Welcome to Our Equine Rescue Facility

Just kidding! Don’t send us fixer-upper horses! But we DO happen to have two more over here at the Hermits’ Rest, because at least two of us are very soft hearted or see a lot of potential, or something.

Mysterious new equines

This afternoon we certainly tested the carrying capacity of the livestock trailer (well, it’s probably had more cattle in it). First, I went along with Kathleen to get Dusty and Remi looked at by Dr. Kilgore in Rosebud. As predicted, he was popular with all the humans. We waited a long time, but it was fine. I took pictures of plants and butterflies, including one of those bird poop moths. I’ll spare you the photos of the poison ivy, but I did want to show that even Johnson grass can take a good photo. And, there were cute dogs to enjoy.

The horses got wormed and inspected. They were declared fine, other than their feet, which will get dealt with tomorrow. Then, Kathleen said she wanted to go look at these two mares she saw in horse ads. Yes, she was still looking at horse ads. I think she figures Remington is not going to be a great riding horse, and she feels that Dusty (who has already gained weight, as you can see below) is not a beginner horse.

You can still see his ribs, but Dusty (left) looks a lot better.

So off we went. The road looked very familiar. Yes, it was in those outskirts of Milano where we got all the pipe and junk a few weeks ago! I’m sure the horses loved that road, poor guys. We pulled in to a property that was just beautiful, and so far off the beaten path…it made me sing “Almost Heaven, East Milano…”

No houses, just rolling pastures.

The guy did, indeed have two mares. They were very sad looking mares at first glance. I’m going to put in their “before” photos here, so I’ll have a reference as they get better.

We named them Mabel and Amaretto. But before that, the horse trader guy rode both of them for us. First was Mabel. When she is being ridden, you wouldn’t know this is the same horse. It’s like poetry. Her trot is so smooth the guy didn’t bounce, and her canter was elegant. I’m thinking to myself, geez, this is a gaited horse! Then they stuck me up on her (easier said than done; she is at least 16 hands, so I had to use the trailer as a mounting block). I rode her and it felt like she had air-glide suspension. I was not interested in a giant, brown (okay dark bay) horse with a droopy lip before, but suddenly I was. I hid my joy, of course.

Amaretto’s sweet face.

Then he saddled up the other horse, which could not be more different. But, she is only 14 hands, if that, and I can mount her from the ground. Even Kathleen could! Kathleen enjoyed riding her, and wanted me to try. Amaretto reins more fluidly, but rides like Apache, i.e., a normal Quarter Horse. I will enjoy my new saddle on her. She is actually a beautiful horse, but she’s so skinny it’s hard to tell. Apparently the horse trader had leased her out, and she was returned in this poor condition (OMG her feet look so sad).

Mabel working

So, after the requisite haggling, they bought them. And during the chit-chat portion of the discussion, we also were referred to a cool old guy who had some saddles. BUT WAIT. You remember the guy who sold Drew got rid of him because he wanted some beautiful stud horse? Guess where he got him! Yep. We should have just met in Milano and traded. I am glad we have Drew, though.

Don’t forget me.

So, off we went with four horses and two saddles. They let them out with Fiona and the other three horses, then all of us just watched everyone running around and getting to know each other. It was a lot of fun.

Meet and greet

When we came in, finally, I got to open my new saddle. It has many pretty details.

Around noon today, Kathleen and I went out to play with all our new toys. I cleaned the saddle they got yesterday. It turned out really nice!

Hardly looks old!

Then I got Apache out to see if he would do okay in my new tack. I got the saddle all adjusted and off we went. He did just fine!

I’m told the pad is a bit large.

Kathleen put on her “new” saddle and yay, the stirrups were short enough for her! It’s technically a kid saddle. Who cares? Amaretto did fine, too. She’s a good horse.

Kathleen looking good.

I got too hot (not my best time of day), so was able to blog a bit. I’m sitting with dear Amaretto, who is completely un phased by welding in her vicinity.

Once I cool off, it’s time to mess with little Drew. By then we may have all the gates up! Enjoy some bonus horse photos!

Things to Look Forward to

This is one of those days that I had to slog through, but I did it with style and grace. Now I get to look forward to tomorrow! And there’s so much!

I got the notice yesterday that my new Western saddle has arrived. I sure hope it’s as nice as it seemed to be from its description. It’s not fancy, but is good quality, and I hope to heck is as comfortable as it was designed to be. Apparently it is a women’s model, so it might fit well. It certainly got good reviews online.

I like the colors, which blend with any horse (though if I’d known I was getting a gray, I might have gone with black). And it has conchos (silver decorations), but not too many.

My other saddle, which cost three times as much, and I guess I could afford back when I got it, is a hybrid saddle, which looks more like a traditional English saddle, but is comfortable (really comfortable; I say it’s like the Barco-lounger of saddles). I just looked it up, though, and because of how it was made, the Western one weighs LESS than the hybrid one! My arms are happy to know that. (Photo is not my saddle, but a similar one.)

Well, this may not be obvious to everyone, but when you get a new saddle, you also have to get a new saddle pad or blanket, because saddles don’t sit right on top of horses’ backs. Ow. Because I’m getting the new saddle to ride on a growing horse, I decided to get a good quality gel pad, but one with hand-woven cloth on the outside, so it will look traditional. That way, also, at some point both of my horses could be ridden at the same time, because I have two saddles and two blankets. Yes. I’m excited about it.

But, that’s not all

Tomorrow morning we are going to have a visitor, and not just any visitor. It’s a representative of a swimming pool company! What? A swimming pool at a boiling hot Texas ranch? Where people work outdoors and sweat and overheat and feel really icky? What a dumb idea, right? Worse? One with an outdoor shower to wash all the grime off before getting in. And a sloping faux beach area, in case dogs want to swim. And a hyper strong filtration system, because of said dogs. Oh, and maybe a waterfall or bubbler. And hey, a hot tub for winter.

Something like this. We do have a gas line out back, too.

This all sounds like some kind of heat-stroke induced fantasy to me. Or nirvana. I guess we will just have to see what can be arranged within our pool budget, but at this point, anything fancier than a metal water trough would please me. It is, though, something to look forward to!

I’ll just be patient, prudent, and not over-indulgent when I talk to the guy. I won’t be alone, but the rest of the family is about as hepped up as I am. Even Lee. Yes. Lee.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings!

Back in the (Clean) Saddle Again

Hooray. I’ve got my horse back! It’s sure been a long road for Apache. Last night, I saddled him up for the first time since the dang abscess, and I made sure he was doing okay in the round pen by trotting him a lot. He was deemed okay, so I mounted him while Sara got on Spice, who really didn’t seem happy, though she behaved fine. I’d say the ride wasn’t a complete success, though it wasn’t a failure, either. Apache indicated what he wanted to do instead of what I wanted, fairly strongly, a couple of times. Still, I got through it and did a good job getting him on my schedule before I got off. I did give him a nice rinse-off, which delighted him.

This morning, we got out bright and early. We were delighted to see that there were clouds in the sky and a breeze. That made everything much more pleasant. I was happy to see that he was still clean, even though I KNOW he rolled in the pens.

Today, Sara decided to see if Bonnie Pumpkin, the horse who’d hanging out with us for a while, would be ridable, and she put the bareback pad on her. I decided to use the hackamore with Apache today, and apparently, that was a good decision. After a fine warmup, Sara carefully got on Bonnie, and she was fine! Hooray!

A happy moment for all.

I got on Apache, and off we went. He was a different horse today, very responsive and calm. He didn’t break into a nervous trot once, nor did he start spinning around if I dared to ask him to turn right. He must be feeling better. We went through the dreaded line of trees, and neither horse did anything other than walk, and occasionally stop to look at something. None of the usual spots bothered him. We made an entire circle, walked over some obstacles, and then, in a shocking display of obedience, I got Apache to walk past the barn before turning to go back.

Fiona wanted to be in a picture, too.

Sara and I both had FUN. That was so great. I felt so good (and not overly hot) that I decided to clean all my tack. I got all sorts of stuff off the saddle and got it gleaming and not all scuffed up. Apache’s girth was also really dirty and covered in hair, so I cleaned it, as well. The worst thing was the poor hackamore, which had been sitting since Apache was last ridable and had gotten all yucky and moldy, so I cleaned it all up again, too. I’m ready to go somewhere, once I have somewhere to go with him.

Everything got saddle soap except the suede parts, which just got wiped off and brushed. Horse people, this is a hybrid saddle made by Parelli back when I could afford such things. I intend to use it the rest of my life (it is SO comfy), though I’ll probably have to get a Western one at some point.

I hope that will be soon. Now that I am not spending so much time in Austin, I hope to be able to take lessons and fix some of my riding gaffes, then work on Apache’s horse gaffes. We both have a lot of work to do, but we do love each other!

Saddling Up

saddle1
This saddle is quite complicated to clean, and was really a mess before! Behind it is a glimpse of the Australian style saddle. We still need to polish up those old silver conchos!

One of the things we do here at the Hermits’ Rest (and our “sister” ranches, the Wild Hermits and Wild Type ranches) is hang out with our equine friends. My neighbor, Sara, has had horses most of her life, and is a great rider. I always wanted a horse, but didn’t get the chance to own one until Sara gave me Apache, my Quarter Horse/Arabian cross, since she needed a more spirited horse to ride. I was in my late 50s, but my childhood dream came true!

apache2
Apache not looking thrilled to be saddled up and eady to go. My saddle is a Parelli “hybrid” model. It’s neither English nor Western. It IS comfortable as an easy chair. And lightweight, for my bad shoulder.

We’ve been to clinics together, but recently we have just been riding around the ranch whenever Sara is in town on the weekends. We work on new skills and explore the area. I’ve been working with Apache “at liberty” in the round pen, and we’re making great progress trying new things on trail rides, too.

Sara’s horse has a lot more training, so she works on opening gates, cantering, and doing complex maneuvers at liberty.

We each have the “right” horse for our skills and inclinations. I just love riding around the ranch with a friendly and kind horse, so Apache is great for me.

Continue reading “Saddling Up”