Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Want My Brother

Saturday January 31 2009

Poor Jose. He's so bored without Mac (who's down south doing endurance rides) and his half-brother Kazam to play with.

Poor Kazam. He is locked up in the Lame Pen, as he has been on and off for months. We thought it was Kazam's foot that was bothering him, but no, recently the vet found a sore high suspensory. He wasn't obviously lame unless you lunged him in a circle (and then only showing up when the leg was on the outside of the circle); it was never bad, but it just never went away. That probably had something to do with the fierce horseplay he and Jose always engaged in. Before we knew it was his suspensory, I'd let Kazam out with Jose, because it was SO hard to keep him locked up, ("criminal!" Steph agreed), because they have SUCH a great time together. But now, Jose and Kazam are separated until Kazam completely heals. He's getting sound, but it's a long, sad, boring process, as hard for me as it is for Jose and Kazam. Now the two half-brothers can only gaze at each other wistfully, longingly, over the fence.

Kazam spends his days eating hay and chewing his fence rails. When I walk in his pen with a halter for somebody else, he comes up and tries to put the halter on himself.

Jose gives me these pointed looks when he stands near Kazam's pen. He tries to get the other horses to play with him, but it's just not the same as Mac or Kazam. He has tried cautiously to pester Dudley, but Dudley just gets annoyed. He backs his butt up to Jose, and he will kick, and not in play. Quickie is a cranky old lady; Jose doesn't even try with her. Princess is a snot, and thinks she's a Princess and above it all. Jose's a bit scared of her and gives her a wide berth. Stormy, in his middle age, is not very playful, and besides he always has other things on his mind (food). Finneas can sometimes be slightly motivated to play a little... but he doesn't put his heart into it. One day Jose got Finneas interested in a little nose-to-nose combat, a little pawing, a little rearing, a little lunging, a little romping... before Finneas lost interest.

And one day, for a little glorious moment, Jose got the other three he was turned out with - Princess, Stormy, FInneas - running together. And then they went back to eating. I think Jose tells them a cougar is up the canyon and they all bolt in fear until they figure out it was just Jose wanting to play.

When nobody else will play, Jose will zoom around himself,

but it's just not quite the same as when somebody else shares your intense passion for real fun - like his half brother.

Jose goes back to gazing at Kazam over the fence; and Kazam stands off by himself in his pen, forlorn.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kissy Face

Thursday January 29 2009

Some horses don't like kisses, but some horses love them.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Livin' in the Sticks

Wednesday January 28 2009

The good thing about living in the Boonies is, no traffic, no pollution, no noise, no people.

The bad thing about living in the Boonies is, if something breaks, sometimes you have to fix it yourself and it might be heavy and you can't always drive to do it.

We do have wireless internet out here via a relay tower on the ridge, but once in a while it quits working. Like in the winter, when there's little sun, so the solar panel can't charge the batteries, and like in the winter when there's a lot of snow so that you can't drive way around and along the ridge to the tower. Then someone must either hike up new batteries or a generator or gasoline. Those can get pretty heavy. Especially uphill in the snow.

I missed out on the fun last year, but today I helped Carol and Rick haul a generator up the steep hill to the ridge in the snow (does taking pictures count as helping?). As Carol and Rick hitched themselves up with ropes to the barrel sled, we watched the dogs cavort around us and wondered whose job it had been to teach the dogs to get in harness and pull a sled.

After much huffing and puffing, and after a few rest stops, we eventually got the generator up top. As Rick worked on getting it running, the dogs stood guard over Pickett Creek for us.

Then, because it was a pretty spectacular day, the dogs and I continued on a long hike in the snow - sometimes in knee-deep drifts - along the ridge toward the Owyhees. We hiked back home in the canyon through the creek bed. Great exercise, plowing through the snow. The best find of the day was these Raven tracks in the snow on the ridge.

Out here on this winter day in the Sticks, there was no traffic, no pollution, no noise, no people - just me, three dogs, about 40 deer, 7 horses, and a pretty dramatic view on a pretty magnificent day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No Living With Him Now

Tuesday January 27 2009

Boy, ONE picture on the cover of a magazine, and it all goes to his head.

Stormy's no longer just another brown horse in Owyhee county, or just another ex-racehorse. He's a BIG STAR. He's a DIVA. And he's got BIG DEMANDS now.

Free and full access to all the alfalfa and grain he wants. A bucket of carrots twice a day. A gold blanket. A silver water trough. A new five-horse shiny aluminum padded trailer. A gilded stall. Adulation from his fans.

Actually, he took one look at his photo and, seeing it was a magazine, and not a magazine with a carrot inside, he stuck his head back in the hay.

He's got enough hay to eat, and he gets carrot treats. He doesn't need a blanket, he's got a nice warm winter coat. He has a running creek to drink from. He doesn't like stalls; he has a couple hundred acres to roam. He doesn't want a horse trailer, he likes it in Owyhee county just fine.

Food, treats, warmth, freedom... And he's got me, his biggest fan, who tends to adulate him to excess. Sometimes to his annoyance.

Coverboy, or no Coverboy, it makes no difference to him. He's already got all he needs.

- It's the Washington Thoroughbred magazine - Stormy's home racing state in his glory days!

Monday, January 26, 2009


Monday January 26 2009

There they were in the sunrise this morning, for the first time in three weeks: the Owyhee mountains, under clear skies, illuminated big and bold and bright, and looking much closer than their 6 miles away.

Emerging from hibernation, the Sun, the real thing, climbed over our southeast ridge, the light and warmth creeping down from the mountains toward us, spreading across the northwest ridge and down Pickett Creek Canyon.

The horses took up positions broadside to the sun, facing magnetic north, fuzzy winter coats absorbing the maximum rays and the delicious, intoxicating warmth. Yawns, hind legs cocked, heads heavy, eyes closed, lips drooping.

When a thin cloud strip passed in front of the sun, the intense rays faded; so too did the hypnotic morning Sun Nap. The horses turned away from the penetrating rays, went back to the hay feeder, even as the sun reemerged full strength - the magic moment had passed.