Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Who You Callin' Fat

Tuesday September 29 2015


A score of between 7 and 8, in between "Fleshy" and "Fat" ?!

That's what Dr Washington marked Dudley for a body condition score at the vet-in for the 55-mile Lost 'n Lava endurance ride. (Please note Dudley's excellent pulse of 40.)

I was shocked. I was sure Dudley would at least be a "6," what with all his diet and hard exercise, and the fact he'd already completed five 50 mile rides so far this year (and 4 last year!).

Well. We showed him. We finished the 55-mile ride at Lost 'n Lava near Gooding, Idaho; Dudley pulsed down right away at both vet checks and at the finish; the 55-mile ride was the longest ride he's done; and I know he lost even more weight during the ride, enough to now be a "5", no matter what anybody else says. (Not that he has a complex or anything; he knows he's Hot Stuff.)

And while we're at it, I think some of the Body Score Conditionings should undergo a little revision.

Something like:

1. Seriously, Too Skinny
2. Greyhound
3. Thin
4. Lithe
5. Huggable
6. Voluptuous
7. Sexy
8. Carrying Some Extra Baggage
9. BlubberButt, Definitely Too Fat

I think Dudley looks pretty darned Huggable after his 55-mile Lost 'N Lava ride!

More stories, pictures at

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Tuesday September 15 2015

Of course it’s 1:40 AM.

Whinny, whinny, in my dream. Whinny, whinny, WHINNY, this is not a dream.

I sit bolt upright in the dark, my ear straining to hear through the window over my pounding heart. It’s cool and windy, spattering raindrops - and a horse is whinnying. That’s not right. And it’s Mufasa whinnying - Mufasa hardly ever whinnies, unless his herd mates across the fence, and/or Dudley, next door, are gone.

I jump out of bed, and as I grab a headlamp I glance at the clock. Of course it’s 1:40 AM, middle of the moonless, cloudy night, when it will be hard to find any horses if they are missing. I think to put on some warm clothes, because this might take a while. please god please god, my heart pounds, let nothing have happened.

Whinny, whinny, I hear Mufasa’s whinny moving around his pen. I step outside in the wind and raindrops, and indeed, Mufasa is galloping around upset. As I get closer with my headlamp, sure enough, I only see his glowing eyeballs. He’s running his north fence back and forth. His herd, the other 8 eyeballs, are nowhere to be seen. Dudley’s eyeballs are nowhere to be seen either, but hopefully he’s across the creek in the trees, by his herd across the back fence.

I duck under the hot fence, which is still standing, and head for where Mufasa’s herd should be. I see nothing but raindrops flying sideways in my headlamp beam. Mufasa keeps insisting the horses are missing in that direction. As I keep walking toward the far end of the pasture - there they are, 8 eyeballs. Have they escaped their pen? Mufasa thinks so; he’s still hollering behind me.

The 8 eyeballs are moving around. Have they escaped, are they outside? I’m talking to them as I’m walking, so they know it’s me. They nicker at me, and start coming my way. Mufasa suddenly stops whinnying, because he can see his herd again.

No, they hadn’t gotten out. They’d just gone to the other end of the pasture to get out of the wind. Just over a slight hill and in the darkness, Mufasa couldn’t see them. Sure, they heard their pal’s rather panicked whinnies, but horses never care about the one left behind, unless it’s them!

I walked back to check on Dudley and the rest of our horses, since I was out there anyway. Yes, Dudley was hanging out in the trees across the creek (also ignoring Mufasa), next to his own herd in the corrals.

As I headed back inside, back to bed. Mufasa’s herd had left him and ignored him again; he was back to whinnying; but now I know nobody’s escaped.

It’s always good when these night escapades end well, though they can disturb a nice sleep.

Of course it’s 2:02 AM.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New Neighbors on the Crick

Sunday September 13 2015

In hindsight, the obvious clues were there as to who was moving in.

1). I barged in the barn one night (this is a storage barn, not a horse barn), flipping on the lights as I strode in, arriving inside the second door just as the lights were flickering on. Startled from the cat food (around which is a half-set-up wire cage, to keep sneaky Luna the dog out, but that the cats can easily access), a rather loud and large, and, I thought, unreasonable ruckus occurred as the creature stumbled and crashed out the open window. I have glimpsed a stray cat before, so I assumed that's what it was.

2). The barn again. Where the cat food is. I have a small oven that I bake my Plumpie Ponies in, stored in a box, which was on top of 3 stacked Walmart tubs. It was solidly set, where nothing but an earthquake would knock it down. But it was knocked down to the ground one morning - and we didn't have an earthquake.

3). The barn again. Where the cat food is. We have buckets of ride ribbons stacked atop each other. Also solid, where nothing but an earthquake, or fighting dogs (we don't have any), or possibly fighting cats (we have cats that fight, but they really just howl at each other then creep away), would have knocked over. But several ribbon buckets were scattered on the ground, busted open, ribbons spilling out. And we didn't have an earthquake or dog or cat fight. 

4). Animal poop on the top round fence rail. What the - ? It certainly wasn't a bird. Sure didn't look like cat poop, and anyway what cat poops on a fence rail??? Dogs and coyotes will poop on bushes, and, ok, maybe a log, but - on a top fence rail??? We just sort of ignored that, because we couldn't figure it out.

5). The barn again. Now this is bizarre! I had a bag of clothes bound for goodwill, tied in a white plastic bag. I put it in the barn a few days, again, solidly on top of 3 stacked Walmart tubs. Nothing but an earthquake would have knocked it down. It was just full of clothes. And one morning I walked in the barn, and there was the bag on the ground, with - get this - 2 neat, careful holes chewed in either bottom side of the bag, with items of clothing appearing to be partially pulled out of the holes. A whole arm of a jacket was pulled out one hole, which appeared to get stopped up when the end of the arm got bigger and more couldn't come out. A whole leg of a pair of tights was pulled out the other hole, appearing to get stopped up only when the butt-part and other leg were tangled in a knot. The clothes themselves were not chewed.
What. The. Hell!

We do have stinkin' packrats in the barn (the war is on again to catch and remove them!), so… I just figured it must have been packrats. They love to collect things in their nests - but - entire pieces of clothing??? They usually chew things up into smaller, nest-decorate-able pieces, like cushion stuffing, insulation. I pictured a packrat taking a big white jacket and a pair of green winter riding tights for a packrat fashion runway show. Because - what else would have done that, and why?

6). The horses have been acting a little funny off and on. I tend to blame that on a cougar passing through, but they aren't acting real Cougar Spooked, just a little funny. Last night Dudley was eating his hay when he whirled away and ran a few strides away, turning to stare at the crick. Then he walked back and resumed eating.

7). There was the night a couple weeks ago, where Jovi Dog encountered a raccoon up at Connie's place. A raccoon! In the 8 years I've been here, I've never seen a raccoon. Never knew we had any.

8). Tracks this morning in the soft moon dust on the driveway put all the clues together. We have raccoons!