Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas eve and I'm getting ready to start my last minute running around. My husband and older daughter went to Monroe for some last minute gifts, so I'm waiting for them to get back.

We need to run to Costco for Christmas pies and I'm sure we'll find one or two other things that we must have. The horses will get their very own huge bag of carrots for tomorrow. It looks rather unlikely that we'll have a white Christmas, which is just fine with us. While snow is pretty to look at, it sure makes taking care of a bunch of horses much more time intensive.

Then, we'll start thinking about our goals for next year. This year has been pretty good all around and I think we can have an even better 2011!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

All the Young Horses..and the old ones

I've been spending a lot of time recently working with my youngsters (horses, that is, kids pretty much take care of themselves these days). I have 1 weanling, Scooter, who is a lovely little guy, learning about such basics as "don't get into my space", "give to pressure", "grooming is fun", and "being by yourself isn't all THAT bad". Then, we have our coming 2 year old colt, Goshen, who Monica mainly works with. He's been so easy, but does test a little from time to time. He's recently discovered that he has some power (over Scooter, mainly), so we have to enforce boundries. "No, I'm not holding Scooter for you to chomp on his butt". He's learning things like "cross-tieing", "leading down the road", "beginning round-penning" and Monica is working on various tricks with him. I hear that some other things are in his future too, perhaps some long-lining and in-hand trail.

Next, we have the coming 3 year old filly, Mahri. Mahri has just been growing up, has learned all the basics that Scooter is working on now and we just moved up to "Medium Round-Penning", not to be confused with "Beginning Round Penning". She's doing very well and really enjoyed her grooming the other day.

Then, there is the coming 4 year old filly, Slari. Slari knows all the stuff the younger horses are learning and is moving into the 'riding zone'. This is where she'll learn about lunging on a lunge line (no big deal for a good round penning horse), wearing a saddle, bridle and bit, and we'll get to getting on her by the end of next summer. She's learning about voice commands on the lunge, we'll work on some in-hand work and probably do some trail walks in the great wide world. She is such a pretty, dainty little thing - makes me wish I had a 110 lb teenager to help me out!

Then, we get to the 'bigger boys', such as Andre, who is coming 5 and Danny, also coming 5. Danny is doing well under saddle and just needs miles. Andre was a late bloomer, so we're just starting to get to sitting on him. I expect it will be no big deal and he'll be a riding horse supreme. He looks like he's going to be so smooth that you'll think you're in your recliner in front of the TV.

Then, there are the 'boys in work', Galen and Willie (Monica's horse). Both are doing great, compete and are learning jumping now.

What is left? Well, the 'rehab', Ari, who is recovering from a knocked-down hip sometime in the distant past. He's doing pretty well, but we're going slowly, so as not to reinjure him. He's slotted to be my husband's trail horse. Then, there is Maz, who is a 'been there, done that" kind of guy, who unfortunately has some arthritis issues and some hoof issues. He needs maintenance and light riding. Same with Khan - he's also paid his dues and is deserving a comfortable retirement. I hop on him every once in a while and lunge him a few times a week. Keeps him happy and semi-fit. Annie, our broodmare, gets groomed every now and again, just so we can let her know we appreciate her. Salam, our senior stallion, gets occasional grooming and loves to just hang out.

That's pretty much our horsey family - keeps me busy, Monica helps out a lot and I'm sure not bored. Not enough hours in the day, but that is OK.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sunny Day!

Ah, those sunny winter days! So much better than gloomy, dark, winter days. I seem to have 3 times the energy when the sun shines.

So, today (sunny), I went to Costco and Fred Meyer, stocking up for the rest of the month and rode Galen, working on our canter and a few little jumps. Wednesday, (gloomy), I barely got myself out of the house, cleaned the stalls and picked up kids. Hmmm, am I solar powered? You bet. Why do I live in Seattle? I have asked myself that a few times in the past 25 years.

Of course, there are GOOD things about Seattle winters, such as being able to trail ride in December in your sweatshirt and not owning long underwear. Bad things include: not much sun, too much mud and rain. Tradeoffs!

It does bring to mind an episode of "Northern Exposure" from many years ago, where one character had a hat with a full spectrum light on it. I have a full spectrum light right beside my computer and my overhead lights are full spectrum too. (love them!) Maybe all I need to be more productive during our dark winter months, is a light attached to my ball cap.

Hmmm, might spook the horses though.

Of course, they are Tekes, so maybe not.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Coming Home from the WEG

I had packed up a lot of the booth stuff on Sunday, so Monday morning, Cindy's (our hostess in Lexington) boyfriend Dennis, came and helped me finish packing and load up. Thank goodness for helpers, as it would have taken me much, MUCH longer to get everything squared away. I hugged our neighbors (make sure to watch "The Greening of Whitney Brown" when it comes out) and headed back to Cindy and Dennis'. They were great hosts - I was there the entire time, plus setup (so 19 days?), and they had people coming and going the entire time. Cindy was 'ground zero' for horses and people coming in for the International Equestrian Festival, that took place in downtown Lexington. We had Tekes and Teke people coming and going from October 3rd to the 10th, which is when the IEF took place. It was great fun to see OPH (other people's horses) and get to chat with people I usually only talk to via email or phone. We didn't get to visit nearly as much as I would have hoped, as I was alone most of the second week and off to the booth around 8 in the morning, getting back at 6 or 7 pm. Tatiana Ryabova, Tito and Natasha Pontecorvo, Milena Stoszek and some other people came by the booth the last Saturday night. Tatiana gave a talk during the day on Saturday and did an inspection at Cindy's on Sunday. Unfortunately, I missed both, as I was at the booth, promoting our horses.

Anyway, back to Monday, take down day. Dennis and I headed back to their place and Dennis helped me pack up and I was headed out the gates around 3:30 pm. I decided to drive for 5 or so hours and stop. Silly me. There are NO parks, campgrounds, gas stations, you name it from about 4 hours outside of Lexington heading SW until you get to a park in the middle of nowhere Indiana or Illinois. I was panicking by the time I finally pulled into a gas station at 10 pm at night...I was driving on fumes, starving and so very tired. Happily, I gassed up both the truck and myself and found a campsite at a deserted state park. Locked my doors and went to sleep. Next morning, I tried to find where to pay (never did), so after about a half hour, I headed out. I made it to April Pruente's place around 4 or 5 pm and spent the night, after admiring her horses and a great meal at the local buffet.

Next day, I drove, and drove, and drove. I think I did 15 or 16 hours and made it to Jas and Shannon's place in Colorado. Thank goodness for audio books! I was really wanting to be home, so the very long day was worth it. Next morning, I waited for Tatiana, Tito, Natasha and Milena to show up and instead of heading out as I planned, I spent the day talking and talking. It was lovely visiting with Tatyana, as I hadn't seen her in at least 8 years. We all talked and planned and looked at horses. Then, we headed out to dinner and it was bedtime. Next morning, I got on the road and drove until 6 or 7 pm. I spent the night in Idaho or Oregon...can't quite remember which. I was really itching to be home.

I pulled into my home driveway on Saturday, October 16th, around 6 pm and basically hugged everyone, was leaped on by the dogs and then sat and drank a beer. 29 days on the road...whew. I think I'll wait another 10 years to do this again. Fantastic, one in a lifetime journey, but LONG.

I'm still cleaning up, unpacking (almost done!) and finishing up WEG thank yous and getting back into my normal routine. I have had my butt in the saddle since I got home, almost a month ago, but it's still sporadic. I'm trying to do all the stuff I usually get done in Sept/Oct now, before it really starts getting nasty. Almost there! Galen is sure that he's been totally neglected, as we still haven't gotten out on the trails. Soon...I finally have the horse trailer unloaded completely. My family was amazing - the kids pretty much took care of the barn, poor Larry had to do his job and mine and the boarders helped out too. Thank yous all around!

I'm glad I went, but I'm really glad to be home.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

WEG, Part 2

Photos from top: Tatyana Ryabova, Tito Pontecorvo,their translator (I forgot her name!) and me in the booth on Saturday night before Show Jumping. Next are some of the rivers of children that came by the booth, then a shot of one of the outsides of the booth with one of our banners and last is Jas and Monica setting up the booth in the heat.
The next day, we headed in to finish up the booth. We had done most of the heavy lifting (and building of bookcases) the day before. Now we had to hang, adjust, hang, adjust everything until it was just right. We realized that zip ties are one of the handiest things out there (I bought a huge packet at Costco and thank goodness I did!), that we had planned better than we realized and we had our booth pretty much up and done by the end of the day. It was HOT - both set-up days were around 95 degrees, which I am not used to. Jas had to keep bugging me to drink more, as I was getting quite dehydrated. It was almost like an endurance ride. We finished up and headed out and got to drink beer and chat with Cindy back at the farm in the gazebo. Shades of things to come? NOT!

The first day of WEG was Endurance. Monica was covering it and Jas had tickets, so we had a very long day planned. We got to the park at O dark hundred in the morning, parked in some field along with a zillion other vehicles and headed in. Jas helped me open the booth, while Monica went off to the Endurance start. Not much traffic to begin with, but it allowed those last minute touches on the booth. Jas came and went all day, and we watched the endurance ride on the computer - little green dots following the trail (usually, although a few wandered off here and there, which I think was a tracking glitch, not the actual riders going off course). We were amazed at the speeds they went - at one point, one dot was going 33 kpm. We had people coming and going all day and we started honing our 'speech'. I got it down to about a paragraph by the end of WEG. People would ask about the breed and we'd give our 'speech'. Then, we'd answer any specific questions, hand out informational booklets and if they were interested enough, a DVD. We found the positions of all the surrounding bathrooms and found the nearest food. Food was terribly expensive - later in the week, Jas and I split a hamburger and had a drink each and it cost $17! That was one of the biggest complaints we heard - limited food and expensive. We got to meet some local volunteers and talked and talked and talked. That night was the opening ceremony, so we were supposed to stay open until 10 pm. We didn't make it to 10, as we'd been there since around 6, but we closed up and headed for the truck. At this point, we realized an almost fatal error- we hadn't really checked where we parked that morning and it was dark. FINDING the truck was an exercise in frustration. The volunteers in the parking area knew nothing (although they were very friendly), nothing was marked and we spent at least 45 minutes figuring out we weren't even parked in that parking lot! On to the next, further one, and me with my smart key, trying to get the truck to flash its lights at us. It is dark out, we're exhausted and we can't find our ride. We weren't the only ones either. We heard other people stumbling around in the dark, the occasional beep of a car as it recognized it's key, but we FINALLY found the truck. Later we heard that after the opening ceremonies ended, it was utter chaos. No one had thought to remember where they parked, people were stumbling around in the dark for hours and THEN, they sat in line for more hours trying to get OUT of the one entrance/exit. It was one of the many places that the organizers could have improved - section numbers, colors, something to help figure out where your car was parked. The next day we put a GPS tag on the truck, just in case.

Second day we got there later, and watched some of the best condition judging for Endurance. Lovely horses! We also got to watch some warm-ups for dressage and eventing over the course of the WEG. Fantastic!

After the first day, we settled into a rhythym. We'd get to the booth (later and later, as no one showed up until at least 10 am), open up, get our coffee from our nice next door neighbors, set up the slideshow and DVDs and settle in to answer questions. We had a pretty good flow of people, although some of our neighbors were very unhappy with our location. We were quite a ways from any of the big arenas, there was little to no signage to direct people to the Equine Village, and although I heard that the WEG ended up with around 500,000 visitors over the course of the entire 16 days, we sure didn't get that many in the Equine Village. We had some big clinicians there, who I'm sure were rather unhappy with the lack of traffic. The Trade Show, up by the Main Arena, seemed to be pretty busy, every time I went through it. Maps were terrible - it took us days to find certain booths, and we were 'in the know'. There were events going on all the time in different locations that we heard about after the fact. We did get to get out and see a few of the clinicians and demos- Jas and Monica were great at letting me get out and about some and Amrita and Jenny came and helped out during the Eventing days. Anne-Marie came to help for a few days and
several days we had a few other people stop by and help for a bit.

The weather was usually pretty decent - there was one day that was cold, rainy and miserable. I was freezing and when I got back to the camper, I was asleep in about 30 seconds.

We had people stop by from all over the world. I talked to people from just about everywhere that there are horses and many of them had heard about Akhal-Tekes, quite a few knew a fair amount and an astounding number knew of one, had ridden one, or owned one! As someone who has been involved in the breed for almost 25 years, this was very heartening. I can remember when all I heard was "It's a WHAT?". We also had schools bringing kids by on field trips - rivers of children, all happy to be out of school. I heard that every school in the Lexington and surrounding areas came to the WEG on field trips during the Games. We handed out thousands of postcards - after the first day, we just found the adult in charge and gave them packets of postcards to distribute - trying to give them to the kids wasn't possible with only one person at the booth most of the time.

As to who was interested in Tekes, the endurance crowd was very interested - we had most of the smaller country teams come by after the Endurance and chat. The big guys, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, they have their own breeding programs, but we had team members from several smaller 'powers' come and chat. We'll see what happens in the future, but that was great. We also had quite a bit of interest during Eventing and we played the lovely tribute video to Kandar, that was provided by his owner and rider, Karen Yates. Kandar was an astounding Teke, who was long-listed for the 2000 Olympics in 3-day with Karen. Every time I watched the DVD, I thought, "That looks easy, I could do that". Then, I'd go "HA", as I know what those jumps look like from walking around the course during the WEG. But, Kandar and Karen made it look easy. We didn't get many from the Show Jumping crowd and not many from Dressage, although the ones that did come knew about Absent (Teke stallion that went to 3 consecutive Olympic Games in the 60s for Russia in Dressage and medaled in all Games). We had some vaulters come, although I doubt we'll see many slender Tekes as vaulting horses, some driving people, a few reiners (the Chef d'equipe from Ireland came by - he'd ridden a Teke in Arizona years back and remembered the horse fondly), and lots and lots of people who just liked horses.

We had people come by and take photos of the booth itself, people come and offer to buy the beautiful costumes and rugs (nope!), and people that just wanted to find out more. All in all, a very positive and excellent outcome for our venture.

The last Sunday was very slow and our neighbors had already packed up. I closed early and was able to start packing up. Now, all I had to do was take down and pack everything and drive the 2700 miles home! In the next installment...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back Home from the WEG, part 1

Wow! What a whirlwind month (plus a bit). I left WA on September 17th and got back home October 16th. During that time, I clocked 6500 miles on my truck, talked to thousands of people, got a little bit of horsey time in, really learned my camper inside and out, and basically had a great time. Of course, I must say, I don't plan on doing this again any time soon!

I left Snohomish with Monica Bretherton and the time flew until we arrived at Jas' place in Colorado. We stopped at a nice state park in Oregon the first night, spent the next night beside a deserted road in Wyoming and made it to Jas' the 3rd day. Once at Jas' we got to get some horse time in, admiring her herd and meeting my little guy, Stretch (Salam x M.V. Elfia). He's quite nice, with a wonderful temperament, great legs and bone and a very nice shoulder and hip. Lots of chrome too- he looks like he'll be some color bay- maybe wild bay, with lots of white. Jas' husband, Shannon, was wonderful enough to frame in our garden lattice (and thank goodness, as it took him quite a while. I don't know what we would have done without him!) and Jas, Monica and I started off the next morning, heading to April Pruente's place in Missouri, to visit and pick up costumes, rugs, etc for the booth. We stopped at another lovely lakeside state park in Kansas? or somewhere, after battling high winds all day. That really took a toll on our gas mileage...down to 9.4 miles per gallon at one point. Yikes! We made it to April's the next day and settled in for a short visit of visiting, seeing all her horses and loading her costumes and rugs in the trailer. We continued on to another nice state park, in Indiana or Illinois...and drove to Cindy Sither's place in Lexington Kentucky the next day. We arrived in the afternoon and set up our camp, including my gazebo (for all those hours of lounging around, NOT!), and solar twinkle lights. Of course, we spent some time meeting Cindy's herd and chatting with her. She had quite the month planned, with people and horses coming and going.

Next morning, the 23rd, we hauled the trailer to the Kentucky Horse Park. We had been told we had to have a vehicle manifest, which I printed out and left at home on the counter. Happily, Monica was able to get it emailed to her on her Ipad. Of course, after all that worry, the guards at the entrance (National Guardsmen and women) didn't even look at it. Everyone seemed quite confused and there was a lot of building, painting and scurrying going on all over the park. We found our booth, #22 on the side of the Museum of the Horse, and started setting up. As we got going, we realized that it was a good thing we'd given ourselves two days to set up, as it was a LOT of work. We had to park the trailer quite a ways from the booth, so we had to plan what we'd need during the course of the WEG and how we'd get it from the trailer to the booth. The trailer was parked probably half a mile from the booth and our truck ended up being parked about half a mile farther out than that..but more on that later.

We got to see some of the other booths being set up; our neighbors directly beside us were a lovely bunch of young people (they'd probably object, but they were younger than us!) promoting a horse movie called "The Greening of Whitney Brown". Next to them was El Brio Vanners, whose horse starred in the movie. On our other side, around the front of the Museum of the Horse, was Tommy Turvey, who had trained the horse for the movie. It was pretty interesting. We finished up our first day of putting the booth up and headed back to Cindy's for dinner and bed.

More later...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

12 days and counting

As it gets closer to the WEG (World Equestrian Games), time seems to be going faster. There is still a lot to be done and not much time to do it in. I haven't had time (or the energy) to do much with the horses, besides an occasional lunging and neck scratch.

Tomorrow, Monica and I are heading to IKEA to look for a few items for the Akhal-Teke Breed booth. We need some stools, something to put the display table on, once it's done and a few miscellaneous things. Then, I need to build the display table, finish ordering the booklets, fill out the vehicle manifest, get my camper and truck in for servicing, load same camper and truck and also the trailer and get on the road around the 17th. And, Zach starts school next week, so there is a bar-b-q to go to, my husband is in AZ for the week, and we still have all the farm chores to do. Yep, a little bit busy! I think it will be a relief to actually get on the road and drive to Kentucky!

Although this is all very busy and more than a bit stressful, I have to say that I'm having fun. I'd sure hate to do something like this on a daily basis, but as once in a lifetime event...priceless!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Fun

Well, at least my idea of Summer Fun! Trail Riding! Galen and I got to sneak out yesterday for a rather leisurely ride at Lord Hill. He told me it's been awhile, seeing cougars and bears behind trees. This was probably the hottest ride I've been on (yes, doing kid stuff this summer, almost exclusively!) and we went down to the river, to find...horses tied all along the trail! I could hear lots of laughing and giggling, but wasn't going to run the 'butt gauntlet' to get there, so we turned around and went back. I was a bit disappointed, as the river access is only in that one spot (or, at least access I would be comfortable taking my horse to), and it sure sounded fun.

I don't think we're up to summer endurance rides yet, judging by yesterday. Have to get much more acclimated to heat. Both of us!

I am spending a lot of time at the computer, working on plans, info, etc for the Akhal-Teke Breed Booth at the World Equestrian Games. We're now less than 50 days away from the opening ceremony and we have LOTS to do. Check out for full details or go to Facebook and search Akhal-Teke Breeder's Co-op. Whew!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Buckskin Filly

The vet came out yesterday to preg check Annie and YEAH, she's pregnant. I'm sure Salam is a bit miffed that he doesn't get to try again, but I'm sure thrilled. This will be baby #10 for Annie, so she's certainly doing her part to keep the Teke breed going. Happily, all her offspring are very nice, useful, athletic horses, so that is OK.

I just got back from Michigan, where I spent a week with my folks. I brought Seattle weather with me (2 days of rain and thunderstorms!), but we had a lovely time overall. Of course, now I'm catching up at home, for even though the kids and my husband (and boarders) all pitch in when I'm gone, things do pile up. Makes me wonder what will be waiting for me when I get back from Kentucky in October. I'm going to set up and host the Akhal-Teke Breeder's Co-op booth at the World Equestrian Games and expect to be either on the road or in Kentucky for almost a month. If you're interested in that, we have a website at

So, not much else, but I just had to share that we'll have a foal coming next year and right now it's a ...buckskin filly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Breeding is hard work

My vet was out yesterday to ultrasound Annie (Anastasia) to make sure she was ready to breed and that her uterus looked good. As Annie is 19 years old now and this will be her 10th? pregnancy, I want to make sure everything is perfect before breeding her. The vet gave her a big thumbs up and said "Breed her NOW". Salam, was, of course, very enthusiastic about this. I drafted Monica to help me and got all the equipment ready. Now, usually when one breeds horses on the farm, it's a pretty simple operation. Unfortunately, Salam broke his neck several years ago and while he's servicably sound, there are certain actions he has a hard time doing, including live cover breeding. So, we opt for the safer, less frustrating ground collection and insemination. He was taught very well how to ground collect (it's just collecting without a phantom mare, with the person handling the AV standing next to the stallion) and within 30 seconds or so, we had our breeding dose. Monica did a great job handling him, although he's such a gentleman, I'll probably be able to do this without a second person sooner or later. Then, Annie was inseminated and the deed was done. Scooter thought the whole thing was pretty strange and that we were really neglecting him, but he got some neck scratching when we were done.

So now, we wait for approximately 14 days and we'll have Annie ultrasounded again to see if she became pregnant. Right now, it's a buckskin filly....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Trail ride with my Husband

Yes! Larry has been taking lessons for about a year now (thank you Kay!) and this is our second trail ride in the last few weeks. He has gone out before on Maz, but Maz is only up to a fairly short ride, so now he's riding Taz, Wendy's QH x Teke cross. Taz is pretty well conditioned now, as Monica has been riding him and has done a few rides at our Endurance rides on him. He's also a really good boy!

So, Friday morning, we hooked up the trailer and hauled up to Mann Road. Last time we went to Lord Hill, which is a lovely park, but Larry wanted something a bit wilder. So, Mann Road it was! We got there around 11 and were the only vehicle in the parking area. Got all saddled up and headed out. Lar and I had agreed we'd do around 1 - 1 1/2 hours, as his longest ride has been a hour. No problem, I don't want to scare him off!

Mann Road has a variety of trails, from pretty easy ones to pretty tough ones, but I picked some nice, reasonable ones for us. We went down to the Snohomish River and I got a bunch of photos of them there. We then came back and went over a few bridges, up and down some creek sides, through some creeks and down a steep hill. Taz and Lar did great. We got back to the trailer at right about 1 1/2 hours ride time, which was just enough for Larry. Nice weather, not to hot or cold, no bugs, no other people. Not bad. Then, we headed out for lunch at a lovely little restaurant in Sultan we had never tried before. Wendy had recommended the Sultan Bakery and it sure was great. Really good sandwiches and the baked goods looked fantastic (but we declined). Taz went home with Wendy for the weekend, as she's hoping her honey goes riding with her.

I'll have photos when we find our camera cable to download them!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fun Day

Today is Thursday and we're heading into the 4th of July weekend. Summer appears to be thinking about it - I actually took my sweatshirt off for a while during paddock cleaning today. The mud is almost gone now and if we have a few more dry days, the paddocks will be completely dry.

I did get a nice ride in on Galen today. It wasn't a trail ride, as I'm mom the taxi driver right now, but some dressage in the arena was very satisfying. Our crowning achievement today was a shallow loop of counter canter. He held his rhythm and most of his relaxation and I didn't drop the ball either. Big grins all around. I also lunged Danny a bit and will start riding him again very soon. I think he's going to be great fun and arena work doesn't seem to be boring to him (unlike Galen!).

Monica and I are also planning some photo and video days, once we have slightly more sunshine to work with. Have to get some of Scooter before he gets gangly!

I'm hoping our neighbors don't feel they need to have fireworks wars - last year I swear that between 2 neighbors, we had over 2 hours of continuous fireworks. I know small towns without that much! Fireworks don't seem to bother the horses much - they just comment on the weirdness of humans- but they sure stress me out. I guess we'll see!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Working on the website!

I've been taking advantage of our cold, gloomy, rainy, yucky weather to update my website. It's not quite done, but with over 70 pages on it, changes can take awhile. I'm going to add another blog to my sale horse page, so that I can do updates quickly. That way, when we come out with new photos or videos, I can post them right away. Or, that is the theory!

Galen thinks I should be riding him and even though he's out on a pasture with his absolute best friend, he's let me know that I am sorely abusing him. We'll see what he says when we get back to work (probably, 'it's about time!'). Our next planned ride is Renegade and I hear that it's very hilly. This should be a bit of a challenge for us, as Galen prefers flat land. We've done a lot of conditioning this year at Lord Hill, so we'll see what happens. I'm going to stick to the LD, and we'll go from there. The kids are now out of school, so my time is going to be a bit more limited, but I'm hoping to make it to a few more rides this year.

So, off to pick up kids now and that website update should be up in a day or so.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Klickitat Trek, 2010

It's hard to believe it's already been over a week since Klickitat! As usual, we had a fabulous time, although there were a few little blips in the general bliss.

We got there on Thursday, as on Friday we had a date to go see two youngsters that were bred here at Cascade Gold. Suyji was now 2 and Mazaly now 3. We drove down to Glenwood through pouring rain, hoping the weather was going to cooperate for our weekend. We've had so much rain in Western Washington this spring, I think I'm developing webs between my toes. We arrived at camp around 8 pm (had to wait until Wendy was off from work to leave home) and were all set up and in the camper by 9. It was still pouring and we were very, very grateful for the camper. I think tent camping would have been pretty miserable! All night long we listened to drumming rain and the heater coming on. Our horses were out under trees, all with their blankets on. (This is June 3rd!). The next morning, the skies were starting to clear and we got ourselves all ready for our trip to Catrina's place. She and her mother, Mary, came and picked us up, as my truck as pretty tied down with the camper and trailer. We got a tour of gorgeous canyons, rolling plains and windmills on our way to their place. They're in Centerville, WA, which is around 40 minutes from Glenwood. Probably not that far milewise, but the twisty roads make it take a bit longer than you'd think. We admired Suyji, now a strapping young lad and Mazaly, who was telling him where to go and how to get there. All their horses looked as if they were enjoying the huge pastures and after some photo taking, we met a bunch of their goats and learned all sorts of neat things about CSAs and windmills. I expect to see Catrina and her horses out eventing within a few years - they just need to grow up a bit first. We then headed back to the camp, where we vetted in and went for a nice, late afternoon ride.

Saturday morning dawned...sunny! Although we had our rain gear along, I'll take sunshine anyday. I get enough rain at home! Wendy went off for the 50 with our camp neighbor David LeBlanc, and I headed out two hours later for the 30. Until I figure out my problems, I'm going to stick with the shorter distances. We made it about 200 ft and I heard, clink, clink, clink. So, back to camp to change out an Easyboot - the cable had broken. We left again and started our ride. Klickitat is mainly on nice, sandy trails, with some logging roads, very scenic. Quite quickly, I linked up with a lovely lady named Chloe (never did get her last name) and her horse, Monty. We were chatting so much, that we missed a pie plate and probably did an extra 6 miles or so...woops. We weren't the only ones though. No matter how well those trails are marked, I seem to get lost there! At least I didn't do a whole extra loop this time. So, we backtracked and had a very lovely ride, with Monty and Galen moving out very well. We came into the first vet check at 17 miles in a bit less than 2 1/2 hours, so if we did an extra 6 miles or so, we were flying. We pulsed down right away and did our hold. I didn't see my bag there, so Chloe shared her stash and Galen just helped himself to everyone's food. We headed out of the hold and worked on rating Monty a bit, which he accepted. He and Chloe are still pretty new to endurance, so are still learning lots. I had fun being the 'mentor' this ride. We ended up back at camp around 1ish and unfortunately, Galen must have stepped on a rock in the last little bit of trail, as he was just the tiniest bit off. The vet gave us the chance to do the trot out again in an hour, but he had rubs from his Easyboots on both fronts, even with my wrapping and was still just the smallest bit off, so I didn't go back. I felt very badly, as he had done a fantastic job - we found out later that we were about 17th out of 55 or so, so if we hadn't made that detour, (and vetted through!) we might have top tenned.

Wendy came in a bit after 2 pm and while Allie was fine, she was hurting. Monica and Taz had a wonderful time on the trail ride, but we decided that with Galen's soreness and Wendy's knee, we'd forget riding Sunday. We didn't feel too badly though, as the rain started up again.

All in all, a very good weekend, although I wish we hadn't met that rock, but that is endurance! Our next planned ride is Renegade, over the 4th of July weekend.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Scooter Picture

Busy Week!

Last week was quite busy here at CGAT. Annie was getting ready to foal and we were really hoping she'd do it in time for us to get to the Klickitat Trek endurance ride. My cut off foaling date was Tuesday, as we were planning to leave Thursday. So, on Monday, I checked her and things were very promising. Her milk was starting to become white and sticky, the foal was in the proper position and she was cranky. I turned her out in the grass field and within the hour she wanted back in. So, we did 2 hour checks all day and by around 4 pm, she had waxed up. Whoo-hoo! We're having a baby! Monica made plans to stay the night (her first foaling!) and we told Annie we'd like to be all done by 10 pm at the latest. Monica and I hung out in the barn until around 11ish, watching Annie have contractions, timing them, getting everything ready. At that point, I headed into the house and just peeked out the window every half hour or so. Around 2 or so (I think - I was pretty tired by then) Monica came in the house and I just kept looking out the window. At about 6 am, my husband was out in the front yard throwing a ball for the dog, when he yelled "I see feet!". Annie had tried to sneak it past us. There was a mad scramble out to the barn and Alex and I caught the foal, as Annie decided to foal standing up. While I'd been hoping for a buckskin filly, we got a bay or smokey black colt, with lots of chrome and a definite urge to get up. He scooted around the arena for a bit, until he figured out his legs and then we moved mom and baby into the foaling stall. Scooter has stuck as his barn name and I suppose I'll need to get moving on a real name soon. He's a nice little guy, very friendly, well put together and FOR SALE.

Annie retained her placenta (probably from foaling standing up!), so we had a vet visit that morning. That turned out ok, except for the bill and they're both doing very well. Annie has a date with Salam fairly soon and I'll do my filly dance again, as I'd sure like a buckskin filly!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Baby Thoughts

Any mare can foal at any time...those immortal words from (I think!) "Blessed are the Broodmares". As the post title suggests, I've been thinking about ones, that is! My lovely Teke mare, Annie (Anastasia) is due to foal pretty soon and so we've been getting the foaling stall ready, dreaming big dreams and trying to figure out when she'll pop. From past experience, she'll pick the most inconvenient time (for me), which means next weekend, when I'm supposed to be at Klickitat Trek. The timing works out too, as she'll be within 2 weeks of her due date, so the baby will be ready to be born. We'll end up making the decision whether to go or not based on what she looks like this week. Right now, I'd say I have between 1 day and 2 weeks, depending on many factors. Mares foal when they foal. I know some lucky people whose mares would foal on exactly the same day of pregnancy year after year. Not so for me. I've had them foal at 318 days, I've had them go past the magical 340 days. In the end though, as long as mama and baby are ok, the rest is just horses.

Why the worry, you ask? Why not just let nature take it's course and wake up to a happy, bouncy foal one morning? Well, most of the foalings here at Cascade Gold have gone without a hitch, but there have been several that if I hadn't been there, the outcome would have been grim, including 2 of Annie's. Most likely, fescue toxicity has been the culprit in most of my troublesome foalings, but at a certain point, you can't do much more. One year, all three mares that foaled were red bag deliveries (most likely the fescue) and one foal ended up not surviving. I won't even go into the vet costs! The mares had been off any sort of pasture for months, on forage that couldn't have fescue, but it didn't matter.

So, why go to all the trouble of breeding and foaling out horses? Well, being a breeder is kind of a calling. I try to produce foals that are better than their sire or dam or both. I very carefully match up horses to (hopefully) minimize faults and maximize excellent traits. It's worked pretty well so far, and in general, I think I've produced horses that improve on at least one parent. There have been some heartbreakers, but over the years, we've done pretty well. There are so many variables that seeing a horse you bred and raised doing well under saddle is a major achievement.

My absolutely favorite part of the whole process is the week before the mare foals. In that week, you can see the end of all your years of hard work culminating in the perfect foal ; perfect conformation, perfect sex, perfect color, perfect temperament. Once the mare foals, you have what you have. But that week before...better than Christmas any day! Running out to the barn to check on 'weird noises' and 'she was restless'. Even sleeping in the barn when you're pretty sure the time is close. It really is a time of wonder. I never get tired of it. Once the baby is born, that is amazing also. This young life, ready to be gently guided into being a partner for some lucky person. Foals know nothing about what we expect of them, so every interaction is so important.

I'll post photos and blog when the baby comes. Right now, it's a buckskin filly.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mt. Adams ride, May 15, 2010

Here is the 'official' Mt. Adams ride photo. I think this was after the second loop and I'm still bouncy and smiling. Photo is by Jessica Anderson.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mt. Adams Endurance Ride, May 15th, 2010

I'm pretty sure I now know the meaning of 'endurance'. We're back from our lovely weekend on the slopes of Mt. Adams, near Troutdale, WA. Absolutely gorgeous views, snowcapped peaks, tall firs, lovely meadows, wonderful trails, lots of happy horses and riders. So, why the comment, you ask?

At my last 50 mile ride, Home on the Range, I did great until the last mile, where I ended up getting off my horse, putting my head between my knees and waiting until the world quit rushing around. We finished, the horse was fine, but after that I've been doing more conditioning rides and I really worked on what I'd eat and drink at the next ride, so I wouldn't have this problem ever again. Well....

We rolled into ride camp around 3 pm on Friday, got camp set up, vetted in, met some friends, took care of the horses and hit the sack pretty early. None of us slept well, a common problem before a ride - lots of excitement! We were up at 4:45, ate a good breakfast, got the horses ready and hit the trail a little after 6 am. We had a little bit of excited horses, until we got out of camp and then both Galen and Allie settled into their work. Nice loose reins, long, steady walk to warm up and then a good trot up and down stunning trails. Both Wendy and I had to comment on how many trees the ride manager's crew had to cut up - the numbers were amazing! At the ride meeting, they mentioned 80 downed trees cut on ONE loop. I think they undercounted. We started at the back of the pack, wanting to just finish in a reasonable time with happy horses. Our first loop of around 13 miles took us a bit over 2 hours, which was a little faster than we really wanted to go. So, after a short vet check, we headed out for loop number two, where we got into a very nice pace, traded leading back and forth and enjoyed the scenery. This loop was around 12 miles and we did it in around 2 hours again. Lots of up and downs and we trotted most of the downhills. Now, the day was starting to heat up a bit. We had our lunch hold, and the horses both thought they should roll, which didn't work with tack still on. We all had our lunches and then moved out at around 11:30. So, so far, around 4 1/2 hours of riding. We got into the third vet check at 45 miles at 3:34, so now we were really slowing down. I had ridden without half chaps on, thinking they would cause too much heat build up. Bad move, as the trotting downhill was really working my calves and the stirrup leathers were most definately THERE. I'm sure that to save my calves I changed the way I was sitting and then OTHER parts started complaining. Once again, the trails were gorgeous, but this was a very long loop - 20 miles to the next vet check. We had some lovely views of Mt. Hood, met a bunch of snow on the trails (horses thought it was much too late in the year for snow), but now by the middle of the loop I was hurting more than a little. Not too bad until the final 5 of that 20, but we still had one more vet check and then 5 miles in. It was around 80 degrees and the horses handled it beautifully, eating and drinking whenever they could, no problems with them. We got into the last vet check and I crashed. I got off Galen and basically ended up on the ground. Thank goodness for Wendy and for the wonderful lady that gave me some frozen sugar water. I just laid there for a bit, while Wendy trotted out the horses and grazed them. They were fine and after a few minutes, I was able to get up, soak my head, drink more (really, I was drinking plenty of water, had electrolytes, Power Bars etc). We only had 5 miles to go and I had Wendy to drag me in, so we got on and headed out. I'm pretty sure that if I had been alone, I would have pulled at this point, as I basically hung on to the saddle and let Galen follow Allie in. He was great, not trying to get ahead and catch everyone (he's quite competitive), but being careful so I didn't just fall off. I was thinking very hard about pain relievers and I'm sure I was riding like a sack of potatoes. The last 5 miles took almost exactly 2 hours and that was (for me) real endurance. Not fun at all and I did think of telling Wendy to go on ahead, but then decided that would be stupid, as I was close enough to falling off that it would be unsafe. So, even though she was doing pretty good and the horses were fine, we went very, very slowly the last bit. I did make it into the finish line and Monica was there waiting with the camera, a chair and a beer (hail to Monica!) so I crossed the finish at 5:24 and collapsed in the chair as Monica vetted Galen through. He got all As again and gave a little attitude during the trot out (probably soooo tired of just walking!).

So, what did I learn? First of all, being humbled can happen at anytime. I had thought (!) I was conditioned enough for this ride. I was in better shape than at the last ride, my horse was going great, I thought I had fixed the holes in my eating and drinking routine and everything seemed to be going well. I had plenty of time to think during that last 5 miles and I think that the combination of the heat (although 80 really isn't that hot, we haven't had a day at home yet that's over 70 and I've still been conditioing in a winter jacket) and the hills got me. I'd rather it's me that is the weak link than my horse (who was AWESOME), but dang, sometimes getting a little older sucks. The stuff that used to be so easy just isn't any more. Obviously, just (ha!) working on the farm, riding at home and conditioning, is no longer enough to keep me fit. I had thought my fitness was fine, but was very definately proved wrong. Thankfully, I had a good friend that took care of me on the trail (thank you Wendy!) another good friend in camp that took care of my horse when I couldn't (thank you Monica!) and now I have to treat myself like one of the horses and get in better condition. It's pretty obvious that Galen could do much more, but he's stuck with me, so I need to get up to his level, or at least closer to his level.

We're planning on going to Klickitat Trek in 2 weeks, unless Annie decides she will foal over that weekend, and I'm going to be smart and go down to a 30 mile LD. If all goes well, I'll do 2 (it's a 2 day ride). In the meantime, I will suck it up and really start conditioning myself. Sigh. Well, in the long run, this will be a good thing! I'll be in better shape and can do my wonderful horse justice.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Soggy Tuesday

I have to admit, I'm kind of dilly-dallying today. It's been raining, sleeting, hailing and raining again the last day or so, so the ground is soaked. I know I need to get out on the trails, but I don't think today is the day. Monica and I did get out on Sunday, and while it spit rain a bit, it wasn't bad. We were able to head down to the Redmond Watershed, where even if it is raining, the trails are wonderful. We put in a nice ride, the horses were happy, and got home around 4ish, just in time to feed the rest of the herd.

We're getting ready for the Mt. Adams ride. I've never been to this one, but have heard wonderful things about it. I have been to Klickitat Trek, which is in the same area, and it's absolutely fabulous, so I expect Mt. Adams will be just as nice. Wendy and I will do the 50 again and Monica is going to do the 25. Taz' conditioning is coming along nicely and Monica thinks they'll be just fine. Taz has years of conditioning behind him, so even if he hasn't gotten the months of conditioning Allie and Galen have, he'll do just fine for a slow 25. That will give Monica lots of time to take photos too!

I've been working with the youngsters some and I think Danny (Magdan) is going to be a super dressage horse. He is so elegant and his gaits are so nice. Unfortunately, I'm not quite as elegant as he is (he's the slender, exotic type of guy and I'm more the sturdy, easy keeper type), so we'll see if I ride him in any shows. Tommy (Asil Tumay) had some dental work done, so he should be happier about the bit (there was some serious rooting and head-tossing going on - retained baby teeth!). Andre is looking very good and begs to be played with and is so happy and willing when I get to him. Annie (Anastasia) is coming home from Canada soon and will be foaling sometime in June. We have some breedings planned for Salam this summer and all in all, it's pretty busy.

OK, enough putting off, time to go to work.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Home on the Range

It's Monday morning and I'm sitting as much as possible, because I'm SORE! But, it's a good 'sore', as I rode my first endurance ride of the season on Saturday at Home on the Range near Washtucna, WA. We did the 50 mile ride, which was probably pushing it a bit, as I've been sick for (it seems, anyway!) most of March. The kids were very generous in sharing their colds and I got one after another. I think we went out on the trails only around 5 times the entire month, with a few more rides in the arena, so I was definately not quite as fit as I had planned to be. Galen has a pretty good base of conditioning and he's no pasture puff, so I figured I'd be the weak link.

Wendy, Monica and I drove over on Friday afternoon, giving my new truck its first real workout. It drove like a champ and kept us all very comfortable. We didn't even play with all the options, as we talked the entire way. We arrived at Ridecamp around 3 or so and got our camp set up. We vetted in without any problems and then went for a nice ride to check out the trail. Gorgeous vistas, lots of tumbleweeds, some pretty good hills and...badger holes! Lots and lots of them, mostly well marked, although we did hear of a few people coming to grief in them. We got very good at spotting them, quite quickly. Monica had brought a yummy dish for supper and then we went to the ride meeting, where we met the ranch owner, Mr. Beckley, and some of his crew (very nice people, they did a lovely job with the ride) our intrepid ride manager, Gail Williams, who always puts on a fantastic ride, and the vets, who do a super job with very little time off. Off to bed early, although a neighbor near us kept their generator on MUCH too long and a patchy night's sleep with an early morning wake up.

Wendy and I had a start time of 7 am, so we were up at 5:30 to feed the horses, feed us, get tacked up and such. We waited a little bit to ride out, hoping for a loose rein start and a nice slow warm up. Well....the reins might have been loose once or twice that first 17 miles, but both horses were rarin to go and let us know they thought we were being awfully silly to insist on a reasonable pace. Kerri-Jo Stewart and Shannon Mayfield were both in the 25 and took photos of us at the start. You can check out Shannon's blog at and Kerri-Jo has posted some photos on Facebook. We didn't take many photos that first loop, as we were too busy holding our horses in. Galen thought we should pass EVERYONE and Allie concurred with him. We finished the first loop of 17 miles in around 2 hours, so we were going a bit faster than we planned. We vetted in fine and did our hold. The next loop was a 9 mile loop and while the horses were still pulling a bit, we were able to slow down some. We had our longest hold after this loop and were able to eat some lunch and let the horses eat a bit back at our camp. The next loop was a 16 mile (now I can't remember if the first was 17 and the second 16 or the opposite...went to check the info and I had just washed it in my pants pocket. One or the other!), and the horses were a bit more content to slow down. We had more riding on a loose rein this loop and got to see some mule deer and some lovely vistas when we were up on the top of the ridges. This loop took us a bit longer, I think around 3 1/2 or 4 hours (my vet card is elsewhere and I'm too sore to get up and find it!) and we only had a 15 minute hold after it. Thank goodness that Monica was finished with her ride and met us at the vet line with beet pulp, carrots and held horses while we dashed to the port-a-potty! Then, we were off on our last loop and both horses thought we were nuts - they went, but kept politely looking back at camp and looking at us and we had no problems with them going too fast. We were all pretty tired by this time, so kept up a reasonable pace to get done. Wendy had forgotten a jacket and it was a bit cooler than it had been, so we really weren't thinking of dallying. We had 9 miles to go and a cut off in 3 hours. We made pretty good time and I was feeling pretty cheerful and smug (dangerous thing to feel until you're done!) that I was not terribly sore and feeling pretty good. Well....about a mile from camp, I started feeling nauseous and light-headed and had to get off before I fell off. I spent a few minutes with my head between my knees and then Wendy gave me some electrolyte water. Galen thought we should just get back to camp, but I couldn't get on. So, bless Wendy, we walked the rest of the way, quite a bit of it with me hanging on to Galen's tail and him pulling me. Guess we're ready to tail up hills now, although I sure hope it's not for the same reason. The electrolyte water did the trick and the roaring in my head went away, along with thoughts of keeling over. We got into the vet check and Monica trotted Galen out for me. He was tired but judged 'fit to continue'. I wasn't....but, thankfully, they don't worry too much about the humans, unless they're a lot worse off than I was. Back to the camp where some food and drink made me feel better, although I sure learned that I needed to take better care of myself! The horses all got a big feed, lots of hay, Galen got his legs poulticed and wrapped and we heard about Monica's ride. I'm sure she'll write all about it in her blog at but she said they had a lovely ride. Off to the potluck for some chili and gumbo and then they had the awards that evening too. We were all too pooped to stay, as it looked like it would take awhile, so we headed back to our camp, popped the champagne open to completed rides and birthdays (Wendy's birthday was Saturday, happy birthday!) and then pretty much passed out, or at least I did. The generator next door didn't keep me up at all, although I think both Monica and Wendy wouldnt' say the same.

Next morning, we met up with Kerri-Jo and heard about her ride - she completed her first 25 on Darginka (probably not Kerri-Jo's first, but the horse's first) and missed Shannon. We picked up our completion awards, although I have no idea where we were in the placings - not the tail enders, but probably near the end. That is ok though, as we went into this with not terribly fit horses and (obviously!) not completely fit humans. I know I'm pretty sore today and although Galen was looking his usual perky self this morning, we'll take a few days off to recoup. Then, it's getting ready for the next ride, which will probably be Grizzly on April 17th near Bend, OR.

Hope we'll see Shannon and Kerri-Jo there too, although it's pretty far from BC for Kerri-Jo. I think she mentioned doing a BC ride next.

Now, off to clean the house and catch up on some chores!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Our FOTATA Awards

Ari and Galen tied for 4th place in the first annual FOTATA (Friends of the Akhal-Teke Award) and Shannon, the organizer, sent us some lovely halters as prizes. I really wanted the first place prize (Gorgeous, hand-painted plate), but Amrita Ibold certainly deserved it this past year. We'll see if we can start a real horse race for first place this year. I have big plans, but we'll see what really happens. I know that several other Teke people have big plans too, so I suspect I'll have to do lots of competing to even be in the running! That is ok though, as the more we get these fabulous horses out there, the better.

I'll upload some photos of Ari and Galen posing in their halters.

Thanks Shannon!