Saturday, March 31, 2012

Whew and woo hoo!

I had a wonderful time today at the Colorado Kick-off live show.
The Braymere gang brought home one overall Grand Championship, two Reserve Grand Championships, five division championships, five division reserve championships, forty nine NAN cards and too many ribbons to count.
Undoubtedly there will be lots more pictures tomorrow.  Right now I'm too tired to think straight.  Must.  Go.  Collapse.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Nags, tags & bags

Although I did manage to sneak in a quick pony visit...
most of today has been devoted to preparing for the Colorado Kick-Off live show.  This is a small resin and custom halter show which will be held tomorrow at Front Range Community College in Broomfield, Colorado.  I haven't been to a show since last summer's Horses N Hangars, so I am really excited!

So excited, in fact, that I've made a slew of new show tags...

Look--his name still isn't Fred!
as well as a half dozen travelling bags. 
My sewing skills are pretty rudimentary so these are just simple fleece drawstring bags.  
They're not Purdy like the bags other people make, but they do a good job of protecting my models to and from the show.
There's still a lot of packing to do, so that's it for today.  Show pictures tomorrow!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Naming names

One of my favorite things about getting a new model horse is choosing its name. I am an unabashed word nerd and I love naming things.  In  fact, I suspect this is one of the main appeals of blogging--every day I get to name a post.

The highlight of my naming life came during the summer of 1989.  That was the year I worked at the Don K Ranch, a guest ranch located in the San Isobel mountains west of Pueblo, Colorado.   The Don K owned just fifteen horses which was not nearly enough to accommodate the fifty to sixty riding guests who visited the ranch each week.  To make up the difference, they leased a revolving string of horses from an outfit called Sombrero Ranch.

This was not a unique arrangement.  Sombrero Ranch owns literally thousands of horses, which they rent to guest ranches, summer camps and livery stables throughout the Rocky Mountain region.  It's definitely a quantity over quality type of operation, and we went through nearly one hundred and fifty horses looking for fifty safe, sane and reasonably sound mounts for our guests.

None of these horses came with names.  Sombrero identified them solely by the numbers branded on their butts.  That's efficient but not friendly.  After all, what guest wants to spend a week riding "2695?"  They needed names and they needed them fast.  

It was a name lover's bonanza.

Not that I'm biased or anything, but my roommate and fellow wrangler, Gina and I chose the best names.  This gaited gelding's bald face made him look like a mime.  We named him Marcel.
Someone suggested Picasso for the paint, but we decided that was too obvious.  He became Pablo. 
And what else but Frank for this old blue eyed Appaloosa?
Some of the other girls favored names with a touch of glamour, such as Abercrombie...
and Aspen. 
The boys' choices were all over the map.  They started out with traditional Western selections such as Gunsmoke and Colt 45...
Colt 45
but eventually moved on to names that reflected their taste in music...
Judas Priest who was later renamed Judge
and alcohol.
Annoyingly, they also had a tendency to ignore gender when choosing names.  That explains how this dumpy little mare ended up being called Chief...
while this mare got stuck with Diablo!
A few of the name debates became rather heated.  Gina and I thought this Appaloosa should be called Himalaya because he was easily the tallest horse on the ranch.  Unfortunately, we were outvoted and he became Joaquin.
This horse had perhaps the most inexplicable name progression.  He started out as Pet Project and ended up as Cuddles.  It should go without saying that I had no part in either selection!
Fortunately, there were a few names that pleased everyone.  This little gelding was a boy named Sioux... 
while this Appaloosa just looked like a Reggie.
Shamu was a giant whale of a mare--perfect for our plus sized guests!
shown here with non plus sized Gina
As the summer wore on and we went through more and more horses, the names got sillier.  How else can I explain Humperdinck...
Humperdinck, Humperdinck, Humperdinck!
and No Name?
The last Sombrero shipment consisted of just two horses.  I named this one Clyde because he kind of looked like a Clyde.
When it came to this pretty chestnut mare, however, everyone had run out of ideas.  We let her first rider, a teenage boy, choose her name.  He selected Ice and that was fine.  Really, by that point, anything would have been fine.
So many horses, so many names....  And although it's hard to believe, there wasn't a Fred in the bunch!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NOT Fred

Several years ago, I sent Tiffany a big box of unpainted resins.  Since then, she's been slowing working her way through the pile.  About a month ago, this Orgulhoso made his way to the top.
Tiffany customized his tail, gave him a spiffy new paint job and, with my blessings, took him to a horse show.  I was sitting in the emergency room with my son Ryan when I received a text message with this picture.
"Yay!" I texted back.  And then it occurred to me--we hadn't discussed names.  Quickly I sent another text asking, "What's his name?"

"Fred," she answered.

"No," I said.

"Frederico Suave?" she asked.

I countered that with, "How about Estudioso?"

At that point, I thought the name issue had been resolved.  I was wrong.  A couple weeks later I got another text.  It proclaimed, "Fred is a winner!"
The horse whose name is NOT Fred arrived in Colorado today.
He is absolutely beautiful. 
I especially love his face.
This is my first grey Purdy horse but it won't be my last.
I love, love, love his soft "older horse" dapples!
I'm not sure about that signature, though. 
Sigh.  How many times do I have to tell Tiffany that his name is NOT Fred!?!

Mongolian Wild Horses

The Denver Zoo is home to four Mongolian Wild Horses.  These horses, which also known as Przewalski Horses or Takhi, are a rare and endangered subspecies of wild horse native to the steppes of central Asia, specifically China and Mongolia.  Unlike the American Mustang or the Australian Brumby, Mongolian Wild Horses are truly wild, not feral.

The Denver herd is composed of one stallion and three mares.  This is the stallion.
 He is easily identifiable by the dark markings on either side of his neck.
Like all Mongolian Wild Horses, he is dun in color with primitive markings (dorsal stripe, leg barring).
Usually the wild horses are pretty sedate, but this guy was really feeling his oats yesterday. 
Doesn't he look like a little war horse! 
This mare is the darkest member of the herd.
Her coat is more grey than yellow and her tails is black all the way to the very top. 
In contrast, this mare is definitely yellow. 
She also seems to be the boss mare, and more than once she went out of her way to put that frisky stallion in his place.
Pleased with herself! 
The third mare appears to be a senior citizen. 
Her coat is long and rough, she's thinner than the others and her gait is a bit stiff and creaky.
Still, she has the loveliest face--so kind and wise!
I really enjoyed watching the Mongolian Wild Horses at the Denver Zoo yesterday.  Hope I can get back for another visit soon!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Zoo preview

A couple days ago, I asked Ryan and James what they wanted to do during their spring break.  Neither one of them had much in the way of acceptable suggestions, so that meant I got to pick the first destination.  I chose the Denver Zoo.

Don't they look excited?
Over the kids' objections, our first destination was the Grevy's zebra enclosure.  
The zebras were deeply immersed in their morning breakfast.
Although it pained me to admit it, the kids were right.
On this one occasion, the zebras were kind of boring.
We walked on.  In our travels we found a river horse...
and determined that James can not jump as far as a horse.
Eventually we wound up at the Mongolian Wild Horse Pen.
Like the zebras, the takhi were eating. 
Unlike the zebras, however, they were anything but boring.
In fact, they were so interesting that tomorrow they will get a post all of their own!