Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Little Ride

I don't know why it's so hard to talk myself into going for a ride these days. It's the heat, mostly. But we left the house just after 6 in the evening and the temperature was bearable in the woods.

Just breathing that air once we get there is enough reason to go.

Life's little worries and irritations just melt away and I want to run away and never come back. Not really. But kind of.

Anyway, Scout was a trooper until we got closer and closer to a dead animal smell and wisely opted to turn back. He was nervous, which tells me there may have been something out there besides a rotting animal. How little we know with our puny human senses.

The rest of the ride was very relaxing except Scout kept stumbling right at the end. I'm not sure what that was about. I checked his hooves carefully and there didn't seem to be a problem there. Maybe he just wasn't paying attention to his feet.

Saturday, August 05, 2017


After my last post Juniper's bag has gone away. She had some behavior yesterday that had me a little worried that I was depending too much on her bag as a foaling indicator but she's fine and there's no baby. I'm back to wondering if she's pregnant at all. And I really wouldn't mind if she wasn't. But there's the fact that she's never been in heat and the positive pregnancy test. Of course, they look like they're not pregnant right before they foal because the baby moves up toward the exit. All I can do is be observant and be prepared.

My dad got a horse that is just the bomb diggity. Anyone could ride this kind, gentle soul. I think we'll borrow him quite a bit in the near future. Liam, who hasn't ridden in years, since we had Soxy, rode him with no problems.

Before my dad went home we took the horses for a ride in the mountains at sundown. It's too hot to ride during the day. It was fun. I'm glad they can see better than we can!

The next day I injured my neck and back pretty badly just washing my hair. Seems like every time I have a little fun I pay for it thanks to that inattentive driver.

Now it's too hot and too smoky to expect the horses to do much work anyway. Fire season is here and it's pretty bad again this year. The sun and the moon are red and everything is a little eerie.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

It Begins

This morning at "bag check" Juniper actually had a little mammary development. She's thinking about making milk! It was just a little thickening behind her teats and it doesn't mean there will be a baby today by any means, but it's a big, noticeable change. Now I absolutely need to get my fences in order for a little one.

She, don't tell anyone, but there's a crow in my house, learning how to eat cherries on my living room floor. It's just about the cutest thing you ever saw. I love her.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Just fun

Camping has not included horses this year, but it has been relaxing and uncomplicated.

Juniper and I went for a walk and all the neighborhood horses were so excited about her. Do you see the colts behind the bushes?

I love her expression here:

Baby on board? I don't think she slipped the foal, but she's sure hiding it well. According to my unreliable information, she could technically give birth any time from now until November, maybe longer if she's stubborn about it. Don't worry, she isn't looking imminent at all. No bag and no other signs.

I think this might be my favorite picture of her yet:

Scout was surprisingly well behaved the other day when we rode.

The alien isn't so scary now.

I guess the Fabtron saddle doesn't fit as well as I'd hoped. Boo.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Space Aliens Ma! Run! Snort!

Just after I mounted up last night Scout noticed Juniper and Duncan playing and he freaked out. I thought he thought they were spooking at something, because he wouldn't act that way over something as silly as a new fly mask, would he?
Why yes. Yes he would. I dismounted and eventually took the fly mask off and he felt better about Juniper, but he was still worried about the fly mask. We did some basic, calm ground work and he kept going back to visit the fly mask, and eventually we gathered our brains and had a nice little ride.

Juniper didn't seem to mind her fly mask once I had Duncan try it on. It didn't smell like a horse so it was a suspicious article to her at first. Duncan didn't like the long ears.

Scout got a different "gift" in the mail. I've needed these since my old set went with my good saddle. These are made by weaver leather, the wider width "Utah hobbles" and they're great quality.

His hooves are a bit long. I guess 7 weeks between farrier visits this time of year is too long. Bella's hooves are busting out and I had to trim one of Duncan's because it started to split. I wish my farrier would do a barefoot trim. I like the guy a lot but his trim is too long, dang it.

I gotta go. I hope you have a beautiful day!

Sunday, July 09, 2017


 My sister and I went on a super easy, quick camping trip Friday night. It was great. We ate dinner before we left so there was no need for a lot of gear or food. Just sleeping arrangements and I brought my fancy chair.

I only brought Huckleberry because Blue barks incessantly. Huck only barked when he needed to. A couple times at prey animals (we could tell by his bark and the fact that he ran after it a short distance) and one visit from a predator.
His approach with the predator was completely different. He caught wind of it and walked back and forth, trying to locate it. My sister saw its eyes and Huck gave one bark and ran to us, shaking. The critter didn't run off until it heard human voices. It was probably a bear? We were right near a bunch of huckleberries. Maybe wolf or cougar. Not coyote. He's not afraid of those.

Of course I missed most of that, I was dead asleep until the bark, the yelling, and the broken branches as the thing ran away. Amy was observing all the interesting Huckleberry behavior.

The next time he barked I was like a ninja, up out of my sleeping bag with my bear spray in my hand before I was even awake. :) But it was just a deer or something.

We slept in until 9:15! So we didn't hike. We had a leisurely breakfast of coffee and power bars, looked for critter tracks, and I picked a few huckleberries.
 We made it back to my small town before the coffee lady closed at noon, and it was lovely!

I would have gone back out last night but Liam backed out on me and John didn't have enough time to get his gear together. He likes to take everything including the kitchen sink.

The days are so hot it doesn't make much sense to do much with the horses, unless you get up super early or stay up late. Maybe take them camping next time...

Monday, July 03, 2017

Interesting. Thoughts on Smarts.

This morning before it got hot I opened up a new small section of pasture for Bella and Scout. I moved the temporary fence in plain sight, and they were interested at one point but then went back to grazing.

A little background: every night I call them in with their vitamin supplement from near the round pen and lock them in there for the night.

So at first when I called them from the tall grass on the other side of the round pen they were like, "Nah." It was the wrong time of day and there was no sign of food.

I persisted and they became intrigued and came down. Their different responses were really interesting and got me thinking about intelligence and our perception of it.

Scout charged down the hill and ran through where the fence had been, excited to eat the new grass.

Bella came down more carefully, following her usual path, and put herself in the round pen as per her daily habit. She nickered at us on the other side, not quite sure how to join the party, but she wasn't terribly upset.

At first I was shocked and thought Scout was smarter than his mama! No way! But then I got to thinking maybe it's not smarter to charge into a new situation. Maybe for a horse it's smarter (safer) to stick with routine, not try new things without checking them out first. She and Scout have completely different formative backgrounds, with her growing up wild and him growing up here in a very safe, controlled environment. And of course, their personalities are totally different. He loves to explore (destroy) new things (anything he can get his mouth on). She is content just being a horse.

Interesting. Who is smarter? How do you gauge it? By human expectations or horse expectations? Wouldn't it be fun to study?

I've heard people say they hate sheep or chickens because they're "So Stupid!" but I never saw them that way. They're not people. They're smart enough to be what they are, and that's just fine. Stick together, keep out of the way of predators, and eat. And have little squabbles and relationships and cute little lives that are actually quite interesting if you slow down and watch them and don't expect them to be "smart" in some way that they're not. Probably the humans who were complaining about them were trying to work with them in a way that didn't fit their nature (couldn't get them to cooperate) and so perhaps it wasn't the animals who were stupid after all? :) I admit I've fit in the stupid bracket more than once working with different types of animals. It's a journey...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer's Here

Busy busy! I'm just stopping by to say hello. We're getting in the last of our hay today. I hope it's the last. Hay days are hard. I want to go to the forest and relax!

Just a few recent pics:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hike and Ride at Ruby Creek

I really feel so grateful to live in such beautiful country. We went out to a place I've been lots of times, but Liam spotted a little cow path off to the side and said, "Let's go this way," and a whole new world opened up. It was super fun and really pretty. We'll have to explore it more later. All of the trails and logging roads meet up, and you could really be out there for weeks if you wanted to. (I'd love to)

Liam is really loving spending time with Duncan. I need to take some time to do some real training with them. Liam really has very little foundation in horsemanship, but he learns fast and he does well. Duncan likes him a lot too, and seems pretty relaxed. They're both green but they have plenty of time on their hands. Just need to find a mentor.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lost a Friend

I had a call tonight the a former co-worker died in a car accident on her way to college in another state. We didn't hang out together, I didn't see her often after she got a job with more hours, but I loved it when she dropped by to see us. I would have adopted her as my own. She was only 18, just graduated from high school. Full of life, sarcastic as all get-out, so much fun. A real go-getter. We had a lot of fun working together. She had so much struggle behind her and so much good ahead of her. I can't believe all that was to come just isn't going to be. I don't know how her parents will go on. She was too young and too bright and wonderful to just be gone.

I am honored to have known her lovely spirit. She conquered her obstacles and brightened the world. I'm sad now but I will remember her exuberance and her smart ass smile forever.

Good Company

We took the fam for a walk 'n ride over the weekend. Liam hiked with Duncan. It was fun.

 Yesterday I found a halter on clearance for five dollars. I thought it would be a pretty color on miss Juniper.

Liam is really falling in love with Duncan. They spend a lot of time together. I might have to get them both some training together.

 Good times with good company. :)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Celtic Moon of the Horses

According to facebook, the full moon last night was "The Celtic Moon of the Horses."  Who knows, maybe someone just made that up, but my sister and I made the most of it.

It must have been after 6 by the time I got home from work, found my horse, and got to the trailhead and got saddled. Scout had a little nervous energy.

This was an accidental picture that I really like.

The grass eating was a bit much, but who can blame them when it's practically in their mouths anyway? We headed for the forest.

Into the deep dark. We saw lots of animal sign. It's amazing what you see out there, not too far from houses and people, but far enough. I love it. I wish we had seen themselves.

Scout was a trooper, marching on. 

This was absolutely the most prettily adorned stump I've ever seen. I love how the flowers wrap around. I wish my camera could do it justice. Faeries must abide there, don't you think?

Amy hates it when I take her picture. But then she shouldn't wear such cool hats. And her horse has such a nice butt.
 So this is where it gets cool. We got back to the trailers just as the moon was starting to glow over the mountains and Amy said, "Let's ride across the creek again."

When we headed that way we spotted a bull elk and his lady in the meadow just a ways across the creek. We watched them for a while until the were gone. Scout was a bit concerned because he couldn't see them well enough in the darkness to know what was moving over there. I just asked him to stand and face it, and I let him eat grass.

When they were gone Scout went suddenly, with great purpose, through the meadow, across the creek, and up the bank to the other side. He would have kept on going after the the elk if I'd let him. And then the moon was up in all its glory.

Eventually we crossed back over and tried to return to the trailers but the horses weren't having it. Scout became all purpose again, moving off into the nearer meadow. 

We laughed. It was glorious. Bright moonlight and treeshadows.  Daisies scattered like stars come to ground. A horse, unguided, moving, moving. Our shadows one in the cold, clean moonlight. 

We asked them several times if they wanted to go home. They declined. Finally we had to insist. I didn't pull into the driveway until 11:00, and I got a stern talking to from my worried son. My cell phone didn't work out there.

These are the moments we live for.