Sunday, March 30, 2014

First Ride on Brego - Jumping style

So Brego has been at the facility going on a couple of weeks now. SInc ehe was yanked out of the pasture where he hadn't had any work since November, Tom agreed to spend some time working him in the western saddle for me before I attempted to throw the postage stamp (as Tom refers to when he speaks of my jumping saddle)
 He was settling in and finally getting to where he wasn't deathly afraid of the one end of the arena. Below is a shot of him working on that end.. starting to look pretty good...

See the size of those jumps behind Tom and Brego??? Someday maybe...

Yesterday, after much procrastination, I decided to put that postage stamp on him and give him a whirl. What was the worse thing that could happen in an indoor arena?

It took us about 10-15 minutes to settle into and figure out what each of us wanted from one another. I have to keep reminding myself that Brego just doesn't really know much. Tom has been pretty easy on him and really hasn't asked much of him up until last fall. After a while, he did start to listen to me , all the while keeping one careful eye on the monster end of the arena.

Pre ride staring at the monster arena door.. 

I put some trot poles down and we worked over those several times. It all turned out a lot better than I anticipated. Unlike Maggie, if he isn't listening after a couple of "offers", you get after him a little and he straightens right up.With Maggie we have to negotiate. I can't get after her because then the fight is on and she doesn't let up.  So riding a gelding, albeit green, was a nice change..

He did so well I was really tempted to take him over a couple of cross rails but I stopped myself short and left things off after he trotted quietly around several times and over cross rails with a steady even cadence.. 

Mission accomplished. It's all up from here right??

Ok, where's my carrot?

What's in a Name?

So, as I mentioned earlier in my Rebranding post, I was trying to realign things a bit with the name of this blog. In the end, to keep things simple,  and not get into changing URL and confuse everyone.. I just dropped the Barbs, Etc off my header page.  It just doesn't seem to fit anymore and that was the real issue I was having with the whole thing. The Acer Farm part still applies.

This sign still hangs on our tack shed even though we don't raise Morgans anymore
Acer Farm came by the fact that it was Tom's registered prefix with AMHA for his Morgan breeding program. Any horse he bred and raised had to be named with the first word being Acer. There was Acer Emily, Acer Trinity, Acer Katie,  Acer Marksman to name a few her had.  It helps breeders establish their brand if you will in the market place and the horses and their breding become easily recognizable to the buyer, assuming they are familiar with Morgan lines. It's very similar in concept to what some of the Warmblood breeds do , where the foal has to be names with something that starts with the first letter of the stallions name.  My Hanoverian/TB cross colt I raised out of my Secretariat mare was sired by Winnetou. I named the colt Waldemarr.

Sine the Morgan breeding program stopped a number of years ago, we just adopted the name Acer Farm, with a few Morgans and a couple of Morgan crosses and one lone Barb.

So there you have it..

Welcome to Acer Farm

Friday, March 28, 2014

Just for Fun Friday- Horse Soldier

It's snowing out again.. or atleast it did this morning. It's still cold out. Footing on the trails are still dicey and I am restless. I have ridden Maggie a couple of time in our outdoor arena and she has been surprisingly very calm and not cranky, like her usual spring self. On Wednesday, I rode her , in a snow/rain storm , and had to keep checking I had not grabbed her half brother Cassidy by accident out of the pasture. She was soooo good.

Like a good soldier, getting right down to work.

So in the spirit of her great work ethic. I thought this would be fun to share. It's a video along with the  song about Horse Soldiers . The song is written and performed by the Canadian folk song artist known as Corb Lund and his band The Hurtin Albertin's .
His sound and style is unique. For this song,  Horse Soldier Horse Soldier, the history is  pretty darn accurate along with some neat video and graphics that follow along nicely. It's pretty cool .

Hope you enjoy as much as I do

May the bluebird of happiness fly up your nose !

Thanks for reading

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Him With the Mane

The day started out freezing cold , about 16 degrees but there was promise since the sun was predicted to come out. I got up early and ran my car into town to get the tires rotated. Apparently I was a little overdue. I was supposed to get them rotated about 5000 miles ago. Ooops...

 I got a mild scolding from the nice tire man about getting more wear out of my tires and I was only going to be able to do that if I was better about getting them rotated more often..Fine.. point taken.. I really had no ideas I had driven it so many miles.. seems like just yesterday I had them put on but now that I think about it, It was last March and we did  drive it to British Columbia and back last May..

Once that irritating little chore was done, I  hurried home, changed clothes and skedaddled out to the barn where Brego is now at for the next several weeks ( my hunter /jumper trainers facility) He is the only horse on the place that looks like he just came off the range with his shaggy coat and wild exploding mane. I had to get something done with him, if for no other reason so as to avoid  the teasing that my trainer was barely holding back. We don't exactly keep our horses show ready around here.

So, I set off  to the barn with a new shedding blade, my pulling combs, a thinning blade and clippers. Taking the clippers was probably overly optimistic . Brego can't even handle being sprayed with fly spray. I had no idea how I was going to get him to be ok with clippers. Nonetheless, they got tossed in the truck.

 I wasn't up for riding since I wanted to spend my time working on cleaning him up so I spent about a half hour revisiting a lesson in lunging. He had only been introduced to it last fall a couple times. He snorted around , skeptical and nervous for the first few minutes.  He's not exactly a horse that takes everything in without it being a big deal. He tends to be on the spookier side. He eventually settled in and lungeing eventually became boring to him. He quietly trotted around at the end of the line like a champ. I didn't push my luck with asking for a canter.. preferring to keep things on a positive note. Walk and trot were good for today.

Once he was satisfactorily bored to death, I ended to the lungeing and  got to work.  I started out with scissors and gettings some sort of bridle path established. That was about 4 handfuls of mane and foretop and I barely made a dent in ALL that HAIR.. MY gawd!! Morgans!!!.

Next came the trimming the unruly  super thick  and wavy mane. I had to trim it first with a pair of scissors in order to get it to a length that I could at least  work with it.  It started out pretty good but then the more I cut , the bushier it seemed to become. It like it had a life of its own.

Brego now looked completely ridiculous , like some sort of horse version of a Dutch boy..

At this point,  I was half afraid that I was going to make such a mess of it that I would have to roach the whole damn thing.. So I got really tricky... I pulled out my handy dandy thinning blade. It's just a cheapy plastic thing covering a razor blade.  It sliced through beautifully and was thinning nicely . I was thinking this was going to take no time at all and I would have a horse who looked nearly show ready. Well, that lasted all of about 5 minutes. The whole thing broke  apart in my hands and the razor blade went flying through the air. I am lucky it didn't slice off Brego's ear. Apparently. the explosive mane was just a little bigger job than it was designed for.


That meant I was going to have to actually do this the hard way.. so I got the pulling comb out and started. Brego was not impressed with the idea of me ripping hair out of his mane by the follicle. They say horses can't feel it.. I beg to differ. So I made a few healthy yanks and called it good. It would have to be a process. There was no way I was going to get through all that in a day. Further more, I wanted to make it a good experience for Brego. I finished up by trimming his tail and his goat like beard with scissors.

He was fine with all that.. the last thing I wanted to do was atleast introduce him to the sound of the clippers. As I suspected.. he didn't really want much to do with them but he did put his nose on them as they were running two times, all on his own. I made sure not to even reach for him with them at this point. I gave him lots of pets and good boys for being so brave. Hopefully next time, he will be less worried about them. I can see this is going to be a process as well. Sigh..

Here is what he ended up looking like..(forgot to take before photos but I trimmed off about 6-8 9 inches of mane). He's not impressed... good thing I never wanted to be a beautician.
"It makes my head look bigger yet"...

does it make my neck look longer if I do this???

After about two hours, I figured I had done enough damage with Brego. It was time to head home and work on Maggie. That was a chore I wasn't looking forward to..She is the mud queen. 

Herd of deer on the drive home

I am not that bad.. 
Your going to do what to my what???

and 10 minutes later..... that was just her neck and shoulders. Anyone needs a horse hair quilt made?

 She's been standing at the gate alot and every time I walk out the door she calls to me, as if she is wanting to go do something.. The poor thing is terribly bored so since  I had her as clean as she has been in weeks, I threw the saddle on. We only did some walking and bending..the arena footing was pretty mushy still and since it was the first time I had been on her since January I did not want to get into a battle with her , especially in mud. Some days you choose your battles.She was relatively good and it was nice to be back on my girl for a ride.

I finished up early enough , got water tanks filled, refilled loose salt feeders  and even raked the aisle-way of the corrals. A winters worth of winds and snows left a fine mess of hay and misc debris. I love a tidy barn yard but this time of year,  everything is such a mess. The corrals are filled with layers of manure, ice and  mud  and there just isn't much that can be done about it. but  I could  rake this aisle way and make it look a little better.

all clean and ready for green to start springing forth..

Thanks for reading

Friday, March 21, 2014

Just For Fun Friday

I thought I might try this for a bit and see how it shakes out.. I follow a few other blogs, some not horse related at all.. (surprised?) and find some pretty cool stuff.. So , maybe on Fridays,  I will  link up to something I deem worth sharing that week. The choosing will be hard. There are so many good ones!

The video came from The Adventure Blog and it's actually an ad  for a GoPro Cam.

 Nonetheless, I thought it worth sharing because of the super cool video footage of a Grizzly bear and her antics.

I won't ruin it, but are these camera's Grizzly bear tough??  

Grizzly Bears are near and dear to my heart, being that I live in an area that they are not so uncommon to run across.

In fact, I have , on a horse, more than once.

.I think I did a post about my encounter but couldn't locate it easily on my blog . As the story goes, we ran into a sow and two cubs. They were close, close enough to smell  and way too close for comfort. Being in a situation like that, I found myself transfixed somewhere between being so scared I could barely breathe, to absolute awe at what I was witnessing to trying to logically figure out how the hell I was going to get me and my horse out of there safely should that humongous mama bear decide we are a threat..

Anyways, I have all the respect in the world for these great creatures and I hope that I never have to run into one that close ever again!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Is a Rebranding in order??

I have been thinking.. maybe my blog name doesn't quite fit anymore.. Barbs, etc??

I only have one Barb, JB, and while he is the love of my life when it comes to my horses, he's really not in the spotlight these days, nor is anything having to do with Barb horses.
I still love the Barb horses and when I started this blog so many years ago,  my focus was on my Barb horse and doing endurance with him..

That was then and this is now. Things have evolved so much.  Beyond owning JB, I don't see another Barb horse being a big part of my horse related activities.

Since JB's retirement , this blog has been  all over the map because, well, we are kind of all over the map.
We do alot of  different stuff with our horses and our little farm. It seems maybe it would make better sense to have a  Blog name that can capture all that, somehow still tying in endurance, Montana life and horses, horse training, and all that 'stuff'...

So maybe it's time to better align the blog name with something that is actually more relevant.

What do you all think?

Thanks for reading..

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Horse Market Observations

One thing I thought I would be doing this spring was shopping for a different horse. I really anticipated Maggie would be living somewhere else by now, but despite my best efforts to find a new home for her,  she remains part of Acer Farm.  In all honestly, that's ok... She's a good horse. She has things I know I would be hard pressed to find in another prospect. 

My motivation for selling is more about herd management and future goals. We have 4 geldings and then there's Maggie.  Having all geldings would simplify our set up tremendously and with limited room, this is a big priority.  I also  want to a horse I can alter between  jumping and endurance. Maggie does ok enough for my endurance goals (with some limitations) but jumping is not her thing at all. Last but certainly not least, I would like to free up some room on the farm  for a OTTB prospect that I could rehab and retrain in order to resell to a qualified home.  I used to ride and train OTTB's as an adolescent  catch rider. Given a chance, most of them can turn into great horses and so many end up the way of the slaughter houses. I would like to see if I can make some small difference because TB's brought me such fond memories as a junior rider. 

It's been a while since I have tried to sell a horse but it's been an interesting endeavor.  I could have traded Maggie for all number of things including a herd of goats and a set of silver dinner ware...

ummmmmm. no...

I could have given her away too..without even trying. More than once I would get a call and the voice on the other end would explain that while they can't pay me anything for her,  they thought she was real pretty and could give her a wonderful home..

So let me get this straight.... you can't afford the purchase price but can give her a good home?? What about all the hay? Are you going to be able to afford to feed her ? Again.. no

The best ones however were the calls looking for a kids horse. She was advertised as not a childs horse and  not a beginners horse... yet, they still called inquiring..I even had a few show up to try her out . One family drove 6 hours to come try her out .I could have saved them alot of time if they told me upfront they were looking for a kids horse.  Maggie tolerated the 3 kids plus the mom taking her for a spin and bouncing around on her back because not one of them could post a trot or sit one properly.  She was truly a champ.  After all that, they even made me an offer but I declined. 

Nope.. not a fit

Then there was the calls from various older women who rode as a child but want to get back into horses for trail rides.  All I could envision was the woman clung on to Maggie's mane for dear life.. and Maggie just as terrified.

I think I will have to pass again...

Another trend, atleast in the Lippitt Morgan world , is  that well- bred Lippitt mares are either being given away or sold ridiculously cheap for bloodlines not easily found anymore.. just like Maggie.I even saw a couple I would have loved to pick up, if I were breeding.. which I am not.

Apparently I am up against a tough market out there. There seems to be two kinds of horse markets out there right now. 

  • The performance horse market  (reiners, penners, jumpers, etc) that people willingly pay thousands of dollars for 

  • The Pleasure horse market (a slow trail plodder to pack kids or inexperienced riders for a half hour trail ride a couple times a week) that only brings the $1000 -$1500 price tag

In the midst of all this, I knew several  people that sold their horses for over $10k. In two cases, one was QH barrel racer and one was a green TB with very little training but a good jumping prospect. 

Considering Maggie's bloodlines, I really anticipated some Foundation Morgan breeder would pick her up to add to their program. It seems the Morgan market has fallen victim to what many other breeds have gotten caught up in. Apparently the trend is all about size and color , yet....... they want foundation bred.  Uhmmmmm... ? Clearly I have missed something here..

Foundation Morgans were not 16 hands , nor were they Cremello's, grays , Perlino's or whatever other flashy color people seem to want to call a Morgan these days. Foundation bred Morgans were small, 15.2 was considered the top end of height and they  were bays, blacks, browns, liver chestnuts , chestnuts.  Doesn't anyone remember Figure and his lineage ?? Bulrush, Woodbury ,Sherman? 

Foundation Morgans certainly didn't have much chrome. And Grey's???  Well,  that is just crazy. The grays that would occasionally pop up were culled by the cavalry.  It seems that the ending  of the high white rule several years ago has taken hold. In fact, within a year of that rule ending, Morgans of color were popping up everywhere and now we have Morgans with alot of chrome. Great.. a Morgan that could be confused as a Pinto. Just what I want. 

I am no geneticist, but I know enough from my biology and equine breeding courses in college that this quick turn around of getting  so much color in the Morgans only a couple generations from when the rule was changed is pretty unlikely to occur.  Paper switching anyone?? (because that never happens in the breeding world right?) 

 Long story short , color and flash sells  and more times than not at the cost of type, bone, feet, and all the other things that made Morgans the great horses they are supposed to be.   In 2013, the Lippitt Morgan, falling under the category of "Traditional Morgans" the Livestock Breeds Conservancy added them  to the  2013 Conservancy Priority list.  It makes me sad to see Foundation Morgan breeders so willing  to change or break  the rules if it gets their horses sold at the cost of such important heritage. 

So, I guess my "small"  foundation Morgan mare will stay put for now. All 14.1, all  bay and all foundation. Included in that package is a  tough horse with good feet and an even better  mind.   Small and mighty , what the true Foundation Morgan is supposed to be. 

If the right OTTB prospect comes along, I might have to just move forward because  I need another project, right?? 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm Back!!!! Welcome Spring 2014

Nice to be back for a quick post. Spring is always a time for renewal . Maybe it's time to renew the blog a bit since it's been terribly neglected.

Winter is it's usual  stubborn self this year as the spring season  slowly tries to gain momentum.  The bluebirds and Robins have returned,  giving me hope that it won't be long. The piles of snow where we had to plow or shovel,  lay like corpses,  decomposing a bit more everyday. I do hope the snowblower can be put to bed for a while and the worst of it is over.  The ground is soggy, the air is damp and the old familiar smells of spring time on a farm hit me like a wall when I step out to the horse corrals.

Ah, yes...spring.. mud, mess , shaggy horses.  As the old saying goes,  hope springs eternal.

So , a short post to say hello , get re-aquainted again, and see who , of my few followers, might remain out here in the blogosphere.

The latest and  greatest??  Well, lets see.  We  decided to get rid of the old beast  of a horse trailer we had, the all steel gooseneck stock trailer. Tom had bought it new 15 years ago and it was time. It was getting pretty rusty in places and would cost us way too much to get it fixed and repainted. We decided we wanted to go with a smaller bumper hitch trailer. We ended up getting a Circle J 3 horse.  Right about that time, our truck got hit with the horrible hail storm we had. We were looking at having it fixed but as it turned out, my brother had some interest in buying it. So, we sold that too. We replaced it a  2005 Dodge with the bigger cab, an automatic transmission and a topper. We would eventually like to get a pick up camper for it. We haven't hauled much with the new "rig" but   I am looking forward to not having to shift a Diesel pick up anymore. That got really old , especially since 90% of my hauling is around town to get to trail heads. I imagine it will take me time to get used to pulling a bumper pull.
I spent some time this winter doing more  jumping.  So much so , I finally got tired of borrowing my trainers lesson saddle that wasn't all that great of a fit for me  and  bought myself a jumping saddle. A Collegiate Connoisseur Close Contact saddle.  It's very much like the saddle I grew up riding in.  I got lucky and found a used one on E bay for a price that was within my budget. I rode twice a week all through January and then a few more times in February .I was on a roll and  finally made my goal of jumping 2'6.  It was a thrill.  The lesson horse I was riding is an amazing jumper but a complicated ride. He jumps big and he is powerful so staying with him is not always easy for me. He also  has some issues on his landings. He definitely challenged me as a rider. Unfortunately, right when I was making progress and feeling more confident about things, I had to travel for work so I have not been able to get back into any sort of groove.
Tomorrow, we are taking Brego over to my trainers barn Monday.He will stay there for a couple of months so I can start him in earnest over fences. It will be nice to be riding my own horse.  Brego  is an athlete. Last summer I jumped him over a few small cross rails and unlike Maggie, there is some untapped talent there. We will see what we can discover.
Jumping is fun and I definitely see myself sticking with it  on the side, but endurance remains my first love. I don't want to put the cart before the horse, but there is a ride in Spokane, Washington later in the season.  I am pondering the LD for Maggie. We will see how things shake out.

The other update I wanted to share with you all  requires some introductions.

My husband has been mentioned on this blog from time to time but mostly I tried to keep him out of the fray , at his request. As you might know, he is the horseback archer. What you might not know is that his horsemanship/training/riding experience predates his dive into horseback archery.  Last year, he was requested to do  some horsemanship clinics at this  Montana  guest ranch. It was a overwhelming success.

It looks like that clinic schedule is expanding for 2014. He was talked into offering some additional Western Dressage and other horsemanship clinics. The lady who is helping him promote this wanted him to start Facebook page but he is not really into the FB scene. So after much coercion, he agreed that maybe a blog about his horsemanship would be doable.  This would give people a source to learn about him and see what he has to offer. People often don't know his vast background and experience training horses because he isn't one to self promote so this is kind of a big deal for him to take this step.  I might be biased but he is pretty darn good and I have always counted myself lucky to have my own personal trainer when I got stuck!So far, I have not seen a situation with a horse/rider he can't improve. He has so much to offer so I am very excited for him.

Take a look !  Kelner Horsemanship   Tell us what you think ..