Welcome to Azteca!

Azteca Stables is owned and managed by Donna Murphy. Donna and her husband Michael live on the premises so the horses are watched and monitored closely. She has over 25 years of professional experience and horses are her passion, her love and her life. She started riding at age 6 and has never stopped, her love for the equine continues to grow. Azteca Stables is located in central Texas Hill country, in the Canyon Lake area. We are between Austin and San Antonio. The area is beautiful with hill country vistas and Canyon Lake is nearby with awesome horse trails.

At Azteca Stables we treat horses like part of our family. Horses run in small herds with horses they get along with, and don't live in stalls. We let the horses be horses. However, stalls are available for use during inclement weather. Whether you trail ride, arena ride, or just want to “play with your horse” in the round pen , you are welcome at Azteca Stables, where we have fun with horses! We strive for happy horses in a friendly environment. A happy horse is content and wants to please!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Colt Starting - Samuel's Journey

Training videos of Donna’s training: Colt Starting

The following are some videos of Donna Murphy starting a three year old under saddle, Samuel. Samuel was indeed challenging but has turned into a wonderful riding horse. Samuel is a 3 yr old paint that came to me for training and going under saddle.

He was very spoiled, would charge away from you when leading him and would run away from his handlers, would put his butt to you in the stall when you wanted to catch him, and would not stand for the farrier, (would not pick up his feet or stand still). He would buck in the round pen when lounging him. He had no respect for people and certainly did not want to “go to school”.

I worked him daily in the round pen, with lots of ground work. It took time and patience, and he learned to have to respect and to want to please. Within a week, he stood for the farrier to get his feet trimmed! I was on his back in a few weeks, and after 60 days of training he is a quiet riding horse with respect for people and can be ridden on the trail!

The following videos were totally un-rehearsed, were clips taken at different times on different days during his training.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Be Watchful for Melanoma, especially on white and gray horses

Cloud is our noble grey Missouri Foxtrotter, who to us is the most awesome horse on the planet. He has given us many adventures and laughs. Recently a large lump the size of a golf ball was discovered very high in his groin on his abdominal area near his hind legs. My heart was sad and heavy with worry about our awesome friend. This horse is only ten years old, and healthy, in good weight, and never had a health issue.

Life sure throws hard balls, but I try to be positive. The scary thing was that the tumor was right next to the femoral artery, but we caught it before it got a chance to wrap around the artery, which would be a grim outcome. We could not let the tumor continue to grow. My vet seemed a little hesitant at attempting a surgery this close to the artery, one slip, (like the horse moving and thrashing like they often do under anesthetic,) and it would be a blood bath for all involved with a grave outcome for our friend. My heart got heavy and I became very sad thinking about the outcome but I had to endure and be there for Cloud.

We put Cloud in a deep anesthesia, which was a big concern. I had to bite my lip and be tough on many levels! When a 1300 lb horse starts to fall over and lay down it is way dangerous and scary as you try and help him slowly fall into good position. His fall was not the best, as he started wobbling and losing his ability to stand, he nearly crashed on top on me, but I can be quick to move out of the way! Then he fell sideways against the wall as one of his hind legs was nearly crushed against the wall under his belly. This was a total wrong position, so we had to try and pull his body, all 1300 lbs to the right position. There were 3 of us and I felt like we needed an army as we struggled with the dead weight.

We had to get him over on his back and legs spread so the doc could get in there. This almost seemed impossible. However, after a lot of pulling and crashing and falling down we did it. We then had to tie his legs to the wall and ceiling so he could not move while I tried to hold his head down and watch his vitals. After several minutes into the surgery he started to wake up and thrash, more anesthesia had to be administered. This happened several times. It was not a pretty scene, there seemed to be a lot of blood loss, but I had to be tough and I can go into overdrive when needed! This was not my first rodeo!!

I kept talking to Cloud, and it seemed to help. At one point he was so deep in the anesthetic, he appeared totally lifeless. I concentrated hard to try and find him still breathing. Finally I saw his chest rise. I surrounded him in love and light and he got through it! Getting him back up again was another not so pretty scene as he thrashed about but did get up. The bad news is the lump was a cancerous melanoma. But it was isolated in a mass, and we all got it removed with healthy tissue around it! The good news, we palpated and checked him internally, (everywhere), and found no more growths. Now he needs to heal and I may consider an alternative treatment to prevent it from returning. So now all we can do is love him and hope for the best and be glad that the growth was caught early enough before it spread and got larger and before it grew into the artery!

Cloud has now healed, and is looking better than ever. Grey and light colored horses have a greater tendency to get melanoma. My message to all horse owners is be very watchful of your horses. Palpate them yourself ALL over their bodies. Note any lumps and have them checked immediately by your veterinarian. If this lump on Cloud was not removed, it would have gotten larger, and been a disastrous ending. God bless all the “Pretty Horses”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Endurance Report: Amigo Wins!

Amigo and Donna at a nice pace at Endurance Ride

The Shanghai Trails endurance ride, on 3-26-11 was a memorable one for me and Amigo. Amigo is a 7 yr old Arabian that I have trained for endurance competition. He has a lot of endurance ability, loves the trail and has endless energy! I was a able to nicely rate him throughout the ride, he listened to my cues, and he pulsed in after 25 miles to take first place in the Limited Distance Rice with 64 starters, and 52 finishers. It was a well managed ride with great trails and we had a most awesome day.

The ride was held on a working ranch outside of El Campo, TX. , the terrain was Coastal plains with big trees, open fields, and big sky. The ranch was alive with beauty and spring colors were delightful to the eye. The trail was varied; I especially loved riding along the Colorado River through the canopy of hardwoods with twisting tight turns where the forest was alive! Dodging the big trees on a tight trail can be challenging! There was a variety of trail conditions due to the drought, the footing was not the best, and some areas were really rough and hard on the horses. However, Amigo was feeling great. He was eager and ready to fly at the start, and most all the horses were excited and nervous.

The start was a little rough, there was a brisk wind and all the horses were full of themselves, rearing to go! He was full of fire, but rated well! The roaring wind seemed to make all the horses a little on edge! However, he was willing to listen to the pace I wanted to set. He was willing to slow when necessary, yet was always eager. He listened and the bond was tight, he was ready and all was on our side, we settled into a wonderful pace.

At the start we took the 3rd position and held the position the entire loop. At the first vet check we reached the ride criteria heart rate of 60 within minutes, and passed the vet check with great scores. The day was heating up, and the 2nd loop was more challenging. The TX sun was beating hard on us, and the heat makes it much more difficult on the horses, especially coming out of winter, they still had their winter coats on. We calmly rode in to the finish and pulsed in with a heart rate of 52 within a minute of arrival, and completed FIRST. What an awesome ride we had. It is such a good feeling to complete a ride w a sound and happy horse. These rides challenge me and keep me and my horses going! Wow, what a great time! Amigo took care of me; we rode smart and finished sound and fit to continue! Amigo has a 100% completion record, one BC award, and numerous top five awards.

After the ride, I volunteered and worked with ride management w awards. These rides can only happen if folks volunteer. My life w horses is ever so blessed! I meet so many awesome folks. The horses teach me patience and keep me going! Bonding w your horse is so special. I love this sport!!! Endurance riding is a total challenge, when you complete w a sound happy horse, it is a total accomplishment, because taking care of your horse comes first.

Amigo’s ride record has made him a very desirable horse. Donna has trained him, their ride record as a team includes: 10 starts, 10 completions, 7 top tens which includes two 1st and one 2nd place. Also he placed 2nd in the Central Region Championship ride. He also has one Best Condition award, I train horses to be the best, and then sell them only to good homes. Amigo recently sold to a wonderful home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to an endurance lady who will continue his endurance career. Happy trails to Amigo, “you keep on going with your eagerness and love for the trail!”

Donna loves endurance competition and has been competing since 1996. She has many top placings and best condition awards. Endurance riding is one of the fastest growing equine sports. It is exciting and challenging for both horse and rider. It requires the team of horse and rider to work toward one common goal: to complete the ride on a sound horse! Donna loves sharing information and trains both horse and rider to become a team to complete an endurance ride.