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!

Jun 182021

By Patty Wilber

Last Friday (6/11), a lightning strike started a fire in the Pecos Wilderness, and Saturday, were were planning to pack in supplies for a trail crew…

Fortunately, the fire did not grow fast (Rincon Fire: still only 500 acres 6/17 and is mainly an understory fire, although 139 personnel are still listed as deployed on it.).  Also it is/was situated about eight miles east of the work party, and would be expected to move farther east rather than west if it were to grow.  So, we got to go in!

Requisite “horses are the trailer” shot. Penny (left) and Cometa (right) are old hands at this. Sleep until it’s time to move out! Cometa hauled stuff and Penny hauled me.

It is always a fun day when you get to ride in the Pecos, and it is rewarding to get to pack! I might have only one hitch in my repertoire but I can tie a mean Box Hitch, and that is what I used to secure Cometa’s load.

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Jun 112021

By Patty Wilber

Sydney Brooks was in town, taking a break from researching (on her way to a Ph.D. in Chemistry) ways to make gold particles fold into predetermined shapes.  Yes, really.  This work holds “immense promise for chiroptical sensors and components of optical metamaterials.” You can read all about that by clicking the link!

Over the years she has come out to ride when ever she is in town, but, of course, she has not been able to leave Pittsburgh for, like, a year and a half, because, yes, COVID. So, it has been great to see her.

Sydney showed Penny in the New Mexico Buckskin Horse Association for two years, back about 7 or 8 years ago, while she was in high school. (Penny is a dun, and is registered with the American Buckskin Registry Association, as well as being a registered solid Appaloosa.)

As luck would have it, Sydney’s visit corresponded with an NMBHA show, at the Bosque Farms Rodeo Arena!  But since Heidi is using Penny, Sydney (like Jordyn last month) got to ride LT.  (Penny and Heidi had another good show, btw!!–Penny is enjoying being back in the ring with a young rider, and she gets to work cows, but I did not get any still photos of them this show!!)

Sydney on LT and me on Lucy.  I guess I am picking my nose and Sydney is reacting in horror. That is not what is actually happening, but it sort of looks like it! Photos all by Suzette.

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Jun 042021

By Patty Wilber

Memorial Day weekend in the Pecos is definitely one of the weekends I look forward to.  One year we started out in sun and ended up in a lot of wet stuff.  On that trip, the dead fall was very intense–over 60 trees down from the top of round mountain to Beatty’s cabin.

This year was dry and also fairly warm, and while we did not ride Trail 25 to Beatty’s, dead fall seemed less than I would have expected…

We got the biggest pen and Derek and Heidi helped me make some minor repairs so that it was safe and secure. In some past years, the grass has been knee high and every morning would be soaked with dew. Our dry years seem to have nipped that in the bud, as it were.  But on the plus side, the lack of lush grass virtually eliminated any worry about grass founder.

Grazing time in the mountains!

On Friday, the group (me, Jim, Mary Ann E., Patty S., Bill, Derek, Heidi and Connie) took a fun ride on Cave creek, except there were a few trees we felt obligated to clear.

On Saturday, we did our actual project.  We rode Windsor Ridge to Skyline trail (about seven miles one way).  We cleared about 25 trees, several pretty large.  We had eight riders in the 55+ category and Heidi and Ashtyn in the U13.  Ashtyn came with her grandpa and Heidi got to ride Lucy for me as her Dad’s horse ended up with a weird puncture wound that needed vet care, so they went home. The puncture was so deep the bone was chipped (they found out later).  We searched her pen, but could not figure out what she had hit.

Ashtyn on Squirt and Pa (Peter) on Longshot. (I had the pleasure of starting both those horses!)

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May 282021

By Patty Wilber

Horses generate something like 25 pounds of manure per day. Our composting bins had filled up. 

Since I had to use the tractor to open up a bin anyway, I had incentive to get some other dirt work done! 

I needed to fill in the sloped spots where run off causes some erosion and areas that the horses have worn down.  Since I needed dirt for all this, I got the brilliant idea to cut back a tight corner by the hay/tractor barn to make it easier to pull in and out of there!

I started with removal of manure and spreading it.

Remove from here. (Not done yet!)


Spread to here.

But then, that space filled up and I figured I could start making a circuit.  Get manure, spread it or dump it, get some dirt on the way back, dump that, work on the back lot, return to the manure bin. Repeat.

My dirt did come mostly from my corner removal project (and also from my old crusher fines pile).

I removed a large Wolfberry bush and a section of fence.

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May 212021

By Patty Wilber

LT got the winning number: camping last W to F AND a Back Country Horsemen project Sunday.

On the Continental Divide Trail near Cecilia Creek.

Siri knew of a quiet camping spot next to Cecilia Creek near the San Pedro Parks Wilderness in the Santa Fe National Forest.

So, off we went for a little relaxing camping trip.  We also rode about 30 miles;  seven the first afternoon, 15 the second day, and seven the last day–depending on whose ride tracking app we believe. Of course, we met some hikers doing he CDT and they are covering upwards of 30 miles on foot/day so our days were definitely low key compared to that.  One guy, currently making the trek, has a blog, the Dusty Camel.

When we were not riding, we were eating or laughing or both at once.  (No one choked while doing this.)

We assigned meals but we did not coordinate. Here is what Mary Ann and I brought for dinner Weds. night: Chips, dip and olives for appetizers, main meal of chicken and cheese ravioli with Caesar salad, and pound cake for desert.

Here is what Linda and Siri brought for Thursday night:  Chips, olives, cheese and salami for appetizers (olives!); followed by CHICKEN PASTA, CAESAR SALAD and POUND CAKE!  I am not kidding!

Great minds think alike, and all that!

Eat, drink and be merry! Patty S., Linda, Siri, Mary Ann.

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May 112021

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend was the NM Buckskin Horse Association’s Ranch Show.  As usual, it was fun! Also a treat for me since all three of my mares (LT, Penny and Lucy) got to go AND I unexpectedly got to show Nancy’s gelding Gunner!


Heidi the girl (age 11) and Penny the horse (age 14) had to show Novice Amateur as there was not a youth category.  They ended up reserve champions!  In boxing, Heidi had good square stops and kept Penny turning over her hocks.  And when she needed to, she got across the pen quickly and stopped her cow before it took off down the fence.  She did NOT lose her cow! 

In trail, Heidi missed a lead on a counter canter but in a three stride space, noticed, fixed it with a flying lead change, and then correctly loped the logs on the counter canter. That was a cool recovery!

Jordyn was home from college for a week, so we basically pulled LT out of the pen, dusted her off for the week and Jordyn showed.  It was Jordyn’s first ever boxing class.  They went in the arena and LT could not stand the idea of waiting for the cow to come out of the gate so began prancing about and semi-rearing.  (That brought back memories and made me appreciate Lucy who would probably take a nap if she had to wait very long for the gate to open.)  On their second go, Jordyn started farther out, called for her cow really early, then kept LT moving forward, which gave all that energy LT keeps on tap, somewhere to go–forward.

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May 072021

By Patty Wilber

Well, the family left last Saturday and Sunday, and the sheer volume of food the eight of us consumed was remarkable.  Feeding eight people instead of two required several extra shopping trips.

I am missing the jumble of 30 year old kids toys all over the house!  Yes, we have home-made wooden blocks, paper blocks, bowling, ancient matchbox cars, books and more that we had saved for just this occasion.

Here is one more picture from last week.

Last Thursday we rode the Sandia Tram to the top of the mountain and the wee Hawaiians got to see snow!

But now, we are back to “normal”.

Normal around here is not typically boring, but I am still missing everyone!

Andretti, with 12 rides, is loping in the round pen with no pre-lunging, and has also been on a short trail ride by himself (well, I was there–I rode). I did hand walk him up and down the very steep part of the trail with the railroad tie steps, just to baby him a bit.  He was outstandingly settled.

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Apr 302021

By Granny Patty

We had not seen our kids or grandkids for quite some time, so what a treat for Granny Patty to have everyone here for a WEEK!

Leilani (3 and a half) got off the plane and came directly to the horse show I was at in her boots, helmet, and princess dress.  She got right on Lucy for a ride!

We also got to go to the Tucker’s to visit the lambs, bunnies, new calf, show calves, cats and horses, including Penny who is staying with Heidi, and Biscuit who was willing to go double!

Checking out the four day old bull calf, in full princess mode. And boots.

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Apr 232021

By Patty Wilber

Andretti came almost two weeks ago and he is nice stout bay solid appaloosa gelding out of a Peptoboonsmal mare owned by Whispering Spirit Ranch. He is coming along well and should be the sort of horse that can get a job done!  I really like him.

Beauty is a gorgeous solid appaloosa two year old filly, owned by Judith Huchton that came a week ago, so I figured Beauty and Beast would be a great title for this weeks blog…except then it turned out that upon initial impression, maybe Beauty actually WAS the Beast…

(Fortunately, it turns out she just needed a day or two to adapt to her new surroundings. Whew!)

Our place was a little busy for Beauty to start with.  “oh my!!!” she said.  “horses go out, move around, get tied over there, get moved over here, disappear with some people, come back. i don’t know what is going on!!”

She spent the whole first day moving moving moving all around her big pen.

I knew she could lead, was familiar with a drag rope from work done with her before she came, but had not been tied.

Beauty, a drag rope, a bareback pad and some random polo wraps. “rope shmope,” she said. She also had no reaction to the bareback pad, but the polo wrap around her butt was not pleasing at first. The polo wraps are for desensitizing. The red one is part of a set I bought when I was 16 (~1977) Before Velcro was a thing! Before fleece was a thing!

The beauty of a drag rope is the horse learns to give to the rope, gets used to ropes around the legs and usually will also lead and tie pretty well.

“So, let’s give tying a try”, I thought.

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Apr 162021

By Patty Wilber

Last Sunday, Heidi took Penny to the NMBHA show.  I probably had as much fun as Heidi since I got to tell her what to do all the time!  Much like when Sydney was riding Penny, Heidi UNDERSTANDS what I am talking about and, then she can go do it.  

Photo by Derek.

Of course, then she and Penny beat me and Lucy in open ranch trail (she got second, and she also got second in W/T ranch trail–Lucy won that one) so I might need to give worse advice so I don’t start losing all the time to Heidi!

Heidi also placed about middle of the pack in the open (mainly grown ups) in ranch rail, ranch pleasure and ranch riding! AND she showed in boxing.  It was a nice no-drama go.

This week we worked on lead changes, we worked the flag, and we are going to work live cows!  Next weekend we will have a another crack at stuff at the NM Paint show, and this time, there are even youth classes!

 I had to toss in a photo of Lucy. I like how her front feet are crossing in this picture.

Photo by Derek.

James brought his horse Biscuit and he held herd for me in the cutting!

Lucy was apparently planning to run over Biscuit. Photo by Derek.

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