Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oldies But Goodies

Wednesday January 30 2013

Who you calling Old?

Stormy: retired Thoroughbred racehorse, winner of 6 races and $45,882, known as The Most Beautiful Horse On The Planet,
about to turn 22.

(And above, rearing at Krusty).

Krusty: semi-retired Orlov Trotter endurance horse, 3215 endurance miles, 7 100-mile finishes, Tevis Cup finisher, France World Championship finisher, lesson horse, confidence giver, semi-herd boss,
about to turn 23.

(and above left with Stormy)

Rhett: not-quite-retired Arabian endurance horse, 6065 endurance miles, 9 100-mile finishes, Tevis Cup finisher, semi-herd boss,
about to turn 22.

Don't be messin' with these old boys. Besides, they're not old. They're just right.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Being Neighborly

Saturday January 26 2013

Way out here up the crick in Owyhee, it's easy to hunker down and keep to yourself. It's not a dislike of humans or neighbors, it's just … a way of life. We'll do anything for each other, and run over when needed, but we generally keep to our own little crick bubbles.

This reclusive existence gets turned on its head when Linda brings the Owyhee Menagerie to visit.

Linda's Menagerie always causes a ruckus with the Owyhee herd, and how could they not? Birdie the mule, Hoot the miniature horse, a couple of running barking little dogs, Edna the donkey with her best friend, a big Yeti-monster dog named Goat, with Linda leading the way, yelling at all of them, not being listened to by any… they all make for a rather unorthodox disparate herd collection that would boggle the mind of any self-respecting horse.

The first sighting of the approaching Menagerie causes extreme alertness:

Then comes apprehension, crowding, dodging, avoiding, shoving ("You get closer. No, YOU get closer!").

In the foal Luna's case it's ultra perplexion at these odd creatures.

Ultimately, desperate curiosity wins out and consumes the Owyhee herd. Noses must be touched and scents inhaled.


The motley Menagerie shows off:

and then pauses to ponder the Owyhee horses:

It's always an entertaining treat for both herds, this neighborly get together on the crick.

In Linda's word: "whenever linda and her crew come calling KAOS ensues!!! [The Owyhee] herd comes a running. goat-dog starts bugging them w/barking, linda yelling, chasing Goat dog. edna and birdie running around the snow covered garden spot.....and touching noses and running underneath the horses noses and driving them nuts."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dead Deer Tell No Tales

Tuesday January 22 2013

I first noticed the kill spot up the canyon when the cowboy and horse noticed it as they rode by. Bright red bloodstain in the bright white snow.

By the time I got back up there to investigate, the frigid nights and below-freezing sunny days had turned the snow to heavy mush that no longer held details of a footprint. Even as I put down tracks, I couldn't tell a human foot had laid them.

The only thing distinguishable was the size of the prints: small was deer and (probably) coyote; large was human, horse, and bull. I knew right where the bull and two horses had walked; there were no other large tracks around to indicate a cougar.

Jose and I had flushed some 40 deer from this creek a few days earlier; they all bounded out of the creek, up through this sagebrush and on up toward the ridge. The snow still told the tale of many deer passing through, and not just this one time.

They'd been grazing in the same area, whatever morsels they could find under the snow among the weeds.

If I could read that deer frequented this spot, coyotes could certainly read this.

Here is perhaps where a coyote/s laid in wait for a deer to pass by on this trail.

Deer was definitely the prey. This hair was the only remnants I could find - no hide, no bones anywhere nearby.

The battle/drag area was not so large;

I suspect it was a weanling or yearling deer and a couple of coyotes.

Girlie the dog did her own deciphering of the events. Her nose probably figured out more than my eyes did, of the natural cycle of life and death in Owyhee.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Saturday January 19 2013

While Mother Nature throws every kind of winter weather element at the Owyhee herd, She also gives them the protection they need against it.

The shortening of days and less daylight in autumn trigger photoreceptors in the eyes, and the cooling temperatures trigger skin sensors, which signal hair follicles to start growing a winter coat. As long as humans don't interfere by blanketing, Mother Nature and the Horse usually work it out as to the necessary thickness of the coat.

When temperatures plunge, arrector pili muscles attached to hair follicles in that winter coat contract, and the hairs stand on end, trapping air and helping the horse retain heat. Morning comes and the horses turn broadside to the sun, exposing more surface area to quickly absorb more warmth that the hairs catch and hold against their bodies.

There's no barn out here in the wilds of Owyhee, but the horses will cluster together, or back up to a small rise of sagebrush to get out of the wind. We're fortunate that it doesn't rain too much here when the temperature hovers around freezing, and even when snow piles up on horse bodies, if the snow is dry and the wind isn't fierce, the horse coats will still stay fluffed up enough and keep the horses warm under the snow.

They have a limitless supply of hay to eat (and they're all maintaining good weight),

and thawed water to drink (with a water heater in the trough);

with adequate food and water, and shelter from wind and rain, the horses stay comfortable over the winter, no matter what feelings we might project on them (like looking out the window, thinking 'It's COLD out there, so the horses must be freezing!").

The horse coats are thick this winter, and what with the ultra-cold temperatures the last couple of weeks, it's good to be a hairy horse in Owyhee.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gruffy the Bull

Wednesday January 16 2013

A much tamer version of Bull Evacuation occurred with Gruffy. Unlike Fluffy's frenetic, forceful, and somewhat humiliating removal from the Owyhee Spa, the cowboys gently (if such a word can be associated with a bull) drove Gruffy off the Owyhee Spa acreage, over the ridge into the next drainage, and on down to his proper winter home.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Here Be Dragons

Saturday January 12 2013

In the deep of winter, in the wilds of Owyhee, fire-breathing dragons are not far away in the imagination.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Masterpiece

January 8 2013

Mother Nature turns an Owyhee winter storm into fine art.

[slide show here]

or link:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Owyhee Bonanza

Sunday January 6 2013

The only thing better than being in Owyhee is the good fortune of being in Owyhee in the winter after a gorgeous snowfall on a good horse.

Jose and I ride in the snow so you don't have to!

[movie here]

or link:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cover Boy: Southern Racehorse

Wednesday January 2 2013

The Most Beautiful Horse On the Planet, and former Thoroughbred racehorse, Stormy, is on the cover of the November/December issue of the

It's actually the third time Stormy has been on the cover of a magazine! It never goes to his head though. Really, all he wants to do is eat, and he does that very well.

Thanks again to editor Denis Blake!