Friday, November 30, 2018

blogger card exchange!

I participate in a super fun card exchange on the Chronicle of the Horse forum. I love getting cards from random horse people on the list, some with photos, or stories, some just a nice sentiment, some traditional and some not.

A card is just so much more personal than "likes" on Facebook, Any one want to trade cards? Holiday, Solstice, just because, any kind of card, letter, postcard, photos, whatever works.

If interested, comment or send me an email before December 10: adventureswithmajor (at)
2017 graphic

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


A winter storm, and many many firefighters, finally got the Camp Fire contained. Of course that is just the beginning of resettling 35,000+ evacuated people, rebuilding lives and homes. But for now I have done what I can, and needed to get out.

thankful for apple-blackberry crisp and pumpkin pie

The smoke was so bad there was no riding advised, and also the horses (and humans) need time to clear their lungs. I decided a non-strenuous walking ride was just the idea. After more than two weeks off. And cool, lovely fall weather.

Let's just say my decision did not go to plan. Major certainly had other ideas, and had been contained enough! I was trying to be chill and deal with it and just understand his frustration, but oh, it was trying times. We circled and backed up (many) hills. And so much for not breathing hard, he was snorting as we walked into the forest!

There was a moment when I almost just got off and walked him home. I have no issues walking home, (however then he is a kite on a string), but this time he managed to decide to contain himself and I managed to not leave him in the forest. So the ride was cut short after a tiny bit of good behavior, though I was sure Major was still frustrated, and I called that a success for that day.

green will be coming soon

But the next day he left his dinner and greeted me at the gate, wanting to go out. So no harm done, and now it in raining in earnest, muddying trails and frustrating horse and human. But there will be other days, and we are the fortunate ones.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


There is nothing to write about that doesn’t seem trivial. Even just the sunlight, filtering yellow through the smoke, may be beautiful in its own right, but is just a result of the devastation. We cannot ride or hike from the smoke, but I am not complaining.
the smoke coats the valley more than 70 miles away

Imagine probably everyone you’ve ever met, and every single one of those people have lost their home. 11,000+ homes in northern California burned in the Camp Fire. I know that I don’t think I’ve met that many people in my lifetime. 
scary sunrise

Some people say “this is why we don’t live in fire zones.” And it is indeed terrifying: People fled without pets, important papers, phones, and some left their lives inside their burning cars. But in this new climate, the danger is increasing everywhere. And honestly, if it’s not fire, there is usually some other disaster that can befall you: hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, rain events, terrorism, the list goes on. So use compassion instead of judgment.

I am more thankful than ever to have what I have, and to have given what I can to those in need. I hope you do the same this Thanksgiving. Celebrate with those around, give what you can, and as always, hug your horses. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

monday moment: fiction

I found some old friends at the Goodwill store the other day.

Anyone you recognize?

I do hope they went home with some new fan. I felt sad to leave them there, but I have my own copies at home. Top of my list is King of the Wind, but I'd like to revisit some classics (ok, maybe not Black Gold, it's pretty tragic, and let's not even talk about The Red Pony.) I think I'll be digging out that box labeled "horse books" for some winter reading.

Friday, November 9, 2018

racing daylight

Not wanting to waste a single minute before darkness descends, I've fit in some riding adventures on the weekends. After a season of riding, my backyard trails are a bit same-old. Not boring, but we needed a change of scenery.

anticipating (and furry, and a little fat!)

We first went to Cronan Ranch. While five (!) years ago it was the site of the dreaded parasail/pteradactyl attack, we're over it, and the autumn is great on the open roads (not so hot!). And on a gorgeous Saturday there was almost no one about! We encountered a hunter complete with crossbow, a single bike rider, and no horses (they're missing out). There is a new bridge (excellent, though a little loud) and new steep trail (super fun, will be better with a bit of use).

new bridge is nice but noisy

I can see my tiny trailer from here!

roads begging for a canter (we did!)

Major thinks we should really just stand in the water and play all day, but there was a trailer to get back to a few miles away! Even if we had to take the "connectEr" trail which annoys me every time.

American river fall view

I should get over the misspelling, but I can't!

Then we dragged along Friday and C for our next escapade. Empire Mine actually has some nice fall color (for this part of California), empty trails, and plenty of places to move out. And we did, my GPS showed a nice gallop of 21mph! Major and Friday were having a blast, they like the change of scenery (and pace) too!

fall leaves to frolic through

Friday tolerates his annoying friend Major

I'd love to ride during the week, but life and work have been too hectic. But Major showed me that he needs to get out more, and that weekend adventures are not enough. Major lost his leading privileges as we were hand-walking down the road yesterday. You don't get to be all prancy fancy-pants in front of me! He was not amused, and when we got back at the barn he ran around the arena, galloped up his hill to dinner, and pretty much behaved like nothing I'd want to ride!

wearing his sassy pants

But I'll try to get him out more before the rains come (if they come). He doesn't understand taking a break, and damn, his cute face is hard to ignore!

you try ignoring this face!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

detour: road trip part II

We left Zion with blue skies, and continued onto Bryce Canyon, which is at 8,000 feet. And had quite a change in the weather!

snowman hello!

red and white

But a little snow, or a lot, was not enough to change our plans. A trail ride through the canyon had sounded great in sunny weather. I literally put on all my warm clothes: 2 pairs of pants, 4 shirts and jackets, scarf, 2 pairs of gloves…and was just barely warm enough! But the ride went on, with only a few hardy souls. I was mounted on surefooted Shine, and never worried about the cliffs or snow (those gasps from behind me meant not everyone was comfortable in the situation!)

Shine the horse, and all my clothes!

the wrong ears, but epic scenery

the next day: sthe now melted and the sun came out!

We came back another day to see the sun out and snow melted, rocks glowing orange and red, the changeable weather makes it even more interesting. But we had still more destinations: Grand Staircase Escalante National monument. (There has been plenty of controversy surrounding this park, and I'm just happy to have seen it before this national treasure is damaged)

the "staircase" canyons as they cross the landscape

"just" another epic view


lightning-struck tree

yes, a 130-foot waterfall in the desert (a bit cold for a swim)

trail, trees and cliffs

Again, epic scenery and photos that can't do it justice. But there was one more stop left. Once of the least-visited National parks: Great Basin. Again, wow. Hiking at 10,000 feet, views to forever…

You are now free to move about the cabin…


frozen Stella lake

I feel so lucky to have these treasures in (long) driving distance, to have this land accessible, to be able to explore. So where should I go next?

So, this is where he hangs out!

Friday, November 2, 2018

detour: road trip part I

The West is a big place. I was reminded of that on our 1600 mile road trip, and we only went across 2.5 states! I'd been wanting to do a trip to southern Utah for ages, and with almost no planning (National Park Pass and a place to stay for part of the trip) we set off!
Mono Lake tufa

Joshua tree

Just getting out of California is a gorgeous drive. A stop at weird Mono Lake to see the famous tufa. These weird mineral/rock formations were created when the lake was higher, but now we see them because the lake is way lower than it should be (because we take too much water from it). So that actually was more depressing than interesting for me. So we drove on.

Nevada desert

No, did not stay here (the clowns would eat me!)
Nevada might look "flat" on a map, but it is mountains separated by high desert. Some interesting (like Joshua trees) and some not (mining towns). I have low car tolerance, so many stops for interesting historical panels later, we entered Zion. Yes, there are pictures here. And far better ones online. But you just have to go, on this whole trip! Amazing scenery, the main portion is a narrow canyon carved by the tiny Virgin River, like a smaller, accessible Grand Canyon.
Zion at dawn

view from the Watchman hike
Virgin River

Icon White Throne (the name makes me laugh every time)

But I truly loved the east side of the park, with slickrock, almost no people, and epic ancient sand dunes turned into rock and eroded. I'm trying to find words for this adventure, but images will have to suffice.
Zion east sde

tricky rock squeeze

twisted tree and weathered rock

rock grotto

persevering plants

wind sculptures

We continued across Utah, onto the next adventure…

fall colors

another mountain pass…onward!