Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Am I Dreaming? Am I in Seattle? .... No, it is just raining again....

This will be short and sweet...I promise. Fall is here and the leaves are changing...it is beautiful. A couple of years ago my husband and I flew to Seattle, rented a car and took off driving. We drove the Cascade Loop thru the mountains and the weather was a lot like it is now. And with changing leaves, lots of different types of weather, apple season, and some of the most beautiful places to pull over and walk short distances on trails, it was one of the neatest trips he and I have been on together. No plans - only our backpacks and a rental...it was awesome! We even saw a couple on horses, and they had a couple of pack horses with them along with two cattle dogs. Someday I am going to do that...oh wait, someday WE are going to do that. :-)

Someone posted this on Facebook today and it really hit the spot for me:

Don't let yesterday take up to much of today. The only power you will ever have in your life, is in this moment. The rest is just yesterday's memories or tomorrow's dreams.

Very cool...

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tennessee EMM Highlights...

Woo Hoo! What a weekend! We left a couple of days early and stayed with Greg Reynolds, another trainer for the EMM. We went there thinking "We will have 1 1/2 days and we will get so much done!" Well, we did get a lot done, but the time sure did go by quickly! Doesn't it always when you are doing something fun? I will try to keep this short and simple...but you know how I like to talk a lot. Greg and his wife Stephanie are such great hosts! They make you feel like family so it is very comfortable. Thanks you guys!

Brian and Greg built some obstacles, so we played on them.

Copper was checking out the tilting bridge and he just did not understand why he had to step on it if he was big enough to walk over it.

Finally he got the idea...and he handled the movement of the bridge great! I am so proud of him!

Copper had not been tied. When I tried once, he reacted real bad, so I did not try it again because I did not have anything secure and safe enough here. While the guys were working on the obstacles, Greg tied his horse Sunny to a tree, so I tied Copper to one. He did real good! He pulled back once when he got scared, and came right back forward once there was pressure. Good boy!
Dusty the mustang is in the background letting him know it is okay.

The car wash was a challenge. I tied the flaps back and we finally went thru it. He never did go thru with all of them hanging, but he did go thru with half of them hanging. I was satisfied with that, and Copper was glad I was satisfied with that. :-)

After playing with obstacles, we took a walk to the back field. This pictures is a reminder that we are so small in such a big world. Wow...

I love black and white photos...

Here is Greg and Sunny on the bridge...Sunny is a beautiful mustang!

Thursday morning we headed to Murfreesboro, TN. This is the first year for an EMM to be held here.

Day one for us was an adventure. There was a lot going on, and Copper was trying to be so brave but it was coming from all directions. I took him walking the minute we got there, and we walked in and out of the barns because the concrete floor concerned him. I think the darkness was weird too. It did not take long for him to settle down, but he was still looking around corners for the scary stuff.
Then came time for the number to be painted on his butt - which was done like a brand. He did okay, but he just was not sure about the tall lady walking around with the 'stick' in her hand and touching his butt with it. It got washed off, so I put the next one on.

I stayed up until 12:38 a.m. putting together my picture poster for Copper's stall. I think they turned out pretty good.

Here is his stall with him in 'jail'. He handled jail quite well by the way, and I think it helped we took a lot of walks. A stall is not his home of choice, but we worked it out. On the first day some people told me he was rearing up and he had his foot in his water bucket. The bucket finally came down. After that he was fine.

Poster #1....I put pictures of Copper and Batman on this one.

Poster #2....

I also wrote up a little thing of things Copper likes so people can get an idea of what is personality is.

EquestrianSingles.com is one of the sponsors of the EMM, so Copper wanted a singles ad hung up on his stall.

The Mounted Color Guard was there with their palomino mustangs. Even those horses reacted to all the clapping and hoop-la when the crowds went crazy. The riders were great and handled their horses like professionals. I heard one of the riders say that they take turns riding at events.

Coppers nose....I love this nose...

Our in hand portion of the thing went pretty good if you ask me! The only thing I had problems with was lifting the rear hoof, which was the last hoof I picked up. I pushed the issue when he pulled the foot away, and I should not have...it was my fault that I turned a little mistake into an ugly mistake. We also had to throw on a pad and saddle, and the pad was wet! Ew! He got a little jiggy about that, and I thought I would keep trying until they called time on me. We finally did get the saddle on and I slapped around on it. I was tickled with how well it went considering how nervous he was the day before.

Here he is smelling the saddle...and let me tell you, it was a heavy saddle! It would have been nice to have a lighter synthetic thing to throw up there. One gal who rides English has a broken wrist, so she asked about that. They let her bring her English saddle out for the English riders to put on.

Copper lifted his other three feet like a champ! See how high his head is? That is how he was almost all weekend. He was taking it all in. He is just like a little kid seeing things for the first time...and I love it.

Horrible pictures, but I am putting it in anyways. I sent him in the trailer and he went right in without a hitch! I was so happy! He turned around and I asked him to wait, then I asked for him to bring his head down so I can pet his forehead, that is our cue that he did good. :-) After hopping out of the trailer we trotted thru some cones then headed to the box...

We only had to do one 360 in the box, and he did not pivot on the rear, but he did fine. He stayed relaxed and that was my main goal...keep both of us relaxed and go thru it quietly.

Then came the 'L'...we backed to the 'L' part and he got a little bit stuck, but we worked thru it quietly.

The last thing is we had to let our horse loose in a pen, shoo them away, then catch them. It went like clockwork. He is very good about facing up to me and following me around.

We did not ride the horse course. I did not think he would do bad, but I did not want to take a chance on him feeling like it was just too much, and causing him some mental issues that he did not need. We went out and did a 90 second deal of me flipping the rope around and then I stood up on the mounting block and had him come to me. Not the cool way that Kitty Lauman does - I still need to learn how to teach that - but just had him quietly and slowly step up and stay there. Then we walked the horse course. I did have him saddled. And get this, I got points for it! I expected a big zero, so getting something I did not expect was fun!

After going thru that part of it, I was relieved. Copper and I took a short walk, and I just held on and smelled him for a while...

On our way back to the stall Brian caught a picture of us, and we are walking by the Grannys House van from Columbia, Mo, which is right down the road. They brought three girls who showed yearlings, and they did great. I want to say that all the yearling trainers were awesome, and I give them a big High Five because when their horses did not cooperate, not a one of those young people gave up!

SUNDAY...adoption day. I showed him saddled, and I was so torn up inside. I started out by being totally honest about him being spooky but him trying hard to be brave. I am a horrible speaker in front of a lot of people, so I did not do him any favors - it is my fault. Well, we are in a place where there are a lot of riding horses, and I have one that can't be ridden yet. Nobody bid on him. The Mustang Heritage Foundation offered to pay the adoption fee, and a young couple stood up. I was a wreck because in my mind, nobody wanted my horse, and he is so wonderful. Reality is a lot of people liked him, but the crowd was not that big, there were a lot of riding horses there, and a lot of the great ones were not even going for that much. It is just hard not having a real bid on your horse. I have seen it in the past - now I got to experience it.

The couple that adopted Copper had been by his stall several times, so they had seen him and liked him. I was happy about that. Derrick also has some horse experience, so that is a plus.

Here are Derrick and Kim with Copper. Kim will technically be Copper's person. :-)
Doesn't Copper look purdy in his new blue?

Kim leading Copper down the barn aisle...Copper is so relaxed and such a good boy.

Here is the other part of this story that is so great I can't stand it! Greg Reynolds, another trainer, is friends with Matthew Bonn, another trainer. Matthew has worked out a wonderful deal with the new adopters. He is going to put 30 days of training on Copper, so he should be ride ready by then. I am so excited because that is another thing that will help Coppers success in the real world. The new adopters are going to school so are very busy, so they were all for it! Greg took Copper home with him, and he and Matthew are going to get together to get Copper to their place. From what I understand, Greg's horse and his adopter are getting the same deal. I am so excited about this and wish I was closer so I could watch the progress. I let them all know that my biggest regret is not being able to ride Coppers trot, so I would like some video of them riding the trot. I can't wait! :-)

Here Greg is taking some time to talk to them about how great mustangs are, and letting them know that we all love our mustangs, so if they need any help, have questions, etc., let us know.

GOODBYE KISS.....ouch, this hurts!

I will be straight up...this is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I was an emotional wreck all the way home. I knew I would be upset, I knew I would cry, but I had no idea I would sob thru all 4 states on the way home. We all get so attached to our mustangs...
Anyways, I am still weepy about it, but I had my first smile today when I was going thru pictures. The one of Kim walking Copper, and the light smile on Kims face. Yep, that one made me smile great big! Copper is such a good boy and loves people. He tries so hard to do things right, and once he learns more he will be unstoppable! I can't wait to follow their journey. One more mustang saved.

Will I do it again? Yep! As long as I am approved, I will do it again. I had a lot on my plate this summer, so between overlapping commitments, leaving town for work for 3 weeks, then the rain, I did not get as far with Copper as I wanted. I know he still has a great start and will do great things. The next time I will plan better...can't control the weather, but I will figure something out. I have learned so much over the past two years about horses and people.

I really liked the facility in Murfreesboro because the stall area was open and air flowed thru there.

It is neat because a few years ago Brian and I went to Road to the Horse in that arena, and that is where we were introduced to Natural Horsemanship methods. Clinton Anderson was there, and we were so amazed at what we were seeing! We got DVD's and watched them, and worked with our first two mustangs. It worked! And now I got to be a trainer in the same building that got us motivated to learn. It is a great feeling...

Look for video on You Tube of some of the performances. I don't think there were as many spectators or adopters there, but it was still a great event. I am proud to say I was part of it!

Angela and Jessi are in our Midwest Mustang Group, and they were there. Their support and hugs were so appreciated, not to mention I learned a lot about conformation, etc. Brian took pictures, but they are on his phone.

Okay, I said I would try to keep this short and sweet...so am going to sign off. Just know that we all had a great time!

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Monday, October 19, 2009

Leaving for the EMM in the morning...

I have never used clippers on a horse - EVER! If I needed to clear a very small area for a bridle path, I used scissors, other than that, they stayed natural. Well, we are getting into the fuzzy coat season and you could not read the brand, so I clipped it! Not too bad for my first time! I think a drunk BLM person applied the brand...it starts out fat at the top, and gets skinnier as it goes down his neck. I am not going to blame Copper for moving - it is not his fault! Ha ha! It is kind of interesting how all of the mustang brands here are applied differently.

Here is his brand. There is a rubbed part of mane right over the brand, so I am going to open the mane like a window so it shows. It looks neat in my head...just hope it looks neat on him.

What is there to say about the past three weeks? Mud, Mud, and more Mud! The sun did not shine, it was cold, and nothing would evaporate. So I did not do much of anything with Copper other than visit and throw my coat around him once in a while. The arena in the next town was still a mess too.

Here is my summer experience. I had a lot of irons in the fire so there was a lot of commitment overlapping going on. Needless to say, I was busier than heck! I had my first two TIP horses that went to their adopters. Wyoming took the scenic route from one adopter who still loves him, to another possible adopter (too muddy to ride him, but he has made friends with Aaron the rescue TB). A lot of time went into both of them. Then Copper came in the picture and as afraid as he was, there was a lot of promise there. We did have some dry times, but in our barn lot area there were still a lot of wet spots - clay shelf with slick stuff on top just does not drain well. We are looking for a solution for next year.

Copper taught me a lot. I could not figure out why he did not get things as quickly and comfortably as the others. Then Brian said something that made sense. Copper was just like Tiger was - reacted to everything. But when Tiger finally settled down, he let me know it was time to move on to advanced maneuvers, like letting me sit on him, then actually ride him! That was a huge WOW! moment for me. The thing is, Tiger was here a lot longer so I did not push him. I only have a short amount of time with Copper, so I was trying to push a little bit.
Then I learned that was not a good idea. This is when I learned about Introver/Extrovert/Right Brain/Left Brain. Another WOW! moment for me! So, I worked on repeat, repeat, repeat, and he will let me know what will work and when.

There was a period of time I did not think I would even get on Copper. Then it happened...I did it! And I was so darned excited! We did get to 'ride' a few times in the pen before the monsoon hit. He is still reactive and afraid of things, but I have noticed he deals with it better than he did a couple months ago. All he needs is someone to be patient and give him the time he needs. It will take a while with him. I do think once he gets comfortable around other horses with riders attached, his progress will zoom right along.

Tomorrow morning we are getting ready to leave for Tennessee for the Mustang Makeover - Eastern Stampede version. We will spend two nights with friend and fellow trainer, Greg Reynolds, and we will play with our horses for a day and a half, then early Thursday morning head to TN. As of now, I am planning on doing the in-hand part of the competition, and walking him thru the riding part for the experience. I do hope to get on him while we are down there, but I will wait to hear what he is telling me. I am very excited...being around so many mustangs and awesome trainers is like some people going to Hollywood and meeting Brad Pitt! These trainers are my movie stars!

I have already been shedding some tears...adoption day is going to be very hard, but I have to go into it believing that he will get a wonderful adopter who will take the time he needs, and give him a great job! He is such a sweet guy and very social. I KNOW he is going to do amazing things someday! Well heck, he already is amazing....in spite of his reactions, we played with the lariat rope, he handled the stick and string great, saddling is still kind of jiggy but we get there, he is letting me pick up his feet while standing still, we took a lot of walks and stepped over logs and walked thru brush (ooohhhh...ticklish!). He never did like the bag on the end of the stick. Don't blame him...so I did not push it. He drops his head most of the time when I ask, and he flexes pretty good too. So yeah, he is amazing to trust me enough to accept all of this. I know there was more, but I am drawing a blank.

Will keep you all posted...

Until later...Karen and Tripp who has little burrs in his forelock and mane. Ugh!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It is official....Batman is our farm mascot!

These are repeat pictures...but he is worth it!

I will try to make a long story short. November of last year I started babysitting some mini horses and a mini donk. As time went on one of the mares got more round and more round. That is when Batman came along. Batman is now 5 months old, and he started weaning himself early on.

The divorce of the couple became final, and it was time for the estate auction. The minis were ordered to be part of the estate. We were just sick...but it had to be done. This was Batmans first trip, and three hours in the trailer took a toll on him. He was tired, and looked so depressed. He just did not understand. It broke my heart! The horses were to be auctioned off at noon, so in between I spent a lot of time in the trailer with them. I got them some water and we took some hay with us. That helped.
Then it was time...I was trying not to cry, and I did not look at the crowd. They started with the horses, and they did it as CHOICE! Meaning they started the bid, and whoever won got their choice out of the two mares or Batman. I panicked a bit...that could have been good or bad. I kept my mouth shut about wanting Batman because I did not want someone trying to get him out of spite since I was keeping them for the lady of the house. (not a friendly divorce) Thankfully I won the bid, said I wanted the colt, then they started with the girls. Brian hugged me and hugged me...I was so worried. You just don't know with people, ya know? Plus he is small, a buckskin, a stud so those people who still breed everything they have would have dollar signs in their eyes...oh yeah, I had all sort of stuff going thru my mind.

Anyways, we got Batman, and he is now officially Batman Cooper!

He is happy to be home!

Yep...very happy!

His trip home was good. One man bought both mares so we delivered them on the way home. He has a Shetland stud horse who is cute as he can be, and he is built like a tank! Wow! He was happy to see the girls. This guy grew up driving small horses, then they went to bigger horses, then he went to riding, then he decided he is too old to be starting riding horses and is going back to driving small ones.

Batman handled the trip home pretty well. We made a couple stops and while Brian took care of getting dinner (it was late) at one stop, and getting as at the other stop, I sat in the trailer with Batman. He was so happy to be home, and today he was just fine. He is back to being the sassy little guy from two days ago.

Another family who loves all kinds of animals got the donk. I was worried that someone would want her for roping since she isn't tame, but thankfully she isn't going to a fate such as that! Yes, I think donkey roping is horrible! Summer was a challenge to get from our trailer to the other, but we got it done. These people will gentle her and love her. She just needed time...and with all the horses here, I just did not have the time to put in to her. I would have loved to keep her since she had her donk friends here and they could talk 'donk talk', but we could not justify it. There were two very nice people interested in her. She went for a little more than the horses did!

So, all is good. I get so attached to the animals, so seeing them go was hard. Dealing with Batman at the auction was the worst, but it all turned out well. Brian made me feel better by reminding me that within the past 4 months, we have 20 less hooves to trim! HA HA!!!! Good point! I am all better now! :-)

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I should raise pigs....

...they would love this weather! We got a HUGE rain last night, and this morning it was a mud pit again. This year was not as bad as last year, but it still has been a challenge. So I have decided I need to raise pigs. Plenty of mud to make them happy!

Copper is still doing well, and I do what I can without doing anything too crazy. I am a chicken - and I am afraid of him slipping in the mud and falling if I get up on him and do something to scare him. Better safe than sorry. I am still tickled to be up on him, so no major complaints here!

Today I left Batman in with Copper. Batman has been depressed since Tiger left, and he has not quite got over it. We trimmed Batmans hooves last night and he did pretty good in spite of a couple of bratty fits that he threw. He finally stood there and was making mean faces the whole time. He is a case!

I really should be looking for the receipt for my camera but I keep putting it off. :-)

Hope everyone is doing well! I looked up the adoption prices for the Texas EMM and they were not too bad! I wish I knew who went home with their trainer and who didn't. To everyone who wanted to keep their mustang - I hope you did! You all are winners just by being there! It really makes me sad to think what these poor mustangs are going thru right now, but it makes me happy that there are so many people who believe in them, and are showing everyone else what great horses they are. The experience levels of the trainers go from beginner to professional, and I think that is awesome because it shows that anybody can work with these amazing horses if you have patience, give them time, and just love them. Okay, it is food that really makes them realize you are not too bad, but I like to think it is more than that. :-D

Gotta go....

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Slumber Party and rest of the weekend with Copper...

First I want to introduce the new additions to our family. The family who originally adopted Wyoming was babysitting these two for their daughter, and they asked if we would like to have them. Ummmmm....YES! :-)

The African Gray is Harriet, but we call her Retta. The parakeet is Ben. Retta talks a little bit and we can understand that part. Sometimes she carries on this whole conversation and we know she is trying to talk, we just don't know what story she is telling. Ben is pretty quiet for a parakeet.

Here Retta is trying to break Ben out of jail. We have two cats and they don't pay any attention to the birds. I don't let Retta out of her cage unless I am there the whole time - not taking any chances! Retta likes to get out and stretch those wings....and torment Ben.

My friend Jill and I had a slumber party Friday night. The plan was to take a moonlight ride, but it was soooo windy, we did not want to chance it. I would be riding a horse I have never ridden before, and the one she would ride had not been ridden in quite a while. So we took our ride on a 4 wheeler instead. It was cloudy, windy, and did not rain, so it was all good.
We slept in a camping trailer out in the driveway. I also took Copper with me because he needed a new experience to add to his short list of 'been there'.

The next morning we went for our ride and had a great time. I rode a Tennessee Walker - have not ridden a gaited horse in a very long time. Love those gaits! She was riding a leopard appy and he is a big boy compared to my little mustangs. But then again, she has a mustang too, and he is a cremello and built like a draft horse. No joke! The boy is huge and very impressive!

After our ride we played with Copper a little bit. Jill already had some obstacles set out so we used those.

I was standing up on the step, and decided to lay over him to see how he would act being in a different place.

This is how he acted....

Once I layed across him and he started walking, then stepped up the step. OUR FIRST OBSTACLE! WOO HOO! (could not get him to do it again for the camera)

Alley Oop - up I am, and it is still good. He really was relaxed or I would not have kept going...

Then I started asking him to move around. We are still good with our circles but not straight lines. Gotta start somewhere, right?

I headed home Saturday afternoon. Sunday I decided it was time to get the saddle back out. It has been a couple of weeks and he really doesn't like it. It is a scary thing to him...at least until you get it up there.
I rode him bareback first and he still hesitates to walk too fast. I got him saddled, and he moved out much better, which makes me wonder if my rump is not comfortable to him.

Walking along....

Circling around....

Brian was putting out round bales, so I got back on to see how he would handle it - no worries mate!

One of the other mustangs was nosey, so I let him in. We wandered around with Nevada in the pen too. Next time I will have to put a saddle on him - weird things on horses is what makes Copper nervous.

Then comes the wonderful umbrella! At first it was not bad because it was behind my head, and he got a head rubbing out of it.

Then I moved it around him - ACK!!!! SCARY!!!!

Okay, he decides to tolerate it, but he still doesn't like it.

Then I got on the bucket and held it in the air. His eyes got as big as saucers and he just kept looking at it...you could see the thoughts going across that sweet little face. Should he stay just in case it drops down on me and sucks me in, then he can save me? Or should he trust me to handle it if it does suck me in, and he can go RUN for help?
Okay, will stay just this once (or twice). :-)



Then I ask him to step just one step closer....and he does.

Let's spin the umbrella like a top! How much fun is this? Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!

After all that hard work, Copper now finds an advantage to the umbrella - shades his delicate features from the sun.

After a long afternoon, a forehead rub is a great finish....

So far he is handling the mounting and dismounting without any blow ups. I am still careful just in case. When I get on bareback I am moving all over the place, and he just stands there and waits for me to figure it out. I am very proud of him...there are still a lot of scary things out there, but he tries really hard! We think he is going to be like Tiger. Layed back and a luv bug! He is very social and loves to just hang out with ya. When I pooper scoop, he is right there 'helping'....sometimes he helps by just being close, and sometimes he helps by adding to the load. Guess he thinks I need all the practice I can get!

Gotta get to work now...

Until later...Karen and Tripp