Salvage It

Most of this week did not go according to plan. I won’t bore you with the full extent of the sideways, but suffice it to say a close family friend lost their life, and Scrappy was Scrappy. There’s not much to say about the former except please, please, if you work in a dangerous trade, *never* let your guard down on the job. As to the latter, Scrappy “keeps finding himself in these Scrappy situations,” as one Facebook friend put it, which elicited rueful acknowledging laughter from me.

Briefly: a round of Dreamhorse/CL advertisement prompted immediate response from a friend recommending a potential great home for Scrappy and said home saw the ad independently and also contacted me. I set up to meet D Wednesday morning at the lake trails for her to try Scrappy out and pulled Scrappy Tuesday afternoon to wash his tail, be sure his hooves were as tidy as I wanted, and give him a mash. He was his usual stoic cooperative self.

Wednesday morning? The brush touched his neck and his head tilted like any itchy spot, but not quite. I moved farther down the neck with my hand and when I reached midway up, just in front of the scapula, he folded in half away from pressure. Strong reaction on the left side, 1/3 as strong right side. There was a maybe bite but didn’t seem to be a truly obvious reason for it but it was undeniable and I couldn’t reach the buyer on her cell phone. I didn’t want to leave her hanging and Scrappy was otherwise quite his usual self so with much head shaking I loaded him and went to the lake to meet her.

“He’s a bit of a hot mess, isn’t he?”  Yes, that about summed it up, between the neck and the back history, which I have in the adverts and showed her as well, down to the ultrasounds. Horse people being as we are, she quite liked him regardless, and is keeping tabs on him to come see as soon as he’s feeling better. I separated him from the admittedly bossy Apache that day and the soreness improved daily. I’m happy to say as of this morning Scrappy is non reactive to pressure on either side, though still a bit knotted feeling in front of the scapula, so I’ll give him some more Sore No More massages and days off before we schedule with the potential new home again.

And then, some spirit lifting occurrences to really salvage the week!

We have 9 young bantams a friend gifted to us this summer, 5 roosters unfortunately, but among the few and barely laying hens, there’s a broody hen. As of yesterday, as Funder said–broody hen is a teen mom! A quite industrious one I must say, to the tune of 8 chicks in the last 24 hours. In November no less.

do you hear peeping? errr–sure do! yesterday

12195943_894424628986_6558848895866272644_n

this a.m.

11231102_894566369936_4522628785614994898_o

born to be a mama

12189162_894566335006_688988149828999169_n
Another big big grin moment came yesterday, when buddy T who took me riding on her horse’s last weekend came down to Lake Oroville to play with my ponies. Her trail dog joined us and the first grins of the ride were prompted by Blaze, who T was ponying her dog off of in populated areas. Blaze got a look in his eye and an arch to his neck that I haven’t seen since our brief foray into team sorting, surely that dog needs herding! He thought so the whole ride, leashed or not.

12186535_894484044916_4599989744836001235_o

culvert contemplation

12204681_894575955726_650276289_n

T trotting on Blaze 🙂

12231470_894565232216_1602233972_n

Sheza did wonderfully on the ride, leading most of the way, crossing bridges, trying one snarky dash at the dog instead of spooking at her (woot!), EDP and finally, after some stopping and hesitancy, peeing.

marching at the first bridge

12207917_894576020596_1794424253_n

12233296_894576270096_628907057_n

2nd bridge crossing

12208190_894576085466_296849131_n

a fun note, Sheza is wearing her momma Desire’s saddle pad, pommel pack, and head gear, and the Trailmaster saddle on her is one I bought from Desire’s old owner and Sheza’s breeder years ago 

12214362_894568630406_2004383589_o

The best part though? Trotting, briefly, but long enough to really feel what sort of trot my home raised filly girl actually has. And you guys!!! It’s SMOOTH. Low kneed, efficient, solid, smoooooth. When you have to try to post instead of are being forced to post–ooh!! I am so excited. She doesn’t get to know what she’s capable of for a long time yet, but that taste was glorious!! A long time coming.

12226255_894564583516_1010262024_n

doing some epic-pose mash eating back home, Georgia on scrap patrol

11707820_894484334336_2474221506434096530_o

It was a solid mini course on life this week, ups and downs, all arounds. Critters and natural beauty and connecting with good friends and family are my way of salvaging it. What’s yours?

this morning before the rain

12195939_894554299126_5075900753127987354_n

Advertisements

Autumn Lately

*log monster!!!*

12074809_890255992966_7846758777935372344_n

Betcha thought that was Sheza ^^. Nope, a nearby endurance riding buddy, C, is raising a chestnut filly of her own, and Blaze, Sheza, a friend and I joined them for a quite entertaining cruise at the lake last weekend. We had some hesitation in loading from Sheza and a dramatic high speed reverse exit from the trailer at the lake, which prompted re loading and polite unloading practice, but otherwise it was a grand outing.

C and her red entertainer  12088581_890256167616_4331147426705428232_n

Sheza youngster face

12088405_890408123096_2251991658178853183_n

C and I both hiked a warm up, rode a few walking miles along the river,and hand walked our girls through the awesomely terrifying train tunnel on the way out and back. My friend piloted Blaze as our calming influence for the fillies and it worked perfectly. The girls were pretty tense in the cold echoey, graffiti covered tunnel on the way out, but noticeably more businesslike in their march back through a few miles later.

rider up!

12140986_890256092766_3346984578102281687_o

weary working filly 😉

12080071_890256122706_5615064185556625851_o

Amongst trim and boots appointments the next week, our Shepherd pup Jazzy got spayed and microchipped. It was a very smooth transaction all the way around and she has healed beautifully. I’m always relieved to tick that bit of young dog business off the list!

woe is Jazzy

12079304_890907212916_4676337613032024512_n

some dignity restored a few days later

12122647_891151977406_1493445759642782042_n

Seeing a friend and boot client’s steed move out beautifully in all 4 boots recently gave me an itch to experiment with hind hoof protection on Blaze again, and so I did. For background, Blaze is a bit base narrow and has an old what I can only surmise is interference scar on the inside of his left hind fetlock. I always found that he interfered, shod or booted, in the past, so I ride him up to LD distance bare in the hinds with splint boots, as I have noticed that even bare if he starts to tire he’ll whack that spot.

Bootwise, the Viper model of Renegades is slightly more streamlined than the Originals and I had used a credit to get Sheza some Vipers recently that I thought just might fit Blaze’s hinds. After a quick trim, sure enough the two sizes I had bought her were just right for him and with a quick cable adjustment, I booted Blaze on all 4, with splints, and went for a 10 mile solo cruise.

children in the woods! And humans say there aren’t critters in the shadows

12115661_891041523756_7533239484677292182_n

While 4 boots did not magically make Blaze a stellar walker, nor fix his distracted, somewhat graceless way of going in said walk–they did put rocket fuel up his butt for the first hill we approached! He trotted out nicely in them on a few warm up stretches but when we reached the fairly substantial Visitor Center hill he literally leaped from a walk to a canter and, with some encouragement in carriage from me, speedily ate up a hill that he usually trudges up.

xmas booties..hah!

12088355_891041553696_2991376503668973835_n

We had a great ride, but I did notice that he chewed up the lower part of his splint boots pretty thoroughly. No marks on the Vipers, just the protective boots. Hmmm. Food for thought for a few days.

12096497_891142676046_7163630104223579501_n

We did finally get some real October weather, and aside from a day or two bump, are luxuriating in it still. We had some sprinkles last week and there’s a whisper of rain in the coming forecast, shh, don’t scare it away. Hoof trimming is a bit more fun again with some moisture, let’s be honest, summer hooves are merciless!

momma Desire enjoying a trim spa12115549_891376886686_8679461741406624979_n

RC Aurora, 2 yrs 3 months..

12143260_891493572846_2169513321530967666_n

..and not overly concerned with table manners

12115767_891492475046_326006575234779981_n

Because things come in 3s or so I hear, I had yet one more tire drama this past week. I took my trusty old Orange diesel Ford in to a previously helpful Big O Tires for front tires and alignment and got back front tires and–a $3500 estimate on repairs that “must” happen for safety and to even be able to align the truck. Eyebrows were raised and the truck was transferred to our usual mechanic, who returned the truck driving safely and nicely the next day for $400. Second opinions are clearly worth it these days!  *headshake*

Now we find ourselves back to the Blaze and hind hoof protection experiment. One of my trimming mentors shared a theory on Blaze’s interference online, based on her experience with a gelding who would appear balanced in a trim but then walk away landing more to the outside on a hind hoof, and would then interfere until that was corrected. I hit on that theory with interest because I had noticed Blaze walk away from what I thought was a balanced trim landing more to the outside just the day before. His fronts needed a clean up anyway so I went after his hooves pretty thoroughly before our next outing with trail buddies W and Aqua.

12049112_891992393206_8365555637055116298_n

a solid conditioning ride for the boys

1558411_891992453086_6956527904117843704_n

I didn’t solve the interfering issue, unfortunately, and with a brisk 14 mile ride including cantering sets, Blaze had interfered thoroughly enough to make his scarred leg a bit ouchy to the touch at the end. Humm. I can’t swear I nailed the trim theory, and will be working at it again, but I also probably won’t be subjecting him to hind boots very often in the meantime! He had a thorough warm bath and some Sore No More on his legs after that ride and is having a few days off. His back seems great with the Solstice still, though I’m having my chiro out for a herd check today so we’ll see if that reveals anything in anyone.

That’s about it for now. I hope that those who are graced with it are enjoying this fabulous weather.

sunset

12047000_892145386606_3809991920051356568_n

sunrise

12065886_892200670816_3360945797164440274_n

12119062_891476536986_2058811607715863644_ndog derps!12108124_892341723146_9080913723081459065_n

What’s Next? You Choose

Whether it’s a life design, job desire, schooling notion, thirst for partnership, or just what you want to do next weekend, there’s a pretty good chance it won’t happen quite according to plan. Or maybe at all.  When your master plan becomes an Also Ran, what are you left with?

I had an interesting exchange the other day with another rider who’d purchased what they hoped was “the horse” for endurance–and soon enough had found themselves at an unexpected crossroads. Upon request I shared what my experience with similar issues had been and was met with basically “Well, I don’t have time to mess about like that for [X time]. I’ve wasted too much time already.”

Sure, I suppose when looking back at various paths that it does kind of look like a bunch of messing around when why couldn’t I just see the right step/answer/logical outcome already? Of course, I’ve heard tell of hindsight being 20/20 and I certainly learned many a valuable lesson from past floundering. Anyway, aside from being slightly rebuffed, the commentary highlighted for me the huge absence of her very expressed feeling for me. Born impatient, easily irritated, independent, result oriented, and stubborn, I used to be very much in a headspace about getting things done properly, right now, this minute, no messing around. The thing is, the more that I’ve wrestled with being a good partner to my horses and my husband in life, the looser my grip on control and Plans has become, and the easier it has all become. Horses and life companions are pretty well The Chosen, no obligations born, but brought willingly into the fold. It seems almost counterintuitive to wrestle with the joy you chose but I and surely others have, and I do think it’s the need to Control and the struggle to Communicate that makes it so, human or horse. Mostly these struggles no longer seem to me like wasted time, I’ve come around to thinking that is a true disservice to the times that ultimately make you what you are.

It seems to me that when things haven’t shaken out as planned despite best effort, choosing, and planning, we’re merely left with how we choose to handle it and what we ultimately get out of it. To bring it around to horse specific again, for me, endurance has always been about a sanctioned reason to hang out with my horse all day and all night and then do it again. Would I like to be out racking up completions and filling my photo wall with gorgeous photos? Sure. Will I be doing that again in the future? Sure hope so. Meantime, lately, when I’m asked When, How Long, my answer is When it’s time, if it works out, and when I’m done messing around.

11909900_878789287336_1330685693_n

Catching up at RHE

With Tevis done, Sparky sold, and Scrappy out on trial at a wonderful home within the family, a few boxes were feeling ticked. So clearly it was time to play with my big red filly!

so grown up in the face these days, if not the voice

11891064_877564197426_9140150065403129480_n

Orange adventure crew hiking at Lake Oroville

11836806_876193199916_1102921099321502892_n

stuck between a rock and a wet place..

11056435_876193239836_4696197991543770420_n

this is a lot of work..snack break?

11846721_876193399516_6465898553823504856_n

my home born dreamgirl and the get er done rig! 

11822534_876193439436_1341659283606119875_n

ok just one more picture of her… 🙂

11216579_875547738426_1674387565573486670_n

Fires continue to rage across California, particularly in the north state. Lately if it’s not us it’s someone else we know far too close to the paths of these sudden and terrifying blazes. I volunteer for the county fire scanner breaking news pages when I can and am continually in a state of awe and gratitude to all the firefighters and folks out there protecting us. THANK YOU!

smoky skies do make epic sunsets

11825762_875647438626_6976648869605087138_n

In pink nosed pony news, I’ve been in the market for a full nose fly mask for Apache this summer. First I bought an Arab sized Cashel full nose mask which was quite entertaining but belongs on a Warmblood (literally, a friend uses an Arab sized mask on hers), then a local boot client recommended Equine Sun Visor.  I ordered one up and it arrived in about a week; the mask is beautifully made to specs (choose color/mesh/pattern, with free embroidery) and seems to be a great fit! 95% UV protection and the little fella hasn’t shed it in the 4 days he’s worn it, despite apparently sticking his head in various sticker bushes.

the snoz to protect (pear eating derrpp)..and the snoz protected!

11221526_877075466846_2715414276849023750_n 11826052_877075496786_4717564806074721702_n





stole an afternoon on the water with the pups & husband

11846571_876500833416_9140628095085670060_n

pretty much..

11707659_874106456766_1362282176571755289_n

Jazzy is 4 months+ and busily doubling in size. We’re really happy with her brain and nature as well as her obvious protection and patrol instinct. What a dog she will be!

11826007_876841959796_5958592199342167149_n

11898693_877617470666_1924402321723020052_n

Enjoying the cooler weather we’ve had in the last week, Blaze has to taken to lurking in the shadows at morning feeding then erupting in a flurry of feet and dust and taking triumphant laps around his domain as his surprised human watches. So I put him to work! 🙂  A nice young gal who’s eager to be around horses came up and helped with some dirty work around the place and had a good ride on Blaze. The mighty bouncy trot teaches posting like no other, buahah.

cooling down

11885023_877561941946_7494301453898779601_o

Tack Side note: the wide tree Solstice I bought from my Tevis rider fits Sheza–and Blaze?? Apache is next to try. This saddle must be magic! Also trying a Nurtural bitless bridle on Blaze, he seems to like it

I find myself at an interesting transition period in my herd with no saddle horse to focus on endurance with and absolutely no desire to look for one.  I’ve got a whole lot of interest and enthusiasm and at least some knowledge to apply to this Make Your Own Endurance Horse thing, and with 10 year old project Apache and 4 year old up and comer Sheza I feel like I’ve got some good prospects. The rest, the becoming, is all up to us together!

p.s.  Scrappy’s latest adventures  😀  ❤

11868836_877586762206_541863877_n

Crewing Tevis 2015: It Ain’t Over til It’s Over

This was my fourth year crewing Tevis and as ever there was much to see, plenty to learn, and lots of strategic waiting to do. The weather also threw a nice curveball, as Tevis is always hot but this year it was literally raining en route to Robie, as well at Robinson Flat on Tevis morning. Eventually the sun came out and upped the humidity factor nicely, too. If it wasn’t a big tasty bowl of challenges it wouldn’t be Tevis, right!

raindrops into Robie–found my rider, “chasing” her to camp 😉

1-11823682_873974625956_995409371_n

the mighty Rushcreek Seth, attending to his vittles 

1-11815859_873974615976_1939841766_n

Looking good team

1-11721937_873974596016_1719258177_nThis year there were 10 Rushcreeks vetted into Tevis on Friday, here’s a fun group picture. Also interesting to note, 50% completed, in accordance with overall Tevis completion average.

1-11707862_873492302536_7081191848380362739_n

I did my usual gathering of crew bags (including Dr. Lydon’s this year), dialing in of rider wishes (what do you want specifically met with, tack/clothes changes, highlighting small details not to be overlooked), and met my crew buddy. It was still impressively cool and grey as I headed back down to Auburn to my old friend Motel 6–aaand promptly proceeded to lock my keys in the truck while shuffling gear. Fortunately I’d just devoured a #2 Animal Style from In n Out so I was chuckling instead of raging when I called AAA. That was sorted out easily enough and before I knew it the alarm was pinging in the wee hours and it was time to head for Robinson Flat!

cool unsettled weather & Blue moon over RF, Sat am

11822774_873558205466_5133429710845208985_n

 11828819_873558145586_8019801732282696299_n (1)

I’m always in the first fleet through ..

1-11851214_873974496216_929181728_n

..so we get a nice shady near the road and bathrooms

11822683_873558235406_496502197718696032_n

guestimating off last year’s time, we were ready with the cart. time card and in!

1-11830654_873972155906_178111772_n

always good to check full protocols if you’re a meeting skipper like me..they needed a Pass or Recheck blood draw card as well as time card

1-11844016_873972435346_1808427039_n

Seth is a typical Rushcreek trot-outter: “why human, this is stupid”

1-11816046_873972165886_540186457_n

And a fabulous RC eater, of course

1-11798085_873972430356_787962543_n

after a panicked “we need what sort of extra card to leave?!” (blood draw) sprint

Laura heads merrily out of RF at 11:55

1-11800180_873671348726_7684491412485746690_n

Finishing up at RF means cleaning up your mess including hay, and it’s a good idea to bring your own trash bags as they can (and did) run out.  We piled gear in the wonderful cart–every Tevis rider should have a crew cart, really, and I say that having crewed a buckle entirely solo with no cart— and we headed out, picking up someone else’s abandoned crew member along the way.

Foresthill parking lot was crowded, sunny, hot, humid–pretty well true to form, and I blessed my bright orange truck again as a crawl around the parking lot looking for a parking spot/sliver of shade resulted in truck recognition and being taken in under a boot client/friend’s awning and sweet trailer set up. Thanks again, W!

Bath road was busy as ever with the community and crews cheering the riders in

1-11798488_873972425366_1256293687_n

grey skies again as Laura rolls in around 730 pm

1-11798508_873972420376_872402849_n

  Seth needed to pee so he took a minute or two to pulse down but once he peed BOOM did that pulse drop

1-11798466_873972405406_688519793_n

Foresthill trot out, Seth says “this is still stupid..”

1-11805705_873972175866_1862590343_n

Seth continued to eat and drink nonstop through the Foresthill hold while our rider rested and freshened up, then about 8:40 it was go time again.

1-11811435_873751602896_1736451482494505739_n

This was the latest I (or my rider) had left Foresthill but all was in good order. After giving another buddy a ride I headed over to the Stadium and spent about 930 pm til 4 am switching between refreshing the Tevis webcast, chatting, and napping in the bleachers under a horse blanket. I made sure Seth’s stall was freshened up with vittles and poo removed, then closer to time brought the cart down to the Finish crewing area with hay and a mash pan and blanket ready.

In a bit of delirium and with the stadium announcer tiring I didn’t even hear or see Laura come in and do her victory lap, for all that. There is video (trying to add it) and he looks great trotting loosely around the stadium and under the banner. In the crewing area, Laura hollered at me where I was apparently sleeping with my eyes open and I snapped to it and whipped off tack and we headed in to vet.

1-11850813_873972395426_1354152352_n

…and then Seth looked a little funny and we needed to recheck.

You could have knocked me over with a feather and I was doing my best imitation of a guppy fish at that point. We’re a low key team especially based off our success together last year, so I didn’t even have a cooler of ice to hand to get ice on his legs (lesson learned!!), but fortunately Laura has many friends and some ice wraps popped up pretty quickly. Begging pardons and with pleases I reestablished how much time we had left to recheck and she went for it–and sure enough Seth was slightly off on the right front and they were pulled at the Finish. While he did look good trotting in, once adrenaline wears off sometimes things are revealed, and that was that.

So now you know why the title makes sense. I think Laura said it best, classy and realistic to the end, so I’ll leave you with her message:

“For everyone who thinks I finished Tevis…I actually didn’t. Even after crossing the finish line after hundred miles, horses are required to be sound at a trot to receive a completion – and Seth was off on his right front. There’s a video that Jen Smith has that shows him trotting his victory lap and he’s not unsound at all. Sometimes things like that happen. It really sucks, but you know, if this were easy, everyone would do it. Thanks for all your support and best wishes.”

P.S. Seth is looking and moving great, picture by L as of the a.m., vacuuming up his vittles and bright eyed for the next adventure. Safe travels East, my friends

post tevis seth

This Week at RHE

I love working with many different horses, but I also really enjoy seeing them find their person and move on in life–and hopefully blossom. Of course any time a horse leaves your possession it’s a giant risk, but as I don’t have the resources to keep every horse ever, it seems most useful to try to improve the creature in some way and set it sail on the very best tides you could pick for it. That surety in my mind has led me on a winding path of ponies that has been vastly informative, inspiring, depressing, and never, ever regretted.

My latest foray into other people’s ponies was Sparky, who came home in early May to get ridden/potentially sold. A big 10 year old coming off 17 acres with prior endurance experience, we trained about 80 trail miles together all told, and completed 3/3 rides in our few months together (WW35/30, GC50). His new match came along quite quickly when he was listed, and it was my very great pleasure to send him on his way with a caring local endurance rider this past Sunday. She brought me a 20 lb bag of carrots as a thank you–soo thoughtful!!

11791722_872345810116_1391466332_n

 Meanwhile, on the rest of the ranch…

Sparky’s departure meant Apache was alone on the east side of the property..so I gave him a mini! 

10982277_872357731226_3207258575772747326_n

a quick reminder from Napoleon just what sort HE is

11742658_872357801086_1408911232981423242_n

meanwhile, Desire’s seroma is diminishing nicely

and Melinda’s Farley has been moving some fillies and water and stretching her sassy wings

11752575_871908965556_8164179017899874652_n

2 bantam roosters having dinner   😉 

11794306_872454786726_8353395643211298400_o

Rory was fabulously lame on Monday, she led herself on her lameness exam of course

11796215_872545564806_8090584341269721937_n

…and 90% better the next day..and fine today. #FillyFirstLamenessDrama

11050639_872561293286_3314155162098292607_n

11800476_872844321096_7156143229960233661_n

love my big silly fillies!

and 4 month Jazzy keeps on growing! 

11760097_872453768766_5943607772858617965_n

And now–the heat is very much back (105 anyone?) and a fire started a mile away from us as I was in Auburn with my Tevis rider. It was a rather stressful drive home and these were views from our driveway as the amazing firefighters and air teams hit it with everything they had. They were dipping out of ponds at the bottom of our pasture with incredible speed for hours as ash rained and we huddled around the fire scanner. The fire headed away from us as of this morning and is currently 45% contained. Such a scary season. Many many thanks yous and prayers for the firefighters!

11822766_873090762226_8034531790202289772_n

11825019_873090742266_2373200658541485438_n

If things calm down…off to Tevis to crew tomorrow morning!