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 282015

By Patty Wilber

This year Molly has been to California in the ocean, twice, down the Rio Grande and the Chama rivers, and is now in Alaska with us. We got her earlier this year thanks to my friend Kelly, and as our third child, of course, she is  a required companion!

On Southwest Airlines, because she is just at 50 lbs, she can fly free, but on Delta, she sets us back 25 bucks.  She is a great traveler and she packs well! We even got her a back pack, so Jim can carry her.

Molly is a Sea Eagle inflatable kayak!

We’d planned to take her on the milky blue glacial Kenai lake Sunday, but the waves and wind made it look like we’d end up soaked to the skin in no time, so we drove over to Cooper Lake.  Same conditions.

Kenai Lake. It might look calm, but it was not.

Kenai Lake. It might look calm, but it was not.

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Aug 212015

By Patty Wilber

The Road Runner Appaloosa show was this past weekend, and Andy, a yearling appaloosa, got to show in Hunter in Hand and Most Colorful.

Andy says "we are here again, why???)

Andy says “we are here again, why???     Photo by Shelley Brethouwer, Andy’s Mom.

Hunter in Hand is a class where the handler has to run.  I got to be the handler.  I had to run. Gasp.

At first, when we were practicing, I could barely make one side in a limp jog, and Andy could not really lead, so we made a lovely pair.  Me: sucking wind and him: goofing off!

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Aug 142015

By Patty Wilber

Last November I went to help look for a homestead site in the Sandias (we found it!).

I’d been wanting to go ride that area again and last week I got the chance because Siri and Mary Ann and Jean were all up for it.

We are very photogenic


Penny says we are goofy.

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Aug 072015

By Patty Wilber

I bought Indy in December 2014 as a “weanling” and a couple of days later on Jan. 1, 2015 she became a “yearling” (since horses all age up on Jan. 1)! She is an Appaloosa and is a half sister to LT (same Dad, Buckshot.)

I thought it might be interesting to chronicle her growth, so, I took her picture every month (uh starting in March–when I thought of this!).  I learned from my Color Through the Year blog to at least take the pictures in the same location each time! I did not think to measure her height or use a weight tape to estimate her –yes!– her weight! until May.

December, 2014.

Indy at about nine months old. Dark bay!

Indy at about nine months old, before I officially purchased her. Dark bay!

March, 2015.

I was short on she is her usual Mud Puppy mess.  But then I also thought it might be fun to see if her personal hygiene habits change over the next year.  Will she ALWAYS be covered in mud if I do not brush her?

I was short on time…so she is her usual (so far) Mud Puppy mess. But then I thought it might be interesting to see if her personal hygiene habits change over the next year. Will she ALWAYS be covered in mud if I do not brush her? Still looks like a bay.

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Jul 172015

By Patty Wilber

At this time last year, according to the Drought Monitor, NM looked like this:

This year (7/7/15):

No green on the map, but we’ve got green on the ground, beautiful skies and not too hot!

Looks like a hedge in the back, but it is un mowed Kochia.  The stuff will grow to 2 inches high in a drought and over six feet in a good year.  Looks like it is heading toward six feet this year!

Looks like a hedge in the back, but it is un-mowed Kochia. The stuff will grow 2 inches high in a drought and make a million seeds.  In a good year it will go over six feet and make a gazillion seeds. Looks like it is heading toward six feet this year!

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Jul 032015

By Patty Wilber

My goal for 2015 is to move LT’s training along to where I can call her “finished”… or at least close.


This is a commitment because she is mine and not a client horse paying the bills.   In a time crunch, my horses get the short shrift and the horses in training get the attention they need.  And the biology papers I have to grade get marked, and the work meetings are attended.

This year, I’ve gotten up earlier or stayed out later to get saddle time for LT.  I also carved out hours to drive 110 miles round trip about once a week to work on live cows with a cow coach.  (That’s you Troy.)

(The year isn’t over, so that plan is still in effect.)

Also, although I have always literally felt (when she moves) that LT has a gob of talent, she is a rather intense and sensitive horse with a desire to be kinetic all the time.  (On the flip side, she never runs out of energy! ) With her, I have to rise to the continual challenge of helping her be less reactive, more focused, and stay there.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time apologizing for her weirdo-ness, but I have always just liked her and wanted everyone else to see what I see in her!

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Jun 262015

By Patty Wilber

By the time this posts, I should be in Fort Worth at the Appaloosa Nationals with LT. She is entered in Junior Working Cow Horse (Friday evening) and Junior Reining (Sunday afternoon).

To get there, we’ll have to drive.

Fortunately, I have a new UNCRACKED windshield.



When Jim called to set up an appointment to get this replaced, the guy said there were no openings until the following Monday, “but don’t worry, windshields have high integrity and you will be fine until then.”

Jim didn’t tell him the thing had been cracked for the last…oh, maybe, 10 years.

In fact, every vehicle we own has (ok, HAD) a similar view.  The Jeep and truck are fixed and the little blue golf ball Kia (hail dented in 2010) is last on the list.

After:  No cracks and, side benefit, no tiny pits either, so you can actually see when driving into the sun.

This will be good because I will leave at O Dark Thirty and will be headed east for the drive to Fort Worth.

I never remember having cracked windshields in our cars as a kid in Northern California.  Maybe we just had them repaired if there was a problem.

But if lists of such things are kept, I wager that New Mexico might be among the leaders in dinged-up front car windows. We have a lot of dry rocky roadsides and hard bits fling themselves up  and regularly collide with cars. Or maybe the cars driving by help and some days, the wind contributes.

Just the other day, on my way home in the Kia, I passed a guy that was weed-whacking.  Two rocks flew up and… kerCHUNK.  Two more stars on the glass.

The guy ran inside. I didn’t stop because the Kia is next in line for a new view down the road.  If I’d just had the repair, you bet I’d have slammed on the brakes!

Shields engaged.  No dings from here to Fort Worth.


Ann Cuddy Victory Pose for calm focus at the National Show. (Check out her Ted Talk!)