October 2018 Horse Report

Julie with the vet and Annie

I had a great time with all my horses last month, but we had our ups and downs. Annie has just recovered from a minor performance injury at the end of September—a sprained stifle. She stepped off the trailer at C Lazy U slightly off, and right away I knew what had happened.

The day before traveling, I was working her as normal and at the end of our workout, when my horses are trying really hard (because they know I will not put them away until they put maximum effort into something I ask them to do), I asked her to make a big stop. She did a beautiful sliding stop and I remember thinking, wow, that was really something! She put so much into it that she put a little strain on her stifle and had some fluid buildup there, which we could see on ultra-sound.

Dr. Potter, a performance horse vet that I thank my lucky stars to have treat my horses, suggested rest, confinement and an IRAP injection. I’m happy to report that she is now back to 100% and is out with the herd again and ready to get back to training.

Eddie, my ranch horse gelding, is my fallback horse now, so I pulled him into service. We had to do a Garrocha demonstration at the CHA conference, and since Annie is my Garrocha horse, we had to give Eddie a crash course in pole dancing. He rose to the occasion and the demo went great! I’ve enjoyed riding him more this month—he’s such a steady, reliable and willing horse.

I’m happy to report that my little Pepperoni is the highlight of my day and a blast to ride. We’re still working on the basics, like power steering, but his talent is coming through loud and clear. Without any effort whatsoever on my part, he is already stopping big and beginning to pivot on the hindquarters. He occasionally still crow hops like a porpoise when he is feeling froggy, but it is not hard to ride and it cracks me up. He certainly acts like a 2 year old most of the time, but he is brave and bold and loves to perform.

My old guy, Dually, is still the star around here (even though he is resting on his laurels now), and his main job is taking care of the colt. Pepper has big shoes to fill, and Dually is happy to keep a constant eye on him and tell him how to act.

I am so fortunate to have such amazing horses and I will never take them for granted. What are you thankful for when it comes to your horses? Share your pictures and stories with me on Facebook or @juliegoodnight on Instagram!

September 2018 Horse Report

Pepper and Julie

Pepper and Julie

Lucky for me (not really luck; more by design), I have Melissa to keep my horses working in my absence and my son, Hunter, to keep them secure, comfortable and well-fed. My horses live at home with us, and since I am on the road up to 150 nights a year, you can imagine how important it is to me to have people I trust to take care of the horses. So while Rich and I were gallivanting in Ireland for two of the past four weeks, my horses were still groomed, turned-out, exercised and well-attended every day.

Annie is looking fit, sleek and is well-tuned, just in time for me to ride at the Ranch Riding Retreat at C Lazy U last weekend and at the CHA Conference coming up this weekend. Eddie is getting plenty of work, between Mel and Rich, and is a buff, handsome ranch horse. I’m proud of the bridle horse he has become. In anticipation of working cattle, they’ve been practicing together—Mel on her horse Booger and Rich on Eddie—shadow-boxing to practice their cutting moves.

And then, there’s Pepperoni, the star of the show. I’ve only worked with him a handful of days, but I continue to marvel at what a great mind he has. He’s curious, brave, eager to please, but quick to out-think you, if you’re not careful. He’s very athletic and forward, traits that are important to me in a horse. We’ve gotten lots of great feedback on The Adventures of Pepperoni video series on my YouTube Channel, and we plan to continue the series. So be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an installment. I’ve started riding Pepper in the indoor arena and he hasn’t missed a step. I’ve been working on bitting him up, which I talk about extensively in my podcast this month.

My #1 horse, Dually, has been relegated to semi-retired. His performance days are over, but he will always be #1 around here. We parade him in front of the camera periodically, so he still thinks he’s a rock star. He gets the best dressing room AND the blue M&Ms!

August 2018 Horse Report

Dually and Julie with the vet.
With all the talk about my new young horse, Pepper, it may seem like I’ve forgotten about my other three horses. Yes, a pretty young face always get the attention, but I have my other horses to keep going too.

Dually has once again been undergoing some diagnostic work and progressive (pronounced: ex-spen-sive) treatments to try and understand the source of his pain, which we’ve finally isolated to his right knee. At 18 years old and with an early start to his performance career as a cow horse, he’s showing his age (and one crooked leg doesn’t help). Although he’ll hold up to light riding for some time to come, I am definitely NOT a ‘light’ rider. I don’t weigh much, but I tend to ride hard. Hence, the reason for having a young horse. So Dually has been relegated to “semi-retirement,” meaning we’ll keep him in shape—fit and shiny—for photo shoots and videos, but not really train on him anymore. He deserves it!

Meanwhile, Annie, my little mare with a red-headed attitude is doing great and a blast to ride. My long-term efforts to try and train her to be a gelding seem to be paying off! Eddie, our handsome ranch gelding (son of Sixes Pick—world champion Ranch Horse), has become a fully-trained, solid and reliable bridle horse. Rich has been using him to shoot off of and more recently, has been saddling him English to get ready for our trip to Ireland. I might add that this stocky, typey ranch horse looks downright sexy in English tack (and Rich doesn’t look so bad either!).

July 2018 Horse Report

Our newest addition to the herd, Pepperoni (SCR CD Peptoes), is a two-year-old AQHA gelding, bred at the renowned Spur Cross Ranch and donated to the Legends of Ranching program at Colorado State University. I went to the horse sale back in April, because I am on the CSU Equine advisory committee and also to help my friend Helen buy a horse (she got an awesome 4 yo gelding). I didn’t plan to come home with a horse, but Pepper stole my heart! I was smitten by his athleticism, his beauty and his temperament. The student trainer that handled him was definitely a top-hand and had clearly done an excellent job starting him. He was working well under saddle and clearly had a BIG motor (which I like).

I got Pepper home at the end of April and between my travel schedule and the fact that Pepper needed resting after a hard semester at college, I’ve done very little with him since. He’s well settled into our herd, with Dually (Uncle Daddy) and Eddie (Uncle Brutus), supervising his every move.

Now that I am on my “summer break,” and spending more time at home, I am able to start working with Pepper on a more consistent basis. He’s still quite young and it’s not my intention to push him, but he’s got a great start in his training and I don’t want to lose ground. The other day, I saddled him and worked him in the round pen for the first time. I’m very specific about what I ask a horse to do in the round pen, so he had to work at understanding what I was asking. Fortunately, he’s smart as a whip and a real thinker. In a few minutes, he was doing outside and inside turns, depending on what I asked. He bucked the saddle a little bit—nothing too dramatic. I noticed his bucks actually looked pretty smooth—almost like a porpoise arching out of the water. Since I haven’t yet figured out a bit/bridle for the colt, I didn’t do much more with him other than mount and dismount a few times.

I’m very eager to start riding Pepper! But I really want to bring him along slowly. He is entered in the LOR Futurity in April of next year, but we’ve got plenty of time to get ready for that over the winter. If you’re interested in watching Pepper’s progress, check out his new web series, The Adventures of Pepperoni, on my YouTube Channel!

June 2018 Horse Report

I’ve spent lots of time in the saddle this month; sadly, not much of it on my own horses. I always enjoy riding other people’s horses—whether it’s getting on a horse in a clinic to help the rider figure something out, or riding a loaner horse for a demo at a horse expo.

One of the perks I love most about my job is how many different horses I get to ride. Every horse has something to teach you—even if you’ve literally ridden more than a thousand different individuals.

At home, my horses are mostly enjoying their brief time to graze on green grass (we are officially in a drought, so once the irrigation dries up, the grass will turn brown if it doesn’t start raining). My mature horses are getting their regular work load, thanks to Melissa and Morgan (our summer intern).

My new colt, Pepperoni, is still having some R&R—hanging out with Uncle Brutus (Eddie) and Uncle Daddy (Dually). They are keeping him straight. We bring him in with the older horses, to stand tied and learn patience.

Once this month is over and I am home for a while, I plan to get started riding him. I can’t wait!

May 2018 Horse Report

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On April 21st, I attended the Legends of Ranching horse sale at Colorado State University. It’s an awesome program that I’ve been a part of since its inception, as a member of the Advisory Board for CSU Equine. For the LOR program, legendary ranches and QH breeders donate yearlings and 2 year olds in the fall, which the students prep for sale and train, and in the Spring they are auctioned off as 2 and 3 year olds (the proceeds go back into scholarships and the equine program). I was actually there to help my friend Helen buy a horse, and we found an awesome 4 y/o gelding for her. But as luck would have it, I fell in love with one of the colts, proving once again that I cannot sit on my hands at a horse sale. To me, there’s nothing more fun than that—the hunt, the find, the buy—it’s all incredibly exciting (did you see the FB live post?).

So meet SCR CD Peptoes, a 2016 QH gelding from the Spur Cross Ranch in Montana, who came home to my ranch on April 23rd. He’s by Peptoes, an own son of Peptoboonsmal, out of a Doc Olena bred mare. This boy’s bred to be cowy! But what attracted me to him the most was his conformation and his temperament. He’s athletic and fast—I like that in a horse! But he’s freakishly calm and thoughtful—nice traits in a “hot” horse. He’s a lot of horse—highly sensitive and with a very big motor—but I like that in a horse! He reminds me a lot of Dually when he was young and I am super excited to have a new project.

The first business of order was to find a good barn name for him since SCR CD Peptoes doesn’t just roll off the tongue (and no, Jeff, I am not going to name him “Toes”). We had many great suggestions for names, and we tried a few on for size, but when Dr. Potter examined him the other day for the first time and we had to start a file for him, his nickname became his official name—Pepperoni! It fits him well—he’s got lots of Peppy San Badger and Dual Pep in his pedigree, he’s the color of red pepper (Cayenne was one of the names we considered) and he’s spicy! I like the names Pep, Pepper, Roni (did I mention he’s red roan?) and my favorite pizza is pepperoni!

For now, Pepper is just having some time off. He’s had a hard few months leading up to the sale and was being ridden pretty hard for a two year old. Now it’s time to rest up and be a youngster. Dually has already taken him under his wing and has become somewhat possessive of him. I won’t ride him for a while, but he had a great start from the CSU student that trained him, Makayla Dahley, so I am not in a hurry. Makayla is from a ranching family here in Colorado and is truly a “top hand,” in my opinion. I watched closely how she handled him and rode him and I would not have bought him if I had not been so impressed with the work she has done on this colt. By this time next month, I’ll have more of a plan in mind for Pepper, so stay tuned!

April 2018 Horse Report

Because of a heavy travel schedule, I went three weeks in March without riding my own horses. I hate that! Fortunately, I have Melissa, to manage my horses for me during my frequent absences. Consequently, my horses are slick, fit and tuned up, so when I am home, I can ride to my heart’s desire. (I know, I’m spoiled—but I’ve earned it.)

Rich has been riding Eddie regularly, as they work on their mounted shooting skills. I think Ed is perfect for shooting. I’ll admit my heart swells with pride when I watch Rich and Eddie—he’s easy to ride one-handed (or no hands), he always tries hard and he is 100% obedient to the aids. He’s matured into a balanced and handsome gelding that looks a lot like his sire, Sixes Pick (a world champion ranch horse stallion from the 6666 Ranch), and he is truly a “steady eddie.” I wish I could say the same for Annie.

My little red headed mare is actually doing well in her training. Mostly we’re working on training her to be a gelding. I may never reach that training goal, but I won’t quit trying either—I’d say we are 60% there.

I’ll know more when I take her to the C Lazy U ranch next week, for the clinic I am teaching with Barbra Schulte. I’m bringing Eddie for Barbra to ride—he’s easy as a couch to teach from.

Annie is actually a fun little ride as well—she’s sporty, low to the ground, compact and athletic. When her mind is in the game, she’s a blast to ride! When she’s fretting over the horses coming and going around her and being a supreme busybody, not so much. Keeping her focus and interest on me is a constant challenge, but I feel like I am winning the war. I’ll know for sure this time next month, after we’ve been to a 4-day clinic away from home!

December 2017 Horse Report

With more time at home this month, I’m getting back in the saddle more. It’s good to get in a groove with your horse—the kind of groove that only comes when you ride 4-5 days a week. Keep in mind, my horses are still ridden when I travel, just not by me. If I haven’t ridden my horses in while, like in November (last month), I like to take it easy on them for the first few rides—not asking too much or expecting perfection. We just go forward—long trot, lope and gallop.

As the days go on, my expectations increase and my horses always rise to the occasion. Now that I am home for a full eight weeks, my riding plans start changing. Consistency changes a lot in horse training. While there are many things you can teach a horse really fast, like basic manners, to teach complex riding skills takes time and physical development.

The other big change for us is shifting from riding outdoors to indoors. And yes, after three decades of living in the Colorado mountains, I still count my lucky stars to have an indoor arena so that I can ride year-round. To make the most of 1) my eight week stretch of riding daily, and 2) riding in smaller spaces and doing concentrated schooling, I will need to formulate some new goals for each horse.

I love setting goals for my horses and myself, and having something new to work on. With three very different horses, I can work on a lot of different things.

Hmmm… what will it be? I want to spend some time mulling it over and coming up with fun and realistic goals. I think I have an idea with Annie already, but I am clueless on both Dually and Eddie. I’ll let you know next time!

November 2017 Horse Report

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Be careful what you wish for! I have to say, Dually is feeling fresh as a daisy these days. Although I have not pushed him terribly hard this year, we’ve worked him hard enough that he is fit and perhaps a wee bit cocky. He’s got the attitude of a much younger horse and I like that. Now if they would just approve the same treatments for humans, I might feel young an cocky enough to ride him! My other horses are doing well too. Annie continues to be a redheaded mare some of the time, but she’s gradually becoming more and more like a sorrel gelding. So I guess my training is working. I took Eddie, our ranch gelding, up to C Lazy U for a clinic last month. Even though I don’t ride him much at home, he’s become my best horse for teaching off of, since I started doing it when he was just a three year old. Now he’s coming nine years old and has many clinics under his belt, so he’s an old pro. Having a reliable teaching partner, patiently waiting on my next move and always ready to do something or nothing, is a real blessing to me. Eddie is my Easy-Button.

Horse Report: October 2017

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After returning from a four-day clinic at C Lazy U, where I was teaching horseback for 5-6 hours a day, I am quite happy with the health and performance of my horses. Dually stayed fresh and cocky all weekend long, which thrills me to no end. After almost two years of him feeling cranky and depressed (so bad that I stopped riding him for 18 months), it’s incredible to feel his abundant energy underneath me and to see him showing off and strutting his stuff. At 17 years old, he outworked my younger horses, both in endurance and performance. It’s amazing what modern veterinary medicine can do for older horses and while these cutting-edge treatments are not available to every horse yet, some day they will be, and I am eternally grateful to my vet for giving me my horse back.

Annie also made me proud at C Lazy U. She worked hard at keeping her head in the game and living up to my very high expectations of her (I expect her to act like a gelding, which is hard for a busy-minded mare). She required an occasional reminder not to look around and not to get worked up about all the other horses, but she came back to me quickly each time her focus wandered. I told you last month about the genetic testing I had done on Annie and the interesting results I received with the double curiosity markers, and as  result of your interest, the company, Etalon Diagnostics Etalondx.com contacted me to invite me to be part of their advisory board. So thank you! I’m truly excited to learn more about their research.

My boy Eddie, now Rich’s main ride, also performed well at C Lazy U, switching back and forth between my arena and the herd work that Rich was supervising. It’s a lot of work to keep my horses going at the training and fitness level I need from them, but after a fantastic weekend on the road, that hard work seems to have paid off!