Controlled burn

Controlled burn

We’re conducting our second controlled burn on our new ranch today, in order to improve the grazing land for our sheep. We are trying to get rid of the non-native goat grass and replace it with native grasses that are better for livestock.
Before we bought this ranch, there were around 100 horses roaming free on about 800 acres, and much of the grass that they grazed on was goat grass. When the previous owners decided to sell their land, they sent most of the horses to an auction. When we bought the ranch in March, there were about two-dozen horses left. We decided to keep a few horses and we noticed that one of the mares had abscesses on her gums. When we had the University of California, Davis veterinarians come over to examine the horses, they attributed the abscesses to the rough grass that the horse had been grazing on. The same thing can happen to the sheep, so the controlled burn will ultimately improve the feed that is available.
Our local fire department conducts the controlled burns. Before the fire is lit, my husband drives a big John Deere tractor and disks the fire breaks to contain the fire. Then a firefighter walks around and uses a drip-torch to light the fire, as shown in this picture. Several fire trucks are stationed around the fire to make sure it stays under control.

Our brown-spotted stallion

Our brown-spotted stallion

Horse trainer Ruben Villegas has been training our brown-spotted stallion. We just had his DNA typed at the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory and he is a Spanish Mustang/Appaloosa. The two breeds have a shared ancestry in the United States. We are in the process of getting this beautiful stallion registered.

My recent visit to Cal Poly’s Equine Center

My recent visit to Cal Poly's Equine Center

While our family was in San Luis Obispo to watch our son graduate from Cal Poly, I visited the Equine Center, where the university has student-managed breeding programs for Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds. In addition, Cal Poly’s mascot is the Mustang. I didn’t see any of those at the equine center, but thanks to our recent acquisition of ranch property that came with two-dozen horses, we have a spectacular Spanish Mustang that could be a beautiful addition to the campus herd.

Our new filly!

Our new filly!

My mother’s gray Thoroughbred mare–a former racehorse–gave birth to a beautiful bay filly this morning. My husband discovered the baby at 5:30 a.m. and this photo was taken shortly thereafter. The filly appears to be healthy so we are very happy.

My black-spotted stallion

My black-spotted stallion

My husband and I recently bought a ranch near Winters, California to expand our sheep operation, and the previous owners left behind 23 horses, including stallions, pregnant mares and foals. This beautiful black-spotted stallion is one of the horses that we acquired. Today I submitted a DNA sample (tail hair) to the University of California, Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory in order to determine exactly what breed he is.