Friday, November 30, 2012


Friday November 30 2012

Is it love?


Eyes closed!

Neck hickey?

We'll see Part II of this Smoochfest next.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spirit Horses: White Horses

Wednesday November 28 2012

The white Spirit Horses have arrived! They're pearly white, some with a bit of gray, one a little pinto-flavored.

[slide show here]

Each pin is one of a kind, handmade of clay, wire, beads, and yarns picked up from around the world. They shimmer different colors in different light, and you can bend the legs to stand straight, trot, gallop, or fly.

You can check out the pins, and other eclectic art from The Equestrian Vagabond studios - barbed wire broncos, Stormy the Horse greeting cards, and of course equine photography. Email me for info on photographic prints, but you can order any of the art, including the Spirit Pins, directly from this page:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Outward Bound

Monday November 26 2012

What with the last two rides of the season in September and October, and the need to remove some downed barbed wire fencing, the Owyhee herd has been locked up the last couple of months on the lower acres. They got so used to it that they never even checked anymore if the green gate was open up the canyon.

But the rides are done, and the dangerous wire has been pulled up and hauled out, and this week they got to go up the canyon.

I don't need a halter and lead rope. I just walk to, and past, the herd hanging out at the two hay feeders, and I yell, "Come on boys!" and I swing my arm in a 'Come here' motion. They couldn't believe it at first - all heads perked up and eyes widened and ears pitched forward as they watched me walk up the pasture, listened to me holler "Come on boys and girls!" and motion with my arm. 

One horse took a step forward, then another horse moved forward, then the whole herd was moving as one after me, toward the green gate. They started jostling one another, then Rhett took the lead and trotted after me.

The rest followed, and they all marched after me as I opened the green gate and led them through.

They passed me by and headed outward, bound for the trails and creek and cheatgrass and space, the delights of the upper canyon.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Protector

Saturday November 24 2012

Over the years (21!!!), and in many different living situations - growing up on a farm, the racetrack, packhorse herd (of about 10), dude ranch herd (of about 150 horses), smaller paddock (with 4 other horses), smaller paddock (with 1 other horse), and Owyhee herd (couple hundred acres with 10 other horses) - Stormy has earned and learned his place in his herds: Lower Horse on the Totem Pole. It's how he's learned best to cope and survive.

Despite being Lower Horse, especially here in Owyhee, he's never had to fight for his hay. The rest of the herd sees him as Harmless and Not a Fighter, and they'll let him horn in to eat, even while they're chasing each other around, because they believe he's no threat to them or their food. (If only they measured how much he eats!) They'll shove him around… but he always wanders right back in to eat after the dust settles.

Stormy does tentatively rule over just a few horses in the herd - Smokey the 3-year-old, Luna the baby, and the newcomer Bodie. (Stormy's standing with Perry - Luna's mom - is… a draw. He tries to push her around, threatening her with his teeth, but she pins her ears and shows her teeth or threatens to kick him and stands her ground. Stormy THINKS he's her boss, but… he's not, not really.)

As the boss (currently) of Bodie, Stormy is particularly fierce - especially when I'm around. It has everything to do with me being Stormy's Human. When I'm hanging out with and hugging on Stormy, he gets very jealous. He doesn't want anybody else getting His attention. He doesn't dare chase Jose, or any of his other Superiors away when I'm around, but if Bodie's nearby, he becomes very aggressive. Pins his ears and bares his teeth and charges after Bodie, mouth open, sometimes even daring to actually bite Bodie in the butt. (Of course I encourage him, saying, "Get him Stormy!" which boosts his ego.)

Knowing Stormy, his rank over Bodie may not last for long; but for now, Stormy's exceedingly ferocious when he wants to be. The tables may turn one day, and he might slide down another notch in the hierarchy, but for now, Stormy is Bodie's Big Boss and My Protector.


look at those ears!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges

Wednesday November 21 2012

I hadn't remembered ordering anything from Ireland. 

A book?

After tearing open the box, I find The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges.


On the cover, pictures of hikers in a desert and skiers at (obviously) one of the Poles, and bike racers on a dirt road.

Endurance Challenges… something is ringing a bell. 

I bet the Tevis Cup will be featured inside. And when I turn to page 125, "The Tevis Cup Ride" - I remember. I was contacted a (long) while ago for my input on the Tevis Cup. Would I answer some questions about it, for this book on the World's Toughest Endurance Challenges? Sure I would, as the Tevis Cup was one of my life's highlights and big athletic challenges. 

And there's my piece, under "Athlete Perspective."

The book's description says: "The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges profiles 50 of the most extreme marathons, triathlons, bike rides, adventure races, climbs, open-water swims and other iconic endurance events from around the world."

I'm glad to be a little part of this book, and it serves to remind me how thrilled I still am to have finished the Tevis Cup, one of The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Onesies in Owyhee - WTF(rog)?

Monday November 19 2012

It's been said, How could anybody be depressed wearing a Onesie, or, How could anybody be depressed just looking at anybody wearing a Onesie?

Luna thinks it's kind of neat,

and she showed her mom Perry,

but, Finneas says,

No treat is worth this.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Start 'Em Young

November 18 2012

If you're going to live with the Owyhee herd, you'd better get used to interaction.

Mac (assistant to Social Director Jose) gets Luna started with the fundamentals of Play - the wrestle, dodge, feint, paw and rear, which will become essential as she gets older.

[slide show here]

Didn't take long before she got the basics. Soon enough she'll be totally Roughhousing with the Big Boys.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Spirit Horses: Wild Hair

Friday November 16 2012

Got a wild hair? Maybe this Spirit Horse pin is for you. Wear it, pin it to a piece of cloth or string and hang it on your wall or your fridge, hang it in your horse trailer for good luck.

Each pin is one of a kind, handmade of clay, wire, beads, and yarns picked up from around the world. They shimmer different colors in different light, and you can bend the legs to stand straight, trot, gallop, or fly.

Each pin is approximately 3" long by 3" tall. . . not counting the long fluffy tail - or in this case curly wiry tail.

If this Wild Hair Spirit horse isn't your flavor, you might find others that are tamer. And - did I say the "C" word yet? It's not too early to gear up for Christmas!

You can check out the pins, and other eclectic art from The Equestrian Vagabond studios - barbed wire broncos, Stormy the Horse greeting cards, and of course equine photography. Email me for info on photographic prints, but you can order any of the art, including the Spirit Pins, directly from this page:

[slide show of more Spirit Horses!]

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lust at First Sight

Wednesday November 14 2012

I fell hard the first time I laid eyes on him. 

Breeders Cup 2003. Equine royalty strutting the backstretch and pounding the turf and dirt of Santa Anita.

Big names were there: Funnycide, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner. Volponi, defending BC Classic winner. From Europe, High Chaparral, the defending BC Turf winner and Champion Turf Male of 2002 and 2003. 

And then there was Falbrav: 2002 Italian Horse of the Year. Chiseled muscle. Sculpted athleticism. Head-pounding beauty. Brute strength. Sheer tenacity. He was magnetic. Electric. Just looking at him stole my breath away. I followed him around on jelly-legs and I exhausted the shutter on my camera. I lusted after him. I ignored the other stars.

In a thrilling head-to-head stretch duel in the 1 1/4 mile Breeders Cup Turf with Johar and High Chapparal, Falbrav lost by a head to the other 2, who dead-heated for the win.

He went on to be named 2003 European Champion Older Horse, 2003 BHB Horse of the Year, 2003 Timeform Horse of the Year, 2003 BHB Middle Distance Champion. He's now a sire in Japan and Australia.

I have yet to photograph another Thoroughbred racehorse stallion as magnificent as Falbrav.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prisoner of War

Tuesday November 13 2012

Drive through the town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and you'll see yellow ribbons on the trees. They've been there for years. They were put up by people who have not forgotten that this is the hometown of America's only Prison of War from the War on Terror. Sergeant Bowe Robert Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan on 30 June 2009 - 3 years, 4 months and 2 weeks ago (as of Nov 12).

Bowe is 26 years old.

We all know how much veterans have done for us. Now it's time for you to help bring Sgt Bergdahl home. You don't have to travel anywhere, or donate money, or do anything but spare him a few minutes of your time two weeks from now.

This has nothing to do with politics or religion. This affects you equally if you are Republican or Democrat or Independent or Green or a Tea Partier, whether you believe in God or Buddha or Ravens or the End of Time. If you are an American human being, this affects you. This could be your son, husband, brother hanging in limbo.

Remember November 27-29, 2012. Three days of Action and Prayer. On these 3 days, call or email your members of Congress (or write letters during your Thanksgiving activities and mail them that weekend) and tell them "IT'S TIME TO BRING BOWE HOME!"

That's all you have to say. Use your voice, your words, and your prayers during these 3 days of Action and Prayer. This will be easy for you to remember, November 27-29, Tuesday to Thursday after Thanksgiving, where you've just spent time with your friends and family and being thankful for all you have.

Spread the word on Facebook:

The official Bowe website:

How to contact your elected officials (and even a sample letter to help you compose your own!):

Please, spread the word, contact your elected officials in 2 weeks (and keep it up afterwards), and we can all speak as one voice when we say, Bring Bowe home!

On my blog here, I don't stray from my topics of horses and birds and the weather.

This one is worth it. Anything you can do to help will be a Thank You to Bergdahl and his parents and friends, and other veterans who have put their lives on the line for all of us.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Change

Saturday November 10 2012

Winter is welcomed in Owyhee by the beasts who have suffered through a long summer of maddening gnats and biting flies, heat, smoke and dust. Now with snow blanketing the Owyhees, eyes flutter closed and the long coats ripple and fluff in the winter sun and cold wind, as the herd lounges in the change of the season.

(and a certain human is thrilled too!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Owyhee Hallowed Weenies Day 1

October 27 2012

Here it is, a video of Day 1 of the Owyhee Hallowed Weenies endurance ride on Jose, the Best Horse Ever.

(link: )

Above photo is Jose on the Oregon Trail.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Balloon


Sunday November 4 2012

It's not just the humans who share the fun when there's a birthday on the crick. 

When dropped in the pasture, the round alien floating flopping HORSE EATING THING put the whole Owyhee herd on high alert… but it was an irresistible magnet for the horses. Heads high and ears pin-pricked forward, they fearlessly approached within a few feet, then crowded around and dug their toes in, and stretched their necks forward. Some dared to get close to try and catch a whiff, while those behind shoved those in the front line closer. They stayed in a tight bunch for safety until this thing could be sorted out.

Mac was brave and touched the balloon, then didn't flinch when it bounced off his nose in the wind, although he scrunched up his bottom lip in worry.

Least scared was baby Luna, 
who isn't old enough to know the dangers of unidentifiable HORSE EATING THINGS, and picked up the rope that the balloon was attached to.

Stormy the Thoroughbred wasn't afraid at all.

Jose was the most cautious, but in the end, after it bonked him in the nose a couple of times, he wasn't afraid of it, but he didn't quite understand it.

It's not just humans who benefit from birthday balloons. They're great training tools - and in the end, if Mac and Jose had been able to grab it, it would have been a great toy - until it popped.