Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Rocking' the Bow

Tuesday December 12 2017

This little trick sort of developed on its own, when I started locking the two Hoodlums, Dudley and Finneas (show names Douglas and Finley) off the hay during the day. As compensation I gave them a little treat. One day when I turned them loose, I happened to be standing between them, and Finneas *thought* I wanted him to bow, and when he did, I asked Dudley to bow. It's become a ritual now (though I ask Finneas to "bow" and Dudley to "step"). 

Dudley of course knows lots of tricks (his favorite one right now is picking up a feed bucket), and Connie has taught Finneas how to bow and how to kiss.

The Hoodlums have previously worked as a team before, exhibiting how not to be afraid of a tarp,

but this double bow is their best yet!

Video here:

(or, link to video: https://youtu.be/PjuYgXbZCL8 )

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Make America Hot Pie Again

Saturday November 25 2017

When the talk shows shout screamingly and the tweets beller bellicosely and the harassers harass humanity and the bellyachers blame everybody else, I switch off and go saddle up Hot Pie. He doesn't care about any of that stuff.

We just head for the rim trail, stop and enjoy the scenery, take in the high desert Winter-Is-Coming air, eyeball coyotes, stink-eye the Oreana-bound cows, and appreciate the vastness and quietness of a little corner of Owyhee, where the only really important things are, Ride a Good Horse and Make America Hot Pie Again.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hot Pie

Thursday November 16 2017

I call Belesemo Dude lots of names*, but Hot Pie (from Game of Thrones, naturally) is my favorite go-to. You can kind of see the resemblance - both rather rotund, and both love to eat.

My 4-legged Hot Pie has been marking and unmarking a lot of trail this last month, and he's quite proud of himself when he gets back home all duded up. 
We even heard a cougar yowling on Hart crick on one of these occasions, and boy did he turn on his Orlov trot to get out of there, though no cougar in its right mind would've messed with the Dude all bedecked in ribbons. He's gotten real good at stopping at ribbons and standing very still, and, since he's pretty tall, letting me lean waaaaaaaaay over, one foot out of the stirrup and my heel digging halfway up his side to hold on, so I can reach down and grab the ribbons.

Yesterday he was looking all handsome, sashaying down the trail from his Unmarking foray, wearing 2 ribbon necklaces, wooden stakes strapped to his pack, and jugs bouncing off his saddle.

Belesemo Dude/Hot Pie is featured in this month's Postcard From Owyhee:

*Buster Brown, Busterufagus, Dude, Duder, Mighty Mouth, Chunky Monkey, Buffalo Soldier (borrowed from Connie and Finneas), Stud Muffin, DUDLEY! (when he's in trouble), Hot Pie

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ooooh That Standie!

Wednesday September 13 2017

Ooooh, that Willie! 

Hillbillie Willie the Standardbred did it again - finished a 50 mile endurance ride at last Sunday's Old Selam in the forested mountains of Centerville, Idaho. After a brilliant debut at City of Rocks in June in his first 50, followed by his second attempt at a 50: a great bubble bust (mine) in a first-loop pull on the first day at the pretty Top O' The World ride from a too-rocky road = sore feet, Old Selam was for Willie a piece of cake.

Yes, it was hot, and yes, I could feel him getting tired a few times Sunday on the second loop during the heat of the day (probably around 100*), when we were all 6 of us - horses and humans - sagging from the heat, and thirsty for need of water, but that big skinny Standardbred finished the ride with a pulse of 48. 48!!!!

Willie LOVED the mountain trails, particularly the overgrown two-track roads with blind corners that he zoomed around, ducking under trees that whapped me in the face (he's too tall and his neck is too long and too far down for me to throw myself down on his neck). I just hoped that we would not discover a moose or bear around one of those corners!

Oh, he's a charmer, that Willie. He had Dr Ruble enchanted, as Willie tried to help him fill out his vet card before and after the ride. He blinked his eyes charmingly at everybody in camp who said he was a big horse or a sweet horse. He pretty much has everybody charmed. He's a looker anyway, since he's (I swear) 17 hands, but it's his cute, inquisitive, kind expression that really gets everybody.

He's got a sense of humor, too. Within 10 minutes on the high tie at the horse trailer, he'd reached down and dumped out his water tub. I promptly filled his tub again, hauling buckets of water from the trough to the trailer, (in the heat of the day), and within 3 minutes, he'd dumped it again. Being funny, I guess, but it wasn't funny to me.

"Go ahead, dump your water," I scolded, and poked him in the nose with the bucket, "get hot and dehydrated the night before your hot 50 mile ride!" He looked aggrieved, (obviously not realizing the consequences of going thirsty) and apologetic. He didn't dump it again. 

Instead, in the next 10 minutes, he'd pooped in it, exactly on target. I am sure he was giggling as I cleaned out the tub and filled it yet again. He didn't get scolded for that one because it was indeed rather hilarious.

I think you can say that Steph's Standardbred Willie's an endurance horse now. He's only 5, but has years of conditioning foundation under his girth as a racehorse (he raced at 2, I think), and he's put in his time in the hills and sand of Owyhee. He might get to go in another endurance ride or two this year… stay tuned!

More photos and stories from Old Selam at:

And my photo shoot photos from Day 1 are at:
(watch out for the wild animals!)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Trickmeister Dude: Pick It Up

August 27 2017

Dudley has a passel of tricks in his bag, but it's been too bloody hot to work on any this summer.

One trick is Touch It; it started with my hat. When he started picking it up on his own, that morphed into Pick It Up. From that it's developed that he has to Pick It Up and hand it to me before he gets a treat. The handing it to me part really hadn't clicked - it's more luck that I can grab it before he drops it - but we really haven't worked on it. 

The other day Steph said she left a feed tub out in the pasture, and to pick it up if I saw it. Did somebody say Pick It Up?

Connie and Sarah and I were out riding later, and I spied the bucket. I sent Dudley over. "Pick It Up!" I said. Dudley reached down, picked up the bucket, and when I reached for it, he handed it to me! Oh for a camera!!!!! Of course he got big praise and a treat for that!

I tried it again when we got back to the house, but instead he did his Spanish Steps. Not what I asked for, but he did them so well, I changed to the command for that ("Step" and a nudge with my toe on each side), and gave him a treat.

Today I fetched a camera after our ride, and tried to get Pick It Up of a feed bucket on video.

Here it is! 

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Bird in the Hand

August 4 2017

So *now* what am I supposed to do?

I walk up to the house, and I first see Audrey, the wispy terrorist cat, lounging ever-so-regally-catlike upon a step. For some reason she reminds me of Queen Cersei, smug, supercilious, so in control of things.

Next I see, two steps down, a fluffy scruffy baby bird, facing Audrey, peeping at the world. (Finch? Oriole?)

Well. What am I supposed to do? Let the terrorist continue terrorizing this little chick? It's obviously already been in the cat's mouth at some point, though I don't see anything broken or bleeding.

I scoop up the birdlet, who squawks in major indignation and consternation. Audrey glares at me, Really?

I follow the procedure I always do with injured birds who fly into a window and stun themselves or get caught by a cat: I drop some soft paper towels into a box, put the bird in the box and close it and put it inside the house in a quiet corner for a while - locking the cat outside. Either the bird will die or revive.

This little birdie revives somewhat, and after a while is chirping away inside the box. Well. *now* what do I do? Audrey is still on the front steps, wondering where her little bird toy went. I decide to put the little bird back outside where it was, and lock Audrey inside. Maybe the birdie's parents are somewhere around. They *should* be around, anyway.

So, I lock Audrey inside, scoop up the chick, and set it back outside in the grass near where I found it. It can flap its wings, but it makes no attempt to fly away or rescue itself. It chirps away, chirp, chirp, chirp, for an hour. Not a parent in sight. Inside, Audrey is getting obnoxious. Can't leave the cat locked in the house all day and night till the bird figures something out or stops making such noise.

So *now* what do I do? I let the cat out the front, but go scoop up the bird again. It struggles, then snuggles in my grasp again. We're old friends now. I go to the back yard and set it in the grass, but at the rate it's chirping, Audrey will be around shortly to resume baby bird terrorism. 

I scoop up my bird friend again, and take it further out back, to near the creek, far enough from the cat, but, I'm sure, near other predators. Really, what else can I do but turn it loose. I set it up on a tree branch… and wish it well. 

Mother Nature will take care of it, one way or another.

Monday, July 24, 2017

We Had *The Talk*

Monday July 24 2017

The Fire Talk. Comes with summer and thunderstorms and from a spring and summer that produced highly flammable and prevalent cheat grass and weeds after an unprecedented winter of moisture.

The Fire Talk came up a couple of weeks ago as we helplessly watched our B.C. Canadian friends evacuated, barred from going in or out, or trapped on their place surrounded by fires (so far, they are OK, and back home, but the fires are still on-going.)

What would we do here?

We're 5 miles down a dirt road - surrounded by cheat grass-laden BLM land. Between 4 residences, we have 20+ 4 legged equids (and a passel of goats and dogs and such). (And, if you count the next neighbors, add 15 or so more horses, though they have some big dry lots.) The main way out is this bumpy 1-lane dirt road. An alternate way out is a much longer bumpier 1-lane dirt road that leads up to the Owyhee Mountains, and eventually off in different directions.

We have a big water tank on a trailer… but what comes out of that is not much more than a regular hose's worth of pressure. We've mowed weeds, but they're still growing and they leave dried stumps behind. We have plenty of green grass and trees around the house, and some dry paddocks. Plenty of water spigots around if the electricity is on. A small generator or 2. But what is all of this if a fire is roaring, and a 40 mph wind is blowing, and the fire creates its own weather and wind?

We have several horse trailers, either 2 or 4 horse trailers… but 1 trip with each would not accommodate all the horses.

It depends on where the fire comes from and how close it is. 

And when. Daytime? Middle of the night? More than once, I've been startled awake by a thick, acrid smell of smoke. I've jumped out of bed and run outside looking, hiking, climbing hills… trying to see from whence a fire might be coming (it's always been from fires some 40 and more miles away, but you wouldn't know it by the heavy smoke smell).

And it depends on where the fire comes from, and how close it is - that will determine what we do. If we have time to haul horses - great. If we don't, then what. Do we just have to jump in our cars and flee to save ourselves? I've got a bag packed by the door. I hope I never have to grab it, but I know where my keys are hanging. Do we have time to round the horses up and chase them out? Where? Up our canyon? Out the back gate east? Down the main dirt road northeast? Up the dirt road west? The barbed wire gates are open and ready if we need to chase horses up or down the road.

We have the memory of the Soda Fire from 2 years ago - 300,000 acres that came within 15 miles - still burning in our minds. Now we have thunderstorms in the forecast this week, and a Fire Weather Watch today from noon to midnight. 

Another reason I hate summer: I HATE FIRE SEASON.

We can just wait and watch and hope and pray it's not the year for this area to burn.