Guest horses are worth their weight in gold around here, as any outfit. And it seems they get old too fast! Some of our retirees live out their lives on the ranch, with the more suitable ones given away to good homes, usually one with kids. Every kid should have an old champion to take care of them, and every old champion horse should finish their working days with the exclusive attention of an adoring kid.
My top hand Jackson and his amazing little Rawsy dog, riding Squirt.
They don't all make the grade of course, but we have never had trouble selling a horse either. Any horse that was born and raised out here, or spend a significant amount of time on the ranch, is generally a good one. The reason we might sell often has nothing to do with the quality. Size is one reason we might sell, although they don't all have to be huge. The ability to get along is a group is very important, being cranky or tending to kick is not an option. We have found that horses that we purchase that are used to being with only one or two other horses, often have trouble being in a larger herd and can get too protective of their buddies. Most of them figure it out though and do just fine.
We've recently acquired three new horses, and I think every one is going to be a keeper. Two are from the area, one is actually out of our stallion and a mare we sold to a friend. Mum had to do some serious haggling and trading to get him....but our retirement aged old friend "Tiny" (who is not 'tiny' at all!), will have a great new home in trade for this young fella. I've put a few good days on him (he came to us already started under saddle) and he is great and getting better. He has been dubbed "Biscuits" as the friend we got him from is a cook (and an excellent one at that), know locally as 'Bernie Biscuits'. :)
Biscuits doesn't look very big in the photo...but he is quite a large fella. But anyone standing next to the long legged "Shmoose" looks short. Ask me...my stirrup on her is above my belly button!!
I purchased "Marie" here from another local source. They had used her on a couple of pack trips but she had not yet been ridden. I haven't spend much time with her, but so far she seems wonderful. Packs the saddle around with no worries about tarps or ropes or much of anything else. She has a wonderful demeanor and a kind eye and I'm looking forward to seeing if she strides out like I think she will. Flashy too hey! Adding a bit of color to the outfit!
We were lucky enough to be able to have our friend Evan Howarth come to the ranch to help us start some colts. Here Cody is doing a great job with Marie.
And now you'll meet "Shmoose".....short for 'she moose'. You can chuckle, but it suits her absolutely perfectly and I'm in love with this mare. There are few things in the world I appreciate more than a good travelling horse and that she is! She is a Standardbred off the track and is absolutely amazing. How she can be so good in the nasty mud and brush is beyond me, but I suspect it has something to do with those incredibly long legs, and of course, the outstanding attitude, which makes all the difference. What she lacks in the beauty department, she makes up for in heart. She is not much of a cow horse (yet), but I do love to travel the miles on her. She has the hugest trot of course, which is super fast but exhausting to ride for long, and the wildest fast running walk I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy. The other day we were flying down a trail (me trotting, Jackson and Cody at a fast lope) and they were laughing so hard I thought someone might hit the ground. Between belly laughs and gasps for air, Jackson said "she runs like a caribou!" Too fun. She even lopes reasonably naturally and seems to have really taken to her new life in the bush. I've been thinking about trying a Standardbred out for a while and if Shmoose is any example, I'm sure impressed so far.
Jackson riding Grey Power (with his ever present cow dog) and holding Shmoose for me. I'm probably looking for a stump tall enough to get back on her....
And so, I started this post sometime ago and time has marched on, as so often happens. Our first guests of the season turn up tomorrow and off to the yonder mountains on Thursday. The weather has been crazy this year. Cold or hot. Knock on wood for some plain old 'warm'.....we could use it. The riders will appreciate it for the upcoming trip, the growing grass could use a break from the frost (not to mention my garden!) and our Rodeo is coming up this weekend as well. We've worked hard to make it a more family friendly event this year and hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate. Its a great 3 days, but so incredibly busy with such a small volunteer pool to draw from. I'm already looking forward to the Monday afterwards. :)
Cheers to you all!
Cheers to you all!
This is a photo of a good job well done. Eli has been really working through the projects around Five Mile this year, and it shows. It has taken a while, but sure feeling like we are able to move forward here occasionally, instead of always just rushing from one crisis to another potential one.