Thursday, July 30, 2009

Living Up to His Nickname

That would be "Shithead".

Last night, both horses had blood trails down their necks from the huge black horseflies, some of which are an inch and a half long. I've been spraying them while they eat. They usually dance a bit, hinting they might walk off, but we're talking about my two, and walk away from food? Yuh, like THAT would ever happen! But it did.

I sprayed Poco, but Jaz decided he was outta there. I tried several times before grabbing a lead rope. He trotted around the back of the run-in shed, spooked Poco, and they both charged across the dry creek bed. Now I was committed — I had to catch him for the win. This quickly turned into the best horsey game ever.

As soon as I'd get within about 10 feet, my normally easy-to-catch ponies took off to the opposite end of the property. Then they'd toss their heads, which looked remarkably like the equine equivalent of humans slapping their thighs while doubled over with laughter.

I bet y'all know how this battle was won.

"Will whore for cookies."

Score another one for Mom.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't Ignore the Portents

Some folks say there aint no bears in arkansas
Some folks never seen a bear at all
Some folks say that bears go around eating babies raw
Some folks got a bear across the hall

Some folks drive the bears out of the wilderness
Some to see a bear would pay a fee
Me I just bear up to bewildered best
And some folks even see the bear in me

"Bears" (Steve Fromholz)
Performed by Lyle Lovett
From the 1998 album "Step Inside This House"

The weather this morning was absolutely perfect, with no hint that temps would later be in the triple digits. I could think of no excuse not to take Jaz down the road. It's been a long time. However, he went stupid on me almost from the moment I tied him. At first I thought it was the construction noise from next door.

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, we're getting Russian neighbors. Mike and I talked for years about buying the property next door, but that wasn't in the cards for us. They're building a BIG house that feels like it's RIGHT next to the fence. Deed restrictions say it has to be at least 50 ft. from the line, so I guess I believe it. I'm already trying to be careful what I wear outside. Ever since we moved here, I've given no thought to it. I'm trying not to give it too much thought. I'm sure they're perfectly nice people. But, I digress.

Sometimes you should just go with your gut and not try to second-guess it. As soon as I saw Jaz get all snorty and blow-y, I said out loud,"Well, this doesn't bode well." But I figured maybe I was just looking for an excuse not to do it, and he'd get over it. Nuh-uh. I thought about using a bit, but Jaz is normally just fine in the Dr. Cook's. Nuh-uh.

The 3 silly Labs down the road, headed by chocolate Norma Jean, carried on at the fence. You'd think Jaz never saw them before. Another dog that walks out to the end of the driveway, but stays where he is when I tell him to, also must have resembled a bear to Jaz. Although I sprayed him heavily, these HUGE black flies were biting the hell out of him. He was flinching, biting, throwing his head, and they just hung on. He had a blood trail down his neck. At one point, I thought he was going to take off. I got my win, and turned around. The whole deal was over in an hour including tacking up, down the road a piece, and tacking down. It was only 10:30 a.m.

I had my camera, but no photos. I didn't dare take a hand off the reins. I just wanted a relaxing mosey; what I got was a thrill a minute, and not in a good way.

I don't know what his whole deal was. Besides the fact that I can't remember the last time I rode him down the road alone, he might have been stressing about leaving Poco, who made no secret of how he felt about it. For some reason, it never crossed my mind this was the first ride since my rodeo injury. I mounted and dismounted 4 times from the ground. I can try again tomorrow and see how he is, and how my leg is. I feel it a little, so I didn't need to ride any longer than I did.

I came inside, did some chores, got showered, all before Mr. Fry got home from work.

Every part of the experience was a manifestation of that which I affirm daily: all things are working together for my good. Rather than what I wanted, I got what I needed.

And that's the way God rolls in my life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Less Words Wednesday

More images from Jordan Park at Lake Ray Roberts.
(Pilot Point, TX)

These flowers look like they're made of fabric.

Nita said this is a wild hibiscus.
Don't get me to lyin' ...

Monarch butterfly on lantana.
Its wings were fluttering so fast,
they were buzzing.
It's wingspan was easily as broad
as the span of my fingers.

Monday, July 20, 2009

He Doesn't Need Any Help!

Jaz is one of those horses that spends his whole life
searching for the perfect place to die.

There is never a time when
he's not wounded somewhere.

Or multiple somewheres.

We keep Micro-Tek and Nolvasan in business.

This horse can hurt himself on sharp air.

He rubs his tail bald because he's
allergic to the no-see-um bites.

So, knowing that we own a horse that
does this to himself ...

... what in holy hell is Mr. Fry thinking,
leaving the hay spike sticking
straight out

at belly height,
right next to the feed pans???

I was too busy explaining equine safety
or lack thereof
and asking him to kindly
lower the spike
to get a photo of it at the previous angle.

I love the guy, but jeez!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Trails at Jordan Park

The trip to Jordan Park happened,
more or less as originally planned.
Nita and I had a minor miscommunication,
so got started later than
we'd planned, but no matter.

There is only one natural lake in Texas (Caddo).
Ray Roberts is an Army Corp of Engineers project.

There are other trails at Ray Roberts;
this was simply the shortest.

Lantana Lodge at Lake Ray Roberts
Pilot Point, TX

This place is a hidden treasure!

A not-quite-life-size bronze


Martha was a trooper.

Sections of the trail are steep and rocky.
All Monica's horses were shod.
The other horses people brought
were about 50/50.
Poco could probably handle it,
but not Jaz.
Guess I'll be looking into Easy Boots.

Nita, blazing the trail

This appears to be a field of coastal Bermuda,
but it's fenced off.

When it wasn't rocky, it was deep fine sand,
a workout to walk through.

Steep and rocky or not, the shade was wonderful.

One of several places where
you can walk right down to the lake
and allow your horse to drink.

I don't think either of my horses
would like this part at all.
The path across the land bridge
feels even narrower than it looks.

And speaking of narrow ...
This is about the halfway mark. From here, the trail loops back around on itself.

All the trail horses seemed HUGE to me.
This Appy was super sweet.

Monica is the private contractor
who trailers horses in
and leads trail rides.
She's a lovely woman, originally from Spain.
We talked
to her for over an hour when we got back.
She said we are welcome to follow her group
when we bring horses
to walk the trail.

If I let Poco stand around untied and tacked up,
he'd drop and roll in a heartbeat.
These guys are so patient.

A pretty paint mare belonging to this guy,
a guest at the Lodge.

The paint guy's wife and her pony.
They were already gone and back by the time we got there.

This bay warmblood needs his own zip code.
His withers were over my head.
These horses were brought in
for the day,
but rode with Monica's group.

The lantana was aflutter with butterflies.

A whupped little dog.
We didn't intend to walk the full 7 miles,
but we just kept walking.

We had a lovely lunch on the Lodge's shaded patio.
I thirsted for a Corona, but alas,
it's a state park, so no alcohol.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Maybe Not

'Wish me luck
Give me somethin'

Help me out

And I'll go there...

All I want is a brand new truck

One eyed Jacks & beginner's luck

The doctor's script for the perfect drug

Get it all while I can

But I got no money & I got no man

I drive around in a beat up van

I ride on coffee & Percodan

Get it all while I can

Is that too much to ask

Is that too much to ask'

Is That Too Much to Ask — Beth Hart
From the 1999 album Screamin' For My Supper

My Saturday plans crashed and burned before they ever got off the ground. I picked up the dog crate with Martha in it and was too lazy to open both halves of the double doors to the bedroom. I held the crate out in front of me to fit through one door, and, imperceptibly at the time, tweaked my back. It's not imperceptible anymore. I have pain meds but can't take them and put two thoughts together much less drive, and I have to go to work today.

A 'mild cold front' has moved in, dropping the temps from triple digits to the low-mid 90s. Don't laugh, it really does make a difference. I researched the horse trails at Lake Ray Roberts. My plan was to get up early tomorrow and walk one of the shorter trails. Nita was to join me, and I thought I'd bring Martha. I thought next time Nita and I could bring a couple horses, tack them up and walk it again with them, then ride next trip. That may seem excessively cautious, but neither my horses nor I have that kind of experience. Jaz would probably do fine, but even he sometimes goes stupid on me. Poco ... well, there's no telling. He could be fine or he could want me to carry him. He's usually okay as long as his nose is in Jaz's butt.

But that's not going to happen. I know it's still a day away, but this ain't my first time at this rodeo. Wouldn't be prudent to walk that far.

Maybe Sunday. Or not.

Middle age is not for sissies.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Virtual Trail Ride

I am riding my noble steed, Jaz,
as we travel a crooked path eastward
from New Mexico into West Texas.

You'll see lots of this.

And this.

And this.

Hopefully, not this.

Does Ft. Worth ever cross your mind?

The lights of Big D.

Dallas mascot.

I am closer to the Oklahoma
border than I am to Dallas or Ft. Worth.

Most people are surprised at how
green and wide open far North Texas is.

Look how nice and wide the shoulders are.
Your horse's feet will thank you.

In places, there's shade and grazing
on the sides of the road.


Typical properties

A side of Lake Ray Roberts I haven't shown you before.
Unfortunately, you can't ride on the shore,
at least, not here.

Another typical property.

A roadrunner on our fence

I'll get the gate for you.

Tack down and we'll grain your horses
before you let them go.
There's grazing, shade,
water, and a round bale out back.

Now for you!

C'mon in.

Chips, salsa, guacamole?

Ice cold Coronas
with fresh lime?

Or would you prefer frozen margaritas?

I'll have a big pot of pinto beans.

And fried bean and cheese burritos,
if my son doesn't hear about them
and eat them all first.

Fresh, homemade tamales.

And for dessert, sopapillas — YUM!

A shower will feel
pretty good about now.

Flip a coin to see who gets the guest room.
It's a queen bed, if you don't mind sharing.
Everybody else, grab a sofa,
chair, or the floor.

Sleep well.
I'll fix breakfast before we
hit the trail again tomorrow.

Y'all come back.
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