Sunday, January 14, 2018

That Ain't Right

Sunday January 14 2018

What a beautiful day for a spring ride!

But wait - this is the middle of winter! Last winter we were under feet of snow. We'd had temperatures that dipped to -13*F a couple of times.

Not so this winter.  We have had one single instance of 3" of snow on the ground. That's it. Hasn't made it below zero once. Now it's daytime temperatures in the 50's. Barely freezing at night. Grass starting to come up. Someone saw the first flowers coming up already. At least one of our horses is starting to shed her winter coat. I saw two flies yesterday. A friend saw herds of gnats along the Snake River already - ugh! The resident male screech owl has started hooting a month earlier than normal.

That Ain't Right!!!!! (But does make for some nice riding.)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Land of Little Snow

Monday January 1 2018

No snow and no wind makes for a nice New Year's Day ride in Owyhee.

Last year the snow bombs started dropping December 4, and didn't stop till late March, leaving us with a most astounding record snowfall. This winter was supposed to be the same, but so far we're sorely lacking in the white fluff department. We did finally get a couple of inches on Christmas Eve, but it's already gone.

In fact the Owyhee mountains that you see there in the distance have such a pitiful, miserly layer of snow, there could still be cows grazing up there (we saw fresh cow tracks today… so they aren't all down in Oreana yet).

It's too early for me to panic yet, but I want my snow! I sure got spoiled last year, when for the first time in 60 years, it was measured in feet, not inches.

But on the plus side, it makes for good winter riding, and keeping Dudley on his diet and exercise program, though I don't know that he would agree!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Skiffin'

Saturday December 16 2017

I was getting a little antsy, seeing as we were 11 days behind the date of the start of last year's epic winter snowfall. The Owyhee mountains have actually held snow for about 2 months now (!), but down here, we'd had nuthin' until last night.

But this morning: a half inch of snow on the ground and a wind to chase away the icy fog that's been sitting on us for the last 2 weeks.

It's only a skiff, but it's the first one down here, and we'll take it!

(That's Hillbillie Willie, sporting the snow nose... why does he always look dorky?)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Rocking' the Bow

Tuesday December 12 2017

This little trick sort of developed on its own, when I started locking the two Hoodlums, Dudley and Finneas (show names Douglas and Finley) off the hay during the day. As compensation I gave them a little treat. One day when I turned them loose, I happened to be standing between them, and Finneas *thought* I wanted him to bow, and when he did, I asked Dudley to bow. It's become a ritual now (though I ask Finneas to "bow" and Dudley to "step"). 

Dudley of course knows lots of tricks (his favorite one right now is picking up a feed bucket), and Connie has taught Finneas how to bow and how to kiss.

The Hoodlums have previously worked as a team before, exhibiting how not to be afraid of a tarp,

but this double bow is their best yet!

Video here:

(or, link to video: )

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Make America Hot Pie Again

Saturday November 25 2017

When the talk shows shout screamingly and the tweets beller bellicosely and the harassers harass humanity and the bellyachers blame everybody else, I switch off and go saddle up Hot Pie. He doesn't care about any of that stuff.

We just head for the rim trail, stop and enjoy the scenery, take in the high desert Winter-Is-Coming air, eyeball coyotes, stink-eye the Oreana-bound cows, and appreciate the vastness and quietness of a little corner of Owyhee, where the only really important things are, Ride a Good Horse and Make America Hot Pie Again.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hot Pie

Thursday November 16 2017

I call Belesemo Dude lots of names*, but Hot Pie (from Game of Thrones, naturally) is my favorite go-to. You can kind of see the resemblance - both rather rotund, and both love to eat.

My 4-legged Hot Pie has been marking and unmarking a lot of trail this last month, and he's quite proud of himself when he gets back home all duded up. 
We even heard a cougar yowling on Hart crick on one of these occasions, and boy did he turn on his Orlov trot to get out of there, though no cougar in its right mind would've messed with the Dude all bedecked in ribbons. He's gotten real good at stopping at ribbons and standing very still, and, since he's pretty tall, letting me lean waaaaaaaaay over, one foot out of the stirrup and my heel digging halfway up his side to hold on, so I can reach down and grab the ribbons.

Yesterday he was looking all handsome, sashaying down the trail from his Unmarking foray, wearing 2 ribbon necklaces, wooden stakes strapped to his pack, and jugs bouncing off his saddle.

Belesemo Dude/Hot Pie is featured in this month's Postcard From Owyhee:

*Buster Brown, Busterufagus, Dude, Duder, Mighty Mouth, Chunky Monkey, Buffalo Soldier (borrowed from Connie and Finneas), Stud Muffin, DUDLEY! (when he's in trouble), Hot Pie

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ooooh That Standie!

Wednesday September 13 2017

Ooooh, that Willie! 

Hillbillie Willie the Standardbred did it again - finished a 50 mile endurance ride at last Sunday's Old Selam in the forested mountains of Centerville, Idaho. After a brilliant debut at City of Rocks in June in his first 50, followed by his second attempt at a 50: a great bubble bust (mine) in a first-loop pull on the first day at the pretty Top O' The World ride from a too-rocky road = sore feet, Old Selam was for Willie a piece of cake.

Yes, it was hot, and yes, I could feel him getting tired a few times Sunday on the second loop during the heat of the day (probably around 100*), when we were all 6 of us - horses and humans - sagging from the heat, and thirsty for need of water, but that big skinny Standardbred finished the ride with a pulse of 48. 48!!!!

Willie LOVED the mountain trails, particularly the overgrown two-track roads with blind corners that he zoomed around, ducking under trees that whapped me in the face (he's too tall and his neck is too long and too far down for me to throw myself down on his neck). I just hoped that we would not discover a moose or bear around one of those corners!

Oh, he's a charmer, that Willie. He had Dr Ruble enchanted, as Willie tried to help him fill out his vet card before and after the ride. He blinked his eyes charmingly at everybody in camp who said he was a big horse or a sweet horse. He pretty much has everybody charmed. He's a looker anyway, since he's (I swear) 17 hands, but it's his cute, inquisitive, kind expression that really gets everybody.

He's got a sense of humor, too. Within 10 minutes on the high tie at the horse trailer, he'd reached down and dumped out his water tub. I promptly filled his tub again, hauling buckets of water from the trough to the trailer, (in the heat of the day), and within 3 minutes, he'd dumped it again. Being funny, I guess, but it wasn't funny to me.

"Go ahead, dump your water," I scolded, and poked him in the nose with the bucket, "get hot and dehydrated the night before your hot 50 mile ride!" He looked aggrieved, (obviously not realizing the consequences of going thirsty) and apologetic. He didn't dump it again. 

Instead, in the next 10 minutes, he'd pooped in it, exactly on target. I am sure he was giggling as I cleaned out the tub and filled it yet again. He didn't get scolded for that one because it was indeed rather hilarious.

I think you can say that Steph's Standardbred Willie's an endurance horse now. He's only 5, but has years of conditioning foundation under his girth as a racehorse (he raced at 2, I think), and he's put in his time in the hills and sand of Owyhee. He might get to go in another endurance ride or two this year… stay tuned!

More photos and stories from Old Selam at:

And my photo shoot photos from Day 1 are at:
(watch out for the wild animals!)