Tuesday, March 2, 2010

As Good Once as I Ever Was

The phone rings at 7:30 am. Don't these people know it's Sunday & I am not done sleeping in! Ugg...groogily find the phone to call them back and try to sound like I'm wide awake. It's Shelley (my Dad's wife). A guy was coming to pick up horses today & they had everything taken care of, no need for me to go. Well, the phone call comes in & all their plans have fallen apart. Nathan was going to help but had to go back to Utah. Omar, got real sick & couldn't go which meant 1 less man & no pickup & horse trailer. J2 has horses caught....& sounds like they are ready to go...just waiting on me to put together a ride.

I call Reggaroni to see what I can round up. Hallelujah, Regg is an angel. He let's me borrow a horse, horse trailer, & volunteers his services! Regg, McKell, & Ellie all on board to go. Regg & I get saddled, loaded & head to Dad's. I pull in, shocking but the boys aren't ready & waiting at the barn door. I decide to pull in and circle the outfit so we are ready to load. Hmmm, the yard geography has changed slightly, in that their is more broke down vehicles than usual, and 1 of them is right in the midle of the turn around circle. I can still make it...I'm sure. Circle wide & then cut it back hard thru the center...slow down slightly to make sure I don't hit the car to the right of trailer to my left. Dang it, shouldn't have weakened....lug...lug....DANG IT! Call Regg, "Hey buddy, bring down a pickup. I'm stuck" Regg, "Ok, are you sure?" Mindy, "Ya, let me double check... try foreward, spinning, backwards, spinning, turn wheels every which way but loose.....Yip, I'm stuck!"

Oh, did I mention while all this is going on the the boys are....still in the house! Ya, J2 is the only one who was ready. Well, Regg to the rescue again. He gets a chain hooked on to the pickup & I successfully shoot the gap without hitting any of the obstacles placed in the yard to make my life more entertaining. By this time, the boys are ready to go & we've even gathered up more players. Houston, Broc, J2 & I head to Regg's to pick up his crew. If you are counting, yes, we have a pretty decent size load in the pickup by now but we all whole heartedly agree that it is better than riding our horses to Dubois.

We arrive at the corrals at 10:30 am. Gene & Stephanie have already headed out with snow machines. The Montana outfit is already there & waiting. ( I was told they would be there at Noon) The brand inspector was told "be there at 10:30" Nothing like us being the last to show at our own party :)

Unloading horses, piling on the warm clothes, and getting ready to head out. Tall horse & layers of clothes....not exactly the combination for the most graceful display for "getting on a horse". Hmmm....maybe it wasn't an accident that I left the camera at home. :) I take off out thru the snow to blaise a trail. Paint is hot, full of steam & ready to go. Thank the good Lord above, Regg rode Grey because just as I looked back over my shoulder Grey was bucking. What a way to start the morning. (Yes, I still consider 10:30 morning ;)

As we make our way out passed the corrals, I'm realizing there is NO WAY we can load out of these. The snow is knee deep on my horse in most places & deeper where it's drifted. Looks like we are going to have to trail to town to load. Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Single file out across snow covered country, following the snow machine tracks & breaking trail for the other horses. Single file we trail along trying to save as much horse energy as we can. The snow is deep & they are all sweating pretty good by the time we get to the field. No communication from our snow machiners, we listen & watch the horizon for any sight of horses. The distant hum of the interstate, but still no machines.

The field is still full of tall yellow feed full of seeds & nutrient. However, the snow is quite a bit deeper than when we came out the 1st time. Making a game plan while we wait, the horses appear in the top right corner. What a gorgeous sight! Over 100 head of gorgeous horses trailing single file out against the bright blue sky line. Re-group in the corner & get ready to head out. J2 & I take the lead. Regg is going to hang to the back. Single file out across the country, GORGEOUS! Where is my camera! Dang it! Right now would be perfect for pics! (Thanks goodness I didn't have it because later the conditions wouldn't be camera safe)

Trail straight into a trap & head towards the corrals with a line of horses right behind. The corrals are drifted in and really really deep. I needed to circle back around to keep the flow going. Gene gets a gate open just enough for me to slide thru with my trusty steed. We get about 5 feet from the gate....i yi yi! It's deep! I feel like I'm trying to get my horse stuck. (I did take off my breast collar at the pickup, just so I wouldn't break it swimming thru the snow) What a stud! My horse stops in his tracks, starts pawing in front of him, clearing the way until he can make his way through. My knees even missed the Powder River gate & railroad ties as we squeezed through.

Horses in the big pen and the sorting begins. I swear it took hours...lol...but the upside is a herd of 100+ horses can make sort work of a snow drift and soon we could travel easily in the corrals. I brought some sortin flags and we took to working through the horses. We planned, changed plans, planned, and changed plans again. Finally we got a system dow that would work. Regg called me over to his side to sort. Right off the the bat I sorted off a 2 that went! Haha, I'll take being LUCKY over talent any day! :) The coolest wreck had to go to Broc. He was running the out gate. This is the gate where my horse had to paw to get thru. It is really deep over there. Broc steps & his boot sticks in the snow. He falls down backwards. A horse that needed turned back was baring down on him. The gap in for the gate is narrow. The horse darts left, right, zigging, and zagging.....AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I will never know how that horse made it out without stepping on him! It was awesome!

Everything sorted up that needs to go. It's time to take the big herd back. J2 had been out in the trap holding the big herd from getting away in case we needed to re-gather. He did such a good job. Riding back & forth keeping the herd inline. I headed out towards the gate, gathering up J2 & we took the lead again. J2 is telling me all about how he had to keep riding and just knew that eventually we would send someone to help him. Lol..he was pretty sure we were just vacationing at the corrals. He did a really really good job!

Trailing back out to the Field of Gold, J2 falls back & brings up the rear. After getting the lead through the gate I slide around and try to get a count, 99 head of beautiful horses, with the occasional pony or burro :) Gene came out on the machine & closed the gate. Thank you! J2 is already headed back in. Paint & I set out back down the path. Well, after an hour of sorting Paint has ALL his air back. I have a snaffle on him & well...very little whoa. I bump him over off the trail so he has to be breaking his own trail through the snow. I'm not to worried. I can ride him as fast as he can go....I think. We are completely under control. High trot now & caught up to J2. As we come over the little knob, it looks like one of the sorted horses is working on escaping! She is headed straight for the gate to get out. J2 & I pick up the pace, or in my case I just loosened up on Paints face a little. Broc is already there. We head back up the fence pushing on our escapee, who is still trying to fade back. Paint is...well, pushing ....but kinda running off. I think I'm in control......Until he trips & is going down. No biggie, running along side Broc, horses trip on occasion. Ya, well, they usely trip, re-gather, and are up again. We are still running full boar on our knees! My feet are dragging in the snow! This crazy horse doesn't have enough self preservation! Uggggg, up out of the snow & going! That made my blood pressure rise a little! Wild rag has came undone & I'm now holding it in my teeth, both hands on the reins, pushing on our renegade horse. The escapee is returned to the herd.

Now the task of loading these horses on a trailer. Trailing to town in voted against. A trap can be made with trailers to load along side the road. Ok....here we go! Go slow. Go fast. Get a few loaded. Re-group & repeat. After following this process a few times.....lol....we had them captured. Not to worry, we still had to unload in town & sort again but at the end of the day we were successful! A huge thank you to EVERYONE! We couldn't have done it with out you! We get home and drop off the boys. Unsaddle, take care of our horses and everyone heads in their own directions. Oh boy, I'm TIRED! Seriously, I'm out of training for this everyday Hoggan lifestyle. Sportin a bright red sunburn from my sunglasses down & bright white from where my sun glasses and beanie were...lol....lovely. My arms are shoulders are sore from plowing my horse, legs just from riding, geez! No worries, it was a great day but if I had to go 2 days in a row.....hmmm, I'm as good ONCE as I ever was......don't push it :)

Lived Happily Ever After.....until the next small farm accident

Monday rolls around, shockingly enough, I crack out of bed in the morning and get to work with Lil' Red Roan duties. Regg & Mckell need a sitter for an hour or so. I decide to take a break while I have Miss Ellie & make some cookies. Sounded like a fun idea. I wanted to send some cookies into Elk Camp for Dad anyway. Ellie & I have a blast. I'm not sure who is messier, me or her. After she leaves, I get a call that Dad's friend Garrick is getting ready to go in to the elk so I head over with the cookie delivery.

I see the opportunity to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Feeding has to be done at Dad's. J2 & I had our hands full last time so I ask Garrick if he will help us hook the team to feed. Houston is home so it should be a piece of cake. Sure enough, everything harnessed, hooked & we are good to go. Garrick lets us go & Houston & I are headed out. Tires dragging behind for weight, our little team is handling really good. We still need to load more hay on though. The wagon with hay is over where I can't get the team pulled up by it. We will have to throw hay down on the ground & re-load it on the team, not very cool. Garrick hasn't left yet so we see if he can pull the hay wagon up just enough so we can get to it. PERFECT! It is in the perfect spot & loading will be easy. Garrick & Houston moved the wagon while I while my team stood quietly waiting. Garrick leaves.

My horses start really nice and easy. Great positioning to load as I say WHOA in that deep I mean business voice. Apparently Penelope didnt get the memo that I was serious! Something spooks her! Not only do we not stop but we hit the hay wagon, sliding metal on metal & sending about 10 bales flying off! My horses are running off as best they can with the tires on & I just can't get them shut down. I holler to Houston that I'm in trouble as I see a hay bale lodged in between Penelope's back feet & the wagon. She's pulling the wagon & in turn pulling the bale into herself and causing more spooking. My guardian angels are always working over time & the bale moves back enough to stop the pressure. We get stopped & Houston runs across the road to get the bale out. Hahaha, I told you the second day wasn't a good idea. We got loaded the 2nd time without further damage to any equipment. Even managed to avoid any yard obstacles :)

Basically, And Then They Lived Happily Ever After.....until the next small farm accident :)

Lil Red Roan Special~

Cabin Fever Cure ~ Cabin Fever is in the air. What a better way to brighten a day than getting a Love Letter! Send a Love Letter to someone you are thankful for!

Hello Blog Friends

The sun is starting to shine a little warmer everyday & the snow line is receding back. To send a little good cheer I'm having running a Love Letter special this week.

~ Grab Bag of Love Letters from the West! ~ an assortment of 10 Love Letters for only $15! (a $15 dollar savings!) Stock up on your "Love Letters" today!

In case you aren't familiar, LOVE LETTERS from the West is a notecard line that I started about a year ago. Love Letters showcase some of my favorite quotes accompanied with photographs taken on the Gypsy Trail. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


Mindy Hoggan
Lil' Red Roan

p.s. Post your favorite Scripture or Quote & be eligible for a free Gift Pack to get the Cabin Fever Cure going :)


  1. Mindy,
    I just added you as a friend on facebook, I thought we were already friends. I saw your vday pic at my mom's I think you have way too much fun. Hope all is going well.

  2. Thanks Lindsay :) I didn't know I had blog comments....I'm such a dork. Just found them. Good to hear from you!