Sunday, November 30, 2008


I checked the weather yesterday and they were calling for snow showers. I really didn't think it would happen because the daytime temps seemed too warm. I think snow is pretty, but I really am not ready for it. Not yet.....

This is why I am NOT a weather person! They would fire me! :-)

The above picture is a before sunrise picture.

This picture is taken mid morning.

Since the mini's have arrived, they have taken over the mustang pen, so Ace and Joker are out with the donks. Tandee has made a truce with Ace...they are sharing Tandee's grain bucket. I am impressed because Tandee is kind of a witch sometimes. Which is why I love her so much! I don't let him in to 'share' too often. She gets her Senior feed and is so hard to keep weight on.

Brian left early this morning - heading out of town a few days for work. We took out a couple of big round bales last night and I am glad! The ground is very sloppy right now.

All the other critters are doing good too. Everyone is dressed in their woolly-bear suits...I guess Winter is on it's way whether I am ready or not.

At the 2008 EMM while visiting with the Kokal's, they were telling us how great it was riding in the snow in New Hampshire...I am not a good winter person, but I do have this part of me that is ready to take them up on their invitation and have some fun in the snow. This year isn't going to work...maybe another time. Our snows here are unpredictable, and the few years we did get a good snow, I was not riding that much. Some of my best rides in my late teens and early 20's were in the snow...I am ready to start living that free again! :-)

I am going to write my Grandpa a letter now....
Hope everyone is doing well!

Until later...Karen and Tripp

5 1/2 months...that is how long Tripp has been here.

I made time to ride this weekend, and it occurred to me that Tripp has only lived here for 5 1/2 months...and look at him! That really is not a big amount of time, and we both have come so far! And to top it off, he has not been ridden since we got back from Texas...and he did wonderful!

The weather was pretty good all things considered, and I decided I was going to ride. I knew it would not be a long ride because we had things to do, but all I needed was a few minutes. A couple of days before that I trimmed his front hooves. The backs are a little bit long, but not bad, so I didn't mess with them. Will get them another day.

I saddled him up and we walked around - over the dirt pile, over the wooden ground feeders that Brian built, and back over the dirt pile again. He seemed pretty calm. Oh yeah, just like his Momma, that is me, he has put on some poundage...I had to let the rear girth out a little bit. :-)

As I was leading Tripp out to the round pen, Millie was a little concerned. What is that THING on her back that looks like cow hide? Makes me think about the joke about the filthy mouthed parrot who finally got thrown in the freezer...then when it came out if was well behaved but wanted to know what the turkey did to deserve that. She followed us to the pen.

I did a little bit of flexing while Millie watched. It really did bother her that I was up there.

I rode around the pen for a few minutes then we were ready to head out! Tripp was very stiff moving and he kept trying to go back up to the barn. It was not a fight - he was just trying me. We finally came to an understanding and we rode down by the pond and back up the hill.

There is another dirt pile on the hill, so we rode over that. Before we left for Texas he would let me lead him over the dirt piles, but he didn't want me on him while he went over them. Today he did wonderful! I was very proud of him...especially for him not being ridden since we got back from Texas!

After our short ride I headed back to the round pen. I wanted to try out his canter. He pinned his ears and swished that tail, but never did butt hop. Yay! We worked both directions, then called it a day.



I was up early so headed out about 8:00 that morning to ride. I have not done that in years...and it was wonderful! It was so peaceful and quiet. No round pen for us on this day - Tripp was very calm so we walked around a bit, then we headed out. We trekked thru the woods, around trees, over logs, along the pond bank, thru a big washed out area at the top of the pond bank, and even thru some ugly mud. We had one little moment when he got mad - he thought we should be done and I didn't. I won...we weren't. It was a beautiful morning!
Most of the time I was by myself, but Brian had gotten up and snapped a couple of shots from the top of the hill. They are a little blurry because he had to use the zoom to it's max.

Millie was still concerned about what I was doing to Tripp - Tripp is one of her buddies. She kept an eye on us.

We are just enjoying our ride...

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We get to babysit Three Mini Horses and a Mini Donkey!

Well, I am always getting myself into something! A girl at work asked me about places to board horses. Her mother-in-law lived 2 1/2 hrs away, moved here and wanted to get her babies closer. Boarding 4 critters, even if they are mini's, would add up...especially with winter coming on. So I offered to babysit them for as long as we need to. They won't eat much, so that won't cost her much, and taking care of them won't add much more time to what we already do.

There is a mini donkey who likes people as long as the people are minding their own business away from her! Her name is Summer.
The halter that is on her is mine - we put it on her in the trailer and one of the guys unhooked the lead when we got to the pen. I did finally get a hold of her and we had to wrestle a couple of times...but I finally got it off. I have decided wrestling a mini donk is much easier than my standard donks! But my choice would still be to have a gentle one. I will be working on that.

Here is Joker meeting the group. Just a lot of curiosity.

The black mini is Ruby. She has a white splotch on her forehead, and her Mom says that white spot turns black in the summer after she sheds off.
The buckskin colored one is Robin, and her baby is Hood. Get it? Robin Hood???? I thought that was cute.

Hood is 2 1/2 yrs old - and the only one I know the age on right now. Forgot to ask on the others...Duh! Hood is probably only 24" tall - I am going to measure all of them when Brian gets home and can help me. Hood has dwarfism, his front legs are bowed out, and he has 'banana hooves.' I have never seen a mini like this up close...just in pictures. I will be doing a lot of research - especially on the hooves. He walks on the sides of his feet and I just don't know if that can be fixed or not. I have never been in a position to have to know.

Over the July 4th weekend we saw a horse show that was mini's and small horses.
We really did enjoy most of the sporty horses and ponies, but let's just say that trying to breed smaller and smaller has screwed them up, and I was disgusted and saddened by what I saw. People bragging on the height of their stallions, but the eyes were bugging out of their heads and their foreheads were bulged out, and their legs were angled way in or way out. It broke my heart. Now little Hood is dealing with the results of all of this breeding. And how do you know if it is going to happen to yours or not? Is there a way?

Here is Ruby, Hood and Robin.

Here is Hood walking over the landscape timber, which gives you an idea of his height. I think it is a 'him'....I will be checking soon. Summer the mini donk is behind Hood.

All of the horses are very friendly, and they were talking to me after everyone left. I hung out with them a while just to visit. I had to get a smaller water container for Hood. He can reach the other one if it is full, but once they drink it down it will be tough. I have one of the smaller feed pans with water in it. Hood has captured my heart!

As you all know we got two new cats. The cats are doing fine - they run and play all the time and are a lot of fun. Someone mentioned that my old cat Bob didn't get his time with the camera, so I got a picture of him. His back looks choppy because I had to cut hair balls out of his furr. He can't groom himself as good as he used to, and when I was gone for work for three weeks, nobody wiped him down with a damp towel like I do almost every morning. So I cut the ugly chunks out. I thought that would be more pain free than trying to comb them out. Here is Bob just hanging out.

Here is Thomas trying to invite Bob to play - the size difference in the picture is for real! Bob has gotten smaller with age as we all do (I am not waiting to get old - I am just waiting to get smaller! Ha ha) and Thomas is young and a big boy!

Everyone else is doing great too! The only ones looking forward to winter are the dogs. Two full bred husky's and a husky cross. The rest of us are already growling about it!

Have a great day!

Karen and Tripp

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ace and Joker .... Get out of jail free card!

What a beautiful day! It is a little breezy and somewhat chilly, but not as bad as yesterday. I let the donks and my Arab mare, Tandee, in the yard to munch grass for a couple of hours, then I decided to let Ace and Joker out of their pen to hang out in the donk's area. They went to the fence where the other horses are, and there was some pawing and squealing, but they worked it out.

I was trying to get a picture of them lined up side by side so we could see the height and size difference, but they would not cooperate. This picture shows Ace's withers a little higher than Jokers.
(Joker on the left; Ace on right)

Joker and Ace on one side, and the donks and Tandee on the other. Jester is on the other side of the house - he was camera shy.

The boys are just enjoying the day...who can blame them.
(Joker on left; Ace on right)

Before I let them out I was moving them around the pen - I wanted to see how much they would both pay attention to me. They did not do too bad...I was happy. Ace is thicker around his middle than Joker is. There are parts of Ace that are more mature looking than Joker. Speaking of 'parts'...I still need to do an inspection to find out of the goods are there or gone. I really am hoping he has been gelded!

I am headed back out to play with critters.

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Our first declawed cat....

The big orange long haired cat is Thomas. Thomas is declawed on the front, and he is our first declawed cat. I know a lot of people do it, and that is fine for them, but it isn't something that I agree with, so I have never done it.

Thomas is very big, and this is as close to having a tiger as a pet that I will probably ever get. The first time he climbed up on me and started making dough, and I did't get poked with claws, I found myself saying "Hmmmm, so that is what this declawed thing is all about!" Ha ha! Watching him go thru the motions of scratching on the couch is amazing too - he enjoys it, but there is no clawing noise and he isn't tearing stuff up. It still isn't something I would do - sofa is just 'stuff', but I will say that I don't mind that he is. :-)

CoCo is much smaller than Thomas, and she is a little bit smaller than my old cat Bob. BUT she has a great big personality and she does have claws, as my arms and hands prove. She is 2 yr old so still has lots of years of 'play' in her. She does scratch on everything, and I need to go find her a log to claw on.

CoCo reminds me of a cat we had when I was a kid. She would be laying on the bed and if she felt our feet move around her, she would attack with no mercy! CoCo does that! I woke up the other night having a weird dream, and it was her attacking my hand! Here she is in her sweet pose...

These two new cats get along great, they love to play, and I am sure they will keep the mice out of the house.

Bob, my old cat, is 18 or 19 yrs old, and he growled Thomas down when Thomas wanted to play. I was glad - I knew I didn't have to worry about them tormenting him while we were at work. Bob has adjusted well, and they can all sniff and eat by eachother without too much drama.

That is the saga about the new cats...

Until later...
Karen and Tripp who doesn't know about the new cats. :-)

Millie decides to live with us....

I came home early from work one evening this week to take the dogs and cat in for their shots. I looked out the back window and noticed Millie was walking around the barn lot. I ran out there to shut the gate and tie it on all 4 corners. Millie taught me a few days before this that she can walk up, bump me out of the way, and lift the gate panel with her horns!

Here we have QH yearling Rico, Mom Susie, Millie walking away disgusted, and Red Bear hoping that they get to go back out on the hillside. Sorry guys...opening weekend of deer season coming up!

I needed a diversion, so I brought out a bucket of grain and that caught Millies attention. She came back as I strategically placed small grain piles all over the place so nobody would fight. Flash the pony decided he could push Millie off her grain pile and check to make sure I didn't leave anything in the bucket. Millie just can't believe her eyes...that this little wippersnapper would dare try to move her! :-)

The evening after the vet visit I ran out to check on Millie - she was still there. I gave them grain and she shared her pile with two of the horses! No camera that night because it was dark. So yesterday I tried to recreate what I had done. Not quite the same effect, but close enough to make me smile. Millie has bumped them with her horns, and they all seem to respect her. Altho there are three of the horses (Flash, Halo and Nevada) that are not afraid to back up to her and encourage her out of the way.

Here she is sharing a small pile with I don't know who...I think it might be Epona because of the size of her hooves. We have several brown horses. :-)

Millie and Halo decide they can eat in peace. Grain is a treat around here, so it is in their best interest to get along.

Flash, Wendigo and a muddy Tripp share a small pile.

I usually only give grain as a treat (unless someone needs extra groceries) and will put it in buckets and feed pans. Since Millie came around, and I realized what it was like to have a heifer with no manners, it is just best to put the piles where I can and get out of the way. Millie doesn't mean to be pushy - she just is.

Millie has decided she will stay up with the horses for now...and that is good. She still looks out over the hillside when she hears Ferdinand this morning. But she still chooses to stay.

Joker and Ace are doing good. They are still in the 'mustang pen' and yesterday morning and this morning Joker was running around and bucking and farting! It is real cold and frosty, and I think they are feeling good. The only thing that made me nervous was the mud - we had a steady rain that lasted most of the day, and we have not had enough sun to dry things out. It is very slick out there. Bummer!

That is all I know for now.....

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rescue Mustang has a name.... was unanimous! His name is Ace. Brian likes Ace because it goes with Joker. Jill likes Ace because of the double meaning of Brian's take on it, and that little mustang's Ace in the hole was his personality and his brains! :-)

Ace and Joker are getting along great, and I am hoping that Ace rubs off on Joker. Ace is such a level headed guy. I went out to feed this morning and it was still dark, but Ace was standing in the pen waiting. He is cautious, but let me come up to pet him. When I get to the withers and back, he slowly takes a step back until we are back in that comfy zone of his. That is okay. It isn't a race to see how fast I can be a human curry comb.

I usually give Joker a hand full of grain as a treat once in a while, and I noticed that Ace knew what that sound was. Slowly he came up to eat out of my hand. Then I needed a picture of them together, so I put a little bit in the pan. No fights! Yay! Ace is just a bit taller than Joker. I imagine that once Ace gets his muscles back, that difference will be larger.

Another one of them standing close...not great but you get the idea.

Well, I started this last night and just got it done this morning, Tuesday the 11th.

I will go ahead and post this and will update in a day or two. Tonite I will be taking three dogs and one cat to the vet for their annual shots. Usually I have a helper, but not tonite. Yep, this will be fun! :-)

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our First Mustang Rescue...

I have loved mustangs since I found out what they were. My Dad brought home some of the BLM paperwork - this was back in the 70's - and I had this big dream of being able to adopt a mustang someday. Many years later I met Brian, now my husband, and I had mentioned wanting to adopt a mustang. I took him to a local adoption so he could see what it was all about, and he said "We will make this happen." We knew the BLM was going to be back the following year, so we gave ourselves that goal to save up and get the required facilities. As of now, we have 6 branded mustangs, and our surprise mustang baby who will be 3 this next year.

One thing we knew we wanted to do someday was rescue mustangs (I have also added burros to that list). Brian and I had been to several horse sales specifically looking for mustangs that were going thru the ring. We never did find any mustangs, but it always broke my heart to see the other horses with no place to go. Many tears would flow....

Very recently a friend of mine, Jill, e-mailed me and told me about a sale she went to and horses were not going for anything. This particular facility is known for having decent sales with better than average prices for horses. Not this time. It is getting close to all know the drill. There were a couple of horses she had her eye on, and one was a little brown mustang. Jill is a lot like me - very emotional when it comes to things like this, and even know we know that we cannot save them all, we never stop dreaming about trying.

Jill told me that this little mustang came into the ring by himself, and just sniffed around. He didn't get all worried like a lot of the others being run thru there. The auction staff were not poking and prodding the horses along, and they let this little guy do his thing. They tried real hard to get a $5 or $10 bid on him, but nothing. Then the buyer whose number everyone knew and dreaded got him. Jill said that the auctioneer and the buyer both looked very sad. There were so many good horses going to the same buyer.

With some cooperation from the auction facility, she found out who the buyer was and she contacted him. He was very nice to her, and wanted them to find homes too...
In the meantime I e-mailed her back and told her I would rehab the mustang. That was early the next morning. I was not able to be at the facility at the time the guy was, so Jill went to pick the horse up for us, and we went to her place to transfer him from her trailer to ours.

Thanks to Jill, this little mustang is saved from an unknown fate, and we have our first rescue!

He needs some groceries. His coat looks healthy and his eyes are very soft and clear. His feet are growing out at funky angles, so I am also going to take pictures of his feet before I start trimming - he will be my first Case Study!

He is in the pen with Joker, and he is only a couple of inches taller than him. I split them up and started moving the new guy back and forth a little bit. He was afraid, but not crazy about it. He has a very level head on him and is confident and casual in his movements.
He decided he was tired of moving back and forth and all of a sudden stopped and walked up to me. Yay!

He let me touch his nose. The halter he had been wearing left dents on his face. There are not any rub marks, and it really doesn't appear that it is too small. Just that it squished down the hair - he is very fuzzy, which hides the ribs.

He did not mind his ears rubbed at all. He was loved by someone...

He got to where he would walk up to me and when I would reach out to touch his face, he would drop his head in a very relaxed manner.

While he was letting me pet him, I thought why not try the feet to see what happens there. He let me pick it up! I only tried the one...didn't want to push my luck. He was still nervous and I just didn't want to undo what I had done. I want him to know he can trust me.

Jill said that the facility had the BLM papers during the auction, and the buyer had already packed them. He will be mailing them to Jill. We can't wait to find out where he came from, how old he is, etc. You know how their brands look like smudges when they get their fuzzy winter coats? I can't make out anything of his brand, but it is there.

I really do believe that this little guy was loved by someone, but sometimes crap just happens, and he unfortunately was the one to suffer for it. His mane was trimmed - OH! And when that thing grows out, it is going to be beautiful! I know, I know....can't ride a mane, can't ride color, etc. But we all like good hair. His mane is so thick!

His hooves are in need of some work. I will post pictures of them later. He really does think before he reacts, and when he does react, it is in a very relaxed way. Very unlike Joker! Joker was a basket case for some reason and ran right into the new guy more than once. And this was not when we first put them together. This was today! The nut job!

That was the other thing - there was not any pawing, snorting, or squealing at each other. We think he is a gelding....I forgot to double check today. If he is young he still might need a touchy feely check, and I don't know that he would have been up to that. Another day...

Jill was leaving his name up to us...and we have one in mind. I am going to get with her to see what she thinks. Will post his new name later.

The only other news I have is our furnace is not working - and it is COLD! Will make some calls tomorrow.

We also adopted two new cats. My older cat is 18 or 19 yrs old, and he just doesn't chase mice like he used to. This time of year the mice try to come in and I have seen a couple. Mice are cute, but they are cute when they are outside! So we adopted two new cats who were very rambunctious and liked to play.
Thomas is a big orange long haired thing - he is 3 yrs old and I don't think he napped at all today! Dang he is full of energy!
CoCo is a black tuxedo type girl, short hair and not so big. CoCo has decided she is shy for now, but will come out of it later.
At the Humane Society they both played well and were in everybody's business. She will come around. Bob, my older cat isn't happy about the intrusion, but I keep telling him he is still King of the Lab (phrase taken off the t.v. show Bones).

That is it for now....hope everyone had a good weekend!

Karen and Tripp, who is a big fuzzy bear!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Illusion of Mustangs in the Wild...

I have always wanted to see mustangs in the wild, and that is a dream I will not be giving up any time soon. Using my imagination....I am seeing my own mustangs in the wild.
This morning I was heading out to find the hormonal heifer, and the fog was so quiet and mysterious, and the falling leaves made a song of their own.

Here is Nevada being shy...

The horses were on their way back from the back field and here are a few of them at the top of the hill.

This is Red Bear, a Kiger mustang who is 18 yrs old now. We acquired him last year.

Just had to throw in the turkeys....we have two toms and four hens. The toms are starting to act all studly. The light colored one has been chasing me, which is quite humorous. He has not bit or flogged me yet...let's hope it stays that way!
Last year we lost two batches of turkey chicks to the coons, and this year we were finally successful. I still worry about the coons showing up to take them out, so we lock the turks up at night. They really are funny birds, and they are smarter than the guineas!

That is all I have for now.....

Until later, Karen and Tripp

Where does a 2000 lb heifer go???


Millie escaped from the smaller pen and we found her the next morning on the hillside. When I tried to shag her back up by the barn she headed down the hill and to the back of the place.

The fences are good that direction, so we knew she would be okay. I ended up taking 1/2 day off work - had time to burn before the end of the year anyways - and I hunted her down. She was hanging out at the fence talking to the other cattle she could not see. She has never been with cattle, but nature sure kicked in!

I had my 'heifer stick' and tried to move her back towards the house. I realized this is not a 1 person job! While I was back there I walked the fence line to make sure all was fine and she followed part of the way.

Here she is blending in with the fallen leaves.

Brian is out of town all weekend, so I would head to the back to visit with Millie a while, hoping that she would change her mind about being back there by herself. I got her to come back this direction a couple of times, and she came a little bit farther each time I tried.....I was hopeful!

This morning I headed out there again - the fog was beautiful! She was bawling like crazy....Millie is in love! I have named him Ferdinand.
Here he is bawling back at her.

I could hear Ferdinand bellering, and poor Millie was pacing the fence back and forth. Then I saw Ferdinand come thru the fog. Hmmmmm, it seems that Millie has 10 years of hormones saved up! ACK! She is not challenging the fence, but he only has an electric fence keeping him where he is at. I can't wait for Brian to get back to help me get her back here!
But then again this time change isn't going to help thru the week. Dark at 5 or 5:30....ICK!

In the meantime, Millie and I have visited quite a bit. She is very gentle, altho large and doesn't realize how big and strong she is. Here is my traditional self portrait....

I have not had cattle since I was a kid. And even then we lived in Southern Cal and only had enough room for a couple of bottle calves to raise for butcher. I don't remember them getting this big!

Yesterday when I was trying to get Millie to head back to the house, she turned towards me and I tried to 'turn' her. I pushed on her head and neck, and she pushed me into a tree. She was not mean about it, she just walks and doesn't stop, and when she looked at me, I was between her horns. Stupid move on my part....I am more careful now. In just two days I have learned a lot about a big honkin' cow! :-)

When I talked to Brian I was telling him how I was 'tap tap tapping' Millie to try and send her a different direction, and he tells me I need to 'WHAP WHAP WHAP' her like her Mom did to get her in the trailer, that it isn't going to hurt her. Right now I am improving - I am on 'TAP TAP TAP'. Ha ha!

I am also getting good advice from my friend Jill, who has had cattle for a long time. Thank you Jill! :-) Hugs to you!

Millie is going to be an adventure......

Until later...Karen and Tripp