Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, March 14, 2005

Almost a Taz

We had another busy weekend, but it was a very pleasant change to be down at the Colorado Horse Expo rather than working on the property. Expo is the second major agricultural exposition held in Colorado, the first of course being the National Western Stockshow. Expo, however, is focused specifically on horses and brings together trainers, professionals, service providers, vendors, and all sorts of other folks interested in horses. It is a lot of fun.

The Expo ran Friday through Sunday. After work Friday I ran down to start putting up our boarding and lesson fliers on the bulletin boards. I got a number up, wandered through the barn and checked out a few of the horses for sale. Saturday we all went down - for the entire day. We scoured the barn for sale prospects, attended a lecture on liabilty law, and saw several demos. Before lunch. Most of the afternoon we were in the expo hall talking to everyone about everything from pasture shelters, tractor implments, helmets, instructor insurance, indoor arenas, custom SPR coasters and tropheys, and more.

We ended up purchasing 3 pasture shelters - got a great deal on them based on Dave's previous research. We bought 2 for ourselves and 1 for our neighbor since he said he'd want to go in with us. Well, then we had to scurry to try and contact Tom, because steel prices are taking a sharp rise and our price was only good for a day or two. But we did manage to confirm he was ok with the order. In a few weeks we hope to have shelters so that the horses can stay out of the snow, hail, rain and wind! We also purchased a harrow, and finagled a deal to buy a dozen riding helmets at wholesale cost so that we have some that we can resell to students.

We also fell in love with a beautiful little wild horse that the BLM had brought up to auction off. They'd brought 3 horses to auction, all saddle broke, but all of us liked little "Taz" the best. We call him little, but he was probably 14.3 hands. A bit scrawney but had room to grow since he was only 4. He was just as cute as could be, still with that identifible mustang look. And, he accepted all the crazyness that the barns are at Expo amazingly well.

CHR used to regularly take horses to Expo to advertise our adoptables. 4 years ago Jordan was among the 4 selected to go. I was his exercise rider, so I went along and rode him in two or three show-off rounds. Jordan was a total dork. Didn't like the crowds. Totally freaked in the crowded warmup paddock where we had to mount and wait for our turn. Didn't like his stall, etc. It was definitely a very good learning opportunity for me to see how he behaved removed from his element. (He, however, attracted a great deal of attention, thus cementing my decision to adopt him. The greatest comment I got was when we were standing waiting to go into the paddock a woman came up, looked him up and down and commented: "Now that's one tall drink of water!")

Taz on the other hand, seemed totally unphased. Never heard him whinny and he was pulled in and out of the arenas with no care in the world.

The BLM has a cooperative arrangement with the prison in Canyon City where by inmates learn horse care, training and farrier skills. They gentle and saddle train wild horses for an increased adoption fee. We'd all heard good things about the program, but didn't know many of the specifics. We talked with them quite a bit, and saw some video of them working Taz and the others at their facility just days prior. To all appearances they seem to really have their act in gear. The woman running the adoptions was enthusiastic to have a mustang go into a lesson program, being that it would be a great advertisement for both the prison program and mustang adoptions.

We debated quite a bit on Saturday whether we should bid on him, and ended up turning in our application just as we left. Dave and Ginger went back down on Sunday and started bidding. Fortunately for the BLM, they had a lot of interested bidders and his price went up several hundred dollars beyond our agreed maximum bid. Ginger was bidding right along - promising Dave that if I disagreed she'd pay the extra cost! Anyways, we didn't get him, but we sure are seriously more interested in the Inmate Training program's offerings: (if you look quick you'll see Taz's entry under the Adoptable Saddle Trained Mustangs.)



Post a Comment

<< Home