Friday, June 28, 2013


Friday June 28 2013

The picture of that burning yellow globe in a flaming orange sky in the weather forecast, accompanied by the words "Heat Advisory in effect blah blah" brings some of us to our knees whimpering piteously.

Others beat the heat by playing in the water - like Jose.

I can't do anything with a water hose out by the paddock without Jose coming up for a hose-off. If he has access to a sprinkler, he'll stand over it and spin himself around that to cover all sides, but best is when I hold the water hose and he gets wet just exactly how and where he likes it.

Here he is last year at City of Rocks, doing his thing in the heat.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mis Compadres

June 25 2013

Hahkeem has lost his herd.

The sun hurls its first burning beams between storm clouds over the Owyhee horizon, chiseling giant purple shadows that conceal his compadres.

He whinnies and waits with his companion shadow for a glimpse, an utterance of his friends.

One by one,

they come running to his call.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beneath the Red

Wednesday June 19 2013

It is a place I have never seen - and yet I know it.

When I first find the path I want to run, to bolt into this canyon, to tear deep inside the labyrinth and lose myself to this world.

I follow the tracks of those that have gone before me, alongside this stream beneath the monstrous sheer red walls. My footsteps and breath fall into a familiar rhythm.

The footsteps of the ancients lead over rose slickrock polished smooth as marble, over red sandstone turned to salmon powder.

I am jealous of the oak trees that guard this formidable canyon, jealous of the canyon wren who hurls her cascading trill against the red cliffs, jealous of the bluebird who flaunts his startling iridescent azure against the red rocks. I am jealous of the wispy junipers who cling by a root to a high red shelf on the walls.

I envy the ghost of an ancient hand that still catches water from this cool clear spring water;

I envy the fish who languishes in the shaded pools. I envy the Raven who flies over these walls I cannot climb. I envy the rainstorm that cascades in sheets, ripping colored parallel paths down the red-hued stone tinted by different ores.

The canyons split and twist but without hesitation, my feet remember where to go. It is the end of this box canyon that I find the treasure in the depth of this red chasm: a secret arch safeguarding where this stream is born from a slice in the rock.

It must be sacred, this place. I lay my head on the sandstone beneath the red walls, beneath this arch, beside the genesis of this spring, where others have laid before me. My hand falls in the water.

The life-water caresses my fingers, and I feel the ancient birth and erosion, death and growth of this red canyon: the present birth and erosion, the death and growth of me.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mustang Envy

Thursday June 13 2013

What is it that attracts you to the wrong type?

He's big, coarse, and a rogue. He's naughty and unrepentant. He belongs to someone else.

The first moment I laid eyes on him, I was in lust with him.

I've always had a thing for mustangs, but this Utah Slick is something else. The first time I saw him, he was trying to escape his pasture and let the whole herd out (for the second time in one day). He was huddled together with fellow handsome mustang Terminator at the gate, trying to figure out the triple latch system that owners Lee and Naomi had tried to trick him with.

In the herd of 18 pretty mustang and Arabian horses, it was Slick that my eyes instantly glommed onto. He sucked the breath right out of my chest. I couldn't tell you why - his buddy mustang Terminator is built a lot like Slick, and he's more colorful, but Slick tweaked my heartstrings immediately.

Part of it might have been that unrepentant gaze he threw my way when I caught him messing with the locks on the gate. He first ignored me, then stared at me as if to say, I wasn't doing anything, when we both knew he was totally guilty.

He paused in his machinations to let me come up and adore him. I petted him, worshiped him, told him he was terribly handsome, and drooled, all of which he acknowledged before he went back to his important monkey business.

Slick figured out the gate alright, deciphered and opened all 3 latches/locks, and let the herd out, two more times.

Just two more reasons to be in love with this hunky mustang.

(P.S. NO, I can't have a mustang. Owning, starting, riding my own mustang has been a dream for a long time. If I were 20 years younger, and knew back then what I know now, I'd own one. But I'm not, and I'm not, so I don't have a mustang. and NO, Stormy and Jose do not feel the least threatened by my Mustang Envy : )

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Horsemen's Journal Cover Shot - Summer 2013

Saturday June 8 2013

My photo of a Thoroughbred foal is on the cover of the Summer 2013 issue of The Horsemen's Journal, the official publication of the National HBPA (Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association), editor Denis Blake.

This makes 42 cover photos on 7 different magazines, including magazines in New Zealand and France!

More samples of my published work are here:

Thanks again, editor Denis Blake!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Author Extraordinaire Laura Crum

Monday June 3 2013

Don't you hate it when one of your favorite authors goes and dies? (Or you discover he/she is already gone after you finished their published books - kind of like finding out your new favorite band, whose entire collection of albums you have bought with one mouse click, already broke up 2 years earlier).

If you wait long enough - a decade or so, and you don't have a photographic memory, you might be able to go back and re-read the author's entire collection, although it's not quite the same as the first time through.

I'm not a big fiction reader. The exceptions have been Walter Farley's Black Stallion series (which one can definitely read over and over!), and the masterful Dick Francis. His racing mysteries were excellently crafted with engaging writing, heart-stopping adventures, and intriguing characters, many that stay with you long after the stories have concluded.

Then Dick Francis went and died in 2010. I thought my days of reading good horse fiction were over.

OK, sure, I thought, when a friend Funder introduced me to Laura Crum's books, I'd try the first one, "Cutter". Sounded innocuous, and it couldn't be that bad; and sometimes I like some light, undemanding reading, where I don't have to invest too much attachment or attention.

My God. Was I in for a surprise!

Like Dick Francis (who - no surprise here - has "both entertained and inspired" Laura Crum), Laura's Western Horse Mysteries (12 books so far) are cleverly composed, the adventures erudite and authentic (I am not convinced Laura has not lived every one of these thrills), and the characters - human and animal - astute and charming. I know for sure I'd like to meet the main character Gail McCarthy and her horses and friends.

Gail is a diligent equine veterinarian who dabbles in the western disciplines of cutting and reining (a world I happen to be very intrigued by), and who always seems to stumble into danger.

I dare you to read slowly, and I dare your heart not to pound as you hide with Gail on a stack of hay bales from a killer, or run with Gail from getting shot at in an abandoned barn in the dark, or run with Gail from headlights chasing you, or wake up with Gail tied up with a gag in your mouth. Dare you.

The best part about Laura Crum's books is…. everything. The worst part (the only bad thing) about Laura Crum's book is… I'm going to finish them one day. They're like fine Belgian chocolates: to be indulged and savored, every bite, every word.

Do yourself a favor and pick up one (or all) of these excellent novels by Laura Crum. They are truly delightful works of art.

PS. Happy birthday Laura! And thanks for the great work! Now put down your cake and get back to writing, please.