Our Home and My Shop
Click images for full size.
Go to the Reil Ranch/Garden Valley Current Weather & Web Cam Page
Click here to view VR panorama of our ranch.
This image is looking south behind the shop at the Spring elk calving.
Click the VR link above to view a 1.1 MB QuickTime VR panorama of our spread. Place your cursor on the image after it downloads, hold the left mouse button down, and move the cursor left or right to pan the image through the full 360° panorama. This image sequence was photographed during the height of the summer heat, with temperatures reaching 112°, and without any precipitation for several months, so everything is extremely dry. Click here to view an early winter panorama before the snow got really deep. I should also add that I used a wide angle lens setting for both panoramas, so the mountains are actually much closer and higher than they look.
Web Gallery and WebCam
I now have an iWeb
Gallery where I post photo"Events." This is a very
nicely laid out .Mac feature that I have recently learned to use. I
have a number of photo events on there now showing the progress of our
horrendous winter. I recommend you click on an event and then at the
bottom of the page click on "Slideshow" to view them quickly in full
screen. Please go to http://gallery.mac.com/ronaldaun
to view my winter images. I also now have a web cam and current weather page. The web cam operates most
days during daylight hours. It can be viewed at http://www.frontiernet.net/~gnreil/weather/LWC/gvweather.html
Ranch, Shop, & Barn
This page will show you my new barn, home, and shop. I have retired and moved from Boise, Idaho, to a ranch near the tiny mountain town of Crouch, in Garden Valley, Idaho. We are raising horses, one miniature donkey named Daffodil, and a lot of other critters. We also have many wild critters, such as elk, wolves, foxes, wild turkeys, bears, bears, and more bears, and even moose. I hated to give up my beautiful shop in Boise, but the ranch has a beautiful view in all directions (see VR panorama above), a commercial steel shop building that is four times larger than my old shop, and has a separate fully finished office space, and even has 15' eves along both sides that provide covered storage for my tractors, cord wood, and iron. The move took a full five months to accomplish, and that included two Allied Moving Company truck loads, two Penski U-haul truck loads, and countless loads in my small trailer. I have since obtained a 16' flatbed trailer for hauling hay or equipment, but I didn't have it at the time of the move.
At this stage of my life, tearing down and setting up a new shop, let alone my home, seemed all but beyond my ability to do, especially after having had a very serious heart attack four days before I retired, another one less than a year later, and four to date. However, I have surprised myself and got the new shop up and 100% operational before the snow started to fall, and a full year before my projected schedule date. To accomplish this I had to get the exhaust hood suspended, the 12" double wall chimney and cricket installed, the draft inducer system installed, the propane system plumbed in, and numerous other tasks accomplished, some of which I will mention in this narrative. There was a serious deadline associated with moving here, the onset of winter. This location had 107" of snow last winter, and that was not considered a heavy winter. Over 200" can accumulate some seasons. So along with the the normal work associated with making a move like this, I had to also locate and purchase a 28 KW emergency power generator, get it tied in with our underground propane line, and hooked up to the automatic electrical transfer switch. I also had to buy a tractor and a very large Lorenz snow blower, snow blade, and other accessories, install a 1000 gallon propane tank, and a 300' underground propane pipe line to service the house, shop, and generator. Needless to say, that was a tall order for someone who had just had a heart attack. Whatever, it is now done, and I am still alive and kicking, and I hope to remain so for a good while into the future.
The shop has been quite a project. The ceiling is 24' off the floor, so accessing it was a challenge. This image of the south-east corner of the shop shows the exhaust hood, Acorn table, power hammer, fly-press, two of the five mounted post vises, one of five forges, steel storage rack, and the storage loft above the office. The west side has mainly a work bench, but also includes a bead blaster, air compressor, and various other post or floor mounted tools. The snow blower in the image mounts on my smaller tractor. This image is looking south at the office space and storage loft above it. There are four anvils of various types mounted in the shop, including this wonderful "new" farrier's anvil that was a gift to me. Because it has a glass smooth work surface, I have it mounted on the Acorn table for use with fine nonferrous metal work, mostly silver and copper. It was the property of a lady farrier down in the wilds of Owyhee County, as was the hammer laying on it in the image. It is bedded on 1/8" thick sheet lead, as are all of my anvils, so it does not ring or transmit noise to the Acorn table.
new home, with its porch on
three sides, was very much worth the effort required to make
this move, even
after my recent heart attack.
The 4" diameter steel flagpole in the image was a TV
antenna mast when we moved in, but I changed it to a flag pole after
installing satellite TV. The 8"
bronze flagpole cleat came off of a 1932, 37' Alden Coastwise Cruiser.
I like things that have a history and that are not foreign made.
The view (taken with a wide angle lens) in all directions from our home is spectacular, especially to the south and southwest. This last image, taken to the SW, shows an incoming thunderstorm that packed 100+ mph winds, and took the roofs off several homes in the area, the result of a micro-burst. I don't know why, but I felt this was going to be quite a storm, so I photographed its full development and impact when it arrived. We had three of these storms our first summer. This image, taken inside the house, and looking south, shows the view, with Anderson Creek at the lower right crossing our lower pasture.
is the first simple piece of work that I produced in the new
shop, a bird cage suspension
bracket. So the circle
has been closed, and I am now once again up and running. The biggest
now is I no longer have to get up and go to work, although I now have
far more work to do than ever before,
I just enjoy it a lot more now. I at first thought I would be spending
endless hours at the forge during the winter, but after having
experienced three winters now, I know that was a pipe-dream. Although
that I have the 7' wide, 1200 pound Lorenz
snow blower, clearing the
snow after a two or three foot snowfall isn't the chore it was at
first. My driveway is a quarter mile long, and I have a very large
parking/turn-around area, so snow removal is a very big job. The Lorenz allows me to clear all
the snow after a big snowfall in only 45 minutes!
have already accomplished a whale of a lot since moving here. Our first
summer here I singlehandedly put in over a mile of new five wire double
grounded New Zealand electric fencing, repaired or rebuilt a lot more
existing fencing, built a horse arena, put in an 8' high deer/elk fence
around our 50' x 80' garden area, and a lot more. One thing for sure,
my first purchase for the property, a Kubota Model 5030 hydrostatic
drive tractor, made it all possible, especially auguring the fence post
am also now very active in our local volunteer fire department. Garden
Valley has one of the finest fire departments in the state, and it is
tops in the county. I was an engineer, driving the fire trucks and operating the pumps when
we arrived on the fire scene, but now I am support only, filling SCBA
bottles etc., following my last heart event. We have had a number of
fires, including one
that caused a fatality, so our job is very
important here. It is also very challenging due to having only two
paved roads, the rest being narrow winding mountain roads and trails.
We handle all emergency situations, white water river rescue, vehicle accidents, structure
fires, and wild-land fires. Our equipment is all wheel drive, including
our brand new truck.
(In the image I am in the bottom center next to Cami, our lone female
fireman.) Due to the very rugged country here, we are sometimes unable
to reach the fire scene in time, or reach it at all, and that makes it
very challenging, and sometimes heart breaking. I love the work
however, and the group of guys I work with are the best there is.
time arrived to build a barn so my horses and other animals will have
protection from the weather, especially in the winter. At this writing
the barn is about 1/4th complete.
The construction of the barn will follow this
which is a barn Bruce, my
barn builder, built last year, but this is a significantly
smaller barn than mine. The one I am having built will also have a 14'
x 48' awning, or shed-off, running down the east, or right, side in
was involved in construction for roughly 30 years, and in all that time
I have never seen construction that matched the workmanship my barn
builder is doing for me. Bruce puts his heart into his
work and it shows. This is his main job for this season, and he is
putting everything into it. This image of his 2
x 12 diagonal bracing is just one example of the exceptional
quality, and it is backed with a 2x10
as well. Everything
is screwed glued, nailed, and bolted. The 1/2" diameter bolts are put
in after things are stabilized and the glue has fully cured. Bruce can
easily use 12 large cylinders of glue in a morning.
Bruce said when I made the comment that his barns will last a hundred
years, "I expect them to last at least 150." I think they may just
that. The roof will be steel, in order to shed the snow, but the rest
of the barn will be rough cut blue-stain Pine lumber from our local
mill here in Garden
Valley. It is all milled from standing dead trees. The flooring in the
loft will be 1 x 8 rough cut, and the walls will be 1 x 12 board
The floor area in
the barn, counting the loft, will be 3072 s.f., with an additional 672
s.f. under the shed-off roof, for a total of 3744 s.f. The ground floor
will be broom finished concrete, with a trowel finish in the tack room.
The area under the shed-off roof
will remain dirt, actually compacted decayed granite, "gruss." That is
for the safety of the animals when they come running in. (I later
changed it to 3/4"- road mix) The four
stalls will have Dutch doors facing into the shed-off outside, and a
heavy swinging or rolling door inside. The design allows for tubular
panels to be mounted on the posts that support the shed-off roof, so
they can be used as dividers between the stall doors in the summer, and
then swung over on their hinges across adjacent posts to create a full
length fence that will force the animals to come in through the end of
the shed-off roof instead of the side. That is to prevent them from
being buried or injured when tons of slide-off snow comes off the roof
periodically in the winter.
end of the barn facing into the front pasture will open into a corral
to make penning the horses easy. The corral will also have an
10' gate in it that will allow me to erect the portable steel panel
round pen outside of the arena, but have its gate nested within the
corral gate, so that I can easily take horses directly into the
training pen from
that is about it at this writing. I will post the latest barn image
the work progresses. At this posting the loft floor is complete, and
the upper level work is beginning. I feel very fortunate to have found
such a fine
builder. I doubt there is another builder in the entire State of Idaho
who can match the quality that Bruce puts into his work.
has been quite a while since I posted an update to this page, due
mostly to the
horrific work load associated with getting the barn,
corral, and training pen
built before the winter snows
which they now have. The corral image shows the training pen with its
12' wide gate panel nested into the 12' wide swing gate opening in the
corral. There is another 10' wide swing gate in
the corral fence to the left of the image that
leads into the front pasture.
water line to supply the two hydrants that are located on either end of
the barn was also a trial. The contractor I had dig the ditch to lay
the line to connect to my well supply line, hooked the main power feed
to the house and ripped the transformer off the power pole, and out of
the breaker box, in the
process. It was two days before it was fully repaired, but the result
ended up being positive for me. The power company put in an underground
feed to the barn when they pulled the new supply cable, and the result
was my total new service hook-up fee for the barn was only $85! The
insurance covered all of the damages, which amounted to thousands of
The barn is
almost complete, and in fact is more complete than this image
shows. The stall door framing and wall siding under the shed-off roof
are now complete, which they were not in the above image. Only the
doors remain yet to be built and hung. The loft doors have been built
but not hung, and the big back lower doors are being built as I type
this. Possibly tomorrow they will be hung, closing in the loft, which
currently has 4 tons of grass hay and 6
tons of alfalfa
stored in it. (I loaded 20 tons of alfalfa and grass hay into the barn
loft in the Fall of 2007, and had room for perhaps 5 tons more.)
The back doors will provide a more comfortable working environment on
the ground floor for Bruce and his son Ben to
complete the remaining door construction work. Right now the wind
whistles through the barn pretty strongly at times.
concrete work was an agony. It is very difficult to get
anyone to bid on concrete work here, let alone do it in a timely
fashion. Not only that, but the nearest source for concrete is over 50
miles away over mountainous roads. We had countless long delays, and
what should have taken no more than a week to complete took closer to 6
weeks. Whatever, the work is complete now, and the floor is very solid.
It varies from 5" to 12" in thickness, and with the reinforcing, air
entrainment, and six
sack mix, it should never fail from freeze-thaw or general wear and
lifting beam above the loft door opening is used for raising and
lowering the hay elevator each Fall when it is time to load the loft
with hay. The 22' long elevator is stored in the center of the loft
floor. The lifting beam is a rough cut, completely clear, Pine 4" x 10"
timber 12' in length, and one of the most beautiful pieces of lumber I
have ever seen. I beveled the ends and mounted the pulley suspension
plates on the end, then coated it with many dilute coats of Linseed oil
so they would soak in deeply and preserve the beautiful wood.
The hay I have
stored in the loft presently is enough for two
full years, now that I only have two horses and Daffy, the miniature
donkey, but I am looking into getting a mule sometime soon, so it may
be needed this year. I have been learning a lot about mules and am
discovering they are superb mountain trail animals.
have been doing a lot of work on the hay lowering system. I elected to
lower the bales down through the trapdoor access hatch, instead of
using a hay chute, to conserve space below. The western (left) lower
bay is for equipment storage, mostly tractor implements for both
tractors, and a chute would require more room than I wanted to allow
it. I designed and built a rather elaborate system to allow easy
transporting of 100 pound bales of hay to the trapdoor hatch, and then
easy lifting and lowering to the floor below. I wanted my 13 year old
Natalie, to be able to easily handle the job alone, and this system
The system is
based on two pieces of equipment, a hay transport
to move the hay down the length of the loft to the hatchway, and a
lowering fork to lift the
bale off the dolly
and securely hold it while
it is lowered to the floor below. A trip cord, not shown, automatically
dumps the bale when it reaches a preset height above the floor. The
block and tackle raise the fork
back up for lowering of more bales, all easily done from the loft floor
while working alone.
The dolly, shown here
upright and complete, has two slots in the top to make sliding the hay
fork tines under the bale very easy. The dolly is very strongly built,
load limit well in excess of 1000 pounds, which is
total overkill for
what it does, but it will also be used when raising or lowering the 22'
long hay elevator each Fall, and that will put considerably more of a
load on it.
hay fork was made to be as light in weight as possible, be very strong,
and at the same time securely hold the bale when in use. The actual
forks I made from an
old 2" wide Jeep leaf spring I pulled out of my scrap pile. I cut it in
half, flattened it,
and was then able to use the shackle holes as 1/2" diameter hinge pin
forks fold up when the unit is not in use to allow easy storage on the
wall. This image
shows a bale of alfalfa suspended about 6" above the floor. The white
caused the bale to spin, and the rope to twist, so I replaced it with
old yellow Kernmantle climbing rope, one of many that I have
retired over the years. This one is special though as it saw duty in
The final system
looks like this.
The dolly is bumping up against a 3" high angle iron bump rail to
prevent it from rolling into the open hatch. The rope is tied off to a
12" bronze yachting cleat that allows a slow controlled lowering of the
bale to the floor below. Use of the cleat for lowering is not necessary
however, because the 3:1 reduction in the block and tackle reduces
the load to only about 30 pounds when lowering. The picture shows the
bale in place on the dolly with the fork under it, and everything
ready for a lower. In use the operator only has to give a pull on the
rope and the forks lift up in the front and snatch the bale off the
effortlessly. Then it is a simple matter to lower the bale to the floor
below. The lift point of the fork is designed to tilt the bale back
into the frame of the fork to make it totally secure during the entire
only things still remaining to be done in the trapdoor hatch area are
construction of the permanent ladder, and rigging of a counterweight
system to make lifting the trapdoor easy and safe from below. BTW, the
trapdoor has a handle on it that I forged from some beautiful old
wrought iron, and it would be really much better spent mounted on some
fine furniture, but I guess it does add class to the
the hay safely stored in the loft is a wonderful feeling for me. This
winter I will not be providing free meals to the dozens of elk that
were coming in to enjoy my hay when I had it stored under the shop eve
last winter. Feeding the elk was not so bad, but the destruction they
caused to my fences when coming and going was.
There is one last
item that is a tremendous improvement over what we had last winter.
Bruce also built a roof over my
so I will no longer have to come out at 2:00 AM and dig the totally
buried generator out of an 8' high pile of snow that slid off the roof
during a blizzard, and I am serious about an 8 foot high pile of snow. The generator is a necessity here. According
to Idaho Power Company
we had 276 power outages during the last 12 months! The roof, like all
of Bruce's work, is hell for
stout. It is planked in the same 1" x 10" rough-cut blue-stain Pine
that the barn is built out of. All of the lumber was
cut to our specifications by
mill here in Garden Valley. Sometimes the snow doesn't slide off, but just slides out, creating an amazing overhang. This overhang
on the shop's shed-off roof is almost 5', and potentially deadly to any
person or animal that gets under it. The snow is about 4' deep above
the 3" thick ice foot.
am very happy to be able to add this update. This past week I was able
to open the corral gate and let the critters into the corral and the
shed-off area, a very important milestone in the ongoing construction
of the barn. Our horses, and little donkey, Daffodil, were able to
survive last winter's severe weather and deep snow, but it was very
hard on them. I didn't want to put them through that again this year.
They now have a place to escape the wind, rain, and snow. This image
shows Daffy under the shed-off happily escaping a 4° F, 25 mph
wind. We have now had a week of very cold, and sometimes windy and
snowy weather, so the opening up of the shed-off
came just in time.
order to give the animals access to the shed-off and corral, it was
first necessary to get the big doors on the back of the barn built and
hung, which they now are. We also had to build and hang at least the
lower stall Dutch doors, and they
are also in place now.
The upper Dutch doors are built but not yet hung. We have hung the loft
doors too which keeps the blowing snow and rain out of the hay and off
my hay handing equipment. The only doors yet to be built are the two
large lower front doors, the least important of the barn doors. They
will be built in the next week or so.
are now having to learn a new feeding routine, but the critters are
doing remarkably well. Scamp, my personal saddle horse, is still a
youngster and loves to do a swoop and grab, running off with a big
of hay from the wheelbarrow, then he stands and "smiles" at me as he
happily munches his prize, but we are working on correcting his playful
but potentially dangerous behavior. Daffy is very dainty in her
actions, as she walks gently up, takes a very small and polite bite,
and steps away as she eats her stolen goods, but she poses no physical
threat to anyone due to her diminutive size, so I will let her continue
to enjoy her ill gotten gains. Glow stays outside the corral and
politely waits for her food to be placed in her feed tub. I only have
to let Scamp see that I have the dressage whip laying on the top of the
hay in the wheelbarrow, and he jumps high in the air, kicks out with
four feet, and gallops out of the corral to wait patiently with Glow
for his food too. Since Daffy gets fed inside the corral, and the
horses outside, this arrangement is going to work out well.
may soon have a new member of of our critter family. I am considering
obtaining a fine saddle mule to join our small herd. I have been
researching mules and find them to be truly remarkable animals, often
smarter than the people who own them. :-)
guess my closure for this narrative update would not be complete
picture of one of the happy users of the new barn. Daffy (Daffodil)
loves the shed-off as a great place to take the early morning sun or
out of the 3° wind. :-)
for the Winter
interior of the barn is complete now, so far as the barn itself is
concerned. The tack room and stalls still have to be put in, but that
can wait until this Spring and warmer weather. In this first image
you are looking north toward the back of the barn. The door trim/bump
strips and center overlap strips had not been installed yet, nor had
the permanent ladder, when this was taken. The same applies to image2 and image3. It is wonderful
having the the small tractor and its implements out of the shop.
has now been completed, and like the rest of the barn, it is hell for
stout. The rungs are held in place on each side with two 3-1/2" drive
screws, glue, and a 1-1/2" x 1/8" covering steel strip that is screwed
into place with two 3-1/2" drive screws immediately above and below on
each side of
each rung. The anchoring of the ladder is also very solid. The base is
anchored into the concrete with 3-1/2" anchor bolts, and the top is
solidly into the structure of the barn. If the ladder is struck with
the hand the barn resounds like a drum. The entire ladder was coated
with a Linseed oil compound called In-Wood. There are steel hooks on
each of the three extended
rungs for hanging things on,
power cords or buckets of tools, etc., that are being carried up or
down the ladder.
I will close so I can get some work done. I will include this picture
in my closure however. I took this about 30 minutes ago. It is a Bald
Eagle in a tree in my lower east pasture. He has been there for over an
hour now. It is not as clear as it should be due to lightly falling
We have a lot of Bald Eagles here this winter. You may click on the
image for a larger picture.
We have a new
addition to the family, at least our horse family. Peppie,
a nick name for "Definitlee Cayenne," her registry name, joined us on
the 22nd of March, one week from the day I am writing this. Peppie is
the horse in the center of the image. The mare on the far right is
Peppie's mother Alice, and also the mother of my other horse, Scamp
(Definitlee A. Scamp). So I now have the brother, Scamp, and sister,
Peppie, both offspring of Alice. The name Peppie was the result of the
name "Cayenne," being changed to Pepper for short, then to
is almost 4 years old at this writing. This image
is of Peppie shortly after she was born. That is her mother Alice next
to her. Peppie will start her work as a brood mare for us soon, as well
as being Natalie's new competition saddle horse to take Glow's place.
Natalie has achieved a skill level in her drill team riding with
the "Mustang Sallies" that requires a more responsive, younger, and
higher quality animal. Glow will become my wife, Gretchen's, saddle
We have had some difficult setbacks lately. My gelding Scamp had a disagreement with an elk and almost lost an eye. After several weeks of almost constant attention and work, including making an eye patch for him to wear, along with visits from our vet, we saved his eye, although he has some scars to show for his encounter with the elk and a fence post.
Then two months
ago, Glow, my daughter Natalie's competition
horse, was attacked by a cougar. The injury was severe, and normally
would have been reason to put a horse down. However, after our vet
Olin determined that almost miraculously no tendons had been cut, I
to invest the tremendous amount of time and energy, as well as money,
necessary to save this beautiful animal. Pure serendipity placed the
cougar attack three days following the completion of the stalls
in our new barn, so I had a place to keep Glow in isolation, as well as
to cross-tie her while doing the extensive medical work needed to save
her life. I should add that Daffodil,
our miniature donkey, has kept Glow company since her injury.
Following Glow's attack over two months ago I have not been able to leave Glow unattended for more than a few hours at a time, a very large time commitment on my part. Her stall bedding needs to be kept clean at all times to maintain as clean an environment as possible for her leg injury, and her leg dressing needs to be removed, the wound cleaned, medicated, and redressed, every other day, requiring an hour to an hour and a half period of high stress work each time. Working under and behind a 1200 pound horse on a severely injured leg can be extremely dangerous, especially when she has not been tranked. Only the fact that Glow is unbelievably good natured and cooperative makes it possible.
The following images are arranged so the rather gory image of the injury is the last one. So if you don't want to see what a cougar did to Glow, don't open the bottom image link.
Glow, After Her Injury, Cross-Tied for a Dressing Change
Glow and Me After a Leg Dressing Change, Her Tail in My Hand
Cougar and Fence Wire Injuries to Glow's Left Rear Leg
At the time of this writing Glow is doing remarkably well. Her horrific wound has closed in completely covering the bone, and now has a fairly smooth, level, pink surface of granular tissue, with skin closing in on all sides. We do have to periodically trim off proud flesh, messy, but not difficult. The bone has been completely covered with new tissue, and there are no signs of a limp when Glow walks, hopefully an indication that the bone has not suffered damage from its surface drying out. It may not even be necessary to proceed with the planned skin grafts.
The fly season is now in full swing here, and even with constant cleaning of Glow's and Daffy's stalls, the flies have been an issue with Glow. So I ordered a fully automatic full barn insect spray system that will periodically puff out a vapor of safe insecticide to keep the stalls fly free. It will be arriving Wednesday, and then my next installation work will begin to get it quickly installed and operational. I would probably not have spent a $1000 for such a system if it were not for Glow's situation. I wonder if Glow knows what a fortunate horse she is. The fact that she never moves her injured leg while I am working on it, even while we are slicing off proud flesh, and her other three legs are moving all over the place, tells me she knows more than might be supposed. :-)
has been one to celebrate Walt. I got the automatic barn fly-spray
system fully installed and operating. It is on auto now, and is set to
fire 5 times a day for 60 seconds each time. I will lower that to 45
seconds tomorrow afternoon after I am sure the system is fully purged
of the fresh water that I used to set it up and adjust the pressure to
175 psi. I did run it for 120 seconds the first time after putting the
insecticide in the tub, which should be enough to purge the lines and
nozzles. It will run for 120 days before needing a refill of
That isn’t the big news though. Keith, our senior vet, came over at 6:00 PM to see Glow and trim proud flesh, as well as work on Scamp’s “Scratches,” a problem that results from eating alfalfa in the intense sunlight and heat only if they have patches of white skin....live and learn. He pronounced Glow as 100% sound!!! We trotted her around the parking area while he watched her, and he checked her leg, tendons, and wound closely, then pronounced her 100% sound. All we are doing now with our work on her wound is insuring she doesn’t end up with an ugly scar. We are doing purely cosmetic work now. She will be ready to go back to work on the Drill team as soon as the skin has grown in and we have her muscles toned back up. Keith wants Natalie to start riding her three times a week starting Monday, with the wound uncovered!
He wants the wound to dry out while she rides in order to slow the growth of proud flesh. Keeping it bandaged and wet encourages the growth, which just extends our total healing time because we then have to slice the proud flesh off or the skin can’t grow in properly, as we did today. As soon as she comes back from each ride I will clean the wound thoroughly, and dress it as I have been doing.
What a moment it was when Keith gave us the information that she is 100% sound. I think that lifted a huge weight off Natalie’s back, and gave her back her summer, and for sure it impacted me intensely. I had tears in my eyes when I heard his words. The day she got the wound I had to make the decision to put her down or start this long and very difficult treatment process, with only about a 20% hope that she would even become pasture sound. The possibility of her reaching 100% soundness, and Natalie being able to ride her again was not even discussed as a possibility.
￼ After our work on Glow, we had to shift to Scamp’s "Scratches." We tranked him and then removed all the scabs and shaved the white areas on his left rear and left front legs. It took about an hour to do. We then medicated him and put him back in the round pen to recover from the trank. I have daily work to do on him for a while, but it isn’t horrific, just a cleaning and spraying on of medication...not that he will let me do it, but I will try my best. I will certainly also try not to get myself hurt. We have been through much too much horse stuff this season to sustain an injury now, and for sure, Scamp is just the horse that could do it. He is young, highly spirited, very powerful, and very fast.
Today Glow took part in her first drill team practice since her cougar attack three+ months ago. The three hour practice was all done at a trot or lope, and she did amazingly well. Each time they stopped for a rest period I checked her over, and after an hour in the arena, due to her heavy sweating, I elected to take her out for the remainder of the practice. I didn't want her to over-stress any out of shape muscles or make her too sore to comfortably do a light work-out tomorrow and each day this week.
Immediately after the drill practice started, Glow seemed to be right at home. She needed no prodding with the spurs to get up into a lope, and had no problem keeping up with the rest of the horses. She wanted to run. She seemed to really enjoy being back in the arena again. Natalie was equally pleased to be back on Glow after a very long three months. In actuality, the three months was a remarkably short recovery period. We expected that it would take a minimum of a year before Glow would be under saddle again. Seeing her back in the arena, working as smoothly as if she had never been absent a day, was a very gratifying experience for me. We now have to work on toning up her muscles so she can participate in at least part of the State competition that will be held one week from today. We have one more practice next Thursday, and her performance and ability then will determine if she can take part in State in anything more than the opening ceremony. State competition or not, Glow is back!
State Drill Team Finals
As can be seen in this image, Glow was able to take part in the State drill team finals. This particular part was done out on a road where they went through their various routines and were not allowed to step off the pavement. You can see the leg dressing is still on Glow's left rear leg, but that was permissible so long as we informed them in advance. This was the first routine in the morning and I was unable to join Natalie to help her tack up Glow, and the person who did help got the leg wraps on wrong, but I don't think anyone noticed so it was a non issue. I was held up by the Chief Parish forest fire when I tried to drive down early in the morning to join Natalie, who had stayed down at the fair grounds over night so she would be ready to ride early in the morning. Natalie's drill team, "The Mustang Sallys," fielded 12 riders. They did very well considering it was their first State competition.
Page By: Ron Reil
©Golden Age Forge
28 Jan 13