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!

Aug 192016

By Patty Wilber

This past weekend was the NM Appaloosa Club’s Roadrunner Show and my part was to coordinate the Red Hot Ranch Horse Challenge (and show).


We almost jettisoned the challenge as we were planning the year, but because it did ok in 2015, and we felt like it would do better this year, we decided to keep and it, and I volunteered to get ‘er done (silly me!).

We fortunately already had a cattle contractor, so that was simple compared to last year.  We had some momentum from 2015 and there were a number of people geared up to return! It even turned out to be way easier to get money than last year, and we more than tripled our cash payout from $500 to $1800, mainly from people really interested in supporting cattle horses.  Our two biggest cash donors for the RHRHC were the  Watrous Valley Ranch and the Williams Family at $500 each. The Jackson Ranch donated a breeding to their top ranch stud for the best Appaloosa mare. Other cash donors were Iron Horse Ranch (John and Judith Hutchton), Dr. Diana Deblanc, DVM, me, and Leroy Sisneros from Farmer’s Insurance. Horsemen’s donated four bridles! We ALREADY have sponsors lining up for 2017, including a breeding to a top cow horse sire!!

diana horsemens watrous

jackson ranch

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Aug 122016

By Patty Wilber

I’ve got Longshot here for a back country horseman horse tune-up and it got me thinking about what I want to have in back country horses that I ride and train.


Longshot is fine standing in a tree while I trim!

(Longshot was born with a contracted tendon in 2010. Jim and I  treated him for his owner Peter Harris under the guidance of Dr. Dralle at Albuquerque Equine.  Longshot survived and and of course I wrote a bunch of blogs about him. Risotada RehabLongshot is 6 months old!The Longshot Update , The Education of Longshot)

Longshot a few days old


Lots of different types of equine can be super successful back-country mounts.  Here are some things that I like in a trail partner.

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Aug 052016

By Patty Wilber

The horses love the wheelbarrow.  We think they may dream about it.


Jeri is submitting this for the calendar “Fillies gone Feral”.



I dunno Indy. Nice action pose but I think you needed a little tongue.



Two can be involved in wheelbarrow posing.



And then there is the butt pose. Penny used a top tail beautician to create the “rubbed” look, which is hot this year.

I think it is nice that the horses all like to hang around when we (mostly Jim) clean the pens, but we are just not sure why they all want to TOUCH the wheelbarrow!

Happy Friday!

Jul 292016

By Patty Wilber

We have had a great summer getting to see family and last weekend we got to see more!  Jackie and Joannie (Jim’s sisters) flew in Friday and we had the weekend in NM before the sibs headed on their road trip to Chelan, Washington!

Of course we went horseback riding!


Joannie and Penny on top of our hill!

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Jul 122016

By Patty Wilber

The Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen hauled supplies from Iron Gate into the Mora Flats area for Kevin Balciar’s trail crew last weekend and Indy got to join the old pros Penny and Cometa on her first stint packing.

Penny and Cometa have been doing this stuff since they were two and three. Cometa turned 19 July 9th and Penny is nine. They are both very level headed. LT, on the other hand, didn’t get to go until she was five because she was too kinetic to be any fun for anyone. Indy has the same dad as LT, but she is a lot more laid back, so she gets an early work permit!

Penny (right) age two on a BCH project


Penny worked 137 hours in the back country as my lead horse when she was three.

My first clue that Indy was going to be more than fine was when we tied her to the trailer with Penny and Cometa on the other side.  She ate some tall grass and waited to see what we were doing next.

Next, we were packing.

Indy carried a stove, a toilet (clean), a tarp, some wash tubs and a bunch of helmets. Not bad for her first load!


Indy says, “holy box hitch, Batman. what is he doing back there ?!”



“it looks like something undignified! ” says Tulip


“whew”, says Indy. “that turned out better than i thought it would! i do have a box hitch!

Then, we set off!



Cometa says, “did you hear the one about the tomato family? the little one was lagging behind and the dad stomped him and and said, “ketch up!” get it, Indy? Indy says, “ok. ok. i’m coming.” And then under her breath, “bully! i will bump your butt 100 times on this ride and drive you crazy! hmpff!”


Penny says, “hey indy! you could be carrying that wide load!” (Cinco had coolers and she did run them into every other tree she passed at first!)


Almost there!

We unpacked the load for the trail crew and Indy stood still. Very nice.  I think she has a good trail future!

We humans had lunch and the horses got some apple cores.


i have to pony her back?


what? i only bumped cometa 97 times.

The ride back went well.  Indy didn’t pester Penny as much as she had Cometa.  She might have been tired, or maybe, since she lives with Penny, she knows Penny is the boss mare. Do not mess with the boss mare!

One thing a good trail horse should do, besides stand still, is drink on the trail and back at the trailer.



Indy: “this is the best water i have ever tasted!”


Indy: “this is the best water i have ever tasted! does this fly mask make my head look weird?”


Great Crew! Richard, Mary Ann, Peter, Amber, Sandy, Bob. and Me. Jim took the picture!

The pack out is next weekend, but we will be hiking the Kalalua Trail in on Kauai, Hawaii!



Jul 082016

By Patty Wilber

My Mom, sister and two nieces came to visit this past week and we went a bunch of places (never early as it took us a while to get going in the mornings and of course I had a few horses to ride!)

We went to Meow Wolf, Bandelier National Monument, Finding Dory, the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens (the bugarium and the leaf cutter ants—pretty cool), Old Town where we started an Urban Adventure Quest but ran out of time to finish (get your groupon here), the Jemez Box, Madrid and ate at the Mine Shaft Tavern, ate at Los Cuates on N. 14 twice, and Origami in the Garden.  For some reason the Origami in the Garden really struck me.

Origami in the Garden is on Hwy 14, 4 miles north of Madrid and 15 miles south of Santa Fe and features metal sculptures created from origami.  It is set among tan ribbons of rock called the Garden of the Gods.


A lovely setting.


A metal depiction of a piece of paper that was folded into a crane and then unfolded. Even the unfolded works were fascinating!


This is the process of folding paper into an airplane, and then the airplane takes off!

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Jul 012016

By Patty Wilber

“Glamping, also known as luxury camping or glamorous camping, is that escape you’ve been meaning to take. It’s that little break from the hustle and bustle. It’s a moment by yourself in a secluded treehouse.”

What’s Glamping | Glamping Hub

According to the Glamping website, I guess, technically, we (Siri, Keith, Jim and I) didn’t glamp because we stayed in a cabin at Taos Horse Getaways, (and it wasn’t in a tree).  It did lack an indoor toilet and shower though, so we were maybe semi-glamping?
The outhouse is definitely in the glamping realm!
And so is the outdoor shower, but I didn’t take a picture of that!

Continue reading »

Jun 242016

By Patty Wilber

We are droughty dry again this year in NM and the Dog Head Fire that started June 14th and burned nearly 18,000 acres in our vicinity last week scorched that onto the minds of the East Mountain area populace emphatically.  It went from 600 acres to 16,000 acres in two days, incinerating pinon, juniper and ponderosa pine in 100 foot flames.

Because the wind blew the fire east, we were not threatened, and the amazing work of the fire crews, along with some help from the weather, kept the fire from spreading as much after the third day. Click to see a map of the fire progression. Continue reading »

Jun 172016

By Patty Wilber

Indy was solid when she was born.

Solid in color!

Solid in color! Less than 24 hours old.  April, 2014. Thanks Cheryl Pozzi for the picture.

Indy still appeared to be a dark bay at 9 months old.

Indy, December, 2014

The LP gene that colored Appaloosas carry causes progressive depigmentation. (This gene is also required to allow the PATN1 and PATN2 genes to cause Appaloosa spots.)

At first I did not know Indy had the LP gene, but when she shed her baby coat, she started to develop mottling on her face and her summer coat was roany!

June 2015.

And her forehead!

August, 2015.  You can just make out a little depigmenting (mottling) above her nostril and her forehead is roaning!

Indy’s 2015/2016 winter coat was dark and it covered up all her summer 2015 roaning.


October 4, 2015. All the gray was gone! (Except in her tail head.) The mottling on her nose remained but didn’t seem to progress at all.

Then, as she began to shed out in spring of 2016, the depigmentation seemed to pick up speed again. Suddenly, (it seemed) she was going gray again and her nose had more spots!


March, 2016. Spots on her nose!

Only about 10 days later, there is even more white! 4-7-16.

13 April 2016; Roaning and dirt.


Indy April 13, 2016. Roaning coming though!


April, 20, 2016 (15 hands, 960 pounds). She looked dapple because of the shedding pattern, I thought. The dark hair was comin’ out!


April 20, 2016


May 2, 2016. Still not all the way shed out– but you can see how light her flank was here compared to April 20!!


June 2, 2016. She is pretty well shed out and she still has the dapples! I thought they would all go away.  Maybe they still will! She is 15.1 and about 1029 lbs. She can stop getting taller now!



Just wanted to show the progression of silver in her tail.


This makes her butt looker bigger than it really is, but it’s a cute butt, and you can see that silver in her tail!

I think her coat pattern will continue to develop and it will be interesting to see what she looks like this winter not to mention next year!

She is coming around under saddle, too!