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!

May 182014

by Doranna

Dun Lady's JessSo I’ve been published since ’94…and have over 40 titles’ worth of author copies sitting on garage storage shelves, snug and safe…and taking up a LOT of room. I’m going to run a bunch of giveaways, but I’m also offering these books first come, first serve, for the cost of postage. If you prefer hardcopy and now can’t get it, this is your chance! Not sure how long I’ll run this…depends on how well it works out on my end, basically…

I made a completely nifty form–it’s behind the cut–integrated with PayPal and including credit card payments through PayPal (so there’s no need to have a PP account). Get there first, grab what you want, and spread the word! (There’s a little social sharing dingie down at the bottom of the post.) Continue reading »

Jul 182014

By Patty Wilber

I am sure many of you have a right-off-the-tip-of-your-tongue favorite horse movie, but, I actually don’t …

I like movies, and we go  pretty regularly, but I hardly ever have a strong desire to see a movie twice.


Men in Black

Men in Black


Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest

and neither of those have horses.  They just make me laugh.

Continue reading »

Jul 112014

  By Patty Wilber

As the summer monsoons begin, the fly population goes up. Most horses can manage flies fairly well.  They stamp, they swish, they shake their heads, and the flies are usually nothing more than an annoyance.

Mojo is a different story.  His immune system over-reacts.


The black spots are fly "spots".

The black areas are fly “spots”.

Fly welts--reduced in size from the previous day due to treatment.

Fly welts–reduced in size from the previous day due to treatment.

Our solution?  The Caped Crusader!

He is quite the sight gleaming in the sun!

He is quite the sight, gleaming in the sun!

Continue reading »

Jul 042014

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend was the last New Mexico Buckskin Horse Association show before Sydney heads east to West Virginia for college. She will be studying forensics (Science!  Yay, science!)

She might be able to skip out on a day or two of class and quickly fly back for the August show, which is the last show of the NMBHA 2014 season…

Penny and Sydney June, 2014

Penny and Sydney June, 2014

but maybe not.

Maybe not? WAAAA!


Continue reading »

Jun 272014

By Patty Wilber

Last week I wrote about gathering the moms and calves  at the Red Cliff Ranch (click the link if you missed that one and want to see it) so that they could be branded, and this week will be the branding.  Perhaps the title gave that away.


Up at a sunrise on Sunday, we retrieved a misplaced pair (a cow and a calf) from the heifer (young female cows) pasture and moved the two over the railroad tracks into the pasture with the rest of the moms.   Lacey got up early to help.  This was not her idea, but she didn’t complain too much.

Then we had breakfast.  (More) coffee, biscuits and gravy with sausage and bacon and green chile (we are in NM, after all).  How very western!  (Cue a deep slightly drawly voice-over “Up at dawn, the hard working cowboys and cowgirls on the Red Cliff Ranch move cattle before returning to a hearty breakfast at the bunkhouse.”)

I just made up the “bunkhouse” thing.  We ate at Bill the Manager’s modern, totally normal, stucco (ok it’s “ranch-style”) house.

We all wondered how the heck we were going fork our horses when we were stuffed with biscuits, but we went ahead and waddled out to get them (I used LT this time).

Continue reading »

Jun 202014

By Patty Wilber

I love cows.

I guess I should really say that I love working cows from horseback.

If I get a chance, I will drop most everything to load and go.  Or I am happy to plan ahead as well!

This one was planned (There was even a cook! Luxury!) and Jim and I helped gather and brand last weekend at the Red Cliff Ranch.

Red cliffs!

Red cliffs! Cows!

Continue reading »

Jun 092014

by Doranna

rena.1062.SMPeople have lately been asking me about Rena Beagle.  How she is, why I’ve not said much about her.

I’ve been bound to leave you, we’ve known that for awhile…

I’ve told them that she’s on hiatus from agility (where we finished her Open and Excellent titles last year) and she’s been playing rally when she feels well enough.  In fact she earned her Rally Advanced a month ago and even got her first Excellent leg, very close to the year-anniversary of her arrival here.  I danced about it here on the blog, too.

I’m sure it’s something I can’t do if I can’t leave you with a smile…

But the blog isn’t real life.  There are a lot of things that go unsaid, because they’re complicated.  Like the fact that Rena’s journey from her past mom to her now mom (me) triggered  hidden health issues, and I’ve been dealing with them since the day she got here–just over a year ago, now.

 I don’t know how far I’ll have to go ’til I’m sure those eyes won’t cry…

At first we thought a change of thyroid meds protocol would sort her out.  And it did, for a couple of months.  But then the rhinitis broke through.  And the spay incontinence.  And the chronic dehydration, and the painful pottying, and and AND.  After another seven months of exacting and expensive efforts, we thought we’d gotten all that sorted out, too.

And in my mind I’ve left enough to know that I can’t leave you
With a bad goodbye.

And then I found a way  to get her fully hydrated, and I put her on Transfer Factors, and within a week I was getting glimpses of the dog I knew Rena had once been.  Cheerful and silly and fun.  What a delight!


But there was another side of that coin: It told me exactly how unhappy and uncomfortable she’d been.

And a third side of that coin: I was excruciatingly aware of the delicate balance of keeping her healthy, happy, and comfortable.  I knew that at some point, we would learn whether we’d caught and stopped the various processes at work in her body, or simply bought a little time.

So I’ve been watching.  But it still took me by surprise when the change of season…mattered.

Apparently, it matters a lot.

Oh, there are details.  And developments. Things that came up suddenly over the weekend, bringing tears and denial and slow acceptance.

In truth, there’s no single thing going on with Rena Beagle that it isn’t possible to overcome, either for me or for her.  But in aggregate, they are an enlarging mountain.  And meanwhile I’m watching her fall apart, piece by piece, right before my eyes.

It’s the other side of the coin again.

And in my mind I’ve left enough to know that I can’t leave you
With a bad goodbye.

A bad goodbye, for me and mine, is one that comes too late.  One that drags on.  One that would rather watch a little princess dog fall apart piece by piece than do the necessary thing.

And any way I look, I've only seen that I can't leave you With a bad goodbye.

And any way I look, I’ve only seen that I can’t leave you
With a bad goodbye.

Today I do the necessary thing.

(“A Bad Goodbye,” Clint Black)

Jun 062014

By Patty Wilber

Tacky tack room trash?

I went around taking pictures of a few Back Country Horsemen tack rooms (with permission of course!).  I never got around to doing the same at the last show, so now I have no data to show that show-ers are neater than back country folks or BCH’ers are more prepared than show people or the other way around.

All I can conclude is that of all the BCH’ers, my trailer tack room is the most, uh, “well stocked”.

Now for the evidence.  This tack room is definitely not mine. The floor is spotless! Continue reading »

Jun 042014

by Doranna

cb.dogwalkbay.crop.0058Qualifying!  Winning!  Titles!  W00t!  Rah!

Because hey, that stuff is fun.  It’s lots of fun.  The green Q ribbon is a revered thing.  Add a bit of placement ribbon color and…you know…


But if it was the only marker of success, I can’t imagine many of us would keep training, keep entering…keep running.  Keep on with our little public humility lessons.  Because with some dogs, those placement ribbons never come, and with others, the Q ribbons are a rarity, and with still others, the lessons in humility are ongoing. Continue reading »