Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Barefooters Bash 2009

It all started with a phone call from Lori Holliday and a suggestion, “We should try to get a bunch of local trimmers together for a day.

Okay! Let’s set a date. How about June 14 at 1pm?


Some time goes by and we decide it might be a good idea to give as many trimmers as we know of a heads up. So we gathered as many email addresses as we could and sent emails. Later I created a flyer and it was sent out to everyone we knew of (two times – the second time with the actual correct date) and was forwarded on to other trimmers.

A dozen bare-footers showed up! At first, we are pretty much all about meeting each other and...well, the food.

And the dogs were wishing they were invited to the party. Because they too were pretty much all about the food.

Scrunchie - eyeballing someone's plate.

Mae is trying to look as irresistible as she possibly can,

and Lucy, Murphy and Shiela were waiting for someone to open the gate and yell, "WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? WHO...WHO!?"

Dan Becker's mare, Cru, wonders why all these predators are staring at her.
But we'd already had lunch, so instead of the main course, she was our model for Lori's power trim demo!

How cool is THAT!

Next, Boomer gets his hooves trimmed up! Oops! A quick peek under the tail and we discover that Annie is actually the demo donkey!

Here comes the parade of equines (residents of the Rainier Equine Hoof Recovery Center) and the Co-Grand Marshals are Boomer and Annie! You have to admit, they look a lot alike.

Spencer and Minnie the Mule

Danny, Neenah, Buck, Spencer, Forrest

Hank, Pearl, Peaches and Missy and Buster Brown

Hank, Buck, Danny and Missy

The horses all get bored with our hoof yakking and leave us one by one.

Jenn Smith arrives with her beautiful son, and her gorgeous barefoot reining horse, Cedar.

Cedar gets a trim!

This is how ya do it!

Jenn's little guy finds something to play with. "Hey look! What can I do with this?"

A Bucket Buddy!

Sophie the barn cat was waiting to be entertained. Looks like she's thinking, "That's pretty good kid, but is that all ya got?"

Here is the guy who made it all possible. My hubmiester, Rich. He worked hard spiffing the place up. Thanks Hon!

I have a bunch of other pictures to post about our day together. Lots of discussion and basically getting to know each other. But time has gotten away from me, so I'm going to post what I have uploaded now and will add to this post later.

Suffice it to say, we had a great time! And plan to get togeher again next year. So if you missed this year's 1st Annual Barefooters Bash, come see us next year on June 19th! It will be bigger and better! Ah, dessert was the BEST! Thanks! Lori!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

How To Tie a Rope Halter

This has nothing to do with hooves, but I was outside today, dinking around with Peaches and as I was tying her rope halter, I thought of all the times I see people incorrectly tying their halters. So since I had my camera in my pocket, I decided to take pictures of how I tie a rope halter, just for fun!

On my visits to trim horses, I've noticed that many horse owners are switching over to rope halters, which is great! But the halter has to be tied correctly because an incorrectly tied halter can cause big problems in a pull-back situation.

If a horse that is wearing an incorrectly tied rope halter, should step on its lead rope and pull back hard, or go into panic mode and pull back, the knot you just tied will tighten and about the only way get the halter off will be to cut it off.

If a rope halter is tied correctly, it should never tighten to the point that you can't untie it.

So here is how I teach people to tie a rope halter:

First, I refer to the loop on the side of the halter as the "post" and the piece that comes over the top of the horse's head, as the "wire." If you were to tie a horse to a fence, you would tie his rope to the post, not the wire. Right!

This is a correctly tied halter. The rope is tied to the post, not the wire above it.

First, bring the wire down behind the post and bring it through the loop then pull the wire toward the horse's eye. (At this point, you can use your other hand to adjust the rest of the halter so that it is fitted under the chin and not hanging down the horse's nose. You can see I was concentrating on the knot here and didn't adjust the halter very well.)

Bring the tail of the wire back (in front of the post) toward the tail of the horse, leaving a loop in the wire on the head side of the post. Then run the wire behind the post and back out through "your" loop on the the head side and leaving another loop on the tail side of the. (That's all in this one picture.)

Next, I've grabbed the tail of the wire and brought it back through my loop that I made on the tail side of the post. And pull tight.

The end of the wire should end up pointing in the direction of the horse's tail. If not, you made a mistake. If your knot is above the post up on the wire, start over.

After a bit of practice, you can tie a rope faster than buckling a nylon halter.

If anyone would like more (better) pictures of this, let me know. I'll take and upload a few more.

Some rope halters are better than others though. The stiff ones, just don't have a real good feel in my opinion and I don't like more than 2 knots on the nose. Their are only 2 main pressure points on the nose and the extra knots serve no purpose really than to rub the hair off the horse's nose.

Of course my preference is the more flexible, lighter weight, Parelli halther and lead ropes. And speaking of lead ropes. there should be a snap between your halter and your lead rope. It's an extremely dangerous situation for your horse if you have the lead rope tied directly to the rope halter. If you're okay with the possiility of your horse breaking its neck, forget about the snap.

Our lovely model is 6 year old Santana Peaches. Peaches was originally rescued from a feed lot in Eastern Washingon as a weanling, along with a bunch of other weanling similar in color to her. A large group of babies going to their death because a breeder, possibly PMU breeder, had no use for them. Thankfully this group was saved, but I can't imagine how many others don't make it.

She was brought to Rainier by a neighbor who wasn't able to keep her so she came here as basically an unhandled yearling. Peaches is wonderful mare!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Barefoot Cutting Horses! An Interview with Wylie Gustafson

I just had to share the article with you all! This was sent to me by my friend Carolyn Kiesz. She and her husband, Rick, interviewed Wylie Gustafson for the publication, "2 1/2 Minutes - Celebrating the Cutting Horse in the Northwest"

This is an interview with Wylie and Carolyn tells me that at that time (July 2008) Wylie and his horse Irish Whiskey Sugar had won $80,000 and by now he's won much more. Enjoy!

Wylie Gustafson on Irish Whiskey Sugar

A Non-Pro’s Opinion
~ Wylie’s World ~

2-1/2 MINUTES caught up with this month’s featured Non-Pro, Wylie Gustafson, and sat
down for a spell between herds at a Cascade Cow Cutters show in Ellensburg,
Washington. We peppered him with questions and below are his responses, which he
fired back, straight from the hip, without hesitation. Wylie’s achievements in music
and in the cutting pen are well known. In this interview we took a different approach.

Can you give us a little background on Irish Whiskey Sugar (Whiskey)?
In 1999, I went to the John Scott sale in Billings, Montana, just hangin’ out with some friends. They were all going to buy some John Scott-bred horses and I didn’t go to buy a horse, and I was the only one who ended up buying this horse.

I had some friends, Dale and Karla Camp, who were the ranch managers and they were helping with the sale and ridin’ the horses; so I went up to Dale and asked him, “What’s the best horse, 4-year-old, you’re ridin’ right now?” He said “The horse I’m on!” I asked, “Who’s the dam?” He said, “number so-and-so.” I went and
looked at the dam and looked at all her colts and I saw that they had a yearling, so I bought Whiskey as a yearling. Then I got him going as a long yearling and two-year-old.

In the spring or summer of his two-year-old year, we sent him up to Billy Speight in Canada. Bill had him for about a year, or maybe a little more. Then he came home and John Paul had him for six months.

So you’ve kept him going since then? From what you’ve told us, he’s not that hard to get show-ready. Anything in particular that you do before a show?
Yeah. I try to give him different things to do. We do big outdoor rides and climb hills ~ just odds and ends types of jobs and I try to mix it up all the time. I have a regimen where I measure his heart rate and make sure he’s in shape and his wind is good. We do a little program where he doesn’t have to look at cattle, doesn’t have to look at a string, doesn’t have to look at a buffalo. We do sprints and climb hills and things like that; and then every once in awhile I work him on the
string and work him on buffalo and very rarely on cattle.

So when you’re at a show, you don’t necessarily take him in the practice pen?
No. He’s the type of horse where I find that he just doesn’t need to see a lot of cattle. He’s such a great horse that way. Such a great-minded horse and I can almost tune him during a “go.”

If I feel like he's not getting through that cow enough, I can kick him hard and he just buckles down instead of losin’ his air . . . he just starts to really buckle down. So, I can tune him a little bit during a run.

Would he be like what you’d call a “once in a lifetime” kind of horse?
Absolutely! You know, I used to think that maybe it was me being a good rider, but then I started riding young horses and found out that I was a crappy rider and that it was purely a good horse that was taking care of me. It didn’t take me to ride too many other horses to figure out that “no, I’m really not that good”!

Is Whiskey still barefoot?
Yes,Whiskey has won close to $80,000 barefoot. You know, I don’t think that every horse should be barefoot, but in some situations, and especially cutting, it can be done and I think my horse has an advantage being barefoot in a lot of pens. He’s learned how to deal with it and I think that in the next ten years we will see more
disciplines, not only cutting, going barefoot; with the exception of reining
because they need the plates. (Pat: Boots with plates are in the developmental stages.)

Are most of your horses barefoot?
Yes, I’d say 90% of our horses are barefoot. Every once in awhile we’re doing some correctional shoeing or we get a horse that’s had shoes all his life and it takes us about two years to get him going barefoot.

In cutting, what do you think is the advantage of being barefoot?
I think he feels the ground better and handles the ground better. If it’s too hard or slick, he can do it better barefoot. That’s my theory. You know, you have to question everything ~ and that’s why we went barefoot. We asked ourselves, “Do they have to have iron on their feet all the time?” We’ve seen a hoof grow one size by taking them out of shoes. Their hooves can actually grow one size! I have seen with
my own eyes how much healthier and more sound they can be. The soundness of our horses is so much better since we’ve gone barefoot.

When did you start cutting?
In 2002. I was a team roper for several years, then I drove my wife Kimberley around to her cutting clinics and I’d turn back. So, I saw a lot of cutting starting in 1998 when I was Kim’s chauffeur, and that helped me.

How long did it take you to get out of the Amateur into the Non-Pro . . . to get your first $50,000?
Actually, they kicked me out of the Amateur in 2006, but let me back in in 2007 because they changed the rules. It had to be cumulative; so they let me back in that year and now I am out of the 50 Am weekend show, but still think I can show Amateur in the aged event because I haven’t won $100,000 total . . . and that’s all due
to Whiskey. I don’t credit anything other than having a horse that takes care of me, time and time again, on a consistent basis.

For the beginner, what do you think are the most important things? Buying the right horse?
Practice time?
Getting the right help?
Learning how to read cattle?
It’s a combination. I think it’s finding the right trainer, team members and environment where you can enjoy it; where you can work at it and build confidence. It’s just like building confidence in colts. I think young or new riders have to have that same confidence built into them. It’s really finding the right trainer who they can communicate with, so they can get the idea of cutting. Then going to as many
clinics, watching as much cutting and videos as they can. We do everything.
We work really hard at it. Cutting is the type of thing where you get out of
it as much as you put into it. If you put lots of time into it, chances are
your success rate will be a little better.
Finding a good horse; if you don’t have a lot of time for the practice pen, then find a horse that will take care of you. There are all these things and there’s no “one magic formula.” You know, I bought a four-year-old horse my first year cutting ~ that doesn’t usually work out, but I worked really hard at it and had good trainers. John Paul was a real blessing to be with for the four-year-old year. Different things work for different people.

By Rick & Carolyn Kiesz - written for their publication "2-1/2 Minutes". There is more to this article regarding cutting...