Sunday, February 24, 2013

More about plans with Sweetie and Raven, etc.

Sulphur's Nataqua (Taqi) The Still Untrained Mustang

Here it is late February and I still haven't done anything with Taqi, my own little Mustang who is way overdue to be started under saddle.  This is due to some living situation changes and some upheaval, that will be settling down in the next month.  I found a good ranch caretaking situation with a like minded lady, former distance rider, who I met a couple of years ago and knew slightly, and she is getting together a trailer for me to move into on her 20 acre place.  In the meantime I am staying temporarily back at Sue's on the Georgetown Divide.  I will be commuting 3-4 days a week about 80 miles round trip back to the Grass Valley/Nevada City area to work, etc.  Then I will be in Brown's Valley, a few towns downhill from Grass Valley on the way to Marysville, at about 1,200' in the rolling hills and oaks.

So while I am here in Greenwood, I am getting Sweetie back on a program with the help of a 16 year old horse crazy girl with no horse, who will help Sue's daughter Sarah and I get Sweetie and Raven back in shape.  Raven needs to get out too, he's only coming 19, which is not old for a well cared for endurance horse.  The plan is for Sweetie to do Tevis again with Sarah, as long as we can keep her on a regular program including at least drag riding one or more 50's.  At the same time, with the help of our 3rd rider, Raven will get in shape to do a fifty, and not just any fifty, but the AERC Championship in Southern Idaho in September.  I found that it was only a ten hour trailer ride from here, and Sweetie could do the 100, and Raven the 50.  I don't know yet who will be riding whom, but we are trying to make it our goal to get there.  We all have to save our pennies too.  Sue is really excited about the prospect.

We just looked at a Google Earth view of the ride course, and it is mostly flat with few climbs, in flatlands and rolling hills in a place called City of Rocks.  It looks really cool.  I know they put on an "all the frills" ride for this one, having crewed for it back in '04 in Reno, Nevada.  My rider rode both the 100 and then the 50 two days later on the same horse, a Morgan Stallion named Indiana Red River who was the only horse to do both rides.  He was carrying a heavyweight rider too.  He was very well behaved, having come a long way from his first season at the 2000 mile Pony Express Ride, of which he did 550 miles over about two months between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Virginia City, Nevada over the original route of the famed mail carriers.  He also won the high point Endurance Morgan Award the year after, completing two 100's and eleven 50's for a total of 750 miles in one season, with a 100% completion rate.  If  you want an excellent trail or distance Morgan, I can put you in touch with his owner, Joan Zeleny, who has a few of his offspring for sale every year.

So between trying to round pen Taqi and helping to get Raven and Sweetie in shape, I have my work cut out for me.  Oh, and I'm riding Raven for the first time today, all 16 hot to go hands of him.  That should be interesting.  At least he's super smooth being a Kentucky Mt. Horse.  I'll report on it later.  Stay tuned.

 Taqi and Pete
Taqi is helping Pete fill the troughs.  He is fascinated with water having come from a dry region of Southern Utah.  Notice the flattened orange cone behind the trough.  Taqi killed it.  It used to be one of his favorite toys.  He also has a jolly ball, a big rubber ball with a handle that he carries around and has even been known to come over and hit his pasture mates with.  He keeps them on their toes.  I haven't measured him lately.  He may be 14 hands now, but I wouldn't be surprised if he is still 13.3.  He looks like a Quarter Pony at this point.  I heard the original Quarter Horses were Mustangs crossed with Thoroughbreds.  People who came up behind me on Sweetie asked if she was a Quarter Horse judging by her big butt.  They get it from Mustangs who are built like brick houses.  

Drinking from the Hose

Here's an update since riding Raven last Sunday.  He was fine, very well behaved, not hard to control, but did want to run around like a maniac in the sand when we got down to the bottom of the canyon at Cherokee Bar by the American River.  It was like being at the beach, he went a little nuts and I had to be careful with him in the deep sand.  Neither wanted to drink, so we started back up and I anticipated him wanting to take off again like he usually does.  It is rocky, and being a little tender footed from the rains and mud and lack of recent riding, he chose to keep a sane pace back up.  I definitely used a different set of muscles with his unique gait.  I was sore more in my quads than my groin muscles.  It takes some getting used to.  He is so tall, I'm not supposed to be on a 16 hand horse!  Its fine once I'm on, but getting there can be a challenge.  He at least stood for the mount.  Getting off is like dropping off a 6' fence.  If I end out riding him on either the American River or the AERC Championship, that will be a new experience.  

Violet, the new 16 year old rider did just fine on Sweetie.  I think this might work out.  I noticed for the first time that Sweetie wings out a little in front with her semi-gait that she does.  She reminds me a bit of a Peruvian Paso, which gets their gait from the gaited Spanish Mustang, or Spanish Jennet.  Makes me wonder if Taqi will have any gaited-ness in his way of going.  I hope so.   Some from his herd are gaited.  We'll see.