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 30, 2011

Joshua Tree sky

I don't have any horse updates, but I have a 3 day weekend coming up, so I'll get lots of photos then.  In the meantime, I am EXHAUSTED!  I now pick up the grandson two afternoons a week to give his parents a break from driving ALL the way down near my school to pick him up...(HELLO!  I'm only 4 blocks away from the babysitter!)...Anyway, after picking up him, then taking our son and the baby to Ross to pick up a chair for Ben's mom, and going to the grocery store, I can barely keep my eyes open!  I haven't had to hold onto a squirming two year old for 29 years!  Man, can that kid SQUIRM!  He was fine at the grocery store (his dad put him in the big part of the cart and he proceeded to open every box put in there!)  I got home at 7:00 tonight.  I used to get home about 3:30, but our school now gets out at 3:00, so I've been arriving home at 4:00 or 4:30, NOT 7:00 p.m.!!!!  If I keep this up, I'll love 50 pounds over the next year!  Whoo, whoo!  Do you have kids or grandkids?  Photo of Joshua Tree National Park when we arrived on Sunday afternoon.  Aren't the storm clouds pretty?  The park had just had a summer downpour and everything was wet and smelled deliciously desertly! MMmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

On a sad note (Joe's blog today)

I'm going to be up front with you... I have a horse from Joe, Quad.  Another blogger paid for Quad to come to me when I lost Beauty in a freak corral accident one night.  Apparently she got cast and hit her head on the metal railing trying to get up, but hit her poll and that was it.  I found her body the next morning.  I was heartbroken.  I wrote about this and I have a blog dedicated to her memory.  So, when I read Joe's blog this morning, I was heartbroken.  I have copied it here.  If you do not wish to read it, please move on to a happier blog.  I understand, like Joe, that people have money problems, BUT...he was going to pick this horse up and bring him back to his place.  Joe told me, "Should you ever need to return Quad, I will take him back".  I WOULD NOT do this to Quad and I would NOT DO THIS to Joe.  I respect Joe too much.  So, read the following, but have a box of kleenex handy.  As my husband would say, "It's an Irish tale."....that means, it's a sad one.  Here goes:  GRAB THE KLEENEX~I'm warning you.  Photos are of Raider.  I'm posting it here in my blog because tomorrow Joe will write another blog and have new photos.  I really want to think about this one long and hard and resolve to help Joe as much as I can.

Monday, August 29th... They didn't have to kill him. We already had a trailer scheduled to pick him up.

Madabouttheraiders (pronounced Mad About The Raiders) came to us from a race track in early 2007. He arrived with a badly bowed tendon and sore shoulder. We called him Raider.

(not to be confused with our little arab gelding Raider who came to us a few years later)

His tendon healed, his shoulder healed, and in the summer of 2008 Raider was adopted by a trainer and her client. Soon we were getting updates about how great Raider was doing. He had started jumping. There were trail rides and camping with a church group. Raider was even used for riding lessons with beginning youngsters.

On Friday the trainer phoned and said Raider needs a new home. The owner is broke and can no longer pay expenses.

I told the trainer I would be happy to take Raider back. I said I will call you when shipping arrangements are made.

Yesterday, Sunday, I phoned the trainer to tell her our friend Sheldon can pick up Raider on Wednesday, when he gets off work. Sheldon should be there around 6:30 p.m.

The trainer said forget it. Raider was euthanized Sunday morning. It was the owner's decision. The rendering truck was coming Monday for another horse, so they might as well kill Raider too. Save the rendering truck another trip.

I am not an idiot. I understand nice, well trained horses are being put to sleep because owners are broke and finding new homes is like looking for a needle in a haystack. As goes the economy, so goes the fate of horses.

At the beginning of August I found out about a well trained warmblood mare who was put to sleep by a fancy barn because the owner is filing for bankruptcy. The trainer said we didn't think to call you. Maybe you could have found the mare a home.


And I am not going to write about the final end for a recent group of fresh from the track horses. All dead now, because there are no new homes.

We had a deal. I was to make transportation plans for Raider, which I did. He would have been on our ranch before the new month, meaning his owner would not have owed a nickel of board.

A whole bunch of personal and emotional issues, but the main question is this: Why would a vet kill a young healthy horse when arrangements for a new home had already been made?

Raider loved people. He loved attention. When they came at him with a needle I am certain he was as surprised as I am. And probably just as pissed...


The first 3 pictures are Raider on March 21st, 2007. The day he came to our ranch.

Desert air conditioning ~road to Joshua Tree National Park

How do you air condition your house in the summer?  Well, there are a couple of ways.  First, you could have a swamp cooler.  That's not an air conditioner.  It's an evaporative cooler.  Our neighbors behind us have a whole house one and my neighbor to the west has one, too.  They do NOT work when it is humid, however...OR you could have a whole house air conditioner system.  That's what we have.  Fortunately, they work well, but cost A TON!  I always try to shut ours off when it gets below 90 degrees outside.  Or, you could do this:  Just open up your house and let the breeze in!  HA~Hubby and I drove up to Joshua Tree National Park yesterday afternoon after he got off work at noon.  He wanted to get out and try his camera, so off we went.  Unfortunately, I looked over that way and it was raining....hmmm....not a good idea to be out in the desert during a monsoon rainstorm.  But, by the time we got to the park, the storm had moved west and was up in Whitewater Canyon.  There were signs all over the town of Joshua Tree that the storm hit hard.  Billboards were blown over.  One building was ripped apart by winds.  I stopped at the visitor center office to check in and use the bathroom and the ranger there said they got 1/2 inch of rain in 15 minutes.  That's a LOT for an area that only gets about 4 inches a year!!!  Water was running through the streets and tree leaves were scattered all around, but the desert smelled fresh and clean.  Hey, Lisa...remember the two little houses outside the park?  Here's the air conditioning from one of them!!!!  *These little homesteads have been vacant for years.  I posted pics of them last spring, when we went to the park*

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Mail"~Sunday Series 52~082811

Another blogger( (he's practically a neighbor and lives up in 29 Palms) pointed me to A Rural Journal and she has a 52 week challenge.  This week's challenge is "mail".  Hmmm...I mulled over this challenge overnight.  My town, being fairly modern, doesn't have a historical or even interesting post office.  Frankly, it looks like a prison (...shudder...).  One year, we had a PO box (I forget why...) and I HATED it!  I hated going to the post office, I lost the name it, I just did NOT enjoy the experience of having a PO box.  I think it was because our daughter had a credit card lifted from our mailbox (thinking back...). I notice that a lot of my neighbors have the big mailboxes built into either rock or stone columns and mailboxes that LOCK.  I think we should do that.  The guy across the street does that for people and I'm going to ask him to do one for me, although I love my horse-covered mailbox!  (see 1st photo)...You see how STERILE our post office is?  I mean, would you enjoy going there?  I hear that Redlands, CA has an older one, but that's 60 miles away!   I love quaint, little post offices and I think I'll start taking photos of some of them.  I wish I'd done that while we were in Arizona!  Sunday Series 52 for August 28, 2011.  To see other participants in SS 52, please go to:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Herd update~Cali

I took a quick run up to the horse ranch this morning...quick because it was so DARN HOT, even up there!  It must have been 90 degrees (in the mountains!).  I checked Cali's fly mask and, since this one has 3 velcro strips, it stays on.  Her eye sore is completely dried out, but I didn't want to risk flies getting on it and opening it up again, so I left the fly mask on her.  There were just a couple of clouds over the ranch when I left, but they quickly developed into huge thunderheads when I left and the ranch is under a "SEVERE WEATHER WARNING" of HAIL this afternoon!  I emailed the ranch owner and asked how they were doing.  Hail in August...????

How hot has it been here????????

How hot has it been here?  116, 117, 114 degrees.  I don't even know what it was yesterday.  And, how do my outdoor cats cope with the heat?  Loki, my oldest one, goes out and plops down in the MUD next to the bird bath!  He learned to do that all by himself and now he spends afternoons taking a siesta in the mud.  Wynonna, want to join him?  He's now a MUD CAT!  And, the gray one saunters over and joins him!  We are all TIRED of this extreme heat.  Two tourists from Germany died up at Joshua Tree National Park when their car got stuck in the sand and they attempted to hike out without proper water.  So tragic.  I take 2 bottles of water with me to school every day and yesterday ...DUH...the administration finally figured out that the students could go into empty classrooms (with supervision) during lunch recess and get out of the heat.  We now have "extreme heat" days.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Once in a while...

I'm sure that Carson, over at The 7MSN gets shots like these all the time, but for us Californians, they are unusual.  I don't even get these here in our desert very often.  This was the sunrise of our last full day up in Overgaard, up on the Mogollon Rim.  I'm already missing their sunrises and sunsets.  It's been a LONG first week of school and I'm looking forward to the weekend and some horse time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Well, I survived the first day of school!!!

Yes, I actually survived the first day of school!  YEAH!  I ended up with 24 bodies in class~12 girls and 12 boys.  And, they are ADORABLE!  I have at least 2 boys I want to put in my pocket and bring home!  They are just so darn cute!  And, one of them is nearly toothless!  8 year olds are losing their "baby" teeth and he has the darn cutest, lopsided grin!  And, yes, it was 117 degrees today.  By lunch time, we were all starving and the kidlets had to go outside for recess!  UGH!  Can you believe it?  My school doesn't even have misters and there are only 2 water fountains out on the playground for 200 kids at a time!!!!!!!!  I whispered to them, after lunch recess, when they returned to the room all red-faced and tired, "You can bring a water bottle (frozen) tomorrow and put it under your desk!"  They BEGGED me to let them in after lunch recess and just put their heads down!  (since WHEN do you know 8 year olds to beg to just do nothing?)  They were hot, tired, and out of energy and I had to teach math...sigh...I did my best and found out that only 3 of them can do regrouping with subtraction.  Did you know that 100 - 1 = 101??? ...sigh...I've got my work cut out this year, I tell 'ya!  And, 37-9=32?  (...hitting head on wall...)  They LEARNED how to do this last year, so it is just a matter of getting the base 10 blocks out and showing them that if you have 7 ones, you cannot take 9 have to REGROUP!  Oh, and before lunch, they were all STARVING!  We have the last lunch of the day (WHY, WHY, WHY do 8 year olds have to have the last lunch?????), so I told them, "You know, you COULD bring a little snack tomorrow when we have our morning bathroom break..."...hint, hint.  I had a lot of parents show up and one mom brought me ....SIT DOWN...2 boxes of kleenex and 4 EXPO markers!  I nearly cried!  And, some of the kids had...PENCILS and pencil boxes!  I was amazed.  That's never happened before, and certainly not at my school, which is in one of the poorest areas of California!  They didn't need my pre-sharpened pencils and the little dolls actually returned them!  Gasp!  Gasp!  Oh, and Mikey...our kindergarten classes have 34 and 35 kids and NO AIDES!  Those teachers literally had to stand at the door and prevent kids from running out of the classroom, take attendance, figure out who was a pickup and who was a bus rider AND try to teach!!!!  Oye vei!!!  Photo of the Mogollon Rim with a gathering "quiet place" that I go to when my kids don't understand regrouping!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ready for school????

School starts tomorrow.  Today, it was 114 degrees.  Ugh.  NOBODY likes this.  The dogs don't like it, the cats don't like it.  One of them, our oldest one who we believe is 15 years old, plops out front under the bird bath IN THE MUD!!!  The dogs have dug holes out back!  The birds sit on the fence in the afternoons and pant (that's why I leave the hose running just a bit...).  That's awfully hot for kids to be out playing at lunch!  OUCH!  Fortunately, by this time next week, temps will be down to about 102 degrees (which is below average...) I'm always as nervous as the kiddos.  They will ALL be on their best behavior for the first day or so...then their REAL personalities will appear.  I still need to buy some soap, hand sanitizer, kleenex, and more EXPO markers for my white board...sigh...I go through 2 BIG containers of the WalMart Germ-X a year.  I meant to stop there today, but I got busy buying stuff at the Dollar Tree and Party City (pencils and room decorations).  And, one of our two indoor cats scratched Abby in the eye and now she can barely open it, so one afternoon I'll have to RUSH home (I can't leave school until 3:15 p.m.), put her in a carrier, and get her across town by 4:30!!!!  I'm not sure that's going to happen...I just can't travel 25 miles from school to home, grab her, and drive another 10 miles to the vet clinic.  That may be a Saturday thing....I did wash out her eye and she's sleeping next to me now. 

Getting ready for school

I had to report to school yesterday for our district "rah rah".  I hate those things.  It's such a waste of time, but...whatever.  Then, we had a short staff meeting and FINALLY I got to go work in my room.  Some teachers started last week, but hubby and I were up in Arizona, high up on the Mogollon Rim (see my little friend?)  So, this was the first year in 25 years of teaching, that I wasn't one of the "eager beavers" who have their rooms all ready BEFORE the two required teacher prep days!  I feel kind of left out, but, believe the time, we were happy to be in Arizona!  It was 114 degrees here in our desert yesterday and between trips to the office, trips to the library, trips to go gossip with other teachers (MY BAD!), apparently I got dehydrated.  I had lots of water with me, but in that kind of heat, especially as one gets older, your body just doesn't cope with the heat.  It was 117 on our front porch when I got home at 3:30 p.m.  Hubby, who stays inside all day, fell asleep at 7:00 p.m. last night!  That is unheard of!  I managed to stay awake until 8:30 myself.  It's THE HEAT.  It just zaps your energy.  I have to go back today and finish getting my room ready, so I won't be there for the horses' lessons and school starts tomorrow.  I had 32 students on my list, but there was a 2/3 combo class, which is now a straight 3rd grade class, so the 2nd graders were moved out of that class and now I only have 28 students!  Only 28...and 2 years ago, I had 19.  That's a BIG difference!  Last year I had 22.  EVERY desk in my room will be used and we'll be packed in like sardines, but...gotta get those test scores up!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

We're home (finally)!

It was hard packing and leaving the mountains yesterday.  I nearly cried.  That doesn't happen to me when we are in the Sierra, so I'm not sure what it is about Arizona.  We both dearly love the Sierra and the Mogollon Rim in Arizona.  We may take a weekend in October and return to one of them, although I have the whole Thanksgiving week off in November....It was a 7 hour drive home and my scrub jay showed up to be fed right after we arrived.  The dogs were so happy to see us and Abby, my black cat, hasn't left my side lest we leave again!  She plopped herself right in the middle of my lap all afternoon.  I have tons of laundry to do today and I'm going to head up the hill and visit the horses.  You know, I DO have mountains just 10 minutes from my house!  I mean, how silly is that?  I drive from sea level to 1500 feet in literally 10 minutes and am up in the pinyon forest.  Further up the road, I'm in ponderosa trees.  So, while I miss the Sierra and the Mogollon Rim, I really do have my own smaller version right here in my back yard!  The animals are different, however.  I haven't seen hummingbirds like the ones in Arizona.  They were really brown (I never did get a photo of them).  And, there was a species of woodpecker unlike ours here in Southern California.  A beautiful, fluffy-tailed squirrel lived around the cabin, and some cute little long-billed birds visited the feeder up there.  I'm glad we spent 5 nights there and got to see and hear and smell the thunderstorms, but, alas, we both have to go to work Monday!  But, there's always next summer...Here are some photos from our Friday outing.  I wanted to find Black Canyon Lake because I'd read there were eagles there, so we headed out to the forest road.  We found the lake.  It didn't have eagles, but had an osprey nest.  My photos, Carson, were HORRIBLE of the osprey, so I'm not posting them.  I learned that you can't catch a moving target at 1/60 of a second...duh!  This area was burned in the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire.  That originally started as two separate fires.  One was started by a stranded motorist trying to get help.  The other one was arson.  They soon became one fire, the largest in Arizona's history until this summer's Wallow fire.  You can see the new growth in this area, but much of it is still pretty barren.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My new friends

Well, I'm making new friends here at the cabin.  There are two cottontails who claim their territory around the cabins here.  There's a group of hummingbirds who are feeding and fighting over the feeder out in the back patio. There's a woodpecker who frequently lands in a pine tree right outside the dining room window.  There are a couple of ravens nearby who squawk and squawk.  And, this morning, I discovered a gray squirrel making the rounds!  Oh, and a family of hawks...momma and two youngsters.  I heard her cries and looked up in one of the pine trees to see her and her two young ones.  The youngsters flew away and only one came back and for HOURS she was terribly sad.  She's at it again.  I do hope the ornery thing returns!  Oh, and somewhere in the forest behind us, there's an owl!  I hopped in the car early this morning (6:30 a.m.) to go find deer and elk, but after traveling up and down the road for 5 miles each direction, I didn't see any.  Hubby said he would go with me tonight and be my "spotter", so we may see some later.  We went all the way down to Ft. Apache today.  It was HOT and DRY and we didn't stay long.  Note to self:  DO NOT go to Ft. Apache in August!  We've extended our stay here one more night because we are so enjoying the daytime and nighttime temps.  Here are some pics of my new friends... ***UPDATE*** I went to investigate momma hawk (yes, they are Cooper's Hawks...) and both youngsters were there.  AND, one of them had a mouse and was eating it!  So, all is well in "hawk land"!  Now, maybe I can take a nap?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mountain thunderstorms

We have had three thunderstorms here in the mountains today.  The first one was about noon, the second one mid-afternoon and the last one about 4:30 p.m.  I notice that the mountain thunderstorms are a lot calmer than the desert ones.  Maybe that's because the desert ones roll across the desert, while the mountain ones have trees to help absorb the noise?  We had a nice rain and everything smelled fresh and damp.  It has stayed cloudy all afternoon and the forecast is for thunderstorms for the rest of the week.  Our cabin backs up to a small wash and I walked out there a couple of times to check out the footprints...yup...there were plenty.  I ran into a couple of cottontail rabbits while I was out there and one jumped out of the bushes and SCARED ME!  ACK!  Apparently the elk herds come right near the cabins in the morning and evening.  We didn't go out this evening, so we didn't see any.  Instead, hubby fired up the BBQ and we had steak and baked potatoes and Ridge California East Bench Zinfandel (2008) with dinner.  We have all the windows open and a nice breeze is coming in...ahhhh....VACATION!!!! Here's the view across the street from the cabins at sunset, after all the day's thunderstorms.

Thunderstorm coming!

Here are a few pics of yesterday's thunderstorm, which was headed our way.  I don't know if it made it to the hotel, because I konked out at 8:00 p.m.!!!  All of these photos were taken off our hotel balcony.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Around Arizona

We didn't get a whole lot done yesterday over here in Arizona.  We ran errands all morning and picked up lunch (BBQ wings from AJ's), went back to the hotel, took a nap.  Ahhhhh~vacation!  Finally, about 4:00 p.m., we headed over to the Bush Highway and down the road by the Salt River.  Thunderheads were forming again over Globe and it looked like they were having a terrific thunderstorm by dusk.  There was a full moon last night and I wanted to stop and get some photos of it next to a saguaro, but we headed back to the hotel...sigh...I'm not sure what HIS HIGHNESS has planned for today...???  Top photo is a picture of the sunrise after our storm over Scottsdale yesterday morning.  We woke up at 4:40 to watch it, then it headed west...Mikey, did you get it?  Then, I snapped this pic of hubby taking a photograph over at the Salt River.  There must have been an accident over there as a helicopter flew overhead and then an ambulance came flying down the road...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dust devils~SkyWatch Friday~081211

Well, hubby and I drove to Scottsdale today.  It was a pleasant drive...not too hot.  Along the way, we saw many "dust devils" along Interstate 10.  There are a couple of dry lakes along the freeway and a couple of times we saw them in groups of 4 or 5.  There was a huge rainstorm down by Gila Bend and the sky is overcast and full of thunderheads over here.  We love traveling to Arizona.  The desert there is different from ours.  The daytime temps are about the same, but they have more monsoons than we do. SkyWatch Friday for August 12, 2011. To view other skywatchers, please go to:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sunni in motion

Sunni in motion on Tuesday.  I worked Scout up in the arena yesterday and got dizzy myself!  Around and around she went...she was FULL of energy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ma~She's TORTURING ME! (Sunni)...sigh...

...sigh...what can I say?  He's my firstborn...and a big momma's boy!  Look at him looking at me constantly...Believe me, he is NOT being tortured! Does he look like he's being tortured? First, Maia led him down to the tie rack for grooming and cleaning his feet (torture, I'm sure!).  Then she put some fly spray on him (REAL torture!)  Then, she led him up to the round pen and lunged him.  More torture, I guess.  Finally, she put a saddle pad on him (REAL torture)!   Then, she rubbed him with a handy stick. Oh, my!  Life is hard for Sunni!!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A littl!e bit more to the left, please! (Quad)

Ahhhh...a little bit to the left, no, down, no up....aaaahhhhh!!  That's just right!  Quad and my trainer, Maia after today's lesson.  He trusts her now and the two of them are a couple of real hams!  They really do love each other!  :-)

Cali and the fly mask

It came from outer space...

....or did it?  Oh, wait!  It's just Cali with a new fly mask that I ordered for  her last week at Country Supply.  Turns out, it's for Arabs!  Doesn't she look goofy with it? No, it isn't one of the aliens from Cowboys & Aliens, it's just Cali!!! ( We saw that movie last weekend.)  Today is lesson day, so I'll have new photos for the next few days, then we travel to Arizona for a week, then...GASP! starts!  To update yesterday's post, my brakes are working just fine now and our daughter bought a new car, a Nissan Altima.  Her Honda Civic blew a gasket and she's done nothing but sink $$$$ into repairs for it this  whole summer.  She needs a reliable car to get her to school and back, plus she's taking classes to get her administrative degree twice a week and that's an hour's drive each way.  I'm glad she was able to buy a new car and that she'll get many years out of it.  Don't you hate car problems?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why I didn't blog today 080811

I didn't have time to do a post this morning because of my car.  I took it to the local HONDA dealer Saturday because I got an email that stated there was a recall for faulty software which affected the transmission.  And, I needed an oil change anyway and also needed them to reset the code for my radio, since I bought a new battery last week.  Apparently the dealer has to reset the code for the clock/radio after one purchases a new battery...hmmm..they forgot to inform me of that at the time.  So, off I went to the dealer on Saturday. Fortunately, hubby was off work and so we drove around and did errands.  When they called me to pick it up, they told me it was ready.  It wasn't.  Hubby drove home and I was left stranded there.  When I finally picked it up, I found, to my horror, that the brakes on the right front side were going thump, thump, thump and the car was vibrating when I braked.  Since they were only open another 25 minutes, I drove home and called them.  So, I had to return early this morning so that a mechanic could PROPERLY repair my brakes.  I sat for two hours and finally drove it home, without thumping and vibrating....(shaking head...) So, I didn't have time to post anything today, but I'll be back lesson day!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sunni~a horse with a mission

I worked Sunni a couple of days ago.  Hubby's been off for 3 days now and I've had"babysit" him at home.  I suddenly realized that I really only have 1 more week of vacation at home, then we go to Arizona for 9 days, then...GASP!...I have to return to school.  WHERE did the summer go?  Anyway, I worked with Sunni.  I took him down to the tie rack where he spooked because the trees were blowing behind him.  Fortunately, he settled right back down and I continued grooming him.  Then, while leading him up to the round pen, he spooked again.  BUT, instead of yanking the lead rope out of my hands and running off, he settled down.  I do believe that his sessions with my trainer have really helped and he is now THINKING instead of just REACTING.  Yes, he spooked, but he didn't spin and run off, like he has done in the past.  He did very well in the round pen, so I rewarded him and took him down to the arena, so he could run and roll.  And, roll he did!  Again and again and again!  Ahhhh.....those itchy spots!  Gotta get those itchy spots and get nice, MANURE all over!  So, all the horses were worked this week...yeah!  My car is in the shop as I need new brakes on the front and since I had to buy a new battery for it, they are recoding the radio and clock and doing an oil change.  It's my last chance to get this done before school starts...sigh...