Desert Horses

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 4 horses, all rescues. Here is the ranch up the mountains where the horses stay.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"K" is for kiss and kindness~~ABC Wednesday 093009

It's very strange, but the horse that was the LEAST likely to trust humans, Scout, has now turned into the most trusting and loving! She came to us "halter broke" (NOT!) from the Salt Wells Creek BLM area in Wyoming and was halter broke at the Riverton prison facility. However, from the beginning, she was very wary toward us. It even took our trainer 1 1/2 hours to get Scout haltered the first time! Uh, uh! NO WAY! And, she always had a wary look in her eye. Of course, we had no idea what sort of life Scout had. Cali, on the other hand, was always very trusting and loving. It has taken Scout, however, over two years to finally trust us. Now, she is very curious and demands attention! And, she gets it! My friend Molly loves to come up to the ranch for some "horse time". She and Scout always get along so well! Here is Scout giving Molly a KISS and you can see the KINDNESS between the two of them! ABC Wednesday for September 30, 2009. It looks like our desert heat is finally disappearing. Temps will be down in the 90's for the next week!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh, how I wish~That's My World for 092909

Summer is still with us...(sigh)...Yesterday it was 107 degrees in the desert. But, starting TOMORROW, temps should be in the 90's. That means we can turn OFF the air conditioners! Oh, how I wish for days like this. This was last November. See the clouds? Can you feel the cold air? Scout and Cali sure enjoyed their day in the arena! That's My World for September 29, 2009.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cali-salon day~Mellow Yellow for Monday, 092809

I took my friend Molly with me up to the ranch yesterday. We let Cali out into the arena while I worked with Gigondas in the round pen. Then, we took Cali up to the wash rack and put Gigo in the arena (musical horses!). We both gave Cali a nice spa treatment. We brushed her all over (her winter coat is starting to come in) and brushed her tail and mane. VIOLA! She looked like a completely different horse. She didn't even move a foot while we both worked on her. I think she kinda enjoyed it! Here are her before and after photos! The before ones are the top two and her after ones are on the bottom. What a difference! Mellow Yellow for Monday, September 28, 2009.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chores and Quad

I was alone yesterday on the ranch, so I opted to NOT work with Sunni or Gigondas. I don't like to work with them when nobody is at the ranch, in case I get hurt. And, we ALL know how Sunni can spook and Gigondas can bolt! Instead, I did some chores and visited with Quad. He's such a hoot!!! He has decided that his other neighbor, the little Pony of the Americas, is after his bran mash and now he is kicking the metal corral in an effort to get her away from his bran bowl! Silly Quad! He is starting to look and feel better! His goofy personality is coming out! I did let Scout out to run around in the arena and she gave me a nice rope burn, always reminding me that SHE is a handful. I mean, for heaven's sakes! She's the closest horse to the arena...she sees it all's only a few feet from her corral...why can't she walk nicely down to it? (...sigh)...I know what it was. It was my car. I walked her by my car and that was it. Instant spook. Just a reminder that I need to desensitize ALL the horses! Anyway, while she was in the arena, I cleaned out her water trough. I gave all the other horses their sweet feed and when she heard it plop in THEIR feeders, like a rocket, she was at the gate demanding that I take her out, back to her corral, for her feed! Hmmmm..... Today my friend Molly is driving up with me, so I'll have an extra set of hands. I'm hoping that it will be cooler today (yesterday I was DONE by was just too hot to work!) and we can brush the horses and take them for their walk! Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Remembering Beauty ~ 3 months Camera Critters 092609

It has now been 3 months since I found Beauty dead one morning in her corral. I miss her every day. I miss her nicker. She and Sunni were the only horses to even nicker when I drove up to the ranch. We moved Sunni to the big, back corral with Cali, so he doesn't see the car come now, but he hears it. Gigondas also nickers and greets me, and now, so does Quad! Here are some pics of Beauty. She LOVED to run in the arena and I often let her out with Sunni. The two of them would have a blast! I miss her pleasant personality and her goofiness! She really was a goofball! RIP, dear one. Camera Critters for September 26, 2009.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cali, Sunni, and Clouds~SkyWatch Friday 092509

I love driving up to the ranch and looking at the clouds there. They hang around the mountains. We get a much better view of them up at the ranch than down in the desert. Here are Cali and Sunni on a cloudy afternoon. SkyWatch Friday for September 25, 2009.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Cali is turning into a very nice, calm, mellow horse. I often take her for walks around the ranch. She doesn't spook and if she sees something, she will stop and look at it. She always comes up to us at the ranch and is eager to go for her walks. I took Cali and Scout down to the arena last weekend (before I got sick) and the two mustangs had a blast! Cali has a beautiful, long tail, which is up in one photo!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"J" is for jealous~ABC Wednesday 092309

Because Scout is on the corral on the end, above the arena, she sees EVERYTHING that goes on there. And, sometimes she wants to have some fun, too! She gets JEALOUS of any horse that is in the arena. SHE should be there! Hummmpppffff! Here she is, jealous of Quad! Sometimes she has a "snit fit" and it's really funny to watch! We usually let her have her little fit and then, when she is calm, take her down for some "fun time". ABC Wednesday for 092309.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

That's My World 092209 Gigondas in the arena

We love to watch Gigondas run in the arena. After I work with her in the round pen on her verbal commands, she gets to run in the arena. We rotate the horses so that they each get a turn to enjoy some free time there. That's My World for September 22, 2009, the first day of autumn.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Initiation by bran mash~Quad!

My aunt and uncle came up yesterday to have breakfast and then visit the horses. They really wanted to see Quad, so we walked over to his corral. He had finished breakfast long ago and was ready for his bran mash. Now, we all KNOW that he picks up his bowl and throws it, but my uncle angled in to get a photo and WHAM! Yup. Quad emptied his bran mash all over my uncle's shoe! Oh, gosh! I felt so bad for him. Fortunately, it wasn't a good pair of shoes! They really enjoy visiting with Quad and always ask how he is doing. When my aunt and mom were young, my grandfather used to take them over to Santa Anita race track and they would watch the great Seabiscuit run. My uncle said, "Oh, my! He is a tall horse! He's the tallest one you have!" My uncle used to enjoy being outside and working with his parents' horses on the farm in Wisconsin. I'm glad they were able to visit Quad and spend some time with him. He's very gentle with everybody who stops by. Except, WATCH YOUR SHOES if he has his bowl of mash!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quad and his girlfriend

Quad is next to a beautiful Peruvian filly, a palomino. She is GORGEOUS! Look at her face! She is very protective of him and gets upset when we take him out of his pen. They like to hang out together! Here they are looking down at the arena last week when Gigondas was out there exercising. Aren't they cute?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A horse, sunlight, and dust~SkyWatch Friday 091809

On one Indian summer afternoon, after her workout in the round pen, I took Gigondas, my big red thoroughbred, down to the arena for a run. And, as you know, she LOVES to run! On that day, she stirred up so much dust that it turned into an interesting photo! SkyWatch Friday for September 18, 2009.

Gigondas' training and the arrival of autumn

This has been the week from @#%%. Testing, testing, testing at school and Open House. I've been exhausted every night...too exhausted to drive up the most dangerous road in California to see the horses. BUT...the weekend is coming! YEAH! I'm still working with Gigondas on her training, especially putting the lead rope over her head and ears. When we first got her, there was NO WAY I could get near her head. She either raised it up or backed away. Now, she is used to having me touch her ears, head, and throwing a rope over her all over. GOOD GIRL! Here are some recent pics of me with her in the round pen where I work with the horses. It was a beautiful day (see the clouds?). Autumn in the mountains is very different from autumn here in the desert. First of all, it gets colder up there! Now I have to keep a sweater and jacket in my car! Second, the trees are beginning to lose their leaves, where here in the desert, most do not. As the days shorten, I'll have less daylight during the week to work the horses, so they pretty much get the winter off, except for weekends.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wind 'er up! ~ Gigondas

Gigondas LOVES to run! Run, run, run! Now I need to get her to WALK! Her training is coming along nicely. She remembers her lessons, THINKS about things, and is very responsive now. But, boy, does she love to RUN! But, she also stops and gets some nice words and praise for listening and doing a good job!

Monday, September 14, 2009

With age comes a certain wisdom...

Over the past 3 years, I've learned a lot. I've learned that each horse is an individual with his or her own personality. Sunni IS what he is. Gigondas IS what she is. Quad IS what he is. Beauty WAS what she was...a friendly, loving, caring, patient, intelligent horse! Just like my current German Shepherd, Rommel, is different from our other two German Shepherds that we've had. He is the most mellow of the three. Our first one, Metternich, would have taken on ANY male that approached me. Yes, with FANGS showing and a deep growl. He was my protector. Our second male shepherd, Maverick, also completely guarded me and growled at everyone who came to the house. He hated every vet we ever took him too, except one old guy at PetSmart who told him to "Knock it off" when Maverick growled at him. And, he gave him a cookie and patted him on the head. Rommel loves everybody. I've never even heard him growl. And, he is the one with the most physical problems. BUT, his personality has allowed him to continue to be the mellow gentleman that he is. Quad was bred to race, but he prefers to walk everywhere and look and smell the roses and enjoy the air! Gigondas was bred to race, and she LOVES to run! In fact, she wants to run EVERYWHERE, so we have to slow her down. Sunni...(sigh...) Sunni is Sunni...we don't know what kind of life he had his first year, but obviously, there is still some fear there. Fear of things that move, fear of unknown shadows. Cali, on the other hand, and Scout, are totally UNafraid of anything. Must be a mustang thing. Every horse is different, just like every dog is different, and each of us are different. No one training program fits ALL our horses. I guess it's time for me to really reflect and decide what each horse REALLY needs. Sunni needs a LOT of groundwork. Gigondas needs a little bit and she'll be ready to ride (hopefully). Quad IS rideable and now that his feet have healed and he has recovered from his colic, I would love to have Valerie ride him and see how he does. Cali and Scout are both ready for their groundwork. BUT...the days are getting shorter. The mornings are cool, and even COLD in the mountains. Soon I'll be running out of daylight during the week...time to train the horses during the week is drawing to a close as summer ends. I'll have to do what I can on the weekends. Valerie will be bringing her horses down to the desert soon and she'll be closer to me, but further from my horses. Ahhhh...the changing of the seasons.

Training setback with Sunni

First, I want everyone to know that Valerie is okay, BUT...

While she was riding Sunni on Thursday, he spooked. She wasn't ready for that (he bunny hopped) and was thrown against the metal railings of the round pen. She is okay, but she cut her hand and bruised several ribs. Of course, she sent him around and around and around the round pen and then put him away for the day. She is on vacation with her family this week and we will have to rethink his training when she returns. He still needs a LOT of groundwork! In the meantime, I am working with Gigondas in the round pen. She is doing very well. She remembers her lessons and is no longer the scared, nervous horse she was 2 years ago when we first got her. Quad continues to recover and we will see the horses this afternoon after school.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quad and a little friend~Camera critters for 091209

Quad has now recovered and is quite perky! And demanding FOOD! NOW! I'm going up every day and giving him an extra snack of feed, bran mash, beet pulp, and vitamins. His tummy is now fine and his feet are fine, and he is FEELING GOOD! Like he should! Hubby went with me yesterday and I worked Gigondas in the round pen and she did everything Valerie and I have taught her, so I didn't have time to take Quad out to the arena. Maybe today...I have to take my shepherd up to the vet for his shots and an appointment to give him some new meds for his skin condition (poor baby...) That's Quad with one of the ranch dogs, sharing his bran mash. And, just look at "Mr. Bran Mouth"! Yesterday, when I gave him his bowl, something immediately flew by my shoulder...a HUGE glob of mash! Quad had picked up his bowl and flung it upside down. Bran was flying everywhere! Hubby and I were lucky that we didn't get any actually flung on us! So, from now on, he gets it in his feeder!!! (I've learned MY lesson!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Look, ma! I've got a person on my back! Sunni saddled

Sunni's big day finally came this week~! My cousin, Valerie, came over on Monday and saddled and rode him. He was very calm, no spooks! She has done a wonderful job with him. He is now very confident and secure. I took some pics of the two of them. Valerie gives him LOTS of praise and her voice is so calming that he wasn't afraid. Look at him! I'm so proud of Sunni. She also rode him Wednesday and gave me a report on that ride, but I was at school and didn't get to see them together.