Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Friday, November 30, 2012

Khari Completes her first 100!

Khari & her rider~
 February, 2016  Update~  Mohammad plans to retire Khari & will be looking  for a stallion!

I was thrilled this morning to receive an email from Mohammad with the attached photo of Khari!  This picture was taken one week after her first 100-mile ride!   I quote;  "She is a very good horse & has more to show."  Obviously - from the way she's fighting the bit - she is anxious to be off!

Seeing these photos is still something that I can't quite wrap my mind around :-)  Remembering the first time I saw her, looking forlorn & sad as a horse can look.  As we took her out, she was sweet, willing & ready to load in the trailer when she heard the sound of grain in a can!
Khari as we first saw her~
Once I had her home, she was thrilled to be turned out on grass.  I was looking at her pot belly, lack of condition & wondering why I'd bought her?
July 05 - Khari knee deep
But...  after a few months at Dean's, she started shaping up.  Her conformation was so solid, she had size, substance, great legs & feet - what I wanted in an endurance horse.  
Sept. 05 - Khari & Evias
Over the following years, we had some incredible rides, rides I will never forget, views I will always treasure & times together where we felt as "one".  To see her now, fit, fast & happy - finally fulfilling the goals I had for her as a 100-mile horse is too much fun!  

I'm hopeful that Mohammad will eventually breed her & someday I'll have foal photos to post! 
Khari's leave taking~

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bits & Bitting~

Mylar Combination Bit
First let me say that I know nothing about bits!  All I know, or at least try to understand - is what seems to work for my mare.  After the early years of making many mistakes, thinking that a harsh bit would give me a manageable horse etc., trying no bit & having a run-a-way in competition, etc.  By the time I bought Khari, I had gained enough smarts to ask for expert help.  Khari was started in the bit above & it worked really well for all the years I had her.

With Farah now though, I'm working with a very intelligent mare, who responds differently to different bits.  Working with more collection & trying to teach her to work off her rear has me trying new bits.  The latest that worked really well in our first level Cowboy Dressage test, but in using it, I'd probably jumped ahead of where we're at in our training.
Curb with shanks
 I've also been trying different trainers & learning lots of new things.  For the second time yesterday, a change in bit was suggested.  There was one available to try, a simple snaffle with rings;
 I hadn't used this type of bit for forever, because you really don't have a stop & I value stop.  This is a learning level bit - one that will make it easier for Farah to understand what I'm asking of her & she was very willing & responsive in it - in the arena :-)  I'm going to go ahead & buy one to use when we practice.  We'll see how well she does in it out on the trail!

After a shorter drive than usual, I had a really good lesson at Ensbrook with Sandra.  She is well versed in both Western & Cowboy Dressage & seems willing to take on a pair of newbies. :-)
I'd love to hear what you use & how you came to use it - why you like it~

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving & The River~

The Sauk on Thanksgiving Day~
Thanksgiving Day we were very happy to be invited up to our youngest daughter's home, to share the day & a meal with her family.  One of our fine son-in-laws, two granddaughters & our eldest grandson!   To walk into a house in the woods, smell turkey cooking & feel the warmth of the wood stove made the day perfect.  While we waited for dinner, we took a hike to see what the river was doing.  
Butch & Ben admired the view~  The "Lewis & Clark" look :-)
 It was chilly, with a fresh blanket of snow higher on the surrounding mountains.  What a magnificent day to enjoy a pristine landscape.   We had a "fly-by" by two very large Eagles, but I didn't get a picture quick enough.  

 I got off "light" in the cooking department with only a pie to bake.  That was good, since the day before I had a little incident with Farah.  I was checking a hind foot, when she decided to drop it on the big toe of my left foot!  Not only drop it, but then proceed to scape it across the hard packed dirt floor of the barn isle.  I had on a pretty tough leather shoe, but it was no match...  I beat on her hip & she finally lifted the foot & gave me a look;  "What is your problem?"  I tell you...  I let her know WHAT my problem was!!!  

I spent that night, taking pain pills two at a time just to be able to lay down.  My big toe joint feels smashed, which did not making walking easy, or baking a pie, or enjoying much of the evening.  At least by Thanksgiving Day, the pain was tolerable.  Now the hope is that I'll be able to ride this coming week!  :-) 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mining for Gold~

Fire Run Farm~
Over the last few months, I've been taking a few beginning steps in the lesson arena.  Lucky for me, I live in an area where we have an abundance of very qualified trainers & where we get visits from top notch people from around the country.

After my lesson Thursday at Fire Run Farm with Suzanne, I came away thinking about the learning process that goes on between a horse & rider - then - what a trainer brings to that partnership.  My last five lessons have been with five different trainers!  Each session has set off light bulbs in my brain & I've learned as much about what I'm doing right, as I have about what I hope to learn.  It feels like a perfect balance, almost like we ride away from each session having picked up nuggets of wisdom to add to our saddlebags.  Farah is such a quick learner - when we get "it", when we get into the "zone" we both feel Great!  Even if it's only for a moment, the moments are getting longer & stronger & a better place to be!  I'm staying motivated, nothing like positive reinforcement to keep me that way & the gold girl too!  :-)

Later in the afternoon, we were lucky again in that Lynn & Jennifer had planned to ride & agreed to change their plans to include me at a spot close for us all!  We met-up at Lord Hill & had just a beautiful week before Thanksgiving ride.
Jennifer & Reno
The days are still shortening down for the Winter Equinox.  By the time the fog burned away, we only had a couple hours of that fine filtered sunshine before the heat started dropping with the sun low on the horizon to the west.
Hill at Lord Hill
 Both Jennifer & I forgot our GPS units, we really didn't care, just rode along enjoying the afternoon, the company & our great horses.  Was super nice for me to get out with friends again~ 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Grullo Not~

After her bath
I went ahead & asked Cedar Ridge their opinion on Farah's color.  She is not, nor can she be Grullo.  To be Grullo - she would need to have black either in the sire or dam.  As far as we can tell - she does not. Toni's reply is below;

"This may sound crazy, but I believe she is actually a palomino. She is very dark, and may even look as though she has black legs. But I believe she is a very dark palomino shade that some people call "chocolate palomino."
Palominos and buckskins have a cream gene, which dilutes their base color. They often have lighter brown-colored eyes than horses of other colors, and your mare's eye is much like the eyes of many palominos and buckskins.
Her tail is light, and her mane has some light hairs. This would also be a possible characteristic of a cream gene.
Also, if her parents are palomino and sorrel, then she just about can not be anything other than palomino or sorrel/chestnut.  She would not have a black gene, so could not be grullo, buckskin, dun, black, or any other color with genetically black legs.  That leaves a few colors, with palomino and sorrel/chestnut the only very likely options.
That last thought, along with the light and silver in the mane, and the light tail, make me think palomino is her most likely color.
You could test her for a cream gene to learn whether she is a palomino, or just a liver chestnut with a flaxen tail.  This is definitely a possibility, but I think she is palomino based upon her eye color and body color.

If her sire and dam were palomino and sorrel/chestnut, she would test ee for Red Factor (no black genes), so that test wouldn't be necessary."  
Banding on a hind leg~
 I'm going to contact one of the labs that does color testing to see for sure.  It's not expensive & will be fun to know for sure :-)

Monday, November 5, 2012

From Chocolate to Grulla?

Farah Oct. 10th - lightening but still Chocolate
We left home mid-October.  I'd just given Farah a bath & was already noticing that her hair was lightening as the summer coat shed out & winter coat was coming in...  I return a few weeks later to find a horse of a different color!  :-)
Farah, Nov. 6th - the closest color is Grulla
I've done a lot of research on-line, without much luck.  Here's a link to an interesting web site that I found;  Grullo Color Explained.  Farah does have a dorsal stripe, but it's not very dark.  She has the black lined ears & darker brown stripes on the legs that don't have white socks.  I may spend the three dollars, fill out the form & see what an expert thinks her color is :-)  I think we'll stay with what her papers say - Chocolate Palomino.

Today, we rode out from home - it felt so good to be back in the saddle!  It was a perfect afternoon, quiet, cool & beautiful.  Ms. Farah was full of oats, we did some mad galloping & a very nice trot.  Enough that she worked up a good sweat in her winter coat.
Out on our trails~
 When we left Washington, the fall colors were in full swing - now they're about over, but the smell is incredible!  I'm looking forward to riding with friends soon & getting out as much as possible to enjoy the season~

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Khari training in SA

Khari in the lead :-)
While away on our journey to Colorado & then Iowa - I received the above photo from a friend, who has a friend, at the training facility where Khari is conditioning for her first season in SA!  It seems surreal to see her there - actually galloping across the sands of the desert!  She looks to be the tallest of the group she's with, fit, her weight looks good & she looks like she's enjoying herself!  From the little I know, the race season there starts shortly.  I'm hopeful that I'll hear more news & maybe the promised video of her in a race!

We pulled in the gate at home last night after over 4,000 miles & seven days on the road in just under three weeks.  The longest we'd been away from home in years.  The dogs were thrilled to be free at last!  Both had been very good on the trip, but words can't describe their happiness to be running after the squirrels in the woods.

I picked Farah up this afternoon from the farm, she was fat, sassy & really pleased to see me - which made my day.  After I unloaded her, she walked up to the barn, checked out her stall & feed tub to see if there might be some food?  Then galloped out to the pasture with Nika on her heels.  She badly needs a bath - so I'm hoping for a warm day soon, as saddle time is what I need!  The saddle time may come before the bath if I can get my needs doing list at least... down to a manageable length.

Butch is back at work, slammed I'm sure.  I'm feeling pretty slammed myself, with mountains of paperwork, unpacking to do & piles of laundry.  No complaints... HOME is a Good Place to be!