Thursday, 28 April 2016

Dear Diary: Let it be Spring.

April 6

We've had crazy weather - summer and winter are still duking it out. This week it hit 80 degrees. (last week it got up to 55). But for the most part Spring has Sprung.

Lilacs are blooming, dandelions taking over the lawn, cherry blossoms, cottonwoods shedding cotton, the trees along the creeks are green now and the hills are green with spring grass. Still a lot of snow on the mountains - this is good!

The birds are mostly back, though I haven't seen the orioles yet. We have a pair of phoebe's that have been nesting in the corner of our porch by the front door for as long as I can remember. They are used to people and dogs and the door opening and closing, even during the rides and clinics they get on with their business. This year I tore down the old nest (mud and stuff) and closed off the hole into the wall, but tradition held, and they built a new nest on top of the porch light.

I've been watering the pasture and gardens since March - it's been dry and windy this spring and I needed to start the water early. The kildeer love it when I set the sprinkler in the pasture. Their cheerful peep peeps are a sure sign of spring.


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Monday, 25 April 2016

Dear Diary: Let it be spring. April 4

My 16,000 mile American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) patch came today - that’s 16,000 miles worth of endurance rides in the USA!

And here’s a thanks to the horses and the endurance miles they earned for me. Some had short careers for one reason or another (sickness, arthritis, injury, age, attitude) some stayed with me for a long time. Some were ridden by others as well as me. They were all special in some way!

  • Tiaro - my first Arabian endurance horse! scrawny and ugly but tough and loved to run. 1025 miles (1075 total)
  • Carrousell Vision - beautiful and capable Arabian. 1075 miles (just me)
  • Viargo - Carol's horse, a great ride. 50 miles (375 total)
  • CMR Benewah - fast and barely broke and loved to run. 525 miles (1200 total)
  • OMR Kalligraphy - ex race horse, awesome ride, retired due to arthritis. 150 miles (805 total)
  • Nature’s Quicksilve - half Russian Orlov Trotter - amazing mare. 680 miles (2200 total)
  • Nature’s Khruschev - half Russian Orlov Trotter - fast, safe, sane, tough, the best. 2865 miles (3415 total)
  • Nature’s Fantastic - half Russian Orlov Trotter - fast, but had a mean streak. 525 miles (575 total)
  • Bunchuk - pure Russian Orlov Trotter - imported from Russia as a driving horse. fast trot!!! 520 miles (1125 total)
  • Great Santin i - a rescue horse, Arabian, tough and game. 1305 miles (2455 total)
  • Sukaro HCC - ranch bred Arabian 'tougher than snot'. 325 miles (3625 total)
  • Jaziret Bey Musc - the best endurance horse - tough, fast, fun. 4105 miles ( 6620 total)
  • AM Bold Destiny - Heidi's horse. beautiful Arabian. 100 miles (840 total)
  • Jose Viola - the most fun horse to ride - happy, willing, tough. 450 miles (3985 total)
  • Ravenwood Dark Desire - aka Batman - fast and bold, a true superhero. 750 miles (2014 total)
  • Owyhee Smoke Signal - aka Smokey - born here at the ranch, a strong minded mare, a great ride. Many more miles together I hope! 455 miles (just me!)

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  • Tuesday, 5 April 2016

    Dear Diary: Let it be Spring. April 2

    First ride of the Northwest endurance season today - based out of our ranch (The Teeter Ranch) in Oreana. This was the 10th running of the Owyhee Tough Sucker ride. The trails aren't really all that tough - some sand, some rock, some climbs, but the weather... can be anything! We've had wind, rain, snow, hail, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes... it can be Tough out there!

    Our Tough Sucker Mascot has been Yosemite Sam, he's pretty tough, right? Ride awards are usually coffee mugs with the mascot and a few other silly things printed on it.

    Well this year we decided to have a little fun. We're just a small ride, but we have big ambitions. The really big rides in the Middle East, where Sheiks and Royals compete, have grand prizes - typically shiny new 4WD vehicles - Toyota or maybe even Mercedes rigs. So what the heck. We advertised 4WD trucks for the winners of the Tenth Annual Tough Sucker ride. We even let folks pick their preference when they registered online - Toyota, Jeep, or Mercedes.

    Well the competition was fierce* and the day was long. But oh what a day - it was the first really lovely spring day of the year. High of 75 degrees, light breeze to keep everybody comfortable, lots of green grass on the trail, wildflowers, blue sky... it really was a beautiful day, smiles all around. Of course the trail was tough enough, especially for horses and riders on the first competition of the season. We threw in some good climbs and sand washes and tried to keep up our reputation. But it was a happy day.

    We let Sam have a little fun (at least on the completion mugs).

    And the winners were excited about their 4WD truck awards. There was even some back room dealing on who would get the best models, and what to do with the vehicles if the recipient had to go home before the awards ceremony.

    We lined up all the trucks for a photo before they went home with their new owners.

    It really was a fun day. I had a fantastic 50 mile ride on Smokey, she felt good all day and just ate up the miles. She's a good one, we just have to keep our relationship firmly defined. (I'm the boss).

    A good day for Tough Suckers.


    * not really...

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    Tuesday, 29 March 2016

    Dear Diary: Let it be Spring. March 28

    This weekend was the 'world's richest horse race' - the Dubai World Cup (or Meydan Cup, named sponsor). I usually don't follow thoroughbred racing very closely, but this year the race was won by California Chrome, the 2014 Kentucky Derby winner (whose sire was raised and trained in Idaho) so he was sort of a 'home town' favorite. And the photo of him crossing the wire is an 'OMG' photo! it appears that just a few more strides and his saddle would have slipped all the way back to his haunches.

    It also got me reminiscing... in 2001 the Dubai World Cup also included an Endurance race. UAE (United Arab Emirates) was just building endurance into a National sport, the rulers were promoting the sport, and also competing, so it was a big deal, and this was a showcase event. I was invited to attend with Nature's Kruschev (Krusty) as we had finished well at the World Championship in France the summer before. So we loaded onto a Cargo plane out of Los Angeles and flew to Dubai for another great adventure. John and Destry (youngest son, 15 yrs at the time) came along as my crew. We went early to acclimate and recover from the trip so had several days to play tourist and experience the country. Dubai wasn't built up much yet - still a lot of open space and residential areas, and one day Destry decided to skateboard from one end of the city to the other. We had some fun parties too - all the riders and crews (from the other countries) were caravanned across the desert for a night celebration. Tents and carpets and bonfire and dinner - chefs grilling over open flames, an array of salads and deserts and a few special arabian treats. Sheikh Mohamed (bin Rashid Al Maktoum - ruler of Dubai) was also there joining in the festivities, meeting the riders, dancing with us around the bonfire. He had taken up the sport himself, so was fully devoted to it. It was an amazing experience, treated as guests in a bedouin culture - in a country on the brink of becoming a world force.

    I've had some amazing experiences thanks to this sport - and this was one of them. Here's my write-up of race day:

    March, 2001
    Well - it was an amazing ride -

    Results - the UAE website hasn't posted the results yet, and I don't have anything official with me right now, but from what I remember: UAE riders placed 1,2,3 - Terry Wood from Australia placed 4th. Best Condition was a rider from Spain on a leased horse (Sheik Mohammed's stable). Sheik Mohammed finished 7th - and he rode a very impressive ride - 60th into the first vet gate, and just kept moving up steadily all day. A smart ride and a good example of pacing and careful riding. US riders - Jennifer Nice placed 18th on her horse Al Baraq (now owned by UAE), Karen DiCamillo and SR Sharee placed 24th, Jan Worthington placed 30th on a UAE horse. 33 finishers total, 86 started. Valerie Kanavy and Bear Cat were eliminated at 73 miles (7 miles left to go), Rita Swift got very sick from heat stroke and had to quit at 60 miles, Darolyn Butler's horse, Chaser found some buried rebar and injured his pastern during the first loop, eliminated at the first vet gate. I pulled Khruschev at 40 miles. He stumbled and came out of it lame - he had a crack in his heel where a sole abcess had worked up through the foot and he probably banged it when he stumbled. Beecher's thermal-radiographic unit detected heat (inflammation) in his heel after the ride. Disappointing to not finish (only his second pull in almost 3000 miles) but we had a blast while we were out there!!

    Steph & Kruschev before the start

    It was a VERY energetic start - the horses were all incredibly eager. Even Khruschev was doing some serious bucking for the first few miles. A couple horses went on for a while without their riders ..... We settled into a mid-pack pace for most of the first loop. It's so flat there that we could see the front runners moving out on the horizon - dust from the horses and the zillions of 4WD rigs driving along beside them. It was incredible - at least one rig for each rider, driving ahead, hopping out and offering bullets of cold bottled water for the rider to pour over the horse. Every 3 kilometers or so the drivers would have water for the horses and riders. I rode with Jennifer Nice for the first loop - our horses went well together, kept up an 18 km/hr pace (about 10-11 mph) for the first 22 mile loop. Jennifer is now working in UAE and riding for one of the stables, so she had the stable drive and crew for her and generously shared their services with me. (John and Destry stayed in at the camp instead of driving out with me). The crew guys were great - water and electrolytes, and hollering out speed and distance at intervals. Most of the trail was pretty flat, easy going, but there was a lot of deep sand as well. The crew rigs were supposed to stay off of the horse trail, so they paralleled the riders - usually off in the deeper sand. I stopped counting the number of 4WD rigs stuck in the sand after the first 10 miles. Very entertaining - and I think the drivers were as interested in racing each other as they were in crewing for their riders!

    We pulsed down pretty quickly after the first loop - and even at a 10mph pace we were already 25 minutes behind the front runners! Incredible speed on these fast/flat desert courses. It is certainly different from the sport that most of us do in the USA. This is a race... not a ride.

    We spent some extra time at the vet check letting Khruschev eat more - his gut sounds were diminished - and doing some emergency shoe fixes (Jaye Perry was there for the Kanavy crew, but helped everybody out as well). Khruschev was really cranked for this ride, as were all of the horses. He was in pretty good form, though a little chubby for a fast,hot ride. He vetted in with a 28 pulse! and never even went over a 110 pulse during the entire time we were on the trail - but ... it's pretty tough to take a horse that trains in the mountains and ask them to maintain a constant, fast, pace in relatively flat terrain. Muscle and limb fatigue is a problem. Plus the horses from the northern hemisphere had at most 3 weeks to acclimate to the heat. This is probably a bigger issue than the terrain for most of the horses.

    We went back out on the second loop in good shape - his gut sounds were strong, and he was feeling great. We rode alone for the first couple miles and then caught up with a UAE rider - one of the Dubai Police riders. Had a nice time riding with him, and he shared his crew with me - water, electrolytes, etc - whatever we needed. Great fun - I've invited him to come ride in Idaho - but I think he was a little taken aback with the idea of mountains and minimal crewing! About 3 miles from the vetgate, Khruschev stumbled and came up lame - we were at a crew point so I was able to ask to have a horse 'ambulence' come and get us and drive us back to the village. We went directly into the treatment tent - very very nice facility - state of the art - competent veterinarians, friendly, helpful. The vet gave Khruschev a thorough examination, couldn't find any soreness in his limb, thought it might be the foot - released us and I took K back to the barn. Very efficient, professional care.

    John, Destry and I spent the rest of the day helping crew for the others. Valerie and Karen were doing well, horses looking good. Rita was pretty sick, but determined to stick it out if she could. Jennifer and Jan were both riding as US riders, but they were in the UAE section for crew, so we didn't see them except on the trail. There horses were kept in separate areas because of quarantine requirements.

    It was quite a day - Karen and Sharee did a great job, Sharee is an amazing little mare (850 lbs max) - their ride time was 7:33 (I think). The winning time was 6:11 - on an 78 mile course. Fast.... The completion rate was a little over 40%. It got very hot - 35 degrees centigrade - and the sun was pretty fierce. The UAE horses - that live and train here - were impressive.

    That's about it for now - I leave in 15 minutes - back out to the stable, load the horses in the van, ship them to Abu Dhabi (2 hr drive) - then we'll load them on the plane and depart at 7am. 6-10 hour layover in Luxembourg, then off to LA. About 20 hours flying time.... long day/night head of us.

    More later -

    Steph Teeter

    Thursday, 24 March 2016

    Dear Diary: Let it be Spring. March 24

    I’ve been juggling horses around between paddocks and turnout since returning from Arizona - and thinking about the relationships the horses have with each other, and the relationships we have with each of them. I bought a beautiful chestnut arabian last spring - well trained and the perfect phenotype for endurance - hoping he would be a horse for me to spend the next decade or so with.

    Since I lost my magnificent Jaziret two years ago I’ve been at a loss. He was strong, tough, brave, we did thousands of miles of endurance together. He was my partner on the trail for 15 years. So it’s a hard act to follow.

    The big red horse is a fine athlete but his ‘formative’ years were in a show barn where he led a sheltered life - stalls, arenas, and very little social interaction with other horses. He never quite learned that horses in herds fit into a hierarchy - there are leaders and there are boundaries that if crossed can lead to problems. He will challenge horses that shouldn’t be challenged, and he loves the mares and they love him (I named him Casanova) but sometimes they just have to tell him ‘enough is enough’ and this isn’t always gentle. This makes it hard for me to turn all the horses out on the range together - mares and geldings together - because there’s always the chance of a fight, which means there’s always a greater chance of injury to one of them. So I need to sell him to somebody who has a more controlled stable situation. He’s an absolute gentleman with people, but he’s a liability for me because of my free range situation here.

    Since I’ve decided to sell him I’ve been keeping him (and the others) out of trouble by keeping the horses separated into little groups. Things are peaceful right now. Every day they get moved into the arena, or out on the range to graze, or into one of the paddocks. Handling each one every day has been fun - they’re all so different, make me think of the many horses have given me so much over the years. Life measured in horses - one day I’ll try to chronicle that.

    The little herds of today:

    Sunny - the Shagya/Arabian cross - she is John’s horse - she’s very special, very sensitive, requires a lot of patience (because she’s so ‘special’) but John gets along with her quite well - he even calls her Sweety sometimes
    Phinnaeas - Connie’s horse - black, bold, tough - grandson of the Black Stallion
    Dudley - the last of my Russian Orlov Trotters (my Orlov/Arabian mare and a Belesemo Arabians stallion) - one of the smartest,handsomest horses I’ve raised - but his bouts with laminitis and tendency toward metabolic disorder (which also leads to laminitis) resulted in a stalled career as an endurance horse. He’s making a come back though, years of attention to his feet, weight control measures and regular exercise with Merri have brought him around.

    Stormy - Merri’s elderly ex-racehorse Thoroughbred.
    Casanova - he’s quite content to have Stormy as his mascot.

    Jose Viola - one of the more special horses I’ve had - he’s just plain fun to ride. He injured his back when he was 10, and now he’s quite sway-backed, but still happily goes down the trail. He’s sponsored many juniors and everybody that rides him comes back grinning.
    Smokey - she’ll be seven this year, we seem to be understanding each other well these days, and she’s worming her way into my heart. For all of her quirkiness, she is one of the best rides. Still many years to build on this human-horse relationship.

    These two aren’t home yet, but will be soon -
    Derby - another horse I raised - out of a Shagya Arabian mare that I bred to a Thoroughbred (son of a Kentucky Derby winner so they say). She’s currently in training at Ted’s, I’m looking forward to getting her back next month. She’s a big bay beauty, born on a Super Moon.
    Willie - the Standardbred off-the-track rescue - he’s a tall gawky thing, and I don’t know what sort of horse he will be yet. I’ll get him back from Ted’s next month too - his son Terrence is training him to be a saddle horse (rather than a sulky racer) for me.

    and we can’t forget these two - they’re currently with a friend in Boise-
    Krushchev - the Orlov Trotter wonder horse - the most amazing horse ever. He’ll be 26 this year - I’ve had him since he was four. Thousands of miles of fantastic rides and races - including the 2000 World Championship in France, and the 2001 Dubai Cup in United Arab Emirates. This horse opened up the world to me. He’s still amazing at 26, still bringing smiles to kids and adults both.
    Batman - the big beautiful black horse that was to be my next career horse, to replace Jaziret. Persistent subtle hind-end lameness finally led me to find a home for him as a trail horse last year. That was sad, he was a fun bold horse to ride - he had moments of being a super-hero, but that’s kinda fun too.

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    Tuesday, 22 March 2016

    Dear Diary: Let it be Spring. March 22

    Since the weather has been challenging these past few weeks, I've been spending a fair amount of time indoors. Lately we've been having problems with our internet connection. (perhaps the weather gods and the internet gods are colluding to force me to clean house). It does remind me though how dependent we've become on the Net for just about everything.

    How living in a remote place such as Oreana, while still staying connected and running a business, is possible. And of course living with a tech wizard makes it all so easy too. We installed a solar powered radio tower on a ridge above our ranch, which relays signals from a tower in the Owyhee Mountains (War Eagle), which relays a signal from the network company in Boise. So simple. As long as we keep the backup batteries on our tower charged during the dark foggy winter days, and as long as John and the company in Boise keep things running.

    This week John is in Washington DC. He spent a year there recently, as a 'Presidential Innovation Fellow' - a stint as a private industry expert invited to work with the Government to modernize and advance technologies. He's back now with some proposals and ideas to carry forward some of the work he did there. Exciting stuff.

    So that leaves me with a temperamental internet (John thinks we may need a new router) and no wizard to soothe it's dark moods. And I think I've reached my limit when it comes to cleaning house. Another cool windy day... I'll have to dig deeper for projects to keep me busy.

    This image of the continental United States at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The image was made possible by the satellite's "day-night band" of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires and reflected moonlight.
    Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

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