Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hey Paj, We Won a Give-Away!

Many thanks to JJ at The Joy of Horses who sponsored this give-away.  Her blog is about her passion for the Morgan horse, past, present and future.  But she should really get a "Versatile Blogger" award, 'cause she shares "many a random thought" too.  Here's JJ on Contro -
Aren't they beautiful, Paj?
Very nice.
But what did we win, Mom?
We won a subscription to Equus magazine!

Cool!  Let's eat it!

Hey Mom, I don't want to hurt JJ's feelings,
but it doesn't taste very good.

You don't eat it, you read it, silly boy.
I knew that.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Fire is Contained, and Zan is Home

The fire is 100% contained.  People have been allowed back in their homes, but not with livestock.  This is because there are still hot spots and the wind is howling, so people have to be able to leave in 10 minutes.

Zan went home to Jan's today.  He wasn't exactly happy to leave, but once he got home, he was verrry happy!

After one last look,
he joined his herd.
That's Elvis in the lead, followed by Zan and Lakota.

Lakota is lagging because he was busy showing Zan
how to stand on two legs.

Boomer is missing Zan a bit tonight.  He will be getting extra hugs and treats.
We are back to being a 3 horse ranch.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Suzanne, Jan and I got together for lunch today.  We're 3 old friends who've ridden and giggled together for 20 years.  What a fun lunch it was.  Of course the talk turned to horses and barns, and I suggested we show Suzanne the barn where Jan boarded Elvis and Lakota.  We had moved them to Jan's Friday, but hey, it was a good excuse to enjoy each other's company for a bit longer.  So off we went to the show barn.  Imagine our surprise when we found that they were in the process of evacuating horses because of a wildfire.  The pretty view I posted a week ago looks like this today -

No structures have burned, but 8,500 homes have been evacuated.  There are a lot of big barns in the area, and the horses have been evacuated to the fairgrounds.  The fire is over 10 miles from our ranch, but we can see and smell the smoke.  We don't expect to be evacuated, but our trailer is hitched.  The tv news reports that they are making good progress containing the fire.  We've had a mild and dry winter, and the prairie is as dry as dust.  Today we had 45 mph winds.  We are all worried about the summer, and hoping for some snow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rush Hour

This is what rush hour in Elizabeth looks like -
That's our local ranch supply store in the background.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Field Find

Look what I found in the field today -

a lovely cup-shaped mushroom.

I hope you can see the little cactus right below it.
It's not every day you see fungi and cacti together.

Last year I found
cactus in the middle of moss!
It's a desert here (almost) - what's up with the moss?

Friday, March 18, 2011

There's No Place Like Home!

In spite of snow last night and high winds this morning, Lakota and Elvis made an easy trip home to Jan's.  They loaded up like gentlemen, but boy, were they glad to be home.

That's Lakota in lilac and Elvis in green.

 Zan, Jan's senior citizen horse, will join the young 'uns after they have a few days to settle down.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Move Eve

Tomorrow is the day we move Jan's horses Lakota and Elvis from the show barn to Jan's.  There's nothing better than having your horse at home.  But I've enjoyed riding Lakota at the show barn this winter, and I want to reflect on the experience.  It was wonderful having a beautiful, heated indoor arena with incredible footing virtually to myself, but there's so much more to appreciate.

I appreciate
the pretty drive,

the majestic ponderosa pine at the entrance,

the rows of bridles
and saddles.

I appreciate seeing my own legs in breeches and boots
instead of overalls and muck boots.

I appreciate riding Lakota, and the rapport we've established.  I appreciate his whinny when he sees my car, and the way he comes to the gate.  I appreciate all we've accomplished under saddle.  He got me back in riding shape.  We rode leg yields, shoulder-in, haunches-in, and started half-pass.  We struggled with canter at first, and eventually figured it out.  I couldn't understand how a horse that did all his trot work so well could break at the canter.  I'd feel him start to lose his self-carriage, I'd give a little half-halt to gather him up, and he'd break.  Arg!  I beat myself up for a while, questioning my aids like all riders do.  Then one fine day I realized he was messing with me!  After he knew that I knew, the game was over and the canter work was fine.  Even that was fun.

(note to self - please turn those toes in!)

Most of all, I appreciate Jan,
 who gave me the opportunity to ride Lakota at a beautiful barn over the winter.
That's a big gift.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thank You

I haven't been blogging.  We've been down in the dumps over losing Clifford.  It's time to think about the good things in life.  Like you.  Thank you all for your kind comments and concern.  It helps.

It helps that friend Jan is home at last.  She sent me this photo of her nurse Tucker.  Or is it Timmy?  They look a lot alike.  Please don't tell Tucker or Timmy I said that.  I can tell them apart in person.

We are moving Elvis and Lakota home to Jan's on Friday.  They are currently at the show barn.  Zan, who's here on our ranch, will go home to Jan at the end of the month.  Nothing could be better for Jan than seeing her horses frolic in her pastures.  Her neighbor Barb will be doing horse care.  I hope her Barb is as wonderful as Lori Skoog's Barb.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's Still Winter Here

What's it like at your place?

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Clifford has passed away.  Two weeks ago he had a stroke.  For a week, it looked like he was going to make a full recovery.  But it was not to be.  The second week he steadily lost ground, until it was plain to all that there would be no happy ending.  Our vet helped us to do the kind but so hard thing. 

It's impossible to tell you Clifford's tale without talking about my mother, for he was her dog first.  My parents retired to western North Carolina so my father could hike and explore the Smoky Mountains.  Salamanders, frogs and turtles were his passion as horses are mine.  The downside of the area was the profusion of starving, abandoned dogs.  Clifford was the last in a long line of dogs my mother rescued.  She would catch a glimpse of him in the woods, and she began to leave food out for him.  But she could not get near him.  One winter day when he was soaking wet and covered with snow, she was able to touch him.  I was able to get him into her house on my next visit.  We took him to the local vet and found that he was riddled with heartworms.  He almost died from the treatment to get rid of them.  By then he was my mother's dog, and she loved him.  But she was in her eighties, and she had cancer.

Mom, David and I decided that Clifford would come to Colorado and live with us.  At that time, we were living in suburbia and boarding our horses.  Clifford made the transition from woods dog to city dog, no problem.  He enjoyed walks and toys and hikes and dog parks and sleeping on his own bed indoors and treats and and and.  But I think moving to the ranch was the best part of his life.  He had it all - walks and toys and hikes and his own bed next to ours and treats and horses and coyotes and ground squirrels and girlfriends and the great open spaces.

The last thing I want to say is that I know there are a lot of wonderful dogs out there, but Clifford really was the best dog in the world.  God bless you, gentle Cliffie.  Tell my mother that I love her and I miss her.