Monday, October 6, 2014

The last days at Mustang Camp and then...

Ricky and Sundance caught kissing!

Nadine and  Maurine enter the final stages of saddle training with Mrs Potts.
Nadine and Mrs. Potts go for a ride!
 And there you have it.  A saddle trained Mustang!  It was a great experience for Mrs. Potts, Nadine, Maurine, Pat and me!

There are always good byes when leaving.  My buddy Annie and I took walks around the country of Mustang Camp.  She was a cross between something golden and a coyote.   She of course doesn't know what good bye is, but maybe she missed me the afternoon I left.

And then, after we left.... 

Pat arranged for us to go to Acacia Riding Adventures  about 60 miles south of Albuquerque.  Dacodah has put together what he calls "The ride of your life.  Well he was right!

We were there two days.  I don't have pix of the first day's ride in the canyon country near Dacodah's place, but on the 2nd day  we headed for White Sands (NM) and it was an amazing ride!

We cantered up and down the dunes! See my Adventuress T shirt?

- well we didn't canter down the dunes - it was way too steep.  In fact you couldn't see the bottom until you came over the crest. 

 It was a wonderful way to end the trip. (Not counting the 2,100 mile drive back to Port Townsend.)  Words just don't do justice to the experience with Dacodah .  The pictures come close.

There will be more pix coming up - including some videos.  So stay tuned.
In the mean time I'm enjoying being back in Port Townsend where Fall has arrived in the land of the pointy trees.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week Two at Mustang Camp

Today was a day off.  So Nadine,  Maurine and I headed to the Chaco Culture National Park.  Pat recommended we go.  She said that it's just the next valley over but to drive it was about 70 miles, 40 of it on very tough dirt roads.  Didn't need the 4x4 but I was sure glad I brought the truck.  If it had rained we'd been in trouble even with the 4x4.


On the way we went through some beautiful country.

And guess what?  We saw a band of wild Mustangs.  You can imagine our excitement seeing them!

We arrived at Chaco.  It of course is an amazing place.  Some time ago I watched a PBS show about Chaco and the significance of it - how it was laid out with astronomical significances.  Actually since today is the equinox the Park Service was having a special program at sunset.  

This is Pueblo Bonito, perhaps the largest of the Pueblos in the park. 

There are many round structures or rooms called Kivas.  This is a "great" one which was used for religious worship, dance, prayer vigils, public gatherings and other activites.

This beautiful pattern is seen through out Chaco Culture

There are still roofs on some of the buildings.

A raven finds the remains of a sloppy tourist's lunch.  Good for the raven at least.  Of course raven plays an important roll in most Native American cultures.  I wonder if he was a spirit of an inhabitant of Pueblo Bonito.

Back at the ranch the week was full of video!

Our week was busy. I started my week meeting some of the resident stars.

Here I meet two colts about 3 months old.  They are so cute.  Of course their mom's are here too.

Who says a Zebra can't be tamed?   Pat's trained Spot to be friendly and they even dance together.  He's also going to be a proud papa.  He has a harem of three mustang mares!

We spend lots of time in pre-production this week and that's paying great dividends.  Pat, Nadine, Maurine and I review the days activities after we feed the horses, muck out and have breakfast.  This meeting also includes discussion on on going training they all three are doing.  This weeks meetings have also have set our shooting goals for the day.

Pat's goal is to document her steps in taking an already gentled mustang to a ride-able horse.  We shot over half of these steps this last week and will finish in the next few days.  Then the editing will begin.

Maurine and Nadine have saddled Sidney and Nadine prepares to ride him in the round corral.  This is all done with positive reinforcement.

 Pat's shooting too, here doing some of the "aerial" shots.

Part of the training takes the Mustang into the surrounding countryside.  This insures the horse is comfortable with the training where ever they are.

And it's all in the beautiful and remote Largo Canyon.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Returning to Mustang Camp

After four years I'm back up Largo Canyon in New Mexico where Patricia Irick and her husband John run Mustang Camp.  I have kept in touch with them and I'm very glad to be back.

A couple colts, about 4 months old welcome me! 
Oh, yeah, their moms are here too.
Pat continues to gentle wild mustangs that have been brought in off the range. (I think she's up to over 300 horses!)  Gentling has a specific meaning to her clients, the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.  The horse has to be comfortable being handled, can be lead with a led rope and halter, respond to basic word commands and be trailer-able. Pat adds additional skills to the list.  And she is constantly honing her techniques.  She continues to have helpers from around the world (like me.) There are two German girls here now, Maurin and Nadine.  They are very good with the horses really helpful and have learned a lot working with Pat (as do I.)
Maurine help's Nadine mount Sydney

Pat's has expanded her training to include saddle training.  Most Mustangs can be brought to being comfortable with a rider quite quickly.  She's developed a step by step method which can help those who have adopted a "gentled" mustang bring them to saddle.  Maurin and Nadine demonstrate this for the video.

And my "job" while I'm here is to prepare that video of this new part of Pat's mustang training - training mustangs to work under saddle. We've already have a good start.