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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Horses as therapy

I adopted Sunni, my first horse, in April of 2005. I had visited United Pegasus' Hemet ranch on several occasions and I had actually fed carrots to the horses in the corral with Sunni. I just didn't pick him out of the crowd, at that time. But, even then, I noticed that while I was around horses, my tension, stress, and anxiety would disappear. I could "suspend" my worries when I was with them. So, after I brought Sunni to the desert, if I was tense when I stopped by to visit him, he would pick up on that and run to the far side of the corral! (How perceptive of him!) I kept telling Hubby that he really needed to spend time with the horses, shed HIS emotions and stress, and just relax with them. It took him a while, but now he realizes that, yes, he does need to check his emotions "at the door" and be calm around them. And, believe me, sometimes that isn't easy. He always takes his cell phone with him in order for the office to get hold of him and sometimes he rushes me (GRRrrrrr!) when we are up on the mountain with them! So, on this visit, last December, I was glad to see him so relaxed with Scout and Cali, the mustangs! He was the one who found both Cali and Scout on the BLM's Internet adoption and he outbid many other bidders to win Scout! Although he loves these two, I notice now that he gravitates over to Quad every visit! But, I'm glad he can visit all the horses, relax, and at least temporarily leave the stress of his job behind. Now, if I could just bottle that serenity and bring it home with me!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My morning~the end of an era for the red ranch house

This morning was a mixture of joy and sadness. First, I had to drive hubby to work because last night was his birthday party and that of our grandson, Ben. It was Ben's first birthday and our family and Claudia's got together at their house for a huge family dinner of carne asada, posole, guacamole, and other great foods! I should have taken photos, but I was so tired from another hectic day at school, I completely forgot! The food was delicious, the kids were great, and everybody had a good time. At the end of the evening, however, hubby tried to get into his car, and THANK GOODNESS, our children took his keys away and ordered him to ride home with me (we had met there in different cars). First of all, he has neglected to pay the car registration on his Toyota RAV since September, and finally, he had WAY too many beers! (the birthday boy!) So, I drove him home, which meant that I had to drive him to work this morning. Then, I headed over to the car detail place to have them look at the ding in my windshield. As I turned on my wipers, however, the "ding" seemed to disappear and by the time I got to the detail place, I couldn't even find it!!! Hmmm...I know I got hit by a rock yesterday morning on my way to school, from a truck on the freeway, but WHERE was the crack? Turns out, it was just a little pit on the windshield, so that was good news! After that, I drove down to our daughter's house for a little coffee and a visit. Along the way, I spotted a gorgeous rainbow, but couldn't pull over to find a decent spot to take photos, so it got away. Then, on my way home, I pulled off on the exit previous to our regular one and looked for the red house and barn to the north of the freeway. To my horror, they were GONE! I mean, poof! Gone. No more. Adios! Of course, I had to pull off and investigate. Yup. Gone! A little bulldozer sat in the front yard. The red farm house was gone. The red garage was gone. The red barn was gone. I just sat and cried. I know it was empty and deserted and a possible liability for anyone who strayed on the property, and deep in my heart, I knew it was only a matter of time before it was bulldozed, but...GOSH DARN! It happened so quickly that I guess I wasn't prepared. I mean, I know that progress means tearing down eyesores, it's just that I really LOVED that old red ranch, with its curved driveway and red barn and garage. I'm going to upload my final pics of it tonight and look for the previous ones I took of the ranch. Here's the post on my southwest barns blog showing the deserted ranch. Deserted, but still regal, in my humble opinion. I posted two photos of the ranch that I took in December of 2009, when it sat deserted. The desert was having a storm that day and the sun burst through the clouds as I was there, allowing me to take some very unusual photos of it, while it was still standing. I'm really going to miss that ranch!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Grazing horses, fence, and blue sky~SkyWatch Friday 022610

This Wednesday I travelled home a different way. Instead of taking the freeway ...(BORING), I took the back roads down through Thermal, Coachella, and Indio. I used to take these roads every day when I taught further down in the valley, but now I just take the freeway to and from school. I miss the back roads and since I had some extra time on Wednesday, I decided to grab my camera that morning and revisit them. I'm so glad I did! It is so refreshing to see the date groves, the vineyards, and the horses grazing. There were also two hot air balloons in the sky that morning. SkyWatch Friday for February 26, 2010. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Art, who turns 60 today, and baby Ben, who turns 1 year old!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Polo Ponies, Indio, CA

I went to a training for school yesterday which required I attend another school for the morning. When I finished the training, I decided to take the back roads home. I had packed my camera and the day was cloudy, but with periods of sunshine, a perfect day in the desert! There is a large polo ground in Indio, which is sometimes used for outdoor concerts. As I headed down that street, I spied quite a few cars parked off to the side of the road. As I pulled off the road, a man on a horse went by, ponying quite a few polo ponies. But, before I could drag my camera out of its bag, he and the horses were on their way down the road! I did manage to get a couple of rear-end pics of them! I guess he was out exercising the polo horses! I plan on taking my camera with me at least once a week from now on and going home through the date groves. Click on the photos to enlage them and see the polo ponies.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"F" is for faces (animal)~ABC Wednesday 022410

Instead of doing another post about my horses, for ABC Wednesday, this week, I decided to go back through our archived photos and see what else we had stored. (Yes, my desktop is still in the shop. It is having the hard drive pulled out and transferred to an external hard drive. Good-bye, old computer!) Hubby had these photos on his hard drive, so last night I sat down and went through them. "F" is for FACES, and I found all these examples, including both Scout and Cali, right after they came to Southern California from Wyoming, as yearlings. Look how FUZZY they were! I also found one of Beauty and Gigondas. Yes, they could eat together and share their hay! They had been together for about 4 months before I was able to bring both of them to Southern California from Washington state. Isn't it FUN to see all the FACES of these animals? Most of these other photos were taken at the Living Desert Reserve, in Palm Desert, CA. A coyote is on the bottom, and there is a FOX in there, too! The goose and peacock pics were taken at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, in Arcadia, CA, near my parents' home. ABC Wednesday for February 24, 2010.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Backyard garden

In addition to the area out front where I planted sunflowers, African daisies, and California poppies, I also have an area out back where I planted sunflowers, sweet peas, poppies, daisies, and a couple of other flowers. We have two large dogs~a German Shepherd and Ripley, our little black lab. Ripley was FREE at the mountain swap meet! Hubby and I went there one Saturday and there were 4 ADORABLE puppies in a large container, two shepherd-look alikes, and two black labs. One black lab was the runt of the litter, so I picked up Ripley. A little boy ran over and away with the smallest one, so I hung onto Ripley! Our daughter had always wanted a black lab, and Ripley would have been perfect for Jennifer. Unfortunately, Jennifer decided she didn't want a puppy after all (she was still living in her tiny apartment), so we kept Ripley. Ripley turned out to be QUIET ENTHUSASTIC around the yard (she digs a lot), so hubby decided to put up a 6 foot chain link fence across 1/3 of the yard. Ripley also turned out to be quite an escape artist (I found her out front three times!) and this has prevented"adventures". I had never had a decent spot for a garden out back, partly because the trees constantly shade it. But, when hubby installed the fence, I suddenly had a 100 foot fence on which to plant sweet peas and other climbing seeds. My grandfather had the most GORGEOUS sweet peas and he only had 6 feet of fence! I have 100 feet! So, I immediately planted my sweet peas, leftover sunflower seeds, poppies and daisies, and hollyhocks. They are all growing (thanks, partly, to keeping Ripley away from them!) I also bought a flowering peach tree up in the mountains, to accompany my flowering plum. I decided a little COLOR in the back yard would be welcome! So, here are some pics of the flowers and peach tree out back! And, GUESS who gets to mow all that lawn? Yup, yours truly! Hubby and son have "allergies", although the son can mow his own lawn, but apparently our yard is just too big for him to handle! So, I borrow his lawnmower and away I go! If I don't do it, it just doesn't get DONE!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Garden~Mellow Yellow Monday 022210

I have a small garden out in front, by the street. There is about a 4' area which used to have a huge eucalyptus tree, but several years ago, during a windstorm, it toppled over. It crashed through the fence, but our son was able to rebuild it. THANK YOU, HAL! So, I was left with a vacant, sunny spot between the driveway and street. Last year I planted giant mammoth sunflowers in that spot and they grew over 7 feet tall! I also planted some African daisy and California poppies there and they bloomed. I was hoping that they would go to see, but it doesn't look like they did. So, this year, I replanted some sunflower seeds in December and daisy and poppies. The sunflowers are in full bloom and toppling over and the daisies are blooming, too, but the poppies haven't opened up yet. Here are some pics of the flowers from this past weekend. I thought a little bit of color might cheer you up at the beginning of the week! Mellow Yellow Monday for February 22, 2010. I drove up to see the horses early yesterday morning and I'll post about that later in the week.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"G" is for gallop~Sunday Stills Challenge 022110

"G" is for gallop, gray, and GOOFY!!! And here's Mr. Goofball, himself, Quad! He FINALLY galloped one time when we turned him out in the arena! And, isn't he goofy? He really enjoyed getting out that day!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's raining AGAIN!!!

It's raining here again...sigh...which means it will REALLY be raining up in the mountains this morning. The desert, however, has greened up. There is grass everywhere. The foothills are covered with a greenish tinge. It should be an exceptional year for desert wildflowers, however, with all the rain we have received. So, I'm not sure if we will even drive up to see the horses if it is raining. Yuck. I'll have to wait until the sun is out to check the weather, but it doesn't look like an encouraging day for horse activities. So, how about a photo of an Iceland poppy from earlier this month to cheer you up? Isn't it pretty? These flowers are down by our daughter's home. And, on computer news, hubby dropped off my desktop with the tech guys (AGAIN) and they are sucking off ALL my photos, documents, etc. May it RIP. It is GONE, done for, bye-bye! So, we'll be sharing his laptop. He'll use it at night, and I'll use it early in the morning (since he sleeps late). I am keeping my fingers crossed that they'll be able to save all my photos from my desktop, since it was the one we put EVERYTHING on! DUH! Guess we've learned THAT lesson! Hubby did back up a lot of photos onto an external hard drive, and there are some on this laptop, but he'll have to take the time to show me how to access the hard drive ones so that I don't keep posting the same photos over and over! Have a good day and give your horses a hug from me!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snow, geese, and mountains~SkyWatch Friday 021910

You know, I'm always so busy posting photos of my horses up in the mountains, that I sometimes forget we live in the DESERT (Duh...desert horses!). And, on a day like this, I ventured out a couple of weekends ago. It was about 3-4 days after a recent storm dropped snow on our local mountains. I drove over to the Desert Springs Marriott and walked around. It was a crisp, cool morning and as I was walking, I heard the honking of a flock of geese fly overhead (click on the photo to enlarge). With another storm heading our way this weekend, I'm glad I was able to get out and take a few pics of the blue sky when I had the chance! SkyWatch Friday for February 19, 2010.

Dangerous beauty

There was another accident on Highway 74 last weekend, a fatal one. A car collided with a motorcycle. There were two people, a man and a woman, on the motorcycle. The car's drive was killed, as was the male on the motorcycle. I cannot stress enough that this road is DANGEROUS! This is the road I take to go up and visit my horses. I see motorcycles whiz by me, cutting corners on curves. Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous! First, you can't see the oncoming traffic. Second, some of them just drive too fast! More crosses on the road...sigh...While there aren't a lot of turnouts (there are some spots where there just isn't room to pull over), I ALWAYS pull over and let people go around me. I also carry a first aid kit in my car, for use at the ranch, as well as for an emergency on that road. I just wish more people would SLOW DOWN and be courteous. Just a note: there was NO SNOW on the road when this accident happened. It's just that I don't have access to a lot of my photos and I had to use this one from last December.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ranch~Lone Pine

After hubby and I stopped in Lone Pine, on our way home Sunday, I spied a pasture full of mules and horses (again). So, we turned off Highway 395 to investigate. Further up the road, we saw this barn and pasture, which wasn't far from the mules and horses. Now, if I had a million dollars, I'd be tempted to buy this one! Just look at the background mountains! And, the pasture there had a stream running through it and plenty of grass for the horses! The owner came out to check on things in his golf cart. I really liked this ranch.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Not a good horse visit (Sunday)

Well, it wasn't a good day, I guess, for a horse visit. First, hubby jumped all over me and bit my head off when I asked him to go brush Gigondas, who was covered with mud. MEOW!!!!! Good grief, I thought. So, I went over and brushed Cali and Scout. After snow last week, this week we've had 80 degree days and all the horses are shedding! Great big globs came off of both Scout and Cali. Gigondas, who REALLY needed a good brushing, decided she was MAD at me and wouldn't let me near her. Nope. I either got the BUTT or she wandered off. I was able to send her around her corral a few times, but she really wasn't interested in joining up. Nope. She didn't want ANYTHING to do with me! Finally, hubby wandered back up to the mustangs and was out of breath. Now, the horses are at 4,000 feet, but he was REALLY out of breath. Turns out, Scout turned and cornered him in their corral and he got a good bruise on his ribs. She didn't mean to, but she turned so fast (he was in there straightening out her hay feeder) that he got pinned against the metal railings and couldn't get her to move. I didn't even know what happened. Apparently this happened when I was down trying to get Gigondas to join up. Quad was too busy eating his snack to even look up, but Sunni let me give him a big hug. I'll spend most of the day next Saturday up with the horses and even put Gigondas in the round pen and work with her. Honestly, it has been a good MONTH since I've worked with any of them due to it either raining or snowing up there. Hopefully our good weather will hold up through the weekend, with no more rain in the forecast!

We're HOME!!!

Well, we made it home and had dinner with the kids for my birthday last night. Hubby ordered a birthday cake (whipped cream topping) and there was chicken, steak, and artichokes for dinner. While traveling and seeing new things is fun, it is good to be home today. I took my weed wacker out front and wacked away! My African daisies are in full bloom now and my California poppies are ready to open. This first crop of sunflowers is quickly blooming and falling over. My blue jay still is in the neighborhood, and, alas, so is the Cooper's hawk. I like to feed the birds out in my front yard and Mr. Hawk now claims my hard as part of his overall territory. Every now and then I find dove feathers scattered about, and it's not from the cats! The cats and dogs are glad we are home. Ripley, our black lab, jumped up on the bed last night and squiggled all over! Then, she settled down for a long night's nap, while we had two cats on our pillows! They all shared the bed nicely with us. Here are some photos of our trip home yesterday. From Bishop to Palm Desert took about 5 hours, and we stopped in Lone Pine for coffee and a snack and stopped in Kramer Junction to buy gas. We took a detour through Barstow and down Highway 247 to Yucca Valley, hoping to avoid the weekend traffic on Interstate 15 and the Cajon Pass. It was interesting to see the amount of snow on our local mountains, Mt. Gorgonio and Mt. San Jacinto. They have about as much snow on them as do the Sierras, down by Lone Pine. While they certainly don't have as much snow as, say, the Sierras above Mammoth, they still have retained their snow from the latest storm, last week. And, of course, we couldn't resist this field of horses and mules not far out of town in Lone Pine. We were guessing that they were pack horses, who summer at the higher elevations, and were brought down for the winter as they were all very friendly! Of course we had to stop and talk to them and pet them! We're getting ready to go up and see our horses this afternoon. It will be so good to see them! It's been two weekends since I last visited them! BAD HORSEY MOM!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day, my birthday, and Sunday Stills Challenge 021410

Yes, today's my birthday. WHAT? 29 AGAIN? And, since hubby and I are on the road, and this trip was my birthday present, I thought I'd post more photos from the Sierras! Here's hubby, yesterday morning, making some more new friends. The one horse just wouldn't even look at me! He followed hubby around until he got a good nose rub. This field is just north of Bishop. Then, we headed up to Mammoth. Oh, my! Talk about S-N-O-W! It had just snowed in the Sierras on Wednesday of last week and many areas were still covered with white, sparkled powder. It was interesting to see all the little critter tracks and deer tracks across the fresh snow! Then, we took the June Lake loop, but it was closed on the Silver Lake side and we were not able to make it to Silver Lake. So, we turned back through town and drove up to Bridgeport. That entire valley was covered with snow! Snow on the mountains and snow in the valley! I guess that's what snow blindness is? I had to put on my sunglasses! Oh, and gas there was $3.99 a gallon, the highest in California that we've seen so far! I mean, even Lee Vining was only $3.69 a gallon! Mono Lake was entirely surrounded by snow-covered peaks. It was a good day yesterday! THANK YOU, hubby, for a wonderful vacation and birthday present! Sunday Stills Challenge for February 14, 2010. For those of you familiar with Mono Lake, even the visitor center was closed! The road was plowed to its back door and we followed another truck there and got some shots of Mono Lake from that view. Lee Vining was pretty much closed down. Too much snow and it is their off season.