Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tough Sucker II Vet in Day

Friday April 27 2012

On Friday, Steph and I saddled up Rhett and Jose to ride the 12 miles over to Regina's place, base camp for Saturday's Tough Sucker II endurance ride. (Here Mrs Sir Edmund Hillary supervises the saddling.)

Jose would be riding the 50 miler with his pal 20-year-old Rhett. Rhett reached 5000 career miles in the Tevis Cup in 2010, and if Rhett completed this ride, he'd have 6000 miles!

This is Steph and Rhett Friday after vetting in. 

I made a fun video of the vetting in. Check it out here on!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Freak Goes for Record 20 in a Row

image from

Friday April 27 2012

Black Caviar, the Australian sensation, will run Saturday (that's Friday night, US time) at Morphettville in Adelaide, Australia, in the 1200-meter Group I Sportingbet Classic, seeking her 20th victory in a row. She's currently tied with Australia's with Desert Gold and Gloaming at 19 consecutive wins. She's only 5 years old.

She had a short break since her last race February 18; she had a 'jump-out' at Caulfield on April 17, an unofficial work as a simulated race of 800 meters out of the gate against several horses, where she 'won' by 8 lengths.

Black Caviar has been called 'the world's fastest racehorse', 'the best sprinter in the world', 'the number one rated sprinter of all time', 'the mighty mare', and a 'freak,' and who can argue with that?

While Trainer Peter Moody will see how she comes out of this race, he's already looking ahead to her next possible race at Adelaide in the Group I Goodwood, which would be her last start in Australia before heading to England to run in the Group I Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 23, and at Newmarket in July. It is hoped that she will meet the sensational unbeaten European champion, and world's top-ranked Thoroughbred Frankel there (he's nine for nine), but at this point it looks unlikely.

Really, I'm done with horse racing, and it still makes me hold my breath if I ever watch a race live, but some horses just grab your attention and reel you in for one more taste of Sensational. Black Caviar is one of those!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birthday Boy

Wednesday April 25 2012

Sadly, I missed my horse's 21st birthday.

On the Big Day, April 13, I was in the throes of the flu, did not even go out to see the herd a few of those days, and frankly, would not have cared if Big Foot strolled through my back yard.

So today, Stormy and I went out on an Owyhee Birthday Ride!

Here Stormy shows what he thinks of an Owyhee Birthday Ride, as this is probably not what he would have chosen to do on his birthday. (Standing around eating is his first, middle, and last choices, always.)
"Smile, Stormy!"
"Uh - why?"

"Smile, Stormy!"
"Uh - why?"

And it wasn't just a Birthday Ride, it was an Educational Ride - Professor Stormy is escorting a young student on the trail. (the horse, not the rider!)

We stopped to check on the Great Horned Owl nest on the way. (look closely, and you can see an adult, and 2 babies in the pic)

The old man has to put out a little effort climbing up the ridge…

But the Birthday View is worth it.

Happy 21st Birthday, old man Stormy, The Most Beautiful Horse On The Planet! ♥ ♥

Monday, April 23, 2012

In the Blood

Monday April 23 2012

I come from farming stock, where, back in the old days, horses were commonly used, to plow, pull wagons, get from here to there if'n it was too far to walk and you didn't have a car.

That's my dad, up top, with his 3 brothers on a farm horse. He's the one looking at the camera. Maybe he's saying 'Get them off my horse!' or 'Get me off this horse!'

I grew up horse-less, though I dreamed and schemed ways of getting a horse that never worked. As a compromise, my dad would squire me around our little town every weekend, so I could visit the town's horses - I knew where every one lived, and I even named them all. I never thought to ask my dad what he thought of horses. Did he ever have his own horse? Did he like working with them? Were they just another part of the farm chores?

I did think to ask my mom about horses in her life once; she said she used to have a horse named "Maggie," and when she'd be late getting home in the evenings, she'd run Maggie across the fields to get back home in time, and it was a wonder Maggie never stumbled or broke a leg in those fields they raced over. I got the feeling that my mom got a bit of a thrill out of it, but… I never really asked.

Is that where my obsession with horses comes from? A farm boy sitting on a horse, and a farm girl racing her horse home before dark? 

Or am I a throwback to some ancestor who grew up knowing horses like the back of her hand, galloping saddle-less and bridle-less across the mountains (I'm sure I got the mountain gene from some ancient being), speaking, thinking, knowing Horse?

The scant details - the photo, the one vignette - are tantalizing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

She Waits

Thursday April 19 2012

Sitting low on her nest, she incubates the first egg she laid on March 7 or 8 (and perhaps subsequent eggs, laid 3-5 days apart). The golden eagles on Bates Creek started nesting on one of those two days. Incubation is typically 43 to 45 days, which means possibly today, and through Sunday, the first new golden eagle could be born on Bates Creek.

Waiting nearby is the other adult (females and males both incubate the eggs, though the male does it less, and only during the day - in the photos I'm assuming it's the female on the nest).

Last year, this pair produced one eaglet that successfully fledged. Perhaps this spring will bring one, or two new ones. 

She sits and waits.

Anxiously, we all wait!

Monday, April 16, 2012


Monday April 16 2012

There are some sights and sounds that make no mistake of the arrival of Spring in Owyhee: green grass, snakes on the road, birds on nests, the shrinkage of glistening white on the mountains, a thunderstorm

and Stormy, in a thunderous run with the herd down the canyon.

My, that old Thoroughbred can still run. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Welcome to Death Valley - Book Review

Friday April 13 2012

(for those of you who missed it on The Raven's blog)

Artist and writer Janet Morgan, of Art & Adventures kindly sent The Raven her latest children's book, "Welcome to Death Valley!"

The book is near and dear to The Raven's heart, not only because he's hiked and flown around Death Valley National Park, and ridden through parts of it on horseback, but Janet's story is told by Ravenna and Ramón, two Ravens who live in the park and who know all its secrets!

Through observant and clever Raven eyes, Ravenna and Ramón give us a guided tour, from the lowest point in Death Valley, Badwater Basin, the salty playa 282 feet below sea level, to the highest point, Telescope Peak, at 11,043 feet; past Zabriskie Point and Gower Gulch, over the spectacular Sand Dunes, through Desolation Canyon, Mosaic Canyon, and Ubehebe Crater.

The Ravens also share other things not as well known: the secrets of the night life in the sand dunes; the special colors of Death Valley in different light; the geology of the mountains and alluvial fans and valleys and ancient waterfalls and lakes, now dry; and, in one of the hottest and driest places on earth, hidden oases with precious water.

Janet has created art around the world and spent much time exploring Death Valley and visiting with Ravens. Her bright and colorful illustrations demonstrate the beauty of Death Valley that the Ravens live in and see every day.

It's not just a children's book. It's also a Raven book, and it's a collector's work of art!

See Janet's website, or order her book, "Welcome to Death Valley!" at

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Owyhee Tough Sucker Loop 2

Saturday April 7 2012

Here's a video of the second 25 miles of the Owyhee Tough Sucker I endurance ride, along the Oregon Trail, around Wild Horse Butte, and along the Snake River.

Another 50 miles completed for Jose and the Raven - that puts Jose only 100 miles away from 2000 miles!

Go Jose!

More photos and videos on the Tough Sucker ride page on

Monday, April 9, 2012

Owyhee Tough Sucker Loop 1

Saturday April 7 2012

Here's a video of the first 25 mile loop of the Owyhee Tough Sucker, our first endurance ride of the season, just down the road. A cold breezy morning on fresh horses, and a loop through the desert with the Owyhee mountains to the southwest, and the Snake River to the northeast.

Go Jose!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tough Sucker I Vet In

Sunday April 8 2012

Time for the first local endurance ride of the season: reuniting with old friends and my heart horse, Jose, and yes I was wearing his vest!

Here's a little movie I put together of the vetting in. In the next day's ride, I wore a helmet cam! Movie of that coming up next.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Catch Up

Thursday April 5 2012

• 4000 mile road trip - wheeeee! Trying to get the kinks out of the legs and butt.

• Coverage of the USA Endurance Team Trial in hot, humid Texas. (See coverage, stories, and photos here.) 

• Dead computer to deal with. Fortunately, I am religious about backing up data because of just such disasters, and I had almost everything backed up!

• Borrowed computer work: writing up ride stories, trying to catch up on email, but I think now for real I am forever in an email Black Hole catch-up-deficit.

• Unpacking the suitcases, packing the horse trailer, getting ready for our local first endurance ride on Saturday, on my  horse Jose (and yes, I'll be wearing his vest!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

USA Team Trial in Pictures

Saturday March 31 2012

Up top, that horse is getting cooled down with ice-water towels. It was a brutally hot day (from my perspective, and from some horses' perspectives!)

That's Christina Kimery on the left, and Darolyn Butler on the right. Darolyn is always so photogenic! Christina finished, but Darolyn was pulled.

John Crandell on his super horse Heraldic. They had some bad luck. Heraldic stepped in a hole with a hind leg and was off for several strides. He cantered out of it, and passed the vet exam when they arrived at basecamp for the next vet check, but John opted to quit. "He doesn't owe me anything. He doesn't have anything to prove," John said.

That's one of my favorite people on the left, Jan Worthington, riding Serloki, and the gal in the middle, Lisanne Dorion, is riding one of my favorite horses, Golden Lightning (Leon), owned by Jan. Jan and Lisanne finished the ride. I should know the rider on the right, but I don't!

Heather Reynolds on Riverwatch. They finished 4th.

Melody Blittersdorf and Synthetic. They finished 10th.

Young Rider McCamey Kimbler and Elliptic finished 19th, and behind her is Japanese rider Kyoko Fukumori who unfortunately got pulled. 

Ellen Olson is having so much fun riding SA Belshazzar, she almost rode out of camp without her helmet! She had to go back and get it. They finished 9th.

Don't know this gal, but loved the picture! Cooling off at a crew stop on trail.

Steve Rojek and Kim Denardis, looking good out on trail... but they got pulled.

Eventual winner Jeremy Reynolds and A Kutt Above on the second loop.

Doug Swingley (4 time Iditarod winner-turned endurance rider) on Stars Aflame. They were pulled.

Lindsay Graham and Monk. They were pulled.

Kelsey Kimbler and Cody Canuck finished 12th.

Golden Lightning trotting out at a vet check.

You couldn't miss Pete's Crew. (Becky Hart and No Repeat - Pete - finished 3rd.)

Speaking of - Becky Hart and No Repeat.

Jennifer Stevens, another Young Rider, finished 14th on one of Meg Sleeper's horses, Syrocco Cadence.

At the vet checks, you let the horses eat whatever they want to eat. Valerie Kanavy's horse Reach for the Gold, ridden by Wendy MacCoubrey, wanted grass.

Jeremy Reynolds and A Kutt Above coming across the finish line first.

More stories to come... though my computer died in Texas. Many more photos are up on

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Road Trip Interrupted!

Sunday April 1 2012

On the way back home, we had to stop at a hotel with HBO to watch the season 2 premier of Game of Thrones!

Oh yea!