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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today was a good day.

What a wonderful day.

A lady from the BLM in Virginia called and told me I was the highest bidder and did I want him. Duh! She asked me when I was going to pick him up and I told her they had a special going on in Burns, free shipping through August!


I then called the BLM down in Burns and told the man who answered the phone I'd successfully bid on a horse from their corrals. He asked me where I was at to see if I qualified for the 400 mile radius free shipping offer. When I told him I was in Odessa he asked me if I was the one they bought another colt to in April and I told him I was. He remembered me and Wildairo and asked me how he was doing. I told him Wildairo was halter broke and leading like a champ, in fact he was so nice I wanted another one. I didn't mention the beer drinking incident. I said maybe Wildairo and #7915 know each other because they were from the same herd, he laughed and said maybe they were cousins. I was so grateful to them yet he thanked me for adopting #7915. He said it might be awhile before they bring my new horse up here because they will wait till they have a load. I'm going to mail his halter and lead rope down there so they can put it on before he leaves.


He sounded like a very nice man. When I adopted Wildairo I couldn't walk and I think they may have been a bit concerned because one of the BLM guys, it might have been him, tried to talk me in to adopting a already gentled mare. I wanted a wild one though because I really wanted to gentle him myself and to know I did it. It's been a really incredible experience and I can't wait to try it again with our new boy. Because what I did before seemed to work so well I'm going to do the same thing again.

To gentle Wildairo I put him in a small pen and sat with him for hours by the gate. I brought him fresh alfalfa and grass I picked in the meadow. I used to play with his lead rope through the gate, giving it little pulls making a fuss of him the whole time. Oh, and the bamboo pole bit. I touched him all over with the bamboo pole and he just loved it. I wonder how it will work with another horse.

Today I went in Wildairo's corral with a grocery sack that had cut up apples and baby carrots in it. He does his head bobbing to beg for treats and we find it very endearing. He put his nose inside the plastic sack look for the treats. I even held the sack up above his head and let the wind fill it like a balloon, while feeding him his treats. He's OK with anything done slowly and in full view but I do notice he startles easier than a domestically raised horse still and will start to swing his back end around to defend himself. He's never done that with me but Brad's startled him a few times. He is a lot better than he was and I don't see this being an on going issue with him. He doesn't trust strangers though so I'm a bit worried how he'll react to the farrier. He needs his feet trimmed. I notice Foxsun trims his own feet. Fox and the girls have to walk about a mile over hard trails to get to where they like to graze, so his feet look good.

I can't believe I'm going to have three horses, wow! A Morgan and two Mustangs. My Morgan's pedigree goes back about 225 years, I knew all about his parents and bought him based on his parents wonderful attributes. All I know about these Mustangs parents is they met and fell in love the old fashioned way.


I got him I got him I got him I got him. Too emotional can't write.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tomorrow is the big day!

The on-line adoption ends tomorrow morning. I am the only bidder on the horse I want. The other bid dropped out. I'm very nervous. The corrals are not finished yet, but will be after this coming weekend, I hope. If I get the horse I have no idea when he will be coming up here. Brad and William keep saying he might not be as nice as Wildairo and he might be crazy as a loon. If Brad says, "You got really lucky with Wildairo" one more time I'm going to flip. He looks nice in the photos. Besides he's one of Wildairo's home boys and Wildairo will keep him in line, right?

Wildairo gave me a huge scare on Saturday. He was making chewing motions and drooling. I went all 'shakey leg'. I asked him what was wrong and he walked up to me and bit the wooden fence board to show me what he'd done. Silly boy had a splinter in his mouth. I ran my fingers inside his lips and gums. I was tempted to put my hand inside his mouth. Anyway he ate his hay and afterwards was OK.

Wildairo has become accustomed to the tractor and backhoe working next to his corral. I think he enjoys the entertainment.

My youngest son, William who's 19 has become very fond of Wildairo and keeps going over to the corrals to talk to him. William has never shown any real interest in horses till now. I bought Foxsun when I was pregnant with him, so he's always had a horse around and thinks Fox is a family member. He's asking lots of questions about horses and scratching and kissing Wildairo. I was afraid of him getting hurt at first because I thought he wouldn't be able to 'read' Wildairo's body language but William seems to have good horse sense because he seems astutely aware of Wildairo's moods. He has also confessed he's been going into Wildairo's corral to play with him when I'm not around. Wildairo does seem to really enjoy William's company.

Brad is oblivious when a horse is threatening him even though he's been around horses all his life. Brad's father had no horse sense either despite using horses for farm work as a youngster. His first job, he told me, was unhitching the team. When my father-in-law was alive and around me and my horses, I was very surprised that he knew diddly squat about horses. No, I take that back; he actually gave some advice one day, he said, "When you hit a horse, don't stand right behind them because that's how I got my wrist broken". Ha ha. He hit a team horse with a 2x4 while standing behind him! He was amazed I could stand behind my horse to brush his tail and not get put into orbit.

Brad's grandfather, BJ Lyons, was a pioneer and homesteaded where we still live when he was only 20 years old. We live in the house he built 100 years ago. BJ was a rancher when there were no fences in this part of the country yet. They would have huge round ups where everyone participated. He would capture his cattle in a place called Parker Horn in Moses Lake which is 50 miles from here!

BJ Lyons was born in 1870 and died in 1967. He wrote a book about his adventures called, 'The Thrills and Spills of a Cowboy Rancher', 1959. I have chosen some parts of his book to copy here as they are of particular interest to wild horse enthusiasts. The following is from the chapter titled 'Migration'.

'When I first came to this region one could plainly hear the clattering of hoofs through the night as large bands of wild horses came galloping down the south-side trails that led to the creek, barely a stones throw from where Odessa now stands, greatly widening the creek channel at that point. These unfamiliar sounds, though not unpleasant, were to me a new phase of life that could be experienced only in the West'.

BJ Lyon's book is so fascinating I'll copy some more from a chapter titled 'Range Riding;

'Cowpunching was rugged work, requiring a tremendous amount of experience and endurance if one hoped to become more than a mere helper. I have known of many instances when a husky young fellows without adequate experience became imbued with the idea that because they were robust and had ridden cayuses that merely "crow hopped" (a mild form of bucking) they could manage the Western bronco. Such performances were amusing to witness but never inspiriting. Among the top-ranking cowboys with whom I was acquainted very few indeed ever acquired more than a mediocre reputation as "bronco buster", regardless of his sturdiness, after reaching the age of maturity. Any man whose work was to conquer an animal that could bite and strike as viciously as any wild beast was, to say the least, engaged in a rather hazardous way of making a living.

Horsemanship has become a lost art in nearly every section of our state, and that noble animal, once the pride of the nation, bids fair to become all but extinct in the West. It is now mainly in the small mountainous area that a few horses are required in connection with the cattle industry, which is still carried on to a limited extent among the foothills of the Cascades.

Many of our native horses which originally ranges over the wild, unsettled regions once owned by Mexico but later ceded to the United States by that country were known as cayuses. These hardy little animals, survivals of an earlier era, are entitled to considerable credit as an active force in the development of the West. No animal was more tenacious of life, nor more inured to the merciless storms that sometimes swept over his range. Richly endowed with a self-reliance which enabled him to care for himself under the most trying conditions, he always emerged in the spring, thin in flesh but undaunted in spirit, while the larger and better bred horses were sometimes unable to survive. Nevertheless, many hateful imputations have been hurled against these heroic little horses, some of which were exemplified in their general behaviour both as work animals on the ranch and as saddle horses.

It must be acknowledged in fairness, however, that the typical cayuse was a natural-born chiseler, dominated by a special type of mentality which achieved the ultimate in deceitfulness. He would play the role of a race horse when one tried to catch him and the slow amble of infirmity when hitched to a load. However, he made a tolerably good pack animal when heavy and gentle enough to be used for that purpose'.

I wish he'd wrote more about the wild horses of this area. A few weeks ago in the local paper in the '100 years ago this week' section, they mentioned the wild horse round up in Moses Lake where they captured 5,000 horses and loaded them on to trains to be shipped back east.

Now here I am bringing the wild horses home.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

BLM adoption, Quills and Wildairo

On-line Adoption update:

The BLM site is back up but many of the bidders have disappeared. I'm still there and I'm the only bidder on Wildairo's home boy. I'm sure bidders will return to the site but I hope they don't bid on our boy.

Stupid Airedale update:

I have been pulling quills out of Bobby's body since Sunday. These are the quills that have gone through and I pull them out the other side by the pointy bit. I've pulled several out of the inside of her mouth, near her gums. One in her gum! One beauty had gone clean though her swollen black nose and came out the top. Three quills had gone through the meaty part of her leg. Right now I can one feel that's gone down through her nose, through her lip and is trying to go into the gum. It's at a very difficult angle to pull out. I found some in Monties paws. One had gone between her paws and was getting infected and two were wedged between her toe nail and skin. Ouch!

Wildairo is so eager to learn. I couldn't find the lunge line I haven't used since 1989, so I bought another one. He didn't do anything silly during his first lesson, no kicking out, bolting, rearing. He was trying to do what I wanted but I couldn't do what I wanted because I can't put much weight on my ankle.

Once I saw he was super fine with it I stopped before thing's went south. When my ankle has improved some more and I can lunge him where there's no rocks we'll resume our lunge work.

I have never been around a horse that is so honest. Wildairo is a totally clean slate. He is trying so hard to fit in with his new herd and to please us. When he first came to live with us he was aggressive I had to react quick to stop it and he learned what the word 'no' meant. It's like a light bulb went off in his head. I watched him interact with the other two year old's from his herd, he'd approach some of them with his ears flat back in an aggressive pose and they would move out of his way very quickly. He never approached his best friend like that though. They would put their heads over each others backs and stand quietly together.

When he first came here, out of habit, or maybe he was testing me, he would come at me with his ears flat back. Once he found out that wasn't his place to do that he stopped, but he still didn't like or trust me. After weeks of talking to him, brushing him through the gate and giving him all kinds of tasty treats his attitude changed. I remember when Brad was with him in the corral scratching his back and I went in there too, he looked me right in the eye with his ears forward in happy mode and left Brad, walked right up to me and gently put his head over my shoulder and stood quietly while I put my arms around his neck and snuggled him. I knew then he like me.

It amazes me how such a large strong once wild animal can be so gentle, willing and eager to please. I know and he knows that just one kick could really do me in. I notice now how he perks up and is happy when Brad or William walks up to join us. We're his little herd and he's loved and wanted and he knows it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Airedales ruin Sunday

We had plans on Sunday to work on the improvements to the corrals and do some thing's with Wildairo but our dogs ruined our plans.

I let out our two Airedales Terriers out Sunday morning only to have them disappear for three or four hours. Firing a gun in the air or firecrackers (the big ones) will usually bring them running home. After what sounded like the beginning of World War Three or an Iraqi wedding, no Airedales showed up. We all knew what that meant, they were way over by the creek and they had found a...........



Montie only had about twenty quills and I pulled them out with pliers. Bobby on the other hand had decided to go for the gold medal in 'Porcupine Quilling'. It's a sport that terriers really excel at. We had a cow that tried her hand (hoof) at it once and managed to get a nice load in her legs (?), ears, nose and even her eye lids. Foxsun, as a two year old tried his luck at quilling but gave up after half a dozen in his soft little horse nose.

We pulled out as many quills from Bobby's neck as we could so she could be handled. There was a few very close to her eye and I really thought she loose an eye this time. I pulled out the ones the were where an immediate threat to her eyesight but one quill disappeared into her eye lid. Most of the quills were in the roof of her mouth.

Porcupine quills are very sharp and barbed. Once in the skin they don't fall out but keep traveling through the body. I will pull them through her lips instead of back out because it hurts her less. When you pull quills out of a dog's nose the dog goes berserk because of the pain. My dogs don't bite but they jump around so much it's almost impossible to get the pliers to grab on to the quills without doing more damage. I don't go rushing off to the vets over anything little thing, I even treated Bobby's rattlesnake bit myself with Benedryl, but this time with so many quills in her throat and around her eyes we had to put her to sleep to get them out.

Here's Bobby arriving at the vets.


Bobby had some ideas of her own but I told her I don't negotiate with terriers

The Moses Lake vet clinic is 50 miles from our ranch. The new vet was a lovely young women whom we'd never met before. She gave Bobby sleepy time medicine in her leg vein but Bobby still wiggled when we went for the mother load in her nose, so she got a jab in the muscle. The vet, Brad and I all worked on pulling the quills out as fast as we could but there was so many she started to wake up before we were finished so she got gassed. Usually she's the one gassing us! William was studying the dog breed chart in the front office. I told him to pick out a nice breed for our next dog, one that looked like it had more sense.

The vet had to cut the skin near her eye to get a quill out that might have ended up blinding her. Bobby had her rabies booster and penicillin. When I got her home I trimmed her and gave her a bath so she look smart in her new collar. In all the excitement poor Wildairo got ignored and had a completely carrotless day. He should show Bobby the business end of his hoof for that.

Here's a picture of Bobby being nice to a baby robbin.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Adoption Update

UPDATE On-line Adoption Auction;
The BLM's web sites are all down which is just as well because just before the crash I spotted a second Mustang that was so lovely I wanted him too. On Monday, the last time I saw the bids, I was still top bidder at $145 on the horse I want. I got a call from the BLM saying the site had been hacked.

I'd love to drive down to the BLM corrals in Burns, Oregon to see all the horses. There was a press release in our local paper this week from the BLM about the adoptions this month. They are offering free transportation within a 400 miles radius of Burns Oregon throughout July and August! That's for any horse they have not just the on line adoption horses.

This picture was taken April 27th 2008, the day I adopted Wildairo. The BLM wranglers were loading him for me. He was so wild in the chute and tried to turn around when they put his halter on. I was really getting upset to see a horse treated like a cow but I knew it was the only way to do it. Brad was startled to see a horse act like that and worried all the way home that he hadn't reinforced the pen enough. Wildairo was fine though. He decided right quick he was wild no more and tried to find out his ranking in his new herd. Silly boy thought he'd try for the top job at first. I couldn't blame him for trying though. I'm still amazed at how quickly he settled down in his new home. It's incredible considering he lived for over a year of his life wild and then was just chased about by humans, gelded, wormed, shots, blood drawn and feet trimmed, all in a chute!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I put on my BLM hat today

I put on my BLM hat today to show Wildairo we were going to have a serious training session and he wasn't going to kick back with a cold brew again.

First I put his halter on in a business like fashion and then gave him a real serious cuddle.

Wildairo gets a cuddle

I showed Brad how well he leads and had him lead him about so I could watch. Wildairo was a bit stubborn and didn't want to leave me behind. He looks like a little pony when Brad leads him.

Brad leads Wildairo

I ended up leading Wildairo around because he's really happy to be with me.


He acts like he's been doing this all his life. I wonder what he'll be like when he's going for a walk outside of his familiar corral. Today before I went in his corral, he was banging on the gate with his hoof and throwing his body sideways up against the gate wanting me to rub his neck. As soon I was in his corral he was a perfect gentleman.

I gave him all his baby carrots and apple before I started his lesson. I'm a big believer of hand feeding a horse treats and have been doing since 1963. I was a bit shocked to read that some people think it leads to biting! My horses don't frisk me looking for treats because I don't keep treats in my pockets and Wildairo knows better to grab at me or my clothes. Maybe some people just do it all wrong and let the horse rough them up looking for treats and nip at them. One of the first thing's I taught Wildario was the meaning of the word 'no'. I bought a pony who was a very fast and vicious biter and it had nothing to do with hand feeding. I bite his ear till he squealed and he never bite anyone again.

Before I went to work with Wildairo I went to see Foxsun and his old cow wife. I took a brush and gave then both a good brushing. They love it. They crowd me wanting their turn. When Foxsun wants his belly scratched he holds his leg up like a little dog peeing. I jumped back the first time he did it (20 years ago) because I thought I was about to get hoofed. They are such a sweet old couple. The cow is called Dandylyons, she's 17 and as gentle as a kitten. She and I used to walk for miles together when she was a calf. Her real mother was the founding cow of our herd and was very old when she gave birth to Dandylyons. She never got up again after calving because she had a dislocated hip and also a prolapsed uterus. We were amazed she made it through the winter and thought she'd die before she calved. The vet came out to put her to sleep and I took her last calf home with me and raised her like she was one of the family.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wildairo leads.


This photo was taken with my cell phone.
I like to go out and work with Wildairo in the evenings when it's cooler, he's eaten, the wind had died down and I have either Brad or William there for moral support.

I took his halter on and off about 15 times. At first few times he stepped back and threw his head up for some reason. That really bothered me because he hadn't done that before. I'm a klutz with ropes and the 'Be Nice' rope halter kept getting in a tangle. I was putting it on his nose first and trying to sort out all the other parts and that was what was causing him problems. Finally I just put the part with the metal buttons behind his head and just slipped the nose band over his nose, tangled or not. Once the felt the pressure from the metal buttons when he threw his head, up he quickly stopped doing it and gave me his head. No more problems. I really like the 'Be Nice' halter because the problem was nipped in the bud very quietly and calmly. It was designed for horses that pull back.

I can only walk slowly and the ground in his pen is very uneven and has some large rocks in it. But he had a real good leading lesson. Actually he acted like he's been doing it all his life and it was almost like a waste of time. When I stopped, he'd stop. He kept looking at me as if to say 'lets do something more interesting'. I dare not lead him around the farm because I cannot walk very good at all yet. When I tried out the 'Be Nice' halter on my old Foxsun, he even walked too fast for me. I will have to ask Brad to lead him about.

So far these are the thing's Wildairo hates; The filling of his trough because he thinks he's going to get squirted. (I'll get him over that). Most of all he hates being made to trot/canter around the corral. It really seems to frighten him so I'm not going to do it again. The corral is too big to be able to work him properly and it's rocky. If I had a round pen it would be different and he'd understand what I want of him very quickly, but this corral is huge and he thinks he's being chased. Wildairo also hates it when I give some of his apple to one of the baby calves who live next to him. I've never had a bovine eat an apple before so I think it's cute. Wildairo hates it.

AUCTION UPDATE. I still have the highest bid of $145. The other person bidding on Wildairo's homeboy is also bidding on another horse. I wonder if they want two horses or just want to see which one they can get cheaper. So far they are alone bidding on the other horse.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Someone else wants Wildairo's homeboy.

Today I watched this wonderful documentary on line about the wild horses in Montana. I was fascinated to watch the wild horses interact with each other. The aggressive way the stallions fight is incredible. Here's the address to copy and paste if you haven't already seen it.

I wonder why it took me so long to discover these wonderful horses? I had no idea there were so many herds of wild horses in the Western States. I had the impression for some reason that Mustangs had very course features and were pretty much hard to train once captured. I must have been living under a rock for all these years! The point I'm making is if I have this impression there must be many others with similar impressions. When my neighbor was walking over to meet Wildairo for the first time he was saying something about Mustangs being muley or something. Once he saw Wildairo he was very impressed. My neighbor is a genuine cowboy cattleman and has a horse inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, so he's been around a bit.

Wildairo's homie, whom I'm bidding on has an admirer in Montana who's trying to out bid me. Darn it! I want to see these horses getting bids but not the one I want. lol. We'll see what happens. I've been so excited about him coming to live with us that it really didn't occur to me someone else would get him.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I just put in a bid.

I did it! I just put a bid on #7915 in the on line adoption!!
My ankle is improving and so is my out look on life. My application was approved so the BLM didn't see my last blog of Wildairo drinking Budweiser. lol.

I think #7915 is a most beautiful horse. He's from Wildairo's herd and was captured about four days before Wildairo's lot so either he can't run as fast as Wildairo or he was hanging back with the women and children trying to protect them while Wildairo's wild bunch high tailed it.

He's 2 years old and listed as 13.3 hh which sounds perfect for me. As a yearling Wildairo was recorded as being 14 hh. Now he's about 14.3 hh. Does anyone know how accurate the BLM's measurements are?

I have contacted the Burns BLM facility to see if they have any trailers coming up this way that 'the horse with no name' could hitch a ride in. I have no way to get him up here, so if anyone knows anyone coming up this way after the on line adoption is over in a few weeks, please please let me know. I really want this horse.

UPDATE: I just talked to Wendy at the BLM. They are doing free hauling within 400 miles!! I'm so happy! Bad news is, she told me he was 13.3 hh as a yearling. Darn it, another tall horse. That's ok, that's why they invented mounting blocks.

My son, William asked me if I could handle another Mustang and I said, "The question is can another Mustang handle me"? lol




Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Male bonding over a beer.

It all started innocently enough. I asked Brad to get out his little pocket tape measure to unscientifically find out how tall Wildairo was. As you can see Wildairo is watching the tape very carefully and in his usual fashion he stands his ground. Brad estimated his height at 59" or 14.3 hh. Because wild horse mature later than well fed domestic ones, I think Wildairo will top 15 hh's before he's finished growing. He looked smaller in the pen when I adopted him and I prefer shorter horses because I have short legs.


Brad had just got home from work and was enjoying a beer. I suggested that he tried to bond a bit more with Wildairo because Wildairo acts leery of him. So Brad offered him some beer and my boy wanted to drink it!


From day one Wildairo has eaten everything I've given him so I shouldn't have been surprised he want to find out what was in the can.


While the poor old Clydesdale's are working hard hauling around kegs of Budweiser, somewhere on a ranch out west there's a lazy Mustang sucking down the suds and not doing a lick of work.


The BLM asked us what we were going to feed him but they never asked us what we were going to give him to drink! I told Brad if they thought we were getting this Mustang drunk they'd march him out of here in hobbles.

Disclaimer; There was only a little drop of beer in the can because Brad doesn't like to share his beer. I have a feeling Wildairo would drink beer given the chance because he seemed to love the smell of it.

I took a closer look at the photo and it looks like Wildairo's grinning! It's a little unnerving the way he acts like he's been drinking out of cans all his life. Who is this horse and where did he come from. ha ha.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Wildairo's July the 4th

I think he would have liked it to have been his independence day, as in 'open the gate let me roam'.

He got extra carrots, apples and a little surprise, I squirted him with water while I was filling his trough. At first it really scared him and he thought it could have been the evil horse killer Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers trying to kill him like she wants to kill America's wild horse herds, so he tried to toss her in the muck where she belongs. He felt a little silly when he realized it was just water. He stood in the corner where the water could barely reached him. When I called him he turned to come to me and got splashed on his nose. He was a good sport about it.


It's difficult for me to take a picture because he likes to stand so close.

I asked Brad to give him a good scratching so I could take a picture of him enjoying himself. He's not all that used to Brad so he kept an eye on him. I told Brad, "You must remind him of the BLM wranglers and he doesn't trust you". Brad said, "But I feed him". To which I replied, "So did those BLM wranglers, then they cut his nuts off"!


He gets a funny grin when you hit the right spot. Soon as I walked up to him Wildairo left Brad and put his head over my shoulder. I put my arms around his neck and gave him a hug. He's come along way in the last two months.


Even though he had a splashed nose he wanted me to stay and play with him. He's just a little colt bless him and I find it very hard to leave him.


I went back out later with more carrots.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Read what the BLM wants to do!

OMG! Read this story in newsweek!!!
The BLM wants to kill the Mustangs! I know one thing for sure and that is the 5th District Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers has never seen a pro horse slaughtering bill she didn't vote for. She is a wild horse killer and I hate her with every fiber of my being. If you love horses, please don't vote for this woman.