Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Saving Daylight, Desert Style

Sunset a few months ago, west side of Tucson

Tucson is kinda awesome in that we don't do Daylight Savings. At all. No clock changes, no trying to remember if it's spring ahead or fall forward, or trip sideways. The only thing about this time of year is that my family is now three hours ahead instead of two, and that makes them seem so much farther away. 

I stopped by the barn after work on Sunday unsure of what I wanted to do. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, not too hot. I was tired, the atmosphere quiet and sleepy. I plan to start riding Truby, but it just didn't feel like the thing to do. Instead, I turned her out in the big turnout area. It's all pretty and green, and Truby's been out there only once. 

Truby approves

Turns out the pretty green plant life is not horse food, or at least, no one wants to eat it. I'm not sure what it is, but none of the horses bother with it. There is a blade of actual grass here and there, providing the ideal turnout. Truby got to nibble some fresh green grass, but had to keep moving to find it. While she rambled around munching, I rambled around looking at stuff. It was a very pleasant way to spend time with Truby without having to SPEND TIME WITH TRUBY. We both enjoyed exploring together, yet apart. 

This reminds me of Carroll County, MD, where I'm from.
Just pretend that scrubby third growth hardwood and not mesquite.

 Mesquite trees are pretty cool though! 
Or is this an Ironwood tree? I can't tell.

There was a whole flock of bluebirds! They were Super Blue
but hard to photograph

Truby being pretty

 I was finally rewarded with the perfect moment.

Desert evenings are amazing 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Dude, Where's My Horse?

Gratuitous desert sky

Spring has definitely come to Tucson. It's a bit chilly night/morning, but once the sun is up, it's beautiful and toasty warm. I'm starting to see trees budding, flowers flowering, and pollen pollinating.

Hard to hate on pollen when it's so pretty!

In addition to the backyard trail Truby and I have been enjoying, there's also a community trail that goes all around the neighborhood. Truby's new home is in an equestrian estate, basically every house has some type of horse property, and even the few that don't, or are no longer keeping horses, are super horse friendly. I frequently see people riding down the road. It's amazing! Note to self: get rich, buy house in an equestrian neighborhood. 

I wasn't sure where the entrance to the community trail was, but barn owner offered to take me sometime. We finally got to meet up today. Because of Truby's history of off property super anxiety we went on foot. Turns out, the trailhead is super easy to get to. Just go out the front gate, go down the road a bit, swing a left down a short stretch of road, and bam! There it is. The neighborhood is SO QUIET, walking horses down the road isn't worrisome at all. 

 Heading down the driveway.
Truby is suspicious. 

 Beginning of the community trail

Saguaro cactus can be HUGE!

 Lots of super shiny horses in turnout

Like this stunning paint horse
Also, Hi Primo!

 Truby: super chill

Okay, first off, the community trail is super awesome. Well kept, wide, inviting. There's even a nice mounting block right there. How thoughtful! Barn owner says they usually handwalk over, and then mount at the trail.  Instead of taking the community trail, we took a trail just off of it that loops around east/west. Apparently the woman that owns it loves people to use it and we have an open invitation. It's beautifully maintained about about a mile long. 

It shows off the best of the Tucson desert, lots of mini washes, lots of cactus, and lots of scrubby trees, lots of sand. It was really neat to peak into the backyards and see all the different setups and horse properties. Yup. I am super nosey! 

I had fully expected Truby to be tense and freak out at least once. didn't. She was SO GOOD. She got a little up when we first opened the gate and went onto the road, but she settled quickly. Shoving a carrot in her mouth helped distract from the noise of the gate opening. (It seems like everyone in Tucson has electronic gates. Like...everyone. As far as I can tell, it gives a small discount on home insurance, and we're so close to Mexico that hordes of illegals are just swarming down the roads and people need protection. Yes, that second part is sarcasm!) 

Anyway. She walked calmly down the road, looked around when we got to the trail, and cheerfully followed barn owner and her horse, Primo. She didn't get upset when we walked behind our barn and her friends whinnied at her. She walked with a nice, level headed, ears forward, stride. She got tense and antsy when we got around to where some horses were enjoying their turnout and galloping around, but not even that was unmanageable. I shoved another carrot at her, talked soothingly and we power walked out of sight. Not too bad!

In fact, the only time she had a legitimate startle was when we got back! For some reason she got kinda jiggy  once we got back to the driveway, and did a scoot and Arab impression when the gate rolled closed behind us. It was almost reassuring, because I was having a hard time believing I had the right horse! She had been SO GOOD, and SO calm the entire time. I couldn't believe it! This is the first time I've taken her someplace new and she's been totally chill. You better believe she got TONS of pats and praise and cookies. 

I just could not believe how relaxed she was! I plan to take her around the loop a few more times on foot, and then start riding her. Because not only is she sound enough to start riding again, but she's (maybe)(hopefully!) comfortable enough to go trail riding! 

The only thing I can fault her on, is manners. She likes to walk at Truby speed. That's not especially fast, but faster than good ol' Primo was walking. In the interest of making the experience as positive as possible, I didn't worry about keeping her in place. If we walked faster than Primo, we'd just walk alongside or ahead of him. Truby doesn't seem to care at all if she's in the lead or behind, which is also awesome.She really just wants to go at Truby speed! Once we have her comfortable and confident we can address speed manners. Luckily Primo is one of the golden oldies that's perfect for everything, and even though he prefers to be first, he knew his job was too pack around the 'baby', and didn't get upset the couple of times we passed him. 

If this post seems extra ramble-y and poorly written, it is because I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!! I was expected and prepared for a lot of behaviors...but I wasn't at all expecting a calm, happy horse! 

Shame on me, I guess. I hope this horse keeps proving me wrong! I love being wrong like this.

Hi. I'm Truby. I'm awesome. Cookies?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

This is Why Everyone Thinks You're an Arabian

I guess it was only last week that we had another bout of exciting "weather". Seems like longer! We had a quicky rain in the valley, snow in the mountains kinda thing, but only for the day.

Snow in the Rincons. Always pretty.

The next day I took Truby out to play. We went for a walk down the little trail. And then I let her roll in the damp sand. 

She is SO cute!

She didn't seem inclined to play on her own, but I knew she had some tense energy she needed to get out. So I let her loose in a paddock she's never been in. 

Where's this???

And then. Then a truck drove down the neighbors driveway, which borders the new turnout area we were in. The truck, pulling a small trailer, was crawling along at about 2 miles an hour. Apparently this was NOT OKAY, and Truby went on a tear. Volume on if you want to hear her clear out every tiny bit of air from her lungs!

People (especially out here) tend to think Truby is an Arabian, and I usually get asked "Full or half Arab?" by people meeting her for the first time, including her farrier, that breeds (very nice) Arabs. They're always surprised when I tell them she's actually an American Paint Horse. 

Recently she's been acting a little Arab-y! And yesterday, I not only got husband to go to the barn with me, but to go for a walk on the backyard trail. When we got to the end, where it meets up with another horse property, Truby's secret friend came running over. He doesn't usually run up, and Truby immediately flipped her tail straight up in the air and started to run/rear/something. I scolded her and she settled down right away, which was impressive and surprising! 

What do you see, Truby?

 Secret Friend <3 

She's been feeling a little sassy, but not out of control. I was really surprised she went from full Freak Out Mode to Alert but Calm almost instantly. I was glad, because husband was with us, and he wouldn't be impressed by crazy antics. He thinks horses are "unpredictable and dangerous". And while I definitely can't argue with that, I don't like to prove him right too often! We also got a new neighbor, a beautiful Arabian gelding named Cinco. Cinco is a *real* Arab, and much fancier than Truby could ever look! 

Hiiiiii! I'm Cinco!

Other than that, Truby's been a good little Truby. Her incredible lameness seems almost gone, you may notice from the video she's moving pretty good! I'm shocked, because two months ago I was trying to come to terms with the fact that Truby was going to be a crippled horse before she turned 18. She's made a remarkable recovery and is back to 95% her previous soundness and way of going. I'm shocked! I'm thrilled! I'm going to...ride my horse???

 Afternoon naptime

 She's such a princess

Even found some baby green grass out on the trail.

I guess winter is over. It's warm/almost hot during the day, although still a bit chilly at night. Today we visited the Tucson Botanical Gardens, which were fabulous, much better than I was expecting, and I'm having to recover from being out in the sun for about 2 hours. I don't do Tucson summer sun. It's waaaaay too strong! I actually get sun hangovers. But don't worry, more about that as summer really kicks in. Tuby's winter coat is almost completely shed out, although I still have more to go. We're so happy in our new home! I'm looking forward to some upcoming adventures, and just enjoying desert life with this cute little gray horse.

Enjoying the sun and feeling zen
With snacks, of course

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

30 Things Blog Hop

Since this is a new blog, it seems like a great time to do the 30 things about me blog hop!'s 30 things about me, whether you wanted to know them or not!

1. I don't like condiments. Not salad dressing, vinaigrette, mayo, mustard, ranch...nope. It's all super gross! BBQ sauce is ok, but not in excess or to dip things in.

2. I played World of Warcraft for like, 12 years, though I'm taking a break now. I started playing when husband and I were first dating, because it seemed like a thing we should do together, or we weren't going to be together long!

Pinanta and Pepe hanging out

3. I have misophonia and it totally sucks. Listening to other people chew (especially chips or carrots) makes me crazy. Repeated sniffles/throat clearing/weird breathing is also a problem. 

4. Once during a sedar, I opened the door for the prophet Elijah and my dog ran in. It was hilarious, mostly because we'd already had too much Manischewitz. No, I'm not religious, why do you ask?

5. I love rereading books I enjoy, especially series. I love finding how all the little bits fit together and all the tiny hints and clues. I also have a poor memory, so if I wait long enough, it's like reading it for the first time!

6. I absolutely adore my little dog, but I don't think I'll get another. Waaaay too much commitment! 

Haiku can live forever though

7. Yes, I'm a super hardcore cat person. Dogs bark, and drool, and smell weird, and constantly need attention of one kind or another. Cats purr, are super cute, and can enjoy your company without being all up in your shit. But will be super interactive if/when you want. 

8. I don't care that you dog people don't agree with me!

9. I used to be terrible in the kitchen, but in my 20s realized that was stupid. Now I enjoy cooking and am 9/10 good at basic, tasty fooding. 

10. As a young child, we were on vacation and I got super sunburned. Somehow this lead to me being treated at a docked Navy sub and we got a total behind the scenes tour. I vaguely remember touring the sub, but never knew why until a few years ago. 

11. I was extremely shy and socially awkward when I was younger. I taught myself to be more outgoing, especially in professional situations. Sometimes it's still hard. 

12. I'm a professional groomer, and specialize in grooming cats. Including creative grooming. When done correctly and thoughtfully, it's awesome, safe, and FUN for all involved. Even the cat.

Won First and People's Choice at my last show, 
a tiny event in SC with a borrowed cat, Zoey.

13. I need a lot of downtime. I cherish my time alone. Sometimes I even kick husband out of the house, because him in another room with the door closed isn't alone enough. 

14. I love futuristic dystopia fiction. I really DO NOT LIKE that it's becoming reality. I have to limit my reading/watching because it can trigger some nasty anxiety/depression. 

15. I grew up with My Little Pony, and now collect G1 mlps. I really like the new Friendship is Magic show, but the toys are pretty terrible. 

Wish I had all of my original collection!

16. I don't have any tattoos, but I have a folder of cat and horse tattoos I love. Just in case.

17. I tend to be really klutzy and uncoordinated. I once took a belly dancing class, and was super good at this one move...but only because it was basically the same thing I do when I lose my balance while switching weight from one foot to the other. 

18. The word 'moist' doesn't bother me. The context you use it in might gross me out, but not the word. 

19. I was obsessed with the show River Monsters. I absolutely love it. I love the respect and admiration Jeremy Wade has for the fish, the environment, and the local people he encounters. 

20. I very badly tore ligaments in my ankle getting OFF of Truby. It was 3 years ago, and I still have problems. I dismounted, and my foot just gave out under me. I sat in a heap under Truby for about 5 minutes. She was completely unconcerned and just waited for me to get up. 

21. I don't like to eat bacon. I want to! It smells great, it sounds great while it's cooking. But I just don't like it. Every few years I give it a try and nope, don't like bacon :( 

22. I've been playing Hearthstone the entire time I've been working on this list. 

23. In my younger years, I learned how to ride reining horses. It's been forever, but I'd love to get back into it. So much fun!

24. Those same years are when I first bought Truby as a weanling. She was supposed to be a 2 year project while I was in school, then I was gonna sell her. Yeah, she was too awesome to sell!

25. A friend asked me to be a model for the jewelry she makes. I don't like being photographed, or really like my appearance at all, but I willing agreed and it ended up being SO FUN. 10/10 will do again.

 cell phone pic 'at the shoot'

26. Most of my good friends live out of state. I guess I really like my space! I wish we could hang out in person far more frequently, but FaceBook and texting make the distance seem shorter.

27. I once wore a towel as a skirt and went to the movies with a group of friends. Nothing sexy happened. 

28. I really dislike people that complain about the weather. A joke or even a single "man it's balls out!" is fine, but people that complain seriously about the weather annoy me. I's the weather. Watcha gonna do? Enjoy it, or enjoy poking fun at it or GTFO. 

29. I <3 <3 <3 drinking vitamin D milk with Chinese food. Sometimes I'll decide not to get Chinese food if I don't have milk and don't want to buy some. I don't even know. I don't drink milk otherwise.

30. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped me immensely, and I use many of the things I learned every day. I also recommend it or at least specific exercises when people ask me for advice. If you've read this far, you probably already figured out that I've spend some time working with a therapist! 

One of my favorite pictures, with my favorite cat, doing one of my favorite things.
Hershey Groom Expo 2013

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Desert Rain

In my last post, I told you about our dramatic pre-rainstorm walk into the desert. That fun evening was followed by several days of rain. Rain in the desert is a glorious event. It was chilly, and dark, and incredibly foggy much of the time.

There's supposed to be a whole mountain range behind those trees...

 A quick break in the rain

Dark for midday

And the rain returns...

It rained mostly during my "weekend", so I got to enjoy the rain. I slept in and listened to the rain fall outside my bedroom. I got to relax on the sofa, wrapped in a soft blanket and sipping hot cocoa, while the rain fell outside. It was lovely. 

Later, I went out to visit Truby. The rain had lightened to a light drizzle, so I took her out to play and roll. She *loved* it!


....I'll brush her later. Much later!

 It's nice having a stall with a run, but it's kind yuck.
At least it only rains like, 5 days a year.

As I left the rain returned and the mountains hid behind the clouds again

Tiny washout. I stopped to wonder if it was safe to drive through.
Then a schoolbus plowed through and I figured it was safe enough.

mini wash on the west side of the road

We have another weather event coming through tomorrow, so that should be fun. More rain, and mountain snow! Today however, it's warm and sunny. I'm going to see Truby, give her a good brush, and maybe go for a ride. We'll enjoy the sun today, and the rain tomorrow. 


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

An Evening of Danger

The temperature had been dropping all day. A chill wind swept the dark clouds relentlessly across the valley. The sun began to sink behind the icy mountains. The threat of a storm crackled in the windblown clouds, in the rustle of the mesquite, anticipation in the quiver of tiny animals hoping to hide in the night. 

I picked up the lead rope of my favorite old mare, and we walked into the desert, together. 

"you're weird, cookie person"

So while that sounds like a ridiculously overwritten fantasy novel, or, at the very least, a chapter in my autobiography Dumb Things I've Done, it's basically what Truby and I did yesterday. We've had weather (!!!) which is rare and exciting. A few days of rain, then a day of sun. Then a cold front blew through, and it was super dramatic and exciting! The pictures I took don't really do it justice, but that's what you get for using an iphone instead of a real camera. 

Those clouds were much darker
Looking south

Again, clouds should be darker and more dramatic

Looking East, and heading back home

Interesting clouds over the edge of the Rincon Mountains

The same view today. The mountains got snow!

I was surprised and pleased at how well Truby handled our walk. It was crazy windy. It had gone from being warm (60s) during the day, to bottoming out in the lower 40s. There was that feeling of excitement and danger that comes along with the best storms. But Truby and I marched down the path and had a very nice walk together. No spooks, no dramas, no scary monsters lurking in the brush. What a brave pony! The little trail is only about .15 of a mile each way, so it's a quick walk, but very enjoyable, no matter the weather. And the company can't be beat! 

Later that night, the front finally passed. We had some fantastic wind gusts, short amounts of driving rain, and snow up in the mountains. Today is chilly (well, low 50s. Chilly for Tucson!) but calmer.

A happy Truby, all wrapped up and waiting for the storms.

Saving Daylight, Desert Style

Sunset a few months ago, west side of Tucson Tucson is kinda awesome in that we don't do Daylight Savings. At all. No clock chang...