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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cali update

I went up yesterday to the ranch and checked Cali's eyes. She is now in a corral by herself so that Scout and her previous neighbors can't rip off her fly mask! (...shaking head...) Cali only had her mask on for about 3 minutes a couple of days ago when her neighbor reached over the corral fence and ripped it off! HOW RUDE! So, we moved Cali to Gigo's old corral and moved Scout out and put Gigo in the big mustang corral. Gigo really likes it there as she can run and run! And, Cali seems to like being away from "the monster" (Scout) and being able to eat her food at a leisurely pace. I didn't take any photos yesterday as it was so humid I was dripping with sweat right away. My friend and fellow blogger Barb took this photo of Cali and I when she came to visit last week. Cali's eyes look so much better now and I put a brand new fly mask on her to keep the flies away! All of the horses now have fly masks except Sunni. I tried to get one on him and there was NO WAY he was letting me put it over his ears...sigh...and he seems to have the BITING FLIES! OW! They got on my legs and even bit me! So, this morning I'll go up and put Cali's eyedrops in her eyes, check all the fly masks, and apply SWAT as needed. My vet said he has noticed that none of the major fly sprays seem to work this year! Oh, dear! These flies are so determined to harass the horses and us that NOTHING seems to keep them away! How is your fly problem this summer? I don't remember it being so bad last year. And, honestly, it hasn't been that humid here or that hot here this summer. I don't know why they are so pesky! Could it be all the late rains that we had this spring? (Photo courtesy of Barb D...thank you, Barb!)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Farrier and vet visits

Both the vet and farrier came up to the ranch yesterday. Cathy needed the vet to sedate a couple of her horses so that they could be trimmed and all of mine needed their shots and a trim. Sunni was a good boy and let the farrier trim all of his feet. YEAH, Sunni! I've been working with him on lifting his back feet. He will now do it on command. He's still insecure around "strangers", but at least he got his big old feet done! Quad and Gigondas were "ho hum" about the whole thing, but even Scout cooperated! I pointed out to the vet that Cali had "goopy" eyes and a bump under one of them and he said fly larvae had gotten in there and he had to sedate her and clean out BOTH of her eyes! ACK! I put a fly mask on her after we got back from vacation, but, unfortunately, her neighbor pulled it off in 5 minues and destroyed I tried another one. The vet said that horses with a suppressed immune system seem to be the most likely to have fly problems and Cali has always been the most delicate of all our horses. She got so drowsy after the sedative that she nearly feel over! Hoooooooohhhhhuuuuummmmmmm! She is such a sweetheart. I decided that since she has to keep her fly mask on now for the rest of the summer, to move her out of the big corral into her own corral, so I moved Scout down by Quad and Sunni, moved Gigondas into the big corral so that she can run, and moved Cali into Gigo's corral where she will also have some shade. You should have heard all the screaming! Gigo's neighbor screamed for her, Scout screamed for was quite noisy! I have to give Cali some Ivermectin in a couple of days to help clean her out and I have to give her eye cream twice a day for the next 2 days. I'll drive up this morning and take pics of them in their new corrals. I just didn't get many pics yesterday because I had to hold horses and I didn't want my camera in the way while the ferrier and vet were working on the horses. I did take these "after" pics, however! Look at Sunni showing off his beautiful, big, old feet! He is part draft, being a PMU horse. I noticed that his head is big, too, especially if I take a halter off Quad and put it on Sunni!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Working Scout

I was able to work with Scout up in the round pen on Tuesday when Molly came up with me. Molly has her own little filly, Bella, and is very helpful. She volunteered to take some pics for me, so I gave her the camera. Scout does a nice "join up", but is still reluctant to "stay". She's so interested in everything else! I'm going to work with her by myself today and use the Dually halter.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"B" is for...ABC Wednesday 072810

"B" is for buddies and my friend Molly and Quad are real buds! Molly came up with me yesterday to lend a hand tending to the herd. We worked with Scout on "stay" and quietly leading....(HA!)...We also worked with her on going in and out of gates without barging forward. Molly cleaned the rubber mats in Quad's corral and led him down to the arena for some R&R. Aren't they cute together? ABC Wednesday for July 28, 2010.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Let's work! That's My World 072710

My blogging friend and fellow photographer, Barb, from New Zealand, came up to visit the herd on Saturday. I was telling her that I just can't have my camera dangling around my neck, especially when working in the corral with two mustangs. First, they move too fast. Second, my camera dangles dangerously near dirt, water troughs, and they LOVE to slobber all over it! So, Barb was kind enough to take these photos showing a typical work session with Scout. THANK YOU, Barb! I really appreciate her taking the time to do this for me as I obviously cannot do it myself! I owe you a mug of coffee from Coffee Bean! Barb has her own blog if you want to visit it and check out her beautiful photos and here is her addy: That's My World for Tuesday, July 27, 2010.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hello there!

Again...(sigh...) not my photo, but my friend and fellow blogger Barb took this photo of Cali and one of her neighbors on Saturday. This week will be a busy one. Both the vet and ferrier will come on Thursday and I'm working with Scout, getting her to "stay" and lifting her feet in preparation of the ferrier visit. She's okay with me picking up all of her feet, but can't figure out why she should stay in one spot! She prefers to wander off and cause chaos everywhere!!! Cali, of course, because she is so calm, just stands for the vet and ferrier. She's not a problem!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday~Cali and the water

No, I didn't take this photo(...sigh...). I'm still learning so much about photography! A fellow blogger and friend of mine, Barb, came up with me yesterday and while I worked with the horses, she took many photos of them, including this one. Just look how the water droplets seem frozen in time! I told her, "Sometimes I run around with my Canon camera around my neck and I just point and shoot!" I always seem to get the railings in the way and my Canon can only zoom 3x, so it was good to see somebody else take photos and then look at hers. They are all beautifully composed. If you want to see her blog, you may visit it at: She has an incredible eye and I really appreciated her coming with me yesterday. She's from New Zealand and grew up on a ranch there, so she's very familiar with farm animals! Next time, I'll let her give Cali a bath!!! HA~ she'll just roll in the manure as soon as she's done and be all dirty again!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Narrow miss on the road and apple pie

Hubby and I decided to drive to the mountains today. He wanted to drive to Julian and buy an apple pie. So, off we went. Now, I've written before about the highway that we take up to the horse ranch. I drive this road all the time, by myself, so I'm very familiar with its twists and curves. And, I'm also very aware of the danger of driving too fast on it, so I always drive carefully and use the turnouts. Other drivers, however, are not so careful and one of them came right at us as he came speeding around a corner this morning. I screamed and threw my arm out in front of my husband and slammed on the brakes. Hubby, in the passenger seat, looked down at the 100 foot drop to his side of the car. The IDIOT other driver, who apparently wasn't paying attention, as the mass and weight of his car got ahead of him (he was actually BEHIND another car!) merrily went on his way as he crossed the double line and headed straight for us. I was shaking so badly (fortunately, there wasn't a car behind us!) that I had to pull over and sit for a while. Once I recovered, however, we continued on our journey to buy a fresh apple pie in the little community of Julian, CA. Julian is at about 4,000 feet and is known for its apples. It is somewhat near the Palomar Mountain Observatory in San Diego County. It's a small, tourist town. There are many places there where you can stop and buy apples, apple pies, and cider. So, we pulled in, ate lunch at the Julian Cafe, and stopped to buy feed in nearby Temecula. We stopped at the ranch to drop off the feed. It was a long day!

Scout personality~Rock star!!!

I didn't even have to take the quiz to know what SHE is!!!! Yup, she's a ROCK STAR!!!
"The Rock Stars are confident and charismatic. They are expressive and strong minded. They love to show you what they know but are hard to get to focus on the small details of the task. They are found in many competitive arenas, usually at the top of their field."
I worked with Scout yesterday. She tried to barge ahead and got a bop on the nose. Hm...she had to stop and think about that! She did everything else perfectly! She stopped, she stayed, she backed up...she walked right next to me. I lifted all 4 of her feet (phew!) because the ferrier is coming out next week to trim the herd again. I wanted to make sure Scout would stand quietly (unlike her last ferrier visit!) and she did. Here are some pics of Scout expressing her opinion about things yesterday!!! She IS very opinionated!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Yesterday was a good day. I got up to the ranch about 8:30 a.m. and was immediately greeted by Gigondas. I brushed her and took her down to the arena for some exercise and training review. Unfortunately, as I reached to unlatch the lead rope, she I caught her and worked with her on standing quietly and allowing me to unlatch her. I also reviewed all her commands (stay, back, come) and she remembered every one of them! She is such a smart girl! Wow! I'm amazed how she remembers her lessons. She leads very quietly now and isn't pushy (like she used to be). Next, it was Sunni's turn. He has always leads very well and he isn't pushy (remember, he is a "wallflower"...see yesteday's post). I worked with him , lunged him, and went down both back legs. He is very good with the "stay" command and will ground tie. YEAH! After working him, I let him run, too! After that, I took him up to the wash rack and gave him a nice shower all over. Ahhhh....I bet that felt good! Of course, 5 seconds after he was all clean, he rolled in the dirt and covered himself on both sides. As you know, the flies this year have been AWFUL, so I guess he was getting ready for the day! Finally, I took Quad down to the arena. He leads so well and is so easy to work with! I just let him out and let him run and enjoy the day. By then, I was exhausted, the temps were rising, and it was 1:00 p.m. I meant to give him a bath, too, so I'll have to do that today. It was a good day. I'm surprised I was able to work with 3 horses as 2 is usually my physical limit. So, I'm glad I pushed myself, that the weather was reasonable, and there was a slight breeze in the morning. Here are some pics from yesterday. Yes, that's Sunni AFTER his roll in the dirt (and his bath!) Dirty boy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sunni is a wallflower! Horse personality quiz

I took the horse personality quiz posted by Lisa over at Laughing Orca Ranch ( chose Sunni as my first candidate, since I've had him the longest and know him the best. He came out a "wallflower"! Her horse, Apache, is also a wallflower. Here is the description:
"Wrap these sweet, kind, gentle horses up and keep them safe. They are not very brave and tend to internalize their worries. They want to please and will try very hard for you, but they can be pushed too fast very easily. They make few demands of you and are quite content to perform the same tasks repeatedly as long as you are pleased with them and the jobs are not to strenuous. Quiet enough for the beginner once they understand what is expected of them."

I think this is an accurate description of Sunni. He is NOT very brave and he always seems to have a worried look. In fact, when I first adopted him, he looked VERY worried. He does seem content to do the same things over and over. He readily leaves the others (when we had them all together) to come up to me. Once he understands things, he is pretty quiet, but new things do scare him! I have to remember to always do things slowly and calmly with Sunni. He is a big worry-wart! If you want to take the quiz, here's the link:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quad and snow~That's My World 072010

Ha! remember these days? This was last January. Snow!!! Ahhhh....beautiful snow! Now that we are in the middle of the hottest month of the year, I long for these days. At least when it is cold, the horses have their winter coats and we can layer our clothing. What are we supposed to do in the summer? I went out yesterday morning to weed whack the front grass and I was covered by sweat from head to toe in 5 minutes! So, I came inside, sat down, and put a wet cloth over the back of my neck. Phew! And, more hot weather is forecast (above 108 degrees) for the rest of the week. The only hope is that our mornings will be about 79 to 78 degrees, which means I can get out and mow the lawn early! That's My World for Tuesday, July 20, 2010. Forecast today? 108 degrees.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Plumber coming today!

Not much going on here today. Yesterday it was just too darn hot to even venture outside from the air conditioning in the house! The humidity was incredible. I noticed it right away when I let the dogs out first thing in the morning. ACK! So, I stayed inside and watched the Food Channel most of the day! Oh, and hubby and I found that season 1 of Rome is now on HBO, so we watched the first two episodes. And, we had salmon dinner with our daughter and SIL. A plumber is coming today because we absolutely cannot get the cold water turned off in our shower! It leaks and leaks and I'm not talking about just a drip! Today the temps should drop down to about 111, from 114. Phew! And, "normal" temps of 108 by mid-week. I thought if I posted these pics from January, it would help cool me down!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Tis the monsoon season. Our daughter was born on July 25 and believe me, July and August are our monsoon months. The thunderheads are beautiful to watch, but they can be dangerous. I took these photos on Wednesday and that afternoon, lightning started 3 fires down in Hemet, CA, which are still burning. We got some sprinkles in the desert (the rain evaporated before it hit the ground),but up in the mountains, the horses got a good soaking! More thunderstorms are forecast for this afternoon, so I'll go up to the ranch early this morning!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The HEAT is here~NOW!

Well, yesterday it was 113 degrees here in the desert (actually, when I peeked at my thermometer on my porch, it was 116). I'm meeting a fellow blogger for coffee this morning, then I'll head up the mountain and work with Scout and Cali again. BRIEFLY, as a heat advisory is in effect for the desert. It is supposed to be 115 today and it is already 90 degrees. I ventured out into our garage a few minutes ago to look for a book that our son wanted and I nearly passed out!!!! This is the reason I don't board my horses down here in the desert. I decided it was easier for them to deal with the mountains' cold temps than the desert's heat. Some people actually have misters at their boarding places, but not everyone does. I know some people who have the big sprinklers and they move them and turn them on their horses in the afternoons. So, we "desert dwellers" run our errands early in the mornings and then hibernate all day! My dogs don't even want to go outside and the birds disappear mid-afternoon from my front yard! Apparently some tropical moisture is moving up from Arizona and Mexico this afternoon, so the mountains may get a thunderstorm or two. Here are some pics of Cali doing "stay". She is so good! It's hard for her to "stay" when Ms. Prissy is on the move, as you can see, but she did!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I drove up to work with the horses this morning. It was HOT here in the desert today. I honestly don't even WANT to know how hot it was! I got up to the mountains early enough to work with the two mustangs Scout and Cali. I haltered Scout and we worked on "STAY"! and leading WITHOUT trampling over Mom! I tell you...Scout is the smartest horse that we have! She learns so quickly! She is getting better with "stay", as you can see from the pics. I decided to sling my camera over my neck (keeping my fingers crossed that she wouldn't take off!) and try to get some pics today. Here she is doing "stay". That's a hard command for her, as an alpha mare, because she constantly has to chase off Cali and then go chase off the two horses in the corral next to her, so I sent her around the corral until she did join up with me. From that point on, she did very well! I was even able to pick up her front two feet .... yeah!!! I went all over her body with the lead rope and she didn't even flinch. What a great little filly she is!

Quad closeup

Quad wanted to hang around me on my last visit and he pretty much just followed me around his corral. That's really a first. Most visits, he's pretty aloof. Yes, he tolerates me, but on this visit, he actually seemed to want some attention! So, he got groomed and got lots of talking and touching! And, he got some SWAT on his face. The flies, as you all know, are HORRIBLE this year! ACK! I put on an Avon sunscreen with bug repellant and got bit by a fly! Hmmmm..... I'll be driving up to the horses early this morning as it is supposed to be 112 degrees here in the desert today and 114 degrees by Friday. ACK! The humidity from the weekend is gone and it is dry here this morning, so it should be a good day to do "horse chores". I'd like to take him out for a bath as he insists on rolling in his manure pile!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Good visit with the horses today!

Home at last! Phew! We awoke to the desert awash with clouds and humidity this morning. We noticed that Los Angeles was covered with fog and clouds yesterday and that it seemed unusually cool. Turns out, yesterday was the lowest "high" in Los Angeles since 1928, a new record! And, as I drove up the hill to the horses, it was sprinkling in some places and there were downpours in others. By the time I finished up with my "horse chores", it was raining up in the mountains! I emptied and scrubbed the mustangs' water trough, swept off all the rubber mats for the horses, gave them their sweet feed, and let Sunni stretch his legs in the arena. First, I worked with him and went all over his body with the lead rope. He didn't even move an inch! GOOD BOY! And, I was able to put fly spray all over him. He is learning that not everything is going to eat him, especially with Mom around! Of course, he just wandered around the arena while I had my camera, so I put it back in the car, and then he took off and I was just too tired to walk back and get it! He is such a goofball! When he heard the klunk of Quad's feed dumping into his feeder, Sunni was ready to go back into his corral! There were downpours all over our mountains on the way back to the desert and it was nice to have some rain! It wasn't too hot here today as the clouds kept the hot sunlight at bay, so it was a pretty decent day! This is our typical July/August monsoon weather. Storms come up from Mexico into our valley and dump their moisture. Sometimes we even get a tropical storm and if that happens, we are all watchfull because the desert can only soak up so much water and then it floods.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Almost home! 5 hours to go!

This has been the LONGEST vacation that hubby and I have taken in years. Our usual vacation length is about 5 days. We've now been gone 11 days and we are 5 hours from home this morning. While I've enjoyed waking up to the fog of northern California, and it has been 112 down in the desert, I'm ready to be reunited with our cats, dogs, horses, and the blue jay who has settled in our neighborhood! This trip has been a good break from the desert and we got to see some new territory up in Medford, Oregon! Hubby is already planning our next two trips, both of which will be back to northern California and a lot shorter! Fortunately, a neighbor boy is feeding the animals and watering my newly-planted desert trees and our son is checking up on the house cats. But, I'm ready to return home and get back into our daily routine. And, I REALLY miss my horses! I'm ready to spend some time with them and start working with them again. Unfortunately, last night while we were unpacking the car, I somehow sprained my ring finger on my right hand and I can barely move it today! OUCH! I have tons of laundry to do and things to sort and put away, but it was a fun trip. Here are some pics from yesterday's visit to the wine country near Paso Robles, CA. Yes, those are WILD turkeys~a whole flock of them! And, a deer crossed the road right in front of us on our way back to the hotel.