Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My Calendar Pin Up Hunk

Tuesday January 24 2017

Four magazine covers (Southern Racehorse, The Horsemen's Journal, The Washington Thoroughbred, Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association Summer Yearling Sale Catalogue) and now two calendars for the WTBOA - Washington Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners Association - in 2016 and 2017 for my pin-up boy Stormy, The Most Beautiful Horse On The Planet.

Stormy was delighted to be the December and January pin up boy again in the WTBOA's new 2017 calendar, that features the Washington Thoroughbred industry (I was Stormy's groom when he ran at Emerald Downs in 1997-98).

But who's counting? Stormy's not… he'd rather be eating. 

But of course I am delighted! You can order these calendars by contacting the Washington Thoroughbred.

and yes, that is Stormy rearing up on the right, and his FBFF Tex (aka Linda's Ted) on the left!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trickmeister Dude

Sunday January 22 2017

My sister's visiting, and she got to meet Stormy and Jose and Dudley and the rest of the herd for the first time.

Dudley put on a little show for her the first day. Not too bad, considering we haven't worked on tricks for a while! (Day 2 we tried and he was totally uninterested in performing. In fact, he just stood there and stared at us, even with carrots as rewards on offer! Oh well.) My sister took the pictures.


give me a hug!

pick it up! 
We just started on working having him pick it up and hand it to me. I tried to run in there to grab it before he dropped it! Gotta work on it.

Working on the Spanish step. Right now he has to do 3 steps (left right left) before he gets a reward. We'll eventually work on walking forward while doing it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A. Most. Epic. Winter.

Tuesday January 10 2017

It's been EPIC so far.

Snow on the ground since December 4 - which has been thrilling enough, in these drought years.

Then a week ago Monday: an inch of snow. Monday night: 2 inches. Tuesday: 6 inches. Tuesday night and Wednesday: 8 inches. Wednesday: more snow. It's astounding. Thursday, Friday, the weekend, today, more snow that falls, gets packed down, freezes hard, layers on more, rains, snows again… I have lost count.

Unprecedented in the 10 or so years I've been here. (Wednesday set a couple of records in Boise, including a 65-year record.)

Everything is slower. You can't run around in this stuff. Hiking takes a long time when you sink to your knees (!!!) at every step. If you've got to walk to the neighbors', just expect it's going to take some time, because you'll be pulling each leg out of a deep hole every step. 

If you've got to hike/climb to the internet tower to brush the snow off the solar panels, take a backpack of gear and extra clothes, maybe some climbing ropes and crampons and an ice axe, and an extra bottom layer for when you have to bust through that hip-deep snow cornice near the top. 

But don't forget to be astounded by the views. Everything is stunningly beautiful. From the high desert landscape buried in snow, to the Owyhee mountains buried in snow, to the horses decorated with ice it is seriously a unique, extraordinary winter wonderland.

The horses are fine out there with plenty of hay to eat, and I am sure the horses prefer the winter to heat and bugs!
Dudley does, he's throwing his head up, "yes!"

Who woulda thunk I'd'a needed snowshoes this winter just for around the ranch. And winter's not over yet!

Friday, January 6, 2017


Friday January 6 2017

One of the many delights of winter is the way Mother Nature decorates the horses with snow and ice.

You already saw Manesicles, then Beardsicles.

Now here it is: the first ever Photobombsicle. Although I'm not sure who photobombed who, it's definitely Mother Nature having the biggest laugh at me and Stormy (The Most Beautiful Horse On The Planet).

Monday, January 2, 2017


Sunday January 1 2017

Hoar frost is one of the biggest delights of winter. Mother Nature creates delicate icy designs with fog and cold and a slight breeze.

On this day, the hoar frost collected on Finneas' mane and under his chin for a nice beardsicle.

It also grew on legs

and tails.

Winter art!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Jose's New Play Toy

Thursday December 29 2016

Since Mac, Jose's bestest playin'est roughhousingest friend crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Jose's been short of a hard-playing pal.

The Owyhee Social Director still tries to stir the pot, running around on his own if necessary, biting his ankle, nipping and teasing with some horses, but he hasn't had much luck the last year or two.

Enter Hillbilly Willie. The Standardbred came to the Owyhee herd about a year ago, and spent most of the year very slowly melding with the herd. Owyhee Social Director Jose shunned him like the rest of the herd… but it was all part of his big hard-playing plan, you see.

Willie is possibly not the brightest bulb on the Owyhee Christmas tree, and he's not the lightest and quickest on his hooves, but Jose chose him to be his next horseplay accomplice. All it took was a good first dash of winter and a hair-raising breeze that got the entire herd a bit excited and in a rompus mood. And Jose got Willie to start playing.

It starts with an instigating bite on the ass

then a little romping.

then a little "bite my ankle" demonstration

Teaching Willie the Strike

The advanced bite and dodge move

Once Willie catches some air, Jose's got a willing new play toy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Willie Wants to Be A Bad Boy

Wednesday December 21 2016

In the mornings, I lead the two Hoodlums - Dudley and Finneas - up the canyon and lock the green gate on them up there. If I don't, those two will hog the hay feeder - Finneas on one side, and Dudley on the other, with the rest of the herd standing around waiting and hoping one of the Bad Boys will get thirsty and leave the feeder to go get a drink, so they can slip in and get a few bites.

Willie the Standardbred has started following me as I lead Dudley and Finneas up to the green gate. He wants to be a Bad Boy with the two Hoodlums.

I don't know Willie well enough to know if he can handle being separated from the rest of the herd - I don't want him trying to go through or leap the fence if he decides Dudley and Finneas aren't the best company after all. So, after I lock the two Hoods behind the green gate, with Willie looking on, I start walking back down to the herd. I gesture to Willie, Come on, and he starts ambling back with me, his head right over my shoulder. 

As we walk down the little Roll Hill (where everybody likes to roll), I start trotting… Willie starts trotting… and we come around the last sagebrush and I start running, and Willie falls into a pace, then in a split second he's racing past me in a kind of pace-a-lope, sprinting to the herd with his tail waving over his back like an Arabian. He turns his head back to look over his shoulder at me while he's frolicking like a jackrabbit.

I don't know if he'll ever make a real Bad Boy, but he enjoys flirting with danger.