Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Quick note folks!

Very very very sorry for the long delay!
Next year I will have a camera again.

In the mean time, Solomon is getting A JOB!

We started his first ground-driving lessons yesterday. They were hilariously imperfect, mostly because of me not quite getting it, or figuring out how to communicate to Solly what he needed to do. His version of "upset" for this was to fall back into his "spin to face you on the forehand so you can't make me do anything" tactic. We'll work through that for sure.
His other tactic is to cuddle up to me all gentle and soft and making these whimpering sighs, nostrils flared, pressing against me all trembling and tense. "MOM I AM SCARED AND OVERWHELMED PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!

So we've pit in an order for adamantium heart shields for me, so that I may somehow resist is sad, sad pony pleas.

Meanwhile, we got him working with two reins eventually More on all that next time.

Someday he can PLOW. And even pull a CART. He'll have a job and he'll live longer. Yaaay! I want a Celtic war chariot. Can I get one of those?

See Ev.
See Kizim.
See Ev halter Kizim.
See Eve and Kizim walk down the road.
See Bull.
See big bull.
See Big bull see Kizim and Ev.
See Mares in pasture.
See mares charge to fence.
See mares bucking, farting, screaming, and running amok
See Kizim fight like a champion to Not Lose Her Shit.
See Kizim snort.
See Kizim giraffe neck.
See Kizim jig like a dressage horse.
See Ev.
See Ev desperately cling to the line while making soothing noises.
See Ev almost get trampled.
See Ev grab Kizim's mane and hold on for dear life, still letting the hose know that all is well
See horse eventually look aroung, realize bulls are gone, and grass s awesome.
Exciting day.

It was great to chat with bo bout so many things. Good night folks, more soon , maybe after the weeked,

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today I rode on the back of a friend's motorcycle, and I discovered that I SUCK at it! I tried to move with his body, leaning this way and that, but my body just kept instinctively trying to remain centered. My hips moved with the bike but everything above that stayed upright! Hah.

A consequences of riding horses that I had not considered...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


On Monday morning I visited Solomon. There's not a lot to report, as not a lot was done. He was groomed and fed, he was roundpenned, which he did pretty well at, getting a long workout. Then I took him around the property to graze for a couple of hours. Since the only other people around were a couple of boarders who do everything in the roundpen, and since we made out way to the back of the property, I sang to my horse for a little while. Would feel silly if there were other people around, but we were alone and it felt kind of nice to sing. Solomon kept an ear swiveled in my direction as he grazed, raising his head to stare at me whenever I stopped singing. I think he enjoys it.

I might not be able to get to the ranch for a little while, as I am currently broke, yet again. :( I am very grateful that I know my boy will be well taken care of even in my absence. I miss everyone there when I can't make it out, however.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cutting and penning!

Jeez, I really wish my camera still worked!

Today I brought my friend J___ up to watch a local team penning event. J___ went to and then worked at a horse camp all summer for 6 years of his youth. I'm really hoping to get him back into horses. Perhaps because I do not live in the country, I don't often meet men who are horsepeople. Most men I talk to actually tell me that they are afraid of horses, or that horses "hate" them. I have a little theory that a lot of men are used to being the biggest, strongest thing around, and that they don't know how to deal with something that is bigger and stronger than they are. I could be wrong though!

Anyway, J___ isn't like that, and is a friend with whom I get along well. He's the type of friend you can get into a friendly shoving match with. Being a rather playful person once I come out of my shell, I can appreciate that.

So we drove up to Pope Valley together from the city of Richmond. He has satellite radio, so we listened to "blue collar radio" for most of the drive. I had no idea such a thing existed, hah. An hour and a half of Jeff Foxworthy types, each way. A little different from my usual diet of Rammstein and Siouxsie and the Banshees, but it was amusing enough.

Everyone who was just a part of the audience, and 4 of the people in the event, were from D&D Ranch, or guests of the ranch. I think there were only 8 or 9 riders total. It's a small town and it was the last penning event of the season.

I think I only saw a cow get penned 2 or 3 times, but I did see a lot of smiling, and I heard a lot of laughter. There were a number of people there who had never worked cattle before, and at least one person had never ridden Western before. Bo did a lot of teaching that day. It was a great deal of fun watching everyone run up and down the arena on their mounts, whether they were supposed to or not, hah! They all did much better than I would have. Would have loved to have tried it!

After the event, J___ and I went to the ranch, along with the rest of the crew, which included KizmetRanch, who was visiting for the weekend.

The ranch was so full of activities! People were trying all kinds of things. A woman rode the Little Bay Gelding English-style. She decided that he was an English horse, though J___ and I shot back that he was SO a Western horse, hah. He's in the Western camp for sure. I don't mind either style, though I have come to philosophically prefer Western because there is not constant bit pressure, and the horse (when ridden ideally, of course) has a loose rein and the ability to balance himself without needing help or extra direction. Oh, I'm going to get told by my English riding friends now, haha!

For cow work, however, you HAVE to be able to throw the reins away and let the horse make split-second decisions.

I got to see Kizim cantering, too! J___ got to watch a head-tying for the purpose of teaching rein cow horse moves demonstration. And Solomon, of course, was a sweet, good boy. J___ and I brushed him, fed him treats, and generally spoiled him horribly. Aside from some roundpenning and a bit of playing cow-horse (he nickered at me as we dodged around together) Solomon pretty much got to eat young green grass all day.

It was a pleasant day, spent idly at the ranch. I think I may be able to drag J___ up again. He lives in the same town as me, and it would be great to have a local horse buddy. Perhaps if he gets a job here soon I can talk him into taking some lessons... he would be a re-rider, with a fair amount of experience, but he has not tried reining, and he really enjoyed watching Magic (Bo's Magic, not the Arab) spin. I think it would be good for him. And hey, good for the ranch, too!

The weather, by the way, was perfect. Amazing how quickly the discomfort of summer fades from one's mind.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Soft as a cat.

I sure wish my camera was still working so I could share photos of today with you all.

Today the weather was just gorgeous!
Early November in Pope Valley is lovely. I pulled Solomon out of his pasture soon after arriving at the ranch. DeDe was kind enough to give me a ride up to Solly. He came to me at a stately walk. Well, stately except for all the nickering. I don't mind that one bit.

Solomon's winter coat has come in, soft as a cat and sparkling white like filaments of diamonds. We only made it a little ways down the road before a patch of lush green grass tempted me too much to continue. I knew it would make Solomon very happy to graze on it for a bit, and I also knew it would be a very comfy spot to lie down. After an hour and a half of driving (half of it in crazy traffic) I am always happy to take a rest.
The grass was so fragrant, especially strong when Solomon cropped it short. He ate around me in a circle, mouth occasionally nuzzling my side as he picked out particularly tasty blades. I felt quite safe, even when, at one point, one of his front legs pressed lightly against my feet. I caught his leg between them for a moment and said "I gotchya, Solly!" Solomon, for his part, just rotated an ear at me and continued eating. He knew just where I was, and he is not one to spook these days.
After I let him graze for a while, we continued on. I tied him to the trailer instead of the patience tree today because some people were doing a pre-purchase exam on the Little Bay Gelding. Solomon took it in stride.
He picked up his feet very nicely for me, once again only needing me to tap the first fetlock gently. After that he just picked up whatever foot I stood next to.
His feet, by the way, are looking just excellent. They have completely turned around! The farriers did an amazing job and he seems to feel very good. Still no signs of the black slimy thrush or white chalky yeast. Just clean, tough feet. They were quite easy to pick out as well.
Solomon got a nice deep feed pan of very fresh LMF Senior, which I bought from the little tack store at the race track today. It smells so good when you first cut the bag open. Nice and soft, too. Solomon dug in with gusto, munching away while I watched the vet run the LBG around and around on a lunge line for the PPE. Then they took him in the roundpen and ran him around on the lunge line with a lunge whip. Silly vet... the lunge line in a roundpen with a Western horse is kind of redundant. :p
Once they were done and Solomon was finished eating, I took him into the pen to work him.
And wow, did we have a great day with that!
I discovered something that I think he enjoys. It is surprising to me, but today he actually felt like cantering, and even broke into one voluntarily a couple of times. He got going really fast, too! So I decided hey, what the heck, let's try a rollback at the canter. So I gave him the signal and said "SPINNNNNN" and he did! He spun himself around and went running the other direction. And he was excited! No grumpy face today... in fact, his neck got a little arch to it, and the ear that wasn't turned to me was perked forward. He sped up, and went tearing around the pen... well, tearing around for him anyway. "SPINNNNN!" And he spun again. We did it a good number of times, until his chest and shoulders were drenched in sweat. Then I had to get him calmed down enough to walk out for a little while, which he was pretty good about. After I signaled him to walk around a couple of rounds, I had him follow me, which he did very well, even rolling back with me.
I took him to the wash rack and hosed him down. He raised his head when I washed his neck, but did not panic, letting me spray him all the way to his cheeks. He has come to trust me a lot more these days.
Then it was time for me to become Evil Darth Mom. You see, Solomon was due for worming today. When he saw the meds, he tossed his head and then begged me to not make him take it, ducking his head low in his "pleading" stance. I was acclimating him to the tube when Bo came up and taught me a neat little trick- sticking the lead rope in his mouth like a bit. He chomped at it, and I was able to shove the tube of wormer right in. He spat out the little wads of grass he'd been saving somewhere in the back of his mouth for a treat and made a lot of faces. Then he huddled up to me for comfort. I praised him for being a good boy and stroked his neck.
Next we went out to his favorite tree, where I set him loose. He rolled and managed to get grass stains all over his body, including his face. Go, Sol!
I ended up lying down in the grass again, and Solomon ate around me. A few mares came running over to the fence, heads low, peering at me through the wire. They were wondering what on earth I was doing lying there, I'm guessing. A couple of vultures circled overhead, but Sol and I ignored them.
I went and chatted with D____, a boarder who also rides some of the ranch horses to help keep them in shape. She had a very very stoned mare who had her tear ducts flushed earlier. The mare was snoring on her feet, her lip and ears drooping as low as they could go. You could almost hear her saying "Whoa man... whoa... have you ever looked at your hoof? I mean like, REALLY looked at it?"
Bo told me to catch Solomon and put him back so I could bring out Kizim. I did so, and Kizim was a good girl, excited about coming out. We trotted together part of the way down the road. I picked her feet, and for some reason while I was cleaning out one of her back hooves, she spooked and did a little hop sideways. She was quivering a bit, neck high and tense. I am not sure what spooked her, but I just breathed gently into her nostril, and she calmed down nice and quick. It's a trick that works with a lot of horses... it's a friendly, reassuring communication.
After she calmed down, she was a very good girl about her feet again. Might have been that helicopter that was buzzing around really low.
In the roundpen I wasn't able to get her to go faster than a trot, but that's okay. She got going and got the ants out of her pants.
Then Bo put the bareback pad on her and had me hop on!
She is a very easy horse to mount, being, in my estimation, quite a bit shorter than Teddy Bear and Solomon. It might also be that I have gotten a little more flexible and limber.
Kizim is a great mare. Full of opinions, but quite sweet. She's kind of like sitting on an oscillating, ambulatory sofa. She was quite patient with me. I am very much an amateur. A novice, really. Still learning how to not fall off! But after a while Bo looped the lead rope over her neck for me and let me learn a bit about steering her. There were some ear pinnings and tails swishings when I leaned while trying to turn her, but she was a good girl. I very much enjoyed my ride, and found myself wishing that I could afford to purchase and take care of a second horse. I think she might get sold soon, and I confess that I will miss her.
She got a cookie for being such a good girl. :}
After I put Kizim back in her pasture, I had tea and helped Bo with some computer stuff. Had a great day!