Sunday, November 16, 2014


The weather is much better today.  We are in the high 20s and the sun is shining brightly.  But after a day of stall confinement, the horses are acting just like bad little boys.

Here's a conversation I overheard between them -

"Paj, quit picking on me!"
"You're getting on my last nerve!"

 "I mean it!"

  "Reggie, go stick your tongue on the gate.
Maybe it will freeze there."



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Brr. Just Brr.

First a quick note on the eye stuff, and then we'll move on.  I'm doing well.  I'm on a lifting restriction of 20 pounds, so David is doing the heavy work.  Other than that, and wearing eye protection in the barn, it's business as usual.  The cold weather sure isn't business as usual.

Boy, is it cold.  It was -4F(-20C) when we got up to feed this morning.  It's still -4.  We're looking at -5 tonight, and a warmup to 15 tomorrow.  I wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't for worrying about the horses.

Reggie is a tough old guy who's never been sick a day in his life.  But Paj is delicate.  He's had ulcers and colic in the past, and big temperature changes are especially hard on him.  So we do all we can to protect the boys.  Reggie is comfortable in his blanket, and Paj is comfortable in a sheet, blanket and neck cover.  They are stall bound today due to the cold and snow, so we are hand-walking a few times a day.  Paj is getting an ulcer preventative, and I am making "hydro hay" by soaking the hay at extra feedings to make sure they stay hydrated.  They are also getting salts to keep them drinking.  That's about all we can do.  So far, so good.

 Hand walking
 Why, yes I am wearing 2 hats!
And 2 pairs of pants.
And 2 pairs of glasses.
photos by Dave

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My Bionic Eye

On Tuesday I had cataract surgery on my right eye.  Yep, I'm old, and I've spent a lot of my life in the sun.  Anyway, they removed my old dingy yellow lens which I could barely see through, and replaced it with a bright and shiny intraocular lens.  Sound scary?  Well, I was a bundle of nerves leading up to the surgery.  But the surgery was a smashing success.  And once I got over myself, it was really interesting.  

Skip this next part if you, like me, are scared of all things even remotely medical.  Jim, this means you!!!

Did you know that you are conscious for the surgery?  They give you anesthesia in the pre-op room while they prep your eye for surgery.  After a short "nap", they take you into the operating room.  That was the interesting part.  My doctor had quite loud classical music playing, which I thought was really cool.  They completely covered my face, and then cut out the eye portion of the covering.  My doctor talked to me throughout the "procedure".  I couldn't see the instruments, but I could see his surgical loupes in a dreamy fuzzy way, and the bright overhead light.  Between my doctor's great bedside manner (he said I was a trooper.  Me, Miss Scaredy Pants!), the great music and good drugs, I felt calm.

Okay resume reading.  Jim, it's safe to come back now!

 It was over and done with and we were home in a flash.  Yesterday David drove me in for my first check up.  20/30 in the bionic eye, 24 hours after surgery, with the pupil still somewhat dilated!  This was a better-than expected result for the first 24 hours!  Yippee!  And the colors!  Everything is so much brighter and lighter!  I knew I wasn't seeing well out of that eye, but I had no idea how dingy colors had become.  I am delighted.

Now for the temporary downside.  My eyes are not talking to each other very well just yet.  Yesterday I felt miserably car sick on the way to the appointment.  I couldn't see out of the bionic eye with my glasses on, and I couldn't see out of the other eye with my glasses off!  My doctor suggested popping the lens out on the bionic side.  Duh, me!  That worked like a charm!  It took about 24 hours to adjust, but now my distance vision is as sharp as can be.  Intermediate and close up, still a problem.  I poured my tea onto the counter this morning instead of into my cup!  Oops!  And I can only see to type this by closing the bionic eye.  Believe me, that gets tiresome in a hurry!  Which is why I will be a very haphazard blogger over the next 3 weeks.  Yes, 3 weeks!  That's the full recovery time!  Drat!

But the biggest downside?  I'm on barn restriction due to the dust.  Little does my doctor know that my barn is actually cleaner than my house!  But I will be good.  Oh how I miss this -

photo by Susan Quirk

I will be getting my horsey fix by watching the US Dressage Finals live online from Lexington Ky.  With one eye.  Friend Jan's horse Lakota competes Friday morning with Shannon riding.  Kathy Priest, whom I bought Paj from at 22 months of age, shows Friday night in the Grand Prix Open.  To watch along, click here.  Coverage starts live, tomorrow morning.  Jan has been sending me phone photos from Lexington, which has gone a long way toward making me feel included.  

enter at A

photos by Jan Wingate

Best of luck to Lakota, Shannon and Jan
I've typed this in fits and starts, and now I deserve a nap.  Goodnight all.


Friday, October 31, 2014

The Headless Horseman's Ghost Horse

photo by Joe Bauman

Horsehead Nebula

My brother Joe is an amazing astronomy photographer.  Joe writes "Here's a view I took early this morning -- while meanwhile shivering in 27 degrees out in the western Utah desert. (I couldn't run the heater because it puts out radio noise that would have ruined the many exposures.)"

The Headless Horseman rides again!

Happy Halloween!

 photo by Joe Bauman

Here's a look at the equipment it took to capture the image of the Headless Horseman's Ghost Horse.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Stay-cation

                               photo by Susan Quirk
"Hey Dave, can you take care of the ranch for awhile?"
"Sure.  What's up?"
"I've got family from North Carolina in town.
Brother Tom and sister-in-law Pat are in Colorado Springs
to celebrate her Dad's 101 birthday!  
And cousin Susan is staying with us!"
"Great.  What are you going to do?"

"Well, first I'm going to show Susan the ranch -
  photo by Susan Quirk
and introduce her to the neighbors.
photo by Susan Quirk

Then we're off to Colorado Springs to meet up with Tom.
Susan, Tom, Terry

We'll get some lunch,
 photo by Susan Quirk.

 and walk it off at the Garden of the Gods.
You know how I love Garden of the Gods! 
I'll take so many pictures I'll have to save them for another day! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Well Done, David!


Thanks to all of David's hard work,
winter barn prep


Monday, September 29, 2014

State of the Ranch Address and an Oops

We are making great progress in getting the barn spruced up before Old Man Winter moves in.  We've finished treating the wood, and the runs are sparkling.  They've been sanded, primed and painted.

No teeth marks in the paint, boys.

Paj, are you listening to me?

With Mickey's supervision,

David finished leveling the stalls today.

There's only one big job left -
The runs need more gravel.

And now for the oops.  I misspoked (miswrote?).  Last post I said that the regional championship show  was the last show of the year.  No no no.  Lakota and Shannon have been invited to compete at Kentucky Horse Park Nov 6-9 for the National Championships.  Go team Lakota!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Championships - End of the Show Year

Colorado Horse Park hosted both the Rocky Mountain Dressage Society (RMDS) championships and the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 5 championships this week.  USDF Region 5 is composed of Arizona, Colorado, Eastern Montana, New Mexico, West Texas, Utah and Wyoming.  Championships is a big four day show with 3 arenas.

I love this show.  I love the beautiful horses, the happy memories from my show days, and most of all I love seeing friends from today and long ago.   

On Thursday Lakota and Shannon competed in the PSG RMDS championships.

RMDS PSG Reserve Champion!

Friday they had the RMDS I-1 championships.

 RMDS I-1 Reserve Champion!

Saturday Lakota had a day off,
then Sunday they had the USDF I-1 championships.

USDF I-1 Reserve Champion!

Good boy, Lakota.
Congratulations, Jan.

Shannon rode another "horse of color".

FWF Comanche Fire

This big boy is a Clydesdale and Paint cross.
He competed at 3rd and 4th Level.
He already has a nice passage, which he showed off in the awards ceremony!

Oops, this is getting long (hey, it was a long weekend!),
but I want to introduce you to my old friend Maureen
and her new horse Ty (Antigua).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Sweet Little Nest

David and I are still hard at work on the barn.  We are about 3/4 of the way through our project.  We're completely done with Boomer and Ben's former stalls.  We power washed everything, stained the wood in the stalls, and sanded and repainted the runs.  We moved Reggie and Paj to the finished stalls, and now we're about halfway done with their stalls and runs.

In the midst of all this cleanup, I removed a sweet little nest from a ledge in the barn.  We actually had two nests in the barn, but the one on the trusses is occupied.  It's where the barn swallows are raising their third set of babies this year.  I don't know whether it's the same pair or not, but regardless, it's baby bunch number three.  Of course we are being careful not to disturb them.

The other nest has been vacant since late spring.

The fuzzy material is alpaca fiber from the neighbor's alpacas.
The thread-like fibers are horse hairs from Clydesdale feathers.

The builder of this cozy little nest was a Say's Phoebe.

Wikipedia will tell you that it's a "drab, chunky" bird.
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
To me, it's a pretty little thing,
a fierce flycatcher, and most welcome.

Wikipedia will also tell you that its habitat is
"dry, desolate and arid landscapes". 

Friday, September 12, 2014


We have a dusting of snow and it's 28F/-2C.

Cold flowers.

 Cold shrubs, cold husband, cold dog.
Cold photographer.

Warm Reggie.

 Warm Paj.

Don't feel too sorry for us,
tomorrow brings...


Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Hole in the Ground

Just when you think you surely must be in the middle of nowhere

the ground opens up to reveal 
a little gem of a park.

 Painted Mines Interpretive Park preserves
land that has been inhabited for 9,000 years.

Native Americans used the colorful clay for pottery and paint.

Homesteaders used it for bricks.

 Erosion created a fine array of hoodoos and spires.

It's quite an interesting hole in the ground,
and it's only an hour away from Moondance.