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 122015

by Doranna

decisions-407742_1280The last time I blogged through, I was pondering the effects of a rut of bad luck/stresses/downturns in a number of areas in my life–the slow transition to floundering joy and the sensation of ongoing loss and failure.

The solution, I decided, is to reframe the journey. Targeting not being [anxious/stressed/sad] is still, in the end, focusing on those negative things. Seeking confidence, on the other hand…

Definitely working better. But not without ongoing opportunities to practice. Continue reading »

May 082015

By Patty Wilber

Brownie, Brownie go to townie.  Or the mountains!

Got rain gear, water, spare food, emergency kit, first aid kit, more rain gear, gloves (like 4 pair–it really bites to have wet, cold hands) my purple pommel bag with a camera and a head lamp and a few snack bars, and of course a saddle saw. Brownie says, “all in a day’s work!” Not bad for the start of ride 27!

As of last weekend, Brownie, at three, had had 26 rides, ever. But since he is a level-headed and independent sort, had been ponied in groups twice, I knew he’d be a fine mount for the Box-Ox Back Country Horseman, Pecos Chapter trail project.

Continue reading »

May 012015

By Patty Wilber

Shedding in the spring is a long and hairy trip! Mojo started dropping his coat in early March and the others a bit later.

Winter coat growth (which really starts to show on my horses about mid September just in time for the State Fair Show) is stimulated by decreased day length (photoperiod if you want science speak) and declining temperature.  Spring shedding is induced by increasing photoperiod and increasing temperature.

Blanketing a horse, keeping it in a heated barn, and keeping it under lights for no less than 16 hours per day fools the endocrine system into thinking it might be summer.  The result is a shiny sleek coat even in the gloom of winter. Of course in New Mexico we have 300 days of sunshine so we don’t actually have a lot of gloom, but we do have cold.

We can also grow some hairy horses! 

Continue reading »

Apr 242015

By Patty Wilber

The Canyon: 5 stars
Traveling companions and food: 5 stars
Campsite: 2.5 stars
Camper: 3.5 stars
Riding trails: 3 stars

Entering the Palo Duro Canyon.

Entering Palo Duro Canyon.

Palo Duro State Park is about 27,000 acres in size and 30 miles south of Amarillo. The Texas high plains extend for miles in all directions as we left eastern New Mexico on I40. We hit Amarillo and dropped south-ish for 30 miles, and then suddenly The Canyon yawned in front of us.  Stunning. 5 stars.

no words needed.

This may not be the place to bring your horse, but if you want hiking and mountain biking there are lots of opportunities.

Continue reading »

Apr 132015

I got everything ready to write this blog, and then promptly went outside to the fenced area of Arroyo Minor to take the dogs for a walk-romp.

They enjoyed it.  Me, I was just looking for courage.


Five months old in 9/14, already Perfectly McPants

About a month ago, I blogged about our Plague Cat.  About how Mr. McKittypants came to us as an unadoptable barn cat, about his wild nature—about training him, managing him, and coming to terms with his brilliant, dichotomous personality.  How much he meant to us–especially to Tristan Beagle.  And also about his early, profound injury, and then about his recent illness.

Undaunted by either, he was not to be contained.  Four days after returning to us from his organ-cooking fever, he was back outside on demand.  (And when I say demand, I mean “Run for your lives!”)

A week after his return from that vet, he demanded unusual evening out time.  I allowed it, following a deliberate strategy to relieve his stress about confinement.  Then I went into the office and published the Plague Cat blog.

Mainly it was a blog about hard choices.  About letting Mickey be Mickey, seeking balance between between needs and safety.  Understanding the risks. Continue reading »

Apr 102015

By Patty Wilber

We left all the horses at home and went to California last weekend to visit Progeny #2 and his Significant Other.

We had a blast wine tasting, hiking, and going to the Channel Islands.

California Sea Lions

California Sea Lions that we saw on the way to Santa Cruz Island

We got there via the Island Packers –on a boat. I am a little iffy on boats–  I have been known to barf.

Continue reading »

Apr 032015

By Patty Wilber

Appaloosa color genetics are influenceded by three genes: The LP gene, Patn1 and Patn2.  The LP gene controls the varnish roan color and this gene is required for the Patn1 and Patn2 genes to be expressed.  Addition of the Patn1 and/or Patn2 to the LP results in spots.  Check out this site.  It has a horse color genetics interactive pictorial thingie where you can add in the color genes you want and it spits up a horse of the color and patterns you chose! There are lots of combos to create!

I guess LT is LP  (so she can have an appy coat pattern) and Patn2–spots on her butt.  She got these genes from her dad.  Her mom was a chestnut quarter horse and would not have the LP, Patn1 or Patn2.  LT, however does NOT have a blanket.  Spots but no blanket, is not covered in the website above. She also apparently has the champagne gene (it is covered above) which makes her super shiny.

Continue reading »

Mar 312015

by Doranna

grrr!  grrr!

grrr! grrr!

I’m no stranger to dog fights.

I started my first pack while living remotely in the mountains—extraordinary, experienced varmint hunters who didn’t just squabble when the time came for the changing of the guard.  No, they inflicted significant damage.  As we were three hours from the vet we couldn’t afford, it behooved me not only to know how to break these fights up, but how to prevent them.

With a former feral dog as the pack’s foundation, I’d always managed them on a fairly primal level—as part of the pack, on their terms.  Boss bitch.  But while this allowed me to break the fights up without taking damage, it didn’t prevent them.  And as they escalated, I decided that they needed more than policing—that in fact, the policing sometimes made things worse.  They needed, individually, to know they were secure and loved. Continue reading »