Bloganuary #14 : What is your preferred mode of travel?

A Horse of Course. From a very young age I have had a passion for horses. While living in Colorado, I traveled many miles over mountains and through valleys trying to find cattle and enjoying the scenery. The town I lived in still today, has cattle drives down the road when cattle are moved from one pasture to another or up to the high mountains for summer grazing, and back to the ranch for winter feed and calving. Along with the cattle drives, it was not uncommon to see the local “horse trader” in town with is team of blacks and wagon, tied up at the local bar after going to the grocery store.

Mr. Green was a well known horse trader, buying and selling horses as well as raising cattle, who also happened to be an alcoholic. He lost his driver’s license due to drunk driving. So, when he wanted to visit the local bar or buy groceries, he would hitch up his matched set of black horses to an old wagon and go to town. When he arrived at the bar, he would tie the horses to the parking meter, put in his money for parking and visit the bar. One day, the police decided to give him a ticket on his way home, as he was intoxicated. When they got the wagon to stop, they gave him a ticket for driving while intoxicated, thinking this would get the team and wagon off the roadways. Mr. Green opposed the ticket in court. His defense – he was not driving since he did not have his hands on the reins to the horses. He was laying down in the wagon, not holding the reins, not driving therefore the ticket was invalid. Mr. Green when he was ready and intoxicated, would untie his team of horses, climb into the back of the wagon and tell them to go home, of which the horses would start walking towards home. Mr. Green was not charged with driving while intoxicated. He continued to drive his team of blacks hitched to the wagon to town, then let the horses take him.

While I would enjoy riding my horse to town to pick up a few groceries, it is impractical. The people in the area where I live are not ranchers or horse people. A horse tied up outside the grocery store would create an attraction. There is a liability of having a horse around strangers, especially if someone chose to pet the horse or put their child on the horse while you are inside. The people do not know the proper rules or etiquette involving a horse.

Currently, there is a ring of thieves in the area stealing riding horses out of pastures. I would run the risk of someone walking away with my horse. It is an interesting aspect in Texas, a major cattle producer and the number one producer of horses in that a lot of animals are stolen due to the way they handle livestock.

In Colorado, I had to have a brand inspection or inspection of the animal everytime I purchased or sold an animal. Texas is not so. If you take a cow or horse to the local auctions, you do not have to provide proof you own the horse or cow. If by chance you discover your stolen cow or horse has been sold at auction, then you have to hire an attorney and take the seller to court to get your money for the animal at the price sold at auction, not the actual value of the animal. In Colorado, you had your animal returned, and the buyer had to get his money back from the thief. So it is better to be safe, than lose an animal.

I travel by automobile more specifically a truck. I have a truck as my income does not allow me a pleasure vehicle and a work vehicle. I need a truck to pull the stock trailer while transporting sheep to or from the farm. I also need it to pull a trailer when we purchase hay or to haul grain. I do not drive more than necessary.

Traveling to visit family, I like an automobile. With an automobile I can see the varied majestic landscapes along the path of travel. I drive slow, and stop often. I enjoy seeing small towns and visiting historical markers. I have the freedom of choosing my path and direction that other modes of transportation do not offer.

Airplanes are faster, but they land in big towns or cities. You are not offered any historical information of the areas you travel over, there are no historic architecture to see, or old homestead or fancy farms. You do not get the opportunity to stop and enjoy the area you are flying over.

I enjoy the trail riding in our area, a slower pace with the ability to watch the wildlife and slow down for conversation. No busy city distractions and noise. My friend, my horse and wildlife are an excellent way to enjoy a day.

I think the journey should be enjoyed. A slower and chosen path is pleasant for my travel.


Horse of a Different Color

Dancer 4 years old, after returning from the horse trainer.

These two pictures are of the same horse, taken four years apart. When Dancer was born, she was brown with the white blanket and spots on the top of the hips and a white spot or star in her forehead. As a three year old she was still the color as when she was born.

Dancer 8 years old

In the spring of her four year old year, Dancer started to have white spots in her black mane (hair along her neck) and tail. I knew from years of raising Appaloosa horses she was going to turn white. Then white spots started appearing all over her body. I had taken her to a horse trainer, as I am not allowed to be the first person to ride an unridden horse any longer.

At the trainers, Dancer continued adding white spots to her color. Her long black mane and tail was turning white, and getting very short. I was having Dancer trained and shown at Reined Cow Horse competitions. Long manes and tails are strongly desired for eye appeal, or beauty of the horse. The trainer was concerned that my horse’s mane and tail was falling out. When the hair supplements, special shampoo and conditioners did not stop the hair loss, the trainer consulted a veterinarian to determine the cause of my horse getting a very thin and short mane and tail, after arriving with a full black mane and tail. The expense of a veterinarian examining a horse while at a training facility is charged to the owner. I was never charged for the veterinarian examine. As there was nothing wrong with my horse.

I do not know if the veterinarian chuckled or laughed when asked to examine my horse for hair loss of the mane and tail. I did when the trainer told me he had called a veterinarian to look at my horse because she was losing her mane and tail, having it replaced with short, thin white hair.

Dancer’s dam (mother) is a registered Quarter horse. Her sire (father) is an Appaloosa. Appaloosa horses change color, usually starting their two year year and up until they are fifteen. Her mane and tail turning white and getting short is an Appaloosa trait, although not all Appaloosas have this trait, very few. Her sire has a beautiful mane and tail as does her mother.

The white color spots appearing, is her black skin turning pink, from lack of pigment in the cells, called mottling. The “white” in her blanket, spots, mane and tail is not white, but lack of pigment and translucent – what gives the Appaloosa their unique coloring patterns.

Her change in color, losing her mane and tail was genetic, nothing anyone can do to change what was happening. Appaloosas are unique in their coloring, as no two are colored the same. If a person finds two very close, they may not be that way the next year.

Each spring we watch Dancer to see what her appearance will me when she sheds off her winter coat. Each year her coloring is a little different.


Different Lifestyle

I realize the posts I publish exhibit a different lifestyle than most lifestyles of those reading the posts. I enjoy sharing parts of my life with others. I say parts of my life as it is very to post about the varied things I do in one day of living.

My life is multifaceted. I am a mother. Although my children are grown, when you are a mom, you are a mom forever. I am proud of my children and their families.

I am a grandmother. I currently have eleven grandchildren. I will have a granddaughter born in June. And the triplets will be born in September. Two of my grandchildren have graduated from high school.

My biggest passion is horses. I professionally trained horses for twenty years. My children grew up during the time I was training, raising and selling horses. I love the foals, and being the first to teach them about people and starting their training on the ground. Currently I own four horses.

My children were involved in 4-H. You do not have to live on a farm to join and receive the benefits of being involved in 4-H. My children showed horses, pigs, sheep, rabbits and poultry. But they also did rocketry, leather craft, ceramics, baking, sewing, and photography and painting. There are many projects a child can learn to do and exhibit that do not involve an animal or having to have a farm. I was a project leader of many of the projects my children choose to participate in.

4-H teaches more than projects. Youth learn proper rules and etiquette for council meetings and meetings of government entities. They learn to present what they have made and learned. Record keeping is also done and judged. There are local, regional, district and national offices the youth campaign for and are elected to by their peers. In my opinion, 4-H is a great place for youth being homeschooled, it provides a fun environment for learning and meeting others with the same interests.

I taught horsemanship clinics and judged horse shows, poultry shows, rabbit shows and even judged llamas once. I did not know much about llamas, I told the show management as much. But I was present and the llama judge was not. I was chosen for the position.

Working with others to learn to ride and the various projects I taught in 4-H, I realize people do not know what I am talking about at times. They do not know the procedure and steps to get an animal ready for exhibition or a piece of ceramic.

Currently, I am a sheep farmer. I love being a sheep farmer. Watching the lambs, talking with the sheep, and seeing my breeding program evolve bring me joy and completeness.

Be assured I care very much for my animals. They are living beings. Yes, I do eat my own sheep. I also am thankful to the animal, and there is a ceremony, that gives its life so I may live. I sit up all night with a sick lamb. I have sick lambs in my house, along with the unpleasant odor and mess.

I am willing to answer questions concerning my posts on things you, the reader, may not understand. I know the posts I read are from people who do very different activities and have different passions than myself. I am not afraid to ask a question. We gain knowledge by seeking, asking and listening.