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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Well, I survived the first day of school!

Whoopie! I made it through the first day of school. However, my feet didn't. I've been wearing sandals and flip flops all summer and I put on a pair of flats...BIG MISTAKE! By noon, I was limping around with about 6 blisters. By afternoon recess, I was hobbling. But, I do seem to have a nice group of kids this year (not like last year's group!!!) They sat quietly, did their work, and didn't complain! And, they can WRITE! (...faint!) Some of them came from our former reading coach and believe me, HIS kids know their stuff! (THANK YOU, Robert!)Unfortunately, our lunch is the second to the last and their little tummies (and mine) were rumbling by 11:50. That's a LONG morning~~from 8:00 until 11:50 to sit! We only get a 10 minute bathroom break about 9:45 and that's it! ACK! I'm going to have to bring a snack every day from now on, because I was as hungry as they were! They all lined up at the end of the day and gave me "high 5's"! I think I'm going to enjoy this group of kidlets!

Monday, August 30, 2010

First day of school!!!!

Goodbye, summer! Well, today is the first day of school. I woke up at 4:45, took a shower, and made my morning coffee. I'm sure the kids are as excited as I am! Right now it is 67 degrees outside, unheard-of for the desert in August! It will be about 101 degrees here today, but 111 by the weekend...DARN! We were all enjoying our relief from the heat!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


So, yesterday morning down here in the desert was...delightful! I opened the front door and cool air filtered in! The humidity was GONE and the temperature was about 75! Phew! What a relief from the hot, sticky days we had last week! After hubby left for work, I drove up to the ranch. The front gate was locked, which meant the owners were gone for the day. Hmmmm....I normally do NOT let the horses out or walk them when they are gone, but I needed to work with Scout and see how she was doing. So, against my better judgment, I took her down to the arena to test her walking and leading skills. She was PERFECT! She calmly waited at the gate, which I left wide open, and she waited for my cue to her that it was time to go. She quietly walked WITH ME and didn't barge ahead! Phew! I let her out for some R&R, then I went up and cleaned out Gigo's water trough. This time of year, troughs almost have to be cleaned out every week, otherwise they fill up with mosquitoes. Then, it was time to put Scout back in her corral and she walked nicely...she only got excited when we walked by the two stallions. BUT...she did very well and got a nice reward of some extra feed! Sunni was looking very forlorn, so I decided to take him down to the arena, since he is a good walker (unless he spooks) and I didn't think he would. He got some R&R, too. While he was there, I cleaned out some automatic waterers. It was just so darn NICE up in the mountains! The air was cool and there was a breeze! Sunni rolled and stretched his legs and then was ready for his treat, so he calmly walked with me back to his corral. Quad was busy eating and I didn't want to disturb him, so I'll take him out for some R&R this morning. Cali was done with her snack, so I put a shorter lead rope on her (not the longer one I was using) and since she leads so quietly, I left my gloves off. Hmmmm...BIG MISTAKE! Cali, who normally is the quiet one, had some R&R in the arena, got the farts out, and stretched her legs. Walking back to her corral, I decided (I know...I SHOULD have known better...) to go the long way, around the big corral where she used to be and where Gigondas is now. Cali had been doing problems...she stopped to sniff and slobber all over my car, she stopped and sniffed the horse trailer, she stopped and took a couple of bites at the hay stack, she stopped and sniffed with Gigondas and WHAM! She spooked and took off and left me with a major rope burn on my left hand. I nearly lost my ring finger as the lead rope got tangled up on that finger! BAM! She was gone! I could hear her running around the ranch and I called to her and hoped that she'd come back to me and she did. Something spooked her (I don't know what it was...), but she DID come to me when I called her and I was able to get the lead rope and quietly walk her back to her corral. I'll have a nice rope burn to explain to my class tomorrow! It's on the top of my hand. Go figure! The quiet, calm one spooks and "Ms. Manners" is a little lady now! .... HORSES...!!!! Here are some pics I took yesterday. I didn't take any of Scout because she was just eating weeds. Oh, and I took the photo of the driveway at the ranch. The tire tracks are where I drove in and you can see how much rain they got this week!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fire update~Joshua Tree

Well, driving to school yesterday morning (it was a regular work day for teachers, but no students), I didn't see any smoke from the Joshua Tree fire. Some teachers did tell me that they smelled the smoke down in Indio the previous night. Apparently it is now 60% contained ( On other news, my class room is ready for Monday! I haven' worked so hard on getting my class room ready since my first year of teaching! I can't WAIT to see the herd this morning! It is actually only 68 degrees here in the desert this morning, so it will be chilly up in the mountains! YEAH! Our humidity finally broke last night and the cool air is a welcome change!!! That's Cathy, the ranch owner, hanging out with Gigondas last week.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thunderstorms, lightning strikes, and fire

Don't worry...the horses are safe. They are on the other side of the valley, but there is a fire up in Joshua Tree National Park. Thunderheads started building up yesterday afternoon (it is monsoon season here in our desert) and the sky got dark in various places. I could see downpours around the valley. Apparently there was hail in Warner Springs! And, near Joshua Tree, there was a huge downpour (in Landers) and flooding! Unfortunately, there were some lightning strikes in Joshua Tree National Park and one started a fire. I saw the fire while driving home from school yesterday afternoon and by dusk, I could see the flames. More thunderstorms are forecast for today. Eight fires were started around the valley by lightning yesterday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rain up at the ranch!!!

I had to spend the day down at school yesterday, and I was running between classrooms (literally, because of the HEAT)! I looked up and saw thunderheads developing and by late afternoon, I could see that the mountains were getting a nice soaking. Of course, I didn't have my camera with me (since it was a school day) to get photos. Apparently we are due for another round of thunderstorms here and in the mountains today. Today is the big "rah, rah" at the high school, but it's hard to be supportive when our district administration wants us to take a 6% pay cut! And, with all the school supplies that I've purchased for this school year (pencils, pencil boxes, crayons, markets, colored pencils, 3 ring notebooks), it just makes their attitude even more insulting!!! Pppppffffffffffhhhhhhhhtttttttt!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oh, hi, Mom! I'm coming!!!

Look at this GOOD GIRL! She now comes to her name and is very curious about what Mom is doing! I'm glad she has her own corral now and is away from Scout. When Cali was with Scout, Scout always chased her away from me and she would linger at the far side of the corral. Cali really LOVES people and is very gentle with everybody!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Whatcha' doin'?

It was so darn HOT everywhere yesterday, that I didn't do much! I stayed inside down in the desert (it was 117 yesterday), and finally, about 3:00, I dragged myself out to the car and drove up the mountain to visit the horses. was over 90 degrees even up there. Ugh! Too hot to even think clearly, so I just hung out with Gigo and let her investigate my tennis shoes. I didn't wear my boots because it was too hot and when I come back to the desert, they are really uncomfortable! I figured I wouldn't get much done (and I didn't...)!!!! It's supposed to be 114 here in the desert for the next two days, then temps will drop down to 108 for the weekend. I have school stuff to do for the rest of the week, and I may not get back to see the herd until Saturday.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting ready for back to school

I'm one of the fortunate ones who doesn't need to adjust my biological clock to get ready for back to school, since I wake up every morning about 5 a.m. However, I will have to adjust my "horse time" starting tomorrow! I have a doctor's appt at 8:00 a.m. and then I need to go to school and finish prepping my room. And, the rest of the week, I have meetings at school. So, from now on, except for the weekends, I'll have to visit "the herd" after school...sigh...It's never easy to have to drive 35 miles up a winding mountain road after a day at school! But, I NEED my horse time and I need to work with Scout and the others, so off I'll go, at least until daylight savings time ends. I actually find it relaxing to drive up the mountain and it helps me clear my mind. It's just a "time adjustment" for me. It will be 114 degrees here in the desert for the next couple of days, then down to 111 and 110 and 108 by the end of the week. Phew! NOBODY enjoys these hot days of August! How about you? Do you have to adjust your schedule now that school is starting?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Farrier visit~"metal"~Sunday stills Challenge082210

Not the last time my farrier came to do the "herd", but back in March, I wandered around, camera in hand, and took these photos. Not this time, however~ I had to hold each horse and I couldn't balance my camera and pay attention! I'm glad I took these photos because it was interesting to see all the sizes of the horseshoes in the back of his truck. He mostly does thoroughbreds and he is VERY patient with each horse that he does. He and his assistant talk softly and, in Cali and Quad's cases, they almost fall asleep! He was even able to trim Sunni's back hooves this visit (not the first one, however), and Sunni has decided that he's a pretty good guy! Sunday Stills Challenge~"metal"~for August 22,2010.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Been so darn busy lately!

I haven't had much time for the horses. There. I said it. I've been so darn busy running around town trying to buy school supplies like white notebooks for the kids, erasers, colored pencils, crayons, spiral notebooks, kleenex, hand sanitizers, and Clorox wipes for their desks. My students come from a very economically depressed area and I don't want to have to ask the parents to buy anything! Some families are moving in with the grandparents because they can't afford their own homes any more. And, yes, some of them are returning to family in Mexico...Our enrollment is down from 750 to less than 700 students. And, my students are ALL born in the USA! I had a family two years lost his job as a pool cleaner. They were going to move to her mom's place in Mexico, but dad found some part-time work and they were able to remain here, which is a good thing because those were good kids and hard workers! Another boy in last year's class told me they were moving further down the valley to live on Grandpa's ranch and he wouldn't be back at our school in the fall. Another girl is moving to another town...another boy is also moving....sigh....So, yesterday I found HUGE jars of hand sanitizer with $1.50 off each one at COSTCO. I normally pay about $4.00 for them, but these were $3.99 less $1.50, so I bought two of them for $2.49 each. That SHOULD last me all year! I always try to buy stuff on sale (since I AM spending my own money!). WALMART had crayons on sale for 25 cents a box, so I bought 36 boxes (since I'll have 32 kidlets this year!), no, I haven't had time to get up to the ranch, but I'm goin' this morning! YEAH! Finally! And, frankly, it has been so darn HUMID here and up there, that I'm a sweaty mess in 5 minutes! My aunt called me the other day and said, "You didn't TELL US that it was humid here in August!!!!!" Huh? Of course it is! August is always humid. The storms in Arizona and northern Mexico sometimes flow up into the Coachella Valley and they bring their humidity with them. That's just the way it is! But, this morning, there is a break in the humidity and it isn't too bad outside! I feel like Scout...go here, go there, but GO!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Two days left

of summer vacation. Yup. That's all. And, today I have to meet a friend for lunch, so I won't be able to get up to work with Scout. So, that leaves Monday. I have a doctor's appt. Tuesday and after that, I report to school. ACK! WHERE did the summer go? much to do yet! Here's "Little Miss Smarty Pants" being lunged in the round pen. Man, she has a LOT of energy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Scout's progress

I am very pleased with Scout's progress! She no longer barges through an open gate and will wait quietly for the HUMAN to go first! WOW! Big step forward! She got some lungeing yesterday and she is now backing up easily. She definitely has an "off" side and we will work on that. I have to drive to school today and "purge" the JUNK in my class room, but I'll work with her on Thursday. It was VERY humid yesterday and hot, too, so it was awful, even up in the mountains. (I won't EVEN talk about how awful it was here in the desert yesterday!!!) Phew. I can handle the dry heat, but, when you mix in just zaps the moisture right out of you! We have a couple more days of humidity, then it should dry out for a few days. The temps are still with us (109 degrees), but it will be a DRY heat!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Half of a clean horse!!!!

Yes, here's Cali...half of her was still clean after she rolled. I've noticed that the only horse of mine that goes completely over when they roll is...Scout! The others will do one side, then the other, or in the case of Cali, be content with just one side covered with dirt! Do your horses roll ALL the way over?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cali's bath

Now that Cali is in her own corral and I don't constantly have to deal with "La Diabla" (Scout), I can take Cali out every day for a walk and some training. Yesterday I let her out in the arena, just to stretch her legs, because, frankly, I don't even rememer the last time she was there. She and Scout had been together in a large corral, which had plenty of room for them to run around in, but I hadn't taken Cali out to the arena for a while. She leads very well (she's so ho-hum!) and she is so calm! I turned her loose and she just stood there, so I had to "shoo" her off! She enjoyed her time in the arena and ate a lot of weeds! Then I thought, "'s a nice, warm morning, I should give her a bath!" and I took her up to the wash rack and tied her. She's been taught to "stay" and she never moved, not even when I had to walk down and get the shampoo! GOOD GIRL! Cali LOVES water (and attention!) and she really seemed to enjoy her bath. I saw that she had a few cuts on her chest (probably from her new corral) and I washed those out. I put SWAT all over her face and then led her back to the arena because I knew she would roll. So, here are photos of Cali after her bath, enjoying another romp in the arena. She so enjoys simple things...a bath...a romp in the arena...making the boys look at her! She's a silly girl! I dearly love her!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Look, ma! A stranger~ Sunni and Molly share some time together~

Both Cathy, the ranch owner, and I noticed that we are the only ones to really work with our horses and we both decided that it would be good for them to have other people just come up and mess with them, take them out, and even work with them. So, last week, when my good friend Molly came up with me, I asked her to work with Sunni in the arena. Now, Sunni is the most skittish of all our horses, but Molly has a very relaxed demeanor. She has a little filly that she has trained by herself and she's very horse-knowlegeable. Molly really hadn't interacted with Sunni much, except to stop by and give him scratches, and I was eager to see how he would react, especially since I'd spent a lot of time this summer desensitizing him. Remember, he stood still for the farrier, but didn't like the vet or getting his shots and he acted like...a real JERK for the vet!...sigh... So, here's the story of Sunni and Molly! THANK YOU so much, Molly, for doing this for me! It was a good lesson for Sunni and I feel like he made a lot of progress. Top photo: Look, Ma, a STRANGER! Next: Hmmm...she doesn't look so bad. Maybe I'll take a closer look! Hey, she's pretty nice! Look, ma! I survived! And finally, " I can run and run and run!"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Scout gets more practice

So, yesterday my friend Molly came up with me to stop and visit with the horses and then we headed over to my cousin's for lunch. I took Scout out and she did fairly well with that. I only had to remind her once to not barge ahead! I took her in and out of the cones in the arena and she followed nicely. It's good to see that she is making progress. It isn't that she's bad...she just doesn't know what to do! Now that I know what to do with her, that will make it easier for me to be consistent with her.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More of Scout's lesson

This way, Scout! No, not ON me! By me! Back, back! Here we go! Ahhhh....that's a good girl! Scout's lesson continued and she learned that she cannot be her usual pushy self! I'm driving up this morning with my friend Molly and I'll work with her and hopefully she will remember her lesson!