May 182014

Doranna & DuncanThis is Doranna Durgin’s WordPlay Blog. I’m glad you’re here–whether it’s to learn more about my books, or chat about dogs, horses, and reading.

On Fridays, The Write Horse usually stops by for life with horse training, written by Patty Wilber.

If you’d like to reach my Webstead, you can clicky on that link you just passed. Right there. Behind you! The one that said Webstead.

PS although I use a plug-in that allows commenters to sign in, it’s easy to post as a guest and guest commenters are welcome!

Jan 182019

By Patty Wilber

I am not a Lady Long Rider, and after 2.5 minutes of consideration, I don’t want to be one, either.

But, I sure enjoyed Bernice Ende’s Lady Long Rider book tour talk, and had the added luck of lunch with her and her sister (my dear friend Mary Ann) last week. Click the above link go to her website!

Last year, I bought one of Bernice’s old Tucker saddles with 10,000+ Bernice miles on it, so I have a little piece of Lady Long Rider History right in my tack room. I have a greater appreciation for the stories the saddle experienced after spending some time with Bernice!

The saddle fits Penny and Indy pretty well, and I like it for them for Back Country Horsemen projects.

This year, I bought Bernice’s book (less costly than a saddle), and I think it is a book that anyone who has ridden a trail would enjoy.  Click here to order and sign up for blog alerts.

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Jan 112019

By Patty Wilber

Last week I mentioned that we put snow rims on Durango.

This week I am here to tell you that I like them.

I only put the rims on the front feet as the hind feet seem way less prone to ball up.  This may have something to do with the weight distribution as the horse moves and is probably the same reason why some horses can do well with only front shoes on.

The snow rims have worked all week to keep Durango’s feet clear of snow while I have had to chip snow balls out of the hooves of some of the others after riding.

Durango’s feet after riding in the snow! It is kind of hard to see the structure of the snow rim.  The the inner black tube is it. It flexes when the horse walks and pops the snow out.

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Jan 042019

By Patty Wilber

Last year we had essentially no snow.  It even rained in December. 

This year has been much more like the “old days” (20 years ago when we first moved here).  Over this past Christmas week we got something like 18 inches of snow and New Year’s Day we got another foot or so.

“it is a lot of snow” say the dogs. Lani (L) and Coulson (R).

And it has been cold–below zero at night and teens and 20s and low 30s during the day.  Maybe low 40s by Saturday though–we do live in the Southwest after all, not the far North!! And then, sigh, there is a chance of snow Sunday.

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Dec 282018

By Patty Wilber

2018 seems like it got started, barely,
But 2019 will be here, yes verily,
The time fastly going might mean I am older,
But not so much older that I am beginning to moulder!

The highlights of ’18, they were aplenty
I bought two horses and didn’t sell any.
Our sweet island grandbaby, she has turned one.
M and E’s wedding in Homer was tons of fun.

January started with Atti’s worst show,
I am still scarred, if you want to know.
But she improved every week,
Now in great confidence, the World Show we will seek.

Dec. 25th, 2018. Atti (still 3 years old) has become so reliable that my daughter took her out on the trail with the baby.

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Dec 212018

By Patty Wilber

Christmas is just around the bend and the horses were just so excited to get their annual Christmas Hats pictures!

Lucy had a little panic attack when I tried to put the blonde braids on her.  “i am canadian! not swedish!” she said.

Durango and Penny threw theirs off at first, but I persisted!

LT and Indy’s first shots were inadequate so I had to redo them.

There are nine horses featured this year. Eight are Appaloosas and one is a Spanish Barb.  The answer is at the end!

Merry Christmas from the two good old guys: Durango-17ish (L), Comet-21  (R) and Mary Ann, who was once told she is very spry for her age (I think she is 29)!

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Dec 142018

By Patty Wilber

This week we had a lot going on in the house.

We got new floors in the bedrooms on Monday and Tuesday, and unexpectedly, a leaky faucet handle led to lack of water in the house for a week and a bunch of brand new piping.

Wait–isn’t that water supposed to be in that pipe? And isn’t that pipe supposed to connect to something? Well, as of Thursday night the floor is dry and the hose is hooked up!!

Um…there is a big hole in the wall. That we have not yet fixed!

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Dec 072018

By Patty Wilber

We have had a week of wintery weather, with more on the way. This is good news for our drought stricken state of affairs, which, surprising to me, is actually quite a bit worse right now, as compared to a year ago

All this cold and snow, however, is not so great for outdoor horse training, especially since it had been in the 40’s and 50’s up to now.

I am quite happy to be outside for hours if it is 25 F and sunny, but 15 F? at 9 am?  I just need another cup of coffee.

Monday 12/3/18. There is a ridge to the east of us, so the sun hasn’t quite made it to us yet. It was  15F. Looking west.

Later on Monday. Getting better, but by the time it reached 25 F, it was after 11 am, so not really enough time to get anything done before I had to head to town to teach one of my last microbio labs of the term.

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Nov 302018

By Patty Wilber

Based on advice in a Jack Brainard book (If I Were to Train a Horse, I think), I often use a running martingale when starting colts. It can give a little more leverage in order to prevent a wreck while a youngster is still learning how to respond to a bit, but doesn’t interfere with natural head carriage when all is going well.

The loop goes around the horse’s neck, the clip attaches to the cinch, and the reins go through the rings.

However, I have experienced a few glitches and came up with two very innovative (cough) ways to increase safety when using this tool.


Ellie, a three-year old filly owned by Judith Huchton modelling rein stoppers and the neck piece of the martingale tied to the saddle. She has eight rides, has been out on the trail and is just beginning to lope–both leads. She is a very sweet mare, (so far).

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Nov 232018

By Patty Wilber

An update on Cloud!

Backstory: In September, I saw his Livestock Board mug shot (picture) on the  New Mexico Horseman FB page and there was something about him that captured me. I don’t do rescues very often and I didn’t have room for him at this time, but still, there was something about him.

 So, I called Char Hudson at Walkin N Circles rescue ranch to see if Walkin N Circles could possibly bid for him if I would provide financial support for about a year (which wasn’t that much, so don’t be terribly impressed).

They said, “Yes!”

They won the bid, and WNC began the process of helping him recover by feeding him carefully, getting his teeth done, getting shots, etc.

As you can see by the pictures, he is doing really well!  And the best part is down below!

9/26/2018 at the Livestock Board pens

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Nov 162018

By Patty Wilber

It is getting late in the trail work season, but the forecast for last weekend was looking good, so we put together one last Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen trail project for the Manzanos.

We were scheduled to have seven riders but lameness (in a horse) and a dead battery took out four, leaving just Jim, Mary Ann and me.

It was a good thing we picked last weekend, because Monday, a storm came in and now there is snow!

View from my house, at 6800 feet. The trails we clear in the Manzano Mountains, 50 miles south, go up to 9,000+ feet, so the snow is probably going to stay on the ground there rather than melting. There were already some small patches last weekend.

We cleared a big log a few weeks ago, and the trails were clear, but then we got reports that there were a lot of down branches on the Albuquerque Trail-Mosca-Crest-Cerro Blanco-4th of July loop. (This is a pretty cool map and it even shows the horse bypass on Cerro Blanco that BCH put in around 10 years ago. Or more.  Time flies.)

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