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, April 30, 2011

The END of a LONG WEEK and dogs

Everybody at school was tired this week. It was our first week back after spring break. The kids were tired, the teachers were tired, the office staff was tired...It was a LONG week, believe me! Then, Friday afternoon, we had a lockdown, not a drill! Fortunately, I was already in my room with several of my students. The rest, who were out at recess, were running around like chickens with their heads cut off! And, apparently some out on the playground, didn't even know what was going on! But, I saw our janitor run around the corner with a walkie-talkie, so I knew it was for real! We all hunkered down and waited it out. Turns out, a robbery suspect cut across the school property with the police after him! ACK! Not a good way to end the week. But, nobody was hurt and the kids were released just in time to go home. Phew~We'll be testing again next week, so it will be "high stress"...I'll need some horse time, for sure! Oh, and Pearl, the black and white collie (ranch dog) from my previous post, somehow got out of the ranch (it's completely fenced) and Cathy, the owner, looked for her and couldn't find her! She posted flyers and a neighbor found Pearl on a mound of dirt, looking disoriented. She even wandered out into the street! YIKES! Cathy got her back to the ranch. We had two collies when our children were toddlers and they learned to walk by holding onto collie hair and toddling next to them! They were wonderful dogs~ a brother and sister, "BJ" and "Heather". I paid $250 for the two of them out of a large litter. BJ was a traditional "Lassie" type collie, but Heather looked part German Shepherd. When my grandparents could no longer live alone safely, we gave Heather to them as a guard dog and BOY, did she do her job! She lived out the remainder of her years with them. We had BJ until he had a stroke one afternoon and I was home alone. My neighbor helped me carry him into my pickup and I drove him out to the emergency animal hospital where they put him to sleep. They told me he'd had a stroke. I really miss those two dogs, but I don't miss all of BJ's HAIR all over the house! I notice that our son's dog, the Weimeraner, doesn't shed at all and Ripley doesn't either! But, our German shepherd does ("German Shedder"), although, with his skin condition, he's lost a LOT of his hair permanently. Here are a few photos of Ripley, Rommel (our German Shepherd) and I even got one with the Weimeraner! It's HARD to get photos of them because they are always so active! I had just bought the doggie toys at Costco. I gave one to each dog, but, as you can see, Ripley rounded ALL of them up and was guarding them from the other two dogs! She's funny! You can see the hair loss on our shepherd. We've taken him to 3 different vets now. It seems he has an auto-immune disease and while we can give him shampoos and antibiotics, NOTHING seems to repair the damage done. He is still comfortable and plays with the other two dogs, but I'm noticing now, that as summer approaches, the flies land on him and chew his skin, so we basically keep him inside all day and night. He doesn't seem to be in any pain and, like I said, he still plays with the other dogs, but I fear that soon we will have to deal with this, especially with a long, hot summer coming.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ranch dogs

Last weekend, I was fortunate to see all 5 ranch dogs outside together. That doesn't happen often. The little ones are usually inside. That's because the little Dauchund is fearless and isn't the slightest bit intimidated by all the horses! She's a real character! The two large dogs, the collie and Eskimo dog (white) are used to being around the horses. So, I was thrilled to have the chance to get their photos! I now use the manual settings on my camera (FINALLY!)...hubby helped me and showed me how to adjust them on our trip to the Sierras, so if they are a little dark, that's my fault. So, here they are! Aren't they adorable?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Status of the herd: Scout and Cali

Scout and Cali are doing fine. They had their training lesson this week and from what I hear, Cali is very calm. Scout remembers her lessons, but sometimes likes to escape being haltered! Little bugger!!! Both now tie (Cali is so calm, that's not a problem!) Scout watched the other horses get their feet trimmed last visit and decided SHE didn't wish to have her feet done and wouldn't allow anybody to halter her! Her mustang feet are in pretty good shape, so now she will have to wait until his next visit! I need to get up and brush them, but I'm hesitant because they still have some very cold nights, especially when the winds kick up.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Status of the herd: Sunni

Sunni is doing fine. He and Quad get a lesson every other week from a local trainer and he's getting over his trust issues SLOWLY. He's not the kind of horse that you can be aggressive with. Instead, he needs LOTS and LOTS of praise. She's now starting to put a saddle pad on him (remember last year, he crow hopped and threw my cousin into the round pen rails? ) So, introducing him to new things has been a priority. He usually snorts at something new, but will relax when it doesn't eat him!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Status of the herd: Quad

Well, Mr. Poopy Pants is back to normal. I got an email from the ranch owner that he now has normal poop, not runny. Phew! In case you missed my previous post, Quad reached through his corral and knocked over my gallon jug of Coca-Soya oil and then licked it all up! It was about half full, so that was a LOT of oil. It DID clean him out, however, and did remove a lot of sand from him! But, now he's back to eating normally and pooping normally, too! :-) When I stumbled out to the living room this morning, one of the dogs got into my 3 sample bags of dog food and ate it all up! Don't we feed our animals ENOUGH?????

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mr. Poopy Pants

Apparently while we were gone, it was really windy for a couple days at the ranch and Quad reached through his corral pipes and knocked over my gallon jug of Coco-Soya oil and ATE it off the sand! Or, licked it up. Cathy came out and found out that he had diarrhea and was pooping out tons of sand. So, yesterday he still had a stomach ache. He wasn't in pain, just lots of runny stuff (with sand). Apparently the oil was also cleaning him out, so he wasn't in a good mood. POOR BABY! She emailed me last night and said she is giving him small meals and he is doing much better! What a dufus! Sorry for the dark photo...I forgot that I had the camera on manual setting and all my photos from yesterday came out dark! And, this is hubby's Nikon. Mine had dust spots on the inside and hubby tried to blow them out, but they just moved to another spot on the mirror, so he took mine in to the camera store. The owner said, "Where does your wife keep her camera? In a BARN?"....apparently it was so dirty it took him 30 minutes to clean out all the dust and dirt! Lesson learned. Be careful when you take your camera out to the horse ranch! So, now that I've taken hubby's up there on a windy day, his will probably need to be cleaned before we head back to the Sierras in June! I'm so relieved that Quad is recovering! He was probably reaching out for the grass which is growing alongside all the horse corrals, knocked over the oil, and ingested it, along with the grass! Another lesson learned. Don't leave your oil too close to your horses' corral!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ridgecrest BLM corrals

Yesterday, on our way home from the Sierras, we stopped at the BLM Ridgecrest corrals. We always try to stop by them on our way either to or from the Sierras, since Ridgecrest is right off of Highway 395. There's a Stater Bros. along the way, so we bought 3 huge bags of carrots for the mustangs. We've found, over the years, that some mustangs know what carrots are and will come right up to the fence, while others ignore us. That's okay...I was actually able to touch a few of them this trip. There were a LOT of burros there this trip and only a few babies with their mothers. But, there was a whole, big corral full of youngsters and another one full of yearlings and these were the most interesting this trip! It's always interesting to see which mustang will dominate the others. With the young ones, it was a little gray roan. with the yearlings, it was a beautiful bay with a white nose. Man, she didn't take anything off anybody, so sir! Her little ears went back and the teeth came out and she meant business! I was so busy feeding them that I didn't take that many photos! There were a LOT of beautiful, colorful mustangs there this time, especially the grays. There were also some good looking buckskins. A mother and her son showed up without carrots, so we gave them what was left in our last bag and headed for home. I always wonder what happens to these horses...there were some beautiful ones there yesterday...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I heard a hissing sound and I took off running!

I'm not kidding you! Hubby and I found another big area of petroglyphs near Bishop, CA this morning. So we parked the car and went hiking...dum de dum, dum...We were climbing rocks, walking around, getting hot and thirsty and I went one way and he went another. I took a few steps and heard, "SSSsssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!" Eh? What was that? I thought it was the wind, took another step, heard, "ssssssssss!" I looked down, didn't SEE anything, took another step, but this time it was really LOUD and finally my instincts took over and my heart started beating and I knew I was IN TROUBLE! I hightailed it outta there so fast...I literally ran down to the dirt road and refused to walk through the brush any longer! I don't know what it was and I don't really care...I was outta there!!!! That area was creepy. I felt like we were being watched the whole time we were there, even though we were the only car for miles! It was as if the spirits of the old ones were still you know the feeling?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

SNAKE by the side of the road!!!

And, I didn't run over it! In fact, he let me take these photos of him!!!! :--) Hubby and I were outside of Bishop, CA early this morning (VERY EARLY)...I wanted to get out to the Indian petroglyphs at sunrise, so we left the hotel at 6:00 a.m. and got there just in time for the morning sun to shine on them! What a difference from the previous night! This morning, they were all lit up and as we walked down the wash, we found many, many more of them!!! As we were leaving, I spotted something shiny on the road, slowed down, and looked out my window to find this handsome fellow! Good thing I was driving slowly! I am now so intrigued by Native American rock art that I want to spend my summer finding MORE of these carvings throughout the Owens Valley and desert southwest!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bishop area Indian rock art

Well, I was bound and determined to find the locations of the Native American rock carvings near Bishop, CA. I'd read about them online and it was just a matter of finding the right dirt road down to the Red Canyon petroglyphs. Unfortunately, hubby and I headed out right about 5:00 p.m., as the sunlight was quickly disappearing. We did manage to find them and hike back into the cliff canyon. I must say, they are amazing! To think that people carved these into the rocks! Wow! We may drive back out there in the morning to take more photos of them in the daylight (what a concept!)...I must warn you, do NOT attempt to drive that road unless you have a high clearance vehicle or a 4 wheel drive! The XTerra took it without any problems, but I had shifted down into 2nd gear and didn't stop. I'm going to read up on them again tonight, so tomorrow I'll know what I'm looking at! I used my telephoto lens on some of these because there is a fence to keep people away from them and we did respect that fence.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Eerie rocks and strange noises!

Hubby and I are up in the eastern Sierras for a few days. He got some time off work and I'm off for Spring break. So, of course...(DUH!)...we headed up to the Sierras. Today, we stopped at the road which was the temple for the movie Gunga Din, in the Alabama Hills. We were the only people there and usually there is at least one other car in the area. We got out and I started walking down the road. Suddenly, I heard this howling off in the distance. It gave me the chills. I told myself, "It's just the wind, it's just the wind!" HA~when we got back to the hotel this afternoon, hubby said, "Did you hear that howling this morning?" Oh, the howling? Uh, YEAH! He said, "My Irish grandmother would have said it was a banshee, so I looked around to make sure you were still alive.!" wasn't playing with rattlesnakes, dear! But, yes, I heard it too and it was howling....Maybe the rocks know what it was?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

RATTLESNAKE~~Mikey, this is for you! 041711

So, while driving up the mountain to the horse ranch this morning, I spotted a snake on the road. Of course, I slammed on my brakes and frantically searched for a turnout and found one about 100 feet ahead, on the right side of the road. It was early in the morning, about 8:00, and the road wasn't crowded yet (like it was on the way down!!!). I parked my car, grabbed my camera (I THOUGHT it was a rattlesnake and I wanted to get a photo of it)...BUT...along came two cars before I could get back to the snake. I tried to wave them off, but one of them (a truck), saw the snake and aimed right for it. I could hear the sickening sound of bones crunching and I knew my snake was dead or dying. I cursed the driver and he, in turn, gave me the birdie. :-) (making new friends...) And, the car behind him was totally oblivious to what was going on, and HE ran over it, too. Oye, vei!!! By the time I got to the snake, I knew he was a goner. It was a beautiful, young diamondback, the first one I'd seen in the wild while driving on that road for the past three years. It's too bad that SOME PEOPLE have to destroy living things without even giving them a second's worth of consideration. I did manage to get to the snake, who was barely alive, and move him into the shade next to the highway, but I knew he was dying. He didn't resist me at all, didn't act aggressive, and just let me carry him on a stick to the sand. Guess it was because he was dying? I figured I'd stop back and check on him when I came back down the mountain. So, three hours later, I stopped to check on him, and yup...he was dead. No life in him at all...While I'm DEATHLY AFRAID of snakes, however, with this snake, I had no fear whatsoever. It appeared to be a young one (click on the photos to enlarge, if you want)...but I did marvel at its beauty. What perfectly formed diamonds on him! And, it gave me a new found respect when I go traipsing out in nature. He had NO rattles, and if he had rattled, I would NOT have heard anything! And, its coloration...well, as you can see, he blended in perfectly with the surrounding sand and rocks....hmmmmm....something for me to think about! (Don't worry...I watched the snake before I moved him and I could tell he was badly injured and couldn't move the back half of his body and I deemed it somewhat safe for me to move him off the road.) Last photo was taken on my way back down the mountain...he was completely dead.

Creepy guy...

So, I drove up to the horse ranch this morning. THAT is a whole 'nother story!!! Anyway, on my way back down the mountain, I decided to stop at the visitor center which is at the bottom of the hill. It's one of the places I do my morning walks. So, I walk in, and the two ladies who work there looked really upset/distraught/concerned. Hmmm.....not good. I bought a T-shirt since I'm tired of the short Old Navy ones and paid cash. This young man walked in the back door, mumbling to himself. He looked disheveled and my alarms immediately went off...something wasn't "right" about him. Do you ever get those feelings about people? I get them all the time. Apparently it was the second time he had wandered into the center that morning, mumbling. Anyway, he was fidgeting and mumbling and I looked into the face of one of the women and she mumbled, "I hope he doesn't strangle us all." Oh, joy! Hmmm... Apparently he had been at a church service and was mumbling something about his wife and kid...I had my camera around my neck and I believe that it would have been a good weapon had I needed one. He wandered back outside and they called the sheriff for the SECOND TIME!!!! It's pretty isolated up there, but people do come in and out all the time. In fact, there was a gentleman sitting in one of the chairs outside. This was the first time I'd ever been there and was uneasy. My car was at the furthest parking spot outdoors (under a big shade tree, of course!), and I had a LONG way to walk with him on the loose somewhere outside. None of us knew where he was. I made it to my car and locked the doors and headed for home, spotting him walking down the highway. To my relief, a sheriff's car was heading UP the road. I called the visitor's center back and informed them that the young man had indeed left their property, was walking down the road, and a sheriff's car was heading up their way. PHEW!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I didn't get up to the ranch today. My friend called me and told me she was sick. Our daughter and son-in-law both ended up in urgent care...she with bronchitis and he with larangytis. And, the ranch owners were leaving for a family get-together, so I'll drive up in the morning. I stayed home and ran errands here in the valley. Went for a LONG morning walk (1 1/2 hours) and then walked up at the mountain visitor center for another half hour. Phew! I wore myself out! Here's a picture of Wilco. Wilco used to live with Ben, Hal, and Claudia, but they are too busy for any dogs (we have the Weimeraner), so Wilco went to live with Jennifer & James. Isn't he ADORABLE?

another cutie pie!!!

This little darling is the daughter of one of our daughter's friends. Her mom and Jennifer have been friends for many years and they always get together whenever they can. The family lives in Oregon and last summer, Jennifer and James flew up to Portland and spent 10 days up there. Isn't she GORGEOUS? She's 6 months younger than Ben, our grandson, but she is very mobile and talkative! Of course, nobody knows what she's saying! And, look at those eyes!!! What a cutie pie! We've already scheduled Ben and Addison's wedding 18 years from now! HA! That's our daughter, Jennifer (her godmother) playing the flute. She was fascinated by it and started dancing!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ben update

We seem to have a family dinner every Sunday night. It's just one of the traditions that we are falling into and everybody seems happy with it. I usually bring my camera with me and take photos of our grandson, Ben. He just turned two years old in February, so now he's 26 months old. He's beginning to talk (most of it is not understandable!), but he understands everything. And, yes, he is bilingual. That's also good for me because it helps me to reinforce the Spanish that I know, but haven't used in years! :-) Anyway, here are some pics of the little man! That's our son, Hal, with Ben on his lap. Hal and Ben enjoy coming up to visit the horses and I'm hoping that this summer they'll make several trips up to the ranch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A helper this weekend! and testing update

Well, testing is actually going pretty smoothly this year! (((BIG SMILE))) I only had one boy throw up today and another one get a bloody nose all over his test on Tuesday. :-) Poor little things...I have a friend who offered to come up with me on Saturday and help brush out the horses, so we'll have our hands full (literally!) So, only 1 more day of testing and then 1/2 day Friday! Whoo, whoo! I managed to get up at 4:00 a.m. today and get in a 20 minute walk, but it was so darn cold and windy that I couldn't wait to get back to my car!!! :-( So, testing is almost over and I have an extra set of hands this weekend! YEAH! I found these pretty flowers down at our local community college last weekend. Aren't they colorful?