Wednesday, December 23, 2015


The trails have some treacherous, muddy places. The wind was bitterly cold. When the sun disappeared behind a cloud, I thought why did I leave my warm jacket behind? The lake is low and now filled with muddy debris from the recent storms. Major tripped, caught himself, then spooked at something in the bushes. I stayed on, barely. 

Why do I ride?

Blue skies. Puffy clouds. A few moments of perfect trotting synchronicity with Major at 12mph. A jackrabbit ahead of us on trail. New shoots of green everywhere. Even a sunset that celebrated a little extra light. 

That's why. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Solstice dawn

Dawn breaks heavy with gray clouds and rain on the shortest day of the year. It seems interminable, this darkness and damp. But cold and dark will slowly give way to warmth and light. Soon there will be more riding, more time outdoors. For now it is still time to stay by the fire, insulated from the rain and cold. And some extra hay, maybe an alfalfa treat, for muddy beasts. Happy Solstice. Stay warm and enjoy the gathering light my friends.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

pony presents

It's the season for giving. I had way too much fun making some hanging decorations/ornaments for barn friends. I don't have a Christmas tree (more like a Festivus pole!), but I made one for myself, it hangs on my bulletin board, with Major's signature orange.

custom with our favorite colors

one for everyone, plus a few generics

I already bought myself Major some holiday gifts (Black Friday sales too good to pass up, nothing for me, all the horse, got to have priorities!)

Another Matrix pad. I really have liked the one I bought used, having a back-up will be great. Plus it is oh so soft and fluffy right now!
so fluffy! And clean! But not for long...

I don't usually fancy Major up much, but the mud is upon us (can't complain about the rain though). I do like to put some conditioner in his mane and tail, keeps them from becoming muddy, clumpy messes. I bought a new bottle of my favorite detangler, eZall Shine and Detangler, which smells so good, and a bottle lasts a few years at my rate of use!

 my new, cute ornament, with hair almost as bad as Major!
Hoping after the holidays to order a new no brow halter-bridle, so Major doesn't have to wear his hand-me-down one any longer.And can accent even more orange!

I did find one cute thing I didn't buy, they almost got it right! As my friend C noted: maybe for a trick rider!
yeah, it's the boots that are wrong...not...

Major is happiest with things like treats, apples, carrots, rice bran. Best is when you mix all those together! It's the simple things for him, which keeps it all in perspective.

yes, he's muddy. The other side was worse!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

majorly good treats

please sir, may I have some more?
Do you love your horse? They will tell you if you really love them you need to feed them many treats. Carrots, apples, all acceptable. But for a nice crunchy yummy, don't buy a store something, make this easy, horse-approved treat!

I don't like to cook. Or clean. But baking is fun, and baking horse treats is especially easy. I've concocted a recipe that Major (and everyone else so far) loves. They last a long time (in a sealed container or baggie), and they're pretty healthy, so they can eat quite a few (Major says A LOT is the right amount).

all ingredients needed. Except the dinosaur. He's just cool.

Flax seed horse cookies
I buy everything from the discount grocery (Winco) bulk bins. They have the best deal on spices, scoop as much or as little as you want, if you haven't tried this, check it out! I bought everything, except salt which I already had, for $11, enough to make at least 5 batches.

1.5 cups ground flax (I use a coffee grinder, or buy pre-ground flax)
1 cup whole flax
2 Tablespoons salt
5 Tablespoons cinnamon (more or less)
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup molasses (optional, can also use brown sugar)
water if needed for consistency

Mix it all together, add water, or more applesauce, if needed till "dough" is pliable (usually I don't need to add any). Using a large cookie scoop or tablespoon, place onto parchment covered sheet (if you don't use parchment, these do tend to stick, so maybe spray instead), flatten with bottom of glass (or other fancy tool).

Put it all in a bowl. Stir it up. That's it.

make spoonfuls then flatten with your sophisticated kitchen tool...

bake them up!

I put on a cookie cooling rack to get extra crunchy.

Bake 325 for 25 minutes, then 300 for 15/20 minutes. Really just until crunchy. Not too high, they'll burn.

Transfer to metal cooling rack and leave in oven while cooling for extra crunch (I just leave them overnight, the house smells delicious). Or take them out and keep them a little chewy (though they are sticky).

Makes approximately 60. Which might not last too long. Major recommends a double batch! You can also make some and give to friends. Major also does not really like this idea. Treat your horse to something yummy and homemade. Plus it saves you from making more cookies that you'll eat yourself…

for friends, Major has to share
I am Major. And I approve this treat.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

lost and found

Major and I are rarely lost. I might not know where I am, but I'll figure it out! While wandering we often find other lost stuff or just cool things. Recently it seemed like all sorts of odd things were appearing, so I started to take some photos. From the last month, here is a compilation:

"Frozen" movie snowman balloon

pink glove

secret tree cave #28

deer jaw

Fork in the trail! A manure fork nowhere near a stable

sliced rock
fire extinguisher, helpful next August?

luckily it was 45 degrees, no nudes seen!


This could evolve into quite a scavenger hunt. Playing lost and found on trail is fun: keeping an eye out, paying attention, making Major be patient. We also find friends, rediscover lost trails and generally, at some point, lose Major's brain. Trail rides are never boring when there may be something else to discover around the next bend.

Major's favorite find: sprouted bale

Saturday, November 28, 2015

conversations with Major: pretty

Do you see me?
Yes Major.
Yes, she did a nice job, you were a good boy.
Who is that nice little one?
She is the trimmer's daughter, remember?
She always likes me.
Yes, you are a very good boy around her.
She gives me treats. And today she made me pretty!
I see that. But we're going to ride anyway.
But I wanted to show everyone!
They can see from here.
OK, fine.

Look at me, look at me, I am pretty!
What has gotten into you? We're just gong on a short jaunt.
OK, knock it off.
I am prancing!
Yes, NOT appreciated.
But I look pretty!
Um, to some. To those of us who know, you look like an idiot.
I'm a circus pony!
No, settle down.

Oh, your braid is falling out from all the schenanigans.
Oh no, fix it!
I can't buddy, Next time we'll just have to put an elastic on it.
NEXT TIME! She can do it again!
If she comes along, sure.
She gave me treats. She is my new favorite.
Oh really.
We'll see about that.

All gone.
What is all gone?
Your pretty braid.
But I am still pretty.
Yes Major, you are.
Everyone watches me.
No, they don't.
That bird is watching me.
Actually, you're right, that hawk is watching us.
Me, he is watching ME.

The lake is ugly low.

Yes, we can't play in it. Let's go home.
But I am pretty…like a racehorse!
Knock it off, no you are not!
I could be.
Not today.

Give me that!
I thought I was not your favorite any more.
OK, you are again, I want that apple.
Be nice, here you go..
Mmmm, yum. I am pretty.
Do you need a mirror, apple face?
Nope, I just know.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

thanks giving

Sometimes it is the everyday things to be thankful for.

another sunrise


And Major agrees. This year he is thankful for new green grass. And carrots. And mandarins. And apples. (He had to share this bounty. For that he did not seem very thankful...)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy the big, and little, thanks in your life.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday the 13th

There is no better day to banish riding demons than Friday the 13th.

I asked C and her horse Friday (how appropriate!) to come riding with me at Cronan ranch. Completely unintentionally it was Friday the 13th. Completely intentionally it was to take C back to the scene of our worst misadventure and to have a completely uneventful adventure. (Read our misadventure here, or in summary: both horses bolted when pterodactyls, I mean paragliders, appeared. C fell and was hurt, it was really scary.)

Uneventful adventure mission accomplished!  Beautiful blue skies, sparkly water, non-dusty trails, pretty  views and mostly behaved horses. And no scary pterodactyls in sight! Sometimes a nice, boring ride is just what you need. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

stolen moments

Weekday ride. After work. Following the dwindling sun. Found it on a hill, and watched it sink. Riding home in the gathering dark was worth it.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

chasing fall colors

On our home trails, there aren't the epic fall colors that some other riders get to see every year. We have a few trees that change, but most are evergreen pine and oak, we're only able to find a few colorful elements out there, some a bit unusual.

red toyon along the trail

green oaks hugging

black, burned trail

pink fire retardant

blue suspicious dumpsters

black-and-white annoyed at the shenanigans of one unnamed bay

bay on a good hair day

But I wanted to see some color myself, so my SO and I took a hike to Marlette Lake in Nevada. The only time I'd been to the lake was my ill-fated Tahoe Rim endurance ride, where we were pulled at the lake. But this hike was great. There are two parallel trails, one more for bike riders, the other for hikers, which was more scenic. And I found all the colors I was looking for, and more.

golden thistle

aspen says what?

glorious trees, and beaver-felled trunks along the shore

blue Marlette scene

Relaxing alongside the lake, a furry shape swam by, a beaver! How fun! Following it along the shore, he was on a mision. He clambered out of the water, into a stand of trees. Rustling and crashing ensued, as he finished chopping down another aspen. More rustling sounds, then he emerged dragging his selcted stick, crossed the beach, and dove into the water, swimming down to reinforce his home. It was the best nature show ever!

dragging my stick

got my best stick here

now I have a bigger stick!

So I got my fall color fix, did a great hike, and saw an unusual creature. Chasing fall colors is a good adventure.

C aspen?

the yellow road

water meets trees
rock stacks in Lake Tahoe