Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Monday, June 27, 2011


That’s what’s Sadie is saying I’m sure. This is our first time pasture breeding. In the past we have either bred in-hand or by AI, so this has been a new experience. I’m sure breeders who have done this for years would say “Duh!”, but until you have an experience you just don’t know. For safety’s sake I had my girlfriend lend a hand. I put Jeri in the stall I made off the arena in the morning. Poor thing he was so excited when I took him out of his stall, prancing all the way to the back of the arena, and then I just left him there. How dare I leave him with no girls anywhere around? He was not pleased. My girlfriend came over about three, way to long a wait as far as Jeri was concerned. I went down to Jeri, and she brought Sadie into the arena. On the count of three, ok so I just said “ready”, she unhooked Sadie, and I let Jeri out of his prison. As I assumed, he was out like a bolt, and stopped short right in front of her. They had a little tête-à-tête, and then he made his move. Here’s where the “Duh” comes in. He mounted her on the side, which at the time I thought was a bit stupid, and I told him as much. When she didn’t move, he swung around to the back, and did his dastardly duty. Later as I thought about it, it occurred to me that it just might not be so dumb. If she were going to kick (fat chance of that) by going to her side first, he wouldn’t get hurt. Maybe he wasn’t so dumb after all. 

When he was done Jeri slipped off her, but Sadie was ready to go again as soon as he finished (remember she’s our hussy).  He rested for a bit, and then he was good to go again. We left them alone (they were so cute), and when I went back to feed Jeri was obviously puttered, and Sadie was still waiting for more. She likes sex, I mean she really likes sex. This morning I took Lizzie out to see if she was in, and there was Jeri, ready, and waiting. Well I took Lizzie to see Ibn first. They touched noses, and then she walked away. I brought her around again, and she struck out. Ok back to her stall she goes only since we go right by the arena, I let her touch noses with Jeri. He was soooo excited. She wasn’t much interested in breeding, but she lingered by Jeri all the way back along the arena. I really think she just doesn’t like Ibn, but back in her stall she stands, and stares at him as though she’s interested. I’ll keep teasing her, and as soon as she comes in, I’ll put her in with Jeri since she seems to truly like him better. He on the other hand is totally disinterested in Sadie now that he’s sure that he has her knocked up. He spends all his time staring at the other girls. Typical man, love them, and leave them. I have to admit though that he has been a true gentleman when breeding. Unlike in-hand where he can’t wait to jump the mare, he took time to do a little floor play first. Then afterwards (until he lost interest) he showed a real tenderness, and a bit of strutting once he had his way with her. It was funny, there he was prancing around the arena, saying I’m so hot, and Sadie was running after him. Yes I know that’s a bit backwards, but then again these are our horses after all, and one can’t expect normal behavior. If I can get Lizzie bred to him as well (I’m still not convinced he can reach her), I will be a happy camper. If Jeri doesn’t settle Lizzie I will try breeding her to Ibn. If she tries to kick him I know Ibn will get out of the way. He’s done pasture breeding before, and knows quite well what can happen if the mare doesn’t like his advances.

On the fire front, we made the national news again, and we’re even going to be on GMA tomorrow morning. Saturday a fire started near Los Alamos (home of the first atomic bomb testing). Saturday night it was at about 3,800 acres, but by morning it went to 43,000 acres. Today it’s over 50,000 acres, and now has gotten within 4 miles of the city. The entire town, and the Los Alamos Labs have all been evacuated. Evidently in 2000 they had a fire, and so were much more prepared this time making for a smooth evacuation. As soon as people saw the smoke they started packing. When the mandate came they left with little prompting. The Labs also prepared for another fire by thinning the forest around the Labs, and clearing land. Sensors, and alarms were put in so they would not be caught short if another fire broke out. At least they learned from the last fire. Of course the big worry is for everything within the labs. All radioactive materials, and items of national security risk supposedly are safe, and sound. Governor Martinez has put all resources at the disposal of the fire fighters. Los Alamos cannot succumb to fire.

We have had a bit of moisture move in which will help (it certainly helped with the temperatures here). The only problem is that it will also bring in stronger winds, which is not a good thing. We shall pray for the best of all scenarios, early monsoons. We need rain, and we need it now, God willing it will come in time or the Los Alamos fire could easily triple in size.

I also worked the youngsters. I haven’t played with Ser-Haat for a while, and his halter needed changing. Do you think I could get close enough with a new halter to change it, of course not? He was back to where he was before jumping at everything. I worked him a bit, and gradually I got him to settle down and I got a larger halter on him. It is a bit shabby as it was Moraddinn’s so many years ago. I have it on the first hole so there is plenty of room for him to grow. I really need to sack him out big time, but I’m reluctant to change my working tactics with him. He’s such a special boy, but he really needs to get over his “scary” thing. He’s so loving, and trusting once he figures out he won’t get killed, and I don’t want to destroy that, but by the same token, I can’t sell him when he’s jumping out of his skin all the time.

Sierra on the other hand is so easy to handle. He let me pick up all his feet (I’ve only done it a few times, and never all four) with very little trouble. I brushed him, and walked him on the lead. He’s even getting better about the nibbles. I only had to correct him a couple of times, and even at that he was very good. He is going to make such a wonderful stallion. There are times when I just can’t wait for him to grow up, and then again times when I wish he would stay little like this forever. Now if I could only get him to stop rubbing out his mane. He’s such a little mensch.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just Spring and Fall…

Why can’t we just have Spring, and Fall without all the nasty wind? I’m hot! Ok so I’m spoiled, I know that, but high 80’s, and 90’s without air is a bit much for me in my old age. Ah those days of youth when 100 degrees was nothing, barely noticeable even. We didn’t have air conditioning in our school when I was growing up, and I will forever remember the nunnies saying if they could deal with the heat in their wool habits then we had no room to complain. They don’t make them like that anymore. We did have fans, and they would open all the windows, and doors. Nowadays our kids would faint from 100+ degree temperatures under those conditions, and parents would be outraged saying it was inhumane, child abuse even. We had swamp coolers at home of course, but once the monsoons hit, they only made things worse. I remember going home (LA) for summer vacations. Everyone there was dying because of the heat, and I was asking for a sweater or coat because I was freezing. My how times have changed. We have all become spoiled.

I did ride in the heat day before yesterday, getting done about three, and suffering yesterday totally exhausted. Today there was a breeze, and some clouds. I elected to clean stalls. I got three done then died going inside in the late afternoon. We’ll see how I fare tomorrow. I have to start teasing Sadie & Lizzie tomorrow. I was supposed to start today, but oh well. Ibn was oogling at Sadie, and she seemed uninterested, well not totally, she’s in love with Ibn after all, and is never totally uninterested. This brings me to a conversation on one of the chat groups on equine repo. The question is do stallions have preferences. Personally I don’t see why animals should be any different from us, and Lord know we all have our own preferences. The person asking had a stallion who was more or less uninterested in their mares except for one who behaved like a total witch (she used another word, you figure it out) kicking, and screaming even though she was obviously in season. Now our boys have no such problems. In season or not, if it has a tail that swishes, they’re Johnny on the spot. They are both totally enamored of Sadie however. She’s their favorite. We call her our little harlot, because even at the ripe old age of 22 she loves the boys. She’s an easy breeder, and always takes the first time round.

One person mentioned that her stallion never took an interest in his own daughters, and wondered if there were pheromones that told a stallion which mares were closely related. Now Mother Nature is a lot smarter than we are, and it seems to me that common sense will tell you that she will take care to ensure that stallions know the difference, otherwise the species would not have a very good survival rate due to in breeding. Why do we need studies to tell us what should be a no brainer? We currently don’t have any daughters on the farm so I can’t test out this theory, but then again I don’t think I really need to. People are the only ones who force inbreeding amongst the animals that are in our care. In the wild they seem to figure it out just fine. Young studs are kicked out, and later build their own harems from unattached or stolen mares. The strongest, and the best seem to find each other just fine. It’s only we inept humans that breed the less desirable in order to try to fix conformational problems in animals that should never be bred in the first place. Considering that our stallions are hot to trot after all our mares, which we carefully picked, I would assume that we were pretty good at picking quality mares. If a stallion weren’t interested in a particular mare, then I would begin to wonder why.

Now the mares are another story. They can be picky for any number of reasons. Lizzie I think doesn’t really care for Ibn, but has no problem with Jeri. I have no clue why, but taking her lead I’m going to try to let Jeri breed her. She seems to like him just fine even when she’s not in season. Ibn she strikes out at. Of course it could be that she knows he can’t reach her, but I don’t think so. She’s old but not that old. I think we, as breeders really need to listen to our animals, and take clues from them. If I said all this on the chat group I would probably be blasted (which is why I won’t), but these are simply my thoughts on breeding, and everyone else is entitled to their thoughts as well. Since I have not once had anyone say anything negative about our stock, I think we must be doing something right. Not that I would be outraged if someone did. In fact I take all comments on our horses seriously. Anything we can do to enhance our stock we will do. If bringing in another bloodline would improve our lines I want to know about it. I am certainly not the end all of knowledge here. I simply try to use the common sense that God gave me.

On another subject, Star is finally coming home, along with a few of her friends. I’ll know Tuesday for sure if they will be coming next weekend or the weekend after. Sammy will be coming too I hope.  I can’t wait to see him. Aulina has been ridden for over a year, but Star, and Cupid aren’t even green broke, meaning they have only been ridden a few times. I will have a lot of work to do teaching them their p’s, and q’s. Aulina they have had problems with, either her pulling the limping ruse, or bucking. I think she just needs a stronger hand that won’t give in the minute she pulls something. We’ll see. I also am concerned that they have had issues with her colicing. She never coliced while here so I’m not sure if it was the feed they have been giving her, or the confines of space. All our horses have large runs. Well Sadie’s isn’t so big, but it doesn’t matter because she doesn’t move if she doesn’t have to anyway. That’s why her feet get so long when she’s not in pasture. If I don’t have any issues with Aulina colicing while she’s here then I know it has something to do with the setup where she’s at. I’m not sure what they want to do with Aulina since they had planned on showing her, and she’s coming here. The little girl is riding another horse, but it seems that that’s because she has had problems with Aulina. They don’t want to sell her, so maybe at some point they will breed her.

Zara, Lightning’s dam is also coming. They don’t really know what to do with her either. In fact all the horses they are sending me they don’t know what to do with, or don’t really want, but can’t sell. Right now the market for Arabians stinks. Zara is a good producing mare (just look at Lightning), but she doesn’t jump, and they don’t really like her as a riding mare. I plan to put a saddle on her just to see what she’s like, and see what I can do with her. Some horses are not that great themselves, but produce good horses. I think Zara fits into this category. Lightning is an absolute sweetheart, and I really think she will make a better than average jumper, and a beautiful dressage horse. She’s of good size, and has a wonderful conformation. I want them to train her, and show her before I start breeding her. Her color genetics combined with her disposition, and conformation, will make her a great broodmare for us. A good show career even if short will make her babies more desirable. That’s the one thing our horses currently lack, a show career. Ibn had one but it was a long time ago, and not under saddle. He’s not that great a show horse, but he is a great producer. Jeri was never shown, but he has proven himself a good producer. Star is a favorite of their trainer, both for her brains, and her performance.

All in all I should be in second heaven with all these new horses to ride. I will be a very busy bee very shortly especially since I will start working again as well. While I love being a rancher it does not pay the bills when you can’t sell your horses for what they are worth. Hopefully that will change, and the horses will start selling. Once we are accepted as a serious breeder things could all turn around, and who knows maybe someday both of us can quit our day jobs, and do what we love most, breed, raise, and train horses. That’s the dream, and they say follow your dreams, and you can’t go wrong, only they left out just broke!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Change in Schedule...

The mornings are beautiful, the evenings fantastic, and the rest of the day sucks. It’s summer, and the monsoons won’t come till July. The days are hot, and oppressive leaving one drained, wanting to do little other than lay down, sleeping away the worst of the day. Here in the mountains one has little need for air conditioning of any kind as the expense is exorbitant, and the need is for a few weeks only. So one suffers through the short time between springs gentle warmth, and the cool refreshing days of monsoon summer. Have I gotten spoiled or what? There was a time (many moons ago) when 100-degree weather was nothing until it got into the teens, and a time before that when the heat didn’t matter at all. We haven’t broken 90 degrees yet, and I can barely make it through the afternoon. The ash gives me an excuse to stay indoors as it is unhealthy for horse, and human alike. Well I can’t spend the rest of the summer on the couch, so I have come up with a new regime. I’m going to try to get up early, feed early, maybe get in a ride or work the kids, then spend the afternoons in the house. If I feed early in the morning, then I can feed earlier in the afternoon, and return outside to do something once it has cooled down. Sounds like a plan to me.

I didn’t get my early start this morning as the acrid smell of smoke greeted me as soon as I went to let the little ones outside. The smoke was thick in the air. I had plans to do something this morning, but that changed as soon as I smelled the ash. A ride was out for sure as I wouldn’t want the horses to be working in the stuff. They take in a lot more air than I do. If it’s not good for me, as my sinuses were attesting to, then it couldn’t be good for them. I did get something done this evening though. After I fed I went back outside to fill the tank for the pasture horses. The air was clear, and clean once again with a cool gentle breeze for good measure. While the tank filled, I tackled the water pipe yet again. After being dug up a few times this year, it was actually easy digging. It had dried out just enough so that the ground was soft, but not sticky. As I suspected I didn’t get a good seal, and Lightning actually just pulled the pipe apart. I dug as far as the pipe, and hopefully tomorrow I will be able to finish.

In between filling the tank, I took time out to tease Lizzie. I have come to the conclusion that she simply doesn’t like Ibn. I took her around to the front of the stallion’s stalls, and she sniffed at the colts, struck out at Ibn, and touched noses with Jeri. Not once has she struck out at Jeri. When we tried breeding her the first year we had her, she tried kicking Ibn, and I know she was in. We never did get her bred, and of course last year we didn’t breed at all. I don’t have a problem breeding her to Jeri, in fact I think they would have a lovely foal together, I’m just not sure Jeri can reach her. He stands on his tippey toes to breed to Sadie who is 14.3 hands. Lizzie is at least 15.2 hands. I am willing to try, but I don’t think he can do it. Rudy says where there is a will there is a way, and Jeri has lots of will, lots, and lots of will. It would also mean that Ibn wouldn’t get any nookie at all this year. That’s downright mean if you ask me, and I’m sure that he’d have other words for it. At any rate she wasn’t in, and after nuzzling with Jeri for a bit, she went looking for grass to nibble on. There isn’t any of course, and since she was obviously not interested in anything else I put her away.

After finishing in the pasture I went to tackle the cattle wire panel between Lizzie, and Sierra’s waterier. Lizzie has kicked the you know what out of it, and poor Sierra cut himself again. It’s not bad this time, but right on the bone where the brass is on his halter. I have an idea how to sort of fix it. I can’t cut the panel; I tried, so I’m covering it with small mesh bird wire. Of course wouldn’t you know where I need it the most that’s the only part of the mesh that has come apart. I thought I saw a roll of wire to attach the panel back to the rails, but didn’t find any so I just put it up temporarily. What I really need is more of the “V” wire we have in-between the stalls. Rudy told me where he thought there was some left in a roll. Tomorrow I will try to hunt it down.

It took me forever to do that little bit of repair. It seems Sierra is just like all our kids in spite of the fact that his sire isn’t an Arabian. I spent most of my time pushing him away, keeping him from trying to eat the wire mesh, and wire cutters, and protecting my hair from little teeth. He was so on top of me getting into everything, wanting to see everything I was doing. Basically he was doing everything he could to be a pest. Sweet as he is, he can be a real pill at times, especially when I want to get something done. They’re just about all like that. Cleaning stalls is a real challenge sometimes. I know it’s a good sign in a little one, but when you are trying to get something done, it can be very aggravating. At least I came out with no more bruises on my arms than when I went in there.

By the time I finished that little chore, the sun had set, and it was getting dark. I had wanted to work at least one of the kids, but ran out of sunlight. It was so nice out, that’s what gave me the idea to work mornings, and evenings outside. In CA on Lewis Rd, Rudy put up floodlights so I could ride at night. I’d love to do that in our arena, only we’d have to have new electrical lines put in, and for some reason that costs money we simply don’t have. A line could easily be brought in from the main road. A few years ago Rudy looked into it, and it would be an easy thing, just a little expensive. Another great idea down the tubes because of money. Oh well maybe we’ll win the lottery or better yet start selling some horses. Everyone who looks at our horses says the same thing, we have wonderful stock, only we can’t convince anyone to buy them. We haven’t given up hope yet, we really believe in these bloodlines. If only the halter people who seem to have scads of money to spend on “pretty” horses would have an Aha Moment, and realize that pretty a good horse does not make, we would be fine. I’ll keep waiting for that moment, and pray that our someday will come. If you listen to all the people in the know, they say do what you love. Unfortunately what we love isn’t lucrative, and we don’t seem to have the knack that some people have to actually make money doing what we love. Instead we struggle along doing without so we can do what we love, raise horses. It’s an old, and noble profession, and we will continue to try for as long as we can.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And now New Mexico too…

The moon is almost full now, and once again it is bright orange. I’ve tried to get photos, only my camera just isn’t sophisticated enough, or new enough. There are very few stars out that you can see, partially because the moon sheds so much light, but also because the sky is blotted out by smoke. The winds came up again today, and the skies were hazy. The smoke makes for beautiful sunsets, and sunrises, but the acrid smell in the air is a dead give away that something is terribly, terribly wrong.

The firefighters have worked very hard to make sure that the villages of Luna, and Reserve will be safe from the fires. They have done a lot of back burning, and the fire is 10% contained the last I heard. Now there are fires, in Carlsbad Caverns National Forest, another up towards north western NM (near Grants I believe), and a large fire in Raton, that has crossed the Colorado border. It has already scorched over 6,000 acres in only a couple of days. They showed a time lapse, and it was amazing to see the fire line move across the ridge in a day. High temps, low humidity’s, and wind are all fueling the fires.

The next couple of days should be clear, and unfortunately, very warm. First thing in the morning is the best time of day. The air is cool, with a gentle breeze. The crickets, mourning doves, and numerous other birds are singing their praises. It is a peaceful time, a time of reflection, a time full of promise. Lately I have been luxuriating a bit too much in the moment as it were. I need to get up earlier, so I can get everyone fed, and watered before the heat of the day begins. I want to continue riding, and get Lightning, and Storm started in the round pen. I rode both Ibn, and Marina on Friday, and Saturday. They both did fine, but the heat got to me a bit I think. I have also been teasing both Sadie, and Lizzie. I could have sworn that Lizzie was in, but other than a touching of noses, she could have cared less that Jeri, was hot to trot. Sadie went out on Thursday, so I’ll start teasing her again on the 23rd. When she comes back in I’ll breed her to Jeri. If Lizzie ever comes in I’ll breed her to Ibn. Each boy gets onc girl. If I can’t get Lizzie to come in, maybe I’ll breed Espree to Ibn. I want two foals next year. That way the babies will have someone their size to play with. I don’t like doing singles, they need a best bud to hang with.

I did manage to get a bit of video of Ibn. I got three really good bucks out of him too, which is highly unusual. If it’s too much work he simply doesn’t bother. I have to admit he looks really good. All this riding has gotten him in great shape. Getting video by myself is a bit of a challenge though, so I didn’t get much. I think I got enough to do a short video. Love that slow mo don’t you know, you can make a minute, and a half into five minutes if you want. Most of what I got was too jiggly. You try to keep a camera steady, while you are hollering, making funky noises, rattling a plastic bottle of rocks, and yelling at the dogs all at the same time. The fact that I got anything at all to me is pretty amazing.

I got video of Sadie too. I don’t know if I will use it or not, as she was quite dirty, and is still a bit too thin. I’m seriously thinking of working her in the round pen to get some muscle on her. I get very nervous doing that since she has this problem of colicing whenever she gets over excited. She’s always been a slim build, but with age, and kids she’s really hard to keep weight on in spite of the fact that I give her more than anyone else. She doesn’t like working in the round pen, but if it will get her in better shape too bad so sad, life is tough. Even underweight she’s still the most elegant mare we have. I love watching her move. That’s what she gave to Lance that made him special. He had the same elegance. Jazzy has it too, and I’m sure Star does as well. I can’t wait to see how she has grown.

If I can get some muscle on Sadie’s chest, and haunch, she will look fantastic. Right now she looks like she has a big belly with ribs showing. I know it’s mostly age, but I still feel bad that she is so skinny. Trust me it’s not for lack of groceries. She gets more hay than anyone else, plus beet pulp, rice bran, and senior. Where it goes I have no clue, but it’s not on the hips. I just wish I had her problem. When I was young I could eat whatever, and never keep the weight on, now, well let’s say there’s a bit more of me than I like. Lizzie, a year older than Sadie, tends to be on the thin side (for a TB that is), only I’ve got her at a good weight right now. I have to work her too. She has the weight, just not the muscle. Oh the trials, and tribulations of keeping everyone fit, and looking good. One of these days maybe we will get well enough known that we can get a little help, and I won’t stress so much. Just in case your listening God that would really be nice. No pressure, it would just be helpful don’t you know.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Arizona burns...

The news is all about the fires in AZ. Besides the fact that I grew up in Tucson, Rudy and I spent our honeymoon in Greer, which is a small town near Showlow in the White Mountains. It is absolutely beautiful up there, or was. Our neighbors growing up used to go to the White Mountains hunting every year. Yesterday the sunset was a little hazy, but tonight you could definitely tell that the ash was contributing to the sunset. I’m going to try to stay up to catch a photo of the moon, which is red due to the ash in the atmosphere. My cameras are not sophisticated enough for night shots, unless the moon is just rising or setting.  I doubt that I can, it’s setting much too late for even me. For the first time you can smell the fire. Albuquerque, and most of central NM, has been dealing with the smoke and ash for days.

Last year the fires were bad, but I have an idea this will end up being the largest fire AZ has ever had to deal with. It’s already at over 600 sq miles and is 0% contained. There is nothing but sun, and wind in the forecast. Growing up in the southwest, fire is always a major concern, next to water, rattlers, and scorpions. I can remember one year watching the Catalina’s burning. Tucson is basically a very large box valley. To the north are the Catalina’s, south are the Santa Rita’s, east the Rincon’s, and west are the Tucson Mountains. You can never get lost during the day, as the mountains are always there telling you which direction you are going. We could sit on the roof, and see the flames everywhere along the mountain ridge. Sandy our friend in Fresno, remembers that fire well as she was on one of the crews that came in from CA to help fight the fire. A few years ago the Catalina’s burned again, and this time the village at Mt. Lemon was destroyed.

People are so careless. They don’t understand that it takes so little to destroy the forest. They flick out their cigarettes, or leave their campfires burning. They stop their cars, which are hot where there are dry grasses. On a windy day a stray spark can ignite dry grasses which burn hot, and fast. The southwest is not abundant in water like other parts of the country. We get winter rains, and summer monsoon rains. Our annual rainfall is only about 12”. In a dry winter, the forests become tinderboxes waiting for someone to be careless. The terrain is rough to say the least, and you can’t just plough a fire line. Most of the land is inaccessible except for Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Lions, Bears, and other such creatures. Yes fires are necessary to clear out underbrush, dead trees, and bring new life to the forests, which is why the forest service does control burns, but fires like these destroy habitat for the forest creatures who have no way to survive except to run, and pray they don’t burn to death.

I’m sorry for carrying on like this, but this is something close to my heart. If people could see the needless devastation of these great fires perhaps they might learn to be more aware of the consequences of their carelessness. The forests are as important to our survival as they are to the many creatures that live there, including some humans. If a fire erupted here on our mountain, I would be hard pressed to save all our animals, never mind the memories of a lifetime that are contained within the walls of our home. Tornados, floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are neither preventable, now predictable. Forest fires for the most part (at least 90% of them) are totally preventable if only people would treat the forestland as some one’s home. You wouldn’t go to someone’s house and start a fire, why is the forest any different. It is home to thousands, perhaps millions of creatures large, and small. Why are they any less important?

I could go on, and on, but I won’t. I will simply say a prayer that the brave men, and women fighting this blaze will be kept safe from harm, and that somehow they will contain this terrible fire, and keep it from destroying any more towns, homes, and precious habitat.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fun in the sun...

Well our little monsoon trail dried up, and we are back to sun & wind. It’s not too bad, and I have been able to ride, and work the horses. Lightning broke the water pipe in the pasture again so yes I’m hauling water again. Yesterday I took the opportunity while filling their tank, to take Sadie out of the pasture, and put her in a barn stall. I want to breed her, and she needs extra groceries. She has always been slender, and keeping weight on her is a bit of a challenge. Ok, more than a bit. Being older doesn’t help either, I need her nice and round. I like to keep her in the pasture to keep her feet trim. She grows way too much toe otherwise. On the way to the barn I passed the stallions to see if she might be in season. Oh yeah, she’s definitely in. Everyone got excited. Sadie’s our harlot. I can always count on her to be an easy breeder. She looks at the stallions, and she’s good to go in or not. I pull her away from the stallions, and put her next to Marina, as they are old friends.

Later, I moved Lightning because I want to start working her in the round pen. Lightning has been in pasture for about two or three years, and she was not pleased. I put her next to Ser-Haat thinking they are both young, and he’s a gelding so it should be fine, emphasis on should be. Remember this is me talking. Well guess what, she’s in too, and Ser-Haat didn’t understand that when they cut his cajones that meant he no longer had the plumbing to be a studly. That’s how I found out Lightning was in. Ok, I switched Sadie, and Lightning, but then Lightning missed her old buds, and kept calling to them.  I was hoping putting her next to Ser-Haat would make it easier on her, but since that was not an option, she was in-between two old ladies. Now be3 honest, if you were a teenager how would you feel about being stuck between two old fuddy duddies, one of which wanted to kick the living you know what out of you. Yes Marina is a very dominant mare, and she makes sure everyone knows it.

Now that the stallions were all excited, there was no way I was going to ride Ibn. A fool I am not. I brought out Marina, let her run some of her energies out, and saddled up. We had a nice long ride, only either my new pedometer is off, or my first pedometer was wrong. I loosened Marina’s breastcollar because it was rubbing, and I’m hoping that that is the problem. I’ll make it a little tighter next time I ride her. According to the pedometer we only went 8.4 miles, which is not acceptable. We need to do at least 10 miles. We’ll see what happens when I tighten the breastcollar one notch.

I also went to the Lazy J Ranch down the road to look at a stallion for a friend. I had thought to breed to him some time ago. My friend wants big, and Dakota defiantly qualifies. He’s 16.1 hands, and pure muscle. He’s very correct, has a nice head, good feet, and beautiful coloring. He can jump , and was in training for dressage when Jan moved from West Virginia to here. He’s a buckskin paint, with a lovely iridescence similar to the metallic sheen our horses have. In the show ring he will defiantly catch your attention. She wants to breed for color as well as for performance, and he’s a very good candidate.

Jan, wants to retire, and get down to about eight horses. She’s seventy so I suppose it’s time, although if I were as fit as she is, I’d be raring to go. She has TB’s, Walking horses, and Paints of which her stallion is the best. She also has a 30-year-old Arabian stud. He’s an Indraff son, and if I can swing it I, want to get a breeding by AI from him. She said he’s still fertile, however he doesn’t have the strength to mount, and do his stuff too. Give him a break, 30 is quite an age for a horse. The chance to breed to an Indraff son however (I’m not sure there are any other living sons) is something you don’t pass up, funds not withstanding. I’ll figure out something.

I reported back to my friend, and I have no doubt that she will work something out with Jan, probably a lease to purchase. She’s assured me that her stall setup has been seriously upgraded, which is of the utmost importance if she is to have two stallions, and mares on a little more than an acre of land. I’m not sure how she is going to manage the breeding part especially since she’s not that good with boys. Oh well, I’m sure she will figure something out. She’s a good horsewoman so I trust that everything will work out fine.

Today Lightning was still missing her buds so to help get her mind off of them I decided to start her round pen training. First I brought her out, and groomed her. She’s been tied up before only not when she was missing her buds. She was antsy, and fidgety, but otherwise mostly did ok. At least I was able to do what I wanted to do, and that’s what’s important. Next time she will be better. Now to the round pen, she led fine even though she was high. Mind you this was her first lesson in the round pen. She was doing fairly well, but there were times when she wanted to reverse when I didn’t ask her for it, so I wouldn’t let her. It was a bit confusing, and in spite of being upset, she did pretty well until she decided that in order to get out of her lesson, she would simply jump the fence. It’s a five foot round pen. Granted it’s small, but no matter how good a jumper a horse is they can’t jump a five-foot fence from a standstill. Luckily the panels gave way some, and she only got her foot caught. She raised up, and got it out without hurting herself. Thank you for that Lord. She scared herself (and me), but I checked her over, and other than a little scrape on her foot, she got off Scott free. Rudy has had two horses that tried that little trick. One made it, and one got stuck half way over. He had to cut him out, which was not an easy shore. I lucked out.

Next I went to Ser-Haat working him in his stall. He has gotten so good about it, and even came in when I asked him to. I was very proud. I brought out my brushes, and he let me groom him standing still even when I sprayed his mane, and tail. He also let me pick up all his feet, and pound on them. I’m not a farrier, but I want to make sure that when the time comes he will be a good boy. I never tied him up he just stood there like a champ. He got lots of pets and praises for all his good work.

On to the girls on the other side. Espree’s mane is a mess again, naturally, so I get her all spruced up, and go to clean her feet. She has thrush in one foot I need to attend to. I thought I had just bought some Kopertox, but I couldn’t find any so I guess not. I’ll have to make a trip to the Mercantile. Thank you Espree. Jazzy’s feet were fine, and so were Lizzie’s. Lizzie needs a trim really bad, but since we can’t get a farrier up here, I’ll see what I can do with her in the arena I have set up. The hard ground here keeps their feet trim, but only if they move.

Sierra is last, and I plan to work him on leading as well as grooming. Opps, what’s that, another cut? Boys you can’t trust them. He has another cut on his face, and it hits right where the brass is on his halter. His muzzle is so tiny that I have a hard time getting a halter to fit him. If I have it too long on top it falls down his neck. Still I loosened it so the ring wouldn’t be right on his cut. The cuts not bad, so I just put some crème on it. When I fed tonight it was a little swollen but not too much. If it’s still swollen in the morning I’ll give him some antibiotics. I have some left from the last time he cut himself. It’s not been a good week for horsies.

Of course I couldn’t work Sierra, but I did pick up his feet. Ok I only held them for perhaps half a second, but that’s enough for some good pets, and praises. He’s still a baby as far as I concerned. It’s a tricky proposition with him anyway since he still wants to nibble. He got me once on the back, but not bad. I tried the knuckle thing to no avail. All he did was get frustrated because he couldn’t grab anything. It’s an Aulrab trait, and all the boys have it except Ser-Haat. Next comes hot sauce. We’ll see how he likes that. With my luck he’ll love it, and will be even nippier. Boys, I love them to death, and they will probably be the death of me.

Poor Storm didn’t get any attention. By the time I finished with Sierra, I had just enough time to go to town. I feel really guilty about Storm. He’s always last, so half the time I run out of time before I even get to him. He’s got all kinds of scabs everywhere not from Ibn, but from Jeri. They are constantly play fighting, and Storm gets the worst of it. Ibn is too concerned about staring at the mares to bother with Storm, besides he love his kids. Provided no one does anything to themselves, I’ll give him a good workout next time I work the kids. Tomorrow I’ll ride. If I think Ibn will behave himself, I’ll ride him otherwise Marina gets another ride. She won’t mind she loves being ridden. Lord, no more surprises please! I’ve had quite enough for a while.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


We finally got our first taste of the monsoon weather to come.  It was late in the evening, and a cool breeze was coming through the door. I could smell, and feel the rain long before I heard the first crack of thunder. We had seen lightning far to the east a couple of days before, and we saw it disappear. There were cracks of thunder, then the downpour came. The clouds opened, and a deluge of rain fell, for about five minutes. That’s it, that’s all we got, just a small teaser. Still it cleaned the air. Gone was the heaviness that had permeated the air all day. Gone was the oppressive humid heat. I went to bed looking forward to a day I have gotten used to expect in our beautiful high desert in the late summer..

The morning was beautiful, crisp, and clean, a wonderful day for riding or almost anything. When I fed, Lance was in his stall as I rode up in the gator. Not unusual, he wanted to eat. I threw hay in, and as I fed the others I went back to check on his water. He looked funny so I went into his stall. He was dragging his back right leg. His stifle was swollen, and he couldn’t put any weight on his leg. I called the vet, and told Therese I need someone to come out to look at Lance right away, something was very wrong. Lots of horses went crazy with the storm the night before, and they weren’t sure they would be able to get out today. They told me to give him some Bute until then. I waited all-day, and late in the afternoon Lane came. I had just come up from the barn to make a pit stop when I heard the dogs announcing that someone was here. The vets don’t bother to stop at the house, but go right to the barn. Without the dogs I wouldn’t even know they were here.

Lane wasn’t expecting to come out, but they rearranged their schedules because I told them Lance couldn’t walk on his leg. He felt and stretched Lance’s leg, and then he pulled out the X-ray machine. He was afraid of what I wouldn’t entertain as even a thought in my brain. Lance was so good, giving me hugs knowing that somehow I could fix everything, and make his pain go away, but I couldn’t fix this. His leg was broken at the stifle. It’s one of the strongest bones in a horse, and how he broke it even Lane couldn’t figure out. The only logical explanation was that somehow he had slipped on the wet ground either bolting out of his stall or running, and bucking with the thunder. There were no marks on him, no scrapes, no fur on the panels or panels out of place. The stalls are safe, but the ground is caleche, and can be slick as glass when wet.

I called Rudy, and gave him the news. The hard part was getting someone out to bury him. He made some phone calls, and our neighbor who has a construction company was going to send someone over in the morning. As it turned out they was doing a small job next door so it wasn’t a big deal to bring the Cat over to dig a grave. I told Lane to go ahead, and put Lance down now so he wouldn’t suffer any longer. There was really no way to save him even if we had the money for specialists, and extended care. They would have to put plates, and screws in, and he would probably always have some pain, and would never be able to be ridden. He would be alive, but not able to enjoy life, and that’s no life at all. I couldn’t do that to him money or no money. The saddest part is that we didn’t do the video of him the day before. I don’t have any real pics except for when he was a baby. It had only been the last couple of months that he really started growing, and started coming into his own.  He was so beautiful, and I have no pics to show everyone how beautiful he truly was.

We have been really lucky, Lance is the only foal we have lost, and only the second horse we have had to put down. Yes Rudy has had to put horses down before, but not since we have been together. I found a little meadow to put Lance in, and it will probably take a few days of work to get it looking nice again. We are as I have said before on top of bedrock, and of course when he dug the grave all that rock came up. It took me forever to get all the rocks out of there, and now I have even more to take out. I’ll mix manure with the soil to create new topsoil, and when the monsoons really start, I’ll get some flower seeds to plant. There are two large flat rocks nearby I will use as a headstone. Lance was such a sweet boy, I want his resting place to be as beautiful as he is. Strange I want to be cremated myself, but I want a beautiful place for our horses to rest. Most likely I want it mostly for myself, a place for me to remember my dear sweet boy. I also want to breed Sadie to Jeri again, like as soon as I can. I will pray for a colt, but not to replace Lance. I just don’t want Sadie’s last foal to be the one we lost. She’s twenty-two and I don’t know how many more foals she has in her. If we do get a colt, we won’t geld him. These horses grow so slowly you don’t really know how they will turn out until they are at least two or three. Lance would have made a wonderful stallion. He had the temperament, intelligence, and the conformation to make a good stallion. We will never have another War Lancer again though. Rudy had to put down his first War Lancer, and I won’t have a third.

If you’re going to breed horses it’s inevitable that you will loose one or two. It is part of life. I’m sorry to have lost Lance, and I pray he will be the last we loose, but I know that is probably not going to happen, not if we keep on breeding. Still I don’t regret the two years we had with Lance. He graced our lives for two years, and we will never forget the joy he brought us.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


It took several days to complete Marina’s video. I want to take more videos, some of the mares as well as new videos of Ibn, Jeri, and the kids. The mares, who are the foundation of any breeding program, never get the attention they deserve. Sandy a long time breeder, believes that 60% of a foal comes from the mare. That’s not physically possible, however since the stallions are generally not around for foal rearing, she might have a point. Foals pick up a lot from their dams. In the wild the stallions have more influence, but unless stallions are pastured with the mares in a herd environment, the foals generally never see their sires, more so since AI has become more and more common.

Ibn loves his kids. Currently I have him stalled next to two of his kids (both geldings) and LBM our little stud colt. Stalling him next to a filly I don’t feel to be wise, however in CA we used to let the little girls out to roam the property, and they loved going to visit Ibn. He reciprocated, and was always gentle with them. We can’t quite do that here, but it shows how gentle a stallion he truly is.

While I was editing Marina’s video (AB Marina) Rudy was taking all kinds of tests. He told his doctor to just make an appointment at the hospital for a Cath, because he had a blockage, but he wouldn’t listen. Two weeks he had to wait, and finally he went to Albuquerque for a Cath. It’s the last spot on this one artery to be clogged. Of course things were complicated by an allergic reaction he ran to a new drug that was supposed to replace his Arthritis, and stomach medications. He was very lucky to have survived, or so said the surgeons at the hospital. He had started to swell all over his body before he realized it was probably the new medication that was making him feel so ill. Not listening to his doctor who told him to go directly to the emergency room at whatever hospital was near him, he rested for a day, and then came home. Luckily he has plenty of angels watching over him. He needs them trust me. After over 17 years, I know better than anyone, without his Angels I’d probably be a widow.

Anyway we didn’t get any videos done of the kids since, he felt so bad, and his back was out on top of everything else. He spent the night at the hospital, and I brought him home the next day. Two trips to Albuquerque just about killed me (my back was very unhappy about that, don’t you know), but he should be good for another ten years or so, at least I hope so. This going to the hospital once a year is for the birds.

Meanwhile Rudy’s fixed the Fiero (YES!), my Father is out of the hospital, and Mother, and Father should be moving to Roswell in July – August. I have my friend’s horses coming mid-June, and she wants me to scope out a stallion out here as a lease/purchase for her, JLS Dakota Gold. I had looked at him myself a number of years ago as a possible cross for Angel. It took a while for me to convince Rudy to cross for a half-Arabian, and when I did, I found Sierra’s sire. I still like Dakota, and if we do stand him for my friend, I may yet breed to him. We’ll see.

We are still bone dry here although the monsoon trail is teasing us with a flow of moisture from Mexico. Fires are cropping up everywhere. Downed power lines started a fire in northeast New Mexico, and fires in Arizona are causing a health risk for people in central NM. Ranchers are having to feed their cattle because there is simply no feed for them in the grass lands. This is the worst it has been in New Mexico since 1950. We don’t depend on the land for feed because we only have 41 acres, and since we are in the foothills of the Sacramento’s, the ground is simply too rocky to support much in the way of grasslands. There are cattle ranches around us the largest of which is the Brewer ranch, but they have thousands of acres for their cattle. Still I am sure they are suffering.

The cost of feed has gone up due to the drought, and that does affect us. The one place I go for feed has gone up to $9 for a two-strand bale. Needless to say, I’m not buying their alfalfa. Hopefully the other feed store hasn’t gone up as well. I’ll find out tomorrow when I get hay. So far they have stayed at $7.75/bale. I wish I could get the big square bales. It would cost less in the long run. I can’t use the round bales, because I can’t pull off flakes, and if left in the pasture for the horses to munch on, they munch way too much. What should last for a while goes in a matter of two weeks or less. They are very happy campers for two weeks, and quite plump. We tried that one year, and figured we’d go broke in no time. They would literally eat us out of house and home. We’re not going to do that again any time soon, not at $90/bale for four horses. What were we thinking moving the ranch to New Mexico where there is freezing cold in the winter, with busted pipes everywhere, and bone-dry heat in the summer with the ever looming threat of fire? It’s those monsoon storms with their cool breezes that bring the temps down to the mid-seventies, green meadows, and the lifestyle that only small southwestern towns can offer that got to us. They say a sucker is born everyday, and I guess we qualify. After all, we do have a horse ranch that never makes money, and causes all kinds of stress. Why you ask? It’s those knickers in the morning, the hugs, the joy of a new born foal, and the satisfaction of breeding a horse that is sound, loving, intelligent, and committed to doing whatever it takes to make their human companion happy. It’s nice being that kind of sucker.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Kids...

Today was a beautiful day full of sunshine, and no wind. The next two days won’t be nice, so I took full advantage of the lovely weather. I wanted to get video of both Marina, and Ibn. Some of the girls are in season so Ibn was on the “I don’t think so” list. This child is not stupid enough to try to take him out when the mares he has to walk past are all making goo goo eyes at him. Even in his stall he was prancing around making sure everyone knew that “he was King of the hill.”

 Even when Marina is higher than a kite, or in season, or whatever, she has perfect ground manners. I already had a little bit of video on her so she was elected to go first. Marina’s always full of it so I had no doubt I would get some good footage. I brought her out, brushed her down, silkened her mane, and tail, and couldn’t help but notice she has put on a little too much weight. Everyone has put on weight with the wheat hay it seems, and she is no exception. Most of her weight is solid muscle, still I think I need to cut back a bit. I have 20 bales of wheat hay coming this week, and that will be the end of the wheat hay till next year. I had seven bales left on Saturday when I bought hay, and all they had was alfalfa so right now they are getting half, and half, or just alfalfa. I’ll keep them on a mixture until the oat hay comes in, in three or four weeks. Oat hay will also keep the weight on so I’ll still mix the alfalfa with the oat hay. I don’t want rolly poly’s in my barn after all. Besides, if I get alfalfa from the Mercantile it will be cheaper, and I’ll save a little, especially if I cut back on the wheat, or oat hay.

I took Marina to the arena, and true to form off she went like a bolt of lightning. Taggot was chasing her on the outside of the arena so I got video of some small bucks as well. They were only half hearted ones, but enough to get the energies out of her. I cut out all the funky stuff on the video, you know the ground, my feet, half of her shots, and things like that. I’ll spend the next few days editing the rest of the video. I have more than enough footage to make a nice video for our website.

Instead of riding or attempting to take Ibn past all the mares, I decided to work the kids. It’s been a while, and they needed some lessons. First came Lance. Each of the boys has their own little idiosyncrasies. Lance comes right up to you for pets, works better with a lounge line, but needs work being tied, getting sprayed with fly spray or mane tamer, and working with his feet. All the kids have large paddock areas so they can run, and buck to their hearts content, still when I work them they get over excited. The lounge line came first to get some of those energies out. Lance knows exactly what he is supposed to do, and takes off cantering around the paddock. He canters some, and trots some all the while showing off like all kids do. When I stop him, he immediately comes to me for pets, and praises. He has that part down pat, he loves his pets. I shoo him off, and he goes the direction I cue him for. Once some of the edge is off, I switch to the lead rope for some walking. He’s still a little high, and it takes a bit of convincing for him to walk like a gentleman. He finally simmers down, and I tie him up.

First comes brushing. He does fine till I come to his legs. He doesn’t sit back, but he definitely thinks about it. It hasn’t worked in the past, and this time he finally seems to understand that standing still is the best course of action. He gets plenty of praises for this, and decides maybe it’s not so bad after all. Next comes combing his tail. I get the spray, and all goes well. This is also a first since for some unknown reason combing his mane, and tail has always been something of a trial. He loves getting his body brushed, just not his mane, and tail. I know spraying his mane is going to upset him, so sneaky as I am, I give two quick squirts, and immediately I comb that portion of his mane. He starts to react with the spray, but the comb comes so fast that he stops, and stands still. Using this method I get his entire mane combed. He gets plenty of praises, and is quite proud of himself as I leave. He has done very well today.

Next comes Ser-Haat. Now Ser-Haat doesn’t come right up to you, and he doesn’t like the lounge line at all. I take the whip in with me, and off he goes just as if he was on a lounge line. He also knows what he’s supposed to do, and while I have the whip in my hand all I have to do is to circle it behind me a bit. Ser-Haats’s thing has been to kick out. From the very beginning as a baby he has kicked. It has been a hard habit to break, and I’m very pleased that only once did he try kicking today. Not only that, but when I stopped him he didn’t turn his butt to me, but faced me the way he is supposed to do. He didn’t quite come in like Lance, but he stood still while I went up to him. This is an improvement, and he got lots of pets, and praises for his good behavior.

As with Lance I traded the whip for the lead rope, and for some reason, Ser-Haat shied away from it. This has not been a problem for quite a while. He has no problem with me leading him by the halter, but wanted no part of the lead rope. Eventually he got over it, and I led him with the lead rope. He doesn’t lead as well as Lance, but we’re working on it. On the other hand, unlike Lance he has no problem being tied up or being sprayed. The first time I sprayed him with fly spray, he stood there like a champ. He also has no problem being groomed tied up, or giving me his feet. Of course I worked with him a lot when he was a yearling on his feet. I would pick them up, and play with them while he was eating his goodies. I didn’t work with his feet this time because Ibn was being such a brat, and wouldn’t leave him alone while I was working with him. I’m going to have to tie him on the other side of the paddock I guess until breeding season is over. What a pain Ibn can be.

I let Ser-Haat go, and proceeded to play with Little Big Man. Now he is not quite a year old, and still a stallion. Since we are keeping him a stallion, he has hormones the other boys don’t have. He’s also easier to handle than the others ever were even when they were babies. From the very beginning LBM would always give in easily. He is a stallion however, and no matter that he is little, he has little boy things he hasn’t learned not to do as of yet, specifically, his nibbling. He’s an absolute sweetheart, but doesn’t understand that nibbling other horses is fine, but humans have thinner skin. He’s not being mean, in fact he thinks he’s being loving. I doubt I can completely break him of the habit, but like Ibn, he can learn how to do it without his teeth.

LBM has a very heavy coat (typical of buckskins I’m told), and is still shedding out. I seem to brush forever, and still when I pet him I get full of fur. I spray his tail, and comb it, then his mane. My biggest problem is keeping his little nose away from me. Other than that he does great. I brush down his legs to his feet, but don’t really try to do anything with them. He’s fine with that, and right now that’s good enough. I put the lead rope on, and then the fun began. He’s learned not to rear on me, but leading is still too much of a game for him. He would rather eat the lead rope than be led by it. So off we go with the lead rope in his mouth, walking around his paddock. His paddock is long, and too narrow for anything but walking up, and down, but he’s too little to work anyway. He’s right across from the round pen so when the time comes I will simply take him to the round pen to work. First he has to understand that being led with the lead rope isn’t playtime, but a means of getting from one place to another. He really was cute walking around with the lead rope in his mouth though. He’s such a sweetie.

Lastly I went over to Storm to brush him, and just give him pets and lovings. At four he knows all about leading etc. He has gotten a little head shy, but I work on that, and by the time I was done, I was petting his head with no problem. I need to start working him in the round pen again so he doesn’t forget his p’s & q’s, and gets some good muscle tone. He’s ready to sell, and I want to make sure his ground manners stay good. Once I can get Rudy to put the trailer in the arena we will start trailer training. Its always such a chore so I want to simply want to leave him in the arena and feed him in the trailer until he has no fears of going into that big scary cave. After all, you never know just what might be hiding in there. I could be a beastie that wants you for dinner. It could be….