Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Hillbillie Willie: Cucumber Cool at City of Rocks

Tuesday June 14 2022

I opted for riding the City of Rocks Day 3 25 on Hillbillie Willie because… why not? I took pictures on days 1 and 2 (photos are here) and Steve Bradley came and shot day 3 (photos are here), so I was free to ride on day 3. 

The 25-mile ride sounded good, and it couldn’t have had anything to do with being whooped with all the ride prep and trail marking (we help Regina put the ride on). I roughly guesstimate that all the trail marking and unmarking on foot that Connie and I do amounts to more than 25 miles each. Over the years Connie and I have got the system down, and we’ve found it’s much easier to just hike to mark and unmark trail than it is to saddle up horses and mark and unmark by riding.

Plus we condition-ride our horses most every day. And I just didn’t want to spend a long 50-mile day in the saddle (this ride is not easy and fast)(unless you're Christoph Schork or David Laws or Gabriela Blakely :), so the 25 sounded just perfect.

I was a bit nervous about the start, since Willie hadn’t done a ride since April 2 and I figured he’d be hot; and saddling up and warming up among the ‘regular’ Endurance riders were 5 “Pony Express” riders who regularly compete in 3-mile races, and they took off like Kentucky Derby starters breaking out of the starting gate!

But Hillbillie Willie walked right on out after them, unconcerned, beside Jill Haunold and Girl, and with Kitty Giles and Lady (who was on her 3rd straight day of LDs), not wound up, not upset that his pal DWA Barack had left an hour earlier on the 50-mile ride. It was going to be a fun day!

We made the loooooong climb through the City of Rocks National Reserve park counterclockwise up to the Indian Grove junction at 7200 feet, you know, the trail with the stunning views, and all the way back down in intermittent rain. Girl was easily able to match pace with Willie’s long legs, the two trading the lead and keeping a comfortable steady pace.

Our only glitch on the first loop was, just as we approached the water trough at Elephant Rock, we rode up on Connie and DWA Barack - Willie’s beloved bro Barack!!!!! - on the 50-mile trail. At the trough the 50s and 25s split, and Willie spent the next 2 miles whinnying for his Beloved Bro and looking over his shoulder (Barack did the same), but eventually he switched his allegiance back to Girl, because she was all business, and she was alright.

After lunch we had a fast-cruising easy 5-mile flat loop in the desert with Jill and Girl, and Willie finished up with a 48 pulse!

And I wasn’t complaining a bit that I did not have another 25-mile loop to ride. :)

I did, however, go out and hike several miles and unmarked a part of the trail that was no longer in use. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Justify’s Owyhee Mustang C Herd Available for Adoption!

May 14 2022

From the family of sire JUSTIFYthis "C" crop of one-of-a-kind all-recycled** hand-made-with-love Owyhee Mustang siblings are recently-rounded up off the Owyhee Range. They are tamed and gentled and halter broke… the rest is up to you. They are easy keepers - won’t eat you out of the hay barn and are happy with just sunshine and admiration. Each has its own unique personality and conformation!

By adopting an Owyhee Mustang you are an owner of an authentic Wild West bronc, made of genuine recycled baling twine fresh off hay bales, so in addition to owning a very unique objet d’art, a piece of The West, of course you’ll also be helping to save the planet from choking plastic or toxic burn fumes.

Owyhee Black-Blue Nose

Owyhee Black nose

Owyhee Black-Purple nose

Owyhee Dark Blue nose

Owyhee Lime Green Nose - yes - it's a mule!

Owyhee Orange nose

Owyhee Pink nose

These Owyhee Mustangs are available for adoption fee of $75 (add $5 for shipping per horse, USA only). 

contact theequestrianvagabond@gmail.com

See the gallery of past siblings horses here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/5KMJVHCTnVzrf3KPA

**100% recycled… made of baling twine, used buttons, stuffed with used horse magazines

***And thank you to the soooo many of you who have sent me your baling twine instead of burning it or throwing it away! You are contributing to beauty and hilarity in the world!

#trashtotreasure #trashtoart #trashintoart #balingtwine #bailingtwine #balingtwineart #bailingtwineart #recycledart #repurposed #reclaimed #recycledbalingtwine #recycledbailingtwine #recycleme #wastetoart #waste2art #trashintotreasure #recycled #recreated #fiberart #buyhandmade #buyusa 

#owyhee #owyheeart #wildwestart #wildwest #owyheemustangs #idaho #onlyinowyhee #adoptawildmustang #adoptamustang #justify

Monday, May 2, 2022

The Owyhee Green Desert

Monday May 2 2022

I've never in my 15 years out here seen the Owyhee desert so outrageously verdant. We've had the craziest spring, with temperatures swinging wildly between 79* one day and 26* the next night. Waves of wet weather have come through, just enough at just the right time to send the flora into a frenzy of growth.

The desert grasses and shrubs and wildflowers are soaking up the moisture as color - all shades of green, carpets of knee-high yellow mustard, fields of purple flowers (blue mustard?), phlox, arrow leaf balsam root, Indian paintbrush, and myriad other flowers I have my own names for because I don't know the proper names for them. 

It's awful hard to get a good training ride on Hillbillie Willie, because all he wants to do is eat this spring's rare Nature's bounty while it exists - and who can blame him! If we do a 2-hour ride, that's because 1 hour is spent training, and 1 hour is spent eating.

As I told a friend, Let us bow our heads and remember this lush spring in a few months, when the flora is withered and gray, and the skies are brown with wildfire smoke that burns our lungs and stings our eyes. Amen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Hillbillie Willie’s Owyhee Tough Sucker 2022: Let ‘er Blow!

April 4 2022

The wind howled and the dust blew, but the Owyhee Tough Sucker 50-miler was a breeze for Hillbillie Willie

What to do with Hillbillie Willie at the Owyhee Tough Sucker, first ride of the season? Right after he completed the 50 at the Owyhee Halloween ride last November he gas colicked, and that was after he had felt super strong and phenomenal all day. I made changes in his feed and electrolyte program this spring, and he was fit enough to do 50 miles at Tough Sucker; and at the last minute decided to try him on the 50. 

He also went without pads for the first time, since his feet toughened up nicely over the winter, and since Tough Sucker isn’t too rocky,. I did put Hoof Armor on his feet before the ride, though the tubes were so old I didn’t get much out of them and I’m not sure they both mixed up the right concoction.

Despite the wind, which became rather awful in the afternoon, and despite the dust, which we all ate and absorbed, (and oooooh I felt for all the volunteers in camp!) Willie was his normal super strong and forward powerful self. Always preferring a higher gear, happy to follow or lead. He rode with his buddies Jack and Deb, and (former herd-mate) Smokey and Nance. Flash and Jackie joined us for the first loop but Jackie opted not to do loop 2.

The only kink in our well-laid ride plans was lunch time, when his camp-mate and bromance buddy DWA Barack was still out on trail, so Willie wasn’t interested in eating his normal grain, or hay. I hauled him and his food across camp to hang with his trail pals, but he still wasn’t interested in eating. When Barack got in for lunch, I carted Willie and his food back to our campsite, and he started nibbling - but would only eat alfalfa. He wasn’t interested in any of the different mixtures of grain I’d prepared for him. Was he feeling OK? Of course I worried, but the heart rate monitor I had on him went as low as 39 at one point, so I knew nothing was wrong. Just to be sure, I had Dr Jake listen to his gut sounds before we went out on loop 2, but they sounded great at the time.

Back out on trail we battled the wind and dust on the ridges, stopping for good green grass (!) in places in the valleys. Willie dunked half his head in every water trough on loop 2 and inhaled water like a camel. That’s music to an Endurance rider’s ears.

Willie finished in 6:57, with all A’s, and a good appetite. He cared much more about his food at the finish than he did his Bro Barack, but when Barack got back to camp Willie was ecstatic. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome of a tired but happy horse at the finish! (P.S., I was tired too!)

*photos by my sister Judy, who ate dust in camp all day!