Four new babes!
This young lady was the first born; out of Molly, one of the four year old mares.
Nineteen year old mare - Alpha - had this little filly. Alpha is Molly’s dam.
~ Shoeing Day ~
Shoeing Day - 02 May 2004 Sunday Morn
Farrier Juan Urzua arrived this morning to shoe and trim. Laredo led off and was totally out of character - he was a real
pain! Peter Max was the perfect gentleman, didn’t fuss at all. Put his head against my chest and appeared to go to
sleep. Guess it depends on how much testosterone is coursing through his bloodstream. He is one nice stud.
Juan with Laredo
Juan Urzua shoeing
my Joe Hancock Quarter Horse, Laredo. I bought Laredo from Joe Rider - Rider Ranch - in 2000 and was the first horse I bought
when I moved in here. He stands just over of 17 hands, which is typical of his lineage. He tends
to be gentle and sweet tempered, but this morning was a real jerk; very impatient. He’s off to Danny Martinez in Winnemucca
for training this summer.
Bobbie with Juan’s Compadres >>>>>>>
Bobbie resisted getting trimmed, but they got the job done. He is on the way to Danny’s place in Nevada for cow training,
so he’ll probably get shod for the first time while he is up there. At any rate, he’ll find life is a lot easier
if he stands, lifts his feet, and goes with the flow.
07-19-03 – Saturday – 2000
Farrier Scott Ross showed up this morning with my vet, Dr. Tené Miller, and his sidekick, Miguel (good name). Scott shod
Laredo first because of his "don’t-give-a-damn" attitude. Scott sits in a portable easy chair in the shade, with his
grande Pepsi, while Miguel handles his light work, rasping and shaping, pulling the shoes, initial knifing of the hooves,
then Scott gets up and with a flourish, puts on his chaps, does a little more cutting and shaping, and then installs the shoe.
So you get your monies worth, he does a stand-up comic routine, and discusses everything from horse medicine, to nuclear
fission. These "Hollywood" farriers give you a good show. Since he may read this, I tell you that he doesn’t like
the Hollywood moniker. He keeps Miguel in line by threatening to leave him in Yuma, which reduces Miguel to tears –
begging for mercy. Gee – and I like this place.
Bonnie, my yearling Palomino filly, got her first trim. She had to be twitched to get her to stand still. Dr. Tené stood
by with a syringe loaded with la-la juice just in case things got out of hand. Scott hails from Burbank, California and comes
over when Tené has a bunch of work lined out for him. He is very good. To his further credit, he drives a 2001 Dodge R3500
Cummins 1-ton dually, which shows excellent taste in trucks. Then Jeff Miller showed up on his scooter, a brand new American
Performance Cycles. If you haven’t seen them on TV, they look like a hog – very tastefully done – with
a 105 cu.in. V-Twin by Rev-Tech. Jeff’s is gray with blue flames. As we all headed out to Applebee’s for lunch,
Jeff offered to let me ride his scoot over to his place; I admittedly was reluctant to let him drive my Dodge, but he had
me over a barrel. After I recovered from a near faint, I fired it up, squirreled around in the sugar sand, made it out to
3E – and WOW! Mucho cool scooter! My only regret was that the ride over to his place is only 3/4’s of a mile.
Topped off a great morning…
06-17-03 – Tuesday – 2000
to the Weddle Farm this morning to load hay for Fort Worth - 126 bales at 120# per bale in 1 hour and 20 minutes. Talk about
getting soaking wet. Don’t think I’d care to make a living hauling hay, although it would definitely keep you
in shape. If it hadn’t had help, I’d have been there for hours, and would probably have expired no later than
noon. Leaving for Fort Worth sometime tomorrow, most likely around mid-day. That will put me in the Will Rogers Equestrian
Center about 24 hours later, barring any problems along the way.
06-15-03 - Sunday - 2030
Looks like that’s it for this breeding season, four mares bred, and all appear to have taken. Anxious to see what we
get next spring. Sometimes I wish horses didn’t have such a long gestation period; It’s like waiting for Christmas.
Don’t know why I used that analogy - I’m not that into the Christmas holidays, because of the commercialization,
but I do like the family getting together, the season, the tree all dressed up. If they’d just leave out the gift giving
ritual. But, I guess that was why I used the analogy, the gifts. What wonderful gifts will Mother Nature bring next spring?
Will the foals be well conformed with lots of color, healthy, and their mamas in good shape with lots of milk? As I’ve
said before, I should not have taken up this breeding thing; it breaks my heart every time I lose a mare, or foal, or worse,
both. I think one has to be a bit more stoic than I am to be in animal husbandry. Hmmm - no, I don’t have the same
emotional problems with the rest of the livestock. I guess It’s because I love horses so much.
- Friday - 2130
After checking the mares this afternoon, I walked over to the Feed Shed in the dusky light, and
as I unlocked it and started to swing the doors open, something caught my eye a foot or so to my right in about the two o’clock
off the toe of my boot. I stepped back and saw a Sidewinder backing up under the shed rattling, or more like buzzing, away
with It’s tiny rattles. I grabbed a buggy whip and a shovel and started probing under the shed. Nothing. The earth
beneath the shed is riddled with ground squirrel and mice holes, so I figured it had crawled into one of those. I grained
the horses while wondering what I could do to catch the Sidewinder.
I’ll tell you now, I encourage the various garden
snakes and the occasional Yuma King - aptly named because it is indigenous to this area and distinctive because of its black
and white bands - to live here. Lord knows, I need all the help I can get keeping the various rodent populations down. A
further benefit of having King Snakes around is the fact vipers are included in their diet. But I have no use for vipers,
because they are a danger to horses, particularly young ones. A young horse is inquisitive, will see a snake and go over
and start nosing it, and that is where the majority of snakebites occur on a horse - in the nose. Rattlesnake venom causes
a horses nose to swell, cutting off It’s air supply, because a horse does not breath through It’s mouth. I doubt
a Sidewinder, which is a very small snake, has enough venom to kill a horse, or a man, for that matter. But because Sidewinders
are sneaky little bastards, and have a bad temperament, I don’t want them around, I don’t care how many rodent
babies they eat. I know, I know, I’d have a bad temper too, and be cranky all the time, if I had to crawl around on
the hot sand on my belly.
As I was locking up the shed, I again saw something down by my right boot, about 18 inches
away; it was coming out from under the shed. I set the shovel down, just behind its head, leaned the handle against the shed,
and went in for the night—I’ll retrieve it in the morning. I’ll try to remember to get a picture of it
and put it on the site. For those that aren’t familiar with this breed of rattlesnake, I think you’ll be surprised
at how small they are. This one is about 18 inches long with maybe 5 or 6 buttons on its rattle, so It’s a full-grown
05-23-03 - Friday - 0730
Teased the mares yesterday afternoon and three (as mentioned
before) appear to be pregnant, but Beta is still hot. Talked to my vet, Tené Miller, and she is scheduled to come
over this afternoon to check for pregnancy on the three with her ultrasound machine, and check Beta to see if she is ovulating.
I wish I could say TGIF - but It’s 24/7 here, so that term doesn’t exist…
- Thursday - 0700
Teases the mares. Alpha, Molly, and Annie all appeared to be pregnant, but Beta is still showing
signs of being in heat. Will check her again today and if she is still showing signs, she will be bred again. Heading into
town today to pick up some groceries and feed for the livestock, then I’ll get to a couple of projects I need to get
to, one in particular is a hay rack I need to weld up for the tractor. If you noted the weather above - looks like a new
record was set for yesterday on the temp…
05-21-03 - Wednesday - 0700
Bobbie is progressing
nicely. Pregnancy checks on the mares.
05-19-03 - Monday - 2220
my three year old Paint gelding. Bobbie was the only male I had out of the first six foals three Springs back, and one of
the surviving four along with his three half-sisters, Sweetie Pie, Molly, and Lil' Orphan Annie. Bobbie’s mama,
Babe, died this last winter from complications after an operation. Why did I geld him, you ask? Because, although he is
a registered Paint, he looks like a Bay Quarter Horse with black socks. He has no "chrome" on him what so ever,
except for a snip on his forehead. But, he’s a good-looking boy, and quite athletic; this training in the coming months
will determine if he’ll be good for anything, like working cows, or trail-riding, or something - please! at least something…
Went out to feed this morning, and my yearling Hereford bull was at the haystack, leisurely consuming a bale
of hay. I grabbed a long pole and herded him back to his pen located a couple hundred yards to the west; somehow he had opened
his gate in the night and escaped. Judging by his hoof prints, he canvassed the area pretty good last night.
05-10-03 - Saturday Nite
Worked on my Tack Room today, putting up hooks and such to hang the tack on. Still
have to insulate and panel it - after I get the electrical stuff in. It’s an 8x12 wooden shed that Tino, a friend from
Mexico built for me. I have another 8x8 that I bought that is the same construction, which I use for feed and medicines and
such. They sit opposite each other near the wash and inspection racks. Tino also poured the slabs for those, too. Tino
lives in San Luis del Rio Colorado in Sonora, San Luis for short, which is right next to San Luis, Arizona. I don’t
know if I have discussed Tino’s situation in previous articles but I’ll get to it one of these days.
05-13-03 - Tuesday Nite
I am beat! Worked most of the day cleaning pens with a couple of odd jobs thrown in, including
having to "flush" Maggie (Beta) - she didn’t take and is going back into heat.
The flush cleans out the uterus with anti-biotics and an astringent; then at the end of the procedure
a shot is given which causes the uterus to contract exuding the flush and leaving the uterus
clean and tight and more receptive to trapping the fertilized egg. She will be re-bred Wednesday or Thursday. Alpha is
a concern also; she may not have taken either. The young mares, Molly and Annie appear to be
out of heat and there is a good chance they will take. I explain all of this to you because
I know that inquiring minds want to know these things (Stans).
All were born with no complications and are in good health.
Four year old mare - Annie - had this little filly. Took more after the mama, but still obviously a Paint.
Eighteen year old mare - Beta - is the mama of this little colt. Except for one brown and one blue eye, he takes after his
|Fourth - Colt
Bonnie with Arturo and Miguel
This was Bonnie’s second trimming so she was not real hot for the idea. This reluctance is in large part my fault.
I haven’t made the time to work with the young ones, teaching them to lift their feet when they need to be worked on,
etc. I won’t make the same mistake with the new bunch.
05-10-03 - Saturday Nite
Mares have a monthly cycle similar to humans. And, each mare will exhibit
different personalities, much as women do, including PMS. Some mares are fairly laid back when
in heat, and others - watch out! Bringing them in contact with the stud while in heat will
bring about marked changes in the way they act - called teasing - and set physiological changes
in motion, including ovulation.
There are a couple of different ways to breed (that I know of; keep in mind, my experience is limited to what
I’ve learned from Charlie Lunn and what I have read). One method is pasture breeding
where you turn the mare(s) and the stud out together and let nature take it's course.
There are some hazards to this method. The other method is hand breeding.
I bought my stud, Peter Max, from Charlie Lunn in Ellensburg, Washington, and he uses the hand
One of the reasons Spring is the "season"
is because it is natural time for horses (and other animals) to breed, but more importantly
here in Yuma, it is the weather. You want the mares to foal in the Spring before it gets too
hot. Having them foal in the Summer when the temp is in the 100's
is not a good thing.
It is good to keep
a strict ritual when it comes to breeding. The stud is haltered in three different ways. One
way indicates to him that he is going to be walked around, such as
in a show, another indicates that he is going to be taken to the mares
and tease, and the third lets him know that he is going to breed. Peter Max is very well behaved when it comes
to breeding. The stud is taken to the mares, one by one, and they are given a moment or two
each to "talk," and you can tell by the mares reaction whether
or not she is in heat and further, whether or not she is ready to breed. This is called teasing.
The stud is then returned to his pen. The mares that are ready to be bred are taken to the
Round Pen, tied up, and a nose twitch applied. A nose twitch is
a loop of thin rope attached to a handle, which is put over a horse's upper lip, twisted
and tightened. I don't know why it works the way it does (I haven't tried it on myself)
but they seem to relax and some of the mares look like they're going to
fall asleep. It is said that possibly it releases endorphins. The purpose of the twitch is
to give the handler more control over the mare. Peter Max is brought to the Round Pen and lead up to the mare so his
head is even with the mares left flank. In less than a minute, he
is usually ready, mounts and does his thing, which usually takes
less than 30 seconds. When the mare is no longer in heat, she will not respond to the teasing.
After 15 days, she is checked for pregnancy, which means the egg
has attached to the uterine wall. If not, she will go back into heat and you start all over
again. The gestation period is about 11 months, which varies depending on the mare's age and other circumstances.
So, Patty, this was probably more than you wanted to know, but, basically, that's how it's
done. Keep your fingers crossed, maybe we'll have some pretty
foals next spring!05-08-03 - Thursday Nite
Harrowed the Round Pen and watered it
- we breed again in the morning. Few days to go and we'll be done, if all goes well.
Well - let see - worked on the tack room today, put up hooks and hangers for the new tack I've
acquired, and the old. Caught Alpha in a couple of minutes (see Tuesday's write-up) and we bred her and Annie. 'Twas
a good day - even if it was chilly as the Sun set.
05-06-03 - Tuesday
We bred Molly (3 year
old black Overo) this afternoon. Then wormed all ten horses. It involves injecting Ivermectin in their mouths with a syringe,
and then they're good to go for about four months. As I've mentioned before, my three elder mares are akin to Mustangs
- disposition wise - and a good 45 minutes was spent working with Alpha and Beta (Maggie) 'til they would stand and let
me approach. One must have the patience of Job when working with horses - patience, patience, patience.
Going to finish
Bobbie’s (3-year-old bay gelding; half brother to the fillies). Want to turn him into a cow horse, or a good trail
horse. His future with me will depend on how he turns out.
Also had two dumps of hay brought in today (124 bales;
7 tons) which will last me a little over two months.
05-05-03 - Monday
Bred Alpha (one
of the elder mares) and Annie (3 year old sorrel) this afternoon. Alpha has always been very skittish and difficult to handle,
but Annie was by far the most difficult when it came to breeding her today. Maybe she was frightened because the situation
was unfamiliar to her. She wanted to, but didn't know how, I guess. More teasing and breeding en la mañana, and
we're also going to worm all the horses.
05-04-03 - Sunday
Teased the mares, and bred
Molly, her first time. She was a good girl. Some young mares are really pistols their first time around. Annie gets bred
05-03-03 - Saturday
Teased the mares early this afternoon; Annie will be bred tomorrow
and Molly on Monday if they are still showing good signs. Alpha, one of the senior mares is beginning to show good response,
as is Sweetheart, and they will be bred later in the coming week.
05-03-03 - Saturday Eve
is rain in the vicinity. I know that I have been here too long. I realized this afternoon, around 1700, that I was looking
to the so'west hoping the rain would move over my place. I have known for some time that if rain does get near, it passes
to the North, or the South, or splits and passes by North and South, but rarely over my place. I admit, back in February,
we got a couple of good weeks there when it rained for several hours on three or four different days, but that is not that
uncommon in the winter. But April through June the showers are always passing by, sometimes by a few blocks. Come Monsoon
season, if my place does get rain, it is a deluge accompanied with lightning, which I dislike a lot, not the flood, the lightning.
Couple early springs ago, maybe three, Danny Martinez had just finished offloading steel at my place and lightning hit so
close that the thunder and the flash were superimposed; I happened to look up at one of my big Cottonwoods behind the Casita,
and saw St. Elmo's fire all over the crown and star-shaped cinder-like objects were flying off of it, like a fireworks
rocket. The tree wasn't damaged nor showed any signs of being hit; the main strike occurred a 1/4 mile north where it
hit a power-pole - knocking it down - and leaving us without power for a few hours. Being the courageous sort that I am -
I ran for my Dodge - and stayed in it till the storm passed. I just went outside; the skies about me are clear. The rain
passed south over Mexico; the border is nine miles south of me. Oh well...
It’s 2100 and here's a quick update
to the diatribe above. I was just outside locking the gate and it's a virtually calm, starry, starry night, and not a
cloud in the sky. The temp is a cool 66º with a waxing sliver of a Moon setting in the west. I hope the Mexicanas enjoyed
05-03-03 - Saturday
More teasing and breeding. Teased the mares last night.
So far, only Maggie has been bred, but the rest of them showed signs last night of coming into heat, so there may be more
of them bred in the next couple of days...
05-02-03 - Friday
Ran into town and got groceries
and feed for the horses; juiced lemons and grapefruit; pruned oleanders; harrowed & wet the Round Pen; irrigated &
fertilized; fed livestock. 'Twas a beautiful and kind of lazy day; maybe I'll get more done mañana...
05-01-03 - Thursday
May Day! No - not yelling for help while airborne...
Up for today - fence repair
- tractor service - Dodge service - irrigation - order hay...
04-30-03 - Wednesday
the Round Pen - now I've got to paint it. Think I'll work with Laredo and Bonnie tomorrow.
Welded up the broken rods in the Round Pen; went to the feed store and got feed (what else?); went to
Sam's Club and got household supplies (forgot the carrots and apples for the horsies); picked up my mail; entered bills
in the computer; washed my truck; moved hay; took a shower; good night ~ sleep tight...
04-28-03 - Monday
Left Big Bear yesterday about noon. Drove to Las Vegas; met my friend - Danny Martinez - and his harem at the Flamingo.
We had a couple of drinks and then went to dinner at Conrad's Steak House there in the hotel. Good food -excellent service.
Wandered around the strip for an hour with Danny, Loretta and Bonnie. Back to the Flamingo and sat in the Garden Bar while
Bonnie and Loretta's friend, Helen played video poker. She got a hundred ahead, and then gave it all back to them. About
mid-night I said adios and headed for Yuma. Pulled over in Vidal (20 miles west of Parker) and took an hour nap; arrived
back at the rancho at 0715. Think I'll take a nap and then get on with some projects, which will include doing some welding
on the Round Pen. A couple of lower rods were knocked out by a couple of the horses - Laredo for one - big jerk.
04-24-03 - Thursday
Peter Max (my paint stud) "teased" the mares. They were all receptive, but
one, Alpha. She is so shy. She wanted to come over and check Peter Max out, but with a handler standing along side
of him, she just couldn't bring herself to do it. Maybe tomorrow. Maggie, one of the elder mares, showed great interest,
and she will probably breed Monday. Annie (Lil' Orphan Annie - her mom died when she was six months old) also was very
interested, so interested (I won’t go into the details at this writing) in fact, that she probably breed tomorrow.
Sweetheart and Molly will probably be ready in a few days.
As I mentioned in my last update Sweetie Pie (or "Pie"
to those close to her) is a big black Overo paint, quite "loud" (lots of color), who will not be bred for a few
seasons and will go into training, find a job, maybe do some shows. Pie is my favorite of the younger generation.
Some other projects I accomplished today included prepping the Round Pen; that's where they will breed the mares. I harrowed
it and then put the RainBird on it for four hours - gives it a better surface to work on. Hope it goes well with all of them
- I've seen pictures of the other seven offspring that Peter Max sired - good looking horsies. One of them, looked just
like Gene Autry's horse, Champion - or Champ; light chocolate palomino color with blonde mane and tail.