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Sunday, November 30, 2008

My new hat and Bobby guards her bone.

I wore my new hat when I went to feed the horses. It's got long bobbles that hang down each side. Echo was very interested in it and he carefully sniffed the bobbles. Here's a picture of him looking at me in my new hat.


Bobby has a big rawhide bone that she's been busy guarding from the other pets. She keeps it under the table in her self proclaimed dog den. This is what it's looked like for weeks in the same place under the table. The blurry thing in the foreground is her wagging stumpy tail.


She's convinced herself that given the chance the cats will make off with it. So she goes on cat patrol when she remembers 'the bone'.

The weather has been milder and so our four cats are frequently in and out. Here's the back door with Andy waiting his turn to go out.


Meanwhile at the kitchen door; Max wants in and Muffin wants out.


When the cats are on maneuvers Bobby has to be on her toes to protect her bone, so she gives the cats a jab in the ribs with her nose to keep them moving. She doesn't jab them very hard because they keep walking along with their arrogant tails in the air.

When Bobby is outside the doors have to be locked because she puts her paw on the door knob, pulls it down and lets herself back in. I'd have no problem with it but she doesn't close the door behind her so in the summer the house fills up with flies and in the winter she lets all the cold air in.


I just shouted out to her that the cats were eating her stinky old bone. "Hey Bobby, Andy's eating your bone...and he likes it".

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Dog and Pony show.

Sunday I wanted to see how the horses would respond to Bobby. I asked her to jump up on this table thing and to my surprise she did. Wildairo wasn't bothered by having a dog on a table. Nothing seems to bother him except Stranger Danger. He politely introduced himself.




New best friends? Bobby and Wildairo ate baby carrots together. Bobby will eat anything to prevent another pet from eating it. When I'm cooking in the kitchen I will give her a bit of raw onion or mushroom and ask her to please give it to Andy, our cat. She will gobble it down rather than let Andy eat it. As if he would!

Next I took Bobby to meet Echo inside his pen for the first time. Echo was his usual shy self. He came up to me to eat carrots with Bobby but he was very careful not to step on her.


Echo is a secret apple eater. He will not eat them out of my hand but the cut up apples I've been dropping in his bucket have been disappearing.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I impressed Echo.

This is the face of a Wild Horse when he discovers humans have magical powers.


Tuesday turned magical for Echo. It was a lovely day, sunny, warm (for November) with no wind at all. I'd just been giving Echo a few carrots and telling him his mum, dad, brothers, sisters, all the cousins were all going to be safe from harm now. Then our cat, Andy showed up. Echo couldn't take his eyes off him. So, I called Andy who meowed and joined us in the corral. I bent down and scratched his head which really impressed Echo who stood enchanted and transfixed. I could tell he wanted to meet Andy but was too shy to approach, so I moved away and left Andy alone in the middle of the pen. Echo approached him very carefully, it made me think of Beautiful Girl and her cat, but Andy walked slowly out of the corral. Echo followed but Andy didn't get to be a 13 year old farm cat by taking chances.

Once he was the other side of the fence, Andy flopped down in the sun and Echo peeked at him through the boards. I called Andy and Andy Meowed back. That made Echo turn and look at me in wonder. Suddenly Echo walked up to me and started kissing my face. Very gently he rubbed his top lip over my nose and made it wiggle then he carefully ran his nose all through my hair and very gently touched my clothes. He put his nostril over my nose to feel my breath and it was like he was meeting me for the first time, again. I got out my cell phone out and took the above picture. At one point he started to take my sleeve in his mouth and I said, "No no Sweetie", and he stopped.

Echo didn't know that Andy and I were old friends. He must think I have powers over all creatures and they all come to me when I call and answer me when I talk. It was just a simple encounter but the whole thing made he just love that little horse all the more. He's so sweet and gentle and he's got away of looking me right in the eyes that's incredible.

I'm so glad Mrs Pickens is going to be looking after the captured mustangs. I knew she would be able to do right by them. It costs about 30 million a year for the BLM to keep them in corrals and 30 million can buy a lot of western acres.

I wonder if they will form bands with bossy geldings as the leaders? Wildairo really missed out there. He thought he was pretty bossy till old Foxsun beat him up.

I also wonder if it'll ever be possible to adopt a wild horse again? What will happen to events like the Extreme Mustang makeover? What will the BLM workers at the wild horse corrals do once the pens are empty?

I hope they manage the uncaptured horses better and not keep rounding them up just to rid the west of them. I think thing's will be better now because the public has let it be known (again) they won't tolerate mass murder for these wonderful animals.

If I ruled the world I make it a law that if your going to graze your cattle on public lands, then you have to respect the wild horses. Horses rule!

Edited to add the following:

Please look at the blog I have added to my list, 'American Herds'. (Top of page). There is an interesting video there about the BLM. I'm glad someone else feels like I do as far as trusting the BLM. Please watch it. Don't drink the BLM Koolaide.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Arlene smacks down the Fugly woman blogger.

Hold on to your hats because I'm mad and I'm about to vent.

Most people by now have heard of the infamous woman who writes the much read ‘Fugly Horse’ Blog.

I, for one, have had enough of her whining, complaining and picking on the people who are trying to do the right thing. She looks at photos of girls jumping their horses and picks apart their form till something else distracts her snarling viciousness. October 31st 2008 she decided the Sorraia Horse was too ugly and needed to be exterminated. She posted a picture of these horses in their native country to prove how, according to her, ugly they were. It doesn’t seem to bother her horse is not human breed. I quote the following from Oklahoma State University’s Horse Breed descriptions;

The Sorraia horse has no history as a domestic breed, but is the last remnant of the indigenous wild horse of southern Iberia. It stands around 14 hh. Captured animals have been broken to ride and used for herding the fighting bulls and other livestock. This small horse was the primary ancestor of the famous horses of Andalusia and Lusitania and, both directly and indirectly, ancestor to many horses throughout Europe and the Americas. The Sorraia is found portrayed faithfully in prehistoric cave art, displaying the classic Iberian convex profile, also found in the old-time North African Barb. The Portuguese scientist Ruy D' Andrade, who had discovered them in 1920 in the lowlands of the Portuguese River Sorraia, named these horses "Sorraia".


“The Sorraia is nearly extinct. A few herds are maintained in half a dozen places in Spain and a few places in Germany”.

But the Fugly woman says they have bad shoulders, long backs, short croups and ugly heads and there for don’t deserve to live yet alone be preserved.

Fugly, as she likes to be known, does not approve of the BLM Mustangs being saved by their billionaire benefactors because she would have preferred to have seen them shot one by one in the head. They don’t come any wickeder than Fugly.

Concerning the wonderful thing the Pickens family is doing for the BLM's wild horses, she wrote in her blog today the following;

‘I personally think euthanasia was a good plan (far preferable to handing them out willy-nilly to people who wind up posting stuff on Horsetopia like "we got this BLM mare and now we can't catch her, what do we do?") and my only question is, when is the government going to extend that kindness to all of the tame horses that wind up on double-deckers bound for Canada and Mexico?’

Not making any sense are you woman? The government doesn’t own the ‘tame’ horses, just the BLM horses you dimwit.

She goes rambling on:

‘Really, all this is about is more inability to deal with death. If 30,000 mustangs starve to death on the range in the winter, hey, that's ok because that's nature. Putting them to sleep which takes seconds and doesn't involve suffering, oooooooh nooooooooo, that's eeeeevil’.

What utter ignorant rubbish she writes.

Fugly you ignorant woman; living is about life and killing is to be avoided. (She kind of reminds me of the German SS in WW2). No, the wild horses are not starving. Also the BLM gelds the stallions in their corrals. Do some research before you started writing rubbish to entertain the hundreds if not thousands of people who read your blog.

Fugly at one time may have had some good intentions but now like a vicious out of control dog, attacks everything in sight, good or bad.

Fugly publicly attacks people on a daily basis, but I don’t care if she tries to make a mockery of me and what I believe in because I know I’m a good person and a much better person that she will ever be. So bring it on Fugly, embarrass yourself some more.

I know there are some mustang adopters out there who also believe that killing the wild horses is a kind thing to do. Typical 'I've got mine, screw you', type of thinking. I've read your blogs and I have nothing but contempt for you. You buy into the Republican/cattleman's greed driven rhetoric. Our horses are vermin to them. Thank goodness the Democrats are going to be back in charge and there are good Republicans like Mr. and Mrs. Pickens out there.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Latest wild horse (good) news.

I found this tonight. I'm so tired I'm not sure I'm reading it right! WOW!!!!!
Please follow the link to the Washington Post story.

Source: Washington Post
The unwanted horses seemed destined for death. The wheels had been set in motion to put down about 2,000 healthy mustangs, those in a federally maintained herd of wild horses and burros that no one wanted to adopt.

The Bureau of Land Management knew that euthanasia was a legal alternative, but officials were proceeding slowly, afraid of an intense public outcry. The wild horses had become too expensive to maintain, and cattlemen argued that turning them loose would be a drain on the already scarce grazing lands of the West.

Then yesterday, at a public hearing in Reno, Nev., to discuss the issue, a solution arrived on a white horse, so to speak.

Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, made known her intentions to adopt not just the doomed wild horses but most or all of the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal holding pens. Lifelong animal lovers, the Pickenses just a few years ago led the fight to close the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States.

Read more:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A lazy mid november Sunday.

I'm a little cross at the Mustangs even though I know I should be more patient with them.

Wildairo gets big knots in his beautiful mane that I have to untangle on a regular basis. After I get the knots out his mane is very curly still and gets knotted easy again.


I'll have to brush it more often until it straightens out. I expect my horses to stand still when I groom them without being haltered. But Sunday he was horrible to me. He even put his ears back and tried to bit my camera phone when I attempted to take his picture of his angry face. He slinked off in a temper and I shouted at him to knock it off which brought him to his senses a bit. This is the way he was with the other horses in the BLM corrals, so it's not new behaviour for him. I got him to stand still but the knots were so bad I had to toss a little hay down to keep him entertained while I worked on them.


I think he was in a bad mood because it was Sunday and he got fed later than usual. He only attempted to bite the camera and the hair brush, which is kind of funny when I think about it.

The other day I had Brad go through the 'step up' routine with Echo and to my amazement Echo tried his best to cooperate with Brad, but Brad kept forgetting to tell him 'Come here' or 'good boy' and I had to keep prodding him in the back and whispering the right words he should saying to Echo and that made him start dropping the carrots. I forgot he can't do two things at once. I was so pleased Echo wasn't scared of Brad.

Today, when Echo and I were standing next to each other, I forgot myself and tried to touch his cheek. He whirled away so fast I was almost sucked into the vortex he created. He snorted and stared at me, so I turned my back on him in mock disgust. I stood for ages ignoring him and when I turned back he was still staring at me and hadn't moved an inch. I put my hand up told him 'step up' and he was grateful to get back to normal and walked right up and touched my hand with his nose. It was kind of like we high fived after we scared the poop out of each other.

Here's what I see from my front window. Foxsun in the meadow waiting for his senior horse dinner.


I try to put his dinner out when he can canter over and leave the cows behind so he can eat in peace. If the cows see him eat they want some and he has to put his ears back at them to scare them off. Even though cows don't communicate in that way, he has taught them what it means. Dandylyons is not allowed to eat his special dinner so she watches his back keeping the other cows away from his stash by her mere presence.


Here are the old fools having a cuddle in the meadow.


Here's Brad fixing the domestic pump at the little house. I helped him pull it using the tractor. Sometimes little frogs commit suicide by throwing themselves into electrical workings, which stops water being pumped up or something. This time it was something different that broke the pump. I don't know what because when Brad tells me my eyes glaze over. I only remember the bit about the frogs because it's sad.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

63 degrees here today.

It looked windy and cold outside but Foxsun and the cows weren't acting like it was cold. When I went out I was pleasantly surprised because it was 63 degrees and not very windy. Things are greening up as the grass in the pasture is starting to grow again.

I went and kept the mustangs company. Echo really enjoys me being there. He snuck up behind me and stood so close I almost bumped into his shoulder. He does that, walks up to me and stands as close as he can without touching me. He still has the 'no touch' rule in place. Now I can walk into the corral and without saying anything, hold my hand up high and he walks quickly up and bumps my hand like he's been taught to. He's adorable. If I can ever ride again he's the horse I'd love to ride.

I found this today in the Huffington Post, it's by Deanne Stillman who wrote, 'Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West'.

"Please get in touch with President-elect Obama, as well as your representatives and senators, and let them know that a) the extermination of our great partner - the wild horse - is not how you would like your tax dollars to be spent; b) Congress should take a hard look at exactly why so many wild horses have been rounded up in recent years, and c) getting rid of the wild horse is un-American.

Incidentally, Obama was a backer of the anti-slaughter legislation that Congress passed a couple of years ago, shutting down the country's three remaining, and foreign-owned, horse rendering plants. This legislation was passed by a huge margin, thanks to a massive grass-roots campaign kicked into high gear after the previous official death sentence for wild horses was enacted - a rollback in the law that protects them orchestrated by former Montana Senator Conrad Burns. The original law, the Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act, was signed In 1971 by Richard Nixon, who, in a bizarre footnote to history, quoted Thoreau in an impassioned defense of the wild horse at the signing ceremony. The Burns rollback paved the way for the current disaster".

To read more you can find it here;

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Peace in the meadow and a project in the corrals.

It's rainy and misty and the sagebrush is giving off a lovely smell in the damp air.

Dandylyons was standing away from the other cows looking over at the horse pasture hoping to catch sight of her horse husband.


So we brought him back to her.


Dandylyons smiles


Foxsun gets busy eating and all is well in the meadow.


Meanwhile back at the mustang corrals; I introduce Wildairo to the woodworking equipment.


So he and Echo can repair the fences they have eaten through like a couple of woodpeckers!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's getting chilly here.

It's rainy and cold. Last night, as it started to get dark, I went to feed the mustangs and it suddenly got very cold. My hands almost froze as I biked home and I noticed the puddles had ice forming on them. I thought we were in for a very cold night but it started to warm up again and during the night it rained.

Our house is at the base of a bluff and we get some sudden cold snaps as cold air moves downward. During hot summer evenings while I stroll outside around the garden, I sometimes walk through rivers of cold air that flow down off the bluff.


We own about 800 acres here and there are several different micro climates. We used to live in a smaller house further away from the bluff and I could grow plants like grapes and tomatoes so much better there. I even tried to grow some plants in my old garden at that little house this year, but I forgot to water them so they all died. That is another bad thing about this area, we only get about 10" of rain a year. The only thing's that grow well here (without irrigation) are sagebrush, native grasses and noxious weeds. Where there are springs along the bluff, trees and shrubs like cottonwoods, chokecherry and golden current will grow. About a mile of Crab Creek goes through our place and we have about 16 white willows that grow along it. The trick is keeping cattle away from them till the trees can grow big enough that they can defend themselves.

Here's Muffin sitting on the chicks old box.


Here's Dandylyons resting.


I saw her looking at something intently today. I looked to see what caught her gaze and it was Foxsun, her horse husband faraway in his horse pasture. I shall have to reunite them soon because she doesn't look happy without him.

I re-potted some plants today. I like to take cuttings from my plants and start new ones. My mother in-law gave me some of her cuttings. One cutting came from a plant that used to grow in this house when she lived here about 35 years ago! I'm running out of room for new plants but I just love to see plants growing indoors. Andy doesn't care about the plants but he was concerned I'd make him get out of his chair.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Echo demonstrates his 'advanced carrot eating' skills.

I asked Brad to take some photos of Echo doing his 'step up'. I was very pleased that Echo completely ignored Brad standing there with us.

I call him, "Echo, come here!" He walks up to me and stands in front of me.


I raise my hand and say "Step up". He steps closer and touches my hand and I tell him, 'good boy'.


After he's stepped up and touched my hand a few times I give him a baby carrot.


He doesn't get a 'good boy', let alone a carrot, if he doesn't step right up and touch my hand. He has got really good at it and really enjoys responding. On Halloween I lifted my jacket above my head and made ghostly sounds to see what he'd do. He stood back and stared at me for awhile and decided the best thing to do was to walk briskly up to me. I was very surprised. I think he trusts me.


I hold the plastic grocery bag in my left hand with the carrots in it. The bag doesn't bother him in the least anymore.


He actually let me pet him under his chin yesterday and I really enjoyed it.

We bought a 40 gal rubber tank to put his hay in. He was very brave and walked right up to it. He doesn't seem so nervous anymore. He's a really good little horse.