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, October 31, 2010

Humane Observer blog

If you haven't already been to this blog, and want to learn more about the BLM roundups, this is a great place to read up on the BLM's treatment of horses during roundups. While it is NOT a pretty picture, we all need to be aware of what is going on. Using helicopters to PUSH and TOUCH reluctant horses is outrageous! Using a helicopter to frighten a young colt into total shutdown is NOT REQUIRED. If you have time, please visit the blog:

Goin' up to see the horses today and play "musical corrals"

Phew! I've been posting such morbid posts the last couple of days, I just HAD to stop! Who wants to read about bad houses and battlefields? Ugh. Back to reality and that is, I MISS MY HORSES! I want some horsey breath! I want to smell them! I want to snuggle with them! I mean, yesterday I was in a stuffy room with teachers learning how to teach GATE (gifted and talented) children. That's Quad saying, "Peek a boo!". I have missed the herd so much this week!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

More weird happenings~Spooky Stories cont'd

Our daughter went to UCLA. She was there for 5 years and knew her way around Westwood and the surrounding towns. I did not and still get lost over there! So, one weekend, she and I were zipping around town. We were driving through a nice residential area and I screamed, "STOP!" She looked at me strangely, but stopped driving her car. I said, "Go back to that house we just passed." She asked me why. I said, "Because something BAD happened there!"....she turned the car around. I asked her what street we were on, as I had no idea. She was zipping around and turning so quickly I had NO CLUE where we were or what street we were on. All I knew what that we had passed a house and I felt something so DARK, so EVIL, so BAD that all the hairs on my arms stood up (again). We got to the corner and read the street sign. It was Bundy Drive. Our daughter was as surprised as I was. She looked at me like I was crazy. By then, I was shaking and I could hardly talk. I could only mumble , "Bad house." Bundy Drive is where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered. It was THE house where they died. Now, I had NO idea where we were, at the time. I had read about the case, yes, and heard about it on the news, but I didn't really pay that much attention to it...and, this was a couple of years after their murders. WHY would I feel this driving by the house? It had been cleaned up and repainted by then. Why, why, why??? Eerie, eh?

Friday, October 29, 2010

When the hairs on my arms stood up...ghostly tales

After my first year of college (many years ago...), I came home and announced to my parents that we just HAD to visit Washington D.C. I was a government/political science major then and I had to visit our nation's capitol. My dad's niece lived in Philadelphia, so we flew there, rented a car, and then drove around Maryland and Virginia. We visited Ford's Theater and the building where President Lincoln died. Now, I was only 19 at the time and led a relatively sheltered life, but when we entered the building where Lincoln died, every hair on my arms and on the back of my neck raised up! Was it my imagination or was a presence there? I don't know, but when we visited several Civil War battlefields, the same thing happened. I don't know what it was to this day, but there have been a few other times I've had that happen. One time, my husband took our two kids our for ice cream and I was home alone. I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink when a ghostly figure appeared right behind me. It didn't make a sound and just sort of slunk up behind me. I could visualize it in my mind and it was the GRIM REAPER!~ ACK!!! Yup. Complete with hooded robe and sickle. Now, my husband and kids were gone...I didn't know exactly where they were, and I was terrified to their safety. I was too terrified to turn around, but I could sense and feel its presence. I knew what it was! It just lingered and lingered. It finally disappeared and when they entered the front door, I ran to them in tears! Turns out, my mother-in-law's neighbor died that night. Now, I have NO IDEA why this "thing" came to me or what it was trying to warn me about to this day....I mean, I had only met the man one time...TO BE CONTINUED...

Do you have any Halloween stories to share or experiences? I'll have another one to share tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whhhhooooooooooo's there???

I awoke in the middle of the night last night to the "whoo, whoo, whoo" of an owl in our cottonwood tree. We have a 30 year old tree that hubby bought a couple of years after we bought our house and over the last 35 years, we've had a family of orioles live in it and various owls stop by overnight or over the course of a few nights. We always welcome the owls as they clean out the critters in the neighborhood. A few years ago, we had a huge infestation of tree rats (our neighbors on both sides all have grapefruit trees) and one time, while I was talking on the phone with a friend, I observed a tree rat walking across the street, from the neighbor's yard to OUR YARD by using the telephone wires! ACK!!! Fortunately, now that we have 3 outdoor cats, our critter problem is solved, but I have no idea what is going on with "critters" in the neighborhood. At least they stay OUT of our yard! So, having an owl around is a good thing!!! This owl is at the Living Desert Reserve in Palm Desert, CA. There was another owl in the enclosure and she was on a nest on the ground!

Time to shuffle the horses around!

I'll have to shuffle horses around this weekend. I'm not sure when or how, since I have an all-day class on Saturday. Gigondas will leave the big corral and go back into the smaller one where Cali is now. Cali and Scout will both be moved up into this big corral for the winter. The owner is bringing back her stallion on Saturday and he'll need to go back into the corral where Scout currently is. So, it will be "musical chairs" this weekend! He's been out for training.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Herd update: Cali

It rained last week and all the horses' corrals were muddy when I went up Saturday...they got more rain yesterday! But, the forecast for the next week is clear weather! YEAH! Here's Cali, waiting patiently for her extra meal!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Status of the herd: Sunni

It rained up in the mountains last week. It rained A LOT and the horses are all muddy! Here's a view of Sunni. I went up Saturday, briefly, since it was cold and windy. I stayed home yesterday, did laundry, did the dishes, and planted some seeds out by the fence by the street. Oh, and we went to dinner at our daughter's house, since it is our son-in-law's birthday today! Phew! Where did the weekend go???

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lone Pine, Sierras, and flowers

This is one of our favorite roads. It's before town, near Lone Pine, right off Highway 395. It takes you through a large cattle ranch and you practically drive up to their front door! Hubby and I always stop here to take photos, then drive up the road, turn right, and go through the Alabama Hills. It was nearly the end of the season for the little sunflowers and I picked a few dried ones and brought them home with me for my garden in the front yard. Mt. Whitney is hidden from view here and two days later a huge storm moved in. We couldn't even see these mountains on our way back home!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Scout's progress ~ update~

Look at my girl, Scout! She's making good progress and has now advanced to a saddle pad. I'm so proud of her!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I can't believe it! We've actually had rain here in the desert! This will be our second day. Unfortunately, at school, that means "rainy day schedule". THAT means that the teachers get no breaks and only a 30 minute lunch. That's hardly enough time to sit down and eat! I had no prep time yesterday because I had to dash out and pick up my class when it started to rain! Fortunately, I was able to print out some homework for them in my classroom. Desert kids are so funny! It's like they've NEVER seen rain before! They ALL, of course, had to immediately go to the bathroom and run outside in it! Silly kids! I got DRENCHED standing at the door, allowing them to go out one at a time and I'm surprised I'm not sick today!!! It really poured yesterday afternoon. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and it was raining here at our house, but now, at nearly 5 a.m., it was stopped. The forecast is for 60% chance of rain for the rest of the day...oh, boy! Another rainy day! Here are some pics that I took on the way home. Those mountains are the Sierras! You just can't see them because of all the clouds. The one with all the snow is part of the White Mountains, across the valley from the Sierras. Oh, and I ran out yesterday afternoon and threw out my African daisy seeds! With all our rain, they will sprout soon! I can't locate my bag of seeds that I bought at Home California poppies and a wildflower mix! ACK! I hate it when I can't find stuff!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

HOME and back to work!

Well, hubby and I are home from our weekend trip to the Sierras. We rented a cabin at the Silver Lake resort near Silver Lake (in the June lake loop) for two nights. Unfortunately, the first night, Saturday, people near the fire pit had a huge fire and LOTS of beer. I didn't get to sleep until 2:30 a.m.!!! Sunday night, however, they had all left and it was raining anyway, so all was quiet. We spent Friday night in Ridgecrest, to knock off 3 hours' driving time and then Saturday we drove up behind Bishop to view the aspen. And, we hit them just at the right time! They were GORGEOUS! Some were yellow, some orange, and there were a few red ones! My eyes were simply overwhelmed! The Sierras were alive with color! We could see groves of aspen from the freeway, covering the mountains, climbing up gorges, and in meadow patches. It was quite an experience! It was cloudy and drizzly yesterday (Monday) all the way home from June Lake to the desert. The White Mountains turned white overnight. We couldn't see how much snow (if any) fell on the Sierras, since they were cloaked by clouds.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weather forecast and orange rain!!!

Well, hubby and I head out this afternoon for the Sierras. It is supposed to rain Saturday and Sunday and SNOW Sunday night! We're staying near June Lake and they already had snow two days this past week. So, it should be an interesting weekend. Yesterday morning was unique here in the desert. We had some leftover monsoon clouds, so I headed out early with my camera to catch the sunrise. And, I wasn't disappointed! I've chased rainbows up and down the mountain and through desert canyons, but I don't ever recall seeing orange rain! And, it was right here in the desert. Awesome!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Other neighbors

I took a drive early Sunday morning, since I figured the horses were still eating their breakfast. I drove out through Garner Valley. GV used to all be owned by the Garner Valley Cattle Company, which is still there, although at a smaller scale. I had decided that I would drive through the valley and see if any cattle were out grazing. Yup. I found two different herds of longhorns! They probably do not belong to the GV cattle company, since I don't believe they have longhorns. I also stopped at a former thoroughbred breeding ranch, which now boards horses. There were several horses out and somebody was out feeding them, so I asked if I could stop and take some photos. These horses were very friendly and one came to me to check out my camera! Hubby and I are driving up to Mammoth and June Lake over the weekend, so I'm sure we'll see lots of other interesting things! I'll update along the way.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hello there!

Hello neighbor! Gigondas and one of her neighbors last weekend.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sunni gets a trim

Sunni has always had a long, beautiful, thick tale (until the winter that Cali ATE IT OFF!!!), which as about two years ago. I'd been watching it grow out and noticed that it was touching the ground, so Sunday I gave him a trim. I wasn't sure how he would react to the scissors, since he's pretty flighty, but he sniffed them and went back to eating, so snip, snip, snip I went! I'm pleased that he didn't run away and stood quietly.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sexy boy!

Who is this sexy boy? It's Quad after I groomed him and brushed out his mane yesterday!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gigondas on Saturday

You know, now that Gigondas is in the BIG corral, I haven't spent much time working with her. She has plenty of room to exercise. And, frankly, with this STUPID BRONCHITIS that I've had now for four weeks, I've been too exhausted to do much with any of my horses. It's not that I don't want's just that having had pneumonia already three times, I get bronchitis very easily. I've just been EXHAUSTED and tired beyond normal! But after last week at school, I was very eager for some "horse time" and yesterday I drove up to the ranch. I was thinking about taking Cali down to the huge arena for some R&R, but Gigondas really need to get out and run, so I groomed her, talked to her, lunged her and gave her a little lesson on her gaits in the corral. She was perfect! (Remember, she like to BOLT down in the arena and run off with the lunge rope trailing behind her...) I opened up the gate and made her wait. She waited. She backed. She did "stay"! Well, okie, dokie, then! She's always been a good walker with the lead rope and once I got to the arena, I walked her around for a bit. I could see she was getting edgy, but I kept walking her around. Finally, I stopped her. She stopped and didn't BOLT! (Thank goodness!) So, I praised her and released her and off she went! She pretty much exercised herself and she worked up a sweat! I guess she really needed her "running" time! What a goodball! Sorry for the blurry photos...she was running so quickly that I basically just pointed the camera at her and shot these! I'm driving back today and will probably let Cali and then Sunni out for a turn in the arena.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quad's progress

I have a trainer working with Quad. I wanted somebody to take him out before riding him myself. GOOD THING! Two weeks ago, she saddled him, put her foot in the stirrup, and he went straight up! He reared. Then he took off sideways. Apparently he's never had a regular-sized person on him and isn't used to legs dangling down on his side! So, she's gradually getting him used to stirrups flopping on him and pressure from a full-sized human! Here he is on Tuesday. He looks pretty ho-hum, but don't let that fool you! He's got ENERGY! So, his retraining continues. More updates next week!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Memories of Secretariat

I saw Secretariat's three Triple Crown Races on TV, back in 1973. I'd been married for a year and at that time and hubby and I lived in Riverside, CA, which was an hour away from my family. We were both still in school, working on our BA's. We had a tiny apartment, but we frequently traveled to the suburbs of Los Angeles, where my parents, grandparents, and aunt still lived. I'd grown up in a horse-racing family. My great-uncle was a trainer with a small barn at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, and Del Mar. I was able to frequently visit his horses. I remember how tall they were! My grandfather and I used to sneak over to Santa Anita after school and place a few bets! Hehehehehehe!!!! I LOVED thoroughbreds and vowed I would someday do whatever I could to save them. I now have 2, Quad and Gigondas. Quad is a OTTB, and he is a descendant of Secretariat. He ran in 7 races and never won a race, however. He was sent to a throughbred rescue, TB Friends. I have not been able to find any information about Gigondas, although another gal said she looks like the foal of a mare that she has. But, I haven't been able to confirm that. She doesn't have a lip tattoo. Anyway, so hubby and I drove to my grandparents' house to watch the Triple Crown races in 1973. And, Secretariat's Belmont Stakes win was the most incredible race I'd ever seen! Hubby just sat in his chair with his mouth open! I didn't see his final race, however, but kept track of "Big Red" as best I could, between study sessions at UC Riverside. I regret that I never saw Lady's Secret run at Santa Anita, since that would have been an easy drive for me. But, over the years, I have spotted Secretariat's descendants and I've watched them race. Like so many others, I was dismayed to hear of his death on October 4, 1989. I just couldn't believe it! I read his biography, by William Mack, and I'm anxious to see the movie. Are you going to see it? Please take the poll, if you can! I'm pleased that his memory lives on. He truly was a magnificent horse!

Hummingbirds at the ranch

My horses aren't the only residents of the ranch where they are boarded. These little hummingbirds love to visit the hanging feeders there. And, there are a LOT of them!!! They whizzed and whirled right next to me, totally ignoring me in their quest for their liquid food. The ranch owner is very faithful about feeding them and I'd say there are about a dozen of them who frequented the feeders. It was fun to watch them and I hope to get more photos of them throughout the year!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jack Frost visits our local mountains!

I found this article this morning in our local paper, The Desert Sun. Jack Frost visited our local mountains this week! My kids were complaining yesterday that it was COLD at school. My horses have gone from 100 plus days to 70 degree days in a week. We have a huge low pressure system which is over Southern California and is bringing us cooler temps, but it should be back in the 90's here in the desert by the weekend. Here's Sunni on Sunday...he was so busy eating he didn't even look up! Look how long his tail is! Remember when Cali ate it off two years ago???

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

See her go!

Cali on the move! She enjoys her workouts in the arena after I work with her on her lunging.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cali on Sunday

I didn't get to drive up to the horse ranch on Saturday, since I had an all-day class. I'm working on my credential for teaching Gifted and Talented students. I have another class the last weekend in October, but do my work online. So, Sunday morning, I was ready to see my horses! Do you ever get "horse withdrawal"? It was a cloudy day here in the desert and mountains. I awoke at 4:30 a.m. to the sound of thunder at home. I went out with my camera about 5:00 a.m., but my Nikon's battery died. So, I grabbed my old Canon, walked down the street, and basically just pushed the shutter ever 3 seconds! Out of 95 photos, I got 5 showing lightning. It was hitting down by the Salton Sea and even closer. It was quite a light show and I'm glad I got to see it. So, hubby and I went out for breakfast and after that, I headed up to the ranch. The clouds were starting to move in (thunderheads) and Cali was waiting patiently at her gate for a chance to go down to the arena. I lunged her and she did very well with her gaits. So, after a light workout, I let her loose. She now rolls all the way over and she enjoyed her dirt bath! By that time, thunderheads were above and I noticed that my way home was cloudy and dark, so I headed back down the mountain. By the time I was driving down the mountain, there were isolated downpours around the valley. We drove to our daughter's house in Indio for dinner and along the way, we got pelted with rain. When we drove home, our neighborhood was soaked! It's only supposed to be 86 degrees here in the desert today, which is a welcome relief from the 109 degrees last week!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday class!

After working all week, I have a class today from 8:30 - 4:30. I'm going for my "Gifted and Talented" credential, which will require a year of extra classes. UNFORTUNATELY, they are on Saturdays. So, unless we get out before 4:30 today, I won't have time to drive up the hill and see the horses until tomorrow. I'm anxious to see how much rain they got yesterday because from down in the desert, it sure looked like the mountains were getting a LOT of rain!!! Our monsoon pattern should be clearing out today, however. Here are a couple of pictures I took this week of our monsoon clouds. As to my bronchitis, I still have my cough. I seem to be over the headache and body ache, but I still cough a LOT. And, I don't have my voice back yet and I sound like a frog!