To the west, the Sandia Mountains rise up to 10,800 ft, practically from my back yard. In winter, the sun sets into Tijeras Canyon and now, in June, it sets farther north—almost over the highest point of mountain. This is my backscape. Sometimes watermelon clouds streak above as the sky blues into night; sometimes rain curtains across the space, down the mountain to the rincon where I live; sometimes the mountain rests there, pinely green with patches of pale aspen near the crest; and often, surprisingly maybe, the mountain is quietly inconspicuous, as the familiar can be.
As I ride, the large gives way to the immediate. Today, it was the prickly pear. Some sported a single spiny pad with a voluptuous flower, two or more inches across! The translucent yellow petals had red drawn out from the base and glowed like thin stained glass in the light. A multitude of yellow stamens crowded the middle.
What is it with these arid land plants and their ridiculously extravagant flowers, as if they had a surfeit of resources, here in the high desert? Maybe, they just throw the one big party, and are frugal the rest of the year. By dusk they had closed up, hidden away. Must not be pollinated by moths….Nope—the web says: beetles and bees.
The other thing today was WIND. My ears are full of dirt and grit is clinging to my skin (it was on my teeth too, but I ate that). It can’t all be beauty and poetry.
So, to sum it all up, the landscape + the horses = all I could ask for!
Penny is 3 and an Appaloosa . Appaloosas were originally developed by the Nez Perce Indians in the NW US, near the Palouse River in Idaho. Perhaps 10% of their horses had the spotted coat pattern prized in Appaloosas today.
So. Where are Penny’s spots you ask?
Well! There are none! She is what is called a “Non-Characteristic” Appy. Had to pay extra to register her and so she could show with her spotty buddies.
Appaloosas are supposed to have 3 of 4 things: a coat pattern (spots); white sclera (white around the eyes—like people—colored iris and white sclera); mottled skin (often around the eyes, lips, and genitals); and striped hooves (except stripes on white hooves don’t count). Penny has a vague stripe (only visible if the hoof is wet) on her one dark hoof and no other Appy characteristics! Her dad has it all and her mom is just missing the spots….
I am aiming Penny at all around performance. Right now she can go in the mountains and pony Risa (i.e. Penny is ridden and Risa is led along behind), go English and western, and despite a complete lack of breeding for it, she “has some cow.” She instinctively tracks (follows) cows.
Horses with cow are easier to train to do things like cutting (singling a single cow out of a herd), working cow horse (move one cow around in an arena), roping, sorting (cows), penning (cows) or just plain ranch work. (Truthfully? Penny will not be a cutter. Cutters are real cowy. The cowiest.)
She is cutting bred, so, she could be good at cutting that single cow out of a herd. However, due to her outlook on life, she hasn’t yet “been on” cows. In other words, I haven’t tried to see if she can do what she was bred for! I once attempted to practice with a burro. I thought she might try to eat poor Leon….
Eventually, her show career might include reining . That involves running in circles, spinning like a top and sliding long distances (20 + feet) from a dead run. She has some talent in that direction, I believe. In the meantime, she is learning riding basics and to pack tools for back country trail clearing.
Other: May was here in April and May and I started her (began her training) then. She has returnd for two weeks while her mom is on vacation.
Now that you know all the current residents, we will move on to exciting topics like hauling hay, working cows, and perhaps items of particular interest to you–let me know and I will see what I can do!