Monday, January 26, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

Living in harmony regardless of differences.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wrangler, Under Saddle

It's almost time to ride this youngster. Small when he came to live with us last summer, Wrangler is filling out nicely but still a shorty. He has a calm, sweet personality and learns quickly.
I've trained to ride a few horses over the years.
Jerry has 'broke' quite a few more. As a young man in the west, he would break feral range horses, use them as pack horses, ride them on the mountain trails and then after a season, return them to whoever it was he got them from, to be sold as trained saddle horses. I believe that it was a government contract, I'm away from home for a few days as I write this, it's late and I'm not going to call home to ask him, so we'll just say it was a government contract.
He is an excellent horseman, is no nonsense about training, does things a bit differently than I. His way works great. I will however, occasionally offer my personal suggestions, he will listen careful, say, "yes, dear", then proceed as he was.

The colt has been exposed to noise, tractors, animals, and a leaping-climbing-loud human male child. He leads well, stands tied for long periods of time, and in general tolerates all that we humans decide to challenge him with. The goal is to end up with a calm, eager, well broke riding horse that can be trusted. As much as you can trust an animal whose instinct is to flee from danger (scary situations).

This is called 'sacking out' by the cowboys. The saddle blanket is tossed about, flapped at, and rubbed on all parts of the horse until he accepts it and stands quietly. It doesn't take long for the horse to figure out that it doesn't hurt and calmly accepts it. This is repeated many times, any time the horse is worked with, until he accepts it as just a ho-hum part of life.

Jerry picked up this little beat up saddle for about $5 at a tack sale. He sawed off the saddle horn to make it safer for the horse if during his training he decides to lay down and roll or rear up and fall over backwards. Wrangler doesn't really mind the saddle on his back. Tightening up the cinch around his belly made for a few tense moments.
Leather creaks and slaps and is quite noisy. Here Jerry is slapping the stirrups and the saddle, creating as much leather noise as he can. Wrangler's body language expresses his desire to leave Dodge at this point. He doesn't; and soon accepts the saddle, the cinch and the cowboy messing with him.

First time in the round pen saddled. He ran fast and bucked just a little. Not much of a bucker, this little buckaroo. A few times around and he was ready to settle down.
Relaxing. Jerry scratches his rear leg and Wrangler takes care of that itchy front leg himself.

Second time in the round pen under saddle. Notice Jerry has used his regular riding saddle instead of the smaller, lightweight training saddle. Quiet and calm, not bad at all.

Backing up using voice command.

Heading back down to the barn.
Next step - mounting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The above picture was taken the day Jerry and I got married. Way back in July 2007. In fact, when I took the picture I didn't know that by evening we'd be Mr & Mrs. We were engaged but I was kind of leaning towards a five year engagement. He suggested we go check out some of the Tahoe Chapels, for future reference of course. By nightfall we gathered with our camping buddies and tied the knot.

But that's not the subject of this post, I got slightly side-tracked looking at old pictures. I was looking for pictures of mules. I have become fond of mules over the past few years. They are as different from horses as dogs are from cats. Jerry rode that "Pistol" mule quite a bit in 2007. We were buddies,that mule and I. But I didn't ride him much, I prefer riding horses and using mules as pack animals. Jerry enjoys mules, he is Mister Mule Whisperer, he rides 'em, packs 'em, trains 'em, ropes off of 'em, and heaven only knows what else the ol' boy has up his sleeve. I am sure I'll find out, because........

This is one of a set of mules that came to live with us this past weekend. He already has a name so we don't have to go through all of that naming ordeal again. I re-introduce you to "Pistol".

This is the other half of the pair. Her name is "Milly", she is more of a pistol, or firecracker, than "Pistol" is. That little chain over her nose keeps her honest, without it, she tends to spin and take off at a run, dragging her victim behind.

And I was concerned that I was bringing home too many animals. Jerry is responsible for this increase in herd size. But I sure like them and am looking forward to even more adventures here at the zoo.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Every cloud has a silver lining.......

Our mornings have been damp with either dew or frost depending on the temperature. I peek out the windows first thing upon rising, in order to decide how many layers to dress in.
This morning I gazed out and saw white tufts scattered about. Oh no, I am afraid some critter has been torn up and fur left to tell the sad tale. Immediate I seek out Billy, our only pet with a large amount of white fur, I find him still alive, sleeping on a chair.

I slip on my boots and head out to investigate. Looks like fur balls from a distant and there are lots of them.

Closer examination reveals balls of white, fluffy, soft, cottony substance.

Are new flowers blooming? Every now and then a fresh blooming surprises us.

OK, wait just a minute. Things just may not be, what they appear to be.
The centers of those flowers look disgustingly familiar.

What first looked like animal fur, then like delicate white flowers, is apparently a fungus.
A fungus covering feces. Big piles of fungus-growing dog dung all over the place.
Ew. Bizarre. I have NEVER seen such fungus covered feces!
Someone needs to 'Pooper scoop' the yard.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bernese Mountain Dog

I appreciate all of the input and name suggestions for this wonderful addition to our family. I liked so many of your names and tried many of them out. He has been called a multitude of names over the past few weeks, and I continue to hear Amy calling him the most bizarre things. She really is not too fond of dogs, she is definitely a 'cat person', but she seems to really like this guy.
He fits in well here and is feeling so much better than when he arrived. Improved health and an increased energy level has brought out his true personality. Still rather dignified, he plays like a puppy and can be quite the goof-ball. He is quietly affectionate and has won our hearts.

Cort is active, rambunctious and in constant play mode. They balance one another well. I still feed them separately to monitor food intake and prevent any falling out over meals. Above, shows how well they get along even when one has something quite yummy to chew on; such as horse hoof chunks, pine cones, logs, you stuff.

They communicate well, sniff noses, clean one another's ears, snuggle together to nap, wrestle like maniacs, and have become good buddies. The one negative that has occurred with this, is that Cort has become infected with some sort of upper respiratory crud carried from the Animal Shelter jail time mountain dog served, prior to our adoption.
And yes, Cort has been well vaccinated, but the infectious agent still invaded. I didn't send samples to the laboratory to identify his specific infection, but he is responding to treatment and sleeping better at night. He is eating, drinking, playing, but less active and continues to nap a lot, sneeze, cough and is typically worse at night. Last night he was sent out of our bedroom, banished to the kitchen to sleep, so we wouldn't have to hear dog snorts, snores and snuffles all night. We needed sleep!
It makes me feel bad when any critter is not well. Well, I guess that explains why I am in this profession, hmmm.

Speaking of not-well critters, Wrangler is doing great. His massive chest injuries barely left any scars. My next post, I'll show how well he is coming along with his training. He also has won our hearts and the rest of the horse herd has finally accepted him and spend hours playing silly horse games with him, really.
OH! I need to mention the dog's name! Again thanks for all of the suggestions. We called him Carson for just too long so the name Carson stuck. But I loved so many of your ideas. I do find myself referring to him as the Big Dawg, the Skinny Dawg, Stinky, or Hey Buddy. To test his acceptance of the name Carson, I have called out to him any of the above and he comes to me no matter what I call him. Good Dawg!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

December in Photos

Local Christmas Tree Farm.

Funny Tristan!

Tree Decorating at the Log Cabin.

More Tree Trimming.

Burn Day.

How Jerry entertains himself after work. This is the result of just hours of leaf blowing. Not his first pile, not the last either. I have convinced him that leaf burning is bad, we return the leaves to enrich the soil in the back corner of our property.

Sometimes the weather is gloomy.

Some days are good for laying around and snuggling.

Putting together a Christmas present.

Enjoying the Christmas present.

We marched in a parade.

Parade dress.

Parade theme: An Old Fashioned Christmas. Jerry, Remington and Cheyenne.

OK finished! Blogger has decided not to allow any further picture uploading. It is a miracle that I was able to get this many pictures posted in one sitting.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, time off school or work, and a delightful December. The days are getting longer again, have you noticed?

A Happy New Year to ALL.

'Tis the Season.....

Our original plan was to ski all day on Christmas Day. We had friends from out of town staying with us and everyone was 'pumped up' for a first day on the slopes.
It rained, heavy rain, on our tin roof all night Christmas Eve. Up at 0'dark thirty, we checked weather reports, road reports, travel advisories; and we decided to stay home and let the blizzard in the Sierras wear itself out.
Tristan was relieved to find that Santa himself, had no trouble making it through the blizzard.

The following day, also Tristan's birthday, we headed up the hill. These check points are a common sight on the chains required days. Our 4-wheel drive and all 4 snow tires allowed our ascent without the chains.

Traffic was heavy but evenly spaced, driving was slow and careful, we made it to the ski resort safely.

I took up skiing just a few years ago and it is my winter-time love. I would ski daily if possible. I don't remember the exact number, but my first year, I skied over 20 times.
When I started dating Jerry, I remember telling him that my ideal partner would love to ride horses, love the country, camp, travel and snow ski. He smiled, I wondered, "is that his smile when he hasn't heard a word I said?, or is that the smile of a man who just agrees with everything?, or can he really be the one who does all things?"
Our first winter together, Jerry was recovering from a traumatic dislocation of his shoulder, the Dr. said NO skiing. We went to Durango that winter and Jerry sat in a chair at the bottom of a ski run sipping 'spirits' while his son and I had an awesome day skiing Purgatory.
We entered our second winter season with one recovering from cardiac surgery and the other recovering from a riding accident.
Our third winter together and I discover the truth........

The Cowboy skis, and he likes it, a lot! He even went back and skied all day the following day, while I was at work.

Birthday Boy spent the entire day taking snow board lessons. He was hot, worn out and in no mood for a picture. I took some anyways.

Whether they be dusty, muddy or snowy;
Happy Trails to all!