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!

Oct 212016

By Patty Wilber

September 30th, 2016, Mary Ann, Linda and I rode about 20 miles round trip from Jack’s Creek to Trail Rider’s Wall and back.  The day was spectacular.


It was a little cold at 11,800 ft!



Mary Ann with Shorty in tow. We were supposed to pick up some trash at Baldy Lake (or is it Lake Baldy?) but we could not find it (The trash, that is.  We did find the lake!). You can see the wall and Truchas Peak in the back ground! Spectacular!



The trail goes through part of the 2013 Jaroso fire burn scar. The fire crowned through here and you can see how the crisped bark is peeling from the trunks of the dead trees. Other trees were charcoaled. They were shiny black and oddly beautiful

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Oct 142016

By Patty Wilber

Jim drew an elk tag this year, so we joined Camp Kingsbury in the Cruces Basin. There were four hunters with elk tags and three others in the riding-out hunting entourage, plus Amber and Abby who did a lot of the work at the camp area.


Derek (aka Sugar) and Mike heading out of camp for a quick ride Friday evening.


Jim and Mike riding back into camp Sunday afternoon.

Before we went, LT called up Auntie Shelley (without my permission) and said, “this time last year I was vying for a world title in jr. working cow horse!  now she is making me go on this hunting trip.  I need camo!”

Shelley got her a a camo pommel pack and a hay bag!  Thank-you Auntie Shelley!


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Oct 072016

By Patty Wilber

If you put a horse in a padded room, it could still find a way to get injured.

On Saturday evening, I was throwing out hay when it became clear that Cometa was lame.  He was sort of dragging his left front foot.

His lower leg did not look swollen, so I figured he might have a hoof abscess.  Abscesses usually produce a lameness that looks more like a foot coming off a hot coal, not a pronounced lack of flexion in the limb, but abscess was my first thought.

As I bent to lift that foot to pick out the hoof, the real injury revealed itself.  A small cut (which was really a deep puncture wound) and a huge swelling where his leg joins his body.  It was hard and hot and painful when touched.


Ay–that is swollen.


That is the way his other leg looked–normal.

Using no real critical thinking skills because I decided to go into full-blown worry mode first (hands steady, brain ping-ponging–I look calm but have lost cognitive ability), I decided he’d broken or separated or dislocated something. No matter that he was standing on all four legs about equally, which would seem unlikely if something was wrong with his skeletal structure.

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Sep 302016

By Patty Wilber

On June 6, 2016, my well worn trusty WW three horse steel trailer got rear-ended.  I had horses aboard.

Miraculously, no one in the vehicles (me, LT or Mitch) was injured.

Also miraculously, my truck was unscathed and the trailer suffered only cosmetic damage.

The other vehicle was totalled, but there were no major injuries there either (possibly because the police would not let me go over there and strangle them).

Here is what happened.

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Sep 232016

By Patty Wilber

Friday, September 16th, was Ranch Horse Day at the NM State Fair.  Lots of Quarter Horses saved the day for the one Appaloosa and the few Paint horses that also showed.

This year I didn’t have any big driving goals like I did in getting LT to Nationals and Worlds last year, and mainly I just wanted to have fun.  My State Fair experience was greatly improved over some years because the fair management didn’t make us haul our trailers away to the inaccessible hinterlands for parking!

Then, I talked Jordyn into entering her gelding, Slick, in the youth classes (and we shared a tack room and she won the youth division!) and my friend Janet was stalled nearby, so I had people to hang out with. There was also a lot of camaraderie among the competitors, and I found that really enjoyable!

LT had some good goes and even though I personally wasn’t as on my game as I could be (which the judges did notice), spectators seem to like LT and people came up and complimented us!  I think it may in part be her flashy color, but whatever the reason, it is still flattering.


Me and LT!


Jordyn and Slick on their way to winning the Youth Ranch Horse Challenge.


Janet and the incredible Rowdy. I hope we get to show together more often next year!

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Sep 162016

By Patty Wilber

It is State Fair time in NM, and that means our horses have all noticed that Winter is Coming and are starting to hair up (just in time for the show!) LT’s sleek gold grows a dark brown tint on her face and neck as the undercoat comes in and Indy’s roaning goes into hiding. (Penny and Cometa do not change color much from season to season.)


Indy–not so roan as in the spring!


LT’s neck and face going dark!

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Sep 092016

By Patty Wilber

In 2013, the Jaroso Fire in the Pecos Wilderness was 100% contained on August 5th.  On Labor Day, 2013, the Back Country Horsemen rode through the fire scar on the way to our annual trip to Beatty’s Cabin. We have been back every year since.

Here are the blog links and after that, a compilation of photos.

2013: Burn n Bridge.  This is the funniest of the three, I think. It features Longshot and his non-compliant pack string ways.  Longshot (now 6) was my lead horse for 2016.

2014: Bridge Club.  This one features a bridge that we rode over this year and I must say it still looks really good in 2016! There is a picture at the bottom of the blog.

2015: Beatty’s Cabin, 2015. Lots of linseed oil in this one!

Fire scar Labor Day weekend, 2013.  The fire was contained in August and we had a lot of rain.  The amount of regrowth that occurred in a month was amazing!

IMG_2962 IMG_2969 IMG_3008 IMG_3012


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Sep 022016

By Patty Wilber

I have been stewing over the best way to write the scoring rules for a horse event, and based on input from lots of folks, thought I had come up with a good scheme…but then I got a comment from a trainer down south suggesting a perspective I hadn’t considered, and it threw me into a quandary (again)!

So, I am going to lay out three options, and would love to hear which one each of you personally like, and why.  It is fine if you like one particular way because you think that one benefits you the most.  I’d also like to know which you think sounds like the fairest or “best”. Best has no good definition in this scenario, so whatever “best” means to you is great.

The goal was to pick the best horse and rider team regardless of breed, age of horse, non-pro, open or youth…but maybe that isn’t the best goal and the goal should be “one of the best…”  I will explain that more in the descriptions of each of the three scoring options I will present.

The proposed event  will cater to horses that can work a cow. Regardless of how it is scored, here are some baseline rules.

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Aug 262016

By Patty Wilber

On Thursday, I did a workshop at Central New Mexico Community College that covered marginalized persons and how to be a Safe Zone for these students, and I also got some news about a friend that broke my heart for her.

These slapped me in the face and made me realize that any perceived woes that I am currently obsessing over (because I have this OCD streak when I have problems I don’t know how to solve) are trivial. Trivial.

I am grateful for the diverse group of people that enrich my life, the amazing opportunities that open up, the wide open spaces of the pinon-juniper habitat, the green mountains of the Pecos, the oxford comma (that’s for you Miriam), and of course the chance to both teach biology and get paid, and work with horses and get paid.  I get paid for riding horses!  How cool is that?! I am grateful.

Since this is the Write Horse, I will focus on the horses.

BUT BUT BUT our completely online FREE CNM Microbiology lab manual that Karen, Heather and I wrote is fully implemented AND we finally have our classroom computer tablets so our students will be able to simply download their Units in lab, take notes, insert pictures that they take in lab, save their work, and then access it at home.  Of course, the students will start next week, so we will have to see if they are as jazzed up as we are!!!!

Last week, Mary Ann and I went north to the Pecos Wilderness with Longshot and Tulip.  On the drive up we bought peaches off the tailgate of a dark blue pick up from a roadside vendor and stopped at a donut stand because we just wanted to.  It can be really hard for me to get out of my linear thinking world and deviate from my set plans.  These two spontaneous stops helped make this day!


Longshot is with me for mountain horse training and I knew that going first down the trail, and crossing mud and water were not high on his I GOT THIS list.

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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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