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Friday, July 11, 2008

Fun with Tech

Oohh, I just learned how to post pix! I need to forward the bucking picture for the "Name" post, but in the meantime I will experiment with photos and captions.

I just posted the best picture we have of Dobby, the most adorable horse ever on the "Dobby, What Next" post. I'll need to discover how to edit/zoom in on posted pix. We need to get better pictures of all our horses.

Below is a picture of my Husband's Morgan, Mica, with his buddy, Rebel (a cute POA, now 5) in the upper arena at the R-Wild Horse Ranch, Platina, CA. Spring '08.

And here is Dobby, again in all his adorable glory, back at the "Fat Farm" in Hayfork, May '08.

There must be a more artistic way to do this...nothing like posting my 'drafts' on line for all the world to laugh at. In other words, I'm open for suggestions!


Oregon or Bust, Part 1

Shopping for a horse is not only difficult, hard work, it is dangerous. I have now been bucked off my second quarter horse. I understand all horses can and may buck, but a well muscled quarter has more impulsion in that round hind end than other horses. They have it and know how to use it. I love quarter horses, most horses I have ridden in my limited life have been quarter horses or crosses. Quarter horses, exclusively, have successfully bucked me off.

Again, I do not claim to be any great rider, what I don’t know and can’t do will fill volumes. I do know many tame, well broke horses give a meager buck. Their heads go down, hind feet come a few inches off the ground giving action to their discontent. For my part, I calmly guide with hands and legs, give verbal cues, like “Whoa!” “Ho!” or “Easy.” We circle, one-rein, side pass. Eventually coming to an understanding that life is simpler if we do what I want. I’m not talking Road to the Horse, or Mustang Makeover, I’m talking well broke trail horses here.

What does this have to do with Oregon or Bust??? I’m getting there!

Remember my Dream Horse is grey, and based on my epiphany in April, gaited. So why was I looking at Ajax?

Loving research and having the world at my finger tips via the net, I have discovered gaited horse universe. So many breeds, so much variety in gaits and movement. With the added impetus of a good friend, Dani Sartori, I am directed to Brazilian Mangalarga Marchadoras as well.

Besides the extraordinary and exotica of the Marchadoras, I also discover a little known breed of McCurdy Plantation Horses from Alabama. These are a sub-breed of Tennessee Walking Horses. Almost exclusively grey, delightful, elegant and seldom seen outside Alabama---but there is a farm in Canby Oregon. J_Bar Farm, owned by June and Barry Snook. My daughter’s name is June, so I already love these people! Check out the website and these magnificent horses. June and Barry hand raise these horses with love, care and ‘natural horsemanship.’ The horses are used in hunting dog trials as well as endurance and are sound, stable, sane and safe. Did I mention sweet and oh so beautiful?

We correspond by email for weeks. They have a stunning 6 yr old gelding, McCurdy’s Blue (my favorite color) that sounds perfect! Wait, I’m too cynical to believe anything can be perfect. He sounds very promising.

I also form a relationship with Susan Neuman of Cascade Marchadoras in Bend Oregon. She and her husband, Holm, raise Brazilian Mangalarga Marchadoras. Holm is a champion in mounted archery and travels the world to participate. They have two grey geldings available. We also correspond for weeks while I try and find/make the time to shoot to Oregon; and for the weather in Oregon to break for riding.

You would think in the great state of California I could find a gorgeous, grey gaited horse. Is that really too much to ask? I did speak with several knowledgeable, helpful people, but none could produce with the elusive dapple grey of my dreams. I have heard nothing from my local gaited horse guru, Terry Zygalinski of in Watsonville (Royal Oaks) California. I gave him my wish list back in April, it is Memorial Day! (It’s all About Me! I Want It, and I want it Now! Does it take more than 6 wks to span the globe for my Dream Horse??? It’s not like there are important issues to deal with: Starving children, a war or global warming—lest I seem too shallow)

I digress.

Horse hunting consumes my family. Not only do I scour Craigslist each and every day, plus Dream Horse, Equine Hits, BAEN, and a myriad of other ‘horse for sale’ websites, but my beloved husband and devoted daughter also invest copious hours of precious time scanning and forwarding ads to me.

Valuable, irretrievable riding days are lost forever as March passed to April, and April bowed to May. (I do get some quality gardening done! Okay, and laundry and grocery shopping. The house is a mess and my blogs and books are woefully behind, tho)

Previous experience with a too distant dream horse in southern California propels my sojourn to the Pacific Northwest. There are at least three gaited, grey geldings up there waiting for me. I love the people involved. These horses sound perfect. If I don’t go, I’ll always wonder what I missed.

With a Last Minute Deal from Travelocity booked (air AND rental car for under $300!), I’m off Friday June 6 thru Tuesday, June 10.

All this research, all these wonderful contacts and the enrichment in my horse knowledge are already playing out in my mind, to be added to my books. Eloise would be so proud of me for bringing more insight to my books. Dahlquin horses would have been bred and reared with the same focus on quality and longevity as the Snooks and Neumans apply. Respect, love, gentle but firm leadership would have been used to bring forth the true and brightest nature of the noble equines, past or present. Eloise has her Garth, will I find mine?

To Be Continued…Oregon or Bust, Part 2

Let the Name Be a Guide

Let the Name Be a Guide

A Rose By Any Other Name…

A horse by any name might be a clue…

I have lamented about the difficulties of horse hunting, the discomfort of trading in sentient beings as if they were a commodity. Let me also say that horse hunting is a risky business. I round pen and do the ground work with a strange horse. Do we communicate? Achieve join up? Is this horse looking for a leader or a herd? The owner rides first. I watch someone ride the horse, while I study the cues, the technique and also observe the horse’s movement and form. My butt doesn’t touch the saddle until I’m sure the horse is a willing partner.

Even then there are hints, foreshadowings along the way, and the savvy shopper is wise to heed the warnings. An early prospect of mine was a 4 year old quarter horse gelding named Renegade. Cute, friendly, horsanality (as the Parelli’s say) plus. I got bucked off. Hmmm….I thought, Renegade. Reminds me of a friend’s horse, Rocket (bucked her off ); or another friend’s horse, Rebel, bucks. I detect a trend with those “R” names. Now when I see a horse for sale listed as Rogue, Ronan, or Ricochet I move on. But not just those “R” names, any name indicating a ride I don’t wish to take, Tornado, Whirlwind, Bull, Firecracker. I’m looking for Pastry, Sugar Buns, Lambikins.

When Rope-A-Doc, aka Ajax came along I felt real comfortable with that. A lovely, grey 7 yr old qtr horse. We round penned him first, I was second in the saddle. Well, I think it qualified as a ride, not even a full lap around the arena when he decided my nickel was up. Ha ha, “up”, funny I should use that word.

He gave a test buck, my daughter, June, the photographer, captured the fateful moment on my face, @#$%^&*() (I have the picture and I will attempt to get it posted here) and then he put his full, round quarter horse rump into it and gave me a rodeo ride. No time to grab the horn, hang on, pray. I went straight up, saw the view, knew I was way too high for this to end happily…

My lead butt came down like a stone balloon, but a barrel broke my fall and I slid off the edge and slipped to the ground. Pain, pain, pain. I did manage to stand and give a hearty “Whoa!” But getting back in the proverbial saddle was out of the question. I could barely walk to the truck.

“Next,” I said as we drove away.

After contacting the chiropractor and takikng a naproxen, the jokes began. First, my husband, Russ said, “I should have listened to the chickens. They were warning me. Buck, buck, buck. Buck off!” Then, “His name wasn’t Ajax, it was Eject!” For the forty-five minute drive back to the R-Wild Horse Ranch, my new name became Big Air Beggs, Hindenbeggs, Aerobella.

That horse put a world of hurt on my right leg. It took six days for a bruise to manifest, but when it did…I took the family title. That sucker was the size of Russ’s hand, black, blue and angry. Hardcore.

I wouldn’t ride again for about three weeks. In Oregon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Well, my third attempt to update!

As if a trip to Oregon wasn't interruption enough, then sickness, purchase and sale agreement, taxes, fires, horse rescue and techno difficulties! Was that an attention grabber?

My search for my 'Dream Horse' took me to Oregon. First to the J_Bar Farm of June and Barry Snook and their elegant and stunning McCurdy Plantation Horses. After two delightful days in Canby, Oregon (thinking that I'd found my Dream Horse) I went down to Bend, Oregon to stay with Susan and Holm Neuman of Cascade Marchadoras. This trip will receive full blog treatment.

Oregon has cornered the market on beautiful, grey gaited horses!

And, was a dream horse found? Does that magnificent beast exist or is it a mythical creature, a unicorn?

Read on.