Monday, May 23, 2011

Hanging with the Vaqueros (riding with Lazaro)

Lazaro is a trainer  who is working with Sue's little, tiny (cute) palomino, Molly, <girl> mule who's name is Paris Muleton.  (what a hoot).  Lazaro has trained several of Sue's mules.   Lazaro is from Jalisco, Mexico.  Jalisco is a  state in Mexico, of which Guadalajara is the capital.  He comes from a long line of horsemen. His father and grandfather both trained horses in Mexico, that's why I call him a "Vaquero", the title of a  true Mexican cowboy, as rich with heritage as any American cowboy.
Lazaro rides with a  traditional Mexican saddle, it has exposed rigging and a HUGE horn, doesn't look very comfortable, but he seems to like it. It is really heavy, and Paris is a tiny mule, but it doesn't seem to bother her.

It's interesting to watch him work with Paris.. he has her drag a cattle panel around behind her before he leaves Sue's place.  He ropes and dallys the panel and off they go. Around and around in the small enclosed area  in front of the house. Then off to the local Mexican Boarding barn about a 1/2 mile away, where the guys there have "Race Horses".  
I asked if I could ride with him, so I saddled up Buddy and off we went.  Lazaro and I both don't speak each other's language very well, but we made do with "Spanglish".   The boarding barn is a rough hewn bunch of buildings and barns where there are stalls, a big round pen, a  training track that has been disc-ed up with, a tractor and a small 2 stall starting gate.  There is also another disc-ed track around the big field where the race track is.
When we get close to the boarding barn, I see a huge amount of sheep and goats, old shaggy sheep with horns,  old goats, pigmy goats, sheep and goats of all ages, shapes and colors and all MOVING around. The kids were jumping and playing, often jumping straight into the air.  Now I'm  telling this because Buddy isn't used to sheep or goats or anything that will jump straight into the air.  So he's watching and snorting, but doesn't try to run away because he has his friend Paris with him.  We go into the barn area and ride straight into a low ceiling barn and down the barn aisle.  The barn is full of horses in stalls, many of them stallions.  I figure Buddy is going to freak out, but he does OK.
 There are several men either chatting with each other or working with their horses.  No women to be seen.  I get stared at a bit, but 'm sure it's because I'm a "gringa" on a big, fat, funny colored horse.  Oh and I have a helmet on, I'm sure it was the helmet they were looking at.

 I great them all in Spanish, Lazaro  ties up Paris and goes to get his 3 year old Quarter Horse Stallion. This horse is small, but cute. Nice head and a pretty shiny bay color.
I notice Lazaro has the horse tacked in a racing bridle, but no saddle. Only a towel with a rope holding it on and Lazaro has his feet through the rope.  EEK.. But the man sits that horse as if he were on the deepest dressage saddle you could find. He never moves, even when the horses acts up and jumps around.
He trots and breezes the horse, while he's doing that, I take Buddy and ride him on the track around the outside of the field. One time I was by the track as Lazaro galloped by, Buddy jumped and twirled, but he calmed down pretty quick.  He wasn't sure why that horse was running past him so fast.  I think he thought he should be running away from what ever monster THAT horse was running away from too.

Then Lazaro takes the horse back and Paris does her job, she and Lazaro pony (leads) the Stallion in circles while he cools off. Then Lazaro gets a friend's horse and Paris is now a Pony Horse, which means she gets to trot and gallop alongside the race horse..  This little mule with a very small trot and walk keeps up with the race horse and gallops along with him.. doesn't miss a step.  It's so funny watching her gallop alongside this big horse.  When that is done, she  leads this horse in circles again until this horse is cool.

As I'm waiting for Lazaro, I notice more farm animals I didn't see before, a herd of Brahmas.. Momma  Brahmas, baby Brahmas and of course, at least one BIG bull.  Brahmas are the big cows with a hump that are ridden in the Rodeo, they can be not so nice.  I figured Buddy would be concerned about the Brahmas, he could have cared less, he was still watching and being concerned about the goats and sheep all moving and jumping around.
   After Lazaro works the horses, we go for a ride around the neighborhood. we ride by a fast moving highway,  next to farm equipment, over and next to irrigation ditches.  Buddy had never seen an irrigation ditch.  There were  other bad, scary monsters.. Like a big boat and an abandoned hot tub and the worst thing ever, a pile of big logs.
 He actually did well, Paris spooked more than he did.  But remember how he is deathly afraid of Llamas?   Or "Yamas" as Lazaro called them, well, he isn't too fond of Alpacas either.  There was an Alpaca farm we had to ride by.  I knew it might not be the most safe thing I would ever do to ride by it, so I got off and lead him by the Alpaca farm.  He did Ok
 Poor Lazaro, he couldn't figure out why I was off leading the horse, he even offered to get off and give me a "leg up" (put me up on the horse). I told him no thank you as I didn't want him to throw out his back. I'm not sure he understood me exactly.  Once he saw how high I needed to be in order to get back on, he understood why I was walking so far.  

So back to Sue's we go.  The Vaquero, Paris Muleton, (the Race Horse Pony Mule), myself and Buddy (the wonder horse) who wonders when he gets to go home to  Missouri and quit being  terrified by all these new scary monsters.  What a wonderful evening, something I would have never experienced if I had stayed at home in Missouri.  What an adventure.

Enough for now.  Time to feed the fish and to go to bed.

 As always.. More later..  <sometimes much later, I'll try to be more timely>

Adventures with Sue (April 21 to April 28)

As I said before I was so happy to get to Sue's place.  Buddy settled in nicely, but Charlie and Jethro, Sues' Blue Tick hound didn't make friends quickly.   Jethro had to make sure Charlie knew his place.  No dog fights, but some growling and snapping on both of their parts.

Sue has a perfect place for me to put my trailer, so I unhooked and made myself at home.  Sue and I  got into a routine fairly quickly.  Coffee/juice together in the morning and generally dinner in the evening,  we'd  either go out or one of us would fix something.  Sue  brought back  Burritos from a local deli for lunch a couple of times, fresh, like home- made even..

 Early on, we spent a good deal of time planning and arranging travel  for our Alaska trip in July.  Sue is going to judge a NATRC competition, I'm going to ride the ride manager's horse and then we are going sight seeing.  We will be flying into and out of Fairbanks, Alaska, so wanted to see as much as we could of the rest of the state.  We will be there a little less than 2 weeks, so we decided on a  train trip  to Denali and then down to Anchorage, where we go on a jet boat ride to see a glacier and a float trip back down the river.

We had planned on taking a rental car back to Fairbanks, but, it was cheaper to fly back. so we are going to fly.  It was going to cost somewhere around 500 dollars to rent a car for 3 days.  Anchorage is only 350 miles  from Fairbanks, a good days drive, but it was a bit over 100 dollars to fly back.   It was a hard decision to make since I would have liked to have run up to Wasilla, Alaska to see Russia..   Or have coffee with Sarah Palin.   When we get back to Fairbanks, we have a few days to unwind, there's a Gold Rush Festival  we are going to go to, plus a Riverboat ride that's kinda neat.
 I made all of the travel arrangements. I have great fun doing that, I should have been a travel agent.

The first weekend I was there, we hauled over to a local park (Round Valley) close to Mt. Diablo and rode there for a few hours. I saw my first ground squirrel, how cute I thought, long tailed prairie dogs.  I didn't think they were so cute once we got on the trail and I saw what kind of holes they dig.  Ones that your horse's hooves can go right into.  You don't even want to get off the trails there. The place was riddled with holes.  You really had to watch on the sides of the trails too.  One wrong step.. not good. Not so cute ground squirrels.
  Sue pointed at the top of the huge hill and said, later on our way back, we'll go over that.  I kinda thought she meant around it..Nope, over it we went.    Buddy had his first long climb of many more long climbs to come.  Up and up we went, some long climbs, a few steep switchbacks..  He just dug in and climbed, I was a bit concerned on the narrow sections and it was a long way down.  I always tell myself  I'm going to jump off to the left or right, which ever the high side is, just in case.. I want to have an emergency escape route.

He did good going  down hill, sometimes he's very slow on the down hills, but, this day, he was just walking out and he quickly  left Sue's mule Henri behind.
Sue said Henri wasn't happy about that and even threw a buck in.. which  he never does.  
It was a good ride, nice conditioning and a good preview of the trails for the Round Valley Ride to be held in the middle of June.

The next day was Easter and Sue invited me to join her at her Parent's home for Easter Dinner.  We had a nice visit and a wonderful meal.  It was kind of Sue to invite me and I enjoyed meeting her parents.  I did miss my family, as they all get together at my sister's farm for dinner and an Easter Egg hunt, but I called and talked to them all and was able to vicariously share in their Easter celebration.

The days go by so quickly.. soon it was time to get ready to go visit Jane in Auburn. I had  wanted to go visit with she and her family and see if my trailer could get in and out of her place.    I ran to Auburn on the 28th, I'll tell that story soon, but the  next story I must tell, is about riding with the Vaqueros.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Quick update

I've moved to my second location in Auburn, California.   Got here Sunday eve... seems like I'm just pooped in the evening when I usually blog.. I'll try to fix that this weekend.  MY competition  this weekend was cancelled due to a contagious horse virus.. So I'll use that time blogging..

 Buddy is fine, he's well, but everyone is staying put and not gathering bunches of horses together until this virus blows over. Charlie is good too.   I'm off to go drink wine at one of the many wineries in this area, so I'd better get ready to go.. More fun stories to come..

Thursday, May 12, 2011

One Water Pump, Serpentine Belt and Sick Horse later

I can't say that my stop in Farmington was all bad.  My semi operating fridge in the Living Quarters finally decided to work on the propane, after I bought a large  wheeled cooler at Walmart!

 I had a great time with Judy and Cristy Cumberworth.  I really enjoyed the trail that was laid out for the ride, Buddy did great both days with the observations and handling the terrain, and everyone was so kind and good to me. 
The evening Buddy coliced one of my neighbors asked me if I wanted to come over and share their grill and basically share some  dinner.   They knew how tired I was and how worried I was.  That was so kind.

Monday, Buddy was better, so  I moved him back into a pen and decided to go back into town for  diesel and to buy a few more bales of hay.    I met Cristy for lunch and we talked about horse massage techniques that she was learning.   When we went back to the stables, she demonstrated on her sister's horse, then did some work with Buddy.   After that, Buddy and I were models for a Ad that will be placed in the Appaloosa Journal promoting NATRC.  That was fun.
 Cristy is such a good photographer..  Hopefully she didn't have to Photoshop the photos too much.

 By the way.. I think Cristy "traded out" this Ad  with the  Editor of the Appaloosa Journal.  Meaning it didn't cost NATRC anything, and was a donation from Cristy.. Thank you Cristy!

Monday night I got ready to pull out in the morning..

Tuesday, I left Farmington, headed to Interstate 40 to begin the turn toward California.  I had heard from Jonni Jewell about a KOA in Williams  that was very nice and had horse pens, so I decided to stop there, even tho' it was just a bit over 300 miles.   I decided I would stay on the better of the two choices for highways, this one took me to Ship Rock, New Mexico.. It's a huge Rock that just juts right out of the valley floor.  I saw it when we were on the trail and it had to be over 20 miles away.  I couldn't get a good picture since Iwas driving, but I sure remember the magnificence of the structure.    There was some construction on the road but it was straight and had good shoulders, all I ask for.

The KOA was every bit as nice as Jonni said it was, it even had a covered pool area with a HOT TUB.  I did my wash and sat in the HOT TUB until they closed the pool. It was delightful and a great way to end a day.
I do have to admit to a small sewer dump problem.. or the" horrible embarrassing  incident" as I call it.  I had to buy an additional hose and hook up thingy and let's just say that when I first started the dumping process, the hook up thingy sprang apart and it wasn't a pretty sight.. or smell.

Wednesday, I was on my way to California..  Techapi to be exact.  Techapi is pronounced "to hatch a pea".. took me forever to learn how to pronounce it. The drive from Williams to Techapi was pretty unremarkable, except to say I skirted the Mohave desert.. Not very many towns out in that area. Cristy gave me a heads up about where to buy fuel so I wouldn't get gouged by the places closer to the desert.  Her tip.. buy fuel in Kingman Arizona, which I did.

 I did get close to Edwards Airforce base, the  space shuttle uses this as an alternative landing site.  I can see why.. Lot's of land to put several shuttles down on.

 I found a "bed and barn" outside of Techapi California,  Lynn Wolfe who runs it, invited me to dinner and  fixed great steaks she also had bagels, juice and coffee for breakfast.  She just asks for a donation for the meals.  The place is nice and clean, and she gives you  a feeding of hay for free.  It's a bit off the road, but worth it.

Thursday was the last leg to Sue's house. What a long drive.  Not a hard one, just long and tiring.   I did my first bit of Mountain pass driving and the Exhaust brake worked great. 45 mph going down hill and I hardly had to use my brakes.   I got to Sue's around 5 in the evening, got the horse settled in and we went to a Mexican place for dinner..  We chatted for quite awhile  at her house,then I was suddenly exhausted and went to bed.  I was so happy to be at Sue's place.  I finally made it.. horse, dog and the big huge horse trailer.

More adventures to come.. there's a new fish in town.. he's mighty hungry....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pinon Mesa Ride ( the ride story)

Here is a link to photos that Bill Wingle took of the ride.

He was taking them while he was riding. I'm in a bunch of them, but that's because I was riding right behind him!  I bet he wished I  hadn't been.. LOL

Saturday Morning was cool and crisp.  I dressed in layers which I shed fairly quickly.  I wanted to be the last horse out and just follow along.  However, "best laid plans oft go".. well, you know the rest.  Somehow, the person who told me she  was going to go "slow" was known to be one of the "fast riders". I didn't know that.  I fell in behind her and we started off.
 You go down a residential street and cut across a yard to get to the trail.  The trail then goes into a huge culvert that ran under a 4 lane road.  Remember, this is the start of the ride...  I was praying that a loud semi wasn't going to thunder across right over our heads.  It didn't happen, Buddy followed his new friend and all was OK.
 The culvert opened up into a sand wash that we rode in for some time, a few miles at least.   It was cool riding in the sand washes, especially when they were narrow and twisty/ turny.  Like riding a twisty/ turny single track in the trees, except you have rocks to bump your knees on.   Once we get past the sand wash it's climb up and down a couple of hills.. I mean climb straight up...  on the way back we had a P&R at the top of one of those hills.  We went into lot's of canyons and then the open had a trail up on the Mesa and on several ridges HIGH in the air.. you could see snow covered mountains in one direction and Ship Rock National Monument in another.  It was just wonderful.   When we got to the ridges they were Narrow.. I kept saying "oh Buddy don't trip and don't spook.. the last step is a LONG one".. it was a long way down to the bottom of those canyons.

  I dropped back at the first P&R and  I rode with Bill Wingle  (and I'm having  name problems)  Syndi Scott <I think> and  on and off with Susan Peters.   All were very kind to let me tag along behind them.  (with Buddy screaming his fool head off every time he couldn't see them) cringe.

There was lunch on trail which means they fix you a sandwich how you wanted it and more snack food and cookies than I could cram into my face.  I gave my sandwich order as I was moving in a fast direction to the nearest ladies room..    < a bush  behind a hill> and yes I did check for snakes.

Open was to ride 24 miles, but I think my GPS said it was 28.  Lots of climbs and lots of sand washes if I remember correctly.

Ride Management was great with the water, for riders and horses, always asking if I needed a bottle of water, could they fill a water bottle?  Could they hold my horse, etc.. We never went too long without seeing a water truck which had water for the riders and the horses.  Buddy had to taste as many water buckets as he could find.  I think his favorite ones were the gray ones from Ace hardware.

Buddy did fairly well with his "observations"  P&R's not so much, he was really not relaxing and going into the zone. We squeaked through all of them without being held.  I had to pass on the off side mount.  I'm still wearing a wrist brace to protect my broken wrist.. yep the one the Dr. said, it's ok you can ride, just don't fall off on it. Now why would he say THAT about falling off?  So I don't have a good grip because of how the brace is on my hand and my grip strength still sucks.. So I passed on the off side mount, lost a bunch of points but it was in  not a good area for me to use the terrain. remember I'm 5'4" and Buddy is 16 hands if he is an inch. So better safe than sorry.   The Vet judge checked Metabolics frequently, and Buddy  was doing well during the ride.
Did I mention that at the finish there is a Margaritaville?  Real Margaritas.. I had a frozen strawberry one.. It even had good tequila in it!  I was thinking I could be arrested for drinking and riding..  Did you know it's a bit difficult to dismount with a Margarita in one hand?  Hell, I wasn't going to set that one down.  I earned it!

We got back to camp and all is well, Buddy is eating, drinking, feeling good, no metabolic problems..  He's good to go for the next day.
We have a potluck with BBQ meat provided by ride management, a ride briefing and it's off to bed we go.

Sunday is mostly the same trail, just a bit shorter.  I'm wanting to go slower than the others, so I drop back and ride quite a bit of the ride by myself.  Buddy doesn't have too much of a upset.  He calls for awhile then settles down and goes to work getting down the trail.  Buddy is still passing the P&Rs, at the last one he gets a 12 and 4 because he finally relaxes.. Silly horse, coulda done that all weekend..

So we get into camp, I'm feeling great about the ride, Buddy is strong to get back into camp, even spooking a bit at the  houses we have to ride by.  We get to the trailer, he starts to act funny, he isn't drinking or eating .. he usually takes a big drink and wants to eat.  I take off his tack and by now I'm thinking ohhh noo.. he's gonna colic and yep he did, he coliced.  Luckily the P&R chair was Dr. Joe Quintana who I had ridden under back in Region 6 on several occasions. I take Buddy over to him and ask if he can check him.. No gut sounds.  He gets treated.. We get pulled.  It wasn't a bad colic, but any colic can be frightening and life threatening.  Luckily Dr. Quintana has a vet clinic in town and his associate lived at the top of the road.  (how convenient).. We discussed what could be causing Buddy's recurrent colic when he is stressed, and Dr. Q gave some ideas, dehydration, tying up, or ulcers. He drew some blood and took a fecal sample and sent it off with his associate to be evaluated.
Long story short, the blood work wasn't indicative of dehydration or tying up. The fecal sample did show some occult blood (hidden blood).  Dr. Q felt  this was a symptom of a hind gut erosion, such as an ulcer or worm damage.  He discussed treatment alternatives and suggested a product he has had good results with called Suceed.  It's a feed additive that helps repair the lining of the gut.  He felt if I started Buddy on this product he would heal and be OK for future rides.  He encouraged me to run another fecal sample and to try him on the one day ride I had planned on doing in California the first part of May. He did tell me to increase his electrolytes which during the ride I most certainly will.

All Sunday  afternoon I spent with Buddy and Dr. Q.  Fluids were run, Buddy was tubed with Mineral oil and treated with pain killers.   He finished the fluids about the time for awards, so I went to awards and clapped for everyone who got their awards. It felt good to sit down.
 Buddy was better after awards were over, he started nibbling at hay , then started to get painful again when the pain killers wore off. He did poop and pee right before he started feeling bad again. I called Dr. Q's associate and she came, checked Buddy and gave him some additional pain meds.   He was pretty stoned for awhile. Once I thought he was going to fall down on top of me.

I was on the "coliced horse watch".  I sat outside under a moonlit sky and  kicked myself around for several hours, all while watching for recurrences of colic symptoms.. Cristy Cumberworth came and sat with me, for several hours, until Midnight.. when we both decided to go to bed.  Cristy had just gotten home from shooting  photos for an weekend  of eventing .  I'm sure she was tired.  Thank you Cristy for being so kind and not leaving alone on my "coliced horse watch", that was so kind of you.

I went to bed and  set my alarm for every hour to 2 hours, Buddy was eating hay and drinking by midnight and I felt the danger had passed, but I wanted to make sure.  It was a long night. But he did well, and was no worse for wear the next morning.  Me- however, I was a wreck..I decided we would stay over an additional day to keep an eye on him and let him recuperate, before he had 3 days of being hauled.  So we did.  It was a good choice.  More on my extra day in Farmington in the next blog.. this one is long enough!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Arrival in Farmington

I arrived at the Cumberworth's Stable just on the outskirts of Farmington, New Mexico on Wednesday evening.  Got Buddy settled in a pen next to a mare who fell in love and a gelding who wasn't happy, the mare had a new boyfriend.  The pen had a tree in the center of it and the tree was home to 5 or 6 Guinea chickens, I asked if I had to pay extra for the "guinea training", Cristy said no.   The guineas would fly in and out of the tree in the evening and morning.. No better thing to do to help a horse  learn to not spook at moving birds.

Judy, (Cristy's Mom), Cristy and I went out for dinner at a local Brew pub.  First one in Farmington to be exact.  They had a really tasty Peach Beer and the other beer was pretty good too.

Thursday morning I decided that not only was I smelling antifreeze, the coolant level was way low and I looked and could see it drip down on my front axle..  Well, time to do something with this.  I decided to take my truck to the Ford Dealer for repair hoping it was just a leak somewhere.  I had to run errands first, get some groceries, get feed and hay.  I was finally running out of hay for Buddy. He had taken quite awhile to eat 6 bales of my hay.  The slow feeder Nancy Mitts made for him really helped slow down his eating.

So I called the dealership,  I explained I was from out of town, traveling  with a horse and a trailer and found  a coolant leak.  The gentleman's first question, do you have  a place for you and your horse to stay? Well, bring it over and our shuttle will take you back.  They also said they would come pick me up.  They also had a second shift of employees so if they couldn't get to it today they will work on it in the evening. Wow!

So an hour or so later, it's the water pump and they need to replace the serpentine belt since it had fluid all over it.  OK.. fix the darn thing.. A couple hrs later.. even before 5pm, it's done, the shuttle guy comes to get me, I pull out a credit card and off I go.  Repaired truck and all.

Thursday evening, fellow competitors start coming into camp.  I'm asked to go out to dinner with a fun bunch and we go have Mexican  food. So far I'm liking this local cuisine thing.   I have fun meeting everyone and people are really curious about my trip.

Friday. I get ready for the ride.  I think I should preride, but it's so windy and  to get to the trail, I have to go under a road in a huge culvert and I just am not sure if Buddy will have a meltdown.  So I just stick around and don't ride.  Turns out it wasn't a bad decision.  Go to ride briefing and right after  they have a gathering to eat "junk food " and drinks. Now that's a fun idea.  Got to meet some more people and talk to their "first time competitor"  Then to bed and wonder what the next day will bring.  I decided to enter the OPEN  class which means that Buddy will have to go a bit farther and pick up the speed a bit..   We'll see how that goes.

By the way.. I think the fish might need to be fed, please go to the right hand side of the page and feed them.
Click your cursor on the water to deliver the fish food.  The fish thank you..

Monday, May 2, 2011

Finally, time to "catch up". My time in the "real" west

Actually, I've probably had the time, but didn't feel the urge to "tell the story".   Bad girl!!

When last I wrote, it was the middle of April.  I had just arrived at the ride site at the Cumberworth's boarding stable in Farmington, New Mexico. Because of being tired and fighting the wind, I decided to skip the events at Susie's house and  just blogged a little.

Here's the story of my stay in Miami, New Mexico.

Miami is a very small town outside of Springer, New Mexico. This area is geographically south of the Rockies, in fact the Rocky Mountains end  to the south and west.  It's in the foothills and has great views of the Rockies.

Miami is quite close to the famous Philmont Boy Scout Ranch.  This ranch was actually owned by the Phillips family who started Phillips Oil.  (Phillips 66 and the flying Red Horses on their signs). At one time,  the family had a huge "villa" there, but  now all of the land and homes etc are owned by the Boy Scouts of America.

There are some HUGE Ranches out there.. Multiples of  thousands of acres make up one  ranch alone. Boggles my mind to think about owning that much land.

I got to Susie Jones' home on April 7th and stayed until the 13th.  We had a great time.  Buddy had horses he could talk to, Charlie got along with her dogs and Susie and I were able to catch up with each other.

My Internet connections didn't work there so I didn't post much there. Could barely make phone calls.

While I was there I learned a great deal about irrigation and water issues. Susie is the President of the local water association (an unpaid/volunteer position) and was dealing with  some pretty serious issues.  The area  had had limited rain and the snow pack hadn't melted, so the water in the reservoir was down and there was great worry that people wouldn't be able to irrigate their fields and that the local water supply may be negatively affected.  The concern was that the first irrigation "run" of the year would have to be stopped and many people wouldn't get the water they needed for their fields/crops. She was on the phone frequently, keeping all of the board members apprised of the situation, even sending letters out to the locals letting them know what the concerns were.
  We take water in the Midwest for granted.

One evening Susie took  some friends and myself to the town of Coalfax, which isn't really there anymore, to a local  Tavern that makes homemade pizza..  The girls ordered green chile and sausage pizza and on one half were gracious enough to put more "regular" toppings.  I had a few pieces of the pizza with the green chiles.. not too bad.  Green Chiles are a condiment in New Mexico.. it seems that folks put it on about everything.. hamburgers, you name it.

Susie and I wanted to ride every day.. The wind was horrid..  sustained winds of 25 mph with wind gusts of  35 to 40 mph.  We did get a short ride in on Saturday morning, we rode about 6 miles before turning back and riding home as it felt we were going to blow away..  That afternoon there was a windstorm of 60-70 mph winds. Susie's power went off for a couple of hours.. Wow.. I ain't never seen anything like that.  (unless we were having a tornado)  There were nights I was rocked to sleep and rocked awake by the wind  when I was lying in my bed in the trailer.. I made sure Buddy had his fly mask on to help protect his eyes.

We did get a good long ride in on Tuesday, we rode about 3 hours up in the Pinon Hills.  We saw Elk and what we thought might be bear poop.  I ddin't want to look real close to make sure.

The Elk were cool, there were 5 of them (no horns so perhaps females?) and they were down in the valley, they saw us and came running towards us at a pretty fast pace.. Me being cool and calm kept asking Susie.. "what do we do, what do we do, if they don't stop running towards us?"  I don't remember if she HAD a good answer, luckily they stopped and went on their way.  We thought perhaps they weren't sure what we were and wanted to come and see if we were Elk.  Who knows?

One day Susie's farrier came to reset her horses and I had him check Buddy since I knew it was about time for a reset. It was, reset all around with new handmade shoes.  Buddy now gaits like a charm.

There is a lot of history in this area, the Santa Fe trail came this way and there were old frontier towns such as Cimaron  and Springer.   Kit Carson I think it was, lived in the area close to Philmont.

 We had meals at 2 historic old Hotels: the St. James in Cimaron and the Brown in Springer.  Actually, the tortillas, frijoles and rice I had at the St. James was the best I've had so far.  Actual\ whole pinto beans, not mushed up  as re fried beans.

I also learned how to play Dominoes, that is the local social gathering event for the ladies in the town.  They were glad to have me there to play, since I'm kinda  math challenged.  They could kick my butt easily. We played for several hours and had great fun.. Thankfully, I'm a good loser.

The day before I left I thought  the truck  smelled of  Anti freeze.. I didn't see any leaks and checked the coolant level, all seemed Ok..
So I figured I would just  ignore it.. But what did I know?   Luckily things held together until I got to Farmington when it began to leak more.  I think there is something to the saying that God looks out for fools and idiots.
Susie saw me off on Wednesday and I drove to Farmington, New Mexico.  It wasn't a bad drive.  But I still had a bad wind to contend with.. Did I mention the wind blows hard and frequently in New Mexico?

Susie, thank you for your friendship and generosity.. I had the most wonderful time...