Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ring and Olivia

Ring and Olivia bringing home the Christmas Tree
Some of you may remember Ring, our steady Eddie horse for the Cowboy School right from the get-go. Bob ranch roped with him some, and over the years he taught many people how to rope while taking good care of them.  He was just about unflappable. The only time I remember him getting spooked was at the water trough down by the river on the PRE ranch in Arvada. There was always as much methane gas coming out of that well as there was water, and he took exception to the noise and the water spitting rudely at him when he tried to drink. After the initial snorting and blowing he accepted it, but he never liked it.

Ring and Bob had some adventures together, and maybe the scariest one happened the first year we worked at the PRE. It happened in the river not too far from that water trough. Bob had to go into the river to block a bull that had been chased into the stream by a student who shall remain anonymous--mostly because I have forgotten his name. Bob didn't know the river really well at that time, and the bull plunged into a boggy spot, of which there are many in the Powder River. Ring went in beside the bull, who--having no weight on his back--made it through with only a little floundering. The horse wasn't so lucky. Watching from the bank, I thought, dang, I'm going to lose my husband and a good horse today. Time seemed to drag on and on as Ring kept lunging forward through the quicksand, with Bob encouraging him rather forcefully. Eventually they found solid footing and made it to the river bank, where they could stop and catch their breath. Ring, however, had received a nasty cut on his left front pastern from something submerged in the water. He was out of commission most of the summer, but at least we still had him.

A couple of years ago we decided that the old horse--he was 24 at time--deserved to be retired while he was still sound and could enjoy life without having to adjust to a new rider just about every week. That can be pretty stressful for a horse and he had handled it with grace and patience since about 1997. Tom Hone and Katie Maddox both kindly offered him a retirement home and we knew he would be well cared for at either location. When it came time to leave Wyoming Bob was having serious issues with his back, but could drive as far as South Dakota. Tom met us there to pick up Ring and haul him back to Minnesota, and even though we knew it was the best decision, it wasn't easy to leave him there.

 Tom later sent a picture of him lying down in deep grass, eating! He was obviously adjusting well to retirement. Olivia, however, rode him some that winter and the two bonded quickly. After about a year of negotiation we decided to sell Ring to her parents and it was a good decision. The horse has had the love of a darling young woman and he has taken good care of her through 4H shows (high point trophy) clinics and trail rides. They have shared those magical times when the sun is warm, the world slows down and a girl can just hang out with her horse and her best friend, dreaming of the future, while learning important stuff along the way.

Olivia now has a younger, faster horse that she rides, but she and Ring are still buddies. This winter the tree farm a couple of miles down the road was selling Christmas trees, so she saddled Ring, took a sled and rode him to the farm. As you can see, they got the tree home just fine. Had I known ahead of time I might have been scared to death, but it worked out well. Good horses and good kids just seem to have an understanding about such things. Tom sent us this picture, so I thought I would share. I bet some of you have fond memories from your younger years of time spent with a special horse.

We hope your Christmas was blessed and your New Year will be filled with friends and love.

Bob and Betty 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I found this old post when I was cleaning out some files this morning. Roxie agreed to post it "as is."

Sent from Roxie's ipad. October 2012

Here we are in North Platte, Nebraska, I'm in the back of the horse trailer, the cat is in the living quarters with Bob & Bets, and they want me to write a post.  Grrrrr!  Let the cat do it.

Besides, they had all the fun in Ft. Collins and Sperry.  Bob did two roping clinics and a cow working clinic and I didn't get to nip one cow. I ask you--is that fair? I do not count horsemanship clinics 'cause there are no bovines involved--I just learned that word, bovine, and couldn't wait to use it.

I guess they thought I was too busy keeping the Sperry barn cats in line.  Have you ever tried to herd cats?  They are nothing like cows, believe me. First you have to lure them down off the hay bales or feed barrels. Once you have them on the ground you have to dodge razor sharp claws and teeth while rooting them out of the dark corners in the barn. Just when you think you have them all under control and ready to round up, they scatter like quail and you have to begin all over again.  If you don't keep them under surveillance every second they can get away in a flash.  Can I help it if a feed tub gets turned over occasionally?

Bob promised me he would go to the sale barn and pick up some calves when we get back to Arizona. I can herd them out of the pen every morning and back in the pen at night. It is better than nothing, but not like the day Bob and I moved a herd of recalcitrant cows out of the north pasture at the PRE by ourselves.  Well the horse helped. Those were the days.

'Till the next time, keep your kibble dry.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Clinic Reports

The big and the small of rope horses and they both worked

 These photos will not stay where I put them and they are driving me to distraction, so, since I cannot beat them into submission I'll just post them the way they are and add more later on.  These were picked out a random.

Cheryl was recently able to buy back her sweet bay mare and is loving it.

OK.  So this has become one of those blog sites that updates once a year or so.  Roxie refuses to apologize for her extended vacation, so I'm stuck with the responsibility.  Since leaving the TA in Sept we have attended a Wendy Murdoch clinic in Ft. Collins, Co. that was helpful beyond description--both enlightening and encouraging--and Bob has conducted clinics in Colorado and Iowa.  Thanks go out to the clinic sponsors for making the sacrifices and effort that it takes to pull off a clinic, and to the good people and their horses who came for the ranch roping, foundation horsemanship, advancing your horsemanship and cow working clinics. 'Nuff said.  I'll just post photos.   

An Arabian, a Tennessee Walking Horse and some Quarter horses with owners in
the "Advancing Your Horsemanship" class in Iowa.

Linda has just thrown a good heel loop and is celebrating.

It was pretty amazing to observe Wendy analyze each piece of the puzzle
 and pick up the roping so quickly.  She is riding Little Moon at Ft. Collins.

The ranch roping class at Ft. Collins with Carol left front.

Working the cattle through the obstacle course in Iowa

The cow working class, or many of the them,
moving the cattle into the arena in Iowa.
We have the dates set for both the Colorado and the Iowa clinics for next year, and Bob will be doing back-to-back clinics with Wendy again next year, so contact LuAnn Goodyear at Last Resort Equestrienne center at Ft. Collins, or Cheryl Lieurance at Sperry, Iowa for dates and classes.

It looks as if we will be able to do at least one more clinic in Chaska, MN--YAHOO!--so check with Tom Hone early in 2013 for information on that one. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world."

"Just because we think it or believe it doesn't meant its true."
Virginia H. Pearce

Andy, Elsie and Old Blue on the TA Ranch in Sept.2011
 Gluten Free Recipe

Corn Dodgers

Preheat oven to 400degrees

1 cup white cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter, softened, or coconut oil
1/2 tsp. sugar (more if you have a sweet tooth)
1 cup boiling water.

Grease a baking sheet liberally with butter or coconut oil. Combine the cornmeal, salt, butter and sugar; mix well.  Pour the boiling water over the cornmeal mixture and beat until well blended and no lumps.
Drop the batter from a tablespoon onto the baking sheet.  Bake 20 minutes.  Don't skimp on the baking time.  These should be brown and crisp and eaten immediately. Makes 12-14. 

Good with any bean recipe or for breakfast with pure maple syrup.

This is best made with freshly ground corn meal from white popcorn, but if you can't get that you can probably get a good gluten free cornmeal from your local health food store.  It should contain the germ and be kept refrigerated.  Yellow cornmeal will work also.

It was a cold day for Arizona.  There was a little skim of ice on the cat's water dish this morning and the top of the horse troughs were slushy.  Brrrr!  Roxie was pouting because we penned the calves last night so Bob and Mike could brand them today, but she got to chase the neighbors dogs off, so the morning was not a complete loss for her.

The familiar sound of Sand Hill Cranes flying over head accompanied our typically lovely sunrise.  Sometimes when I look up their Vee formation has fallen to pieces and it looks like total chaos in the sky; as if they are lost, flying in mindless circles. As I watch they begin to reform, like pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope.  Soon, with no signal or communication that I recognize they are back in a lovely victory pattern, not one of them has bumped into another and they fly on oblivious to my concern.  Isn't life, often times, like that?  About the time our lives seem to be falling to pieces and we despair of the outcome, we realize that we were just being shaken up and reformed for something better.

We continue to receive calls every day about Buck's March 16 - 19, Horsemanship 2/Ranch Roping Clinic in Marana, AZ.  The movie has impressed a huge segment of the population that have either not been aware of Buck's work, or have been sitting on the fence, and every one we talked to has reported record numbers for his clinics.  It is so good that he is receiving the recognition he is due.  We hope these folks recognize the value of what he has to offer and continue down the path to a better life for them and their horses.

I have included a picture of my granddaughter simply because I can, and because we love her and her parents--they are doing such a good job with her.  If I remember right, last time they went to the local feed store she ran over, grabbed a rope and yelled Papa, and she insisted on climbing on the saddles.  She is off to a good start!  She was ill during the holidays (aren't they always) and kept them up nights for about a week.  Can anyone out there relate to that?

God bless your day,




Saturday, December 3, 2011

Roxie's Corner: Year end report

Sent from my IPad

Bets was late feeding this morning.  I knew it would happen.  It was waaaaay late before the last lights in the house went out.  Humans haven't got the sense of us dogs; we sleep any chance we get.  Even cats have that many smarts.

She did find a New Year's quote that I approved of, and will pass along to you.  This is from Martin Siligman, "Do you think of your life as a battleground or a playground?"  Well, duh!  All us dogs know that life is a playground.  Don't humans realize that?  I feel so sorry for them sometimes.

Life is good.  I have to help Bets and Bob feed the cows every morning and night.  Those heifers are just too dumb to find the hay by themselves, so out of the goodness of my heart I drive them to it. Then I have to walk with Bets and protect her from wild animals, like coyotes, rabbits, quail, cats, javelina.  What would my humans do without me?
I would help even more with the horses if Bob would allow it.  When he is working with a new one in the round pen I could really line that pony out--you remember, I told you how helpful border collies are--but when I try he puts me in the kennel.  Sigh!  Oh well, there are always cows.  And, my kennel is close enough to the round pen that I can at least keep an eye on what is going on.
Temperatures have been in the 70's this week; the perfect way to bring in the New Year.  Bob studies at night, when he isn't watching football games or bull riding, and rides during the day.  What a life!  He doesn't even talk about retirement; what would he do different?

Amigo and Little Moon have learned to share the round hay manger this winter.  Well, Little Moon does get quite a bit of exercise running around the manger when Amigo gives him that look, so I guess you might say that Little Moon is getting an A in manger sharing and Amigo is somewhere around a C-and has room for improvement. At least there has never been any hair missing on either of them.

The neighborhood has hit the skids.  We have two, count them, two new stray cats, and a traiter who shall remain nameless is keeping feed and water out for them.  She claims they help keep mice away, and less mice mean less rattlesnakes.  Sounds suspicious to me.  Bob says the cats have hung a sign on the gate, saying "Come one, come all."

All of us in Arizona miss Ashley and Andy, and Elsie, the two-legged-puppy, but she is able to talk on the phone now, and Ashley sends pictures, so that will have to do until April when we all head north again.  I'll post photos the next blog.

Things I over hear in the round pen:  "Get to your horse's feet.  Know where each foot is at all times so you can place the feet where you need them."  Horses appreciate this, because otherwise it is just as if they stepped into their mouth when you ask them to stop or turn. Ever ride a young horse and find yourself thinking, oops, I feel like I could be in big trouble?  For no reason you can imagine, the horse is becoming more agitated and ill at ease all the time?  Think about your timing and get with it.  The response from your horse is usually immediate.  

Remember the critters during the holidays.  We like a few  goodies too--even fruitcake--although we prefer turkey or ham, especially with a little gravy.
Happy New Year,
and keep your kibble dry.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finding the Good

sent from my old beat-up laptop

Jackson Stables, Raton, NM April 2011
 "We all know people who seem to 'roll with the punches' so to speak, who are pleasant and cheerful through almost any challenge.  Generally these are the people with whom we like to spend our time, for they make us feel better about circumstances and about ourselves. It seems that good things gravitate to them, for they don't let less-than-ideal circumstances stand in their way.  They choose to find joy everywhere and to leave it behind them when they go." (Thomas S. Monson, "In quest of the Abundant Life.")

I bet every one of us knows someone like the above.  Would you share by commenting about someone who has made your life more joyful with their cheerful outlook?

I've been pondering about starting a post about some of the better places you have found to stay with your horses, some tips on traveling with horses and even some training tips that have proved helpful.  I realize that we need some guidelines--or rules--and we want to keep this simple so here goes: 1. Keep it positive; no critical or negative remarks allowed.  End of rules, unless there is a need for more.  I will go first, briefly, and you can add your ideas.

In Nebraska, we have two places we recommend that are comfortable for the horses and very hospitable and welcoming.  In York, on our way to Iowa, we stayed at the Diamond B for what was supposed to be an overnight, but turned into four days while we were waiting for a part for the truck.  The Diamond B is a few miles out of town, has electrical hookups, stalls, pens and two clean, cheerful, comfortable rooms for those who do not have living quarters in their trailer and want to stay close to their horses. (or maybe you just need a break from trailer living)  Diane is very friendly, helpful and accommodating. We recommend it highly.  Call her at 402-362-5439 or cell 402-363-4475

Driving west, we have stayed in Lexington, NE at Plum Creek Vet Clinic a number of times.  The stalls are large, with rubber mats and shavings, automatic waterers, and the veterinarian owner is also friendly and helpful.  It also has an electrical hookup and is easy to get to. We have stayed there at least three times. Their number is 308-324-2016.  By the way, both locations in Nebraska are close to Wal-Mart stores. 
In Raton, New Mexico, Jackson Stables is the place we always stay.  Again, it is safe for the horses, there are automatic waterers for the critters and electrical connections for the humans, and you will enjoy visiting with Linda Jackson, a retired teacher who has taken on a second career operating a horse motel. For trail riders there are trails close by, and it is gorgeous country. Call 575-445-9789 All of these places are quite clean and require health certificates. We will tell you about some other places later on, but I promised to keep it brief.

OK, just one more.  The Kiva RV Park and Horse Motel north of Socorro, New Mexico on I25 has been very convenient for us, the pens are big and there are stalls if you want. We also always meet nice folks there. A little extra are the adorable rescue burros on site. She also had the biggest donkey--sixteen hands--I have ever seen.  Now it is your turn to share.  Please let me hear from you.

By the way "tomorrow" finally came.  I promised to post this "tomorrow," about a month ago, so I guess it was a far distant tomorrow.  The next thing on my mind is another southwestern  recipe, or something useful on cow work or roping from Bob, or both.  Maybe next week.

These beggers were almost too cute to leave behind in South Dakota,
and obviously planned on getting a handout.
 Happy Trails,                

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Labor Disputes

Well, I thought this blog would be done by now, but it seems that we have a labor/management dispute; meaning that Roxie and I cannot decide who is labor and who is management.  The last I saw of her she was disappearing into her dog house after tacking a list of her demands on the door.  She says that until they are met she is on strike and there will be no more posts from her.  It all started when Cheryl Lieurance sent us this photo of Holly curled up in a fleece blanket.  We thought it was too cute not to include in a blog, but when Roxie saw it she got a kink in her tail and her nose out of joint, and now she is demanding a fleece blanket of her own, more jerky treats and her own I Pad.  We are negotiating about the I Pad; however, it looks as if tomorrow we will be shopping for jerky, and more fleece in a tasteful doggie print.  Meanwhile, you are stuck with hearing about what I want to share from our summer and fall adventures. 

Holly is a sweet, elderly Beagle who, along with Quirt,
 an Australian Shepherd, owns Mark and Cheryl Lieurance,
of Sperry, Iowa

Fall is such a lovely time to travel, and I
felt like sharing this one of some trees at a rest stop in Colorado.

After almost five days in Arizona I am beginning to recover from the drive.  To say that I do not enjoy driving is like saying Custer didn't enjoy that day at the Little Big Horn.  After pulling the stock trailer through Denver I looked in the back seat, fully expecting to see my guardian angel collapsed in exhaustion, or texting for a back-up.  How do some of you do that every day? We took the trip in four very easy days and stayed at relaxing places along the way--but more about that later.

Summer at the TA was lovely, and we are happy to be going back next summer.  Bob enjoyed all the Cowboy School students, and as I've said elsewhere, the best perks in this business are the wonderful people we have met along the way and the friends we've made. Tomorrow--after shopping for fleece--I want to share a few of the good places we have found to stay with the horses.  If Roxie and I can reach a settlement we might even have more pictures of Wyoming and some of our clinics.  I also have an idea for the blog and your feedback is needed. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Roxie's Corner:

I read this over Betty's shoulder today.  "Optimism is not about providing a recipe for self-deception.  The world can be a horrible, cruel place, and at the same time it can be wonderful and abundant.  These are both truths.  There is not a halfway point; there is choosing which truth you put in your personal foreground." (Professor of psychology, Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book, The How of Happiness, p.111)

Cow dogs are very good at optimism, so I liked this a lot.   Bets says that I have been remiss about the blog all summer long.  I think remiss means that I have not done her blog for her while she has been goofing off at the TA Ranch all summer. Tonight I will be updating some fun stuff that I did this summer and might even include something for her.  Hmmmm?  Should I ask for a raise? Should I ask for a salary first?  Maybe more dog treats?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Roxie's Corner

Reporting from a horse stall in Chaska, Minnesota
and hoping that the wood shavings don't clog up my computer.  The barn cats are prowling around with evil intentions and I have to keep one eye on them while I type.

We arrived early this evening after two weeks in Sperry, Iowa, which is a great place for horses and dogs.  The humans seemed to be having a good time too. We took walks around the lake, through the woods and down to the shooting range, with occasional dips in the lake.  I can vouch for the quality of the food served, because Bets shared her lunch with me a time or two and it was yummy, although she could have left a bit more.  There is an ugly rumor going around that I hurried home from the shooting range because I was afraid of the gun shots, but don't believe it.  I think the barn cats must have started it, and as I always say, you can't trust cats.  The quality of the walks varied a lot: fast and fun when Arda was there to walk with us, poky and slow when Bets walked alone.  I didn't complain though--another thing I always says is, we dogs live in the moment and any moment spent "in the zone" as Cesar calls it, is good.

Gene parting one out from the rodear.  I was still waiting patiently.
I heard several people comment that the Foundation Horsemanship and Advanced Horsemanship clinics went well and all the humans and horses seemed pleased. Me, I was counting the hours until the Cow Working and Ranch Roping clinics, wondering, would Bob realize how badly he needed me to herd calves. I was holding my breath. Humans can be so unpredictable and illogical that you just can't count on them, but finally, at the end of each day he called me to come help get those ornery critters back in their pen.  Oh delight! Oh joy! Oh what an audience!  They loved me.

First I ambled nonchalantly down the arena until I was within striking distance, and then I went into my dreaded Border Collie Stalking Mode and those babies froze in fear, not knowing which way to turn.  Next they received a dose of "cow dog in your face" which made them take off like a covey of quail.  I was just getting ready for pursuit when he-who-ruins-all-my-fun shouted "DOWN" and I hit the dirt on my belly.  I waited patiently for the "OK" command which means I can get back into the action and it finaly came when the calves slowed down to an insolent crawl.  A few nips at their heels brought them back into line and after that it was just a matter of follwing them up the arena and directing their attention to the open gate of the cow pen.  They looked back over their shoulders once, realized that I was still on duty and went into the pen like good little calves.  Mission accomplished.  Of course Bob and Bets both showered me with GOOD GIRL accolades.

 For your edification I've included a couple pictures of the clinic from my perspective.

What a lovely view.

Bob observing my flawless technique.

UH OH!  Those cats are getting waaaaay too brave.  Time to put a little fear into them.  Bets will show you photos of the rest of the clinic--ho hum, just lots of horses and humans. The ropers are my kind of folks; they understand what is important in life, and they are working hard to get better and better.  Bob was so proud of all of them that he bragged to Bets about how well they did.  Of course he was proud of the horsemanship students also, but if there aren't cows involved just take me for a long walk. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wyoming Happenings

The trailer is hooked up, the bags are packed and the cat is hiding somewhere in the house because he knows the signs by now, but a little tuna will lure him out in the morning.  Tomorrow we--Bob and Betty, horses, dog and cat--head out for the clinic at Mark and Cheryl Lieurance's  in Sperry, Iowa.

For the last week and a half we have been at the TA Ranch while Betty got R&R for a cold and, among other things, Bob helped teach a couple of show steers weighing in at about 1150 lbs a piece how to lead.  Cattle can be taught to lead using the same techniques that work with horses, although in this case a good stout post in the pen provided the means to roll the hind quarters and get the steers stepping through.  We snapped a few photos to show how it progressed. Because these guys hadn't been handled and were pretty defensive they were run into the squeeze chute to get the halters on.  After the halters were in place, with long lead ropes, they were turned loose one at a time and --very carefully--the ropes were retrieved and wrapped around a stout post.  Both steers checked out the post and lead ropes pretty thoroughly, giving them their first introduction to breaking over the hindquarters. 
 After they learned to respect the rope they were turned loose in the pen and worked by their youthful owners in a confined space. They learned to yield to the rope, soften and move their hind quarters away by stepping the inside hind leg across and in front of the outside hind leg, just as you would teach a horse. When this happens they turn and follow on a loose lead if they are rewarded with a release of pressure for even a small try.  By the second sessions both steers had gentled down considerably and  their education had begun.  The black steer was even leading up and looking for Cody for head scratches.  The bald faced steer was a little slower to respond, but he had been the quieter of the two in the beginning.
After just two sessions they were progressing well and it will be fun to see how they are doing when we return to Wyoming in a few weeks.  Both the youth and their parents were fast learners which made it easier for the steers to learn.  As you can see there was no ramming or jamming, no dust was raised and no one was hurt.  We will keep you updated on their progress.