Tuesday, October 17, 2017

More Fun

My daughter rode with me yesterday! I decided not to take her out into hunting-land, so we rode at home, which turned out to be less than super fun.

I saddled up both of the older horses, Ruger (my dad's horse) and Coy. Ruger seemed pretty worked up so I rode him. He really wanted to be with Bella and Scout. We had a nice little ride just cruising around the property, but both horses were a little magnetized to their friends.

Ruger went back to his big herd at the boarding stable after that. I think he likes it better over there, and we won't be riding him now. Liam's interest was short-lived.

Late in the day I went back out and trimmed Coy's hooves, fed him, let him graze in the yard, then rode again. Mind you, these are short rides.

Everyone posed for a nice picture for me:

So, as to Coy's name. I can never remember it when I need to. And I don't really like it. I do like its meaning: a quiet place, a woods, or a forest. But I'm constantly calling him Cal by accident. A product of either my head injury or my migraine drugs, I'm sure.  So if his name changes, that's why. I'm trying to call him Coy, but it's not working well for me. And even though he's an older guy and he should know his name, he doesn't respond to it, so I'm not sure he does know it. We'll see. I can't just keep calling him, "My horse."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

First Ride

Oh my gosh I had so much fun with my new buddy yesterday. We hauled out to go on a trail ride but it ended up being a hike for me. We weren't planning on snow, and Coy kept getting giant snowballs in his hooves. But it was a lovely hike even with the bad footing. It smelled so good, pine trees and mist rising off the snow. Perfect.

John LOVED riding Scout again. So I guess we know whose horse is whose.

After picking out the billionth snowball, we turned back. I wanted to actually ride, and for that we had to go home. Coy is a blast to ride! We rode over tarps and into hiding grouse who spooked up into the sky. Nothing seems to bother him except the idea of leaving his new horse friends. And even that he's not terrible about.

I can't wait to ride again today.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A New Friend

I'd like to introduce you to Coy. He is such a cool old guy! He fits right in here with the gentle herd (Juniper and Duncan). He's totally all about food right now.
He was out to pasture with some sheep at his previous home, which his owner thought was quite good food, but the pasture has dried up. He's a bit thin. Not that his owner didn't love him, he very much does love him, but his wife has cancer and he wants to make sure Coy gets all the love he needs while the family deals with more important things.
Coy is a traveller fore sure, he really likes to move around and explore. He doesn't look for boogey men, he just goes. No drama. He's supposedly 18 years old, been-there-done-that, and my farrier likes him (he's known the horse for years), which is a big plus. His hooves could be better, but they could be a lot worse too. I've started him on my good vitamin supplement (HorseGuard) and Farrier's Formula double strength, which has excellent reviews online, and am gradually increasing his equine senior. Plus LOTS of grass hay. He's a happy camper. I love feeding them up, so I'm happy too. I may have to buy more hay though...

I looked at a couple other horses before I looked at Coy, drove a long ways, had a funny feeling about the first seller, and it was just a weird experience. Too iffy. The second horse I didn't even ride. Fighting the bit, really raring to go. This horse that you could supposedly put anyone on. Horse shopping is such a strange experience. They all sound great in their ads.

We should be taking the horses out for an easy trail ride today. I woke up with a splitting headache though so I need to get that under control.

John hit an old cow elk (the size of a horse) with his Prius last night. I'm a lucky lady to have my husband unscathed. It killed the elk and may have totalled the car but he's fine. 

Monday, October 02, 2017


I love the tiny rain ripples in the water in the photo above. We got a little wet on that ride. I didn't even carry a jacket. Whoops.

The total barrenness of post-harvest Palouse sometimes makes me think of Mad Max. But I was kinda in a funk that day.

Glorious view! On top of the world!

Yesterday we drove up to Spokane to help my parents with ripping out their deck. I tried to help remove nails. Nope. It caused a headache. So I had an enforced day of rest.

Today I have to go up again to see the neurologist, so more driving, which causes headaches, but if I can I'm definitely gonna ride later.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Lots of saddle time

Photo taken by my sister

We had a lovely ride yesterday. The fall color is so glorious & the temperature is perfect. It was windy but that's never quite so bad once you're in the mountains.

Scout kept kicking and bumping his butt up and I found a bunch of small houndstongue burrs on him and thought it was strange that he was being so sensitive. I picked them all off and went on, but he was still upset, so I checked again. He had one way up in the sweaty crease of his groin. Ouch! I guess that's a good argument for making sure your horse lets you touch his underbits.

Other than that it was a relaxing, uneventful, gorgeous ride.

I was going to share photos from three other rides this past week but blogger is being difficult.

I got to ride with John and Ruger on Monday, and a baby deer almost ran me down, it was so weird! I heard something galloping straight at us through the brush and got ready for trouble (maybe a spook), kind of confused because it didn't sound very big. The wee thing realized we were there at the last instant and stopped short, stared, and took off in another direction. Poor thing. There are hunters in the woods right now stirring things up. Scout got excited and wanted to go after it.

I also rode on Tuesday with my sister and a couple of her boarders, and Wednesday with Cindee in the farm fields near her house. We are making the most of this good weather!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Riding with Cindee

My friend Cindee is finally riding with me! Yay! Her Morgan mare, Trixie, is amazing. She hasn't had a lot of life experience, never had been hauled anywhere to ride, never had been to the woods at all (she lives in farm country about 30 miles away), and had never seen wildlife or cows.

We've been on three rides now and she's pretty impressive. One spook and attempted bolt (at a log of all things) and a big heart pounding fear when the cows were in the brush but she couldn't see them. But when she could see them they were no big deal. She goes through brush no problem, up and down steep terrain, nothing much seems to bother her.

Cindee is having a blast. And I absolutely love having someone to ride with who has the free time to get out and go, especially now that the weather is cooler. We even rode for three or four hours in the rain one day. Granted, the forecast said it was going to clear up or we probably wouldn't have gone. But we're die-hard riders now. :) If you've got rain gear you might as well use it, right?

Scout has been having fun too. He cracks me up. When we go to turn back he suggests that we keep going or take a different branch in the trail and head back out into the mountains. He says there's plenty of grass out there, no need to go home at all. I don't think he realizes how much gear he'd have to carry for me to live out there without starving or freezing.

We took Liam on his first trail ride. He looks good on Ruger.
He wasn't feeling well that day so he didn't have much fun, but he was out riding the next day so I guess it didn't scar him for life. He sure does like Ruger. My dad got a darn good horse.

We'll be out riding again tomorrow. Can't wait!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Clear Skies and Fall Weather

John and I stole my dad's horse again and went for a nice ride yesterday. We really need to have another rideable horse here. It's so much fun to just take off together and enjoy some quiet time!

Scout was pretty nervous for the first half of the ride. Poor dude just doesn't get enough riding. He was a good boy, just in a hurry and soaked in sweat. He stumbled once and spooked at a log in the middle of his recovery. I admit we made fun of him a bit for that.

We saw some deer and heard two somethings bigger/noisier and darker colored, but didn't get a good look at them. We saw a lot of paper wasp nests too. I hate those things! The bushes are so dry that they're already dropping leaves, so as long as you keep your eyes open and stay out of the thick brush, you can spot them before you run into them.

By the end of the ride Scout was himself again. I didn't want to be done. But boy was my butt sore. I had this thought that maybe riding in an ultra foam padded seat allows too much chafing movement. I never had that problem in my hard/slick seat saddle. Thoughts?

We really, really need to ride more. I got a headache after this ride, as usual, but it went away by morning, so that's good. The best riding weather of the year is here! I love it.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Feline Sex Change

The funniest thing happened at work today.

It isn't uncommon for people to be mistaken about the sex of their cat. They're told when the cat is a kitten that it's a girl, and so they believe it's a girl despite the large testicles that eventually develop. Because who really spends a lot of time staring at their cat's butt? (Despite the fact that all cats show off their butts quite shamelessly.)

So we check them when they come in for a spay or neuter. Because that's an embarrassing mistake for a vet or their staff to make.

Today a very nice cat, we'll call her Mina, came in to be spayed. And when I found that she had a nice big pair of testicles I left a message for her owner letting her know that Mina was definitely a boy and she'd have a refund waiting since a neuter surgery doesn't cost as much.

When she came to pick Mina up, she had her two adorable daughters with her and she told me she hadn't told them the news I'd left on the message because she wanted to record their reactions. This is how it went.

Girls (worried): What about Mina?

Me: Well, it turns out Mina is actually a boy.

Girls: No! (Total Disbelief) She can't be a boy.  ...  No way. ...  How do you know?

Me: Well... she has boy parts.

Younger girl: You mean she has a penis now?

Me: Actually she always did, you just couldn't see it.

And then we had to figure out an awesome new name.

And that's why my husband is now going to tell everyone I work in a clinic where we do feline sex changes.

Smoke & fire

The fire is still burning. It's burned roughly a thousand acres. It's hard to get reliable info but it doesn't look like it has burned any of the trails I ride and it isn't very near my favorite place in the whole world, so that's good. Also, my friend hasn't had to evacuate. It's staying well clear of her place, and I am very thankful for that.

I wish we'd get a good soaking rain all over the states that are on fire. We're losing too much! And it's hard to breathe.

Juniper's baby is a subtle wiggler. No big forceful kicks or poking out into the flank where you can tell there's a leg or a head right there. She's certainly not as communicative as Scout was in the womb. Just bumps and wobbles like distant rolls of silent belly thunder. I wonder if that's because she's not a horse, or because she's just a wee baby yet. Still no signs of imminent foaling. Juniper was a little cranky last night, but I would be too if I had to live in a hot, dusty, fly ridden smoky world.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Fire, birds, weather, no baby

My happy mountain getaway caught on fire yesterday. I don't know the exact location, it's just reports and pictures from locals on Facebook so far, but I'm bummed. It's SO dry right now. I hope they were able to get it put out quickly but it smelled like fire here all night. I haven't seen any official news yet.

On the bird front, it's going to take some time to transfer them to my care. For now I will just be listed as a helper. The ravens are magnificent creatures! I love their voices. They are stressed right now because of all the change in their lives, but I hope they'll come to be more comfortable with me.

The heat and my headaches have been keeping me from riding, and I guess that's OK. I just am not going to make it into a chore that I have to do. We ride when we can. I think the weather is supposed to get more bearable in about a week. Hopefully the smoke will clear some. Then, as long as my headaches will behave we will ride!

Still no sign of a donkey baby. I do see that her belly is bigger on the right side, but if it weren't for that I would think she was just slightly portly. Maybe I felt some baby movement yesterday, but as usual, Juniper was just wiggly enough to make me wonder if it was her fidgeting. No bag at all yet. On one of my donkey groups online, a donkey recently had her foal at 14 months and 1 day gestation. That's just redonkulous. Why do they have to be so variable?

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...