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, March 31, 2015

The Border

We haven't been in Mexico since before 9/11.  My aunt and uncle used to live down in El Cajon and one visit we drove into Mexico to a panderia (bakery) in Tecate.  Big deal...ho hum...nothing out of the ordinary.  And, now we don't even have passports!  We keep putting off getting them!  Neither one of us wants to go to Mexico, but we would like to visit Canada, so we need to get going on the passports!

Anyway, after leaving the garden spot of Salton City (...sarcasm...), we headed to Holtville and Winterhaven and then took Interstate 8 over to Yuma.  Along the way, we did see some beautiful sand dunes across from Algodones, as well as the All-American canal, and the border fence.  Boy, that fence is HUGE!  And tall!!!  We arrived in Yuma about dinner time and fortunately there was a 24 hour diner right across from the hotel, so we ate there.  What a miserable dinner!  The waitress had a REAL attitude, never refilled our ice tea, and was so cranky that we nearly walked out.  But, we were both tired and hungry so we put up with her indifference!

More photos tomorrow...

 The border fence...
 Sorry for the telephone lines.  This was as close as I could get...
 All-American canal
Sand dunes in the soft late afternoon light

Monday, March 30, 2015

Overnight to Yuma

Hubby, who has been working for 12 days straight, was home early Saturday afternoon and announced, "Let's drive to Yuma overnight!"  Yuma?  REALLY?  So, I said "okay" and off we went.  We traveled down the western side of the Salton Sea, past Salton City, and various other garden spots, until we hit Imperial County, Winterhaven, and Holtville.  We did turn off in Salton City to take in a view of the sea, but it smelled so badly that we weren't there long.  Here are a few pics from that scenic garden spot:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bighorn sheep follow up

Good morning!

A couple of readers made comments about the bighorn sheep.  First of all, people aren't allowed near them.  Apparently we have diseases which can transmit to them.  And, I WAS using my telephoto lens when I took my photos.  Besides, I was across a ravine from them.  I think the only reason I could actually hear them tearing off vegetation was the acoustics...sound bouncing off the rocks.

I have actually warned a guy once to stay away.  One time, there were 3 of them, and he went marching right up to them!  I told him, "Please stay away...we can make them sick!"  I wasn't moving toward the bighorns when the big ram decided to move his herd.  And, he simply moved them a few yards downwind, actually toward the fence that encompasses the bighorn preserve.  I remember seeing him look down into Deep Canyon, so he must have heard something down there.

These are highly ENDANGERED animals, especially here in our mountains.  I'll look now and see if I can find more info, for those of you who are interested.

Thanks, everyone!  :-)

Here's one quote:  "The behavioral response of bighorn sheep to human activity is considered to be highly variable and dependent upon many factors, including: 1) the type of activity, 2) an animal’s previous experience with humans, 3) size or composition of the bighorn sheep group, 4) location of the 2011 5-year Review for Peninsular bighorn sheep   relative to elevation of the activity, 5) distance to escape terrain, and 6) distance to the activity (USFWS 2000a, p. 14). Responses can range from cautious curiosity to immediate flight or abandonment of habitat, as well as disruption of normal social patterns and resource use."  And, another report stated that if a human approaches them from ABOVE, they will take flight quicker than if one approaches from below.  Actually, I was fairly even with them, even slightly below, as you can see from the photos.

Apparently there are less than 200 bighorns in the southern Santa Rosa mountains, so to see 8 of them was quite a treat!  I'm always very quiet and very careful and I DO NOT get too close to them.  It's always a gift for me to view them, and I do see them quite often now.  And, believe me, having a telephoto lens is a real treat!   ;-)
This was my last photo of them.  The big ram moved them further south, along this ridge line.  HE is standing at the fence, with his butt to me.  They were slightly below my area where I was walking back to my car at this point.  They all looked healthy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Saw a herd of bighorn sheep Saturday!

As I was driving up the mountain road to get to the horse ranch, I noticed some white butts against the darker rocks.  I was able to see a turnout nearby, so I parked and sprinted across the road to see a herd of 8 bighorn sheep.  A large ram was guarding them and he kept a wary eye on me.  I was able to hike down a little further and get a spot to observe them.  Unfortunately, I was also facing into the sun and there was no way I could get around them to the other side as they were up against the Bighorn Institute fence.  So, these are the best photos I could get.  I'm always so excited to see a herd of bighorns.  Saturday I just stood, watched them, and I could actually hear them yanking off vegetation to eat.  The hillsides are just covered with vegetation now, so it is a good time for the young ones.  After a while, however, the ram decided he'd had enough of me (I wasn't THAT close to them and I used my telephoto lens...) and he gave the signal to "MOVE ON"!  And, away they went!
 Some of the herd...I know...bad lighting!

Time to MOVE!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Had myself a great day yesterday!

So, yesterday I was on day #4 of my antibiotics and I awoke feeling...well...NORMAL!  No headache, no dizziness, no shakiness.  Wow!  I honestly hadn't felt that good for 6 weeks!

Anyway, I was anxious to get up to the horse ranch because, in my delirium, I was a week behind with my board check and the owners were going to be out of town Sunday.  So, I only had Saturday to get up there, give them the check, check on the horses, and do whatever needed to be done.  I had gone out Friday morning with my camera and I WAS dizzy and shaky, so I only went to the golf course and the city park, and came home and rested the rest of the day.  I wasn't sure I could even make the drive yesterday because it is up a VERY narrow two lane mountain highway and it takes about 45 minutes, but off I went.  And, I felt fine!

I saw a herd of 8 bighorn sheep on the way, so I pulled over and took some photos of them.  There was a large ram in charge of the herd and, as long as I remained away from them and didn't make noise, he was okay with me.  I just stood and used my telephoto lens!  Finally, however, something spooked him and he gave the order for the herd to MOVE!  And, they did!  I watched them for about 20 minutes, though.

I got up to the ranch and took Scout out first, since I could tell she wanted some R&R.  The weeds and grasses up there are knee high, due to all the rain, and ALL the horses wanted to get at them!  She was fine and tried to bolt when I turned to shut the gate, but I anticipated that and grabbed onto the lead rope.  Once she figured out she wasn't going to get away with any shenanigans, she calmed down and I let her go on my terms.  Then I got Gigondas out (she's always a lady...) and put her in the big corral next to the old gelding, her neighbor.  He gets upset if she's too far away.  She immediately went in search of weeds.  Then, I took Lucille up to the round pen for some exercise.  She immediately rolled and rolled.  I took my grooming tool box down to Quad and brushed him.  I was amazed at the amount of hair that came off his skinny bod!  He sure enjoys his grooming.  Next, I did Sunni, who snorted at the tools, but then settled down.  It had been a couple of weeks since I was last up there.  I brushed them all at that time, but didn't get Quad or Sunni out for exercise.  Just too damn tired.  Yesterday, however, I got all 5 of them OUT, exercised, and brushed!

I put Scout away and took Quad down to the arena where he went off in a huff and a puff, kicking up his heels, and farting!  Man, he was FULL of gas!  Phew!  I brought Lucille back down and took Sunni up to the round pen where he went around and around and around.  I took Gigondas back to her corral and started the psyllium for all of them.  I use the powdered form and mix it with water to make a gel.  Got Quad and took him back to his corral, got Sunni and took him back.  Oh, and I took Scout, Gigondas, and Lucille over to the tie rack and brushed them.  For some reason (it was a little gusty...) Gigondas pulled back on the tie rope and had an anxiety attack, but I was able to calm her down and was able to get her to relax.  She was really pulling on the rope and I was afraid she would break it, but she DID finally calm down!  There are trees near the rack and I think their sound spooked her.  Scout did the best.  She just stood in the warm sun and allowed me to brush her all over!

I think with all of them, it is with Scout that I'm making the most progress.  She comes up to me now, when she's in her corral, and if I call to her, she will come over to me.  I'm trying to teach them all to do that, so if they get loose, they will come to me.  They all let me know when they are tired of the arena by standing at the gate.  Little by little...

Here are some pics from yesterday.  It was a good day.

 Scout eating weeds in the arena.  Look how full her tail is!  And, she's changing color...her summer coat is much lighter than her winter one!

 Quad in the arena.  I wish I'd had the camera when he was "airs above the ground", but I was so dirty and covered with horse hair I didn't wish to ruin my camera!
 Lucille is the hairiest horse!  Man, she has a LOT of hair!!!
 Hair from Scout, Gigondas, and Lucille...LOTS of it!
 Quad eating more weeds.  LOTS and LOTS of weeds right now!
Sunni doing his self-exercise.  Again, more weeds!

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Now that I don't have a trainer coming weekly (or bi-weekly), my horses are looking to me as their herd leader.  FINALLY!  You have no idea what a difference this has made.

And, I do believe that the horse I'm making the most progress with is....(drum roll...)... SCOUT!  We've reached an unspoken agreement.  I am the leader.  Period.  She waits at the corral gate and, once in the arena, she comes to me when I call her.  Isn't that a big step forward?  I let her out today and she got some R&R in the arena (about 45 minutes).  Then, I took her up to the wash rack, tied her, walked away to get my box of grooming supplies, and she stood still.  I groomed her all over and cleaned her feet.  She cooperated 100%.

Wow!  They are ALL shedding like crazy!  I actually think that Quad shed the most.

I got all 5 of them out, exercised them all, and brushed each one of them!  And, I've been off work 3 days with a relapse of the flu.  I was on day 4 of my z-pak today, and today I actually felt...NORMAL!  (Hey, Hope...isn't that great?)  I actually had the energy to take out each one to either the arena or round pen, exercise them, and then brush them!   :-)  (...drum roll...)

But, it is with Scout that I think I'm making the most progress.

Gigondas kinda flipped out today at the tie rack...she tried to break away about 3x, but I talked to her quietly and got her to relax.  It WAS windy up there and I think the trees moving spooked her.  But, she TRUSTED me enough to stay with me.  GOOD GIRL!

I walked Quad down into the arena and he ran and kicked and farted and rolled for a good 45 minutes!  I was glad to see him so energetic!  SPRING is in full blossom up in our local mountains and ALL the horses are frisky!

I let Sunni out last and I took him up to the arena.  I brushed him down in his corral.  He was the least "hairy".  Lucille...well, she's a hairy mammoth!  My goodness...what a LOT of hair!

It was good to get out today.  I've been cooped up at home for 3 days in my pajamas.  Today, however, I felt, well...NORMAL!  I have one more day of antibiotics.  One of my colleagues, who was also out 3 days, still isn't feeling well and I urged her to go back to urgent care.  She's still coughing and still feeling fatigued.  Poor thing.  I may have to drive her over there tomorrow as her husband is out of town..

Some photos from today...
Take care and DON'T get sick!
Cheryl Ann

 Horses looking down at Scout, who is down in the arena.
 Scout eating weeds.  There are LOTS of weeds right now!
Lucille.  She is VERY hairy!  I brushed her all over TWICE!  There was a pile of hair!  Oye!

This is Sunni, self-exercising in the round pen!

It was a good day.  I'm glad I drove up to see the horses today!   :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A big (((THANK YOU))) to all who read my last post.

You all have brought up some very interesting points and ideas and I wish to thank you for that.

I appreciate all your comments.

I DO have a horse fund now and my family knows that I would PREFER that the horses be euthanized rather than suffer an uncertain fate, should it come to that.
 Quad and Sunni are 11 years old.  I believe Gigondas is about 15, Scout is 10, and Lucille is in her 20's, according to my vet.  She evaluated Lucille and we both think she's 20 something.

However, I believe I still have a few years before I have to make any kind of decision, so until then, I'm going to continue to enjoy them, care for them, and do my best with them.  I know our children don't wish to be burdened with them, and hubby doesn't either.  Frankly, I'd like to find 5 acres and take them all with us and live in Arizona!   :-)  Hey, you want a new neighbor?

Thank you all again.
Cheryl Ann

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Horses followup

I've made my wishes known to my family and to the wonderful couple who board them.  Unfortunately, money will be a deciding factor, especially with 5 of them to board.  The kids don't want them.  Our daughter is allergic to every living thing on the planet and our son has two children to raise.  Hubby won't care for them.  Believe me, I've let all my friends and the couple know that they are NEVER to go to auction.  ANY of them.  PERIOD.

I do worry about them and sometimes, in the middle of the night, I'll wake up after having an anxiety attack.

So, for now, I just carry on.
Thank you for writing, those of you who did...
Cheryl Ann

Sunday, March 15, 2015

He nearly said it this morning

I was explaining to hubby how, after working all day Friday, then driving up to the mountains for an overnight stay in Idyllwild, driving back yesterday, that I now have a sore throat.  No wonder.  Weekends are too dang short.  I really need 1 day of REST and I haven't had one for weeks.  I had a relapse of the flu a couple of weeks ago and now I'll be docked $375 for missing 3 days of school.

So, hubby NEARLY said it..."YOU are going to have to face the fact that you can't take care of 5 horses."  Well, first of all, I'm not taking care of them.  I board them.  He resents that.  he resents the fact that I have 5 horses.  He resents the horses.  He hates them.  Period.  There.  I said it.  And, I know, deep down in my heart, that if something were to happen to me, they would be GONE in an instant!  He will not support them AT ALL.  Neither will our children, who are all non-horse people.

So, my blood pressure is up and I'm going for a drive.

Pics from Idyllwild:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

WHY do I continue to work? Let me count the ways...1, 2, 3, 4, 5...

Look, I would turn in my paperwork and retire in June if I could.  But, I can't.  I can't afford to pay a mortgage, my bills, taxes, and board for 5 horses, AND health care insurance.  If I could, I would be OUTTA THERE June 13th. ...sigh...

So, I'll have to work until I'm 65 (2 more years).  That's just the reality of the situation.  I looked up my health care insurance under Obama care and it would cost $600 a month.  Nope.  Can't do that.

After yesterday, however, I was ready to quit.  The kids were HORRIBLE.  Talking, throwing crayons, crawling on the floor, leaning back in chairs.  Honestly, I spend 99% of my time on discipline and 1% on teaching.  I mean, don't kids today know how to BEHAVE????????

There are about 5 of us who are totally FED UP and want to retire.  Kids today just aren't the same as those we had 20 years ago.  They want EVERYTHING instantly.  They want to "play" on their ipads.  Play?  Excuse me?

It's getting harder and harder to drag myself to school each and every day.  I'm REALLY looking forward to spring break in April, and then the summer.

Take care.
Cheryl Ann

 Quad and his neighbor watching Scout down in the arena, which is right below them.
Yes, she was a perfect little princess on Sunday!   :-)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Can you GUESS who was a perfect little lady today? Eh, hem...

Yup.  Scout.  Perfect!~ Absolutely perfect.  She waited quietly by the gate, she walked quietly...didn't tug at all.  However, the dog next door spooked her when I turned to close the gate and she took off with the lead rope dangling (again).  However, I was able to get her to stop and allow me to come up to her and take it off.  That was a big step (trust)...

After about 30 minutes in the arena, I led her up to the tying rack and she stood quietly.  I brushed her all over, cleaned her feet, combed her mane (she had a HUGE tangle!), and overall, just loved on her.  And, she responded!   :-)  She actually followed me around the arena for the 1st time EVER!  I think we are bonding!

I let Gigondas out in the large corral next to the 30 year old horse so he wouldn't have a heart attack, but then I took her down and brushed her.  She was very quiet.  She even let me brush her face!

Finally, I took Lucille up to the round pen.  She immediately rolled and rolled and rolled.  I let her stay there for about 30 minutes, too.  I'll get to the two geldings next weekend.    It was quite warm and I didn't get up there until about 10:30 (new time).