Saturday, May 28, 2022


 Despite owning a horse with two brands, my friend, Fabian has a severe case of brand phobia.

Of course, this means I am contractually obliged to tag him in all my brand photos.
And it's not just me.
Half the hobby does the same thing.
This is true friendship.
But here's the thing. I now own a horse with a really cool brand.
I love it.
When I post pictures of this brand, it's an Olive thing, not a Fabian thing. 
If I don't tag him, you don't need to.
Now it goes without staying that any and all other brands are fair game.
But from here on in, I am marking Fabian safe from being unnecessarily exposed to Olive's brand.

Decoding mustang brands

The Bureau of Land Management uses freeze brands to permanently identify captured mustangs and burros. The brand is applied to the left side of the horse's neck, usually - but not always - along the crest. 
Olive's brand is right in the middle of her neck.
Instead of numbers which are easily altered and can be hard to read, the brand uses the Alpha Angle System displayed below.
Each brand consists of three parts: the registering organization (the United States Government), the year of birth and the individual registration number. 
The registration number reflects the state of capture.
Here's Olive's brand. Can you read it?
I know they aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I really do love mustang freeze brands. I am happy every time the wind lifts Olive's mane and shows hers off.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Treasures from Horsiemama

You would think that I won enough pony pouches at pandemic photo shows to last me a lifetime, but apparently not. Last week, Lynn Isenbarger listed this pouch on her Horsiemama's Haversacks & Mercantile page, and I just had to buy.

I mean come on.
These little girls are all of us.
It arrived yesterday, and it came with a special surprise.
This beautiful halter was made by an unknown tack maker in the late 1990's or early 2000's. 
It's a lovely piece of work. I don't know what model it was originally made for, but it's a perfect fit for little Jafar.
Thank you so much, Lynn. I love both the haversack and the halter!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

What she is

Olive is a mustang, which both and is not a breed. 
I had her DNA tested through Texas A & M University, which has this to say on the matter: Originally mustangs were Spanish horses or their descendants, however throughout the years they had influence from many different horse breeds. There are several mustang registries, but overall there is just too much complexity to consider them in breed ancestry analysis. 
Since November, I have spent a lot of time researching Divide Basin mustangs. I know what genes are commonly found in that herd, and I was not-so-secretly hoping she would come back Morgan, Shetland and Turkoman.
Realistically, however, I was expecting Morgan, Paso Fino and something that would account for her ears.
They are some really impressive ears.
What I was not expecting was this.
Here's the official report.
It's a wonderfully 1970's Breyer result. Olive is a product of my childhood carpet herd!
Thank you, Ryan, for a great Mothers' Day gift. That was really fun.

Friday, May 20, 2022

What is she?

Like all wild-born mustangs that have been rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management, Olive has a brand on the left side of her neck. 
When it's showing, most horse people immediately know what breed she is.
Most of the time, however, it's not showing.
And without that obvious visual clue, her breed type is kind of... obscure.
I can't tell you how many times people have asked me, "What is she?"
I was curious, too, so for Mother's Day I requested another DNA test.
The results came back today, but I want to hear your guesses. Here's some information that may or may not help: Olive is an eleven year old Mustang mare from the Divide Basin HMA in Wyoming. She stands fourteen hands tall, wears an XW saddle and 00 shoes. Horses from her HMA tend to be a mix of Old World Iberian breeds, Light Racing and Riding Breeds and New World Iberian breeds. My research has uncovered multiple Divide Basin horses with genetic markers for Turkomans, Quarter Horses, Paso Finos, Tennessee Walking Horses and Shetland Ponies. Other, less common breed influences include Mangalarga Marchadors, Dales, Fells, Shetlands, Galicenos, Morgans, Hanoverians, Standardbreds and Suffolks.
Post your guesses in the comments. If someone gets the top three breeds right - good luck with that! - I'll send you a little prize.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The packrat chronicles

My basement flooded and a lifetime of papers floated to the surface.

No surprise, most of them are horse related.
Or model horse related.
While some of these papers are, in fact, precious, I am trying to convince that myself that most of them can go.
The go pile includes so many tack catalogs...
and tack pictures. 
Back in the day, it was really hard to find good, clear reference photos. Now it isn't. It's kind of sad, but these need to go.
Also on the chopping block are old pictures of model horse tack pictures that I printed and kept for inspiration.
When I first got on line, I printed everything. Here's a page from the Model Horse Gallery before it went in the recycle bin.
This paper predates my internet years. It's the 1980's version of Identify Your Breyer that was sent to me by one of my first hobby friends. It was a great reference at that time, but now it's hopelessly outdated. Goodbye!
This is my personal collection list from that same era. I typed this out on an actual typewriter. I still own all but two of those horses, so I'm keeping this one, at least for now.
It's a long, slow process, but the floodwaters are beginning to recede. By the time the basement is ready for repopulation, I am hoping to have a lot less papers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Peep show

I posted the results of our most recent Peep eating challenge on Facebook, and almost immediately, my barn friends started speculating on whether or not their horses would eat Peeps and how to make them more appealing to the equine palate. 

One thing led to another, and we were persuaded to give this another go. Our first test subject was Emily's pony, Rhino.
Rhino is an enthusiastic eater. Emily was sure he would eat the Peeps.
He did not.
JoAnna's big boy, Ernie, was next.
He inhaled his Peep and begged for more.
Mary Jo and I were delighted. After all these years, we finally found a Peep eater!
We were going to give him a second one when Ernie's brother, Stone, arrived on the scene.
We offered him the second Peep, and he hoovered it right up.
He chewed it thoughtfully.
he started...
to smile.
He smiled and smiled.
Stone has tasted Peeps and now he can't stop smiling.
Both Ernie and Stone are confirmed Peep eaters.
So maybe Peeps are horse food, if your horse is a Draft horse!