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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Why do the weekends go by so quickly?

Another weekend is GONE and, once again, I have accomplished nothing.  I did drive up Saturday to check on the horses, but the owners were out for a ride, so I didn't take any of mine out.  It was HOT in the desert and even hot up in the mountains by the time I got up there, about 10:30 a.m.  Everybody is fine.  Quad was taking a siesta when I pulled in and could barely find the energy to lift his head!  I notice that he's now adopted the Paso creed of taking a morning and afternoon siesta.  Actually, I'm glad to see that.  It means he has finally relaxed and is comfortable, instead of cribbing all the time.  He seems to enjoy his little Paso neighbor, a filly.  Actually, about 4 of the horses in his row were taking morning siestas when I arrived!  That's Quad and his neighbor taking their nap!  He did get up when I stopped the car.  I mean, after all, FOOD might be coming!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Water for hikers~Friday's Fences~042712

Along the mountain road that I take to go visit my horses every weekend is a large turnout.  There's a trail post off to one side of it and I guess it's a fairly well-used trail.  I've never been on it, but apparently other hikers have. This past weekend, somebody was kind enough to put out bottles of drinking water for hikers.  It was over 105 degrees in the desert and probably over 100 degrees at this elevation, which is still mostly rocky terrain (as you can see).  There is NO shade, so I'm sure hikers really appreciate the water!  I'll have to stop and check it out next weekend, if I remember!  Friday's Fences for April 27, 2012.  Anyway, I have stopped there and have added water bottles during the heat of summer, too.  NOBODY wants to be stuck up there without water, believe me!  Friday Fences for April 27, 2012.  To visit FF, please go to:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mountain storm coming

A storm is moving into our mountains and desert.  This isn't a Pacific storm or an Arctic storm.  Instead, it is a tropical storm moving up from Mexico.  In summer this would be a monsoon.  This time of year, well, we are just expecting a trace of rain here in the desert.  I have no idea how much rain the mountains will get.  I drove up to the horses Monday afternoon after school to buy pellets for them, since I was almost completely out.  The feed store was busy and I ran into the ranch owners there.  They were also buying pellets for their horses.  I always look for clouds up in the mountains before I drive up there, but I really didn't have much choice yesterday.  The horses didn't have enough pellets to get them through the week and my trainer was giving them all a lesson today and she always gives them pellets when she's done.  So, as I crested one hill, I looked out and saw these clouds spilling down from the mountains.  It was incredible.  They were moving and falling rapidly.  I could just feet the moisture and smell wet cement and soil.  I really didn't want to go home!  I saw a hawk take off from one tree and fly across the highway to another one (a red-tailed hawk) and a stillness settled throughout the valley.  The clouds are really moving in tonight, down here in the desert, and our rain will be starting within 24 hours.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Horse time~finally

I had a good morning today, brushing and then lunging both Scout and Cali.  They are both much more responsive, thanks to all the hard work of my trainer, Maia.  And, Scout now comes to me on command...Cali, er...well, she needs to practice some more!  I was able to get some SWAT fly repellent on Cali.  It was 90 degrees or so up there today (105 in the desert), so it was pretty hot.  They all got their lesson last week and will have another one this Tuesday.  I wanted to brush and groom Quad, but after taking two hikes before I got to the ranch, I was pretty much wiped out and didn't have the energy to brush him out, so I'll ask Maia to do that on Tuesday.  He likes to roll in his manure pile (...sigh...).  I noticed that Cali immediately rolled, too, right after I groomed her.  I emptied out the mustangs' water trough, scrubbed it, and then realized I had a couple of errands to do down in the desert.  So, there I was with my shirt covered with MUD and filth from the water trough...oh, well...I'm going to have to keep on top of Cali and make sure she gets her fly mask put on because I believe the flies will be absolutely horrid this year due to the early heat, although temps are supposed to dip 10 degrees tomorrow and another 10 more degrees by Thursday.  We should be back into "normal" temps for this time of year instead of the record-breaking ones we've had lately.  Oh, I added a new header photo today, of Scout.  She was very calm and pensive while I was there this morning and I think it captured her emotions pretty well. I brushed and brushed the girls today and the more I brushed, the more there was TO BRUSH, so I gave up.  I also trimmed both of their tails as they are getting very long.  At least Cali hasn't eaten Scout's tail this winter (although Quad DID eat Sunni's!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fences and mountain snow~Friday's Fences~April 20, 2012

Our local mountains had a snow storm come through last Friday and Saturday and Sunday I drove up through Garner Valley.  My cousin, Valerie, has 5 acres up there and she and her family move their horses up there about mid-June, for the summer.  I love to drive around and just look at the beautiful gates and fences, especially after a storm.  The way the weather is this year, however, this might not be the last snow storm!  I've driven through this area once, about 40 years ago, and it was snowing in JUNE!!!  Who knows this year?   Everything looks so different with snow.  Friday Fences for April 20, 2012.  With temperatures up into the 80's and even the 90's this weekend, the snow is already gone!!!  To visit Friday's Fences, please go to:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The best laid plans of mice and MEN!!!!!

You know, I work hard ALL week!  Most afternoons, I come home, take an hour's nap, then struggle to stay awake until 9:00 p.m....And, for the last several weeks, it HAS been a struggle.  I don't know if it is the time change or what, but I've been exhausted every day!  I haven't had the energy to get up to the horses mid-week yet and, with the time change, I'd really LOVE to do that.  But, I'm finding that once I get home and sit down, that's IT!  So, I only have the weekends to go visit them and work them (if it isn't too cold or windy or muddy!)  I'm also finding that sometimes I'm just too tired on Saturday to drive (and battle) the mountain road.  Sometimes I'll just look up at it and think, "I really don't have the energy to drive that road!".  I guess I'm getting old.  So, tonight, when hubby asked me if I wanted to come by the hotel where he works and take photos of a celebrity golf tournament on Sunday, I thought, "Are you KIDDING me?"  Why would I want to take photos of a bunch of people playing golf?  First of all, I'm not the least interested in golf.  Second, weekends are...HORSE TIME.  I figured he knew that by now....(apparently not...)  I mumbled something to him about "horse time" and went back to my laptop...Also, I just had an appointment with my dermatologist and he burnt a BUNCH of pre-skin-cancerous rough spots off my face and arms and back and the LAST thing I need right now is to be stuck out in the sun taking photos.  At least up at the ranch, I can wear my long-sleeved denim shirt and put on a hat and the horses don't care!  So, now I'm in the position of telling him, "Er, uh, no thanks!" and possibly hurting his feelings.  Of course, HE will be there taking pictures, but that's HIS work and part of HIS job...Do any of you have family members who insist on infringing on YOUR horse time?  Do they just NOT get it?  Do they cause you to bite your nails, like mine does?

Smooch look-alike

Linda, of The 7MSN, often talks about her dog, Smooch.  Well, this weekend I saw a dog that looked so much like Smooch, I did a double take. Unfortunately, I was shooting into the sun and the photos are awful, but you get the idea, right?  He also was running up and down the fence, like Smooch sometimes does!  Here he is!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thoroughbred ranch

This place used to be a big thoroughbred farm.  It has changed owners and now it is a horse boarding place.  I see all kinds of horses there.  One time, they even had minis!  I haven't seen the minis for a while, so I don't know what happened to them.  I love driving by this place on my way up to the horse ranch.  And, this past weekend, there was fresh snow all along the pastures and fences.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Snow~and LOTS of it!!!

I emailed Cathy, the ranch owner, to see if I'd make it up to their ranch Sunday morning.  I wasn't sure if I could because Friday afternoon and evening and even Saturday they were receiving snow.  It actually got down to about 4,000 feet in our local mountains and that's the elevation where their ranch is located.  She emailed me back and said yes, indeed, they actually HAD received snow.  In fact, they were down in the desert Friday afternoon (she had a doctor's appointment) and they had to drive back up the hill Friday evening...shudder...she said a truck in front of them skidded OFF the road and crashed!  She said they just drove "nice and slow-like" and made it home safely.  So, I dot to thinking that you know, I don't recall a storm this late in April for many, many years.  March, yes...but not April.  By the time of my Spring break, it's usually up into 90 degrees here in the desert (and mid-week this week, it is SUPPOSED to be up in the 90's here).  I made it up to the ranch just fine.  The highway was plowed and I took my time.  The local mountains were indeed covered with fresh snow and even some yucca blossoms had water dripping off of them.  By the time I turned around to come home, a LOT of the snow had melted or was melting.  What a difference a few hours makes!  there were some spots of snow still up at the ranch and it was windy.  I fed all the horses an extra meal of feed, Bermuda pellets, beet pulp shreds, and some CocoSoya oil.  Yum, yum!!!  They are all pretty muddy right now, so I'm hoping to brush them all out next weekend.  It was VERY muddy up there today, so I didn't take any of them out.  Between my knee and the mud...oye!  I saw two Cooper's hawks looking for their lunch while I was up there today and a coyote running along the road on my way back.  He/she was loping right along the highway, so I honked my horn and yelled "GIT!" as he ran away from the oncoming cars.   I hate to see any animal hit by a car and so far this year, I've seen one deer, three gray foxes, and 1 coyote hit.  Oh, and two stray dogs...sigh...But, on a good note, there ARE more wildflowers blooming now, with all the recent rain from the storms that have moved in.  Next weekend, I'll stop and take photos of some of the little yellow ones along the road.  Last photo is of a former thoroughbred breeding farm which now boards horses.  It's at the corner of the turnoff to Aguanga and Anza, on Highway 74.  I like to drive by it and take photos, when I can.  Unfortunately, the side of the road was covered with snow and I couldn't find the turnouts!

Reflections~Sunday Stills Challenge~041512

When I first saw the title of this week's Sunday stills Challenge, "Reflections", I immediately thought of reflections in a window or in water.  But, since reflection is a multiple meaning word, and another blogger did a post on her reflections about her horse and another one she knew, I realized that yes, reflection is INDEED a multi-meaning word.    So, here is my interpretation of this week's challenge.  I reflected that my horses have a pretty good life. A couple of them (Sunni and Gigondas) were facing certain death if I hadn't adopted them.  Sunni, as you know, was from a PMU ranch up in Michigan.  He was the unwanted by-product of his mother's pregnancy.  Fortunately for him, United Pegasus took a huge horse van up to the ranch and came back to Southern California with a full load and Sunni was one of those lucky horses.  Others, as you know, weren't so lucky and ended up going to slaughter.  Both Beauty and Gigondas were at a slaughter-bound feedlot, up in Washington state and were posted online through the now-defunct Columbia Basin Equine Rescue.  I saw Beauty's photo posted and immediately fell in love with her.  She was only two years old and was a perky quarter horse/TB mix.  Gigondas was also listed online and had a home lined up, but it fell through and I figured, "Why not adopt them both?"  So, both mares came down here.  Unfortunately, as you all know, life has its ups and downs and in June of 2009, I arrived at the ranch to find Beauty still and unmoving.  She apparently hit her head on the metal bars in her corral during the night and died instantly.I went into a deep depression after that, in spite of hubby taking me on a vacation to Arizona.  I just sat and cried and asked, "WHY, WHY, WHY?"  Then, in August of that same summer, another blogger offered to pay for Quad's transport to Southern California.  Quad needed a home and she decided I needed another horse to fill the void that Beauty left. Quad, along with a couple other geldings, came right off the race track to TB Friends, a large horse rescue up near Sacramento, CA.  Joe, who runs the rescue, along with his wife Cathy, do their best to find homes for off the track thoroughbreds as well as horses from fancy barns, feedlots, and private owners.  At times, he has 200 horses at his place!  Hubby and I had visited Joe's rescue the previous summer, when Quad first arrived, and Joe offered me Quad then and there.  But, I already had 5 horses and didn't think I could handle another one ( can I manage 5???)  So, I politely told him "No, thank you...", but a year later, Quad really needed a permanent home, so he came to us.  Scout and Cali were Wyoming mustangs that hubby found on an online auction and bid on them.  They were halter broke through a prison training program and were listed online.  Unfortunately, they were all the way in Wyoming, but hubby found another bidder from California (she actually got the brother and sister to Cali and Scout) and he contacted her and she agreed to haul our horses down in her trailer if we would pay for the gas, so we did.  We have since visited their brother and sister, who are now used as pack horses up in Mariposa, CA, which is outside the entrance to the western side of Yosemite National Park.  They have the good life!  I'd like to think, too, that my horses have the good life now.  I don't ask much of them.  I see them on the weekends and my trainer works with each of them during the week.  They have a loving, responsible ranch owner who dotes on them and her own horses, which are beautiful Peruvian Pasos, along with her quarter horse, Crystal.  They get trims, worming, and shots on schedule.  They get groomed and lunged and saddled, but I haven't ridden any of them yet.  I was taking lessons myself and was scheduled to ride when my right knee went bad on me and it was discovered that I have arthritis in it.  I've been taking liquid glocosamine and it is helping, but I still hobble about and have difficult putting weight on that leg.  I'm hoping that by summer, when I'm off of school, I can resume my horse riding lessons (and finally get back on a horse!) and then ride one of my own.  But, I'd like to say, I'm pretty happy right now and I believe my horses are, too.  They ALL lead "la vida buena" and I don't put a lot of demands on them.  They all tie quietly now, they lead well, and they are much more calm than they were...especially Gigondas!  So, those are my reflections for this week's challenge.  What are yours?  Oops!  That's Beauty with my husband.  You can see what a loving animal she was...she had a big heart and was the only one of my horses, so far, that I've ever ridden.  My cousin Valerie took Beauty out for for 6 months training and I nearly didn't get her back!  She turned out to be a wonderful trail horse who wasn't afraid of anything and quietly walked the trails...sigh...That's Quad in the next two photos, then Gigondas is the chestnut mare.  Then that's Scout and Cali, along with their neighbor and then that's me with them.  Sunni is the big bay and finally that's Cathy and Bill, the ranch owners, on two of their Peruvian Pasos.  They were heading out for a trail ride last weekend when I pulled into the ranch!  To visit Sunday Stills Challenge, please go to this link:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quad and Sunni~Friday's Fences~041312

I always seem to have fences in my horse photos, so here are a couple from last weekend.  That's Sunni and Quad.  Another late winter/early spring storm is going to hit our local mountains starting tonight, with up to a foot of new snow forecast, so I probably won't be able to get up to see the horses this weekend...sigh...Then next week, the desert will have daytime temps up into the 90's!!!!  Friday's Fences for April 13, 2012.  To visit Friday's Fences, please go to:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Update Gigondas

Gigondas was the first horse I took out Saturday morning.  She was calling to me from her corral and waiting by her gate, so I knew she wanted some R&R.  She led very nicely and calmly down to the hitching rail and I brushed her all over.  I'm sure it felt good.  She let out deep sighs.  I walked her around the ranch for a bit before taking her to the arena and once there, I lunged her for a while.  She calmly walked away when I released her.  She mostly ate weeds and showed off for all the other horses.  Then, when she was done, she stood patiently by the gate.  You know, she really DOES have good manners (except when she used to bolt in the arena)...and she really TRIES hard to please us!  I'm pleased with the progress she's made over the last year, but I still don't believe I'll ever be able to ride her.  She's just too unpredictable and with my back and leg like they already are, I need a calm horse, like Cali, to ride.  So, Gigo just gets to be a horse and lead the good life! She and the other horses alerted to the apple ranch farmer next door when he was out and about Saturday morning.  They ALL were looking over toward his place with their ears forward...really cute!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday's lunch

I had a furlough day today (no pay...), so I stayed home and continued my cleaning.  I dropped off 6 bags of clothes to Goodwill, cleaned behind our portable island in the kitchen, swept off the side porch, put birdseed out for the doves and finches out front and back, did 4 loads of laundry, and TRIED to take a nap.  Unfortunately, between two phone calls, I only slept for 20 minutes, but it was the kind of refreshing sleep that feels like 2 hours!  I also went to the grocery store, which is something I don't normally do.  Hubby likes to do the grocery shopping on his way home, but really...does he know what kind of laundry detergent to buy?  (...nope...)  I was so hungry for a stir fry that I bought bok choy, broccoli, red peppers, and mushrooms and made a yummy stir fry, with Basmanti rice.  I figured I better get some GOOD, nutritious food in me since I return to school tomorrow!  No more junk food like pizza!  I didn't have time today to get up to the horses, but it's a short week for me, so I'll get up there next weekend.  Sometimes there are just too many things to do at home, like today :-(

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cleaning out the house and Quad

We have our annual city FREE trash pickup next weekend, so yesterday afternoon our daughter and son-in-law came over and helped "purge" our bedroom and my office.  I've been laundry all day today and only took a break to go to brunch at their house and watch the grandson have his first Easter egg hunt!  We stuffed the eggs with quarters and dollar bills, so he can add them to his savings account!  He got a new train set from our Prescott trip and his dad set it up for him and he learned how to turn the engine on by himself (it uses batteries)...We are all exhausted, since it was in the mid 80's here today.  Daughter even had to turn on the air conditioner which is a big "no-no" this time of year, since the rates for doing so are out of this world!!! Anyway, I now have a nice, CLEAN and well-organized office now for my blogging (no more sitting on the couch for me!) and my own office!  FINALLY!!!  Hubby has his office in another room.  Both offices are the kids' old bedrooms.  You know, it's really a NICE feeling to have my own space!  I really need it.  And, today was Quad's 8th birthday.  Nobody was home up at the ranch and I have a furlough day tomorrow, so I'll drive up and brush him and let him out into the arena. Happy Birthday, big beautiful boy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Entry gate~Friday Fences~040512

When we got near the Lynx Creek Pueblo, there was a fence and gate.  I presume it was to keep animals out, but we both noticed a very strong feline smell near the ruins...(shiver...).  I must admit that, in spite of my sore knee, we did quite a bit of walking and hiking on this trip.  It's good to be home and see our dogs, cats, and blue jay.  The jay is out front letting us know how upset he is that we were gone for 4 1/2 days!  He's quite vocal!  Friday Fences for April 5, 2012.  To visit Friday Fences, please go to:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

We met some new friends along the road!

Hey, where 'ya goin'?
So, we went out and found some NEW friends!
Unfortunately, they weren't interested in becoming friends...sigh...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Prescott, AZ

Hubby and I are over in Arizona for a few days during spring break.  Yesterday we drove out to Lynx Lake.  We checked out both the south and north views and then drove further down the road, where we saw these mailboxes.  We drove back and stopped at the Lynx Lake pueblo, which was a 1.5 round trip trail.  WHAT was I thinking?  I hobbled around on my sore knee to the point that on the way back, I had to sit for a few minutes.  Fortunately whoever made the trail thought ahead and planted benches every now and then!  The views from the pueblo were outstanding.  We could see all around Prescott.  There wasn't much left of the adobe, however...just some piles of rocks.  I'm glad we did the trail, but I learned I have to be careful coming down steps and I can't step up the way I used to.  I also bought a wide-rimmed hat in Prescott which is SPF 50 because my face got sunburned yesterday!