As I drove up the road to Cahuilla Mountain last weekend, I was alone. I did come upon some mountain bikers who were unloading their bikes, but otherwise I was the only car on the road. I stopped and wandered among the oak trees, admiring the view. To my east was Mt. San Jacinto, snow-covered and majestic. To my north was Mt. Gorgonio, regal and peeking between the oaks. On my way back down the road, I came upon these folks who were bringing their horses in for a ride. I wish I had stayed to watch, but I had to get over to the ranch and check on Cali's condition. Apparently she has recovered and is now chasing Scout around the corral!
Welcome to my horse blog, Desert Horses. We live in the desert southwest, near Palm Springs, CA, but board our horses up in our local mountains where it is cooler in the summer. I have 5 horses, all rescues. Here is the ranch up the mountains where the horses stay, January 2015. That's Scout in the arena.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
This weekend, we are leaving the very minute school is out on Friday and driving to Las Vegas to attend a mustang training clinic at Shiloh Horse Rescue, which is 30 miles outside of Vegas. Here's the link with info and the photo is BB (the baby) and his mom!
http://shilohhorserescue.rescuegroups.org/info/display?PageID=8115 I'm so excited! This will be our second visit to Shiloh Horse rescue and I can't wait to see all the horses there! There's a baby, born to a pregnant feedlot mare, named "BB" and he is a HANDFULL!!! Then, on Sunday, we'll be driving out to Red Rock Canyon and take pics. Then home...sigh...Only 32 more days of school and then SUMMER VACATION! Frankly, I've never looked forward to summer vacation like I am this year. My class has been a handful this year and we are in the middle of the state testing window and I'm EXHAUSTED! In fact, I was too tired to drive up to the horses yesterday afternoon, so I wasn't able to check in on them. But, I'm looking forward to the clinic this weekend. Apparently Joe will also be at the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Norco on May 14 and 15th and I may also go to that! My friend Barb wants to go, so I'll check in with her and see if that is still a happening thing! We are having dinner with our son and baby Ben tonight and then tomorrow afternoon, I have to have a filling refiled (Oh, joy!). Phew! What a busy week! Note to Jill: I posted this photo of BB and Nevada. I hope I have your permission to do so!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I pulled over yesterday morning, while driving to school, to answer my cell phone, and it was the ranch owner. She said Cali appears to be okay and she was eating. PHEW! What a scare! Our weather has been very erratic lately. One day it is in the 90's and the next day, down into the 60's and then SNOW!!! And, of course, the horses have all shed out their winter coats. Go figure. And, for this week, strong winds are forecast all week, with temps dropping 10 degrees. Yesterday, here in the desert, it was 97 degrees and air conditions were started up and humming away. Fortunately, our house was cool with just the windows open, and we didn't have to turn the old air conditioner on! I'm driving up to check on Cali and the other horses this afternoon after school. We're driving to Jill Curtis' Shiloh Horse Rescue near Las Vegas this weekend for a mustang training clinic, so I'll take pics and post about it next week.
Monday, April 26, 2010
As I visit the ranch where my horses are boarded up in our local mountains, I often glance across the valley to see field after field of little yellow flowers. So, yesterday, since I had a full tank of gas, I took a ride across the valley to take a look at them. They are tiny flowers and I don't know their name, but they certainly provide a colorful blanket for fields. I also took a dirt road up the side of one of the local mountains with my Toyota RAV and got a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains (see my newest blog...RAV4adventures, listed on the side bar). I noticed, unfortunately, that little Cali seemed "off" yesterday. She didn't eat her beet pulp and instead was lying down in her corral, so I got her up and walked her. She just didn't seem like herself and took a good roll (and did a big poop!), so I left a note for the ranch owner and asked her to keep an eye on Cali.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
So, 45 minutes later, my cousin Valerie finally came down the trail and we continued up the canyon. Now, remember, she is on horseback and I am walking. Hmmm....something amiss here! She kept telling me to go just a little farther because she wanted to show me something. But, when we got to a water logged trail through the palms, I decided THAT was enough and refused to go through the water. YUCK! And, besides, I had ALL that way to hike back out of the canyon!!! BY MYSELF!!! So, we bid our goodbyes and I turned around to walk out of the canyon, past the palms, through the soft sand, alone all the time. If I had twisted a foot or sprained my ankle, nobody would have known. Cell phones don't work in the canyon. Only Valerie knew where my car was parked, but she wouldn't see it because she had moved her truck and trailer to another location. LESSON LEARNED: Always tell somebody WHERE you are going hiking and what time you should be back. Of course, my husband knew I was going hiking, but he had NO IDEA where I was or where my car was parked. Like I said, lesson learned and I'm fortunate that nothing happened that day. I would love to return to the canyon, but with my husband!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
My cousin, Valerie, had been telling me about Pushawalla Canyon for months. She spends her winters down here in the desert and her summers up in the mountains. She doesn't like the cold up there in the winter or the heat down here in the summer! Anyway, since I was home during spring break (we had to buy new tires for my CRV and thus couldn't drive anywhere until we bought them), she invited me out to the canyon one afternoon. She rides through it constantly and even works on the trails there, moving boulders and getting them marked for hikers! So, I followed her out there one day with the little Toyota RAV 4 wheel drive. She told me where to hike and meet her and off I went. Now, if you have EVER hiked in the desert, you know the one thing hikers don't like is soft sand. We sink into it. It is difficult to walk through. It is much harder to walk through than hard sand or rock. And, of course, WHAT was in this canyon? YUP. Soft sand. But, off I went, trudging along. Valerie, of course, had her horse with her and had to move her truck and trailer down canyon, so I was left alone. ALONE??? ALONE! In an unfamiliar canyon! ACK! Now, the plan was for me to hike into the canyon and wait for Valerie at the picnic table while she would drive further down, unload her horse, and ride on the top of the cliffs and then down into the canyon and meet me. Now, I'm NOT a seasoned hiker. I'm a novice. But, I figured that by the time I got to the picnic table, she and her horse would soon be along...so I was waiting, waiting...waiting...waiting....waiting...and my imagination got going...going...going...hmmm...I wonder if there ARE mountain lions in this canyon? There are warnings about them across the highway at the Coachella Valley Preserve.....
to be contined tomorrow...
Friday, April 23, 2010
Wednesday afternoon's storm dumped snow down to 3,500 feet. I saw it on my way to work yesteday and it is COLD here in the desert this morning. But, the storm front has moved on, and temps will be close to 80 degrees here today. My alarm didn't go off yesterday morning and I slept in until 5:30 a.m. (I usually get up about 4:45 a.m.), and I had to dash out the door so that I wasn't late for school! I didn't get to do my morning walk, so I am eager to get out with my camera this morning and take photos. I imagine the horses got snow up where they are and hubby is taking our daughter and son-in-law to a UCLA spring football scrimmage tomorrow, and the ranch owners won't be home, so I'm really not sure how much (if ANYTHING) I'll get done tomorrow! SkyWatch Friday for 042310.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Yesterday morning as I crossed the road to begin my hike, I heard a little "tick,tick" and looked down at the shrub by my feet. Yup. I instinctively knew what it was and my legs stopped moving, my heart stopped, and time froze. My head swirled to find the location of the sound. I finally moved away from the bush and continued my hike. A rattlesnake. Probably a young one. There are written signs warning visitors about rattlesnakes and yes, the babies are now coming out of their burrows. With all the hawks and birds of prey and roadrunners around, most don't make it to adulthood. It was just a reminder, a warning to be careful where I put my feet. It was just dawn and the sunlight was barely coming over the hills and I really wasn't looking where I was walking. Just a reminder... Ahhh...and a storm front is moving in. We had wind ALL NIGHT, the temperature has dropped, and we may get some sprinkles today. I have a meeting this morning, but I'm hoping to be able to get out early enough for a short walk. Here are some pics from yesterday morning.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
See previous post about my finger. I got it caught in the long leadrope that I had when I was moving Ms. Scout around yesterday. Of course, she had to test me SEVERAL times and attempt to run off, so believe you me...I'll be working with her on some MANNERS! Anyway, the finger is now black and blue, sore, and stiff. I told my kids about it at school today and they all went, "Awwwwwww......" I do believe it is sprained. Good thing it isn't my middle finger!!!
Oh, boy! Do I have my work cut out! I decided to take Scout up to the round pen and do "join up" with her. Er...nope. Not interested. Too many other distractions...the tractor, Gigondas down in the arena, screaming and running...the ranch owners loading and unloading two horses in their new trailer...NO DEAL! I ran her little BUTT around and around and she finally faced me, but then got distracted and moved off, so I sent her around some more. Now I know how Nuzzling Muzzles feels with her irritating neighbors! I did sort of get her to "stay" and praised her, but she'll be my project for the summer! And, Gigondas stepped on my foot when I was walking her back to her corral. She was a perfect lady walking down and back from the arena, but I wasn't paying attention at one point, and she stepped on my foot! I screeched, she jumped, but she stayed right with me! GOOD GIRL! It wasn't her fault! I was distracted. I also somehow managed to mangle one of my fingers and now it is stiff and sore. And, since Scout refuses to walk in a straight line, I've tweaked my back trying to get her to stay with me and walk and now I can barely walk straight! I'm going to have to take some some extra strength Tylenol to get through the day! Oye vei~~so much to do! I'm going to take Scout out EVERY time I visit and work with her! She's very smart, but getting her attention is a real problem..any ideas or suggestions? She's also an alpha mare and you know what THAT is like!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I always grab my camera (one of them, at least!) whenever I go up to visit the horses because I never know what other things I'll see. Yesterday, I spotted this hawk on what I call "snake rock" because the mineral pattern looks like a snake. And, the apple trees on the ranch next door were blooming. And, I found either Cali's tooth or Scout's! And, I was intrigued by Quad's spots! What a pot luck, right? Sunday Stills Challenge for April 18, 2010. All of these photos were taken yesterday.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Quad was looking pretty relaxed here after I brushed and brushed and brushed him last weekend! I'll be going up today (hubby is working), so I'll do more brushing. I always keep an eye on the morning temps up there and they have been right above freezing this week, although a couple of mornings, it was down to 31 degrees. It was 90 here in the desert yesterday...our first real day of heat! Although it was that hot, however, our house remained cool. That's because we have trees all around it and they help to shade it! Have a great weekend!
Friday, April 16, 2010
Last Sunday, hubby, me, our daughter and son-in-law visited Joshua Tree National Park. I'm always amazed when we go there. The park offers so many different views! From Cottonwood Springs to Ocotillo Wash, to Jumbo Rocks, to Barker Dam...the park unveils its surprises. JTNP is only about an hour away from us, so it is a fairly close place to visit. We bought the $15.00 seven day pass on Thursday and returned on Sunday for our second visit. Here are some pics from our visits.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Well, my fellow teacher isn't coming with me today. She's just too stressed and the thought of visiting horses was just too much for her. She also cancelled our trip over the weekend. Hmmm...I should have figured it out! She called in sick yesterday. Apparently she isn't a "horse person". That makes me wonder...how many of our friends are horse people? Are there "horse people"? Are there non-horse people? I know our own daughter doesn't like horses. She never has. She could care less about them. My cousin, Valerie, however, IS a horse person and has 4 of her own, which she trains by herself! Our son is a horse person. My great-uncle TRAINED thoroughbreds and that's when I fell in love with thoroughbreds. My good friend, Barb, has 4 horses of her own. My other cousin, Cindy, had her own quarter horse, Red, and spent many years during high school showing him. Her parents, my aunt and uncle, enjoy visiting the horses and my uncle tells me stories of the horses on his parents' farm in Wisconsin and how he used to love all the horses there. Do you have horse friends and non-horse friends? And, should it make a difference? Honestly, I'd never thought about it until now. How many of your friends are non-horse people?
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A good friend of mine and fellow teacher will be visiting the "herd" this week. She REALLY needs some horse time! Our school is preparing for the upcoming state tests. Our kids are frazzled and uptight and so are we, their teachers! Even though we've only been back at school for two days after our spring break, the pressure is on! Now, we've been preparing them all year for these state tests, but the stakes are high. My school is a low performing school and as such, we are restricted to ONLY teaching reading, writing, and math. NO art, music, science, or social studies, or PE! Afternoons, we have "intervention", which means more of the same. The kids are bored and tired. The teachers are worn out. So, off to the horses we go tomorrow for some R&R! Last year, another teacher from my school went up to see the herd and Scout immediately sensed her emotional needs and followed her around and nuzzled her constantly! She and Scout had an immediate connection and she really enjoyed her day with the horses, especially Scout! Isn't it amazing how these wonderful creatures can sense our needs? I'm hoping my teacher friend will connect with one of the horses and relax and let her stress out, at least for an afternoon!