Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This is genocide!

This morning, I went out to the barn and immediately put a halter on Annie. She tensed up, sensing the unusual behavior, but I knew what I wanted to do. I gently blew into her nostrils and I could see her tension lessen. I brought the tube of wormer up to her mouth and she took it, without any issues, the whole tube! By golly, I am sold on this blowing into the nostrils method of horse whispering. It worked on my two hot Arabs, making worming them as easy as ever.

Then, I figured that since I already had Annie haltered up, I'd go for a quick ride. I brought her over to the rail fence like always, only she really didn't want to come up close enough for me to climb over onto her back safely. I told her, "I have all day" and I just relaxed and waited her out. After just a few minutes of manuevering her back and forth to the railing, she came in close enough that I climbed over onto her back and we rode into the arena with Scout and Yalla! following closely behind. Sandy came along too and I laughed as I watched Yalla! chase her a few yards. I'd say it's payback for her chasing the horses all the time.

I walked Annie very slowly around half of the arena, close to the barn, checking to see how excited she was. She always rides better in a halter (yes, Sydney, I do think she's a candidate for a bitless bridle) but, since I haven't ridden her much recently, I want to be very careful. Both Scout and Yalla! followed us for a while and then they got bored and stopped. When Annie and I reached the end of the arena, Scout and Yalla! came running up to us, startling us. Fortunately, Annie remained calm and we continued our walk. Then, I asked her to trot and she went into a nice slow jog for me. I only rode about 15 minutes but it sure felt good to ride before getting ready for work. I put Annie away and fed them all their breakfast thinking to myself that I gotta do this more often.

Next, I decided to change the fly trap mixture so that I can get rid of more of those pesty flies in the barn. Remember my photos of the very full fly trap? I took one of the fly traps and unscrewed the lid. I dumped out the putrid water, full of dead black insect bodies, along the fenceline, just outside of the horse area. I refilled the trap with water and added the mixture. I stirred it all up and then it was ready for more fly genocide.

I continued with my chores, fed the alpacas, and hurried to the house for a shower and change of clothes so that I could go to work. Then I called Sandy inside.


She stank like cow manure and dead pigs! I think she rolled in the dead fly-trap mixture. I took her outside, woke my son up, and we proceeded to give her a bath which she didn't appreciate much at all. I hoped she didn't get any of that smell on me because I was running late for work by now and didn't have time to change clothes.

I left the wet dog with my son and took off for work giving my son instructions to PLEASE bury the dead fly mixture so Sandy didn't get into it again. I was only a half hour later than usual but since I'm staying late most days it didn't matter too much. All in all, I really like mornings like this where I can feel like I've accomplished something before my work day. The last several mornings, I've been chopping weeds for 20 minutes or so each day. Don't ask me how that's going! The weeds are flourishing right now- easily knee high in places. Sometimes, I collect what I cut and throw it over the fence for the horses to eat.

A long day's work and I was finally home again. Dark skies and heavy winds in town led to pouring rain at home. The crazy New Mexico weather can change by zip code, or sometimes, even by streets. I have actually been driving down the road and crossed a line from partly cloudy skies into rain or snow conditions. It may or may not rain where you are at even if it's raining in other parts of the city. But on this night, it was raining buckets at my house! Empty feeders and buckets held a half inch or more of water and there is a rivulet running through the horse pens and down the arena to the far downhill end where a lake has formed. Gah! This means a sloppy, messy muddy trip to the barn to feed the animals.
Ah, but never fear, in the morning, most of it will be dry again. That's New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment for ya.

This is Genocide - song: Diamond Dogs, artist: David Bowie, album: Diamond Dogs

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Educating Yalla!, worming time

Last year, I had Yalla! tested for worms and her stool sample came up negative. Naturally, I assumed that all my horses are negative for worms since Yalla! was the most likely candidate for any infestation, being young. My horses don't travel anywhere and they have no interaction with outside horses so I really don't expect them to have any worm infestation now either. But, Annie and Yalla! are on the thin side and all my horses have big bellies, although that's probably just from hay. Also, when they get the chance, they all like to scratch their butts up against the juniper trees, so I decided to worm all the horses this morning, just in case they are wormy. Unfortunately, they had a very different idea about it.

I went to sweet old Nadia first. She took it like a trooper with just a little coaxing and a hand grip on her fly mask. Scout balked (his usual self), but again, I dosed him with just a firm hold on his fly mask and a little backing up, on his part. However, Annie saw what was coming and hauled a#s, taking off and staying a safe distance away. I couldn't get near her! I decided to save her for later. So, with halter in hand, I targeted Yalla!

I caught her easily but as I put the knotted rope halter on her I could see the whites of her eyes. She threw her head high and kept backing away from me. I could see her considering rearing, but to her credit, she never did. She did, however, run around me, around and around, in both directions. Scout, who had raised the red flag with his behavior, was now standing placidly around us, like a bratty little kid, just getting in the way. Yalla! was backing into him and he was moving out of the way just enough and then coming back over. Maybe he was sorry for the ruckus he had caused. I hope so. But the damage was done. Yalla! was completely terrified. She moved forward when she could, backed when she couldn't, and looked thoroughly wild scared. She refused to allow the 'monster' I had in my hand 'hurt' her. I couldn't get the white tube of paste anywhere near her head. I kept talking to her, telling her that there was no way I was going to hurt her. Of course, I worried that she was going to hurt me too, with my already bad ankle.

She settled down a little, licking and chewing some, as I played with her mane, scratching her neck the way she likes it, but she would not give in and she continued to fight me. I firmly decided that I had as much time as it was going to take, all day if need be, for her to get wormed, and to accept it easily too. A few weeks ago, I had the vet come out and give all the horses their shots. At the same time she checked over the alpaca's eye for possible infection (flies) and gave them shots too. She was quick with the shots but when she tried to look at Yalla!s teeth, Yalla! said "no" with her reaction and the vet said "never mind, she's too young to have any teeth problems anyway." Looking back, I realize this set her up for the negative behavior today. Annie had her teeth floated at that time so I imagine that is why she skedaddled away so quickly today.

I was making very little progress and progressively worrying about what kind of horse she was turning in to. How was I ever going to ride this wild beast if she was going to get all ballistic over such a small thing? Then I remembered a book I had just finished, a western novel of the Hannah and the Horseman series, where the horse whisperer blows into the Mustang stallion's nostrils and 'small talks' to it after just catching it from the wild. Then the horse is immediately ridden without even any fight. I thought, 'yeah, sure!' But today, I thought, 'heck, I'm already doing the small talk. And I often blow in Yalla!s nose. She even appears to like it'. After all, what harm could it do? I was getting nowhere as it was. I even debated about calling up a horse trainer to help me at another time but I didn't think that was going to be very successful either. After all, last year I had him work with the horses all summer to learn to trailer load and Yalla! acted rather the same way, fighting for all she was worth. We did eventually get her loaded several times but I'm not sure how much of the lesson stuck with her. And when it comes to bathing, she gets all dancey and reary then, too. I need to come up with a good solution, and quickly, because she's only getting bigger and stronger and more wild, as time goes by and she gets older.

I breathed into her nostrils and she stretched her nose to me for more. Very soon, I could see her relaxing and dropping her head. Then I brought up the worming paste tube and rubbed the hard plastic tube all over her face, up to her ears, and along her neck. I fingered her lips and opened both sides of her mouth. I put the tube in one side, took a deep breath, and squeezed the paste right in. She never even moved. Afterwards, halterless, she came up to me and started chewing on the end of the tube until she wouldn't even let it go with her teeth; she was having so much fun playing with it. How many horses will do that after being wormed?

The demon horse was gone and my sweet little Yalla! was back, at least until the next training episode. I am seeing her personality as a panic first (mom's trait) and then, think it through (dad's trait), and finally, hopefully, complete acceptance (yay!!). Maybe the breathing into her nostrils really works? I'm going to have to try it when she gets her next bath. I have read that, as well as horses exchanging greetings, it's a way to exercise dominance over another horse. Maybe this is what I need to do to gain power and esteem in her eyes as the Alpha. What do you think about blowing into the nostrils to subdue the horse? Old wives tale or truth? Do you have any other training suggestions?

Oh, yeah, Annie is getting hers in the morning. I'm going to halter her before she gets any different ideas and runs off again. I think her teeth float last month kind of soured her to "face" work. Maybe I'll blow into her nostrils too. I'll let ya know how it goes...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Stills (08/28/11 bugs and pests)

This week's challenge is to show pests and things that bug me. Here goes:
Flies are probably the number one pests.

The horses wear fly masks as protection against them.

Unfortunately, I can't find any fly masks to fit the alpacas and Thelma has a messy eye. The vet looked at it and said that it didn't need medication...yet. It does look better than this, for now. 

To get rid of the nasty pesty flies, I set up fly traps.  I think this one is more than full and ready to be dumped out.

Here's another kind of fly exterminator. It looks pretty full too. 

I also hate the varmints that dig these holes, moles, I think.
As far as things that really bug- how about leaving water hoses laying around so that the horses can step on them and bend the screw in ends or even trip on them?

For more Sunday Stills, please visit here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Path to Glory

I just heard about a film that is available for purchase called the Path to Glory.  See here for a view of the trailer. I WANT to see this film! It is a documentary on the history of the Polish Arabian, The Rise and Rise of the Polish Arabian Horse, from desert sands, through war and devastation, to the prestigious stud farms of Poland. How awesome is that?

My Annie is Polish. Her mother was imported from Poland just a few years before Annie was foaled. Annie's grandsires are Palas on her dam's side and El Paso on her sire's side. I still remember seeing the beautiful bay stallion, El Paso, shown at halter at one of the International Arabian Horse Shows many years ago. He was so valuable, he was called the horse that money couldn't buy. Lasma Arabians were only allowed to bring him to the USA for a three year lease from the Poles in 1975. Then, in 1981, he was sold at auction to Mr. Armand Hammer for a cool $1,000,000!! Time changes all things, I guess. I see Czort is mentioned in the film. He is El Paso's sire. See here for information on Czort, also photos of El Paso and, if you click on the links, Forta, Czort's dam, etc. Ofir is also mentioned in the film. I'm sure his famous sons Witraz and Wielki Szlem will also be covered in the film. During bombings of Dresden, Witraz's tail caught on fire. His heroic groom Jan Ziniewiciz put out the tail and held tight to both of these stallions during the night, chafing his hands terribly. Of the 80 stallions there that night, only 38 survived. Both of these stallions are in my mares' pedigrees. Another famous stallion Witez II, brother to both Witraz and Wielki Szlem, survived the war by his famous rescue by General Patton. He took the Super Horses (Hitler's special breeding program) from the Germans as prisoners of war and Witez II was imported to the USA, by boat, where his "look of eagles" spread his fame and he became a top breeding and foundation stallion in America.

Palas was imported from Russia to Poland in 1972. He was by Aswan, the "gift" horse from Egypt, presented by the Egyptian government as a "thank you" to Russia for helping build the Aswan dam, thus the name change from Raafat to Aswan. At first, the Russians were reluctant to use him for stud because of his "incorrect" conformation and lack of race record. However, as a courtesy to Egypt, they bred a few mares and were pleased with the quality of the resulting foals. Soon he was chief sire at Tersk Stud.

His son, Palas, was an extremely successful stud in Poland representing the Saklawi I line, siring many Polish, European, World, and US Champion get, including Annie's dam (Yalla's granddam) Fantastka, who became the Polish National Champion Mare in 1975. For more on the Saklawi I line please see here.

One of my biggest regrets has been not being able to show Annie in the show ring. She is far more quality than I ever imagined I would own. Who knows how far she could have gone?

Anyway, the intent of this post is to mention the film, Path to Glory and my reason for wanting to see it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Stills (08/21/11 "B")

This week's Sunday Stills is the letter B. Last month I went to my nephew's wedding. Here are my offerings:

The bride's cake
 Betrothal kiss

Boy in Blue Blowing Bubbles
 Bullet in the earlobe

I was only in Portland for the weekend but I did manage to go to the Beach. It is just a few hours drive away.

 Here's some Birds on the Beach
Blue skies, Blue water, Beautiful, isn't it?

For more Sunday Stills, please visit here

Friday, August 19, 2011

Transition Transmission

In the Friday Foto, I introduced you to a distant shot of one of the satellite dishes of the VLA (Very Large Array). See here for information. The VLA is an interferometer; it operates by multiplying the data from each pair of telescopes together to form interference patterns. The structure of those interference patterns, and how they change with time as the earth rotates, reflect the structure of radio sources on the sky: we can take these patterns and use a mathematical technique called the Fourier transform to make maps. The 27 antennae were set up in the 70s at a cost of about $1 per taxpayer ($78,578,000 in 1972) and formal dedication took place in 1980. The VLA is used primarily by astronomers and for atmospheric/weather studies and other sciences.

When we drove down to Pie Town for my mother's birthday, we drove past the VLA and on the way back home we stopped for a visit.

To the left is the hanger where they work on the VLAs. Each antenna weighs 230 tons and stands 82 feet tall.
 This photo shows the size of the VLA. Did you notice my son and daughter standing in the gateway?
The 27 radio antennae are arranged in a Y-shaped configuration on the plains of San Agustin.
The antennae are arranged in four configurations, or arrays. There is an A array, B array, C array, and D array, varying in antenna separation of 1km to 36 km apart. At it's highest frequency of 43 GHz, a golf ball, with a high-power radio transmitter inside, can be seen 100 miles away.

Is there anybody out there?

Transition Transmission- song: TVC15, artist: David Bowie, album: StationtoStation

Friday Foto

more to come...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birthday Pie!

Sunday was my mother's 84th birthday.

To celebrate, we decided to take a road trip to Pie Town for some pie.  Pie Town, New Mexico is located on the Continental Divide, 160 miles from Albuquerque. Pie Town is famous for, what else? pies, of course!

In the early 1920's Mr.Clyde Norman, a tall Texan and a WW1 veteran who "liked to bake" began making dried apple pies on a piece of ground that lay along a little rocky ridge and the "Coast to Coast Highway" later to become U.S. 60. Cowboys drove their cattle to the railhead east of Pie Town and on their way would stop and enjoy some of Clyde Norman's homemade pies. The word got around that the best pies anywhere were to be found at "Pie Town". That tradition carries on today and the Pie Town Cafe is the place to be for a relaxing time off the road, a good meal, great hometown atmosphere, local conversation and Great Pie! Don't be surprised if you see a real cowboy in the place. With Pie Town being featured in various television programs and publicaions, including the February 2005 issue of Smithsonian Magazine and in June 2011 featured on the Food Network Channel "Best Thing I Ever Ate". Pie Town Cafe is visited by many hikets and bicyclists from around the world traveling the "Great Divide" from Mexico to Canada. For more information, please visit here.

Last time I went to Pie Town, it was on a Sunday in March and everything was closed, but I found out that they have a summer schedule that includes being open on Sundays. Road trip, here we come!
Along the way, we had to stop at a rest area. I thought the little buildings were pretty neat, don't you?
 However, this sign sort of worried me.

Here's a self portrait with the birthday girl.
Here is a view of the road we were driving on, definitely back roads, huh?
We drove past this interesting collection of windmills.

When we arrived at Pie Town, the first place we came to was the Pie-O-Neer Restaurant. The parking lot was full.  (This photo was taken after lunch. As you can see, the parking lot is empty and the one at the Pie Town Cafe was full. They must rotate traffic throughout the day.)
 But I knew that wasn't the original so we drove on to the Pie Town Cafe. When we got there, the parking lot was nearly empty and we wondered if we had made the right decision.

We went inside and were impressed with the rustic little cafe. It was all decorated with western decor and the daily menu was written on a whiteboard.
The place was empty except for one full table. Eventually those people left but they stopped and talked to us on their way out and back to business. One gentleman was packing a holster so he must have been the local sheriff. Others appeared to be the cafe owners and friends. One gentleman stated that it was a good day if the cash register taped touched the floor. As many more people started coming into the cafe, including a genuine cowboy and his girl (they came in a big pick-up and stock trailer rig) we knew it would be a good day for the Pie Town Cafe.

Please excuse the back end view of this girl. It's very poor timing on the photographer's part, I know.

This is a close up of the horse picture shown in photograph above (over our heads).
There were several other drawings around the little cafe too.

While waiting for our order, we played with the condiments.Aren't those little silver tipped boots cute?
MMMMmmmm, green chili cheeseburger and fries- the best!

My son was getting creative on his french fries.

As soon as we arrived at the Pie Shop, I asked about their special pie, the Mexican Apple Pie, made with green apples, green chili, and pinon nuts. She said, "Alas, a group of 20 people had just come through and eaten the last of it". There were other pies for sale but we really wanted the specialty. However, she said there were Mexican Apple pies currently being baked and that one would be ready to take with us. This suited us fine because, after having lunch, no one was ready to eat pie anyway. The Pie Town Cafe also does mail order pies. Just click on the picture for an enlargement of the business card for phone numbers and website.
 The pie was still warm when we arrived home many hours later. I guess that's one good thing about summer heat.

Here it is slathered with vanilla ice cream. It tasted so much better than it looks, btw.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!! It was worth the trip!