Archive for April 2013
I’ve been writing about riding my third equine, Duffy. Since I hadn’t ridden him in some time . . . a couple of years, maybe? . . . he hasn’t been featured here in a long time. So, since I’ve started riding him again, here is Duffy.
He is an eleven-year old unregistered Foxtrotter, chestnut roan in color. This is what he looks like.
He is a big strong horse . . . and he finds his size a disadvantage sometimes; like when he’s trying to reach grass. (You can sure tell this isn’t this year’s picture!)
He is big enough that I can’t see over the lowest point of his back. He makes quite a contrast to the ponies.
His color is the most noticeable thing about him, other than his size. His ground color is a dark red chestnut, almost burgundy. This makes the white hairs sprinkled throughout his coat stand out and glitter like silver.
He is very strongly gaited; I’ve never seen him trot. Even his canter is lateral.
His temperament . . . well, he’s a big amiable doofus, but brighter than he looks. His size and strength make him intimidating, but he’s ridden successfully by this seventy-year old lady. He gets along well with other horses, but (thank goodness) doesn’t put up a fuss about leaving his pasture mates. Though he put up a fuss all day when they left him. His heartbroken whinnying . . . “Where are my girls?” . . . lasted all day.
All in all, he’s got a lot of personality. Now if he was just about two hands shorter, it would be great! It’s such a long way to the ground . . .
The second fire of the season (already) was across the river again, just a little east of the first. Marion got this picture of the firefighters, barely visible in the trees, pushing chunks of charred wood into the river.
You can see how low and stagnant the water is, but there was enough to help.
We have heard that it was deliberately set. If we have a firebug on the prowl, it may be a long summer.
We did some moving this morning. We had one pen that had several very old horses and one big fat gelding. He was hogging the feed, so we moved the old horses to the front pasture, and the three family horses that were in that pasture in with Fatso. Then another old horse (the rescue found running the streets of Oildale) went in with the first three. It looks like it’s going to work out. We’re watching the two big geldings, Duffy and Fatso (not his real name, I imagine) but it looks like they’ll get along.
A surprising amount of time is spent playing musical horses, but it’s all part of good management.
. . . it actually rained.
Today was very quiet, so I decided to post a favorite picture again. It was taken on a wildflower photography expedition Marion and I took in 2009. It was a wonderful year . . .
The Arvin Wildflower Festival, a few days ago, had no wildflowers. At all. Those few Marion got pictures of were long gone.
Well, the rains will surely come again some day; and there will be wildflowers again. It can’t come too soon.
Boarder Debbie called us to say there was a fire in the river. We looked out, and sure enough, there was smoke billowing to the south. There were already sirens in the distance, so there was nothing we could do. I went out to see how close it was.
From the house, it was hard to tell.
I walked down closer to the river’s edge. Now it was apparent that it was behind the first row of trees, but in front of the second. It might have been on the island.
The telephoto made this more apparent.
It didn’t take long for the fire department to get it knocked down. The trouble is, of course, that this is only the first. The river bottom is a tinderbox right now, with the river drying up and dead trees everywhere. A lot died last year, despite the late rains. We didn’t get any late storms this year. I wrote almost this same entry this time last year, but that didn’t turn out to be a bad fire year. We were lucky.
We have witnessed many fires over the years. Some years the whole riverbed has burned out. It always comes back, but it’s sure ugly in the meantime. And so much habitat is lost. It’s never been a problem to us, because the prevailing winds in the summer are from the northwest, and blow it away from us.
But we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Yet another car missed the ramp from Roberts to Manor and wound up in the ditch. At least no one was hurt this time. You just can’t take that ramp too fast. The ditch is one thing; if you wind up between the double tunnels, you’re probably going to die. They took out the county fence, but didn’t get into the horse pens, thank goodness. That fence takes a lot of hits.
I drove Kody this afternoon. It’s amazing how the little guy can go weeks between drives, and still go just fine. We only went round and round the yard for perhaps half an hour, but that’s plenty for a pudgy twenty-year old pony.
The only problem was one I found when I came in. There was a tick crawling up my arm. Where it came from, I have no idea; we never have ticks here, and always thought it was just too hot and dry for them. Anyway, he went into the toilet, and I went into the shower — just in case he had friends. At least he didn’t latch on, but we’ll have to keep an eye on the dogs.
No pictures from the drive. I’ve taken a camera with me a couple of times, but it keeps creeping out of my pocket. Once it wound up in the dirt. I do seem to go through cameras rather quickly — there’s one reason why.
Instead, here’s a picture of the pot of amaryllis on the patio. They’re in full bloom right now. They’re beautiful — but the tomato red really clashes with the barn red house.
It’s hard to believe that all of those came from one Christmas bulb, years ago.
I just wish that bulb had been white . . . or pink . . . or maybe deep red. But I guess I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
After a thrilling morning spent doing the banking, I decided to get outside this afternoon and do something Useful. It wasn’t quite as hot today — only about 75 at noon — so after cleaning up Kody (again; he’s still not running out of hair) I decided to take a walk.
I went to the other side, because I wanted to visit Mama and Baby, and see how Baby is doing. However, he was sleeping, and declined an interview.
I’d swear he was snoring.
Yesterday was not the best day of the week, by any means. Besides nearly losing Xena and the pump, we did lose little Spur. Spur is Andrew’s girl friend Ciera’s little pup, and she looks like this.
They left her out of her kennel while they went to dinner, thinking she’d stay with the other dogs, and when they got back she was gone. They looked and called, called and looked, but no Spur. It’s likely that someone picked her up. Ciera made up some flyers to put up, and we’ll hope someone knows what became of her. She’s a really nice pup, and at her age would go with anyone.
Come back, little Spur . . .
Something of a panic today — Marion called to tell us that she had seen someone up on Manor load up a border collie and drive off; and were all of ours accounted for? Naturally I went shooting out of the door. Gena and Spanky were sitting in the breezeway, watching me, but there was no sign of Xena. I circled the yard, calling and calling. No Xena. I got in the car and drove around the whole place looking. No Xena.
I called Marion, but she hadn’t seen the dog on the road well enough to know if it was Xena or not; but she thought it had looked more like Spanky. Well, we knew it wasn’t Spanky. Only little Xena was missing.
Finally I thought to call Andrew. Sure enough, she was with him, watching him trim horses.
Later, I rode Duffy again. Marion loaned me some riding pants that she thought might help with the saddle sores. They did. Thank you, Marion!
Duffy went pretty well. I got lengthier periods of fox trotting out of him this time. It’s a difficult balance; you want to work them at the fox trot enough for the horse to get the idea, but not so much that they think it’s the only thing they are supposed to do. We’re getting there. The only worry was a couple of heavy stumbles. I think that it’s just a case of being soft, and that things will improve as he gains muscle tone. It hasn’t been a problem before.
When we got in, I started to give him his bath. I couldn’t get enough water out of the line to do a good job. There was not much flow, and a lot of air in the line. When I came in, hot and sweaty, Billy was on his way out. The pump was down.
He started the auxiliary pump, but before it could get much pressure up, they found the problem. It was only a fuse, and the pump is working.
So I didn’t have much time for picture taking, but here are a couple of elderberry pictures. They’re blooming right now.
Just think of all the elderberries this one tree is going to produce.
Now I’m off to go have my shower. At last.