Oct 31, 2011


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This past weekend, we joined our friends Rich & Kathy and Jules & Steve for a last chance camping trip at Kanopolis State Park near Marquette, Kansas.  We actually planned this many months ago knowing with weather it can be a crap shoot.  We truly lucked out weather wise and if this ends up being the last riding trip of the year, it was a good one!


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The first time I went to Kanopolis was for  my first Cowgirl Weekend about nine years ago.  We had a return visit there a few years ago but it was one place John and Jule's husband, Steve, had never been.  In the heart of Kansas, it could be ungodly hot in the mid summer, but quite beautiful in the fall both colorwise and weatherwise, if timed right.  And we did.


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Having just picked up Fancy, our vet was able to get the Coggins test done quickly for out of state travel and our farrier put shoes on her.  It is a bit rockier down there and not knowing how she handles any terrain, it was good insurance that she not get sore.  We hit the road early Friday morning for the four hour drive; getting there around noon. 


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Our friends were out riding when we arrived, so we took the time to set up camp and then rode a short loop that first day.  The next morning was a perfect fall day and we were on the trail shortly after nine that morning. 


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We barely got a mile when I had to stop and take pictures.  The reflections of the trees on the water was breathtaking and much prettier by eye than can be captured by the camera, but I tried.


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There are a couple caves that provide a great backdrop for photos.


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And the water crossings could be a challenge for some horses, but Fancy didn’t blink an eye. 


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We worked our way though the Red Rock and Horse Thief Canyon, some places walking on sheer rock. 


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And again, stopped for any photo opportunity I could find.


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It was a short weekend for 8 hours round trip of driving time, but well worth it.  Hopefully this last big weekend will carry me through the winter months coming up.  Not likely, but a good thought anyway. 


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John’s Fancy mare did outstanding.  She never refused a water crossing or a climb.  She kept up with the foxtrotters who were leading the ride and loped next to Windy and me.  She is as mellow as Ginger was hot.  A good change for John, I think.  So far, so good anyway. 

Oct 30, 2011

Washington Arabians

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We were coming through Kansas today and had this big rig pass us.  On the door of the truck and the trailer said “Whelihan Farms”.  I pulled out my Iphone and googled and found Whelihan Arabian Farm in Washington.  I seem to recall Paint Girl mentioned going to Oklahoma for an Arabian show and followed MiKael’s trip to Oklahoma, too.   I wonder if this group wasn’t returning from the same show.  They turned west before we hit Nebraska.


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We had a perfect autumn weekend; will fill you in on it soon.  My sympathies to those west and east who had their first snow storm this past weekend.  I know our time will come.  Until not, we are soaking up what is left of fall. 

Oct 27, 2011

Say Goodbye to Summer

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We have had a spectacular fall with sunny days and mild temperatures.  I keep thinking this will be the last one and then we are dealt one more.  This weekend is suppose to be in the sixties and we will be taking advantage of what could be the end of the riding season.


Fancy is bunking with Butter and Butter is not pleased.  But she seems to be the most benign solution right now.  Fancy has a few bite marks but nothing serious.  I let them out to pasture together last weekend and let them run it off until they called a truce.




John and I took our mares out riding the Rescue Road last weekend.  Rescue was a small railroad town; abandoned after the tracks were pulled up.  The railroad bed is now a minimum maintenance dirt road, lined with trees and not much, if any, traffic. If we ride from the lake, it’s nine miles round trip, but we parked a mile up the road so only got 7 miles out of the ride.  Fancy did spectacular and encountering combines, tractors, shredders, cows and ATVs were non-issues for her.



Windy was real good about leading, but I would drop back and see if Fancy would take the lead.  And she did.  She wasn’t too worried about being first or last.  She was very interested in looking at everything around her, but not spooky at all. 




We took her to the farrier this week and it was probably the first time she didn’t behave perfectly.  Her previous owner said she had only had shoes on as a two year old, so she was a little fussy, but not bad.  Considering she has already been camping, trail riding,  moved to a new home, beaten up by a little round mare, blood drawn from vet for health papers and now had nails driven into her hooves,  I think she is due a little fit. 


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Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, we had a little English lesson, too.  You guessed it, a non-event.  A friend asked me if this mare is going to be too quiet for John.  I don’t know?  Definitely different than Ginger.  How much of Ginger’s fire was nature and how much was nurture?  John loved to hot rod on Ginger and she complied.  But it was hard for Ginger to come down and many of his rides were a challenge.  I don’t think Fancy has that much spirit and I can’t help but think John might appreciate a mellower ride; learning the buttons of this new mare.  He can pull out Butter when he has a need for speed. 

Oct 19, 2011

A Fancy Mare


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“Here’s your one chance, Fancy, don’t let me down.”


Although Lucy was a close second and Maggie May was my personal favorite, John has decided we can try the name “Fancy” on our new mare and see if it sticks.   Of course we usually end up with barn names for our barn names….


Blue’s registered name is Reggie Blue.  He came to us as Dewey and that just didn’t roll off our tongue, so we called him Blue.  But though the course of his life with us, he’s been nicknamed Edgy Reggie and Blue Boy.  Baby isn’t registered and when we got her, I named her Duch.   But she has always been our Baby.  When we got Ginger, her name was Katie.  I always wanted a horse named Ginger, so we changed it.  She had also been known as Red, Little Red and Redneck. 


Butter came to us as Butterscotch.  We shortened it to Butter.  But depending on her mood, she is Butter-Butt, Butter-Ball, Butter-Nut, Butter-Rum……


I think I told you Windy was named as such because she was born on an incredibly windy day.  When we sold her as a yearling, her new owner named her some Indian name like Commanche or something like that…  Then the next owner called her Misty.  When she came back to us, so did her name:  Windy.  But her nickname is Poo or Poo-Bear. 


So who knows what the Fancy mare will end up being called in a long run, but for now, Fancy it is.  And due to chilly temps and biting wind,  the above picture is the best that I could do today.  There will be better days for better pictures. 

Oct 16, 2011

A Horse With No Name

I really wanted my first post about “the mare” to include some pictures that shows her really pretty face.  She has such a cute head; very soft eye (except when she unloads in a strange place at dark) and seems very kind.  I’ll toss in some cell phone pictures as the story unwinds and get you some good ones later this week.

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As you might imagine, in my spare time I have been searching Equine.com, Dreamhorse.com, Craig’s List and all the other sites I could find looking for that horse that fits my description in the prior post.  I would filter it to those specifications and find very little in the area I know John would travel to look;  going over 100 miles to look at a horse is just plain crazy, in his book.    So I’d expand the search to include bays, livers or blacks or maybe geldings but nothing tripped my trigger.

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This mare was found buried in a text ad.  She fit some of my criteria but there were no pictures posted.  I can veto a horse on pictures alone and will.  So I requested photos.  In the meantime, we looked at some mares the neighbor had for sale; nice enough, but just wasn’t “the one”.  I’d gotten a few responses to my ad, but none of them really grabbed me.   Although John said he wanted a horse Ginger’s size (14.3hh), I really wanted something over 15hh.

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I put the above picture on Facebook & McCain commented that he thought this was an old picture of Dad on Ginger. 

The ad for this mare said 16hh which John did not want, and I’ve found many (most?) are represented as being a bit bigger than they really are – not on purpose – I think we just estimate sometimes and it happens.  So I was gambling this mare wasn’t a true 16hh.  A few days later the pictures arrived.  Wow.  The pictures matched the description.  She may be the one.

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Okay, this is getting too long…. just get to the story.  She was started by the trainer who started my friend, Joni’s, show horses and who put 45 days on Windy.  And Joni knew the girl who rode her in 4H.  After 4H, she went to a trainer who I think trained Blue before I owned him.  Anyway, small world for just pulling an ad off the internet.

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So we want to go see her and she said anytime except 1:00, when someone else was seeing her.  I thought, “yeah, right”.  Just a ploy to get me there first and buy her.  So I told her we would come after the other buyer, if we had time.  I texted her at 1:30 and asked if they showed.  She said, “yes”, and that they were still there.  Darn.  So I asked her to text me if she didin’t sell.  By 3:30, no text.  I was going crazy.  So I texted her.  “Did she sell?”, I asked?  And the reply was, “I still have her.”  I told John to get his boots on, “we are driving 82.2 miles to see a girl about a horse!”

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We tried, we liked, and we bought.  The loaded her up with Windy, who had made the road trip with us, and headed out to one of our favorite horse camps and trails not far from where the horse was located.  May as well break her in quickly. 

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We put her in a corral at the campground next to Windy, fed and watered them and turned in for the night.  This morning, we saddled her and rode out with a half dozen or so friends.  For not being on the trails before, this mare did awesome.  She looked, but didn’t spook.  She crossed water and learned how to carry a rider down a hill.  Not that these trails were difficult, but for a young mare, her willingness was incredible. 

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No, she is not a true 16hh.  Maybe 15.2hh on her tippy toes; a tad taller than Windy; just about perfect. 

What isn’t so great is her name.  She is registered as Bartending For Money.  So I was hoping she would have a nice, cute barn name.  Nope.  They called her Bar Maid.  Bar Maid??  How could such a pretty horse have such an awful name!  Technically, since she is John’s horse, he should choose the name – but if he did, her name would be Sue or Tits.  (Don’t ask.)  So I will provide a list of names and he can have final say.  I think.  Out of all the ones I have suggested, so far only “Becky” has made the list.  And he wasn’t real keen on that. 

On the top side, she is by Lose Money by Two Eyed Red Buck and out of Moneys Best Dream.  On the bottom, she is out of Bartender Button out of Miss Acey Button by Silver Bartender.  If you are familiar with Pitzer breeding, her papers pretty much include the who’s who of their stallions:  Two Eyed Bartender, Two Eyed Jack, Watch Jo Jack, Mr. Baron Red and Two Eyed Patti.  

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So, what would you name this pretty red mare? 


We Found Her!

Here is a portion of the ad I placed on my own website:

Wanted Sorrel Mare
  Ad Description : Looking for a 2 - 4 yr old sorrel or chestnut mare.  Healthy & nice looking a must; unstarted okay.  We do not want anyone else's problems.  We recently lost one of our good saddle horses and looking to replace her.  QH, appendix or solid paint okay.  Grade horses considered.  Nothing gaited and no spots.  Solid sorrel.  Must mature to at least 15hh and be more lean built than stocky cow bred.  Big butts need not apply.  And please, nothing that is bred or exposed to a stallion......

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And this is who we brought home today.  Not too bad, huh?  Details to come….


Oct 10, 2011

The Dance


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Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared beneath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known you'd ever say goodbye
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance.


Did I tell you about the last ride I had on Ginger?  It was a week before she died (gosh, its still so hard to say that.)  I went to ride with the Platte River Riders on the Oak Creek Trail near my home.  I always consider that trail “my trail” because our Trails Committee made it; cleared all 14 miles of it for horse trail riders.  Anyway, I was on my trail and I could (and have) rode that trail in the dark; I know it so well.


I had a terrible headache that night and almost didn’t go.  But it was so close to home and I knew once I was out, I would feel better.  After we crossed the first bridge, Ginger put on her walking shoes and we were moving.  Before long, I could no longer hear the other riders behind me, nor did I care.  I was in my own little world. 


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That evening as I was riding Ginger, I posted on Facebook, “There are days I just love the red mare. Today is one of those.” And the moments later after a quick sprint across an open area, I said, “She is a different horse when I ride her. Just had the most beautiful 22 mph lope, head down, relaxed. You'd never believe its John's hell bitch. :).”


When I was about five miles out, I realized I didn’t have much daylight left and needed to get back.  When I reached that open area, the moon was starting to rise.  It was dark.  I have never known a more sure-footed horse; I kissed her into a run.  Have you ever ran a horse in the dark?  It was exhilarating!  I’ll never forget that ride.  And like the song says, “I’m glad I didn’t know, the way it all would end…. I could have missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance.”  This was our last dance and it is a wonderful memory. 


I haven’t wrote her official obituary yet.  I will; I owe her that.  One day I will sit down at the computer and it will come easily.  But not yet.


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Blue and Butter used to be part of The A Team.  When we were all riding, they were who the kids would ride.  In shape (well, kind of) and ready to go. 




As the kids rode less and less, they kind of slipped to The B Team.  When I pulled them out last week to start putting some time on either/or, I realized just how grossly out of shape Blue really is and in addition, may need to be adjusted.  Riding him was like going over a washboard!




And Butter-butt?  Well, at first she just had a bad attitude which she has carried around for the last year or so, but when riding her, I also felt something a bit off.  I lunged her and couldn’t see anything.  Then when John rode her the next day, he noticed her off right away.  A vet visit later, she is being treated for an abscess.  So both of The B Team have been demoted to The C Team. 


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Just for the fun of it, I got out who I refer to as The DD Team:  Baby.  Ah, yeah.  I don’t see her moving up in the ranks any time soon. 


We went horse shopping this weekend.  We never found anything but didn’t really expect to yet.  It’s just the first step.  Although its fun to shop, I hate the reason why. 

Oct 8, 2011

An Award

Ever so often in Blogland, a fellow blogger passes along awards to those whose blogs they read.  I would like to thank Arlene at Grey Horse Matters for recognizing Horsetrailriders. 

Like many of you, most of the blogs I read are horse related.  While geographically, Arlene and I are a half a country apart, I have enjoyed following Grey Horse Matters, seeing her beautiful farm via her pictures (the landscaping is to die for!) and sharing weather woes while we wait for the next spring.  And, we both have horses named Blue.  I started following her blog when she rescued Sami and Sweetie, or perhaps read back to the story, but was hooked ever since.  Thank you again, Arlene, for the award and especially for your kind words when we lost Ginger. 


The award has a couple of conditions.  1) To pass it on to fifteen other bloggers and 2) To mention seven facts about me. 

I read a lot of blogs – many of those all of you read – so I will call out a few that may not be on everyone’s blog roll but definitely worth it to click over and visit. 

The Cheyenne Chronicles takes us to Scotland.  Don’t we all dream of riding there someday?  And do any of you who tune in to Cheyenne, read it with an accent like I do?

Mindee’s Our Front Door is another local blogger who I have been following for some time now.  Her blog has given me many laugh-out-loud moments. 

I love Shiloh Horse Rescue.  If I were to ever do a rescue, that is the one I would clone it after.  I love the that she has a “gummie” corral and pigs named Lindsey Lohan and Jimmie Dean.  This is what I would do if I were to win the lottery. 

Horses Are Our Lives:  Brenda is from my area and one of my riding buddies.  She is a trainer by trade and Windy has spent many days at Camp Messick for tune-ups.

Painted Creek Farm and Ranch Girl Diaries:  Bloggers, horse lovers, sisters. 

Funder, of It seemed like a good idea at the time..., is a distance rider from Reno.  I love reading about her rides, her Dixie mare and she is incredibly funny.

Fantastyk Voyage:  Val, and her daughter Sheila, from New Mexico, was a special guest at the Friday Before Mother’s Day ride a few years ago.   It’s great to keep in touch with her via our respective blogs.

MiKael of MiKael's Mania is the “mini-series” writer of blogs – focusing on a story line and bringing it to life over several days.

Maery Rose, also from the midwest is a Cowgirl by Proxy.  She is a writer, mom to dogs and horses and a wonderful photographer. 

When it’s It's Sunny in SD, it is probably sunny here, too, as we share state lines. 

The Barb Wire:  Raise your hand if you want to look and ride like Tamara!  (My hand is up!)

50 + Horses:  The title got my attention even though I wasn’t quite there… yet. 

KC at All Horse Stuff and I have bay mares separated at birth.  And some day, I am going to ride those Oregon trails with her. 

Follow Robin and Steen On the Trail to Somewhere.  And, she is bringing her husband along for the ride.  His blog is Diplomatic Bear

And finally, Debi from Greener Pastures.  I so wish we were closer as I would love to meet her in person.  I think we could talk for days. 

Please - be sure to check out my blog roll to the right of this post.  These are all must reads!

And…. drum roll…. the 7 (dreaded) facts about me.  Hmmm.  I am such an open book that it is hard to come up with something I haven’t already shared…

1)  For those who follow football, although I am a Nebraska native, I am not particularly a Nebraska Husker fan.  Oh, I want them to win and all, but the game is on while I am typing and probably 2.8 out of 3 televisions in our state is tuned in, I couldn’t care less. 

2)  I was 31 when I got married.  We have been together 23 years.  My mom was 30 when she got married (her first and only time). 

3)  My first car was a Ford Torino.  I think it was a 1968 and disgusted that I can’t remember for sure because, for a girl, I am pretty good about knowing years of cars. 

4)  I am a speeder.  It has taken too many tickets and a teenaged boy on our insurance to finally get me to slow down.  But there are still some days I will glance down and be going 80 mph.  My Durango with a hemi stays garaged most of the time and I commute in a 2000 Ford Focus.  It keeps me out of trouble. 

5)  I love to mow the lawn.  And I don't like vegetables.  I know, technically 2 things but I thought they went together.  ;)

6)  Dogs love me.  As I sit here, my “team” of dogs are all nearby and would be on my lap if I’d let them.  (I don’t think they like Husker football either.)

Am I done yet?

7)  There are a few people in my life who can make me laugh until I cry:  my sister and brother, my boss and my friend, Jules.  There are others, but these four come to mind first and foremost.  I have totally lost it in churches, meetings and stores when with one of these culprits.  And in my book, there is nothing better than laughter. 

(PS:  To sound like I am somewhat interested, I just asked John what the score is.  And I have no idea what he just told me.  That is just how interested I am…. )

Oct 1, 2011

A Hard Act to Follow

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Butter has been on an extended vacation but that’s about to end.  It’s time she steps up to the plate and she has some big horse shoes to fill.  I guess for now, she’ll be John’s main ride.  And my back-up horse.  And the guest horse extraordinaire.  She’s kind of a cranky thing; I’m not sure she is going to like these extra duties.


Case first rode Butter in 2004, then owned by a friend of ours.  At that time, she was just three years old - and certainly not an age for a young child - but had a nice start and was a good size for our then seven-year old boy who had been riding for almost three years.  The next year we had an opportunity to buy her and we did. 

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The boy and the horse grew up together.  While good parents would most often find an older horse for a child, Case and Butter did okay together.  Oh, she got away with things she shouldn’t have and as a team they probably were a little too wild, but the boy is now almost 15 and Butter is 11, and they have had a lot of fun and survived so far.   

From boy....
From boy.....

To young man....
To young man....

Butter isn’t a tall horse; she stands just at 14.2hh.  But she is stocky built and although short, I have never felt “too big” on her.  As Case passed me in height, I kidded him about being too tall to ride Butter, his long legs hanging well past her stomach.  He hasn’t rode much this year and she has grown more buddy and barn sour.  The last time we had Butter and Ginger out, I opted to ride Ginger and let John deal with Butter-butt.

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I don’t know what John will do about getting another horse.  If it were me who lost Windy, I would probably finish the season on one of our other horses but would definitely look for my own horse.  But riding isn’t as important to him as it is me.  He definitely had a bond with Ginger.  He loved her spirit and I am pretty sure he feels he can’t replace that with another horse.  It would bore the hell out of him to go look at some well broke horse that lacks the fire he felt with Ginger.  His idea of horse shopping would probably be the loose stock they run through at the end of a sale.    And that’s okay, too, if that is what he wants.

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For now, if the weather holds, we have one more camping trip planned next month.  I asked if he planned to take Blue or Butter and he said Butter.  So I will start putting a little time on her so she is in some sort of shape for the trip.  Her days of leisure are over.