Meet the 40 Acre Farm Cast.

 Here on the 40 acre farm we have 5 horses, 3 dogs, 3 cats and one husband who puts up with the animals, and sometimes me. No trees, lots of rocks, and I have to haul water because we haven’t had a well drilled yet. We are located in the middle of Washington state, usually referred to as nowhere USA.

 Rocky is a Shire cross gelding.

 A big guy. He is black and 20+ yrs old. He is a little arthritic. He loves attention, and comes to me as soon as I go outside. He follows me around like a faithful dog. (A dog that if he fell on my would flatten me instantly.) He loves belly scratches. He is the sweetest horse, but all but one of the cast members here are all sweethearts. He would love to live inside with me, but I need to keep reminding him that he is not a mini. 

 I got him about 2 years ago from my old neighbor. Rocky had lived in the pasture across the street from me for several years before he became mine. Before we knew his name, we referred to him as the horse that loves me. I went over and gave him scratches and  treats everyday. Along with his other pasture mates, including Fred, who we will talk about later in this story. 

 Every day he would be at the fence line by my mailbox waiting. I joked with his owner that when we finally sold the house and moved, the horse was going with me. The last year I lived there I finally asked if I could ride him, even though I had other horses. One of mine was 26 and blind. 

 The owner agreed, and I started riding him. He was amazing, but not able for real long rides, due to his size an age he was developing arthritis. But he still liked to go. 

 When we sold the house, I was very sad. I would miss the big guy. But the owner surprised me and asked if I was still taking him when I moved! The owner said that he loved Rocky too much to watch him age and eventually have to be put down. I was ecstatic! 

Fred is an Appaloosa gelding. 

 That’s not the name he came with. I used to call all the horses I trained who were unpredictable, erratic or dangerous Fred after a Morgan horse that used to be boarded at my place when my kids were little. He was a girls 4H horse, and seemed like a sweet guy. One day that Fred flipped out and tried to attack my then 8 yr old daughter out in the pasture. If it was not for my daughters little mare, the 2 mules and my big gelding Whoops, she might have been seriously injured or killed! 

 So anyway, this Fred was named Arizona. He is a big guy, about 16hh, Appaloosa with a blanket. Kind of a seal brown color, not bay, not chestnut. I think he is in his early teens? Since I was messing around with Rocky, and Fred was in the pasture with him. I got to know him. He was pushy. He would randomly spook at something and just about run me over. He had poor manners, and no sense of space. He just isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree. So since at the time I did not know his name, I started calling him Fred. 

 Of course after I started riding Rocky, I asked if I could ride Fred. Now Fred belonged to the neighbors daughter. (The neighbor I forgot to mention is a bit older than me, has trained many, many horses, owns a popular horse camp, and used to do logging with horses. He even raised, trained and used Rocky doing logging. A very experienced horseman.)

 The daughter was a grown woman who went out on the road with her husband driving long haul. She did not get to spend much time at all with Fred. So the daughter agreed to me riding Fred as he had not been ridden much in quite awhile. 

 Well, Fred bucks. Fred rears. Fred lunges forward, to the side, or whatever randomly when he doesn’t want to cooperate. And since he hadn’t been ridden in awhile, he didn’t want to cooperate with anything I asked him the first couple of rides. Fred was living up to his nickname. Finally I got him to stop being a jerk, mostly. 

 So the neighbor, the Dad with all the horse experience, decided to ride Fred one day after I had ridden him about a dozen rides. I had not complained about Fred being a jerk. And the neighbor had seen me ride him down the road bareback. So thought Fred was fine. Well, their ride went anything but fine. Fred went over backward with the neighbor and the neighbor got hurt! The daughter came home not too many days after Dad got hurt and decided that she and her husband were going to take Fred to her friends place. Her friend was going to work with him. He wouldn’t get into the trailer for them. I wasn’t there, and don’t know what all happened, but Fred was hurt, and I believe they were as well. 

 The neighbor told me that if I wanted Fred that I needed to take him. If I didn’t they were going to put him down as he is dangerous. I took him. He went in the trailer for me. I don’t let anyone else ride him though. He still randomly bucks. He is buddy sour. He spooks at nothing on a regular basis. I had him vet checked, he is not in pain, nothing wrong with him, just unpredictable. I somehow like to ride him, maybe because of the challenge. He hasn’t bucked me off yet. But he is also the one I never get on without my helmet!

   Seamus is next. 

 He is a little Appaloosa few spot gelding That I was going to train up to be my husbands horse. (My husband likes Fred, but I won’t let him ride him.) He is a rez horse. (They still call them that, even though they no longer call it the reservation) From the Collville tribes. He has the ear notch from the tribe as well. 

 He is pretty much all white, with just a couple spots. His mane and tail are white, but his spots are kind of a red dun color. I brought him home and started training him. He is the smartest horse on the property. The second smartest horse I have ever worked with in my long life. He is only 14.2hh. But he is all brains and heart. He is a lover. He also thinks he is all that. He runs Fred off, and Fred is much bigger. Cracks me up. He pulls some stuff. He bucks occasionally too, but he is just playing and it isn’t serious.

  Calliope I have had since the day she was born. 

 I owned her mother and father. She is 8 yrs old and a smoke black with white feet. About 15hh and built very well. Nice floaty trot. She has a scar on her back fetlock now, but is not lame at all.

 Calliope is a trickster and a character. If you are trying to fill the water trough and set the hose down, she will grab it to spray you, the other horses, the dog, whomever. She likes to get ahold of random things like a grocery bag, an empty grain bag, a coat, anything, and chase the other horses. Especially Fred, with whatever she gets ahold of, flapping it merrily. Fred ran into the side of the round pen one time. He wasn’t hurt, and unfortunately I didn’t get it on video. 

 Calliope is willing and loving, but now has an issue with her feet. I leased her out for a time. She came back unwilling to have her feet touched, and terrified of letting anyone touch them, let alone pick them up! We are working on it. I have to do her feet myself, when it is quiet and no one else is around. I am arthritic, and not very strong anymore. This sucks. 

 Finally, we have Cleo

 I don’t know shit about her. My friend gave my number to a young woman who had an unbroke, never haltered, (that anyone knows of) Appaloosa mare. The Woman is moving away to the East  somewhere. She had been boarding this horse, and couldn’t just leave it there. Neither, it seems, could she take it with her. So my friend decided that I was the only one to save this mare. I was told the mare was five or six years old blue roan Appaloosa. The woman had never been able to touch the horse and hadn’t done any work with it, though she had it over a year. No one could get it into a trailer to get it off the property. Enter my stupid ass. 

 So I drove 2 1/2 hours out to this place with my husband, it was a shit hole. I cannot believe anyone would actually PAY to have a horse there. The pens were small and they were on a steep Bank. The pens have never been cleaned, and the only reason that they weren’t waist deep with shit, is because the steepness of the hill. Not a water trough to be seen either! Don’t know how the horses got water. 

  There was no way to get the truck and trailer down to where this mare was, so we ended up running her up through a couple other pens, to the upper barn. We got the truck and trailer down to the upper barn, and ran her through into a part of the barn, right by the trailer. I then used Seamus to push her into the trailer. Because of the steepness of the hill, and the mud and lack of any kind of maintenance on this farm we had to have them use their tractor to help pull us up out of this shit hole. There was no way in hell I was leaving that horse there. So we have an untouchable horse. I am working with her but she’s only been here a week. She has several rope burn scars around her neck, so she’s been roped at sometime. She is terrified of ropes. I don’t blame her. I’m starting her with at liberty work in the round pen. So we will see what happens. 


 New horse, The horse with bad feet, Felix. He has his own story

The horse with bad feet.

Spring 2022

First I need to tell you about whoops, he was my all-time heart horse. He was a Mustang I got when he was three years old, way back in 1985. He was really big for a Mustang a little over 16 hands. I loved that horse with my whole heart he was amazing. We did every event from western pleasure, dressage, even endurance. He could do it all. He was a fantastic trail horse as well. I even gave riding lessons on him. I miss him still. 

 There will be a story about him, but too long here to tell you how great he was. 

So the other day I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a Mustang gelding a lady was having trouble with. She was thinking of selling him. I am supposed to be retired from training, but still like working with problem horses. Yes, I am aware of how idiotic that sounds. 

  Now this horse looked gray and my whoops was a black bay. He also looked quite short from the picture, around 14-14.2hh. But I inquired about the horse because he made me think of my horse whoops who has been gone from me for a long time. I got in touch with the woman, and was told that he had some issues, very bad feet and a pushy attitude. He would not let her do much with him. Sounded just like whoops. Whoops was kind of a jerk, but I loved him dearly. 

 I found out this guy wasn’t all that far away, maybe our hour and a half drive.  I hooked up my trailer Monday morning and loaded up my dogs, and decided to go out there and meet this woman and her horse. I was going to do a re-training on him for this lady. That was my thought. She told me she got him from the BLM (No, not Black Lives Matter, but bureau of land management)

 When I got there and this horse started dragging her around with no respect at all for her. He is quite a bit taller than I thought he would be, at least a full hand taller. The picture was deceiving as he is kind of a chunk. So he is a big strong horse. I will be measuring him soon.

 His neck is very cresty, His feet are some of the worst I’ve ever seen without the horse being completely lame. Possibly foundered, but no heat in hooves. They look deformed, and like they have not been trimmed in years. His feet look much worse in person than the pictures show! I decided right then and there, he horse was coming home with me. The lady gave him to me as she could see that he and I got on well, and that I had plans to help him. So instead of a retrain, I have another horse. 

 Now one thing that I didn’t expect was it this horse gave me absolutely no trouble at all. He didn’t pull me around, he loaded right into the trailer for me. He gave me no issues, no attitude, he was a really good boy for me. He is a lover. I was giving him scratches and a treat or four. Of course I fell in love with him immediately. I don’t call him a rescue horse, the lady cared for him and did the best she could, fed him very well. So he didn’t need rescuing, he wasn’t in danger, just needed different care and training. The previous owner was not able to help him, so she found someone who could. I call him my sucker horse. Because I’m a sucker for bringing him home. I have five horses here already, all with different needs. I will tell you about those in another story. (Meet the 40 acre farm cast)

 As soon as I got him home I called the vet and made an appointment. I go to the vet with him tomorrow, and we will see what can be done for his feet. I cut off some of the worst corners, and I do mean corners, his feet looked square. He didn’t want me picking up his feet, and as I was home alone, I did not push it as I did not want to get hurt with no one here to assist me. I worked with him for about an hour just touching his legs and his belly, everywhere on him picking up his feet just seconds at a time. He let me trim a little bit off mostly with his foot on the ground. Yes, they were so bad that I could cut some off without picking up his foot!

I put him in the round pen with a mare that is five years old and completely untouchable that I am going to train. He somehow opened the side of the round pen, (probably with the help of my way too smart Appy Seamus,) and got out on the 25 acres with the rest of the horses.  Letting Cleo, the untouchable mare who was in with him, out with the other horses. He’s running around just fine, he doesn’t seem to be lame, but he should be with those feet! Seamus and him are acting like long lost brothers, running around playing. 

I’ve already called my Farrier, we will see what he can do, but cannot make it out for 2 weeks for our regular 6 week appointment. At the vet tomorrow, (April fools day, which is appropriate as I am being a fool.) I’m going to have them examine his feet and give him a shot to calm him down so I can try to cut off some of that bad hoof. I don’t know if he is just stressed out, poorly trained, or in pain. He isn’t letting my pick up and hold his foot for trimming though. 

 This is going to be an ongoing story. I’m gonna call it Felix’s journey. I renamed him Felix, as he has a new life now. Also because I did not care for his old name and it really does not suit him. I hope you follow Felix‘s story. It’s going to be a long one, with all the Farrier visits he’s going to need, and the vet care, not to mention the retrain he will need. 

Never Enough Tack

I was asked the other day, “Why do you need to buy more tack? It seems like you have a bunch you are trying to sell!”

 My answer, “because there are things that I need, and don’t have, and things I have I don’t need.” 

 Like most other people who have had horses most of or all of their lives, I have a lot of tack.  But when I need something, I don’t have the exact thing I need. Here is why. I am stupid, and I am a sucker. If I had the money for all the tack and horses I have given away or lent out and never got back, I could buy a new house! 

 Like the other day, I needed a surcingle and some skid boots to work a little gelding. I didn’t have a lot of time before I needed to be somewhere, but had almost 2 hours. 

 Great, just need this guy to get a little ground work in. If he isn’t worked with regularly, he gets a bit cocky. So I go to get his skid boots and bell boots. So after searching for some skid boots for 20-30 minutes, I find one larger red one that has the Velcro coming off and one nice blue one. Um, yeah. Not going to work. I gave that nice pair of skid boots to a friends daughter the other day so she had a pair, because they don’t have a lot of money and she is doing barrels. 

 Ok, well we are just doing ground work. It should be fine. I find 3 bell boots. They don’t match, not even close, but get 2 that will work. Find 2 gloves, they don’t match either, but they are similar if different colors. And a right and a left, I am on a roll! 

 Surcingle…I just replaced my old one with a fancy expensive new neoprene one with all the bells and whistles. But, cant find it anywhere! Oh, that’s right I lent it to someone……aaaaacccckkkk! I cannot remember who. 

 Ok, well I will just saddle him and run the long lines through the stirrups and …..oh yeah, I lent the long lines to a woman whose horse needed more ( or at least some) ground work. Horse was (kinda) broke to ride, but did not know anything. I also lent her my videos of ground work. So I call her up, I am going into town later, I will pick them up. She tells me her trainer asked to borrow the lines and videos, and she gave them to her! What the heck? And her trainer is out of town for the weekend. *(Just a note, I would never let anyone use or borrow ANYTHING that was not mine and under my care. I cannot fathom why someone would think that is ok? Either her trainer for asking, or her for agreeing!)

 So I have his saddle, his pad, mismatched bell boots, mismatched gloves, finally found a better cinch, (been going to change his out for over a month) it is better quality, but doesn’t match anything else on him. He is wearing a black and red saddle, a black and red pad, and now an orange and green cinch I got on clearance and meant to dye. I braided up some hay twine for long lines, got his bridle and then changed out his bit. Noticed some minor boo boos on his legs, decide to treat them with gentian violet just in case. So this little light colored gelding now has purple spots all over him. 

 My alarm on my phone goes off. I need to leave for my appointment! I just wasted almost 2 hours chasing down tack, and not working the gelding at all!  The positive side, my step tracker says I met my goal for today running around looking for my stuff! 

 How can I have so much tack, but never have what I need? Because I am a sucker and give stuff away or lend it out. I have too many saddles, lots of bits and headstalls, many reins, several cinches off billets and such. But the stuff I really need, nope. 

 I get back from my appointment and tack up my gelding. Looks like a trailer park rig with the twine lines. Of course they are multi colored, because of course I don’t have enough of one color. So they are orange, blue, green and porn star pink. Pretty much scared the horse when I tried to put them on him. (Why is it you can never get the stuff untied when you try, but when you want it to stay, it slithers loose? 

  My friend Della decides to stop by with her new friend. Her friend wants to buy a western saddle, and Della is all English. I am trying to get some work in with my little gelding in my ‘round pen’. That has quotes around it, because my round pen was stolen, yes that’s right stolen. So since I am moving soon I am waiting to replace it until after I move. In the mean time I am using some wire cattle panels tied to T-posts. It looks awful. It is not a good setup in the least. Another friend calls it my “thrift store round pen.” 

 So I am in the thrift store round pen, working the poor gelding with the ugly hay string long lines, ugly cinch, purple spots and Mismatched bell boots, and me with my one green and one black glove. Oh by the way, did I mention it decided to rain when I started working with him? Well not really rain, but epic deluge? So the saddle has a big black garbage bag over it to try to keep it dry. I don’t have a fancy saddle protector either. 

 I am assuming that Della’s new friend is not impressed by me in the least. Then I realize that my shirt, (The good new one I wore to my appointment, and meant to change), it spattered with mud and soaking wet. Also, completely see through! My jeans are soaked, my hair is plastered to my head. I had put makeup on, I don’t usually wear it, but it is mostly washed down my face anyway. You got the visual? I wish I had taken a picture. 

 I put my soggy gelding up and take Della’s new friend in to show her the saddles I have for sale. She is getting out of showing dressage and wants western stuff to trail ride. She finds 2 she really likes and a few others she is interested in. She decides she is going to bring her horses over so she can try the ones she likes on her horses. 

 Then she blows my mind. She says, “I knew you were the right kind of horse person when I saw you improvised your pen, used what you had to get the job done, and were working your horse even though the weather was nasty. I usually have to improvise a lot too. I have a lot of tack, but never have the right stuff or right size for what I want to do when I want to do it.” 

  Btw, if you borrowed my surcingle, can I please have it back? I really need one! 

The pink lace bra

Tonight, 2 of my horses are being treated like felons and are in jail. Well, in the foaling pen, which is not very big, but very secure. I am about to have a stroke!
30 minutes before this all went down, these boys were up by my rv. Then I went to say goodnight and feed the horses. It would be dark soon. They didn’t come when I called. I went out on the almost 7 acres of mixed trees, hills, blackberries and grass that is my so called ‘pasture’ for them. I am calling, walking all over looking.
Yesterday My husband and I cut all the blackberries and other brush off the electric fence line. The electric fence was all intact. I asked my dog grey to “go find Rocky.” She went right to a hole in the barbed wire fence on the farthest side of the property. Now, the other horses have been in this pasture for 3 years. They were never able to even GET to where the barbed wire is. There is/was a natural barricade of black berries, nettles and all that assorted flora we get in western WA . These 2 turds ate and stomped their way through the brush, and the wire fence. It is old and probably didn’t put up as much fight as the blackberries did.
I am scrambling down the hill, in sandals and pajamas, hollering their names, tripping and falling every few steps through blackberries, nettles, and assorted brush and roots. I can hear the little darlings running up and down the road. So I finally catch up to them, my neighbor who has the goats, she is trying to convince them to wait for me. (I dont run. I cannot physically run. I have a plastic knee cap, a bunch of pins, screws and plates one DR calls a “metal appliance” in my left leg as well. And I was already sore as heck from falling down yesterday when cutting down blackberries. Yes, you guessed it, into the blackberries.)
I finally catch up to them. I had earlier in the day taken off their halters, as they had learned to stay away from the electric wire. ( I had just moved them to this field yesterday) I do not have so much as a hay string. Not even a draw string in my pj bottoms. Luckily I still had my bra on or I would have had to choose between my pj bottoms or my top. So the pretty pink bra goes around Rockys neck. It just fits. Who knew? My chest is the same size as Rockys throat latch. He wears a 36DDD. Hmmm.
I finally get them home and the neighbor I got them from, ( of course it is a guy) pulls in to see if every one is ok. I am trying to be casual, but I really don’t know how. I have my arms crossed and spit out, “I didn’t have a rope so I used my bra!” Rocky is pure black, so the pink lacy bra around his neck is very noticeable.
I really don’t know which of us is more uncomfortable at this point.
I am completely out of breath. My pink bra is around Rockys neck, and the girls are flapping around under my tee shirt.
Both neighbors are now convinced I am completely crazy. But they should all have concluded that because I have lived here a couple years now. They leave.
I got my pulse down to 105 from 118, so maybe I won’t have a stroke tonight.
The horses? Oh they are fine! Fred has one minor new scratch on him. Not even bloody. Just lost some hair. Me? Pjs full of tiny burrs, and holes, garbage bound.. Several new bruises, a finger nail busted off to the quick and bloody. Big scratch across my face. Tops of my feet and ankles torn to bloody hamburger from the nettles and blackberries, and i somehow ripped the armpit out of my tee shirt and scrapped up my under arm. Thats a new pain.
And now I have no idea what I did with my pink bra when I took it off Rocky. I am sure it will turn up when most likely to have an audience and mortify me.

Horse Haiku

My brain is broken. I read something about haiku, then they started popping out of my brain.

What, my horse is out?

It is only 4 am,

Do you want a horse?


My neighbor calls me,

Your black horse is in my yard

She sure poops a lot!


My horse is not dead

Strange people in my pasture

Yes, horses lay down.


Strange noises outside!

My horse is right by window.

She’s snoring, who knew?


Call, out of the blue

You are giving me a horse?

Who are you again?


Standing so pretty,

My horse is finally clean

Get off of my foot!


Never wear chapstick

When brushing your horse in spring.

Not a good idea.


No, your child cannot

Go out into my pasture

Are you that stupid?


Horses don’t eat that

I tell my mare as she chews

Gone, my cheese sandwich.


Who are you anyways,

Out in my field with my horse?

Did you know I’m armed?


Running down the road

Halter and rope in my hand,

Trying to catch mare.


Round bales easier?

Not if you don’t have tractor,

Then not so easy.


Your horse is pretty,

But her trot is horrendous

No I don’t want her.

Saying goodbye

I was a trainer/instructor for many years. I was a single mother as well. A lot of trainers also have part time other jobs, mainly because we are stupid and don’t charge what we are worth. We work long hours, get hurt often, work in all weather, deal with some of the worst people on earth, and some of the best. We work seven days a week, with horses that other people wouldn’t touch.

I loved every day of that life.  I have had many fantastic horses. 3 horses who were horses of my heart. 2 have passed away, one is in Texas. I had to sell him when my kids were young and I left my SO because he had a drug problem.

But we get older. Horse trainers limp, have arthritis. Hard lives and hard work, and aging don’t go well together. I ended up with an auto immune disease, Lupus. But I am doing pretty well. It is harder for me to trim their feet. Harder to care for them. I am weaker, I break easier, get tired easy. But it still brings me joy.

  So I cut down on horses and got down to just two mares. One mare is a six-year-old daughter of a very old mare who is gone now, the other mare is An elderly mare who I have had for a very long time.

The old mare wasn’t always old. Many years ago, I got a phone call from a friend who said that there was a nice mare on the hundred acres property that she had sold, that they couldn’t catch. She was running free in the pasture, they tried roping her and several people had tried catching her to no avail. She was abandoned by her previous owner who had shown her in halter. She is very well bred, an own daughter of zips chocolate chip. She’s a frosted buckskin Appaloosa. She was gorgeous, still is. They said if can catch her, she is yours. The new owners of the property will shoot her if I can’t get her out of there, they want to bring in cows and calves. I decided to go out and try to catch her. I didn’t approach it the way others did I took a book, a bag of apples, and a bag of carrots. I sat on a stump in the middle of the pasture where she could see me and proceeded to read my book and eat carrots and apples. It didn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes before she couldn’t stand it anymore, and came to see if she could cage some carrots or apples off me. She could, I shared out my carrots and apples gave her a couple of scratches and she liked it. I put my halter and lead rope on her, stood on the stump, jumped on her back and rode out of the pasture. my friend was flabbergasted. She loaded right into my trailer. I have never had a problem catching her since that day.

I have done many things with this mare. She wasn’t quite my heart horse, but she is very special to me. I won a saddle on her for competitive trail. She has given lessons, broke into the stud pen and gave me a baby. Carried my grand babies. Let me cry on her when my son died. Been my friend.

Her name is Pepsi. I have forgotten her registered name, and it doesn’t matter to me anyway.

Found out last year, Pepsi has cancer in her skull. Pepsi is blind and now has been getting confused. She gets lost sometimes on my property. Steroids helped her. Soon they won’t help her anymore and she may start having headaches. Then my friend will have to be let go. It is a very hard thing to say. Harder to do. But I cannot see my friend hurting, scared and confused.

Loving horses means making decisions based on what is best for your horse. Not what is easiest. Not what is cheapest. I have eaten frozen burritos for a week so my horses could get farrier care when I was no longer able to do it myself. When I had kids, priorities were, kids, animals then me. Now it is animals, then me.

I will lose a little of myself when the time comes. I am taking it day by day. Today I dewormed her, brushed her and then just sat on her. We just enjoyed the odd sunny day in winter and each other’s company. That is enough.

How to crash a dream.


So I get a phone call today from a guy who has a mare and he wants to know how he can make money breeding her to have babies. He wants to know how many babies a year a horse can have, how much a breeding to a stallion is, and how much he can sell resulting babies for once born. And how many days or weeks after being foaled they can be sold. I ask him a few questions about the mare he’s proposing to breed. First is she registered? How much has she been shown? Has she had babies before? How old is she?

So he tells me the mare was given to him she’s not registered, she’s not broke to ride,  she is 24 yrs old and you can barely even catch her. I explained the mares only have one baby every 11 to 12 months, And it is not worth breeding a mare that has never been shown had babies when she is not a useful mare. Also a mare as old as his will likely either not take when breeding, or may miscarry, or have trouble foaling. The mare will need her shots, deworming and feet done during all this time. Plus high quality feed. Also foals must stay with their mother at a minimum 3 months, 6 is better. Also the foals will need to be halter broke and be good with having their feet worked with. They will need their shots and dewormed. 

 I then went on to explain the costs involved in the 18 months from breeding to sale of foal. These are bare averages, they could be more or less. There are many other costs, but start with these.

 Minimum cost of Breeding and mare care.                                $1000

 18 months of farrier care for the mare.                                        $450

 18 months of dewormer for mare.                                                 $110

 18 months of quality feed from a feed store.                             $3100

 Vet care for mare and mare/foal.                                                  $400

 Immunizations if done by owner.                                                   $240


Total                                                                                                  $5300

 Average price of unregistered foal $400

Poor guy was quiet for a very long time. Then he asked me if I want a free horse. 


Saddle for sale

You would think selling a saddle would be pretty straight forward. I can sell anything else, non horse related, without getting the crazies I get selling anything remotely to do with equines.

16″ western saddle for sale.

Old handmade roping saddle, has seen a lot of use. Still in very useable shape, well oiled and broke in. Has minor scuffs all over saddle and dally marks on horn, nothing major. Saddle over all sound. Semi QH bars. Medium oil with basketweave tooling. Very deep slick seat. All leather ties newly replaced. All rigging has been checked and oiled, fenders are solid, stirrups are rawhide wrapped oak. Solid sound rawhide wrapped hardwood tree. Weighs about 60 pounds. No trades. $275 call xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Now I think my ad is pretty complete. No confusion. (I am really stupid.) Just because I am sure this ad is full of information, pretty complete, answers many questions, doesn’t mean a bloody thing.

The following is a short list of some of the questions I received.

Is the seat adjustable?

Do you have an adult sized Saddle? My butt is a 42″ (I really like this one)

How do you remove the semi QH bars? I want to use it on my registered QH.

Will this fit a pony and my kids? (Kind of get a mental picture of saddled children)

If this is only 16″ isn’t it just a toy?

So this is only good for someone under 60 pounds!?

You can’t sell handmade saddles they are not safe, don’t you know that? (Cowboys and indians all over the West should have waited for factory saddles)

What kind of Horn is it made of? (WTH This one threw me for awhile)

Is this good for sex games? (Hmmmm, what?)

What happened to the seat to make it slick? Is the padding completely gone?

Ad says it is broke in, but doesn’t say where it is broken or if it can be fixed?

Do you still have the leather fenders? I don’t rope cows so don’t need solid fenders. (Mental pic of ’50’s Cadillac fenders on a saddle)

What are dally marks? (Marks on horn from catching the rope on horn to stop momentem of cows. This is a fair question, I only included it to add the following question.)

You spelled daily wrong. (Um nope)

How much would you sell if for without the rigging? I don’t rope. I just ride trails.

Will this fit my husband? (Does this follow the sex games question or ? I wonder if she a) wants to ride more comfortably on her husband’s  back or b) thinks I have intimate knowledge of her husband to know the size of his butt.

Has this saddle been used?

Will this fit other horses beside semi QH?

How tall a horse will this fit?

Will this fit my horse?

Will this fit a Cow?

Is it heavy?

I am just beginning to ride, Does it have a seatbelt? Or is that what the ties are for?

Is roping the brand name?

How old is this horse?

Has this horse been shown much?

What if my horse can’t put it on? (Now I am really confused.)

Can you ride in this Saddle? (I can, but not sure about you.)

Would it be lighter without the tree thing?

Do you have the title or papers for this?

Would you take $50? I don’t  think anyone will buy It is handmade, but I can’t be picky I need a saddle.

Is this good for dressage?

Is delivery or mailing included? (They are 1900 miles away. Mailing a 60 pound saddle with boxing heavy enough not to disinigrate under the stress would be prohibitive in price. And though I love road trips, nope.)

In the end, I donated it to the 4H.






Trail ride adventure.

Giving riding lessons to teenagers is a gateway drug to them. Soon they are wanting to go on a ‘real’ ride, out on the trail. Eventually you have to capitulate and load up the horses and go out to an over used local horse trail.
The day was sunny but not too warm. A perfect spring day to go on a trail ride. So of course every idiot, including me and 3 students, all descended with various levels of riding ability, to the tolt line trail. I had misgivings after watching one woman back her horse trailer half up on a bright red Mazda while her husband who was suppose to be directing her lit up his cigarette. He then stuffed the cigarette he had just lit back in his shirt pocket, ran for the truck, only to start howling as he was ripping off his cheap cowboy shirt that was sending up layers of colorful smoke. Later I found out it had melted to the copious hair on his chest acting like a cheap wax job.
We got the horses feet cleaned out and checked for cracks and lesions. Ran a quick brush over the already groomed horses to get rid of road dust from the short trip, then tacked up and ready to ride.
To the right of us a woman pulled out a grey rangy looking horse that was glaring around with a murderous light in its single eye. He had red and green ribbons both tied into his tail. Taking this a teaching opportunity, I pointed him out to my students and explained that a red ribbon meant the horse was a kicker, and the green ribbon meant he was inexperienced on the trail or spooked easily. I told them we would give that horse a wide berth.
Across from us was a very pretty tall black mare and an adorable sorrel pony with a flaxen mane and tail. The pony had a white ribbon in his tail. I pointed him out to my students explaining that the white ribbon meant the pony was for sale. I quickly grabbed a white ribbon out of the trailer and tied it on my bay geldings tail. Maybe I could get rid of Bush. He was pretty enough, but not terribly bright and had a trot like bricks falling off a truck.
We waited about 10 minutes after the grey was out of sight down the nearer trail and we headed down the opposite one. A young guy on a little Arab mare asked if he could join us as his mare had never been on this trail before. She was still green and he didn’t take her on new trails alone, and his friends had not shown up.
The first hour was very pleasant. The young man was quite a good rider, and my three teenaged girls were drooling over him or his pretty little Arab. Both oblivious to being so admired. We were all having a good time. I was turned around in my saddle talking to my students, telling them something about trail and bridge etiquette as there was a much used bridge coming up. All my horses would happily splash through the knee high creek and get a drink. So to let them do so so others could use the bridge.
I heard shouting behind us and the young man helped get the girls off the side of the trail in record time. Then with the shouting I heard hoof beats. Running ones. Bearing down on us was the black mare and the pony. The pony was tied off to the saddle horn of the black mare. On the pony was a terrified, white faced girl of about 6-7 years old. No one was on the black.
I was young and stupid back then. I was also much more athletic. The gelding I was on was pretty green, useless for much of anything except walk trot on a trail, and lazier and dumber than a 4 yr old quarter horse had any right to be. I tried to move his fat butt in line to stop the black mare. She was not impressed and raked her teeth down his neck, scaring the stupid beast into backing into the rope securing the pony. He then leaped forward. Somehow I made the decision to jump onto the black mare to get her under control.
Somehow, amazingly I made it into the blacks saddle. She spun impressively on her haunches, leaping into the middle of the creek, dragging the poor pony with her. It was then I realized the mare had no bridle or halter of any kind on. Oh shit.
The mare was running down the trail and I was wondering what I was doing on a run away mare I didn’t own.
All thoughts right now were for the girl on the pony. I tried to work on the knot, but realized immediately that I was never going to get that knot undone under these conditions. I dug out my pocket knife and went to work. Catching every third branch in the face as I cut at the rope. After stabbing myself in the hand quite severely, I managed to get the rope cut.
The mare freed of her anchor, puts on speed. She was frothing by this time. I am trying to use my weight to slow her and also looking for a good place to dive off. Mainly I am hoping she is going to get tired and slow down and not collapse.
We are in an open area now. Ahead of us I see the rangy grey horse with the Christmas colored tail ribbons. What else does this day have in store for me? He also has no rider. He is looking at me with a surprised expression and a mouthful of grass.
The demon mare heads straight for him. I am wondering if she stops to take him on if I can get off and get out of this mess without injury. Or if they had this planned and she has brought me out here for the 2 of them to sacrifice to their evil god.
The grey leaps forward intercepting demon spawn (as I have not so fondly begun thinking of her), and checks her with his chest and shoulder. I am preparing to leap, but with the sudden lack of forward momentum of the mare I fly off over the grey landing better than I could of hoped, but directly behind that festively bedecked tail. I have the wind knocked out of me, so I weakly roll a couple of times hoping to get out of dangers reach. I lose a couple of minutes. Next thing I am really aware of is the young guy on the little Arab cantering up and the grey screaming. I find he is literally standing over me, in a protective stance. Now he is challenging the little Arab mare.
I drag myself to a sitting position and this one eyed grey is nuzzling me and ‘talking’ to me like a mare encouraging a new foal.
I finally wave off the nice young man and grabbing a hold of greys hackamore. I get to my feet. I pet and scratch the grey, check his cinch and bridle out, make sure he is not injured and with help from from my new friend mount him. I am in the saddle when I realize Demon spawn is gone. As we are riding back to my students, Bradly, my new friends name, tells me that when the mare leapt into the creek it divested the pony of its young rider. She landed in the creek, without a scratch but soaking wet. I had no idea she wasn’t still aboard. The pony came running right back to his little mistress. Her mother came running up and was with the group of girls and her daughter while Bradly came looking for me. No sign of Demon spawn.
We got back to our little group. It took some time. I didn’t realize how much ground we had covered. The grey was a very responsive beast! He was trained to a treat! He also had lovely gaits, and seemed to flow from one to the other.
There were about 15 other horses and riders and unmounted people around our little group. The grey’s owner was there, also the owner of Demon spawn, whose real name I was to find was Regal Midnight. I think my name fit her better. Also the couple who had tried to park on the Mazda’s hood.
I tried to give the grey back to her owner, but she was having non of it. She finally mounted Bush, my block headed gelding. Along our ride back to the trailers I got the whole story. The woman who owned the grey gelding had bought him only a week or two before. He was suppose to be a great horse, but was missing an eye. So she had gotten a good deal on him. Her friend told her that she should put the ribbons in his tail because since he couldn’t see well, he would spook at horses coming up behind him. (He never did.) She had tied him up to visit with some people she knew, and when she looked around he was gone. She didn’t like riding him because he had ‘too much go’. I figured that probably had to do with her tendency to grip with her legs too much whenever she got nervous. Not that Bush cared. To get him into anything over a walk or slow trot you had to have spurs, the other horses leaving him behind, or be calling him to grain.
The black mares owner had also recently purchased her mare. She had ridden her once before, in a covered arena the day she bought her. She was an ex race horse. As soon as she mounted and tied the pony to her saddle, the mare freaked out. Bucked her off and took off, bent for returning to hell. Probably never ponied another horse in her life. She had decided they were keeping the pony, selling the black.
When I got to the truck, I caught a look at myself in the mirror. I was pretty scary looking. I had a black eye, with a cut over it that had covered my face in blood. Red weals and welts from the branches that had whipped my face. I was missing a chunk of hair. I was filthy, and had random bits of grass, leaves and whatsit in my hair.
So at the end of the day, I got home with some money and 2 horses I didn’t leave home with and missing one I had left with. I had gladly traded Bush for the one eyed gelding I decided to call pirate Jack. Jack was a registered QH 5 yr old gelding, who had lost his eye when only 3 days old. It didn’t bother him a bit. I won quite a few trail completions and even some endurance rides with him. He filled out really well with good food and regular riding. He was also a great lesson horse, and a total sweetheart once he got to know someone.
I also had Demon Spawn. She was there for training. Also because I was able to catch her. She ended up being a lot better with a bridle on. I retrained her for dressage and she sold to a nice man who did very well with her.
The students went back to lessons, real trail rides were not the adventure they had dreamed of I guess.

Big mean Appy

So some people make me scratch my head and say ‘What the hell.’

Ok, so almost all people make me do that, but let’s not go there. Horse people in general have a bit more common sense than other people. Because they don’t stay horse people very long if they don’t. But sometimes, there is that one you wonder how they ever get through a day. Case in point is the next story I am about to share with you.

I get a call from a woman who has a friend with a horse who has some issues and needs a retrain. I don’t know this woman. She saw me the day before at the trail challenge and asked for my card. I almost remember her. Have no idea who she is, but she is talking to me like we are related, old friends or some such. Her friend has a few spot Appy who is aggressive and has no manners and keeps going through fences and then is hard to catch. ‘Because you know how bad Appies are!’ The owner is planning on taking him to auction if something can’t be done with him.

Now, I love Appies. Always have. People keep telling me that Appies are hard headed, mean, untrainable, un catchable,  not personable, standoffish, pissy, don’t like people, all this bull crap. I have no idea why poor Appies have this designation. Most people are way bigger asshats on a good day than my Appies. Mine are all large puppies who want nothing more than a belly scratch and a cookie and love to go for rides or to pull stumps as long as I pay attention to them. Hell, mine will come in the house looking for me if I forget to shut the door. Hard to catch? Hell no! I can’t get them to go away! Trying to work on the fence and they want their butt scratched and licking the back of my head until my hair looks like I got it caught in a cotton candy machine. I am flapping my arms, yelling at them, throwing horse poo. They steal my hammer and dump my bag of nails and begin masticating my hat. One shit in/on my can of Pepsi. Sigh.

Anyhow, I call the woman with the problem horse. Make arrangements to go see him. She is telling me how he is not friendly at all. Runs her over at the gate. Beat the shit out of her barrel horse. Knocked her down when she was taking feed out to the pasture. (Hint, don’t carry feed out. Throw it over the fence. Hungry horses, dogs or teenagers can be over enthusiastic.)

So I go see this poor horse. Yes, I am on the horses side before I even see him. Rarely are issues with a horse the horses fault. 85% of the time it is the owner. If you are driving a car and hit a tree, you were most likely texting, drunk or speeding right? How many times have you heard of the throttle getting stuck and steering locking up? The tree trying to commit suicide by car?  Yeah, see there?

Something wrong with your horse? One of 5 things. 1) Pain issue. Your fault. Get a vet, chiropractor, whatever. Figure it out, fix pain, problem usually goes away or the horse gets retired. 2) Lack of training, yours or the horse. Your fault. Train horse, take lessons, get a horse more suited to your level of riding,  get a trainer, stop confusing the poor horse. 3) Too much, too little or poor feed. Not enough exercise, kept in too small an area or lack of social interaction with other horses. Your fault again. Fix it! If you don’t know, ask someone. Ask a trainer,  your vet, someone who can see your horse, your feed, the place your horse is kept, not idiots on Internet chat sites or Facebook! Get a clue people. Beware of idiots offering advice. If their horses look like crap and try to bite your face off, or they don’t have horses, or they pay someone else to care for their horse, they have had horses less time than you or less than 5 years, they are probably not an expert! I have had horses for most of my 51 years and I still research stuff and ask questions. So if they have all the answers, they are an idiot, and you are a moron for listening to them. Rant over. 4) Bad maintenance. You need to keep their feet done properly. That means the best farrier, not the cheapest. Angles all correct. Feet cleaned regularly. No fungus. Clean coats and skin. Fly control, tick control. Fly masks when needed. Shade and shelter from wind and rain. Regular interaction from you to meet their emotional needs as well. Tack that fits properly, is in clean good condition. Free of stiff spots, creaky places, rough spots, pokey jabby spots. Anything that can make them hurt or uncomfortable. If you don’t get to shower, feel dirty and itchy, your feet hurt, your pants are too tight and your bra (or tighty whiteys for you guys) is full of hay or bugs, you have been ignored by your best friend until they want you to do something for them, no coffee, you are going to be a bitch. They feel the same way! Your fault, your fault, whack upside the head! 5) The horse is a phycho, abused, or an asshole. Could be your fault, but not relevant. Also less than 15% of problem horses I see are in this category.

I get to her house, her horses are in the back yard. The first one I see is a fairly nice looking horse, but has halter rub marks on its face. Big pet peeve of mine. Don’t leave halters on your horse. No reason I can accept. She brings me to see the horse. He is a body score of about 1.8. Very thin. I can tell by looking he has been this way for a while. Why is it that when ever I see a horse like this the person tells me they rescued the horse and they used to be so much thinner and they have gained so much weight, but they have no pictures. Also she told me on the phone she had him a little over a year. Hmmmm? So she tells me if I want to get him out I can, but she won’t as she is pregnant and he has no ground manners and runs her over.

I go in with him. He comes right up to me and I scratch him all over. He is digging it. I am a Master horse scratcher, just so you know. I put a halter and lead on him. Check his feet. His teeth, his back and legs. He hasn’t been brushed in a coons age. His feet smell like cabbage, clothes left in the washer for several days wet and 2 week old broccoli. His breath is almost as bad. Smells like asparagus farts. His sheath is swollen and hot. I am not going to describe that smell, this is a family channel and just the memory makes me a bit queasy. He has a bean the size of a Buick. His teeth need floated and he has some fungus on his back. He tries to push to the gate, but I ask him to stand then lead him through just fine. His head dives  for the grass as soon as his feet hit the green. I am impressed by this ‘big mean appy’ letting me poke and prod him all over. But she starts in on how I can see how he went for the grass without my permission, how he tried to push through the gate, how he stepped on her foot and pulled the hay away from her when she was trying to feed ‘her’ horse. And how he beat the crap out of ‘her’ horse when she was trying to give that horse grain.

I pick up my jaw off my chest and ask her if she gave this horse grain? Nope. He doesn’t get ridden so he doesn’t need as much feed. He doesn’t need grain. Also she has been told if she doesnt feed him he wont be so aggressive. Uh huh. Problem found. (BTW starved dead horses are rarely aggressive, but still not a good plan!) This horse is freakin hungry. He is beating up ‘her’ horse to get food. Running her over to get to the hay or running through the gate to get grass. Here is the problem. I try to explain it to her. Next thing I know. She gives me the mean Appy for a heck of a deal.

He is fat in my pasture now. Feet clean and sweet smelling. Coat shines and clean except when he rolls in the mud. (What the hell gene do white horses have that makes mud rolling imperative?) Fly wipe, grain, attention, a retrain, sheath cleaned, bean removed, teeth floated, horsey friends and Leo (new name too) is one of the sweetest horses on the property. I am going to bawl my head off when he gets a new home. This is easily a $1500 horse now, if not more for a sweet 8 year old 15.2hh ++ gelding. But because of ‘user error’ he almost went to auction. And my friends wonder why I am anti social and prefer my horses to people?