Welcome to JKs Rough String Ranch

Welcome to the Rough String, and thanks for stoppin' by!! Grab a hot cup of coffee and sit a spell!
10/22/18 You will see a name change on the blog. Lots of things have changed in my life in the past few years, and I feel compelled to share my story.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm Leaving Him In Charge

Yep, there he is...the man in charge. Tat the Barn Cat!! I think he looks like he'll take care of the Rough String while I'm gone overnight...what do you think?

I'm off to Grant County to do more Ag Surveys...back tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day Duncan!!!

Duncan of Duncan Butte
Mustang of the Big Summit HMA
Prineville Oregon

Duncan is the third mustang I adopted and I wrote the following story about him back in 2005...

Duncan’s story is more dramatic (and sad) when he lived in the wild than after his capture. Duncan lived in the Big Summit HMA in the Ochoco National Forest of Oregon. The HMA is not very large, bordered by lots of private lands, and the herd number is kept at approximately 60.

In late 2004, 5 mustangs were sighted on private property outside of the HMA. There were discussions between the BLM, Ochoco National Forest (FS) personnel, and board members of the Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition (of which I am a part of) of how to best get the horses back into the HMA. A few months passed and the horses were still on the private land and didn’t seem to want to go back to the HMA.

In January of 2005, only 3 of the 5 horses were spotted on the private land and it was a few days later that a wild horse was struck and killed by a motor home on the road that runs through the HMA. Shortly after that tragedy, another property owner reported to the FS that a wild horse colt had jumped their fence and was now in with their registered paint mares! It’s suspected that the 2 colts were run out of the band of 5, one had been killed by the motor home, leaving this one alone with nowhere to go. So he happened upon this “instant band of mares,” and decided it looked pretty good. I’m quite certain that this colt thought he had made it to horsey heaven with alfalfa delivered to him twice a day and his own mares he didn’t even have to fight for!

It was determined by both the FS and BLM that the colt would need to be captured and either relocated or offered for adoption. The Coalition was notified by the FS of their intentions. Part of our mission is the welfare of the Big Summit herd, and we have a great working relationship with them. We have assisted in finding homes for many of the horses gathered from the Big Summit HMA.

My husband John and I had been thinking of getting another mustang and decided to take a drive out there to see what this guy looked like. Ochoco horses aren’t very big and this little guy was no exception. He looked to be about a yearling or maybe coming 2 year old and liked to play with the other colt in the pasture. His color was dark bay without any white markings that we could see. Just a plain little bay, but he had a really cute head and his conformation and disposition were nice. We decided that if he had to be adopted out, we would apply to take him.

We weren’t able to be there when they captured him, but it was pretty uneventful. They moved all the horses across the road to the wood corrals and separated out the colt. He was a little panicked by this, but Bill Pieratt with the BLM got a rope around his neck and practically led him into the trailer! They took him to the Burns Wild Horse Corrals for processing. They determined he was a 2 year old, and we asked them to geld him for us. He was ready for us to pick him up after a couple of weeks.

Since he had just been gelded, we needed to keep him moving of course. He was in a 24 x 24 foot paddock, and it was easy to get in the paddock with him and drive him forward from the hip. He actually kept coming in toward me and pretty soon the lead line that he was dragging was at my feet. I just bent down, picked it up, and put a little pressure on it. In 5 minutes he was giving to the pressure and doing right and left inside turns! We kept doing this for a little while and his circle kept getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller. Pretty soon his hip was so close to me I just reached out and gave him a touch and a scratch…that was all it took. It was a little surprising for him at first, but he really liked the scratching. This, I believe, was mainly because he was covered with ticks from head to tail! I kept scratching and picking off ticks. Pretty soon, I was up to his neck and head. There were times he had to walk away because he was unsure, but he always came back for more scratches.

I’ve used the John Sharp bamboo pole method on my other 2 mustangs, but this colt wasn’t going to need it. This is very typical of the Ochoco horses. They are easily gentled and very people oriented.

So, his gentling was very uneventful and there isn’t much to tell. One day I had my equine dentist out to work on a couple of other horses, and I asked her to take a look at Duncan. She glanced into his mouth and immediately said that this is no 2 year old…this guy is only 10-12 months old! From the outside, Duncan looked like a mature horse. His tail was past his hocks and had lost the baby curl, but the teeth don’t lie.

Duncan’s future will be enjoyable for him I think. His disposition and physical characteristics are not those of a real athletic, active horse such as gaming or timed cattle event horses. He prefers walking, and that’s good since we want to pack with him. He is short, big boned, and steady; the makings of a great mountain horse. I think this lifestyle will suite him just fine.

Duncan's first day at home.

Our intention was to start doing some packing into wilderness areas. Then when we moved here and I started the cow horse thing...all my priorities changed!

So, we offered Duncan for sale...and he is spoken for...has been for the past two years! My friend Kate is very involved with the Big Summit herd and is a packer by trade. She is working on getting a few Big Summit mustangs for her next string. Currently she has a string of Halflingers.

Duncan with his very best buddy Rohan.
They play all day long.

Last spring I got Duncan started under saddle. I put about 10-12 rides on him and turned him out for the summer...since Kate said she would take him.

Is that an apple butt or what?!?
Duncan is always on a diet!

I admit, Duncan isn't the most beautiful horse...more or less, he's so ugly he's cute. But his personality and disposition is A1. A month or so ago, My Man came in from feeding and said he got on Duncan. I said WHAT?!?!? He told me that Duncan was just standing there eating and he got a wild idea to hop on him...no halter...no nothin'...Duncan just stood there until he decided to go to another pile of hay and slowly walked over to the next pile with My Man aboard...not a care in the world. Well, I'm glad that my 10 rides on him left a good impression on his mind...considering no one else had ever ridden him, let alone someone 14 inches taller and 80 pounds heavier than me.

Happy Gotcha Day lil' guy...we love ya~~


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Stills

Architecture is this week's Sunday Stills challenge. I didn't get out anywhere this past week...so I'm totally cheatin' on this challenge...I'm posting old photos from my archives, and I'm going to link a couple of previous posts.

My photos are nothing compared to what I've seen posted by others this morning! To view more architecture challenge shots, click here and enjoy!

So, here we go...

These two shots are taken in the old ghost town of Shaniko Oregon. We actually got to stay the night at the Shaniko hotel for a company Christmas party...it was a great time!

The old school house.

The Shaniko Hotel

The next two shots were taken at the Sodhouse Ranch...a ranch built by the cattle king Pete French in the 1880's.

This is the inside of the barn with my Coyote and Rohan
enjoying some hay. My Man and I were doing a wild horse
demo for the BLM at the annual Ranching Heritage Day.
Our horses were the first ones to step into the barn
after it's restoration process.
Notice the metal rings on the edge of the wood rail
under Coyote's belly...they used to tie the horses to those rings.
Can you imagine what it was really like back then?

The stone building behind me and Rohan
was the cellar/ice house.

The next photo is at yet another ranch owned by Pete French. This is the barn at the P Ranch which was the headquarters for his empire.

The Long Barn at the P Ranch.

Photos and my blog post about Pete French's Round Barn (a truly unique barn) can be seen here.

Old Princeton is located on our ranch. You can see photos and my blog post here.

Ok...one more...nature is the best architect of them all...

This is the Kiger Gorge on Steens Mountain.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Legend Who Will Never Be Forgotten

Last week while I was at my training class in Portland, My Man called me...his news was sad...

John Sharp passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 94.

Back in 2001, I needed help gentling my first wild horse, Coyote. I couldn't get my hand past his eye...I hadn't a clue what to do. My friend suggested I get a hold of John Sharp. She said he was very experienced and had a video showing his technique. So, I called John and he invited me out to his place.

What a wonderful, kind old man. He had to show me every horse on the property telling me about their breeding and what he had done with them. Mares, babies, geldings, and his stallion Red Deck...it was a very memorable day. Then he explained his gentling techniques. It sounded easy enough and something I could do...no mysterious round pen work...a hands on "fishing for horses" that was quite intriguing. I couldn't wait to get home to give it a try. So, I bought his video and his knot tying book, autographed of course ;~). And, he gave me a bamboo pole too!

I sat down and watched the video over and over about 5 times...I think I'm ready! I grab the bamboo pole and my 1/2" cotton rope and head out to the pen. I do not lie. I had my hands all over Coyote within 45 minutes!!! I was one happy cowgirl I tell ya!

Coyote's first time out of the pen!

Thank you John Sharp for teaching me and hundreds of others a wonderful training technique that is helping wild horses every day. But, as John taught, the pole and the rope are tools to use on any horse, domestic or wild...and truer words could not have been said. I use the rope treatment on every horse I start. You left a legacy many will treasure.

I vision that John is sitting tall in the saddle again watching over all of us...he will be guiding us along when we get stuck on one of those hard to gentle horses. Thank goodness~~

Thanks for helping make Coyote
the wonderful horse he is today.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Stills

This week's Sunday Stills challenge was the moon...fairly appropriate since last Monday was a full moon! Luckily, we had a couple of clear nights...unfortunately, I'm lousy at shooting the moon!!

I used the "night" mode on my digital, and it seemed to over expose the shots so the moon looked like a flaming ball.

Well, these were about as good as it got for me...

This last shot actually had enough clarity to see some semblance of detail of the moon. I would have had more fun if hadn't been freezing out, and I wore something warmer than just slippers on my feet!!

If you want to see more "moon shots", visit the comments on this post at Sunday Stills! I'm off to check them out myself~~


Monday, February 9, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil was Right!!

Dang it anyhow...I sure was hoping Punxsutawney Phil was going to be wrong this year...but, the forecast last night was for snow until 10 a.m. this morning. The wind woke me up early and I could see the white outside...dang!

I step outside the back door to go feed...lovely...dang!
Just before I went out, My Man opened the door
and 12 inches of snow that had piled up against
the door fell into the back room...dang!

I'm guessing we got 3 inches or so...but with the wind blowing it everywhere...who knows? But, I knew exactly what the inside of the barn was going to look like...

Yep, lovely...dang!

I load up the wheelbarrow with hay for the spoiled boys and opened the back door...

OMG...who's horse is this?????
I think it's Colt...I think...

Oh yea...that's Colt...I'd recognize that a$$ anywhere!

Anybody recognize these Yahoos?

Oh...look...it's Catnip 'n Stetson!!!
There's so much snow on them and inside the lil'
Mustang Barn, I can't tell if they stayed
in it last night or not!!!

The pups had a great time romping in the snow...

Cindy Sue looks like she rolled in it.
Well, kinda like me...I hit a badger hole...
landed face first in the snow...dang!!

I think there's a walkway under there...somewhere.

Would you believe My Man and I rode in our
arena yesterday?

Dang...when's spring coming?!?!?!?

PS~~I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Portland...yuck...double dang! 2 & 1/2 days of training for my Agricultural Survey job...see y'all next weekend!!!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Stills

Another Sunday Stills challenge is here...this time "Reflections." Hmmmm...I could just say look at the header photo on my blog and you will see the best reflection photo I've ever taken...and it's true!!

I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to top that photo...and I didn't...but what fun would it be if I didn't try~~

Years ago I found this old medicine cabinet door with the beveled mirror...I've had it hanging in every barn isle ever since. It's interesting to see the reactions of horses who see themselves for the first time ;~) So, Colt got to be the model.

I liked this photo because of the double reflection
in the beveled edge. Colt's eye and his
breast collar are reflected in the bevel.

The second photo I chose, included Colt's right side
in the camera shot along with the mirror. I liked how
his forelock is half covering his eye. But,
I couldn't get him to perk his ears up
for the life of me!

My header photo is of Riddle Mountain reflected in Dry Lake on a drive out to the Pete French Round Barn last November. It was one of those moments when you slam on the brakes and get out to take a photo...I can't remember when I've ever done that before...I guess the blogging bug has totally taken over me!

To see more "reflections" photos...visit Sunday Stills!


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Five Greatest Joys in Nature

I was tagged a VERY LONG time ago by my wonderful blogger friend Celeste at Celestial Ramblings. She lives in a high rise in Chicago...how far away from rural SE Oregon is that?!? A long away!!!

But, I love her blog! Her photos, stories, and wildlife knowledge keeps me going back for more~~

So, this meme asks me to name MY Five Greatest Joys in Nature. It took me a long time to figure out my answer. Then it dawned on me how simple the answer really is.

I haven't visited exotic places or seen any of the greatest natural wonders of the world...but, I have everything I want or need right here...which gives me the greatest joy I could ever imagine.

The Joy of Sight

Gazing into the trusting eye of a
best friend is truly amazing.

The Joy of Smell

Every horse's nose smells different...true!!!
Have you ever had the privilege to
sniff noses with a horse?
I am truly blessed...I do it daily...

The Joy of Hearing

Hearing nothing~~

Or hearing chaos...it's all good...
just a day in the life.

The Joy of Taste

There's nothing better tasting than
home grown food.

The Joy of Feeling

Feeling your friend, a warm fire,
and the love of your soul mate.


I'm not going to tag anyone in particular, but I'd love to hear what your five Greatest Joys in Nature are.

If you'd like to play, please do!! Just leave me a comment, 'cause I don't want to miss it!


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Catnip & Stetson~~The Encore

This lil' performance is by special request. Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch, was trying to hear Catnip and Stetson munching their hay in yesterday's Wordless Wednesday photo. Stuck as the poor cowgirl is in her lonely tower, I had to oblige the best I could.

Of course, Stetson was most eager to perform and Catnip was her usual "standoffish" self...waiting in the wings until everything seemed ok to make her appearance. The set crew had too much wind blowing and that seems to have drowned out most of the soft munching, but lots of hay rustling can be heard.

A few of you asked if we "do" anything with our lil' cuties...well, initially we thought of packing with them, and we may still. But, for now, we just enjoy hearing them brea every morning and evening (and many times in between) and watch their cute lil' antics. They're just fun to have around.