Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Other Woman

Honky is not amused. Hank has been seen in the arms of another woman. A new woman to these parts. An outsider.

Oh! the Drama.

Let me explain. Every winter Hank thrives on the snow and cold of our Wisconsin winters. While the average horse can sustain the cold and wind with proper shelter and adequate forage, Hank has learned to excel in this environment. He grows a massive thick coat. He's seldom seeking shelter. And he maintains a good weight gets fat on air.

Just about the time we noticed that his saunter had a little more roll than stroll, we were approached by a person looking to lease a horse for this trail season. She's a thirty-something that grew up as a horse-crazy kid, but like many folks, life got in the way and horses were put on the back burner. Wanting to get back in the saddle, but not sure of making the full commitment to purchase a horse of her own, a lease is just the right thing for her.

New Lady came out to the farm last Sunday to meet the animals and see that we weren't CHPs (Crazy Horse People). She liked the place, saw that we didn't have horns, and was smitten with Hank.

He's a charmer, that fella.

Honky was rather aloof. Almost rude, even. She's not fond of strangers, much less strangers that are touching HER man. She kept her eyes on Hank, making sure he wasn't enjoying the attentions given him by this...this...this Interloper. But he was. Hank likes strangers. Strangers always have treats. Always.

New Lady returned on Tuesday to spend some quality one-on-one time with Hank. This did not sit well with Miss Honky Tonk. She pouted at the gate, braying in that "I'm pathetic and want my way" kind of way that she has. This usually gets Hank's attention, but not this time. His attention was on New Lady and her good brushins. He was a perfect gentleman. She brushed him all over, picked his feet, and got him ready to ride. He didn't fuss about anything. If you know Hank, you'll understand that this is not his modus operandi. He's a joker and a tester, always seeing if he can get away with something. But not this time. He was perfect.

He's a charmer, that fella.

After a few tips & pointers, New Lady was up in the saddle and learning Hank's buttons. Walk, trot, & lope with no problems. Never a hesitation or a balk. Correct lead every time.

Did I mention that he's a charmer?

Meanwhile, back at the gate, Honky had ceased her complaining and was slowly muching on her dinner. I'm sure there were comtemplations on how to get rid of New Lady, but I don't think New Lady is leaving anytime soon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


A while back I wrote about Mater and how he landed here at Cedar View Paint Horses. What began as a disappointment has turned full circle and became something we never thought would or could happen. Seems that Lil' Brown Horse has turned into quite the superstar and has made his momma (and me) very proud.

Before the 2010 APHA show season began, Sara set goals for her and Mater. For this season she wanted to finish in the top five in Zone Five for Novice Amateur. The APHA divides the country into several regional zones, and we live in Zone Five. Finishing in the top five means you've got to be one of the five best in your region by a cumulative total score of the points earned in all of the disciplines you show in. No small feat. You have to do well in the in-hand classes and the under saddle classes, and do this consistently to keep your points building. This is quite a goal to achieve. There are five states in our zone, and they are very competitive with a lot of talented horses and riders.

About a third of the way into the season, things were going well for the two of them and it looked like the goal of finishing in the top five was attainable. Sara re-thought their goals and committed to reaching higher. The top five goal changed and she was set on ending the season as #1 in Zone Five. Mater Mater Sweet Pootater had a lot of work ahead of him!

Many shows and many miles spent on the road followed. Mater kept proving to be as competitive as those big fancy show horses were. He kept earning points and holding his own at those shows, showing that a little horse with a big heart could win.

His season eventually came to an end, but we had to wait for all of the regional show results to be officially entered by the APHA. We had an idea where he finished, but nothing is official until the APHA says it's official. We finally got the official results in late January, but we wanted to wait until the April issue of the Paint Horse Journal came out so we could show you this:

Yoobetcha! #1 in Zone 5!

But there's more.

Yessir. You read that right. Seventh place.
In the nation.
That's in the Top Ten even.
That's A Big Deal.

Mater has come a lot farther than we ever thought he would. He stepped off that trailer as an ugly and skinny and dull brown horse.

Now he's our Superstar.