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 »

Sep 262014

By Patty Wilber

It sure can be difficult to make time to do things for fun, but it is usually worth it.  Especially if it involves riding with friends!

Golden Open Space

Golden Open Space 9/19/2014–my date stamp is wrong!

For this adventure, Linda and Mary Anne said we should go to the Golden Open Space.

This area was acquired by the City of Albuquerque in 1964.  Why, I wonder?  It would probably take at least hour and 15 minutes to get to the Golden Open Space from downtown Albuquerque today. In 1964–I have no idea.  Hours, I bet!

In a two minute Internet search I failed to find a  1964 City of Albuquerque map,  but I did find that the population was about  201,189. In 2014, the City proper has 558,000 and the metro area is close to a million.

I also found a map of the open space. Click here to see.

We rode around the perimeter of a canyon then dropped in.

We looked at the scenery and gabbed.

Linda knew there was LIVE (running!) water.  In New Mexico, if riding in pinon-juniper habitat, water is a very big deal.  Linda and Mary Anne had already seen it, but no matter.  We were headed to agua that actually flows over the ground–like a normal stream!

Just go down a canyon and turn right at the cave.

Turn right at the cave.

Turn right at the cave.

At this point, as we headed down Arroyo Seco, we were probably out of the Golden Open Space, and on State land.  “Arroyo Seco” means “dry arroyo”.

Mary Anne and Tulip in the water in Arroyo not Seco.

Mary Anne and Tulip in the water in Arroyo no Seco.

Penny contemplating the water.

Penny contemplating Arroyo no Seco

It gets better!

A pool!

A pool!

Penny, the whuss, would not go over there  because “it’s boggy!” We are going to have to work on her trail bravery after her two year  i-am-a-show-horse hiatus from wilderness adventure.  In her defense, she had no issues with the water itself.

This was our original destination, but looking down the Arroyo no Seco, it appeared there was wet a good ways on.

And wow!

How amazing is this?

How amazing is this?

The horses liked the area, too.

A nice ice lunch break for equine and humans, alike!

A nice lunch break for equine and humans, alike! We ate in the shade with some ants.

This was supposed to be  half-day trip, but because of my “Let’s go a little father!” (that got us to the over-hanging cliff), the fact that one of us forgot something at the lunch spot so we needed to go back, and I made a left turn one canyon too early (I forgot to look for the cave!) so we had to back track there too–just a little–I didn’t get home until four!  (Left at 8 ish).  I am guessing we rode 12 or so miles.

We have tentative plans for another trek in a few weeks…after I get back from visiting Sydney (Penny’s girl) in West Virginia and elk hunting with Jim at Camp Kingsbury.

I like both my jobs (teaching biology and training horses) but it sure is fun to spend a day playing on horseback.

Especially with great company and WATER features in unexpected places!











Sep 192014

By Patty Wilber

I spent three days at the New Mexico State Fair last week and never left the horse barn.

The Orange Cone Area is for loading and unloading only.  ( nailed a few cones when I drove in.  I didn't see them! I swear!

The Orange Cone Area is for loading and unloading only. (Nailed a few cones when I drove the trailer in. I didn’t see them! I swear!)

In my defense, by the time the horse stuff was done I was tired and the midway and main street and crowds just didn’t appeal!

Continue reading »

Sep 122014

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend we flew to Seattle and drove to Eastern Washington for my brother’s wedding. A side bennie was that Jim’s sister lives in Eastern Washington, too, so we also got to visit with Joanie and Tim!

We spent our time time gabbing and eating and apparently little time on pictures, so we will just have to go with words. Gasp. Or…

Yes!  That’s it!  Internet pictures!

chelan butte

Joanie and Tim live in Chelan, across the Columbia River Gorge from the Butte. Click this to go to the geocaching link.

Continue reading »

Sep 052014

By Patty Wilber

Over Labor Day weekend 2013, the Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico, Pecos Chapter did repair and refurbishing of a bridge near Beatty’s Cabin in the Pecos Wilderness.  For Labor Day 2014, almost the exact same crew (- Cathy, + Laurie) completed two more!

We, being back country HORSEmen  rode in and packed our gear and supplies.  I did not get a picture of Belle packing 2 x 12 boards! That was the most challenging load for sure.

Lacey carried two 50 pound sacks of feed, four cans of paint and a propane canister.  One hundred and sixty four pounds.  No problem.

Penny was my lead horse.  She did a lot of back country work as a three-year-old, but most recently, she has spent two seasons as a Show Girl with Sydney.  Penny did not miss a beat heading back to the back woods!

Penny (in the back, June 2010, age three)

Penny, (in the back), June 2010, age three. Risa in the front.

Penny, 2014, age seven.  Same job, different partner.

Penny, 2014, age seven. Same job, different partner (Lacey).

Continue reading »

Sep 032014

by Doranna
A Dog Agility Blog Event


Hard to decipher all the signage, but this was two rally novice titles with first and second place. Just starting the journey…

The Blue Hound Beagles are, primarily, agility dogs.
  But they looove tracking.  They clamor for obedience work.  Boy, do they want to hunt those ratties and chase that plastic bag lure! I’ve always done crosstraining with them to some degree, for both body and mind (but not for my wallet…).

Connery: CH MACH3 Cedar Ridge DoubleOSeven VCD1 RE MXC MJG MXP MJP XF EAC EJC CGC

(That is, Beauty Contest AGILITY AGILITY AGILITY Versatility with Tracking, Obedience, and Agility, More Obedience Stuff Rally Stuff AGILITY AGILITY AGILITY More Agility!)

Dart: Albedo’s Charter Member VCD1 BN GN RE MX MJB CA CGC

(Versatility with Tracking, Obedience, & Agility, More Obedience stuff Rally stuff AGILITY AGILITY Coursing! Continue reading »

Aug 292014

By Patty Wilber

We have had the best monsoon season in years.  There is greenery that requires once-a-week mowing around our house because those darn weeds try to bolt into seed as soon as we whack ‘em back!  I didn’t whack this one though.

Volunteer Datura near our front door.

Volunteer Datura near our front door.

 I confess I have poisoned, as well as whacked, but as soon as I cause withering and death with some toxic product, the clouds boil up, lightening strikes, thunder rolls, and a whole new set of weedlings make their debut!

Continue reading »

Aug 252014

by Doranna

The dogs are far from bored around here.  We’re getting ready for an obedience trial next weekend, so just went to an obedience match this past weekend.  After that comes an agility weekend.  In the meantime, we’re training for the December VST test, without any real assurance that Dart will be ready.  He’s got the nose, he’s got the understanding, but he works so intensely that he uses himself up about halfway through and turns into a puddle of goo.

So naturally, it’s time to introduce a little chaos into their lives by way of Mickey Cat. Continue reading »

Aug 222014

By Patty Wilber

Some Appaloosa coat patterns change color dramatically over time.  Dilute colors like buckskins tend to vary seasonally.

Here is a set of photos for three horses.  I am kind of sad to say, after all these months snapping, the camera did not do a great job of capturing the changes.  Or it might be *gasp* the photographer’s fault. I should have used the same location and the same  approximate lighting.  Since I really don’t want to wait another year to post this blog, I am going with what I’ve got.

The changes were was more obvious to me in person. But there you go.

Oh and I sold one horse in the middle…! Continue reading »

Aug 202014

So, hey! You may have seen signs of Donna Fasano across the Internets; she’s generous with time and knowledge to reader and writer alike. This interview came my way, and it’s a pleasure to share this peek into her brain!

(I’m not sure that came out just right. But here it is anyway!  Have fun!  And no peeking into MY brain.  Far too scary…) Continue reading »

Aug 182014

by Doranna

This year, with the varmint invasion at an all time high–from rabbits to squirrels to pack rats to mice to gophers–we put into action tentative plan to acquire a barn cat–a cat of such nature so as not to be a viable adoptable indoor pet.

We have an agility friend with connections in high places at our awesome localish (in the city) shelter, Animal Humane. Okay, very high places. She runs the thing and is also a talented animal yenta. She hooked us up with a reclusive 7-year-old named Calypso whose ability to cope with humanity deteriorated daily during her stay there…and during her transition period here. She fled upon release, disappearing into the arroyo. No one was truly surprised, but it was hard all the same.

In short order, another kitty opportunity cropped up: a fourteen-week old little guy who had made clear his hatred of being handled. Continue reading »