Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just a week???

It’s hard to believe that it was only a week ago since my last post, but it was. I know I didn’t get it posted right away, but then again I never do. Somehow something always interrupts, in spite of my best intentions. We’ve had such fun this past week I just don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with the wonderful job I did on the hose splice. I’m not quite strong enough I guess to do it properly, because the pasture hose leaks. On top of that the hose is too short. I tried putting the foam tubing on the hose only to have it spray water everywhere. That was fun, or it would have been if it was summer, and hot instead of 50 some degrees out. The problem with cheap hoses is that they’re cheap. It makes perfect sense to me. The female portion of the hose spewed water everywhere if it wasn’t going straight down. Since I wanted the hose as short as possible, it went down, and then up over to the tank, which is higher than the faucet. That curve put too much pressure on the hose end so it leaked, big time. The other hose is all wrapped up so I have no clue if it leaks or not, we’ll pretend that it doesn’t.

Our wonderful neighbors came back, and for two days we had absolutely no water, then just as suddenly we had plenty of water. Their pump died. Once it was fixed we had no water again, but for a day it was wonderful. Now I have household water but little else so I’m hauling water for the horses again. The difference is it’s freezing cold out. I’m trying to find out if there is any way I can stop them from filling their pond. The amount of water allowed per well is way more than they are using. A friend of mine looked it up on her well permit, and you are allowed 3.0 water acres per well, and they have two.  That works out to over 5K gallons per day so that’s no help. The only thing might be that nowhere on the permit does it say you can fill a pond. I’m going to the permit office for Lincoln County, and see what their permit allows. I might be able to stop them that way.  Barring that I’m going to have to haul water whenever they are here. We have no problems when they are gone.

I also managed to cut more wood, but it disappears so fast. All I have available to cut is very, very, old (over ten years), very dry, and very small. Tomorrow in-between loading, and unloading hay I’m going to have to find time to cut more. I have nothing left but kindling, and the days, and nights are very cold. I did get one big project done. We moved the pellet stove (it died, how dare it) into the back room, and the wood stove that was there into the living room. The challenge was converting the stove pipes from pellet pipes to regular stove pipes. The pellet stove uses a 4” double walled pipe, and the wood stove has 6” single walled pipes. It was quite a challenge, and once again I had to become creative. Valerie from the Mercantile let me borrow a crimping tool so I was able to customize some of the pipefittings. We took the brick from the back room, and used that for a base. I was going to use the base from the pellet stove as wall backing, only it was home made, and very crooked. Every time I came out of the bedroom, all I could see was this off balanced slab of rockwork. I couldn’t stand it so I bought more red brick and made a very interesting backdrop. You see Rudy never did show me where the mortar blades were or how to use them. In order to stabilize bricks that are not cemented in I had to come up with a pattern that interlocked to certain a degree. I’m not sure if I will leave  that way or once I find out how to cut bricks go to a more traditional pattern. I kinda like it the way it is so it might just stay that way.

I had to move the stove a bit to line up the piping, and discovered I’m a lot stronger than I thought. The biggest worry was whether I would have enough draw since I went from a large pipe to a smaller pipe, with an S curve in the middle. Turns out it has better draw than our other wood stove in the computer room. The living area is quite open. There’s the living room, the TV room, the dining area, and the kitchen with no walls in-between save for a dividing wall between the living room, and the TV room. That one little stove (same size as the stove in the computer room), has the whole area up to 60 degrees. That’s impressive, or at least it is to me, and quite comfortable. Now all I have to do is clean up my mess, and do some re-arranging. I found a good use for the rock base that was under the pellet stove too. April came over, and of course I just had to show her what I was doing. She told me she wanted something for her little wood stove in her bedroom. I told her she was more than welcome to the one I have, and am not using. It’s better than trashing it, and she needs something. Besides then she can go crazy instead of me. Actually it’s not that noticeable when it’s on the floor. Because it was standing against a white wall, (it has black metal trim), it was glaringly evident that the angles were all wrong.

Speaking of April, she has three more weeks before she can go see the doctor, and find out if her hand has healed enough so she can start using it again. I’m going to have to rein her in when she can start doing things here though because I know good, and well that she is going to overdo it. Not being able to use her hand is driving her nuts. She needs, and is used to a very active life. Once she gets the go ahead, she’s going to want to do all the things she’s been wanting to do for the last six weeks.

The 28th or the 29th the hauler is coming for Cupid, and Aulina. Two fewer horses to feed Yeah! When they leave I’m going to put Rigalo, and Santa Fe in their stalls. I’ll get my arena back, and I can make repairs to the loafing barns. They have had a gay old time chewing the wood. A lot of the chewing was out of nervousness, and boredom, and it seems like they’ve slowed down, or it could just be wishful thinking on my part. The other good thing is that when I work one or the other they won’t get so panicky if they are with the rest of the herd. For one thing they will be away from each other on opposite sides of the barn. They will also have neighbors so they won’t feel so alone. All they know at this point is each other so new roomies will be good for them.  I just wish I had the time to ride them they way they need it. I’ve been so tied up with projects, hauling water, cutting wood or the weather has been bad so I haven’t been on their backs since I first rode them. The thing is I’m really excited about riding them, and teaching them the ropes so to speak. Pretty soon I will have to start working on tax preparation, and then I’ll have even less time to ride. It will all work out eventually, I just have to be patient. That’s what I tell Rudy all the time, I guess now it’s my turn to be patient. Ain’t that the pits!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A good day…

Today was a good day, no snow, no wind, and no freezing temps, like 17 degrees. Yes it’s only the 4th of November, and we have already had freezing temps. We had another storm front go through only this time it was only high winds. Actually it wasn’t all that bad, only maybe 25 – 35 mph winds. It was, however too cold with the wind chill to do much of anything.  Before the winds came I did manage to get one of the pasture tanks winterized. I also got the barrel we use to cover the water main winterized with R19 insulation. Hopefully that will keep the main from freezing. I still have the box in the barn to insulate, the pump piping re-insulated, and the other pasture tank to do. I had to cut the hoses I bought in order to encase them in the foam tubes. You can add slicing, dicing, and making new hoses to my growing list of ranch skills.

I also managed to cut all the wood in the garage, and clean it before the hard freeze came. Some of the pieces were too large for my miter saw, but I got all the rest done. Of course I am now out of wood again so it’s back to the woodpile (take your pick as to which one) to gather more wood to cut.

The winds came back so nothing really got done for a couple of days. Once the wind stopped the cold front was here big time, and we went from 60-degree days of sunshine to 24-degree nights. At least it was 24 by the time I got up. Other friends who got up much earlier said it was more like 17 degrees. The water froze under the house but it was clear by 10:00 am. The rest of the day was beautiful. I got a lead on someone who might be interested in taking Lizzie, only I haven’t heard back from her so maybe not. The woman is looking for a cheap horse for her daughter. Well the only cheap horses I know of are either starving, or old. Lizzie is old, and I just want to find a nice home for her. I don’t want to put her on the Internet because anyone you don’t know who is willing to only pay a few hundred dollars for a horse is probably not someone you want to have your horse. I figure your chances of the horse going to the wrong person are about 50/50. I’m not willing to take that risk, so I will either give her to a rescue or to someone I can trust.

After coming back from Capitan the day was so nice that as promised I decided to work Katie’s horses. I started with Rigalo (the paint). One thing I have to say for Katie is that she started them right. Rigalo is more nervous, and Santa Fe (the bay) is less trusting, she is also very impatient. Hum sounds like someone else I know. I figured Rigalo would be the more challenging because Katie told me she was “spirited”. She also said she was more willing to please than Santa Fe. Rigalo is fine, she’s just not sure what she is supposed to do, and that makes her nervous. Also being away from Santa Fe was very stressful for her. Other than that she was a very good girl, and I was quite proud of her. We worked in the round pen first to get to know each other better, or for me to see how much she really knew. She didn’t know reverse (or at least didn’t remember), but was reversing nicely by the time we finished. I brought her around to the barn and she saddled up just fine, or at least mostly. Katie warned me that they aren’t too fond of the bit just yet. It wouldn’t be a problem except that Rigalo is sooo tall. Give me a break I’m used to our Arabians, the tallest of which is only 15 hands, at least the ones I can ride. I got out the molasses, and that helped but not really, and in the end she simply gave in (they always do), and off we went to the round pen again.

I worked her a little with the saddle on, and she did fine. I also put weight on the stirrup, and she stood rock solid (unlike a boy I know). She was so good I just got on her, and started walking. Well she wasn’t too sure about that, and I had to coax her some. She figured it out eventually, and we walked doing schooling circles, and figure eights. They know walk, trot, and back. I didn’t want to push her (not on our first lesson) given on how unsure she was of herself. I gave her lots of praises in between, and told her what a smart good girl she was. She truly does want to please she’s just not sure how to do that.

Next came Santa Fe. I worked her in the round pen first, just like Rigalo, only she knows a lot more, and wasn’t nervous at all. I didn’t work her a lot as it was obvious she knew what she was about, then we went to the barn. My land she’s impatient. If I so much as went to the gator (just inside the barn) she sat there pawing, and raising Cain. I also discovered that she’s not quite as trusting as Rigalo. Both were rescue horses, and there is no telling what they’ve been through. Once I started combing out her tail all of that stopped. I don’t know what it is about the tail, but that seems to be the one thing they all love most. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems to be the one thing that calms them all down.

Well at least she was calm until I brought the blanket over. She wasn’t too sure about that, but she let me put it on her. The saddle was just a bit too much, and she shied away.  It took a couple of lifts before I got it on her, but once there she was fine. Don’t know what the issue is there but she’ll get over it. She was a little better than Rigalo about the bit, but not by much. I really want to get a bitless bridle. It makes so much more sense to me, but they are sooo expensive. I’ll have to wait a while for that one.

We got all cinched up, and off to the round pen. I worked her a little with the saddle on, but I knew right away that she would be fine. So on her back I went. She was perfect, that is until we went into a trot. She so reminds me of Marina. Next time we go out together, she gets the Martingale, she’s a head flipper. I have to nip that in the bud. I don’t expect them to collect at such an early stage, but the head flipping has got to go. I did have one very pleasant surprise, she has a very comfortable trot. It might be because she is so short backed (for her breed), as I expected that choppy trot QH’s have, but she was quite smooth, smoother than Ibn for sure, and even Marina. She had no problems with turning, and picked up on leg cues very quickly so we did some more advanced turns. She got frustrated, but eventually got it, sort of. That’s when we quit. She did what I asked even though she really didn’t know what I was asking, so her reward was for the session to end. One thing Rudy drummed into my ear was always end on a good note, and if they do well don’t over work them.

Next time I take them out we’ll work in the round pen first, and then I have no qualms about taking them to the arena. They need a lot of simple schooling, and flexing. We’ll do everything at the walk, and trot, then once they have that down we’ll try to cantor. There’s no sense trying to cantor until they are solid at the walk, and trot. Both girls are smart, and I expect them to progress quickly, but I won’t rush them.

Rudy has taught me a lot, and working with the young’uns has taught me just how much I have learned under his tutelage. I’m no where near as good as Rudy (probably never will be), but like the horses the more I do the more confidence I have, and the better I do. Luckily I have Rudy to keep me from getting a swelled head, and becoming overconfident. What it takes me what seems like forever to accomplish, he does in a few short minutes. What he can do with horses will forever amaze me. I can only hope to be half as good as he is. If I can manage that it will be enough for me.