Riding 29 year old Sandy in 1997

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Learning something new!

I've been taking dressage lessons at Patterson Ranch in Star Valley, AZ, since the middle of February and this week my cousin from Switzerland was here and came to watch what was probably my 18th lesson.  Sissi took some pics and video of me on "Paul," a 22 year old 16.2 hand appendix Quarter Horse gelding that I use for most of my lessons.  My instructor is Shari Patterson. 

On a 20 meter circle

I think I need to keep my elbows in more here

Ending a 20 meter circle in the other direction

Shoulder in

Starting haunches in

I was able to see some areas I need to work on, such as keeping my heels down and my lower legs more still.  And . . . the 15 pounds I gained since Thanksgiving is very much in evidence!  But overall, I'm fairly pleased with my progress so far.  I had described myself as riding "like a sack of meal" before I started and I think I'm a bit improved over that characterization.

Click the arrows to start the videos.  Most are brief; the fourth one is over six minutes.


And that's the latest from the Ranch.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

John Deere Gets a Haircut!

In the five years that he has lived at Rancho Mucho Caca, John Deere, my weedeater, has never had a haircut.  He is a Barbados sheep, which is a breed of "hair" sheep as opposed to the "wool" sheep most people are used to thinking of.  (Most people who see him think he is a goat.)  The hair grows out into clumps that sometimes fall off or get caught on the fence, but mostly it's just a thick ugly rug after awhile, with a side order of dreadlocks:

No, he's not wearing an old carpet.

My boarder, Vanessa, took a class in sheep shearing and was eager to give John a trim, so this morning I caught him up and tied him in the hay shed while I laid out my various clippers, none of which were meant for sheep shearing.  Vanessa arrived and the fun began!
Click to see videos:

We got a lot with the clippers, with Vanessa clipping while I pulled the loose hair off.  Later we just had Vanessa hold him still while I got some with the scissors.  We didn't get it quite all off but quit at a point where all the mats were gone.  He'll never win a "best groomed" award, but he'll be a lot happier now.

After the trim, John looked like a new sheep!  Much younger and handsomer than before the haircut.  I guess I will have to give him a haircut every summer from now on.  He must have been miserable with all that hair on him.  I didn't know how much was hair and how much was just fat sheep, but he's actually quite trim.  The hair had almost doubled his width!

We didn't quite get it ALL off, but doesn't he look cooler!
 (Sorry for cutting off your head, Vanessa!)
All this hair from ONE sheep!

Back in his pen now, the rodeo is over!

He should be a much cooler sheep this summer.

And that's the latest from the Ranch.