Sunday, March 27, 2016

As Days Fly By....

Progress on all fronts

The arena groomer, a project Ted has been working on in short increments over the last couple of weeks, is ready to use.

Pretty basic arena groomer for now, eventually he'll add water delivery capability. We still have the same little orange tractor. It has been with us a long time. We first acquired and used it in tending our little strawberry plot some sixteen odd years ago! 

The barn pen renovations are nearly complete. It has been inadvertently renamed 'Laura's Mustang Pen' in spite of the fact that we still do not know whether she has been chosen as a contestant. Laura continues to work on her fund. 

 Happy day! The round pen came home, this was one week ago today. We sure missed it while it was gone.

It was a much smoother operation this time around than it was two weeks ago!

Danny was helping by holding the measuring tape end on the center stake.

Beth acquired three new students over the last couple weeks. 
Here she and Ardreth are helping a student learn groundwork exercises.

Her golden boy is working on liberty jumping, pretty fun stuff. Another topic I have been trying to catch on video here and there. 
Terrence will have a few things he can put on youtube once he has a bit more time to get to the computer!  Lately, lots of hooves and horses taking up his days. 

I didn't get the pictures for a lot of other activities sorted out yet but; 

Ted is still spending lots of time on Derby and Pyrite's training. They both continue to do exceptionally well in training. Derby is enjoying being able to run with the herd part time now.

This was our spring de-worming weekend - we used fifteen tubes, I think that's a record for us!

Beth received her official certificate of her Welsh prefix assignment. `Alainn (pronounced sort of like  "ah - ling", accent on first syllable and 'g' nearly silent) is officially hers. It is a Gaelic word which means beautiful. She filed the business name of `Alainn Quality Welsh with Idaho's Secretary of State.

Ted started the Cat motor in his 1979 Ford Crewcab today. It was not anywhere near as loud as I expected. He says it purrs like a kittypillar! He is very excited to be making progress toward getting that truck on the road. 

 In spite of all the wind, clouds, and cool weather, the daffodils are blooming, and we are enjoying them.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

SPOTLIGHT on BETH ~ Congratulations to A Brand New Quality Welsh Breeder!

  Welcome Mt. Ridge Latte! Latte is a daughter of the famous Wedderlie Mardi Gras of Family Partners Welsh Ponies.

Beth has taken multiple steps towards her goal of becoming a quality Welsh breeder this week. A HUGE step was signing the sales contract for Mt Ridge Latte, a seven year old, multiple show ring winning broodmare, who Beth can't wait to welcome home! She also filed her assumed business name with the Idaho Secretary of State and filed for her own prefix with the Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America. Beth will be bringing Latte home this summer as soon as Latte is ready to travel after her breeding to Mynach Master Class.  

Beth acquired a project pony, a little two-year-old Welsh filly, just after Beth turned thirteen years old. She purchased the filly to train and then sell the next spring. At the time Beth acquired her the pony’s feet had some serious problems, but we thought that we would be able to rehabilitate her feet. This was Beth’s first experience with the Welsh breed and out of this experience she formed a goal of breeding her own high quality Welsh.  While still pursuing other goals and interests Beth has been steadily continuing to work toward her goal of eventually starting her own quality Welsh breeding program. Beth had so much fun training that first Welsh pony, Pez. However, Pez was an example of careless backyard breeding. Her dam had a genetic club foot which she inherited. Fortunately, Beth (with the help of Ted and Terrence’s time and skill) rehabilitated Pez' hooves, and Beth trained her and then sold her to an excellent home where she is being ridden, shown and loved by two sisters. This experience added to the many horses we have been exposed to over the last several years combined to inspire in Beth a strong desire to breed quality Welsh ponies. She wants to breed Welsh ponies of exemplary quality and continue to promote exemplary training and behavior in ponies. Basically Beth wants to be the antithesis to the common run of carelessly produced, negligently cared for in their growing years and then badly behaved ponies that have often dominated public perception, and also many parents and children’s experiences with, ponies! Beth feels strongly that working on this area of the equine world is worth doing. There is no question that she is unusually suited through a combination of her physical traits (five feet tall and 120 pounds) and her life experience and skills to excel in this field!
Pez - now known as "Summer"
Ballerina Pez, dressed up for Halloween

Since then, each summer as part of her pursuit of her Welsh breeding goal she has obtained a project horse to train and resell the following year. She also began giving children’s horsemanship lessons and classes. When she purchased Ardreth (an unstarted four year old Welsh gelding) in 2014 she also planned to train and sell him. 
 However Ardreth became a very hard to let go of pony and now seems almost as invaluable as Clay to Beth in her lesson programs. Beth says that she might be tempted to take $10,000 for him! *As a bonus, scroll to the bottom to read the sonnet 'My Golden Boy' by Beth. 

This is the project horse she acquired in 2014 who she did sell in 2015. Popsy at four years old was a pretty little appaloosa with a SUPER calm disposition. Beth spent a lot of time putting a rock solid foundation on, and then giving Popsy lots of real life experience with different young riders. Popsy went to an absolutely perfect match home.

Beth did not dedicate all of her earnings for her broodmare fund; she also used some to continue to pursue her other interests. The most important to her of those were; endurance riding, ballet, singing, and wanting to breed her paint breeding stock/quarter horse mare Clay, so that she could raise her own foal from birth (what teenage girl doesn’t think that sounds like a good plan?). I can remember Beth saying something to the effect that if she didn’t do it pretty soon she would become too practical to think it was a good idea….  Her first attempt to breed Clay was an off season breeding to Clyde (it seems a long time ago, before we gelded him!). That didn’t work out and her next attempt was to a beautiful buckskin stud belonging to Busted E Quarter Horses for a 2015 foal. Everything was more carefully timed and handled and we knew for sure that Clay was bred and had settled. By the time Beth knew that a foal would not be arriving (must have slipped fairly soon after her coming home); the inevitable had happened – Beth was too practical to try that again! Beth sorely missed having Clay available during her 'pregnancy'. That breeding fee (which came with a LFG) sort of turned into Beth’s current project horse, Cookie – so she is at least able to train a filly out of that stud, even if not a progeny of the incomparable Clay. Beth decided that she would focus her energies on this filly as a project horse and let that move her toward obtaining a quality Welsh mare to begin her breeding project with. When Latte foals Beth will finally experience raising a foal from birth. She will at last make use of the pink foal halter which she purchased two years ago and has thus far been used only as a bed post decoration.

 This year’s project horse, Cookie.

 Beth is planning on devoting most of her time this summer to work, i.e. giving lessons and training her horses and helping at clinics.  In order to be able to both pursue her educational goals and her Welsh breeding goals she will not be able to ride endurance as much as she would like, although she is hoping that an opportunity or two might arise.
Beth is a valuable addition at our clinics. She is especially good at encouraging and inspiring confidence while helping horse owners who are having a hard time being effective with their horses. She often uses a 'demonstrate effective technique, and then coach the handler to be effective' approach to help the student having difficulty.

2015 was her last year as an AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) junior. She had been elected as the Junior Representative for the Pacific Northwest Endurance Riders for the 2015 season. Beth was successful in helping to change the age requirement for sponsors for junior riders. She was offered a wonderful opportunity from her generous sponsor, Karen Bumgarner to have a great last junior year. Beth was able to complete 560 competitive miles from April through October, most of them on Karen’s horse The Big Brass. Steph Teeter also provided Beth with Jose’ Viola as a mount on three different occasions.  While the ride season did not go exactly as planned (do they ever?) and although she did not quite achieve her competitive goals for the season she did have a wonderful time! She earned a pile of awards, bringing home jackets, sweatshirts, a vet check bag, vest, etc.! Among others she won PNER Champion Jr. BC twice (Brass and Jose tied), PNER Junior Overall Champion, 1st and 2nd place Idaho junior (winning on both Brass and Jose), Top Jr. Northwest Mileage in AERC, SWIT&DR Top Jr. Congrats Beth!

Photo by Steve Bradley, Beth riding The Big Brass owned by Karen Bumgarner at Owyhee Canyonlands

Another Steve Bradley photo - Beth riding Jose' Viola, owned by Steph Teeter at Owyhee Canyonlands

As part of her career goals/planning this year she has changed from traditional homeschooling to using the services of an on-line charter high school in Idaho. She plans to become a chiropractor and is aware that she will need to work hard to achieve that goal without coming out of school deeply in debt. Beth is a hyper focused student who maintains a very high GPA, actually over 4.0 most of the time but she will occasionally forgo an extra credit opportunity as long as her GPA is at least at 4.0!

As a very busy young lady with high standards for herself, one of the choices Beth was faced with last fall was whether to continue ballet lessons (she has been enjoying that and has especially loved being on point the last couple of years) or focus on developing her singing by joining the choir group Treasure Valley Young Artists. The choir is a limited time opportunity (only primary and secondary students are eligible). Beth and her three sisters were all invited to join the choir after auditioning. The other girls voted in favor of making the switch from ballet lessons to choir; that change was made and Beth is loving the opportunity to work with a choir. The girls love to enjoy activities together and have made a habit of singing in chorus with each other for years. 

Joining this choir is sort of a coming home experience for Beth as she is being directed by the same person who taught her as a six – nine-year-old when she was a member of a choir in Ontario, Oregon. She is hoping to make it into ‘Premiere Singers’ the elite section of the choir at next fall’s auditions.  Most of our children love singing together and the girls and Sam are all reaping the benefits of professional direction. While they definitely get their musical talent from their father this is a case in point of the naturally gifted not necessarily being good at teaching! 

Signing off for now! ~ Leni

* As promised - the sonnet

My Golden Boy
With perfect form, his hazel eyes staring
As though made from marble and melted gold.
He takes on the biggest horse with daring,
None can compare to this pony so bold.

He is like a knight in golden armor,
His mane and tail glimmer with fairy dust,
All the little girls love him with ardor,
Fall in love with Ardreth's fair charms they must.

True nobility is he in summer,
Yet when the snow comes and the sun is gone,
When the winter comes, oh what a bummer,
The beauty falls and he's dishwater blonde.

Yet for those whose hearts he's forever won,
His sweet boundless charm is still there, not gone.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Another week gone!

This week the kids were able to fit in some fun training.

 Terrence working on Cruiser's laydown. 

Beth teaching Laura to laydown Ardreth.

Beth practicing with Clay at liberty. She reviewed her bridleless riding as well. 

Clay did exceptionally well. On my short list to have Terrence put on youtube is Beth's bridleless pattern on Clay. Last summer Beth had prepared a demo of Clay's bridleless skills to show at a Trail Clinic day last summer but Clay came up lame the day before and so missed that opportunity for performing. 

Sarah working on her balance and core strength. (This has proven to be a good way for the girls to practice not using their hands to help them post!)

Pyrite coming in after a 'little' out ride.

Terrence working with the six year old Barb. 

Trying another saddle!

Time spent on tack repair/improvement/etc. Laura is loving having her own bridle for Hugo with smaller sized mecate reins; they're easier for her to manipulate.

Beth and Ted working on Beth's new saddle for her students. The general construction is being vastly improved!

Adam is so 'helpful' in tack repair sessions. We have reserved some pieces of what was a 'parts saddle' in order to have on hand something for him to 'fix'. 

Kathie and Chloe - another day another saddle. This was her favorite so far. Cold and windy today and Chloe is still on light duty so we haven't checked a sweat pattern off of it yet but so far so good.  

Family teamwork in action. Sarah, Matt and Adam work on the barn pen which is being referred to as the 'mustang pen' now as this is where Laura will keep her BLM mustang if she is selected as a participant in the Extreme Mustang Makeover. She can hardly wait to find out!

Derby watching closely.

Terrence introducing the laydown to the Barb.

Everyone is so busy that I have a hard time keeping up with it all. Days and horses and riders are blurring together! I will try to balance out what's missing on this week's post in next weekend's post! 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Challenging Week

The week in pictures; a few snaps of general activity round and about, lots of Laura and Sarah's week, Pyrite on his first day in the arena, some of Kathie and Chloe's challenges for the week.

A day in the life, Terrence making a repair to the little hay barn, Ted gearing up MJ, Laura heading out to catch one of three rides she has on her plate that day.

The hair is starting to fly. We can now tell where Ardreth and Hugo were groomed each day by looking at the ground. 


She has been working on the fund for awhile now. To apply there are a few costs, $25 adoption fee and the $35 Mustang Heritage Foundation membership. Competing in the youth division of the Extreme Mustang Makeover also entails board and care of a mustang so funds are a big obstacle for Laura. Unlike the adult competitors the youth (or rather their parent!) must adopt the mustang. They can transfer the adoption to another party after the competition if necessary or they can finalize the adoption (twelve months after pickup) of their mustang and are then able to sell it. Laura plans to keep it at least a year so she will need to earn a lot more money. Laura (and her eager helper little sister) have been consistently building the little fund as much as they can by the relentless pursuit of 'quarter jobs' in their spare time. (I have a bowl full of index cards with little chores written on them, those jobs are worth 25 cents apiece. Two little girls can usually get a few dollars a week in their spare time.) Laura also has some other fundraising plans in mind - expect to see caramel corn for sale at some of the local area endurance rides.

Apparently Snip has a gate magnet. Laura is working on it by doing circles at the gate.

Kathie tried out a different saddle for Chloe on her last ride out with her sponsor, Tamara Baysinger. Unfortunately it definitely didn't work well for Chloe. In addition to that, by the time Chloe came in from that little ride she was dragging both back feet badly. The consensus on Chloe is that the real problem was that we probably started her out working too hard too fast and she got rather sore and never really recovered from muscle soreness over these past few weeks. So we now know that Chloe is one of those horses that endurance riders call a 'liar', she will say she's good to go while she is getting more and more and more sore. Karen Bumgarner came and evaluated her state for us, and gave her a massage the next day, and showed Kathie some specific stretches to help speed up her sore muscle recovery. She is now enjoying a week off work, and a completely reworked and more gradual training regimen will be implemented.  This was a nice looking saddle, but is off our list. 

After they got back we checked out sweat pattern, etc. and showed Tamara this saddle. We are still considering using this one, as it fits Chloe's back well, but Kathie does not love sitting on it. The search continues. Saturday I brought home a couple more we will try out when Chloe feels a bit better, they look like good possibilities.

 Matt and Adam clearing the arena of poles that someone was having a pony trot over.
Once the arena was cleared out Ted took Lost Juniper Pyrite on his first arena ride day.

Friday Matt and I worked on fruit tree pruning. While we were working on that Sarah stopped by the orchard to show me her pre-ride exercises with Ardreth and to ask me to do the 'third tighten' on her cinch. I had my camera with me (having just missed the opportunity to get photos of Laura working Hugo) and was fortunate enough to catch the following sequence.

In this one Sarah backs Ardreth up.

Then, she brings him back in.

Here is where she said she was having trouble, getting him to pivot on his front end while yielding the hindquarter. Laura was nearby so I called her over to watch/help Sarah. Notice where Sarah's left hand is NOT.

I couldn't hear them but I can see that Laura showed her, and I can see where Laura put her left hand.

Then Sarah tried again,

with much better success!

After this Sarah headed to the arena, while Laura headed out in the opposite direction on MJ.
About this time Matt and I finished the essential work on the last fruit tree and I went to watch Sarah under saddle for a few minutes.

After running through some exercises in the arena Sarah headed out to meet up with Laura for a little trail ride.

Saturday afternoon panic resulted in the temporary relocation of our big round pen.

A convoluted series of miscommunication brought us to an interesting point on Saturday afternoon where Terrence's incoming client horse had arrived here and was ready to be unloaded. Terrence was expecting a wild six year old gelding. Unfortunately it turns out that while he is indeed a wild six year old, he is not a gelding. And now he is in a stock trailer, in our driveway, with no where else to go, after a long haul to get here. Now What?!! The poor owners of this Barb stallion didn't know what to do. We have a no studs policy, because in our experience it places too much stress on the mares on the property and is just a nuisance handicap particularly to mares in training. The owners and Ted and I were all trying to think of friends in the area who might have space suited to wild stallions and not have mares around. Pretty much coming up blank. Eventually one of us asks 'What if we set up a panel round pen on some friend's property?' Ted agrees that if we can get permission to do that it will work but we will have to use the big round pen. (This corral is not fun to move, and Terrence is gone this weekend too!) We were extremely fortunate that we were able to get permission to set it up on a nearby property. So after a lot of hard labor in a hurry on the part of Ted, Matt and Rashid (the horse's owner) the corral was moved and the stud was installed in his new quarters.  He will be gelded as soon as possible. Since Terrence was not here and time is of the essence Ted put the first training session on him today. Ted often says he couldn't do what he does without his kids, and is happy to be able to help them out as well. Hopefully we will be able to get our big round pen back home soon!