Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2 Mile Ride

This is a big day for us. After a 15 minute warm-up, walking and trotting in the arena, Calico and I hit the trails. I rode her almost the entire time for about two miles. Dogs barked, cars passed, rabbits ran out from the brush, but nothing bothered her. We went through the rocky desert lots and on the streets around the neighborhood. She was perfect. It is so exciting to see the progress we've made in a few months. Next step is to add more distance and trotting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

At liberty

I had Philip in the backpack today, so I decided not to do the cross-country walk. We worked in the arena instead. I saddled Cali and put her through her paces. She did well most of the time, but every once in a while she'd try to break-away or change gaits. After a quick correction from me, she'd move on again. After about 25 minutes, I took her lead rope off and just let her run. I'm sure she needed to let off some excess energy. After watching this, I see she just wants to go finish her breakfast. She's looking for the way through the gate or through the barn.

Hoof photos

Here's Calico's hooves. She's scheduled for a trim in a few days, so I thought I'd get some before pictures. You can see the edges chipping away on their own with all the rocky terrain we've been covering. You should see my feet. (Just kidding).

The very first photo is her near hind, then near front, then both hinds, both fronts near side, both fronts off side. Cali has a bad habit of peeing on her back pasterns. I don't know if it's just sheer laziness or she really can't spread her feet out enough. I don't remember having a horse do this before now. I do love the ink spot markings on her coronet bands.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Plan your work

My Dad is a distance runner. He always says, 'plan your work, work your plan'. I've mapped out the long term goals; Tevis 2013, and short term goals; riding around the block. I've measured out some mileage with my car, and this week I set daily goals of walking Cali in-hand up to four miles. Each day I want to add distance and increase the amount of time I ride her. Two days ago I rode her out in the neighborhood longer than I ever had before. She did great, no problems. Today when I went to mount her she spooked and bucked a little. I still had one foot on the ground, so she just spun around me. Somehow I managed to get a rope burn on my elbow. I should have just tried again after a little bit, but I was too worried. We just walked. It was fun, but I was disappointed in myself. Once we got back to the arena, I rode her a little. Just because I have a plan doesn't mean it will always work out. I just have to keep going.

I was thinking there aren't any endurance riders in Las Vegas, then I received my AERC members directory and was pleasantly surprised to find about a dozen people listed in my area. Who knew?

Here's a look at the Las Vegas skyline from our walk the other day. You can just see the Stratosphere on the left, that's right by my house. I hope to take some photos I Cali's hooves tomorrow. She's never had shoes and we travel over some seriously rocky ground. She's due for a trim on June 3rd. I just like to get some before and after shots. She has great feet.

Philip's Birthday

Philip got a new pinto for his birthday. Now he can really go! He's two years old.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I've been reading Karen Chaton's blog with great interest. Many of her ride descriptions and photos are the rides I hope to do in the future. My baby Philip is picking up some style pointers too from Dave Rabe. Now, I'm not saying that Dave rides pants-less, but those cut-offs are pretty short.

I've had a mental block about riding Calico outside the arena. It may have something to do with the fact that if I fall, I'll land on rocks, pavement or cactus. If I want to attempt the High Desert Classic in October, I need to get over it and get out there. Today was the day. We warmed up in the arena first, then it was out into the wide world. I waited until we got to a dirt road, then mounted. Cali was cautious about going forward. We took it nice and slow. We rode through a dirt bike trail in a large desert lot. I decided, of the three choices, rocks seemed the most giving. She did great. Each day, for the next week or two, we'll go farther and farther. Depending on how things are going, our real conditioning will start in June. Long Slow Distance with and an emphasis on Slow.

Me and Majur Storm 2002

This was just before the Washoe Valley (LD)Ride 2002; me and Stormy conditioning in Loyalton, CA. I wish I could still train there.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What a difference

Yesterday, I took Calico out in the neighborhood again. This time I went just after she had finished breakfast. She didn't whinny and cry for Beau once. I guess she was just hungry the other day, not buddy sour. I'm so grateful. She was relaxed and content to move down the road. I brought some hay pellets and gave her some when we were mid-point on the walk. I want her to look forward to going out, to know there's food "out there" somewhere, not just at the barn. I want her to feel like she can count on me to lead her to rest and food and water, and keep her safe from danger no matter which way we go or how far we travel.

I made up a new conditioning log for detailed notes, but I'll continue to use this for reflections. I'm still planning to enter the High Desert Classic III in Lahontan (Fallon) in October. It's a 30 mile Limited Distance. I think that's a good place to start. I discovered that most of the rides in my vicinity are XP rides. That's fine with me. When I enter these rides, I'll start with one day, 50 miles. Later we'll work up to multi-days. I'm not in any way competitive. I just want to complete the ride and enjoy my horse and my beautiful desert home.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Calico Pondering What Lies Ahead

Today I got to the ranch at 7am. I got Calico saddled and we went for a walk through the neighborhood. She was pretty upset about leaving Beau and cried and screamed for him for the first twenty minutes or so. I told her to forget about him, she's got me now. That race-track loser's goin' nowhere, I told her. We have lots of great adventures ahead. Why, there's the High Desert Classic in October, the Death Valley Encounter in December, the Land of the Sun in January. We haven't even started planning next year, but I'd like to get back to Washoe Valley. Anyway, she finally started to relax and enjoy our walk together; we even jogged a little. I've got a fever and the only prescription is more Calico.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I just had the pleasure of taking my niece out to Shiloh Horse Rescue. She had a great time and got to ride my sister's horse. I took the toddlers Philip and cousin Grace for a walk around the ranch. We found a new pony there named Trigger who is Calico's mini-me. I fell in love with him of course, but he's not available for adoption. I would take him in a heartbeat.


Well it's that time of year again. In Las Vegas we're celebrating Helldorado Days. This is one of those events that always brings to mind fond memories of my childhood. It's also one of those events that makes this still seem like a small town. There's a carnival, parade, poker tournament, and now back for the first time in 10 years the rodeo. The parade goes right down 4th street near my house to Fremont St. I just love that people ride horses in downtown Las Vegas, and I have a secret ambition, okay it's not really secret, of riding Calico in the parade next year. My grandma used to tell a sweet story of how she rode her little pinto in the 4th of July parade in Springer, NM. It was a sorrel pinto, so she would put blue in it's mane to make it red, white and blue. She could make it dance a jig, and rear up and she would hold on with her one good arm. My grandma was severely burned at the age of three in an accident, and so her dad got her a pony when she recovered. He was the foreman of the CS Ranch, and she would follow him all around. He later became the sherrif of Colfax County.

I finally got a cinch to go with my new saddle, so I rode Cali a little today. I'd just been lunging her for the past few weeks. I can't quite get over how sweet she is. I have to start going out very early because it's too hot by 10 am.