DCWARP goes to St. Bernard Lodge

OK I know what you are thinking.  What the heck does DCWARP stand for.  Well it is kind of knotty, I mean a naughty little secret.  Way back in 2008 a group of cowgirls got together for a horseback riding vacation at a place called Box R Ranch in Southern Oregon.  Lets just say we did a lot more than horseback riding and bonded pretty tight.  Box RBox R Ranch 2008

We have lost a couple members over the years but gained a couple too.  Continue reading

Black and White Sunday: Black Beauty

Santa Fe  Santa Fe Renegade a Morgan Stallion owned by Eitan Beth Halachmy  Photo taken 5/8/11

Wordless Wednesday: Crossing the Great Divide

Some how this did not get posted yesterday.  Better late than never

,Crossing the Divide

From the Tony Stromberg Workshop at Absaroka Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming. 6/13

Horse Camp: On the Fly

Rancho2013_I love it when my birthday, June 8th,  falls on a Saturday.  On June 8th, about 2 weeks  ago, the scheduled temps in Chico, Ca. were around 108 degrees.  At Sundog, up in the foothills,  the temp might ONLY be 103 degrees (how do I make a degree sign on a computer?)  So I asked Rockin’ Roy…if we could do one of my favorite things.  Camping in the cooler mountains and not just regular camping,  horse camping, even better.   You see,  I have my Appaloosa gelding named “GQ” trained so good right now I can just about let anyone hop on his back for a ride and that means Rockin’ Roy gets to ride him.  Lucky Roy.   I can hop on my newest ride Chiron.  Chiron is pictured above after loading into the big tin can trying to sniff the big black thing in his face and asking “where the you know what are we going now?”Rancho2013_-2I tell Chiron “you are going on a trip with your buddy and staying right next to each other all day and night ”  He does not care about anything else.   Like the fact we are going to a place called Skillman Campground about 2 hours drive from here where it might be 10 degrees cooler. Rancho2013_-3The feeling of driving away with the horse trailer and camping gear is just about as good as it gets.  Only one problem.  No Sundogs are aboard.  The campground we are going to requires dogs on a leash and some of the trails go too close to highways.  Taking a Sundog or two would be way to complicated and even dangerous.  Besides,  it is good for us to have vacations away from each other once in a while.   Just like Rockin’ Roy and me go our separate ways quite often…I mean once in awhile.  AND it is not like the poor Sundogs are deprived.  They are staying home lounging by the pool being spoiled by some lucky Sundog sitters.  IMG_0114

See, here they are. Minus one.Rancho2013_-9“On  the fly”  to me means spontaneous,  not fly fishing.    Non tent living quarters pictured above is part of the “on the fly” theme.  Spontaneous is fun and makes me feel young again but it has some drawbacks since neither Rockin’ Roy and I are all that organized.Rancho2013_-4Like…..I had to immediately wash all the camping supplies due to ample amounts of wood rat droppings in the camping stuff bin.   Of course it was not MY fault because I did not pack the truck.  The person who packs the truck with STUFF is supposed to check the STUFF since this was the first trip of the year….. but I did the dishes anyway.  Doing the dishes when you are camping is like playing house when you were a kid.  Plus the scenery is nice.  I was a bit embarrassed to put up this photo of me doing the dishes but I wanted you to see our “on the fly” set up.  Please don’t laugh at our camping gear, we keep the thrift stores in business.Rancho2013_-5What a nice fire huh?    I built this fire while being left alone for an hour.  Left alone because someone (who me?) forgot to put everything we needed in the cooler.  Like coffee and cream which is a must for waking up on my birthday morning.  And another someone (not me) forgot to bring along the lantern, another must have camping item.   Making a fire with dry wood is a piece of cake.  In fact with this fire who needs a lantern?  GQ and Chiron are into their busy bags.  The best part  about horse camping is sleeping near and looking at your horses all the time.  It’s like we are living together.  I think I will title this photo “Life is Good”.Rancho2013_-10“Life is Good”  came to an end when in the morning I had to clean the stalls.   Lots of horse poop is a fact of life having horses, unless you have a poop picker upper.   Which most of us don’t.  But the duty is not so bad since we are in the cool mountain air and the flies are at bay.Rancho2013_-8While cleaning the stalls the horses had to be tied up to a hitching post.  A wood hitching post is an old fashion invention. Why they make them out of wood I’ll never know.   Standing still while tied is a horses job.  As you can see in this photo Chiron is not exactly doing his job well.  He is starting the annoying habit of pawing at the ground due to boredom I quess.  GQ watches me wondering why Chiron gets all the attention all the while misbehaving.Rancho2013_-26The pawing kept him busy for a while.  I tried not to make much of it.Rancho2013_-23He built up some pretty nice soft soil there around him to stand on.  Maybe that was what is was all about?Rancho2013_-20

GQ decides to go introverted at the hitching post.

Rancho2013_-35It is all he can do to deal with the situation.  Being tied to the hitching post with Chiron is about as bad as it gets.Rancho2013_-16Eyes closed, head down, nose to post.  “Maybe nobody will notice me”.Rancho2013_-17Secret whiskers on alert.Rancho2013_-18Time to wake up goober nose.Rancho2013_-15
Chiron feels he has to help GQ wake up by sniffing around and tickling GQ’s belly.  GQ is enormously tolerant of Chiron in this way.Rancho2013_-7“Mom come and get me now “!Rancho2013_-30Chiron on the other hand has other ideas.Rancho2013_-28As you can see a wood hitching post has its disadvantages.   Notice how nice and straight Chiron’s teeth are?  No I DON’T brush them daily.  Also notice the orange drips on the hitching post?Rancho2013_-29Habanero sauce, which usually works to discourage wood consummation.  Chiron did NOT do all this damage to the hitching post.  The many horses that visited here before did it.  Chiron was just doing his part.Rancho2013_-13After a bit of Habanero sauce Chiron quickly lowered his head under the hitching post as if to say…..”I think I’ll just hang my head low and be a good boy like GQ”Rancho2013_-19“Or maybe not”  As you can see this horse has some pent-up energy.  Lucky me I get to ride him today, my birthday.Rancho2013_-36Speaking of birthdays look what I got!  What more could a cowgirl want?  No not the Corona…..a new tool.   Besides a couple of knives it’s got wire cutters and a bottle opener.  Even though it was only late morning we were camping and it was my birthday so off popped the cap on the Corona Light which is like drinking water almost.  It is good to loosen up a bit before a rideRancho2013_-12Being an experienced trail horse GQ goes back to snoozing while Roy has to check the map one more time.  He knows all about conserving his energy before he has to work.Rancho2013_-22The warm mountain sun is starting to get high meaning we are REALLY late getting started for our ride today.  Do you think GQ cares?Rancho2013_-27Absolutely NOT!Rancho2013_-37But the time comes to ride.  I tack up the horses because Rockin’ Roy is allergic to them. Rancho2013_-38Doesn’t GQ look fabulous in his new headstall?Rancho2013_-40Chiron finally calms down knowing he is going to get to move his feet soon.  Saddlebag not needed today.  Rancho2013_-39Whoa Roy!  Heels down, shorten that inside reign, lower those hands, elbows in.  GQ wonders “who is this on my back and why is my usual human standing on the ground in front of me?”

At this point my trail camera bit the dust and it was time to get on with the ride.  Chiron was calling me to hurry up and get on.  No more blogging time just riding time.  Rockin Roy and I had a glorious ride through the forest.  We even had lunch at a cafe along the trail.   The weather stayed below 95 degree’s I think.  GQ and Chiron were perfect mounts and the rest of the weekend went of without a hitch….ha ha no pun intended.

Adios Amigo’s…until next time.

Back in the Saddle

ImageFrancis says I’ve been off this blog for 3 weeks now and it is time to get back in the saddle.  My excuse? I was side tracked by a REALLY fun girls weekend on the California coast.  Not just a girls trip but a cowgirl trip.  You cannot get much funner.  It justifiable put me off track. 14 girls in total, staying in “The Bunkhouse” at Chanslor Ranch, Bodega Bay, Ca.ImageWe rode on the ocean. ImageMe and GQ.  What a perfect partner he was on the trip. He acted as his name implies.ImageGalloping in the sand and photographing at the same time has it’s challenges.  But GQ was steady Freddy.ImageGQ ended up being a loner in his vacation pasture even though there were 6 other horses to keep him company.  Poor boy, all the others paired up so GQ decided to hang by the barn and the other rental horses at the ranch.  He fell in love with a gray one eyed pony on the other side of the fence but it got taken away from him when a new rescue horse arrived and bonded with it with in a few hours.ImageThis is Marisa after catching Leo and Highlander. They were being naughty and ran away to the OTHER end of the pasture when called.  Marisa was determined to go for a ride even on a very windy afternoon.  Leo and Highlander have been paired up for almost their whole lives so GQ did not stand a chance to be friends with them.  ImageHere is Kelly the black and white paint in the lead and Easter following.  They too were brats and ran away from their human instead of coming when called.Image Jodi finally catches Easter and takes her from her Kelly and the rest of  the herd.   Jodi was crazy enough to go for that windy afternoon ride.  ImageKelly the Paint grazes in the grassy shadows acting like she does not care if Easter, her other half, leaves.  There is Danika the black mare and Smokey the grey gelding to hang with. ImageUnfortunately for Kelly,  Danika and Smokey quickly blow her off and take off together for their own little patch of paradise.Image So Kelly bolts to the gate to see were Easter went and quickly realizes her only one to pair up with now is GQ.  GQ was in luck!  Finally he got his break. ImageHere he is following behind Kelly like a big puppy dog.  Eyes and ears all bugging out like he does when he is excited.Image  Jill (Danika’s human) kicks back while the crazies get saddled up.Image

Caution HOT HORSES.ImageI’m ready when you are.ImageOnce the crazies are gone….GQ and Kelly get right down to business. Unfortunately it did not last long.Image  As soon as Easter returned Kelly and Easter were glued together again.

ImageGQ came to terms with being alone again.  He being a aloof horse to begin with handles rejection well.  As you can see by this photo we are both feeling happy.  This is the meaning of “Life is Good”ImagePartying at the barn started before the sun went down after riding of course.Image


Starting to feel confident!

ImageThe trail boss insisted on butting in with the girls and showing us some of his fancy dance steps.  I had to document, no dancing for me.ImageLater on when the sun went down is when we really got started.ImageAnd more than started.ImageAnd more than started.

ImageAnd ended.Image
We know how to ride but we also know how to tour and see the sights.  There were oysters to die for.ImageImageAnd fine wine to taste.ImageThank you Joseph Phelps.  Black, red and white.  Bodega Bay Baby T-shirts 🙂ImageAnd what trip to Bodega Bay would be complete without a trip to the infamous “Bodega Bay School”  “The Birds” were gone but we did met up with another character.ImageImageAnd we had characters in our group.


And of course let’s not forget shopping at “The Tides”  for souvenirs and smoked salmon.


Just hanging out at the bunkhouse was fun.ImageBy the end of the trip the horses were feeling the pain too.  But Leo takes it all in stride here.  He has the really cool CLEAN blanket.Image

Is it time to go home yet?

ImageUntil next year…….BYE BYE BODEGA BAY BABY!!!