Sunday, September 17, 2017


Flash and Tex have become very good friends.

They are always together in the pasture; often sharing the same bin of hay.

Tex, in particular, is very bonded to Flash.  When Brett rides Flash or, like yesterday, takes Flash to a clinic for the day, Tex is completely undone.  He calls and paces the fence line, whinnying to every truck and trailer that drives down the road.

Flash is a very independent horse.  He likes Tex but he doesn't need Tex in the same way that Tex needs him.  When I take Tex out of the pasture, he hardly looks up.  But, Flash does share food and space with Tex in a way that he doesn't do with other horses.

Its good to have close friends.  I know that I've needed my friends and family this past summer, more than usual.  I suppose I'm like Flash in regard to my friends.  I am okay by myself, but I love my time with them as well.  And, as I went through all the testing and biopsies and surgeries that go with ruling out cancer, I was very thankful for my friends and family.  I dodged that bullet, thank goodness.  A big thank you to those of you who knew, and who called, sent messages and had my back.  It was a scary time for me and Brett.  Moving forward now.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Mane Focus

Tex has a long, thick mane of burnished copper with burgundy and gold intertwined.  Gorgeous.  Unfortunately, it is also very prone to dreadlocks.  I've tried keeping it braided but even the braids twisted and turned and snarled together.

Tex isn't sure he likes being groomed.  Initially, he was sure he hated it.  From there he advanced to suspicious and then to resigned tolerance of the whole thing.  He has his own set of soft brushes, and I use grooming time to spoil my horses; pausing at their favorite spots for a massage.  Tex didn't let me know which spots he enjoyed having groomed for a long time.  But I watched him closely, and he let slip some pleasurable lip twitches and I remembered the spots.

Everyday, I go into the pasture with a brush and some ShowSheen.  I spray his mane with the de-tangler while he munches a cookie.  I scratch his favorite spots and then brush out the mane.  There are a few more cookies involved.

I've also filled a bucket with treats and set it by the tie rail.  Tex stands quietly, munching the apples and sucking down the mush, while I give him a thorough grooming.  He used to plant his feet and pull back when I brought him to the tie rail.  Not anymore.  He's continuing to learn and trust.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Riding the Retirees

A few months ago, when Jackson started his regime of multiple medications to manage his Cushings disease, thyroid imbalance, and navicular, he could hardly walk.  Our vet said, "You may be able to ride him again once we get all this managed."  I was dubious.  I've been trying to manage Jackson for years and, yes, I've sat on his back bareback on a good day and we've walked a handful of steps.  But that's it.  On a good day.

Brett wanted to ride Flash on Saturday.  Flash is 21 and very arthritic but he wants to go.  So, I understood.  Brett misses riding his mounted patrol partner and Flash misses it too.

I wondered... who should I ride?  Tex was a possibility but I wanted to work on other things with him.  Lucy needs some fitness work first.  But Jackson... he's been trotting to the gate in the morning for his breakfast, and striding along with the comfortable smooth gait of a sound horse.

When I brought him to the tie rail and began tacking him up, Jackson's anticipation grew.  When I mounted, he strode confidently forward (and then stopped).  We waited for Brett and Flash and then spent 20 minutes or so meandering under the oaks, crossing the dry stream bed, and walking past the pastures.  Jackson didn't take a bad step.  I felt like I was back on my old trail buddy.  He was tired after 20 minutes, so we stopped.

Jackson was happy.  I was happy.  Lucy was irritated, jealous and vocal about it.  Tex was curious, standing at the fence watching us go by.  Flash and Brett finished up a few minutes after us.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tex Rocks

This weekend was miserable, weather-wise.  The days were hot and smoky.  There are wildfires burning south of us, near Yosemite, and the smoke is settling over the mountains.

We've been bringing the horses into the barn during the daytime, to escape the heat, flies and smoke.  In the evening, we turn them back out so they can stretch, and roll, and shuffle through the dust that coats everything in September.

Yesterday, as I was tying my boot laces, bent over to the ground, sitting on our old green mudroom bench, Brett said "I think you should bring Tex into the barn at liberty."  I laughed, shook my head, and muttered, "yeah, right."

But, as I walked out to the barn I kept thinking about it.  I poured Tex's mix of vitamins and carrots into his stall grain bin and realized that Tex's stall would be a reward destination -- full of hay and carrots and tasty vitamins.  Tex doesn't love the barn (unlike Lucy), but he does love his bucket in the morning.

We brought in the other horses first.  I wanted to make sure that the barn was someplace Tex would want to go.  I wanted him to be successful.  After Brett slid Flash's stall door shut, I went down to the pasture to get Tex.

Tex did so well, that I walked him at liberty back to the pasture that evening.  And back to the barn this morning.  I'm thinking he's a pretty awesome horse.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Hot; Just Hot

Today is the first of September.  The days are getting shorter and the nights are normally cool.

But we are not having normal weather.  When I left work this afternoon, this was the temperature (Sacramento).

I stopped at the grocery store, half-way home.  It was hot there, too.

At home, it was a bit cooler.  But when its this warm, hot is hot.  Whether its 93 or 97 or 100, it is plain old miserable doing chores.

Kersey is the smart one on the ranch.  She does this multiple times a day.