Archive for May 2011

More Wild Horses   Leave a comment

Not the equine wild horse; the floral kind.  It’s popping out flowers happily; here’s another one.

It’s certainly a dramatic flower.  Maybe that’s the reason for its name.

We worked Bella today, but took some time off from the harness training to work on her round pen skills.  She’s been doing really well with everything we’ve been throwing at her, so a day of review seemed like a good idea.  Then she had a nice bath and tail-wash — and a good spray-down against the blackflies.  They’ve been getting nasty again, as the weather warms.

The latest USDA bulletin says there is one more case of EHV-1 as of May 22, making 17.  That’s not good news, but it doesn’t seem to be spreading into the general population.  They said 16 of the 17 were at the Utah show, and the 17th was at the cutting event here in Bakersfield.  There was a scare at the Rancheros Visitadores ride in Solvang, but it turned out to be the common strain of the virus, and had no connection with the other cases.  People are still worried, and should be, but everyone needs to use a little common sense.  Rumor, gossip, and panic are no help at all.  Some of the rumors — which I’m not going to repeat — have been really wild.

You know what they say about loose lips.  Or do you?

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Posted May 23, 2011 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

Bella’s Progress   Leave a comment

At last, some pictures of pony Bella’s education.  Our mutual education, I think; it seems as if we’re all — Bella, me, and helper Lori — discovering new ways to communicate.  She looks very cute wearing her new harness, though so far it’s only the surcingle and crupper.  Here she shows off her pretty trot.

After working in the round pen, Lori B. has been leading her, while I walk behind signaling  go and whoa.  This is intended, as I said in an earlier post, to help her get the idea that something behind her is not a Bear going to Eat Her.  She’s accepted it quickly, and looks quite relaxed in this shot.

I’ll be seeing a lot of this view as Bella’s training progresses.  Lori B.’s being a big help; this would be very hard to do alone.

Next we’ll add the breeching, then long lines, unless she goes to Trish before we get to that point.  We’re slow and careful, not wanting to make any mistakes.

So far, so good!

Posted May 22, 2011 by stablewoman in Horses

Still Knitting   Leave a comment

I felt a little off today; nothing serious, just not quite right.  Billy was a little off a few days ago.  He might have picked something up at the doctor’s office and brought it home with him.  He checked out fine, by the way.  Anyhow, I’ve spent most of the day indoors loafing.

The weather’s been so unseasonably cool, I’ve still been knitting a little.  I watched the Preakness — no Triple Crown this year! — and knitted.  I’ve got the beginning of a cabled scarf.

Most of my projects get names.  This one is the Irish Elk scarf, because a) it features a Staghorn Cable, and b) it’s green.  The real Irish elk had much larger antlers, of course.

I just realized that the unseemly object at the bottom of the picture is my stomach.  Oh, well; it doesn’t cover as much of the scarf as it once would have!

Rumors continue to fly about the EHV-1 virus, but it’s looking more and more as if it’s been stopped in its first generation.  If you hear a rapping sound, it’s me — knocking on wood.

Posted May 21, 2011 by stablewoman in Needlework

Ten Acres in the Mountains   Leave a comment

This is a very strange thing to say, but I keep forgetting that we own ten acres in the mountains.  To be accurate, we own half of it.  Billy’s sister owns the other half.  It’s a beautiful spot, but we haven’t been there in years.  Every once in a while, I come across a picture and think about it.  I’ve even blogged about it before.

The problem is that it’s up a long and winding dirt road.  Rancheria Road is easy at first, but climbs hard as you go up, and is very often washed out and rutted by heavy rain.  It’s not a job for my Beetle.

In years past — like fifty years ago — there was a cabin there, and all of the kids on the ranch would take their horses up to camp and ride for a couple of weeks, largely on their own.  Can you imagine doing that these days?  No one thought a thing of it, then.  Billy would trailer them partway up, then they would unload and ride the rest of the way.  He would continue on with the supplies.

The cabin fell down years ago.  You can see bits of it lying around in the picture above.  The cable corral was still mostly intact, the last time we were there.

There’s nothing else there.  No electricity, no water — nothing but bare land and a few neighboring cabins.  Every once in a while, someone searches out the title and sends us an offer to buy it, but we’re not interested in selling.

Maybe this year we’ll make it up there.

Posted May 20, 2011 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

Cloudburst   Leave a comment

I happened to be looking out of the window yesterday and saw Andrew, the sheep, and the dogs making their usual journey around the place.  As I watched, the sheep ran ahead to get a little grazing time before the dogs moved them again.  A few drops of rain started to fall as the dogs turned them back.  Andrew started them toward home, but they only got halfway across the arena before the heavens opened.  I’m not sure who got the most drenched before they got home — but it wasn’t the sheep.

Today was cool and gray all morning, but now it’s sunny and pleasant.  I just took Bella for a walk today, figuring she deserved a little relaxation and grazing.  The only thing of interest was when we investigated Billy’s caution tape blocking the river trail.  It was flapping and popping in the breeze.  She went right up to it with a little coaxing; then we jogged, hopped over a couple of logs (well, she hopped) and stopped whenever the grass looked tempting.

The flowers on the patio are really beginning to show off now.  It’s nice to have cool weather for such an unusually long time.  The bowl of little violas has bloomed for an extra-long time.

How can anyone not be cheered by their whiskery little faces?

In other news, Henery made it safely out to CALM — hanging from the lid of the box part of the way, Wendy said.  That’s a good sign, according to the people there.  It means he’s got plenty of fight left.  We could have told them that.

There’s no news on the EHV-1 front.  That’s the way we like it.  Another week and we can begin to relax — and maybe even let people ride through again.

Posted May 19, 2011 by stablewoman in Flowers

Henery   2 comments

Boarder Wendy rescued a baby hawk today, at a trailer park.  It was being stalked by two cats, who didn’t know quite what to do with it.  She brought it out to the stables — it’ll go to CALM, our local wildlife rescue people — but we got to meet him first.  I promptly (mentally) named him or her Henery, after the Warner Brothers cartoon hawk.

Remember Henery? (not Henry, I seem to remember.)  He was always in pursuit of Foghorn Leghorn, the rooster about a hundred times his size.  They’ve made a recent appearance on a Geico commercial.  This little guy sure has the original Henery’s attitude.

“What’re YOU lookin’ at?”

Henery is, I believe, a baby American kestrel, or sparrowhawk.  They’re actually tiny little falcons, and they’re likely to eat more grasshoppers than sparrows.

We found a box, scooped him up, and put him in it for his trip to CALM.  He resisted valiantly, but his little claws weren’t much more than pins.

He appeared to be quite undamaged, except in his dignity.  Here’s hoping they can give him a home at CALM until he’s ready to hunt for himself.

But he’d better not try for any roosters.  Or cats.

On the EHV-1 front — there are reports of ten cases in California, but only the original two in Kern County.  There is an unconfirmed story that there might be a case in Shafter.  I haven’t been able to find anything more about it, so maybe it’s just a rumor.

Meanwhile, Billy’s blocked off the river trail and the tunnel with yellow tape, for the moment.  We all jump every time a horse snorts.  Everyone’s sure going to be glad when the whole thing’s history.

Posted May 18, 2011 by stablewoman in Birds, Nature

What’s with the Weather?   1 comment

Another cool and breezy day, with a .03 shower overnight.  We had the most beautiful golden light this morning.

This is just not Bakersfield weather.  Not that I’m going to complain.

Lori B. and I worked with Bella this morning, repeating what we did yesterday, but with an added twist.  We walked around the ranch with Lori leading and me walking behind, clucking when we wanted Bella to go and ho-ing for stop.  The idea was to get two ideas across; 1) It’s okay for someone to be behind you; and 2) Commands can come from that direction. 

She worried about the person behind her at first, but relaxed and did fine at the cluck and go.  At the stop, though, she wanted to skitter sideways and look back at me.  We persisted until we got three good straight stops in a row, and then put her up with lavish praise and administration of carrot pieces.  We’ll do it again tomorrow — weather permitting.

No real news on the EHV-1 story, except there was a story about it on the TV last night.  We’re all holding our breath; every day that goes by without another confirmed case is encouraging.  Our local vet has counted a hundred and thirty calls so far.  A horse doesn’t dare sneeze around Kern County.

I remembered my camera when we worked Bella, but it chose to act up and give me a SYSTEM ERROR message every time I tried to get a picture.  Later in the day, it was fine.  It likes taking flower pictures . . . this is a nameless creamy-yellow Walmart daylily.

And this is the aristocratic pedigreed “Wild Horses”.

I wonder what was in the breeder’s mind when he named it?  Anyway, it seems very appropriate for our place.

Posted May 17, 2011 by stablewoman in Flowers