Saturday, January 29, 2011

What I know about dogs

Some small things I know about dogs...

Things that upset a terrier may pass virtually unnoticed by a Great Dane.

~ Smiley Blanton

Lola 18 months

 You can't move fast when you have dogs in the house because they always want to go where you go and they want to get there first. 

Sometimes you have to move fast when you have dogs because they can get into trouble faster than a two year old.

Never have anything invested in furniture when you have a Great Dane.

Tripps and Lola doing what they shouldn't

If you think dogs are dumb and can't count, try putting three cookies into your pocket and then give them only two.

They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell.

~ Emily Dickenson

                             Nothing soothes a broken heart better than the cold nose of a dog.

Lola and Tripps looking for a treat

You can't hide your feelings from a dog, no matter how hard you might try. They always know if the answer to the question matches what you feel inside.

A door is what a dog is always on the wrong side of.

Tripps at 9 months

Man is a dog's ideal of what God should be.

~ Holbrook Jackson

For all the dogs I've loved before....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Something to do on a cold day in winter.

I read. A lot. On any given day I can be reading as many as three books with a magazine thrown in for good measure. When it warms to hotter than hell I read in the shade- but this time of year I just love to cozy up under a warm blanket with a hot adult beverage and read.

This week I feel compelled to share what I am reading because I think a lot of you will love it too.

It is called Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.

The chapters are short and compelling, each one ending with a heady little punch.
The story is of Jeannette Walls Grandmother, a child of the plains and a horse wrangler from a very young age. A young woman who took her destiny into her own hands and made something of herself.  A travelling teacher, pilot, mechanic, mother and wife, the flavor of this book starts deep and stays with you. 

The first book from Jeannett Walls is this one- The Glass Castle. A memoir of her poverty stricken life, the struggles of her parents and her own struggle to break free. This is a heart stopping and beautiful read. Never maudlin, Ms Walls  recounts her life in a matter of fact style.

I had the pleasure to hear Ms. Walls read and speak when The Glass Castle first came out. She is a striking woman, soft spoken but not shy. A true Steel Magnolia if ever there was one. 

So grab a cuppa', your softest blanket, maybe a box of tissue and crack one of these books. I'll bet you'll love them too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's your problem?

I mean it! What is your problem with your horse? 
We all have them.
There is no shame in it!

My problem is lead changes. I used to get lead changes without even thinking about it. I had a few horses that were natural changers. And Diana was wonderful- she could change on every beat like in dressage...I can get Bob to do lead changes, and some other horses, but my last mare China had real issues giving good lead changes and now I am having a heck of a time getting lead changes from Desi. I'm snakebit! We tried yesterday for about an hour.
I watched Les Vogt's video and then his Horse Channel clip. It helped. I was able to almost get a change...but not quite.Desi gets frustrated and does the pop up thing, and then I have to fix that and then go back to the changes.
We are doing the drill at the walk and the trot. And then we worked into a lope ( that is where I almost got the change)but it began getting dark so we quit for the day. Tomorrow is suppose to be warm again- so I'll try some more tomorrow.
I know that to get good changes I'm going to have to work on this everyday. But without someone actually standing there watching me, coaching with a loud, nownownow! It will take twice as long as necessary.

I am determined not to give up.
I'm going to also re- read Tom Dorrences book especially the chapter on changes, and watch Les again and again. I'm picking those two because they are the standards and the masters.
I've also tried Dana Device's ( now in North Carolina) and Sandy Collier's methods. Dana was unique in his approach, but we didn't have enough lessons for me to 'get' it and if I don't get it- then there was no way Desi would get it! So I tried Sandy at a clinic or two, but mostly we worked on hip control ( cuz that is where it starts). So I have some hip control and working on the rest ( read left side).
I'd love to hear what your problem is with your horses- maybe we can encourage and help each other through the 'dismals'. Thats what I call the times when I really just wnt to sell the horse and buy a nother one, a better one, a more broke one... but not really. He is kinda cute!

And I already have the clothes!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beware the feeble minded- DON'T READ THIS BLOG TODAY

If you are feeble minded, easily led, susceptible to suggestion or get angry enough to kill because you see disturbing visual images- GO NO FURTHER ON THIS BLOG!

I usually refrain from talking about three things- Politics, religion and how you raise your kids.
I figure you have every right to raise your kids as you see fit as long as you aren't abusing or neglecting them. And if you are religious I am not going to change you from a Catholic to a Mormon ( I'm neither BTW) by giving you my views on Jesus, Golden Tablets or stone ones. I believe in God and have my own vision, and I sure don't want to defend myself against yours. Same with politics.

 But the shooting of the Congresswoman and the killing of innocent people who had come to meet her has me upset. I genuinely feel great sadness for their families. The boy who shot them is truly disturbed. I trust that he will be dealt with in a lawful fashion, as I must.

What really has me angry though, is the absurd notion that Sarah Palin had any thing to do with that boys mental health, the reason he had firearms or that she is culpable in any way for their deaths.

Saying so is akin to saying that The Beatles are responsible for the murders committed by Charles Manson because they made the White Album. Or that Jodie Foster is responsible for John Hinkley Jr because she depicted a character shooting a gun in her movies. Or that the creators of any website, book, movie or video game is going to be responsible for others going out and shooting someone else.
Shall we talk about censorship?

The Liberals have targeted Sarah Palin in their own way. I know she is capable of defending herself, but as a certified Handgun Instructor I do feel angry that this is just one more way they are trying to take our basic freedoms away. 

I have every right to feel this way.
You can disagree.

My point is that if you are feeble minded and unstable, and you want to go out and kill someone, you are probably going to do it. If you can't get a gun, you will use a knife, or a bow, or a Buick. The rest of us, the individuals that have governors on our brains, emotions and actions will not- under any circumstance- go out and kill anyone with anything.

Do we need to protect ourselves from these mentally deficient individuals? Yes. Are there rules in place to prevent unstable, crazy or felonious individuals from acquiring weapons? Yes- Many. Can those rules be circumvented- You bet your bippy!

I own guns.
I like guns.
I am free and over twenty one with no criminal record and it is my right to carry and use a gun.I don't need anyone telling me that I can't. As long as I stay within the laws of my State and my God I will continue to use and enjoy ( Yep I said it- ENJOY!) firearms. 

As a matter of fact, here are a few of my favorite types of guns.

                                                                         BEWARE !!!!      

                                       SECOND CHANCE TO BAIL ON THIS BLOG!!!!!!
If you are feeble minded,mentally deficient, susceptible to suggestion or on a murderous rampage - go no further! Gun pictures posted below!!

This a Sturm Ruger Vaquero, Single Action Revolver. Comes in .22, .357 and .45 calibers. I have had and shot all three. It is my favorite gun for target practice. You can hit anything with a gun like this and it is PRETTY!!! All of mine have custom ivory grips. I have holsters that I wear around my hips. I have never shot anyone with this kind of gun. Not ever! Not even when I disagree with their political beliefs.

These are Colt Detective 'Snubbies'. They are great for personal defense. Never leave home without one! They are .38 caliber, and you can get them in chrome or blue. I have a blue one. I keep it next to my bed. I keep it loaded. I have never shot anyone with a gun like this. NOT EVER. Not even once. I have never even nicked someone in the knee or the shoulder or the hand, like in the movies.

This is a Smith and Wesson model 60, .38 caliber. Mine has grips with a Crimson Trace sight. I love this gun. I love Smith and Wesson revolvers. When you point them and squeeze the trigger they always go BANG. No need to remember to take off the safety, remember if you have one in the pipe, worry whether the clip has bullets in it or if it will jam. It won't. Excellent weapon for anyone to use for self defense. I have never shot anyone with a weapon like this. Never. Ever.

And I don't expect any of you will go out and shoot anyone either. Not ever. Not for any reason.
Not with any one of these firearms.
But you have the right and the duty to defend yourself against some mental midget who might.
And these firearms are good choices against that day.
Stay Well Armed my friends.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saddles part II

Not everyone can  or wants to ride in the Western Pleasure Type of saddles I posted about yesterday. The great thing is that there are so many good options for us all to use and enjoy with our horses these days. Used to be there were two types; Stock or English.
Now we have a saddle for every dicipline from side-saddle to endurance, from roping to reining. And options for every type of horse from Tennessee Walkers to Iclandics.  The only limitation is your pocket book!
Of course that is a BIG limitation especially in these tough times.
But I remind you once again that one needs to look for quality before price and there are deals out there to be found. So you have to 'choose your poison' so to speak. A cheap saddle is always cheap,but a well made saddle might not be inexpensive.

For short backed, tall withered or mutton backed horses I think that the Ortho Flex saddles are great. They can be considered expensive when purchased brand new with all the bells and whistles and fitted to your horses back and your very own bu-toxx (but the prices of a new custom made saddle will run two or three large anyway!).  By googling Ortho-Flex you can bring up their website which has loads of information about fitting a saddle to your type of horse AND of course Ortho Flex saddles that are for sale.

Item image
This is a used Patriot. Dosen't it look comfy? New it would be about $3000, selling on e-Bay for $1000.

An Ortho Flex Endurance saddle- on e-bay right now with an opening bid of $400.

Another option for a short backed horse might be a buckaroo type saddle on a Wade tree.
This here is a real nice one.It has a flat plate rigging which means it will lie flat under your leg, not as bulky as some. ( You can see the rigging lying under the jockey) This saddle has a shorter skirt and it is rounded. I like the deep seat and wrapped three inch post horn and the long strings for tying things on.  Bidding for this is beginning at $400.

For the more adventourous- a side saddle in an English style. Obviously this one is vintage and may need a little repair before being used every day, but a solid investment at $100 I think. And you can find new ones, English and Western styles!

 Some people prefer an english saddle. Rules for fitting an english saddle are a little different depending on what type of horse you are riding, but you still want to buy the best you can afford.
You are still looking for tight stitching, supple leather and quality workmanship.  Keep in mind what kind of riding you want to do- you don't want a jumping saddle if you are going to ride Dressage and vise versa.
An all purpose can still be used to trail ride in if you aren't going too far (like in endurance riding).

                                     Here are a few all purpose hunter type saddles that look pretty good.

 A Collegiate all purpose- has a little leather wear, but in overall good condition.


A Passoa Gen X . You can just tell that the leather is soft and buttery! It has been well cared for, the jockeys are lying flat and the fenders are not bent. With a new cinch,leathers and irons, you'd be set. It's nice enough to go out and show in tomorrow! Starting bid, $790

This Stubben is in fair shape with some bending of the bottom of the fenders. The leathers are not original and are a different color, but they would be easy enough to change out. This saddle also does not have knee rolls, but it is a solid working saddle.  And it comes with irons, and some other stuff too!

Most important for the internet buyer is to ask questions before you buy or bid. Ask for lots of photos, and measurements like gullet width and skirt length. Also ask about a return policy. When you buy from a private seller ( not an internet buisness) you may not get a return policy because of the cost to ship the saddle.
I have bought and sold saddles on the internet and I have had good luck.
But that is just me...
So good luck with any saddle shopping you may be doing! I'll be watching!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saddles are my passion

If you are like me (and some of you are), turning over the calender to a New Year makes me think about- what else
I am always on the look out for a great saddle at a great price.  A lot of people don't know what they have, or don't like what they have, or need to make a quick buck on what they have so the deals are out there.
But you have to look for them.
Too many people are trying to sell their junk for crazy  prices!
 To be clear- expensive does not always mean quality!
I do need a good working saddle. Right now I ride in the same saddle I show Desi in, and though it works for the Trail classes, it isn't optimum for a lot of other kinds of riding. Especially if Desi is a bit 'fresh'.
This saddle was made by my friend Dana Alden in Rogue River Oregon. He made it for his wife and my friend Jane. She let me ride in it last time I went up to visit and I really liked it.
It has a Wade tree, turned stirrups and a slightly padded seat. As soon as I have enough money I am going to have Dana make a saddle for ME!

  Here are a few saddle I found on the Internet. Of course if you are going down the fence, trying to rope something or riding for distance these would not be the saddles you would choose.

This is a Blue Ribbon,and undoubtedly one of the best deals on the 'net right now. They are asking $2700. for this little gem. These Blue Ribbons never go out of style, are built to last forever and are comfortable and pretty.  It comes with the braided rawhide riata and hobbles you can see in the near side billet.

This beauty is a Phil Harris. They are beginning the bidding at about $2000. If you got it for under $3000 you'd be getting a bargain. Phil Harris saddles are highly sought in this neck o' the woods and for good reason. They last, are pretty and comfy and they seem  to fit a lot of horses. ( of the Quarter variety anyway!)

Here is an oldie but a goodie! It is a Bona Allen, and the strings have been changed out, but you can just see the quality still left in this ride. Of course slick fork saddles like this are a challenge, to say the least, and you sure don't want to spend the day in it, but all and all it is a very nice saddle. I think the bidding is starting about $280.

Isn't this just kinda cute? Some one added the white strings ( I thought they might even glow in the dark!) but the spots are original, as is the single rigging and the wooden stirrups. Looks like the fleece is all original too,you can see just the edges of it around the skirts,  but it is hard to tell without looking at the underside.  Bidding was starting about $200. And if you wanted something to put in your house for a decorators piece, this would be it! Probably made around 1945-50.

I know what I  look for in a saddle. It has to be first and foremost well made. The edges of the leather should be beveled or rubbed, not rough. It should be supple to the touch, not hard and waxy feeling. The stitching should be even and tight, the threads not too thick and not too thin.I like to look at the stitching around the cantle, if it is good there, it is the mark of a craftsman. I want the leather to be stamped or etched by hand, not a machine. When it is done by hand the pattern will be a little deeper. 
I want a real fleece, even if it is worn a little in places. The newer 'fleece-like material' is not for me.  Getting a saddle re-fleeced is expensive and usually not worth the cost. But unless the fleece is non existent you can usually use the saddle with worn fleece, as long as you have an excellent pad.
The tree must be sound and although I prefer a wooden tree, the newer  fiber type trees work fine too. I do not like  the 'treeless' saddles.
The rigging has to be sound, but I will always change out the latigo and the billets and the cinch on a used saddle.
I personally don't like the cordera or fabric type saddles. Call me a traditionalist, but dag gum it, a cowgirl just won't ride in one! I'll leave those beasts to the weekend horsemen and small children.
So that is my list.
What do you all look for in a saddle?

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's a hot ticket fer sure!

Auction Days are always very busy. Even though this months auction had less people, the bidding was spirited, to say the least. 
We had some really nice items such as this French Style Mahogany and Gilt Armoire with a beveled Mirror door.
 Hammer price-   $438.75.
You know it would go for close to $1000 in an antique shop.
                                            This wonderful dog etching went for $128.70.
 It was called the Dogs of Pytchly Hunt. (The Pytchly Hunt is still in operation with dogs somewhere in Eastern America.) This etching was obviously made in the late 1800's, and still in perfect shape( although the frame was new).

An Eastern Indian standing decorative ( they called it carosel) horse might have been in pieces, his legs and tail and head were all seperated from the body, but he still fetched $250. The lady who bought him is going to repair him and then sell him again.

Here is that really nice jelly cupboard. I liked it because it had a lot of age and character. Cherry wood too I believe. A lot of other people liked it too- it hammered down at $357.00!

Other good bargains were a full set of Waterford crystal glasses (which included champage flutes and dessert cups) went for $47.00.
Boxes of tools, boxes of candles and boxes of book all went for under $50 each.  Couches for $10.00 and shoes for $90. It was all over the map!

I worked my patoot off helping everyone move stuff to their cars!

Then I came home and packed away my own junk- Christmas 2010- gone but not forgotten.
As I was putting my stuff away I started thinking about all my stuff and the stuff in the auction. We get a lot of it from estates, when the children or executors of the deceased don't want what their parents and friends cherished. My puny little mind started clicking away- that must be worth something, or that . Surely THAT will find a home with my kids! 
But probably not.
I know that there isn't anything I can do about my stuff when I am gone- except to buy better stuff! At least then when my kids don't want it, someone at the auction will!

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Auction of 2011

Etching of three hound dogs
When I saw this etching I thought of quite a few of you girls out there in Blogger land- but mostly Mikey. I'd buy it for you if I could Cowgirl!
This is the head of a carosel horse from India. He's all in pieces, but all the parts are there and he could be repaired. I may put in a bid on him- I have friends that could help rebuild him!

This is a solid wood cupboard for jelly. It has two drawers with ceramic knobs, and two drawers with a shelf inside. It looks like it might be cherrywood. And it has a key to keep kids out of the jelly!

There is a lot more- I'll post a few tomorrow. You wont believe the candlsticks we have this month. One is a tall as me and is made of shiney chrome! Really!
The auction begins at 9. I'll be real busy- but I won't forget you guys! Prices forthcoming!