Rockin’ steady

13 12 2012

We pick up our story of Asher and Vern after they had left the round pen and walked through the pine forest to the “arena,” which contains obstacles from a past Craig Cameron “cowboy race” in the area. I had heard that Vern had had Asher on the “teeter-totter” and thought, “WOW! Have I got to see THAT!”

But first:

Asher and Vern on the pallet.

Put your left foot in … or up, as the case may be. Vern shows Asher how to step up on the pallet.

Asher and Vern on the pallet.

There’s a little mister proud of himself and looking back to mama Jeri (Vern’s wife, Jeri) for approval!

Asher and Vern on the pallet.

That’s it, kid!

You can really see his grey streak in these pix. It’s only on this side, not his other side.

Asher and Vern on the bridge.

Next, it was on to the “bridge.” Vern coaxes him onto the surface step by step.

Asher and Vern on the bridge.

And he’s up! That’s Jeri in the background.

And then, the moment I was waiting for: the teeter-totter!

Asher and Vern on the teeter-totter.

Watch the end closest to the camera …

Asher and Vern on the teeter-totter.

It’s not a huge teeter.

Asher and Vern on the teeter-totter.

Almost all on board.

Asher and Vern on the teeter-totter.

Watch the end of the teeter again.

Asher and Vern on the teeter-totter.

Back and forth, up and down. Asher rode it like a pro!

Asher and Vern on the teeter-totter.

Are they cute or what? 🙂

Asher and Vern on the teeter-totter.

Asher: I’m sure you didn’t feed me enough for breakfast.

Asher and Vern

Jeri wanted me to see Asher show off his tail-flagging trot, so Vern released him in the pasture. His gal pals, Vern and Jeri’s Rocky Mountain mares, were still in their pen up the hill by the barn. This little mister, like little misters everywhere, is a slave to his belly. He much preferred eating to showing off, but we did get to see some moves.


Super cute!


He kept coming back to Vern.


Morning sunshine!



There’s our little show-off!

Asher and Vern

And he was no trouble at all to catch.

Asher and Vern


Asher and Vern

Love these two. 🙂

Asher in the round pen

11 12 2012

Horses know dragons exist. Humans call them tarps, but horses know better.

With Vern’s help, Asher has conquered the dragon:

Vern puts a tarp on Asher's back. Asher is completely unphased.

Vern puts a tarp on Asher's back. Asher is completely unphased.

Vern puts a tarp on Asher's back. Asher is completely unphased.

Note Vern’s relaxed hold on the lead rope. Asher wasn’t bothered in the slightest.

Vern leads Asher with a tarp on his back. Asher is completely unphased.

Even walking around the pen with the dragon – err, tarp – flapping against his legs!


Here, Vern’s tugging on the rope around Asher’s belly to simulate tightening the cinch. He has had a lightweight saddle on Asher.


With his original mustang, Miss Dolly, Vern was part of the Range Riders program at Lone Mesa State Park, where they helped move cattle. Any good ranch pony needs to be desensitized to the feeling of something – like a rope – under his tail. He’s ready to rope a cow, Vern figures!

Asher checks out his saddle.

Vern shows Asher his saddle.

Asher checks out his saddle.

Asher: Are you sure you gave me enough for breakfast?

Asher backs up with the saddle on.

Backing up. He didn’t think he wanted to do this at first, but Vern was patient. Eventually, all Vern had to do was wave his index finger back and forth, and back Asher would go.

Asher shakes with Vern.

Asher and Vern shake. Vern taps his shoulder and says, “Shake.” After a little bit, Asher lifted his leg to shake!


Having fun! Apparently, Asher likes to steal Vern’s hat. Vern pre-empted his thieving ways by giving Asher his hat before he could steal it!

Asher makes a funny face during his workout with Vern.

We’re laughing WITH you, Asher! Such a good boy!

Part II will include some pix of Vern and Asher on the teeter-totter!

The Amazing Asher

9 12 2012

And he IS – amazing, that is.

Vern Friesen and Asher

This man and this horse …

Each wonderful. Together, amazing.

These faces:

Vern Friesen and Asher

Vern Friesen and Asher

Vern Friesen and Asher

Those faces!

One full of promise (and maybe a little mischief!).

One full of experience (and brimming with kindness).

Asher having fun in the pasture first thing in the morning.

One will have his hands full with the other one. 🙂

From Jeri, Vern’s wife: “I want people to know the potential of these mustangs.”

This crowd knows she’s right!

More to come from a visit this weekend where I was treated to an exhibition of Asher’s talents, including his ability to “shake”!

Big boy bold!

6 10 2012

Asher, adopted by local mustang advocate Tif last year after the roundup, has grown into an amazing young mustang.

The day after Tif took Asher home.

Asher, a few days ago.

In Tif’s words:
“I made the decision several months ago that I had done what I could for Asher. He had become so strong, so confident, that he needed someone that was dedicated, loving and most of all had the time that I didn’t have. Some very good people, very good friends that I’ve come to know over the years came to my mind as possible adopters for Asher. It was a difficult decision for me to make, but a decision that I had to make for him to continue to grow and flourish.

Vern and Jeri with Asher.

“What an incredibly right decision it was. Asher went to his new home for a trial run several months ago. He weighed about 515 pounds. BLM was notified of an address change. I still held title, as is required. We all wanted to make sure that it was the right fit for all parties. I remember loading him up to take him to Vern and Jeri’s house, and man, was that hard. I trailered him over with Pepper, his surrogate mom. I knew she would keep him calm and secure. He responded like he had been trailered many times before. As I left his new home, I bawled like a baby. My head knew it was the right decision, but my heart was aching. I love that little guy so much.

He’s big: 14 hands as a yearling.

“Vern and Jeri have done an incredible job with Asher, as I knew they would. They’ve had some losses recently, and it gave me some comfort that Asher was able to ease some of their pain. They’ve provided Asher with a home that I only dreamed he could have. If we had homes like theirs for all of our mustangs, the world would be a better place.

Not afraid of the stick-and-bag; note the lariat on Asher’s butt.

“Vern and Jeri have kept me posted on Asher’s progress. I’ve been out there several times to check on him, see how he’s doing, visit, as I have unlimited visitation rights. 🙂 I went out this past weekend and was absolutely blown away. My little orphan has grown into an elegant young horse. See for yourself. He now weighs about 780 pounds and stands about 14 hands tall. Vern and Jeri demonstrated all of the things they do with him, from free working in their round pen, to jumping over logs and barrels, wearing and walking with a tarp, fly mask, ropes, walking up stairs onto their front porch, checking things out in the garage, giving hugs and hoof shakes, and afraid of a bag on the end of a stick? No way.

Sniffing the tarp.

Wearing the tarp.

Wearing a fly mask and blanket.

Checking out the big rubber ball!

Exploring the garage.

Enjoying a siesta on the porch.

Who’s afraid of a lariat on his head? Not Asher!

“He has two stable mates that he runs and plays with when they’re turned out together. Vern said that he’s very independent, venturing off on his own while grazing. Jeri is proud of his BLM freeze brand, as it’s a testament to what our mustangs can do.

Pasture pals.

“People are often asking what do you do with them? Everything. They are productive members of every family they belong to. They do everything a horse should do. They are amazing animals, and although they may take a bit longer to come around, some more than others, when they do come around, you have a companion for life. Truly amazing our mustangs. Asher has some baby habits still, but he’ll grow out of them. After all, he’s a yearling. Vern doesn’t let him get away with anything, and that’s as it should be.

Vern and Asher

“Thank you, Vern and Jeri, for providing the best home possible. Tears in my eyes at our visit because I know I made the right decision. Although I wish I could have him here with me, he’s so much better off under your careful training and guidance. You have brought him so far. Your kind hands and warm home have been exactly what he needed.”

Ze & Asher update

8 06 2012

It has been too long since we’ve had an update about these two misters!

In Tif’s words: “Asher and Ze are still both doing incredibly well. Asher is now 9 months old, Ze is 3 years old. They finally play together! It’s so cute. It took Asher quite a long time to realize Ze wasn’t going to hurt him; it took Ze quite a long time to not feel he has to run everyone around. He’s definitely in charge here of everyone, but he does it with grace and ease. He’s amazing.”

It all starts around the water tub …

And then there’s an innocent little kiss …

Asher plays coy.

“I was told so many times that orphans don’t turn out well, they’re small, puny, misbehaved, etc. I’m thinking Asher is so big and strong because of the nutrients he got right from the start here. I was so worried about him, being 17 days old: Is he getting enough to eat? How is he going to fare with the others? Everything worked out as it was supposed to. We went from 2-hour feedings, to 4-hour, to 6-hour, etc. I kept him on all milk replacers until he was about 4 1/2 months old. He continued to get creep feed until he was 6 months old, and it worked! I’m sure the mustang genetics also played a role. He just is a success story and will continue to be.”

Ze goes for the leg – a tried and true tactic.

Asher plans a tactical retreat, but Ze is just getting started.

And the chase is on!

“Notice how BIG Asher is! He’s going to be incredible. He IS incredible. He was gelded at 6 months of age. It was time, and he recovered faster than even I expected. I vaccinated everyone here a few weeks ago. They’re up to date on worming and hoof trimming. Everything is as it should be.”

Rounding the back stretch!

And there’s the ambush. Cavalry to the rescue!

“I am truly blessed to have this experience, this opportunity. I have learned so much from these guys. Just when I think I have it all figured out, they teach me something else.

“Thanks, TJ and the Temples for your support, encouragement, knowledge and passion. Without it, where would we be?”

We think the same of you, Tif. 🙂

Happy Easter!

8 04 2012

Happy spring and hope eternal. 🙂

The message of Easter. Something a bit surprising that renews your faith, eh? Big baby Asher, tough kitty Wyatt and animal angel Tif.

Enjoy the day – I hope it’s beautiful, wherever you are!

Ze & Asher update!

22 02 2012

These ponies are doing awesomely well, and I’m happy to share some new pix and report from adopter Tif!

Asher – this view of him just makes me laugh because this IS the view of him, coming up, curious, wanting to know what you’re doing.

Ze and his lovey Pepper in the snow!

We had lovely weather in December and January – not very Colorado-like, but lovely – and now we have winter.

From Tif: “Ze and Asher are both doing great. Amazing animals they are. I haven’t done much work with them via the round pen because our weather here has been horrible! Icy conditions are pretty unsafe.

“I turn Ze out every day either by himself or with one or two of my other horses. Ze loves Pepper, most all creatures do, two and four-legged alike, so he’s with her a lot. I have to split her time between Asher and Ze, it’s like having a parenting schedule! Ze also loves my daughter’s horse Sundancer, who is about 30. He’s not so crazy about Asher at this point, some jealousy going on with Pepper stuck right in the middle.”

Asher with Quest, left, and Mimi.

“Asher gets turned out every day, too, with my gelding (Quest), alpha mare (Mimi) and whoever isn’t playing with Ze for the day!  🙂 I plan to get him gelded pretty soon. He still gets pellets morning and night and gets locked up at night, too. Bad things can happen around here at night, and we’ve had some pretty severe overnight weather. He is so big, it’s amazing. His forelock, mane and tail are coming in beautifully, and what personality he has! He is almost 5 1/2 months old and still going strong.”

“Both have had their feet trimmed, their vaccines, both are halter broke and can be handled very easily. Ze is wary, as is his nature, but my husband can go out and halter him when needed. It’s truly amazing to think where these guys were and where they are now. They’ve come so far.”

Ze with 30-plus-year-old Sundancer, sharing chow.

“BLM came to do an inspection awhile back. Asher was randomly chosen for them to check on. I suggested since BLM officials were already here to go ahead and do a checkup on Ze so he wouldn’t be left out! All in all things went well. I was very happy to know that our local BLM officials were doing the home inspections. This gave me peace of mind that our horses were being checked up on. Mine got the all clear … they won’t be confiscating them any time soon!”

“Both boys have just had their feet done again and did pretty good. Asher was a handful at first and then settled in okay. Still have lots of work to do with him and his patience! He’s big enough that his head can reach up and just about over a five foot panel. Ze did wonderfully, as I knew he would. He’s still funny about his left side with strangers, but he’s getting there. They’ve both come so far and are truly amazing.”

Yes, they are!! 🙂

“I promise to get better pics when we have better weather! A big thanks to everyone who is interested in these guys and who have helped in some way. We all appreciate it.”

And I’ll leave you with a photo from farrier day guaranteed to make your hearts melt:

“Pic of Keith (my farrier) and Ze – can you believe it?!?”

Awesome. 🙂

More Asher

1 12 2011

I’m going to break these up into two posts from my recent visit with Tif and her mustang boys (and other boy and girls). Ended up with a lot of photos I wanted to share.

Be sure to check out this article about Tif and Asher in the Cortez Journal!

The indomitable Mr. Asher. A blessed boy is he.

From Tif: “The last few weeks have been difficult. I’ve had many milestones and some setbacks with my boys, it’s been amazing.”

“Let’s start with Asher … what a pistol!”

“I finally felt comfortable enough, and knew he was strong enough, to put him with all of my horses together. I was a bit concerned about Mimi, my ‘alpha’ mare, as she wasn’t too fond of Asher in the beginning. Asher needs the discipline, though. He is so strong, so smart, always seeing what he can get away with.”

Here’s Asher with Pepper, with whom he bonded right away when Tif brought him home, and Mimi behind them.

“He now runs during the day with my other four horses, his new ‘herd,’ on about 30+ acres, and he absolutely loves it. To see him running and bucking, jumping over bushes, chasing my daughter’s dog, it’s hilarious!”

He DOES love to run!

The boy is NOT shy with either mama Tif or strangers!

Baby-butt scratches are – of course – required!

Sure and that’s ecstasy!

“I still give him two quarts of milk twice a day, morning and night. I lock him in at night, in a fairly big enough indoor/outdoor area, because I want to be sure he gets his pellets. He eats several pounds of pellets, milk transition and creep feed high performance, in the evening and during the night. He’s eating me out of house and home!”

Asher with long-suffering Sundancer (she’s 30 years old!).

Luckily (for Sundancer), Pepper also is within easy reach!

Looking toward Ze in his round pen and Quest and Mimi in the big yonder pasture.

And he’s through the gate!

“I can’t believe his strength. He’s had his vaccines, his first trim on his hooves, he’s halter broken, loves to go for walks, but I think he most enjoys being with the other horses.”

“This is not to say that he doesn’t still follow me when he gets the chance! Discipline is in the forefront and always something we hand out when we need to, just like my horses do. He deals with it well and will appreciate it when he’s older.”  🙂

Asher is drawn to Mimi like metal to a magnet, but he clearly has healthy respect for her!

Just like with Quest (in background).

What shall I be when I grow up?

A dressage star …

… maybe a racehorse!

Maybe a dog wrangler!

Playing with Selene!

His mane is coming in grey, just the ends are fiery reddish fringe.

Blessed and beloved.

Ze and Asher update

18 10 2011

I’m loving these updates! And I’m wondering how some of our other mustangs are doing, so if you’re willing to share, please do email me (mtbgrrl (at) fone (dot) net).

Tif reports: “Ze is doing remarkably well. I was able to get a halter on and off him twice today. He leads very well, still a bit touchy here and there, but wow, what he lets me do. He’s starting to get very comfortable, which can be a problem at times, always coming into my space, so I have to send him away and remind him who’s boss! I’m so proud of how far he’s come and how brave he is. He amazes me each and every day. How did I get so lucky?  :-)”

Getting him used to a string over his head and neck.

Getting him used to how a halter will feel in anticipation of this …

Look at that!

Love them! This boy, at 2.5, is a study in patience. He has come a long way and is clearly bonded to Tif. I soooooo love to see them together!

She lights up like a star when she talks about her boys, and the updates I get lots of are balms to my heart.

Little Asher also is awesome and growing like a weed!

“He’s doing great. Still loves milk and drinks it like crazy. Obviously he’s halter broke and does okay with it. The blanket is new and he’s not too fond of that yet. I explained to him he’ll appreciate it when it gets into the 20s again! He’s a sweetheart, learning that I’m not a horse and he can’t jump on me. 😉 He still hangs out with my gelding Quest, who just adores him, and my mare Pepper, although mostly it’s the ‘boys’ hangin’ in the upper pasture. He’s grown a ton, he’s had his first month old shots, which he took like a trooper, and all in all seems to be in excellent health. The mornings are his favorite time, when he gets let out to run around like a crazy kid. This morning, he got running so fast, right to the gate, and did a sliding stop about 6 inches from it. Heart attack! Man, he’s so athletic at almost 7 weeks old.”

We’ve already had snow here in Colorado, but lately the weather has been gorgeous, typical beautiful autumn.

Asher, Tif, Selene (sp?) and shadow of 10-year-old Madison! Saintly Mr. Quest in the background.

My beautiful, beautiful friend and hunka baby Asher!

How did she get so lucky? The universe returns what we put into it, and this lady has put so much of her heart and soul into advocating for our Spring Creek Basin mustangs, her “luck” amazes me not one bit. 🙂

Ze and Asher

5 10 2011

My gorgeous and huge-hearted friend Tif adopted Chipeta’s colt-  and has named him Asher (meaning “blessed”) – and Ze.

They are all doing so amazingly well. Every time I listen to Tif talk about them or read about them in an email or SEE her with them and them with her, it just about explodes my heart, it’s so beautiful. I wish this kind of wonderful, loving home for all our mustangs. Things come to us on life’s journey for a reason, and I believe that so firmly in this case, especially.

I visited them the other day with my camera and, with Tif’s permission, am sharing some of the pix here. Clearly, these two mustang boys are adored and loved!

Here’s what she says about them:

“My ‘boys’ are doing great. The foal has been named ‘Asher’ meaning Blessed. He and my paint mare are attached at the hip. They amaze me. She is his surrogate mom, teaching him how to be a horse. She disciplines him, protects him and checks on him constantly. Asher runs in the upper pasture everyday and comes in at night. He is incredibly strong and beautiful. He still gets milk three times a day, he’s eating foal pellets, but is really liking grass/alfalfa hay. He also has an unlimited supply of water on hand. His cuts from the fence are healing nicely and he’s ready for his month old shots. I hate to do that to him, but he’s in a much better place to handle it. I plan to keep him on the milk until he’s at least two months old, then we’ll see where he’s at. He is a regular foal, not wild at all.  I have the best of both worlds, the genetics of a mustang, but the taming of a domestic, if that makes sense.
“Ze is likewise incredible. I go in with him several times a day. He joins up with me, follows me everywhere, takes food from my hand, wants to be so close at times that I have to back him away. I have touched him and sometimes still do, but that’s still on his terms. He has the most soulful eyes; he’s curious, inquisitive and so wanting to be with me when I’m out there. He drinks water like crazy and loves food. Go figure!! I have the wonderful native grass hay that I got from the Temples and he loves it. I’m transitioning him to that from the certified grass hay. He’s still wary at times, which is to be expected, but he touches me, nuzzles me, tries to take my hat off, etc. Still on his own terms, but that’s how it’s going to be for awhile and I’m fine with that.”

Asher was taking a nap when I arrived. He’s in a cozy pasture with foster mom Pepper and big stepdaddy Quest. Look how shiny-beautiful he is!

Asher and Pepper, who has never had a foal of her own, bonded almost immediately after Tif brought him home.

Isn’t he just gorgeous?

She’s feeding him the “foal milk” and mashing up foal pellets, and he likes hay …

… and for comfort, sweet-girl Pepper.

Baby loves his two-legged foster mom, too!

Ze is doing amazingly well. There’s a super-obvious thread that connects him to Tif and vice versa, and it’s awesome to see.

Do you SEE it?? I love their expressions looking at each other.

Eating hay from her hand.

Licking her hand.

She does go in the roundpen with him and sits and works with him.

So quiet and patient … and he’s absorbing every bit of it.

Out, out, darn bar! But I love this image, still, because of their bond – so clear. They’re exchanging breaths.

If you would like to update me/readers about the horse or horses you’ve adopted, please drop me a note at mtbgrrl (at) fone (dot) net. I would love to hear from you.