Friday, January 28, 2011

I've Been Awarded!

Thank you to Dock Start at Adventures in Colt (Filly) Starting and Rebecca at There's a Horse Outside My Window, who both felt that my blog was worthy of an award. Or perhaps they were running short on newly discovered blogs to share ;)

I've been dragging my feet a bit on this one, but in the spirit of things, I'll get on board.

There are rules that go along with this award:
1.Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3.Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4.Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

1. I'm fiercely proud of being an American.

2. I like to read. My preferred genre is history, primarily the Second World War, but I look forward to Clive Cussler's latest Dirk Pitt novels.

3. If a friend needs a favor, I will help out without question. But, I will never ask anyone for help. I'm just funny that way.

4. If someone had told me six years ago that horses would be a large part of my life, I would have laughed them out of the room. Now I cannot imagine a life without them.

5. I used to be extremely introverted. I'm still not very adept at making small talk if common ground for a conversation can't be found, but I'm no longer the quiet guy in the corner.

6. I'm nostalgic. I sometimes wish I had been born to an earlier era. Not because I think life was better, but rather because it was simpler.

7. I think that riding a horse at a dead run is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Fifteen recently discovered blogs:

1. Spotty Horse News.
2. A Year With Horses.
3. Andy's Place.
4. Full of Love and Life.
5. Kat's Scribbles.
6. Murphy and Other Stories.
7. Observations of an Okie Biker.
8. Rockbottom.
9. When it Strikes Me.
10. Hoof 'n Barrel.
11. Life at Sweetpea's Heaven.
12. A Filly's Best Friend.
13. On a Chicken Wing and a Prayer.
14. Innominatus.
15. MiKael's Mania.

Whew! One less thing to procrastinate on.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Random Stuff

At the weekly Backcountry Horsemen meeting last night, the comment was made (in reference to a local tack shop) that we should shop local, because if we don't, they soon won't be there, and we'll have no choice but to shop online.

I've been thinking about this, and too be quite honest, I'm a bit torn. Shopping is generally not high on my funmeter, except at Cabela's or Big J's. Shopping online saves me time, gas, and usually money, as I can find better prices. But, I must admit, there are times when I want to be able to hold something in my hand before making the decision to buy it. And, at least where the tack store in question is concerned, it's too small and jam packed, rarely has anything I'm looking for, is overpriced, and, by the way, the proprietor is an asshole. Doesn't make me want to stop in.

Mike's Western, in Enumclaw, is a little better. It's still too small and crowded, but Mike, who is a good old boy from Texas, knows where everything is, and if he doesn't have it, he can get it. His prices are fair, and generally negotiable. He recognizes you when you come in, and will take time to shoot the breeze.

So, I guess for me, the decision to shop local or online boils down to the experience. Your mileage may vary.

Speaking of tack, I picked up two new pieces of tack at the gun show, of all places. One is a leather scabbard that fits a scoped rifle. It's clearly seen use, as the leather is soft and well broke in. It's in excellent condition, and I talked the seller out of it for 40 bucks. Brand new, it would have been at least $125 or better.

The other item I picked up is a 1957 Marlin 336 RC chambered in 30-30. What's that? You don't think it qualifies as tack? Pshaw! Mrs. BR and the daughters buy fancy show tack and clothes, but my idea of tack merely takes another form. Besides, I've been jonesing to get my greasy mitts on one of these classics for awhile, and this one is in better condition than most of the newer ones that were for sale, and the price was better. So there!

I rode a different horse tonight. Our friend B is away at college, and her gelding, X, hasn't been getting much saddle time. She's happy to let us use him, and, since I am considering care leasing him come Spring, I need to test him out. X is a Morgan-something or the other cross. I think he is eight. I decided to give him a go tonight. DN3 suggested that I longe him first. To which suggestion I cast a rather baleful look. While I don't criticize the activity, it just isn't something I do. I want to saddle up and get to gettin'.

She made the point, however, that he hadn't been getting much exercise, so I said, fine, have at it. It was quite the show, with X looking more like a bucking bronc than a saddle horse. It did give me pause to question whether this was a good idea, but having seen him under saddle on numerous occasions, I knew all would be well. He was being a bit lazy, and, I suspect, testing me out. Once he realized that I had a clue, he became very responsive. His trot is a bit rough, but he has a nice lope.

I want to work him back into shape, and then try him out on some trail rides. If that works out, I'll probably lease him, and train him to carry a pack saddle. I'm excited about the prospect.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What He Said...

Dude nails it. (Bad word alert).

I tried to embed the video, but it wasn't working.

Friday, January 21, 2011

No...Just No. Not Ever.

Watch it full screen to get the true effect.

I got vertigo just watching this.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just Because...

It combines two of my favorite things...a good Western and Tom Petty's music.

Can a Horse Have a Case of "Ants in the Pants"?

The farrier was out last night to trim and shoe Smokey and Leo. Now, being nearly 22 years old, Smokey has had his fit trimmed and shod and times, I suspect. Rough math yields an estimate of 120 to 140 times. One would think he'd have it down by now.

He is usually well behaved, unless it takes too long, and then he gets a ornery, jerking his feet away, and, on two occasions, kicking the farrier. I guess age makes a fella impatient.

Our regular farrier is out of commission, with an injured hand, so his partner Jerry came out to do the job, which is of no concern, as he does good work.

I don't know what was wrong with Smokey last night, but he was a complete imbecile. He would not stand still, was constantly snorting and blowing, showing the whites of eyes, and spooking at every little thing, even the barn cats cats. Talk about a moving target. Jerry was really earning his keep, and didn't appear to be the least bit bothered by it.

Right up until Smokey knocked him over, that is. He was on the last foot, right hand, when he went sailing across the barn. He was allright, but I can assure you that Smokey got a butt whupin' after that. Enough was enough. Jerry insists that Smokey did not kick him, but rather pushed him. I'm not convinced that he wasn't just being gracious. He didn't charged me extra, and assured me he would come back next time.

I'm not really certain what was wrong with Mr. Fidgety Horse. Admittedly, the barn was a bit busier than usual, with people, horses, the tractor, and cars coming and going. Still, these aren't things that normally agitate him. It was a clear night, with full moon. Maybe he's a Werehorse.

Needless to say, he's going to spend some time in the round pen before his next shoeing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ruger Super Blackhawk - First Assessment

I took the new revolver to the range on Sunday for its maiden voyage. I started with the target at 5 yards, just to check the sights, firing 240 grain, jacketed hollow points.

That hole in the center of the target? That was the first shot. No kidding. I have witnesses. Of course, as you can see, it went downhill after that. I consistently shot low and to the right through the rest of the session. Some sight adjustment will be necessary.

As you can see, there's a touch of recoil. Once I relaxed and let myself roll with it, my accuracy improved.

I previously mentioned that I had fired my Brother-in-Laws Super Blackhawk a few weeks ago. There are two differences between the individual revolvers. Mine has a 5.5" barrel, and his a 7.5" barrel. His also has Pachmayr Decelerator grips, while mine has the factory grips.

Assessment: I like this revolver. It's definitely a keeper. However, while the wood grips are very pleasing to the eye, they are a bit on the short side. Half of my pinky hangs below the grip, and the corner of the butt digs into it during the recoil. As the Pachmayr grips are longer, they will solve this problem. I did buy it for function, not form, after all.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Here We Go Again

I wish the housing market would hurry up and recover, so we could sell this place and move to higher ground. Fat chance, I suppose...

Friday, January 14, 2011


Lions, and Tigers, and Bears.

I've mentioned that I have encountered two black bears while riding in the hinterlands. In two minutes. Yes, the two were within 100 yards of one another. A wee bit unnerving.

While black bear attacks are fairly rare, they can and do happen. According to these statistics, sixteen fatal encounters with black bears occurred in the last decade. I wasn't able to drum up stats for non-fatal attacks, but they do happen. Grizzlies are also starting to migrate south from Canada into the Pasayten Wilderness area of Washington, an area I hope to ride in someday. Fatal encounters with grizzlies seem to be few and far between, but I have no desire to be one of the unfortunate souls who do comprise the statistics.

Mountain Lions are also present in this area. I know of two experienced outdoorsmen who have been stalked by mountain lions, an experience neither cares to repeat.

Many hikers, backpackers, and trail riders carry bear bells and/or bear spray to ward off Ursus arctos horriblis, ursus americanus, and puma concolor, which is all fine and dandy, I suppose. As for me, should an encounter with one of these predators turn sideways, I want to know that there is more between than an aerosol can, harsh words, and sleigh bells standing between me and death by mauling. But that's just me. Therefore, I pack a sidearm.

Revolvers are my weapon of choice. They do not jam, and should a misfire occur, simply move to the next chamber. Up til now, I have carried a S&W Model 19 chambered in .357. This is a wonderful, well balanced revolver.

I tend to spend a great deal of time doing research on activities that I participate in. I like to be well educated. In the area of wilderness defense, said research led me to the realization that my .357 would be adequate against a two legged varmint, and passable against a mountain lion. Against a bear, however, it would likely serve only to further anger the aggressor.

Bear defense is best performed with a big bore, short barreled rife. Think Marlin Guide Gun chambered in 45-70. A portable cannon, which is not for the faint of heart. Realizing the impracticality of that option, most experts agree that the next best choice is a large caliber revolver chambered in .44 magnum, .45 Long Colt, or larger, if you dare. Semi-automatic pistols, such as the .45, are not preferable due to the slower velocities of these rounds.

When reading about the .44 magnum, I kept finding the statement "for those who can manage the recoil". This makes it sound a tad fearsome for the handler, no? Since I'm not the biggest fella on the block, I though perhaps this wasn't the round for me. But, proof is better than speculation, so I borrowed my Brother-in-Laws Ruger Blackhawk, purchased a box of ammo, and headed to the range. Fifty rounds later, I left saying "I gotta have one of these." Very manageable recoil.

I am now the proud owner of this beauty:

Ruger New Model Blackhawk in .44 magnum. I chose the stainless steel, since, well, it rains in these parts once in awhile (read: most of the time). It's single action, meaning one has to cock the hammer before firing, but I did that on my double action revolver too. It makes for less trigger pull, and greater accuracy. I admit I was initially skeptical about the "cowboy" style handle, but this pistol feels absolutely perfect in my hand.

There is one other reason for horse riders to carry a firearm, which I have mentioned before. Should a horse break a leg out in the boonies, there are few practical options available. None of us ever want to be in that situation, but it can, and does happen. I have heard one gruesome story o how this was dealt with when no gun was available. I'll spare you, but suffice it to say that the teller of this tale has never ridden unarmed since.

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming.

I've sat down several times this week with every intention of posting. I have a subject at hand, some good thoughts, and then...I stare at the screen and the words aren't there. Blogger's block?

Why we start a blog is probably as varied as we are as individuals. How many of us start, convinced that no one will read, let alone comment? Then we find ourselves pleasantly surprised when we develop a small band of followers. As we read each others writings, we branch out, and find ourselves reading in the same circles. These people, most of whom we are unlikely to ever meet, become friends. We share thoughts, experiences, opinions, gripes, and moans. Stories about ourselves, our families, our passions.

When certain of the folks on my blogroll haven't posted in awhile, I find myself concerned for their well being. This is followed by relief when a new post appears. Is that strange.

I sometimes feel as though I am obligated to post. I realize the foolishness of this though, but it is present nonetheless. Once apologies are offered for the dearth of posts, readers are are quick to let one know that it's no big deal, and they will be there when the blogging resumes. I know that I have made that very statement on a multitude of occasions, with the utmost sincerity.

Even with that knowledge, I feel that I must blog. "I owe it to my readers," I tell myself. "Post something, anything." My mind is full of topics. While driving to and from work, the prose flows in my thoughts. But as I stare at the screen, my brain becomes like a just shaken Etch a Sketch. Blank.

Hic quoque transibit.

On another front, I've been called many things in my life, by many people. Some true, others, well...probably true. To this list can be added the the fact that I have recently been referred to as "eye candy".

Hmmm. Today is my forty-fifth birthday. Maybe there is something to this getting older thing. Just sayin'.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm Seeing Red Right Now, So I Don't Have a Good Title For This Post.

On the surface, I tend to have a rather dim view of my fellow humans. I often feel that I wouldn't piss on most people even if they were on fire. Now, that may be rather pessimistic, and, truth be told, deep down I believe there is more good in the world than evil.

Still, sometimes it's hard to tell.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

"True Grit"

Mrs. BR took me to see True Grit this evening.

If you like westerns, even if only a little, then this movie is worth seeing. The acting is superb. You forget that you are watching Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. And Hailee Steinfeld, in her first movie role, plays Mattie Ross. This young lady gives a top notch performance and holds her own amongst some big names. I daresay she has a promising career ahead of her.

The serious drama is interspersed with well delivered, dead pan humor. I won't give any spoilers, just a positive recommendation.

I give this movie 4 horseshoes out of a possible 4.

Happy New Year, and More Eagles

Happy New Year, everyone!

Last Thursday dawned cool and clear, with a light dusting of Winter Wonderland thrown in overnight by Mother Nature.

Smokey and I went Eagle watching again, and while out on the river, we ran into our friend Vicki, who was photographing these majestic symbols of our great country. She has captured some amazing photos, and posted them on FB. As they are far superior to any that I have taken, I have, with her permission, borrowed some of them to post here for those of you not fortunate enough to have Eagles in your backyard.

I wish I could get pictures that were half that good. She also took a couple good photos of my horse: