Equestrian Life


Friday, May 23, 2008

Ride the West!

Last weekend, Monty and I packed up to head to Spokane for Ride the West. We ended up leaving town late Friday night, due to my work schedule, but landed in Spokane at about 8:30 pm. Just in time to see Susan Kirk do her presentation with Mac of EMM fame, during the evening festivities. I unloaded Monty and immediately started walking him around the fairgrounds. It was a prime opportunity to introduce him to loud speakers, crowds, all kinds of pedestrians, horses, carts, vendors, golf carts and general chaos! I introduced myself to Charles Wilhelm and asked about his mustang. I was disappointed to find that he had not brought her to the event. We met several nice people that asked all kinds of questions about the big bodied mustang hanging around the in gate. Even though he had not been in any environment like it, he handled it with ease. He amazed even me, as I explained to the crowd that he was a wild horse 68 days ago!

We met up with the troupe from the Border Patrol, all riding BLM mustangs!! They invited me to ride with them in the evening presentation!! Our first night started off with a bang!! He did great and never once spooked! I then rode in the darkened outdoor arena for about 40 minutes. I settled him into his stall and headed to the hotel about midnight.

Saturday morning started early getting ready for our shot at the X-treme Trail Challenge. I attended the morning walk-through of the course, carefully planning out my route. I knew that Monty was not going to get the lope and flying lead change so I planned ahead for an alternate performance. I also knew that I was going to be slow and steady, carefully introducing him to the obstacles and not rushing him. We had a 6 minute time limit and I hoped to complete as many obstacles as I could. I was not sure how he would handle the cows, but hoped he would be similar to Patriot and not bat an eye. Many thanks to Tracey Westbury, a fellow WSMC, competitor for filming the historic event!

At the in gate

Brush walk-over

Water crossing


Once again, I am amazed by this incredible horse. Take a look at the video to see for yourself.

He did great for a horse with less than 90 days of training. His score was a respectable 78 out of 110. We did not get to complete the last two obstacles (ran out of time), we skipped the mound of precarious dirt between the water entries and got a zero on the gate. A zero is still a good score. You get a zero if you execute the obstacle. You can get 3 extra credit points and negative 5 penalty points per obstacle. We zeroed the gate because it FELL OVER on us as we went through it! LOL

After the course, we headed over to the BLM adoption area and met up with Ramona from the Burns corrals. I offered to let her take spin on Monty around the grounds. She took me up on it. When they disappeared around the corner I commented, "Um, Monty has never been out of sight from me yet. I wonder how he'll do??" They reappeared and all was well.

I asked Tracey to show me Sandy! What a cutie. He was content to hang with the other mustangs, pretending he was still wild. Faker!

I put Monty away for a few hours while I wandered the show and vendor halls. It was announced that Doug and Kathy Vouchell were giving a "Problem Solving" riding clinic at 6:30 pm for $40 and there were spots available. I jumped at the chance and tacked up Monty for a ride. Our problem? None really, baby horse, let's work on forward and shoulder control! Monty impressed me and the crowd, for his good nature and how far we had come in a few rides. Doug and Kathy wished me good luck in Sacramento and told me "You'll do great!"

I rode around the grounds, introducing Monty to more people and general fairground paraphernalia. I was standing there with 6 people surrounding and petting Monty when Charles Wilhelm drove by in his golf cart. He shouted in jest, "Are you trying to make me look bad?" "Yep!" I said. "It's working!" A funny exchanged between competitors. I put Monty up for the night and fell into bed around midnight.

Sunday was a lazy day. I slept in and arrived at the fairgrounds around ten. I left Monty to eat his breakfast while I did some shopping. I realized that I own just about everything a horse person needs, so I spent very little. I guess I am saving myself for Sacramento!

I decided to tack Monty up in my Dressage saddle, just to see what he would look like. Not bad, if I say so myself! We headed over to the BLM area and asked a few volunteers for some help. I needed another person to man the metronome while I trotted Monty around the round pen. I am on the search for a song with his trot tempo and I didn't know what that tempo was! It's 140 beats per minute, just in case you were wondering. He then spent the next hour tied to the round pen while I chatted with potential Mustang adopters. Several people came by to pet him while he dozed in the sun.

Later, we again wandered around the fairgrounds, meeting more people and seeing more sights. At one point I decided I needed lemonade. Imagine the sight of a mustang with his head inside the vendor booth licking lemons. You get the picture. How many people stopped me from leaving to take one more picture? Lots! It was right about this time that Charles showed up again. "I hope you win!" he said. "I'll do my best!"

We headed over to the X-treme Trail Challenge Finals to watch fellow WSMC trainer Keith Danielson compete on a clients horse. He had made the top twelve spots. Very cute horse, lucky owner. They did very well. Keith did not bring his horse, Tina, either. Again, I was disappointed.

Monty stood quietly for about an hour while I watch the finals. He was surrounded by a crowd, but he dozed peacefully. After that, we packed up and headed home. It was a great time and Monty was fabulous! I am kicking myself for not carrying my camera everywhere. I had so many great photo opportunities with Monty in all sorts of situations that would boggle the mind of most horses!

A day of pampering...

Another glorious sunny day, just in time to prepare for Ride the West. We took advantage and spent the day with more firsts. Monty let me relax with him in the sun. It's the first time he has stayed down in his stall with me.

Then, the morning started off with Monty's first trim. His feet were in great shape when he arrived. I wanted to wait to prevent him from becoming sore (like Patriot) on any rocky trails we would encounter. Melinda Irhazy of MiShoer Horseshoeing gave him a great barefoot trim. As expected, he stood like a champ.


Melinda, you have received many compliments on your work!

Next, Dale Pearson, our local (and best!) equine chiropractor, gave Monty an oil change and alignment. :) Monty was a bit nervous about Dale. Then, I realized that he was the first male person to work with Monty. Note to self! After a while, Monty settled and Dale was able to get to work.

Turns out, Monty had a pretty severe kink in his spine! It's a wonder he didn't boot me when I climbed aboard! He had been consistently stiff to the right. Dale set things straight again and Monty is doing much better bending to the right now. Whew! Dale will return next week for a recheck and alignment.

Finally, Monty received his first bath! Ok, water and Monty are not the best of friends, but he tolerated my soapy advances. I hope to practise a few more baths before Sacramento, as it's been far too cold to bathe. In fact, it's raining right now and my horses are still wearing their winter blankets!!! UGH!

Practicing for Ride the West...

So, I am going to go back, to the week before last weekend..uh, I mean, 12 days ago?? Uh, whatever, I mean, before now...

Once again, Monica Bretherton, from the Seattle Post Intelligencer came by to see my newest wild child for my latest Wild Child Event, du jour. :) This time, I told her to bring her riding clothes, 'cuz she was going to get to ride Monty!

She complied and came all dressed up to ride "English"! Now, I'm not surprised, since she knows I ride English, but little did she know that today she was going cowgirl! lol

She ended up staying several hours. You know when grrls get to chattin' about horses, you are in for a long day. I was happy she was able to stay for so long, because I was really in need of a ground crew. I was preparing for Ride the West and I needed to practise a few of the obstacles that we would have to negotiate.

After jointly brushing and tacking him up, I showed her his trailer loading expertise. We moved into the round pen and we showed off his tricks and skills.
At Ride the West, I was competing in the X-treme Trail Challenge. It's a trail course that was going to test Monty's trust in me and his ability to handle pressure. But I also knew from last year, that there were going to be a few obstacles needing a bit of an introduction before tackling them on the big day.
Dragging a pole, carrying a tarp, moving a bucket from one place to another, opening a mailbox, moving a bucket filled with rocks, pushing cows, opening and closing a gate, entering water, pushing a ball, backing through and side passing over poles were all possibilities.

I don't own cows, so that was out. But I was able to set up most of the other scenarios. With Monica's help, we introduced Monty to many of the tasks that he would face.

Then, it was Monica's turn! A few quick ground work exercises to establish trust and she climbed aboard. She struggled with what to do with her long legs! We had adjusted my stirrups, but not enough. Eventually, she just dropped them, as Monty has a trot as smooth as silk. No need for stirrups!

She did a great job and Monty did too! Thanks Monica for coming out. I had a great time!

If you want to read the article she wrote about her visit, click here.

A girl and her horse...

Monty's pretty much been sitting around sucking his thumb since I returned from Ride the West. He was fabulous, by the way, but more on that later.

First, I want to go back in time and tell you a little about a visitor Monty had.

Do you remember Kim and Tami from the Wild Horse Sanctuary? I met them while I was stuck in Redding, CA? Well, a few weeks ago, they stopped by to check in on Monty's progress. Tami brought her daughter, Staci (that's Staci with an "i", mind you!) :) Well, let me tell you, Monty is in LOVE with Staci! Not to mention that she is in love with him!

Of course, I suggested that she and her Mom buy Monty. :) She was game but Mom? Well, not so much. Not because Monty isn't the greatest horse on earth..kid talk you know. But because they flat out cannot afford him, fully expecting his asking price to be well into the thousands. Hey Staci, I'm in love with him, too, and I won't be able to afford him either. :( sniff...

It was a cold and stormy day that started out with a bit of sun but ended in rain, as you can plainly see from the video. Look at that! A video! Staci and Monty were practicing "Heel"!

Staci's Mom is a barefoot trimmer and was having a blast checking out Monty's "wild" feet. I had not yet had Monty trimmed, so she was able to see what wild feet look like. Tami complimented Monty on his manners. "He's better about his feet being done than most of my domestic clients!" I was very proud of my boy!

More press..

I wanted to point you to some nice articles written about Monty and his adventures.

Wild Mustangs Learn New Tricks - Not exactly accurate, but it was nice to be interviewed while wandering around the showgrounds at Ride the West.

Wild Ride - Monica Bretherton of the Seattle PI came by to meet Monty and take him for a ride.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm in, again!

2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover Congratulations!

You have been selected to compete at the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover to be held September 18-21 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Either I'm nuts or this is becoming a very bad habit!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day 51 until...uh, now

Patriot, my resting nomad

People have asked if the reason I am so quiet on this blog is because I don't want potential bidders knowing how great Monty is. Well, I know for a fact that blogs tend to make these horses more expensive. And I would LOVE to keep him for myself. But, the real reason is that I have been devoting my spare time to working with Monty not blogging. I'm sorry for the delay.

The grass is here! But the cold weather remains.

Monty and I are doing well and we are having a great time. He has to be one of the nicest horses I have ever had the privilege to work with. You all know how much I love Patriot. Don't tell him that Monty has a better mind and a much nicer body! His trainability is excellent and he handles change very well.

My good looking boy

I have so much to tell you but have so little time these days. I'm doing my best to ride and work Monty every day. We have gone trail riding several times both with a group and solo. He does excellent by himself. Other than that little fit he threw on our first trail ride, he has had no other herd bound tendancies. He IS at the top of the herd ranking system at my house, so he could really care less about his barn mates.

Rolling in the round pen

I have also used him for lessons and taught newbies how to train wild ones. He is an excellent school horse. He tries very hard to understand commands given by greenies and never takes advantage. He has had 5 new people ride him in the last two weeks alone. Abbey, had never been on a horse in her life. Now she can say that her very first ride was on a wild mustang! Needless to say, she is now horse crazy!

Ashley negotiating the cones

Abbey's first ever ride on a horse

Abbey is hooked!

Monica from the Seattle PI taking a spin

His confidence makes him excellent for flagging colts. He is helping me train my stallion, Montana. He and Montana are neighbors. I think they have little conversations during the night, as Montana is coming around quicker by the day. I think Monty is letting him know that I'm not so bad.

Ashley and Abbey grooming Monty

Monty and I will be attending Ride the West in Spokane next weekend. We have been invited to ride in the evening Spirit of the West show and help with the BLM wild mustang adoption. We are also signed up to compete in the Extreme Trail Challenge. It's a trail course on steroids! While Monty only has a few dozen rides on him, we are going to give it a go. It will be excellent exposure and far more than what they will ask of us in California. Mostly, it's for the practise and to see how he handles the pressure. It's as close as we are going to get to Cal Expo up here in the Northwest. We will meet up with fellow competitors Tracey Westbury and Charles Wilhelm with their mustangs and hang out with Susan Kirk. Susan competed with me in last years Extreme Mustang Makeover. Looking forward to seeing you guys!

More soon. I promise!!