Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Infectious



Tuesday November 30 2010

Today I saw something I've never seen before - my horse playing! My elder, retired, Number-One-Eater, lazy, ex-racehorse Stormy, playing! Once in a while he romps and prances, and once in a while he recalls his glory days on the racetrack and he sprints across the ground, but he never plays. Today he played!

And the Being responsible?

The Owyhee Social Director, Jose. Jose can eventually get anybody to play.

Stormy has his morning roll in the Owyhee Spa Dirt.


He has another one...


and S.D. Jose appears at his side.


As he shakes off, Stormy's sidekick Tex comes up to see what's going on.


To my utter amazement, Stormy and Jose start nose wrestling.



Tex comes in to make sure his big buddy is not being roughed up too much.


He makes his point.


Stormy and Jose go back to wrestling.


Stormy is half-rearing at Jose!


He's getting fierce while Jose eggs him on!


Batman thinks about joining in.


Stormy rears!


Look at Stormy go!


Now Batman rolls...


and he becomes Jose's next target!


A shake off...


and he goes after Jose!


Jose lets him have it!


Then he goes back for more!


They romp...


Then it's on to the next playmate for Jose...


himself!


He likes to paw and bite his ankle.


Now the other leg.


Back to messing with Batman.


Now time for a good roll


and shake off.


And another roll...


and a romp because it all just feels so good...



And on to the day's next social events!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chiaroscuro



Monday November 29 2010

I've always like the feel of that word: the effect of contrasted light and shadow.

Needs no more words here on this Owyhee winter day.

(slide show here)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Serving Notice


Sunday November 28 2010

Obsessed? Yes. Fiercely.

I'm putting another plug in here for Zenyatta, Thoroughbred racing's Queen, 2010 (she better be) Horse of the Year.

Yes, I still watch her races, over and over. Yes, I now have a Zenyatta Breyer model. (I haven't bought a Breyer model in 20 years!)

I'm also putting a plug in for the Commemorative Collector's issue of Zenyatta put out by the Blood-Horse, here at ExclusivelyEquine.com. It comes with an 8x10 photo of the cover, and reviews her races, her connections, pictures of her as a foal, her upbringing ("She was a troublesome filly; tough to train"), and of course, a magazine full of outstanding photos of Zenyatta throughout her career. She just makes the eyes water.

Zenyatta will make her final public appearance on December 5 at her home track of Hollywood Park in southern California. She'll visit the paddock after the sixth race, then will be paraded in front of the grandstands.

I've already outlined my reasons why Zenyatta should be Horse of the Year here. (Trainer John Sheriffs says, "Here she is, and then they seem to be looking for something better.")

So this is my Notice: If Zenyatta is not named Horse of the Year this time - I'm done with racing. Finished.

Take notice, you who have the vote. If Zenyatta is not named Horse of the Year this time, horse racing is going to lose a lot of those fans that Zenyatta (NOT BLAME!) singlehandedly brought to racing.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kings of the Hill



Saturday November 27 2010

Kings of the Hill

The Owyhee herd shot off across the paddock and headed for the hill, sprinted along the ridge, whirled and wheeled, raced back and forth, taking turns being King of the Hill on this winter day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crispy



Wednesday November 24 2010

The air is sharp and cold: -1*F at dawn. It singes your nose and burns your lungs as it goes down; your fingers and toes start to sting as the feeling goes out of them.


A red-tailed hawk waits in a tree above the creek for the golden rays to warm him before he begins his hunt for breakfast.


The languid horses wait for the sun to crest the ridge, to melt the light blanket of ice on their coats.



The sun comes and Jose naps in the warmth.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Owyhee Thanksgiving!

Tuesday November 23 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cold



Sunday November 21 2010

This was the start, the other day, of this winter storm that's taking over the Northwest. We've had far less snow than predicted so far, but the Cold is coming.

I took a little hike today up the creek looking for owls - didn't see any (but likely, they saw me). It was only in the mid-20's (*F), and I had plenty of layers on, but my face was cold. I was cold. It's hard to believe that in two mornings it's going to be thirty degrees colder.

I hope the horses have grown enough hair!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's For Dinner



Saturday November 20 2010

Hay is, of course, the number one choice. The alfalfa hay is for special horses or occasions (like skinny ones who need weight, warmth, or who get crowded off the hay). Anybody who can scam some grain is thrilled. The salt licks are popular.

The herd really isn't interested now in going up the canyon, but when I do coax them up there, they spend a few hours picking around.

They'll choose a bit of cheatgrass,



but they particularly go for the greasewood. I can't fathom why - it's prickly stuff and one of the reasons why cowboys around here wear chaps, and it's not something you'd choose to land in if you got tossed off your horse.

It's known to cause oxalate poisoning in sheep if eaten in large amounts, but it doesn't seem to adversely affect the horses. The plant absorbs large quantities of sodium salts, which must make the greasewood taste salty, though I can't detect it.

It's not so easy to eat, either. The horses curl their lips back and carefully strip off the minute leaves with their teeth.

I expect they still get some prickly stems that must poke holes in their tongues and cheeks while chewing, but they seem to think it's worth the effort.