Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Must Love Cows

Wednesday May 27 2015

It's not a prerequisite that a horse living in the West in Cow Country must love cows, but it helps that they at least aren't scared of them.

It's not a prerequisite that someone riding horses in the West in Cow Country must be a cowgirl, but it helps that you can competently fake it when local ranchers need help moving cows.

We don't dress the part: our horses wear endurance saddles, biothane breast collars and bridles, Easyboot gloves and brushing boots, and we wear helmets. If we wear long leather chaps, we'll probably have tights on underneath them. The ranchers are used to our funny costumes; they tolerate us if we get the job done, and know when to stay out of the way.

We joined about 20 other cowboys and cowgirls on the Owyhee front, and split up to gather and move a hundred head or so of cattle toward their next higher pasture. Dudley can get a little worked up when moving cows - not so much at the cows but at the dozens of different things going on at the same time in all directions, like when a cow shoots out of the herd and a horse takes off galloping after to head her off - but he feigned being a fairly competent cow horse.

After we'd all gathered them up, and corralled them, and the Real Cowboys and Cowgirls went to work sorting, roping and branding, and we were standing out of the way watching and holding our horses, one little cowboy told Regina, "You don't have to wear your helmet."

"That's alright," she said. "I'm not a Real Cowboy."

We do know how to turn and gather cows and keep them moving - not to push to hard or not to let up too much; we know to give bulls - particularly fighting bulls - a wide berth and leave those to the real cowboys and cow horses.

We prefer good footing and good weather: we chose to help on the day that wouldn't be so rugged and rocky and hard, and we chose the day that wouldn't be so long, since afternoon thunderstorms are a regular occurrence right now, and I'm afraid of lightning. (And here's a good reason to be, which just happened this weekend, not all that far from here!: )

As it was, we almost got overtaken by a thunderstorm as we rode the 5 miles home from the cow corrals, while the cowboys were still at work branding.

We sped home where the footing was good, ducking off the ridge for the last mile, giving us at least a sense of more comfort and safety,

while the blue-black cloud on top of the ridge boomed and crackled. Mufasa spooked a bit at the cracking thunder, but Dudley just trucked along.

see? we really made it home just in time!

I'm not a Real Cowgirl, and Dudley's not a Real Cow Horse, and he doesn't love cows, but we had a Good Cow Day, moving cows in a little corner of God's country, Owyhee County.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Summer Spirit Horses

Friday May 15 2015

Oh my, new colors, new heart beads, new star beads. A new group of summer Spirit Horses joined the studio, although some of them found a new home before they even made it into the gallery.

Each Spirit Horse is one of a kind, handmade of clay, wire, beads, and yarns. Each pin is approximately 3" long by 3" tall. . . not counting the long fluffy tail, are $20 each and $3 shipping for up to 5 at a time. Contact me at TheEquestrianVagabond at gmail dot com.

Here's the gallery slideshow:

or link:

And click on the tab above, Buy Spirit Horses! for more details.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tough Sucker II: Racing the Antelope

Saturday April 25 2015

Jose saw them first. Four antelope** popping over the top of the draw 40 yards away, running parallel to the 3 of us trotting along.

He probably heard them conversing:

Antelope #1: Hey guys! Get a load of those horses and riders!

Antelope #2: Yea! Let's get closer!

Antelope #3: Yea! Let's go faster!

Antelope #4: I know, Let's run circles around them!

As we trotted along the two-track, our pace never altering, all six of us, humans and horses, stared at the antelope as the 4 fleet-footed fellows kicked into high gear, quickly raced past us, then cut a diagonal toward us, sprinted straight across our trail fifty feet ahead of us, and circled around until they were running back toward us and parallel, now 20 yards away - like cars passing on the interstate.

Best antelope encounter ever!

It was one of many treats on the second Owyhee Tough Sucker ride (including getting to ride my old pal Jose!!!!!!!), amongst many other treats of a cool spring day on the desert, a green desert due to well-timed spring rains, a riot of wildflowers, good company, and, afterwards, good music.

More story and photos here:

**Technically, they are Pronghorn, not antelope. But they're often called antelope because of their resemblance to old world antelopes.