dead meat voice, and the halter got changed. He then got plenty of loves, but he still hasn’t quite forgiven me. Oh the trials and tribulations of being a baby, life is so hard.

Thus ends my day. I have talked to Rudy, answered my emails, checked my bill list (forgot to pay another bill), put the inside dogs to bed, and am ready to put yet another wasted day behind me. Tomorrow is another day, and another opportunity to start over. No matter how badly I screw up I always have tomorrow. Not a bad deal if you ask me. One of these days I may even get to the house, but there’s no rush on that. There are far more important things to take care of first. I have babies to raise, lessons to teach, friends to talk to, paintings to paint, trails to ride, pictures to take, and horses to train. I have a thousand things in my head that I want to do, and every day I have another day to do them. What more could one ask of life?

Friday, January 7, 2011


The good news is we have water at the house. A shower never felt so good. The bad news is somewhere between the house and the main valve at the barn, the pipe is frozen. I have been hauling water from the house to the barn for three days now. This is not what I call fun, especially when it’s cold and windy and I’m out there till 6:30 at night sometimes. I haven’t the strength to pull the starter on the generator so tomorrow I will try to exchange batteries (new for old) so I can use the automatic starter. I couldn’t even get it to turn over once. That’s embarrassing. If I can get the generator going I can put a heater at the main line, and the pump box in the barn. Please Lord Let It Be!

The boys have been very good. They patiently wait for the troughs to fill taking full advantage of the fact that I am there obviously just to give them pets. Yes they want water, but pets are much more important. The girls on the other hand don’t understand why when I put the hose in the trough the water doesn’t magically completely fill the trough. They bite they kick at each other, and give me enough dirty looks to kill any human. The pasture girls are much more interested in what is in the gator that they can eat, be it metal, rubber, or scraps of hay. Mind you I gave them extra flakes to keep them occupied. Lightning especially is sure that whatever is in the gator is there for her pleasure.

Amidst all this fun, my little stud colt decides that now is the time for him to prove that he is all boy. First he manages to catch his leg on something and scrape the fur off. Ok I can deal with that. At some point or another they all scrape up their legs. His leg is sore, but he has full movement, and it just amounts to the same as if I fell and scraped my knee when I was a kid. For years I had scars on my knees. I wasn’t a clutz, I was just a tom boy with two boys next door to play with. No way would I not do everything they did, not this chick.

That was at feeding time. Later I started filling all the troughs again and when I come to Sierra & Lizzie’s trough I look and see red on his nose. Now what? I go in his paddock and he shows me his boo-boo. He couldn’t just scrape his nose, noooo, he has to get a deep cut so he can have stitches. My boxer pup is still recovering from her visit to the vet last week and now I have to call again and have the vet come to the house this time. The cut is about three inches long and way to deep to just let it heal on it’s own. I can’t for the life of me figure out how he did it, and neither could the vet when he came.

Luckily he missed going through to the nasal passage (how did I luck out there?), but it was still very deep. Sierra got half dozen stitches or more. Sierra was on his best behavior with the vet (Thank you Lord for that). He took his shot like a man and only fought a little when they were giving him a local to deaden that sensitive nose. Lane stitched him together on the inside so he wouldn’t rub the stitches out the first day. Of course Sierra’s feeling no pain at this point, he’s drunk as a skunk so to speak. He gets his tetanus, antibiotic etc., and wanders off with his head down low.

After the vet leaves I get to finish feeding and watering so that by the time I’m done, Sierra is quite himself again and feeling proud. Yes sir, he’s all boy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day Four - The Water Saga Ends

Another beautiful day of clear skies and warm temperatures greeted me as I awoke. In so many ways this is truly the Land of Enchantment that is so long as you have water. While I went to feed, Rudy went into town to talk to the pump man. He agreed that it was probably the pressure tank that was the problem, but when they went down to the pump house there was a river of water flowing. The main water line from the pump house had broken. Because everything had been frozen there was no sign of a water leak. All this time, and a simple broken pipe was the cause of all our trial, and tribulation. Mind you that is about a fifteen-minute repair job. Rudy was so frustrated that he went ahead and had them fix the line. Our pressure gauge was also dead so we had that replaced as well. They showed me what to do to get the pressure back up, and went on their way.

By now it was 11:00 in the morning. Rudy went into Ruidoso, and I babysat the pump while the pressure built. Since whoever put in the pump had put it in the wrong spot, I had to turn the pump on till the pressure stopped climbing, wait 10 to 15 minutes and turn it on again. Well I wasn’t about to just sit there so I started cleaning. Our packrat friends had made a total mess of things. I also had to clean off the spray on foam that Rudy put on the pipes so I could remove the heat tapes that more than likely were no longer working. That would be replaced by proper foam pipe insulation.

I love packrats, I know I’m weird, but they are adorable with their oversized ears. I do not however like their nest building habits. My gloves were up at the house and I didn’t really feel like running up there just to get a pair of gloves, so I went without. Besides lots of dirt, pinion nutshells, and insulation they pulled from the tank wrapper, there was lots of dried out jumping cactus. I realize that this is perfect to deter other creatures from disturbing their nest of babies, but I’m sorry, I’m not a predator, and I don’t appreciate cactus spines in my fingers. I found a stick to pull out the dirt from the back of the house forward, after which I separated the cactus with a gardening hand fork. The rest I pulled out by hand. I also pulled out a small lizard that was sleeping in the pump house for the winter. I felt so bad for having to wake him up, but he had to be awake enough to burrow back into the warm dry dirt when I put him back. I left just enough loose dirt for him to burrow in.

All of this took about 2 hours before the pump got up to 55 psi and shut off by itself. By that time Rudy was back. We went up to the house to move the water tank that still had some water in it, and slid it into the gator. I’ll take care of that tomorrow along with a lot of other things. The kitchen was such a disaster I had to clean it, but it would have to wait till we had pressure at the house. The barn gets all the water first and it takes a long time to fill all the water pipes and tanks. It was another long day, but my kitchen is now clean (the rest of the house isn’t), Rudy’s laundry is done, and I was able to finally fix Rudy (and myself) a good home cooked meal. He got a load for tomorrow going to Fresno, and I have a lot of work to do. After all this, I feel I am entitled to finally go riding tomorrow. What do you want to bet it will either be cloudy, rainy, or windy tomorrow, or all of the above?

Day Three - The Water Saga Continues

Today began with a balmy 17 degrees at 7:00 in the morning. The skies were clear and the wind was still. It was a perfect day for riding. Of course riding was not meant to be.  We had our coffee, and as I proceeded to go and feed the horses, Rudy went to town for water and prescriptions to fill. With a little sleep, and a somewhat clearer head he came up with the idea that perhaps a fuse had blown on the pump as well as the water freezing. I can’t after all, expect him to be a genius all the time.

The inside barn horses still had water. I broke ice on the outside barn horse troughs, but there was still not enough water for them to reach it. The wateriers have a ball that rises with the water level. They push the ball to the side to drink. I first filled Lizzie and Sierra’s waterier with snow. Lizzie is a TB with a much larger head than Sierra who is my weanly stud colt. Lizzie was quite upset with the whole no water thing. She’s a sweet mare, but she can be quite stubborn and ornery at times. This was definitely one of those times. I had just filled their waterier with snow, and turned to get more when she kicked me. She didn’t kick hard, but just hard enough to let me know she was not a happy camper. Shocked (she’s never attempted such an outrageous show of displeasure), I turned and snapped, “you kicked me” when Rudy called with his brilliant idea. I told him I would check the fuse box and turn off the power to the pump. I filled buckets with snow for Lizzie and Sierra (who immediately tipped his new toy), and gave snow to Espree & Jazzy. The boys were next. I broke their ice, and stole water from Marina who had ¾’s of a bucket full to give to the boys. They had plenty of snow in their runs so I wasn’t as worried about them and proceeded to feed the pasture horses.  They had no water at all but plenty of snow.

Next I went to the pump house and sure enough, one of our furry friends (field mouse no doubt) had found the fuse box to be the perfect place for a nice warm nest. She filled the box with soft insulation from around the pressure tank. The hole in the fuse box was too small for either snake or pack rat to invade making it safe for her tiny babies. Whoever she was, she was a very conscientious mother. I cleaned out the box, turned off the pump, and proceeded to feed the rest of the animals.

I had just finished when Rudy came with the water. Everyone was very happy to get their troughs filled especially Lizzie who wouldn’t let Sierra anywhere near the water till she had her fill. I understand horsey etiquette, but jeez what a hog she was. There was enough water left to give water to the dogs, chickens, and yes my toilets. What a joy it was to see clean water in my johns. Sad isn’t it when clean water in johns makes you happy, however, anyone who has gone for an extended period of time without water will understand completely.

Back to town Rudy went. You have to understand that Ruidoso is a good half hour away, making a round trip an hour plus. I putzed around while Rudy was gone but there wasn’t much I could do.  When he got the fuses he also bought a construction heater for under the house. We have a modular so all the piping and electrical is in a crawl space. Besides the fact that everything is done piece meal and totally illogically, due to various owners adding a little here and a little there, half the water pipes under the house have no insulation. Whenever the temperature gets below 20 degrees we loose water in the house. The new heater should solve that in no time. Get this, we can have no water in the house and still have water to the barn, go figure.

This load of water went to the pasture horses. Now Rudy is not known for his patience and the water was coming out too slowly. He asked me for a rock in the hopes of tilting the tank (all 65 gallons of it) to speed up the process. He is tired, cranky, and frustrated so instead of waiting for me to get in the bed of the truck to help, he tries doing it himself. The truck doesn’t have a bed liner so it is very slick, that combined with snow and leather work boots sent him flying. He landed on his tush, and the tank fell in the water trough. Ouch! He collected himself and we managed to flip the water tank in the trough upside down empting the all the water quickly. That gives the horses about half a tank full which should last at least a couple of days. After all, their tank holds 175 gallons.

By now it’s mid afternoon and Rudy is exhausted once more. He got the pump running but we still have no water. I put him to bed for a nap, and half an hour later I check the barn for water while I feed. No luck, we still don’t have water.. It’s now 45 degrees out and all the pipes should be unfrozen so I check the water main to the pasture horses, and there’s nothing there either. After I feed I go down to the pump house, and it is not running even though it shows 55 pounds of pressure. I feed the rest of the animals and get Rudy up. It’s now 5:00 pm. The inside barn horses have gone through all their water so he goes back to Capitan for another tank full. Thank God we bought that tank some years ago just in case we needed to haul water for the horses. Rudy hasn’t eaten all day so he is doubly cranky, and frustrated. Like Lizzie he’s not a happy camper. While getting water at the feed store in Capitan, in talking to Mark he decides that the bladder in the pressure tank probably died with the hard freeze. He’s got to stay home one more day. That means he can’t make money when we are way past broke and we have to put out more money to boot. My main concern is trying to get the tank out of the pump house. There is absolutely no room in there. We could call a pump company, but that would cost way more so Rudy intends on doing it himself. I don’t think I want to be down there with him. It will be a nightmare to say the least. In addition he will probably have to go to Alamogordo to get a new pressure tank. That’s nearly 80 miles away.

I try to cheer him up feeling guilty all the while because I’m the one who is so into having a breeding farm. He can’t say no to me. Knowing this is my life long dream, he will do whatever it takes to make a go of it. How I found such a wonderful man to spend the rest of my life with I’ll never know, but I thank God for him everyday.

We are battered, and bruised, dirty, and frustrated (at least Rudy is). God willing, tomorrow Rudy will finally get the pump fixed and we will have water. I for my part have to get hay and do ranchy stuff. God always provides and I have no doubt that even though we don’t have the money to pay for it, everything will work out.

You really only have two choices in life. You can say woe is me when times are hard, and feel sorry for yourself, or you can believe. It doesn’t matter what you believe in, whether it be God, yourself, or the fates, if you believe and look at all that life brings as a gift, you will be ok, you will be happy. I choose to believe. One of my favorite songs is from the musical The South Pacific. You can call me a cockeyed optimist too, for I find in all things something good. I trust that in times of adversity we can find strength, in times of sorrow we can find joy, and when all is dark we can find beauty. As we waited for the water buckets in the barn to fill, I looked at the black night sky, and there were a billion stars bright and clear, sparkling with joy and promise. Even when things are bad life is good. Stay tuned for part four of our water saga.